Art by the fabulous ruebella-b: http://ruebella-b.tumblr.com/image/131225144979
“Would you like a bath before bed, milady?”
“What for? I haven’t done anything today.”
Shae shook her head and continued to brush Sansa’s hair before moving to the dresser to get a sleep shift.
“I take it you are feeling a little caged up?” the handmaid pressed.
Caged up. Yes, she was feeling caged up. She’d been in her room all day, with nothing to do but sew and read, and she was so ready to spread her wings.
“We could go down to the godswood,” the handmaid suggested. “No one much cares if you go there, even after dark.”
Sansa shook her head. She’d just about had her fill of the godswood.
Shae got a mischievous look on her face. “We could sneak out.”
Sansa laughed. She would love to sneak out, she’d been dreaming of getting out for almost as long as she’d been in. But she couldn’t. No, it would do no good to sneak out, because if she were caught….actually, what was the worst that could happen? A beating? She got those anyway. Public humiliation? Got that too. Beheading? She’d welcome the quick death.
“Alright,” she said enthusiastically. Shae laughed at her and shook her head. “Where should we go?”
“Oh, you’re serious?” The woman sighed. “Well, I’ve been meaning to track down a friend somewhere in the city. I have a good idea where he is, so we could go do that.”
“And we’ll keep each other safe,” Sansa said, confidently. How bad could it be, right?
“Stay here.” Shae left the room for a few minutes, but returned with fabric bunched up in her dress. “Put this on,” she said, handing her the handmaiden’s standard uniform. “No one will think anything about two handmaids wandering the streets.”
The dress was far more revealing than anything Sansa had ever even thought about wearing out in public and she reached instinctively for a cloak but Shae shook her head. "You wear the dress, they see the dress; you wear a cloak, they see your face." It was true- no one would pay any attention to who she was when they were focused on the dress. And it was dark enough outside that no one would notice her hair color.
When they reached the drawbridge of the keep, Sansa tensed to see Ser Meryn. “Try to act naturally,” Shae instructed. “Keep you face turned away from him but don’t drop your head, and don’t stop walking.”
Sansa followed the instructions perfectly, but Shae turned to look at the man and purred, “good evening, Ser Meryn.” Hopefully, he was so focused on her that he didn’t notice the taller girl walking beside her. Sansa was impressed that Shae thought of it, and stunned that it was all so easy.
As soon as they were out of sight, Sansa stopped and looked at Shae expectantly. “Where now?”
“The Street of Silk,” the woman answered, continuing to walk.
“The Street of Silk,” gasped Sansa.
“It’s not that bad,” Shae responded unperturbed. “You’ll see. Everyone is friendly, and anyone who isn’t is usually too drunk to defend themselves.” She laughed at her jape, but Sansa didn’t think it was funny.
She clung to the woman as they made their way through darkened streets. They definitely attracted far more attention than Sansa anticipated, with whistles and crude comments that brought on deep blushes. Shae ignored them, and Sansa followed her lead. And it wasn’t too bad, not really. In a way, it was exciting. After what felt like ages they finally reached a boisterous street lined with drunken men and scantily clad women. There was perfume in the air, but Sansa thought it did little to mask the rank smell of garbage.
Shae led the way to one of the many buildings but Sansa balked at entering. “I can’t go in there.”
“It’s not as bad as you think,” Shae said gently, patiently. “Everyone is nice and you’ll be safe. Far safer than in the Red Keep.”
Sansa was about to object when something caught her eye- a hulking figure in the shadows; a man, clearly, but a man bigger than most. She took a step over to the man against Shae’s immediate protest, but Sansa ignored her, intent on finding out if her suspicions were accurate. They were. There, passed out in the shadows, was the monstrous form of the Hound.
“Is he dead?” she asked Shae when the woman joined her, only half a jape.
“I doubt it,” she replied. “He gets like this all the time.”
Sansa shook her head in disgust. “That’s awful,” she clucked. “We need to get him back to his room.”
“We most certainly do NOT,” insisted the woman.
“He’s Kingsguard,” spat Sansa. “It’s dishonorable to leave him like this.”
“He dishonored himself. I have business inside. Stay here with your Kingsguard if you’re so concerned about him.” With that, the handmaid walked away and into the building.
Sansa knelt down on the road so that she was at the same level as the Hound. He seemed to be awake and not awake at the same time. “My lord?” He made no move to acknowledge her, so she put her hands on his massive shoulders and shook him gently. “My lord? Are you awake?”
“The fuck you want?” he growled without opening his eyes.
“You can’t sleep in the street, my lord, it’s improper.”
“I got something improper for you.” Sansa rolled her eyes. So awful when he’s drunk. Then again, this was the Street of Silk.
“Someone could rob you or try to hurt you.”
“I’ll kill ‘em,” he said sleepily.
I doubt that. “Come, now, I’ll take you to your room.”
She grabbed one of his arms and pulled, and he stood up, cursing under his breath. As soon as he was upright, though, he fell backwards against the wall, pulling Sansa between his splayed legs. When his hand fell against her exposed back, his eyes fluttered open. He peered down at her dress, confused, before taking her arms and holding them out to her side, looking her over completely before taking a deep breath and growling his approval. “Perfect.”
She shook her head in annoyance. He never once even looked at her face, he had no idea who he was talking to, yet he somehow decided it was proper to examine her as if he were buying a horse. Then again, it was the Street of Silk. He fell heavily against her and they made their way back to the barracks. At least, she thought they were going to the barracks. She really had no idea.
He stumbled terribly and it was all she could do to hold him up and keep him moving. She had the uneasy feeling that he was going to fall on her, and if he did he’d probably break every bone in her body. She’d just have to keep him upright. To her absolute surprise, he never once tried to do anything inappropriate- unless you count falling into walls and tripping constantly. But people kept looking at them curiously, and it made her nervous.
“You should try to act less drunk,” she told him. “Someone might think this is a good time to fight you.”
“You smell like springtime,” he drawled into the top of her head. “And flowers. Fresh grass, morning dew, like love and sunshine, hope and happiness.”
“What?” Was that a song? It sure sounded like the syrupy words to a love song, though not one she’d ever heard. And he hated love songs.
“You’re so beautiful,” he slurred. She peered up at him to see that his eyes were still closed, so she looked around quickly to see who he was talking to. “How did I get soooooo lucky to have the most beautiful girl in allllll of Westeros *big breath* rescue me?”
Sansa started giggling. Was this how the Hound tried to seduce women? Is that what he was doing to her? She looked up to see his head lolling around aimlessly and what appeared to be a smile playing at the corner of his burned mouth. There was no way this worked on any self-respecting woman.
“We should run away together. I would be so good to you. I could make you happy if you would let me.” Was this the same man who cheerfully admitted to loving to kill people?
“You think so, do you?” she asked with a laugh.
“Yes, I think so. I could be your husband and you could be my beautiful little wife, and we’d have lots of beautiful babies. You’d be a perfect little mother. The most beautiful perfect mother in allllll of Westeros.” He paused to wave his arm in what was probably supposed to be some sort of grand gesture, but instead he smacked his hand on the wall. Someone behind them started laughing.
She giggled some more. So maybe his seduction technique wasn’t that horrible. She could see how a woman would fall for these words, though he’d have to be significantly less drunk. Of course, when he was less drunk he was just awful. She could not wait until the next time she saw him in the Red Keep. She’d tell him he smelled like hope and happiness and he’d glare at her in confusion, wondering how she could possibly have ever heard those words.
“Don’t marry a little boy,” he continued. “You need a man, a real man. I could be that man.”
“My lord, are you asking me to marry you?” she asked playfully. Who did he think he was talking to?
They reached the door to his room- at least, she thought this was his room. She had to take his word for it, she had no idea where they were.
“Why not?” he slurred, his head resting against the wall while she opened his door. Grabbing his arm, she shoved him in, but he pulled her with him and shut the door behind them. Now standing in the darkness of what she assumed was the Hound’s bedroom, she felt him pull her gently to his chest. “I could keep you safe,” he rasped. “No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.”
It stopped her heart. She’d heard those words before, but this time they sounded sweeter, like a promise. “Do you use those honeyed words on every woman, my lord?”
“No, not every woman,” he whispered, fingers ghosting up over her naked arm, breath against her neck. “Just you. Only you.”
Oh. Well. She could definitely see why a woman would fall for these words; he was actually really good at this. “Only me, huh?” she asked, surprised by how much she wanted to believe him. “You don’t even know who I am.”
“Of course I do,” he murmured, a smile in his voice. “You’re my little bird.”
His little bird. Sansa was still unconvinced- he never even looked at her, never could have expected to see her. It was more likely that he used the name on many different people. Many different women. Somewhere in the darkness, his hands found hers and laced their fingers together.
“Come to my bed, little bird,” he said against her ear. “I’ll be so good to you.”
She squeezed her eyes shut to stop the tears and shook her head. It was stupid, really stupid, to think he’d ever saved the name for only her. She never even really liked it that much, but now knowing he used it on any nameless faceless woman he found in the Street of Silk, used it to get women into his bed…somehow, it was destroyed. And it bothered her, so much more than it should have. Ignoring the pinch in her chest, she pushed him gently towards his bed. “You should get some sleep.”
He groaned in a way that sounded like he was pouting and moved his hands to his waist to undo his sword belt, dropping the thing to the ground with a loud thunk. And then he promptly tripped over it as he made his way to the bed, stumbling around with a giggle. Oh gods, he was giggling. She had no idea he was even capable of such a thing.
He sat at the edge of the bed and reached for a boot, but he kept missing, making Sansa laugh at his pathetic attempts. So she moved to kneel in front of him and began to tug at the laces.
“We should have left,” he said, sounding surprisingly sober, and she looked up at him in shock. His eyes were on her, then, wide open and... honest. “I didn’t mean to scare you; I wanted to save you. I fucked it all up. I fuck everything up.” Oh gods... he did know who she was.
The man had lost control, she realized, lost all power over his mind, his body, his tongue. And he was not the monstrous nightmare she would have assumed him to be when he lost all control. No, instead he was... kind. And gentle, and loving, and so, so sweet. She bit her lip and dropped her head before he could see the tears in her eyes, finishing up with his boots.
She leaned him back onto his pillow and covered him with his blankets, but before she could turn away he grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her gently down to sit beside him. Just the easy way he held her hand was more romantic than anything she’d ever experienced.
“Don’t go,” he murmured with his eyes closed. “Please…I stayed for you. Stay for me.”
I stayed for you…
“Do you do this often?” she asked gently.
“Lure women back to your room with your lovely words.”
He lifted her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. So romantic. “Little bird…” he whispered. “You’re the only woman stupid enough to ever be nice to me.”
Well, that was a backwards compliment if ever she heard one, and she had to stifle a laugh. But it was so like him, something he would say, something he would say to her, that it sounded more real than anything else he’d said all evening. It made her think of a tale she heard once, of a peasant girl so in love with a prince she had a spell cast upon him to find out his true feelings. The Hound- Sandor- was under that spell, and she didn’t want it to be broken.
It was highly inappropriate, she knew, for a girl like her to be in the room of a man like him- her honor would be destroyed, no one would ever want her. Not to mention what kind of punishment Joffrey would mete out if ever it was discovered. But sitting there with him in his darkened room, his words still whispering through her mind, she didn’t think it would be a problem. No, in truth, she wanted to stay, because... it was nothing, really, just sleeping. There was nothing wrong with just sleeping. Besides, she didn’t know if she would even be able to get back, and surely it was more dangerous out there alone than in here with him. So when she was certain that he was truly asleep, she laid down next to him and closed her eyes.