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“Sansa!” she heard her name called through a crowd, as the crowd splits and she see’s Arya, waving with a cardboard sign reading, Sansy Pants

Sansa laughed, as pushed her cart to Arya, pulling her in for a hug. Gods, its good to be home, with family, safe. “I’ve missed you!”

“We’ve missed you too! We’re so happy you’re back, also fair warning Mom is throwing you a surprise welcome home dinner tonight!” Arya shrugged, “I wasn’t supposed to tell you, but you hate surprises.”

Sansa laughed and shakes her head, “Of course she is, I appreciate the heads up. Can we stop at your apartment on the way home then?” She looked down at her velour track suit and Uggs, “this really isn’t mom surprise dinner appropriate

They both laughed, heading towards the parking garage, “of course!”

It has been years since Sansa’s been home, she left years ago for College in Dorne and got a really great job right of school. She didn’t think she would ever come home, not for good at least, but … well she had to come home.

Sansa’s dad owned Stark Development Enterprise, a property development firm, focusing on both residential and commercial properties, he was currently acting CEO. Robb, Sansa’s older brother and Jon, her cousin but basically brother, were both brought into the company out of college.

Robb was currently a VP of residential properties, while Jon was VP of commercial. Both being groomed to eventually take on when Ned decides to retire. Arya was currently working under the head of marketing; she would eventually move up in the company as well.

Sansa didn’t see anything wrong with working for the family business, she just never really wanted to. She wanted to make something for herself outside of the name Stark. So, she went to college in Dorne instead of Kings Landing like her siblings.

Sansa had graduated with a degree in financial management and the completed her master’s in economics. She got a job offer right out of school, in Dorne, and was finally making something of herself.

Once she made the decision to come home, she knew her parents would insist on her working for the firm. She applied as an independent contractor directly to the VP of finance for an open position, and she applied under a fake name. Alayne Stone.

The VP, Davos Seaworth, was new and didn’t know who she was when she did her interviews virtually. The job was a year long contract, where Sansa would be acting as an independent financial analyst. In other words, Sansa was her own business and Stark Enterprise was contracting out to her. It was the only loophole she could work within.

Ned had such trust in his upper management team, that despite being CEO, didn’t feel the need to micromanage and vet each hire, so It was only after Mr. Seaworth hired her that she revealed who she was, explaining her reasons for the secrecy. Luckily for her, this made Davos respect her more.

She came clean to Ned after that, while he doesn’t love that she won’t come into the family fold, he respects her independence. Sansa had spent her last week in Dorne hibernating in her hotel room and going over the company’s financial statements.

“So dad really brought in a contracting company, eh?” She turned to Arya, who was driving. Usually a bid goes out to the contracting companies for development jobs, however a few months ago they had brought in one specific contractor and named them partner on all commercial properties.

Arya laughed, “he did, trust us it was a shock to us too!” It is rare for development companies to partner with a single contracting firm, and until a few months ago Ned never entertained the thought.

“Why, what made him finally do it?”

“Literally no idea, I mean Jon was obviously involved in all the discussions around it and trust me. These are not the type of guys I expected Dad to partner with.” Sansa tilted her head to the side, confused. Arya continued, “they are, well they’re a little rough around the edges. But Dad loves em’, Jon too. Hell, even suit and tie Robb hangs with them now. They’re good guys!”

Sansa nodded, not sure what to say, what does Arya means by rough around the edges? If Sansa has learned anything over the last year, don’t judge a book by its cover, even the nicest of guys can be total assholes.

“So, why’d you come back? Not that we aren’t happy to have you home, we are, it just seemed really out of the blue!” Arya eyed her quickly, before turning her attention back to the road.

Sansa gave a little smile and shrugged, “It was just time to come home, you know?”

Arya eyes narrowed, “mhm, okay… what about the boyfriend?”

Sansa looked out the window, digging her nails into her palm, “That’s done, so so done.”

---

The rest of the drive to Arya’s was quiet, Sansa assured her she’ll be quick and just grabbed a pair of jeans and a nicer shirt. Casual, but cute Sansa said, so mom doesn’t know Arya let her know about the party.

When they walked into Arya’s condo, they were greeted by Nymeria, Arya and Gendry’s massive husky. Sansa laughed and crouched down, “well hello to you too!”

Gendry joined them from one of the back rooms, giving Sansa a hug after she stands, “Welcome home! We’ve missed ya.”

Arya and Gendry have been together for years, not engaged or married, Arya despises anything traditional so they just happily live in sin, as Catelyn would say. They’re place is the definition of modern, a concrete loft, with concrete floors, wall, counter tops. To Sansa it feels a little cold and industrial, but it suits them.

“So Sans, are the rest of your things being shipped to Winterfell?” Arya asked as she grabbed a drink from the kitchen

“Uh, nope. This is it.” Gendry and Arya both stopped and looked at her, baffled looks on their faces.

“Sansa, you have like 4 suitcases.”

Sansa sighed, “yes.”

Arya comes closer to Sansa, a puzzled look on her face, like she doesn’t understand the riddle. “Sansa, when you left you had 4 suitcases for just your shoes.”

Yes, well. Now I have 4 suitcases in total. I didn’t, I.” Sansa stuttered, unsure of how to continue. She sighed, “I didn’t want any of it anymore. Can I use your washroom to change?”

Gendry comes up behind Arya and puts a hand on her shoulder, “Second door on your left,” pointing to the hall.

As Sansa made her way to the washroom, she heard Gendry say, “Just let it go Arry, she’ll tell you when she’s ready.”

Arya sighed just as she closes the bathroom door, “What the hell happened down there.”

Sansa pressed her back up against the bathroom door Breathe, one. Two. Three. Breathe. She turned her head to look at herself in the mirror and takes a breath. Coward

---

Twenty minutes later and the three of them pulled up to Winterfell, her parents’ estate. The property was massive but truly an architectural beauty. It helped that the Starks were one of the wealthiest families in Westeros.

The main house sat far back from the road, the driveway lined with matured trees that opened to show the beautiful French Provincial style home. Ned had commissioned the property 20 years ago, when Stark Development first became a Fortune 500 company. Sansa loves it here. Here is home

Arya turned to face Sansa in the back, “Remember, you know nothing. If mom found out I told you, she would kill me.”

Sansa laughed as she patted Nymeria, “Your secret is safe, Arya.”

Arya looked at Gendry, “I’m fucked, she was always a terrible liar.” Sansa smiled sadly, If only you knew Arya, if only you knew.

Sansa managed to pull off her lie as she walked into the family home and was ‘surprised’ to see all her friends and family in the backyard. Arya hadn’t lied when she said Cat had invited everyone. All her siblings, their significant others, her old friends, some of the staff. Sansa instantly noticed a small group over very, very large men. They were dressed well, but not like the rest of them. There was a tall red-haired man, his long hair pulled into a neat manbun, a shorter yet no less built brunette and a very tanned, very large man with a scar across his eye. She had never seen these men before.

Sansa is pulled from her musing by a loud scream, as her best friend Margaery rushed towards her, she and Margaery had met at Dorne University, and became very close. She had oddly enough accepted a job in Westeros following graduation, so Sansa made sure she introduced her to her friends and family. Margaery fell in with the close group perfectly. “Sansa!” She pulled Sansa in for a hug, “Gosh, I’ve missed you! I am so happy your home!”

Sansa laughed and hugged her back, “I missed you too!”

They were soon joined by Robb, his wife Talisa, her cousin Jon and his girlfriend Ygritte. Sansa loved Ygritte, she was fucking crazy and the perfect contrast to Jon. Jon was in his usual black faded jeans and tight black t-shirt, he hugged her and whispered, “Welcome home, Sansa.” Sansa loved Jon, they weren’t always close when they were younger, but they grew much closer later on.

Sansa turned to Robb and roughed up his hair, “Robert Stark, why the hell are you in a suit.” She laughed.

Robb pouted and attempted to fix his hair, “I just came from the office! Give me a break, Sansa.”

His wife laughed as she hugged Sansa, “You know I’ll be listening to him bitch about his hair all night now, right?”

Sansa laughed, “sorry” and hugged Robb.

Sansa looked at the three men again and asked, “Who are they?”

“Ahh, actually you should probably meet them,” Jon said as he moved in front of Sansa, gesturing for her to follow. “They are 3 out of 4 of the contracting company we partnered with,” Ahhh Sansa mused, she now understood the rough around the edges part. “Tormund, the red head, he and Sandor own the company, Sandor couldn’t make it tonight.”

They made their way over to the men, who had turned when they saw them approaching. “Mr. Snow, nice place your uncle has here.” The dark-skinned man with the facial scar said.

Jon nodded in response and looked at Sansa, “Sansa, I’d like you to meet Tormund, Bronn and Drogo. Boys meet Sansa. She’s Ned’s eldest daughter, and the one that’s been combing through your financials.

Sansa had been looking over the financials for a week and already had some questions, she had emailed with a Clegane but hadn’t heard back yet.

She waved and shook hands with each of them. “I’ve actually emailed one of you I think, Clegane?”

Bronn laughed, “Ahh, no that’s Sandor. Him and Tormund own the company. He wasn’t able to make it tonight.

“Sandor isn’t a fan of parties, he’d rather just work, fuck and sleep.” Tormund said, Sansa’s eyes shot to his a little taken aback by his language.

Robb laughed and patted Tormund on the shoulder, “You’ll get use to the language, it kind of came with the package.”

Sansa smiled politely and excused herself to the kitchen, needing to refresh her drink. She was putting the gin back into the freezer when a voice behind her scared her. Sansa jumped and dropped the bottle, it shattered on the tile. She turned around to see Bronn standing behind her. He took a step back and raised his hand, “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

Sansa closed her eyes, willing her heartbeat to slow. “Uhm no, I’m. I’m sorry!” She said shakily. “Sorry, sorry, I got some on your shoes!”

Bronn looked at her skeptically as he reached for paper towels, “Don’t know why you’re apologizing, I’m the one who should know not to sneak up on people. It happens to me too.”

Sansa quickly grabbed the dust broom from the pantry, “What happens to you too?”

Bronn grabbed the broom and ushered her away, Sansa was in sandals and she appreciated him cleaning up the glass, “the scares. Loud noises, surprises.”

Sansa kneeled when Bronn finished, cleaning up the gin, “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

Bronn raised his eyebrow but yielded, “never mind, I must be mistaken. I just came in to apologize for Tormund’s behaviour before I left. He’s crude, you’ll get used to it. Sandor is worse, just to warn you.

Sansa huffed out a laugh, “Wonderful, thanks for the warning.” Sounded like ‘Sandor’ was a freaking peach. Davos had told her Sandor was the one who handled most of the financials, Sansa knew she would be dealing with him a lot.

She said goodbye to Bronn and finished cleaning the mess in the kitchen before heading back outside. She wasn’t sure what, but she felt like change was coming and it made her nervous.