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Sandor was on the phone with Boros at Diamond Comics Distribution, breathing heavily through his nose and seething, the first time that Sansa Stark walked into Mad Dog Comics & Games. He just gave her a cursory glance though because she wasn’t moving like she was going to steal anything so Sandor ignored the pretty girl in the sundress and got back to Diamond and dealing with all of their usual fuckery.

Twenty minutes later, Sandor was off the phone and felt like punching something even though he and Boros had sorted everything out. He was typing in the new shipping information when a little cough startled him and he looked up. He’d completely forgotten the girl. She was smiling at him, sweet and pretty and then he saw the stack of comics in her arms and blinked. She must have raided their bargain bins- 3 comics for $1- and gone to town. That, and she had a decent stack of new arrivals.

“Find everything?” Sandor asked, bland, not bothering with any bullshit customer service smile.

“Yeah,” the girl chirped, dumping her pile onto the counter. “You have a great shop! I’m new in town- just started at UW- so I’ve been checking out the scene,” she said all in one breath. Sandor grunted and started to ring up the girl’s comics. “Do you guys do pull lists?” She asked when Sandor didn't say anything.

Sandor paused to take a look at her. She was tall and had a tumble of red hair and was wearing some kind of strappy sundress that showed off her freckled shoulders. Her grin had died down in the wake of his silence and she was fiddling with the straps of her purse, her eyes firmly planted just over his right shoulder. She swallowed, shifted her feet, and then her eyes flitted to him. “Please?” She asked around a lump in her throat and she smiled like she thought that she was being brave by looking a scarred man in the eyes.

Sandor stared her down for a moment longer before twisting and leaning back in his seat behind the counter to snatch up a pull-list form from their stack. He slid it across the counter to her and handed over a pen. “Name, email, all the books you want,” he said and went back to ringing her up; a lot of classic X-Men, no order or specific author or artist- just piles of Bronze Age X-Men. She could do worse.

The girl took the pen and sign-up sheet and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, blushed, snuck a glance at him. Then she pulled out her phone and started copying down her reading list. It was long, longer than Sandor’s even, but that was good. Mad Dog always needed more customers. He thought idly that maybe he should put some effort into this transaction if she was going to become a regular, put on a smile or some shit. But the girl was going to stick around or she wasn’t and seeing his ugly ass pretend to give a shit wasn’t going to change anything.

“I’m Sansa by the way,” she told him, not even blinking at the almost $50 total, just digging out a debit card from a Wonder Woman wallet.

“Sandor,” he grunted and took the card.

“Have you worked here long?” She asked, seeming a little desperate for him to say anything at all.

Christ, was he really going to have to do all this small talk shit? He opened his mouth, not really knowing what he was going to say but pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be customer service friendly but then Bronn came out from the back room, boxes of new merch in his arms, and thank fuck because Bronn was the one who was good with customers.

The girl- Sansa- turned to Bronn, lighting up with the hope that maybe at least this guy would talk to her. And Bronn did. For half an hour. About how shitty the current Superman comic was. Not that Sandor paid much attention. The budget needed to be edited to include the new radio ad campaign and that’s why Bronn had hired him. Sandor didn’t give a shit about chatting up customers but he was working on his MBA and he’d kept Mad Dog open for years so that people like Sansa could come in every Wednesday and get their comics.

**

Next Wednesday, Sandor was filling pull lists when he came across Sansa Stark’s. It was filled mostly with superhero comics from Marvel and DC but it also had Locke & Key and Nailbiter and a whole slew of Image Comics and one or two all-ages comics from Boom! Studios. Overall, they were reading a lot of the same titles and he would be pretty impressed except he’d dropped Dan Slott’s shitstain excuse of a Spider-Man comic months ago.

And that’s what Sandor told her when she came in later that day wearing a pink sorority t-shirt and white shorts.

“I know,” she sighed. “This whole ‘Doc Ock takes over Peter Parker’s body and hijacks his life’ plot is awful but I’ve stuck around this long, you know?”

Sandor shook his head, “That’s a dumb fucking reason to keep buying a book.”

She gasped a little at his language, eyes going wide as she glanced around. “Sandor, there’s a kid in here,” she hissed and she sounded so indignant that he couldn’t even be angry so he started laughing instead.

“My shop, my rules,” he told her and began ringing up her comics.

Her nose wrinkled: “But it’s not your shop. It’s Bronn’s.”

Which was a fair point but he didn’t actually like her pointing it out so he changed tactics: “Kid’s probably heard worse.”

“Now that’s a silly excuse,” she said, shaking her head.

“What? I should start saying ‘fiddle-faddle’ instead of ‘fuck’ just because some kid comes into my shop-”

“Bronn’s shop-”

“I’m not gonna do that.”

“Say fiddle-faddle again,” she grinned at him and somehow her arms were pressed against the counter and she was leaning far into his space, this slip of a girl with her too-big grin.

“No,” he told her, not feeling nearly as upset as he should.

“Please,” she begged and she may have been tall but she still had to look up at him.

“Not a chance, kid,” he told her and finished ringing her up.

She frowned: “I’m not a kid.”

“You’re a freshman in college.”

“So? How old are you?” She challenged.

“Old enough to call you kid,” he told her even though he’d only graduated a year ago.

"Well, I don't like it." She told him, her nose up in the air.

"I have to call you something," he said and rang Winter Soldier up for her.

"You could use my name." Sansa argued.Sandor paused, holding her copy of Saga, and did his best to look confused: "Sarah, right?"

She gaped at him and blinked rapidly.

Sandor grinned.

Sansa threw her head back and laughed, poking him in the chest: "You jerk! I really thought that you forgot!"

"You put Underwater Welder on your pull list. I'm not going to forget someone who's reading the best comic out right now."

"So I'm forgiven for Spider-Man?" she asked.

"Not a chance," he grinned right back.

She suddenly pinned him down with a look, serious. For a moment, she went still and he thought that maybe she wasn’t as young as she tried to make herself seem. “You know,” she said, “You’re really not as much of a jerk as I thought you’d be.”

Sandor didn’t know what to say to that because he was pretty sure that all he’d ever done to this girl was mock her or ignore her. There was a part of him- the real fucked up, cruel part of him- that wanted to laugh in her face and yell until she realized she was wrong. But another part of him, the part that had even agreed to help run Mad Dog in the first place, wanted to make her grin again.

He huffed and started slipping her comics into their individual plastic sheaths: “You caught me on a good day. Don’t expect this to be a regular thing.” He met her eyes because even as he joked about it, he knew that it was also true and he wanted her to believe it.

Sansa’s laugh was bright and tinkling as she sketched out a lazy wave and twirled out the front door.

A moment later, Bronn cleared his throat: “You gonna help me sort the backstock?” Sandor looked at him. Bronn clasped his hands, batted his eyelashes and imitated Sansa by leaning into Sandor’s space: “Please?”

“Fuck off,” Sandor told him and worked his way around the counter.

The damn kid browsing the Batman titles didn’t even look up.

**

She’d been coming to Mad Dog for just over a year when she stumbled in 10 minutes before close on a late October night. Two more girls spilled in after her and his eyes widened when he realized that they’re all in costume and tipsy. It wasn't even 9:00.

“Sandor!” Sansa cried, throwing her arms up in the air. She was dressed up like Black Widow and the lycra catsuit fit her perfectly and it had a deep plunging neckline that showed him just how many freckles she actually had.

“You want your list?” Sandor asked, making himself turn away. She nodded enthusiastically and teetered over on too-high heels.

“Sandor,” she repeated like she was tasting the name. Then she leaned over the counter and really, it was an amazing Black Widow cosplay with her waves of red hair and slim waist. She didn’t say anything else though, just grinned at him, looking fond and sweet. He turned away to grab her books, unable to bear the look.

One of the other girls who was dressed like- Princess Belle? If Belle wore a mini dress and stilettos?- joined Sansa at the counter. “So this is Mr. MBA?” She asked.

“Yeah! Yeah, Margaery this is Sandor! He’s, like, the funniest guy I know!” Sansa giggled and Sandor’s shoulders hunched- he’d never been called funny before. “Plus, he knows Klingon,” Sansa looked at him with blinding pride, like memorizing a made-up alien language was something amazing.

Sandor cleared his throat. Princess Belle, Margaery, whatever, was staring him down, one of her eyebrows quirked up. Her eyes raked him up and down and Sandor was distinctly aware that he’d pulled his hair up because he hadn’t expected any more customers tonight. He stared right back though. He wasn’t about to let some flouncy sorority girl stare him down.

“You should come to the party with us, Mr. MBA,” Margaery finally said, her eyes sharp.

Before Sandor could respond, Sansa jolted upright, her face lighting up: “Oh my god! You should!” Her hand shot out, grabbing his arm. “Please?” She blinked her big doe eyes at him. Her fingers trickled down like water until her hand was grasping his.

Sandor tried to pull away but she had a surprisingly strong grip.

“Yeah, come on, Sandor, please?” Margaery smirked, looking like a cat who got the cream.

“I have to close up,” Sandor tried but Sansa was already shaking her head.

“Bronn can do that, right?” She whipped her head to look at his business partner who had been suspiciously quiet through the whole thing.

“Yeah, sure,” Bronn agreed and Sandor was gonna pay the bastard back for the way that he was shaking with silent laughter.

“I don’t have a costume,” Sandor said, turning back to Sansa and her Bambi gaze.

“With a face like that he doesn’t need one,” the other girl muttered under breath and Sandor felt his blood run cold.

“Megga!” Sansa cried and whirled around. “That’s horrible! And cruel!”

The other girl at least had the decency to look away but ultimately just shrugged: “Whatever. Let’s get out of this place and get to Sigma Pi already. We’re wasting time.” The girl pushed a pair of fake cat ears farther up her head and stalked out of the door, not glancing back.

Sansa still hadn’t let go of his hand. She clutched it tighter when she turned back to Sandor. “I’m so sorry!” She gasped and Sandor saw tears piling up in her eyes. “I have no idea why she would say that.”

Sandor yanked his hand back to start ringing up Sansa’s weekly comics. “Don’t play dumb, kid,” he said, just as harsh and bitter as he meant it.

“I’m not!” She argued. “They’re really not that bad.”

“Not that-” his hand slammed down on a copy of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man . “Lie to yourself all you want but don’t like to my fucking face.”

Sansa gaped at him, her plush lips making an “o.”

“Hey, princess, you like comics?” Bronn called out to Margaery.

“Nope, but you can tell me all about them,” she answered him, seeming more than happy to have an out from Sandor and Sansa’s fight.

That was all Sandor heard before he blocked them out because Sansa seemed to be gathering herself up to fight back. It thrilled him, seeing this bright peppy girl gather storm clouds: “I’m not lying! And I’m not the one who even said anything so I don’t know why you’re mad at me!”

“You’ve never said anything about them! A whole fucking year and you haven’t said shit!” Sandor’s fingers scrambled to pick up the issue of Hawkeye .

“Oh, you’re right. Here’s what I should have done,” Sansa stood up straight and stuck out her hand. “Hi! I’m Sansa Stark. I love sewing, Superman and camping! By the way, you’ve got a ton of scars on your face and I think you could do a great Jonah Hex, Cowboy of Vengeance cosplay!”

Sandor rang up Astro City and, unable to help himself, barked, “Jonah Hex is more than just a cowboy of vengeance!”

“I know! He’s a big, grumpy jerk who can’t accept that people want to be his friend! I wonder who that reminds me of!” Sansa had to audacity to poke his chest.

“Well maybe I will do that cosplay since it fits so well!’ Sandor stuffed Young Avengers into a plastic sheath.

“Good! I think you should!”

“Then I will!”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

They seethed at each other as Sandor finished ringing and bagging the rest of her comics. He glanced at the till. “$22.17,” he growled.

Sansa glowered but uncrossed her arms and pulled a debit card out of a hidden pocket in her catsuit.

“Did that-” he heard Margaery whisper.

“Happens all the time,” Bronn said. “You should hear them fight about Alan Moore.”

“I don’t know who that is.” Margaery sniffed.

Sandor swiped Sansa’s card and put everything in a bag for her. He paused, his hand outstretched, feeling suddenly queasy at the thought of her mad at him. She was right- she hadn’t been the one to say anything. He groped for something to say that would make it better, make the wrinkle in her forehead smooth out. “Now get the fiddle-faddle out of my shop. We’re closed,” he said, hoping.

Sansa huffed but took the bag and the statement for the apology that it was.

“Thanks,” she smiled but not nearly as bright as he wanted it to be. She looked up. “See you next week?”

“Yeah. Who else am I going to complain to when Diamond fucks up an order again?”

“Okay, the meter’s almost up and we have free booze to drink,” Margaery piped in and started to drag Sansa away. He could see Bronn’s number scribbled on her hand.

“You really could come to the party, Sandor,” Sansa murmured and blushed.

For a moment, Sandor really was tempted. He pictured it, Sansa in her Black Widow costume, her eyes meeting his, brave as anything and looking so sweet, his arm around her and- but who was he to show up at some fucking frat party?

“Nah, kid,” he told her and damn him she actually looked disappointed. “You have a good time though.”

She nodded, shy all over again, but left when Margaery dragged her out.

Next week after she walked out of Mad Dog’s door, he saw that she’d left a folded up piece of paper on the counter with his name on it. It was a sketch of Sandor all done up like Jonah Hex; a custom cosplay. Sansa had told him that she was a fashion major and it showed in the mock-up; all clean lines and modern design to the duster and waistcoat and pants. In the corner, she'd sketched herself has Black Widow with hearts for eyes saying, I really do think it's a good idea.

Later that night, his homework spread out on the kitchen table and the clock pushing 2:00 a.m., Sandor took the drawing out again, just for a moment, a short little moment, before tucking it back into his Macro Economics book.

**

One night, sick of his cheap beer and the tuition bills stacking up and feeling lonely, he gets on her etsy shop and ends up buying a bowtie with the Punisher skull embroidered on one of the corners. He almost wore it to a job fair because apparently bowties, tattoos and beards were becoming a thing but he never did. Sometimes, though, he'd fiddle with it while he studied.

**

It was May and in two weeks, Sandor will finally graduate with his MBA degree. He’d already talked to Bronn about becoming a co-owner of Mad Dog. It all felt a bit unreal that his life was as together as it was. Five years ago in undergrad he’d been a junior on academic probation and drinking too much and now he has his name on a lease and he understood taxes.

None of that means that he was too adult to be in another “versus” fight with Sansa Stark. In the three years that he’d known her, he’d finally accepted that this girl could bring out the parts of him that he was always trying to shut down. Namely the part that never really got over the wide-eyed joy of reading Superman punch out a horde of aliens. And the part of him that always had to be right. And right now, Sansa was wrong .

“The Winter Soldier trained Black Widow-”

“Who Elektra could also beat in a fight,” Sansa broke in.

“-and if he trained one of the world’s most deadly assassins and he was trained by the Russians and Captain America-”

“Who Elektra could also beat-”

Sandor laughed, “Fuck you, she could not. No way does Elektra have the feats to beat Cap.”

Sansa grinned. “Okay, maybe not. That’s going overboard,” she agreed. “But she can definitely beat Bucky Barnes. Bucky Barnes is good, and I love him, but Elektra has this in the bag. Plus, villains are way more scared of her than they are of him.”

Sandor was about to retort with a truly brilliant argument when the bell over the door rang. “Sansa,” a sharp voice shot out through the shop. Sansa flinched hard and all of a sudden, Sandor realized that she’d never taken off her sunglasses. “You said this would be quick. I’ve been waiting in the car for almost 20 minutes. Get your stupid nerd shit and let’s go," a blonde kid said, his hair slicked back with too much gel and wearing a plaid button-up.

“Sorry, Joffrey,” Sansa muttered and gathered her comics up. She was trembling. Sandor’s chest tightened and then-

“Hey, watch your language. There’s kids in here,” Sandor found himself saying, furious at the asswipe that had dared to scare this sweet girl.

“What’d you say to me, asshole?” The fucker challenged, stepping up like he wanted to start something.

“It’s alright, Sandor,” Sansa whispered and Christ, she was wearing a scarf when it was almost 80 degrees out. “I’ll see you next week.” Then she took the asswipe’s hand and pulled him out of Mad Dog.

Except that Sandor didn’t see her next week.

Or the week after that.

By the third week, Sandor was looking up at every jingle of the bell but it was never his girl.

On the Wednesday of the fourth week, Margaery strutted into Mad Dog like she owned the place. She’d come back with Sansa a couple of times over the years and Sandor knew that Bronn was as good as whipped.

“What’d he do to her?” Sandor demanded and watched the confidence slip right off of her.

Margaery took off her sunglasses and Sandor thought that she looked achingly sad. She stared at him for a moment like she was unsure of what to say. Sandor was reminded that at most, this girl was 23 years old and that Sansa had turned 22 a month ago. They were both too young to have to deal with whatever Margaery was about to tell him.

“She finally broke up with him but, um,” Margaery swallowed, “he broke her arm.” Then, quietly, like to a student this was what mattered most, she added, “she had to get an extension on her finals because she couldn’t sew.”

“I’ll kill him,” Sandor said and fuck, maybe he meant it.

Margaery’s smile was ruthless: “Oh, don’t worry. Even Joff’s bitch of a mother won’t be able to help him once the Tyrell lawyers are done ripping him up.” Margaery’s teeth might as well have been coated in blood. She stepped up to the counter. “Anyway,” she said and all her insecurity and bloodlust slipped away, “I’m here for Sansa’s comics. Four weeks, right?”

Sandor nodded and bent down to pick up the month’s worth of comics that Sansa had missed because some shitstain thought he’d had any right to touch her.

The total amount was almost $100 but Margaery just handed over her card like it was nothing. “Tell you what,” Margaery said as she picked up the stack. “She probably won’t be around for next week’s either so how about I pay you for them now and you drop them off when you’re done on Wednesday.”

Technically, Sandor couldn’t take the money in advance so he shook his head and said, “Just give me the address and I’ll make sure she gets them.”

Margaery left him with an address to their sorority house and her phone number. Sandor didn’t ask for Sansa’s even though he was tempted.

**

Sandor wasn’t too ashamed to admit that his only experience with sorority houses came from horror movies and he was pretty sure that those were nothing like reality. The Kappa Gamma house had big white pillars and a perfectly tended lawn and hedge bushes perfect for hiding serial killers. It was summer so at least most of the girls were gone and he didn’t have to worry about any of them having seen the same movies as him and thinking that he was the serial killer. As he rang the doorbell, he was tempted to let his hair down to cover his scars but it was warm out and he still had his winter beard.

“Oh good,” Margaery said in way of greeting when she answered the door. “She hasn’t gotten out of bed in days. Hopefully a rousing talk about Mr. Marvel will work better than a Project Runway marathon.”

“Captain Marvel,” Sandor corrected, unable to stop himself.

“Sure,” Margaery agreed and Sandor got the impression that she had messed up the name on purpose. She led Sandor up a flight of stairs and down a hallway. She paused, hand on the doorknob of the last door, and knocked. “Sansa? Can I come in? I have your comics?”

Sandor heard a rustle of bed clothes and then Sansa’s soft voice, “Come in.”

Margaery let the door swing wide, revealing Sandor and his handful of tightly clutched comics. Sansa’s eyes widened and she pulled up her sheet over her chest even though she was clearly wearing a baggy Wonder Woman tank top. There was another girl in the room with short brown hair and scrappy looking. The girl was sitting on Sansa’s bed, clutching her hand, and glaring at Sandor like she wished she could shoot lasers from her eyes.

“Who’re you?” The girl asked, pushing herself off of the bed.

“Arya, it’s fine. It’s Sandor- from Mad Dog,” Sansa said, putting her hand on the girl’s arm. “Hey Sandor,” she turned to him with her eyes bright and sad.

“Hey, kid,” Sandor greeted, voice smoother than he felt. “I’ve got your pull-list.” Arya’s eyes narrowed even further.

“Thanks,” Sansa said and then, tugging on Arya’s arm, “Can you give us a sec?”

Arya glanced between them before sizing Sandor up. She stalked up to him and her head didn’t even come up to his chin. She poked him hard in the chest and said, “I’ll fight you,” and then strutted out of the room like some sort of alley cat.

“Sorry about her,” Sansa told him once Arya was gone. “She’s my little sister and has a protective streak about a mile long. We’re, um, men aren’t exactly her favorite thing right now,” Sansa looked down and all at once seemed to shrink in on herself, going small.

For a moment, Sandor felt like this was all some huge mistake, that he’d shown up unwanted, but he’d come all this way and he wasn’t about to leave when Sansa looked so sad. He stepped into the room, puffing up his chest and trying to act more confident than he felt.

“Margaery didn’t tell you I was coming?” Sandor asked as he placed the bag of comics on Sansa’s desk. Well, he put them on a pile of scrap fabric which was the closest thing to open space on the desk. Most of it was taken up by a hulking sewing machine and- he looked closer- pattern notes for a Batgirl costume.

“No,” Sansa murmured, her eyes soft. “But thank you for coming. I-” Sansa looked down and bit her lip. “I missed you,” she said like it took all the courage that she had.

Sandor swallowed and sat on the edge of the bed. “Yeah, the shop- it’s better with you there.” He said because that was the closest he could get to saying “I missed you too,” even though that was what he really meant.

Neither of them seemed to know what to say then, how to make the jump from owner-customer to friends. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her either; curled up and small and a little sweaty, her arm in a purple cast covered with signatures. Instead, he looked around her room and almost laughed.

He’d never really thought about what her room would look like but somehow this was exactly what he had expected. Lace curtains, a delicate bouquet of daisies, candles and a sea of superhero action figures. Bunches of drying flowers hanging on the walls next to fanart, a dress mannequin draped with a black and yellow satin cape, a collection of sea shells and a Superman pillow.

Her bookshelf was almost entirely filled with comic book trade collections, alphabetized first by character and then by issue number. A Captain America figurine was leaning on its side and Sandor stood to straighten it. Picking it up, Sandor noticed that one of its feet had been broken off.

“Joffrey did that,” Sansa said, quiet. “He threw it at me but- but it hit the wall.” Her voice was dull. “I used to have more,” she gestured at the walls and now that she mentioned it, Sandor could see the places where there used to be posters. “He ripped a lot of them. God, he hated this stuff,” she told him. Sandor felt his chest tightening and wished she would stop talking.

“But that means that he didn’t ruin any of it for me, right?” Like, at least a jerk like him doesn’t like Superman so I still can,” she frowned, looked away. “Except for Batman. He loved Batman.”

“Everyone loves Batman,” Sandor said, fiddling with the broken Captain America action figure and feeling sorely out of his depth.

“Not you,” Sansa smiled. “You refuse to read a solo Batman title.”

Sandor shrugged and sat back down, bringing Cap back with him. “I’ll read Batman when they finally get someone besides Scott Snyder to write him.” His hands were trembling.

Gently, Sansa took the action figure away from him. “In a way, I’m glad that this is the one that he threw because can you imagine- he was just, he yelling so loud and tearing up my stuff and all I could think about was how Captain America, he’d never-” Sansa snuffled and wiped her nose on her arm, “Steve Rogers would never do any of that and why was I even with someone who would do something that Steve Rogers never would?”

Then Sandor realized that he was being ridiculous because of course they were friends and he put his arm around Sansa’s shoulders and she gasped and nestled in like she’d been dying for him to touch her.

“Isn’t that silly?” Sansa hiccupped, burying her face in his shoulder. “It took a dumb fictional character getting thrown at my head to wake me up. God, that’s dumb.”

“It’s not,” Sandor said. “It got you out. Who fucking cares how.”

“I care how,” she whispered and the tears were coming down steady.

That brought him up short and he stopped himself from spitting out more platitudes. He looked at this girl he was holding, looked close and saw just how brave she was being, telling him any of this at all. He took a breath.

“I ever tell you why I love comics so much?” He asked, already knowing the answer when she shook her head. “When I was recovering from this,” he made a vague gesture to his face, “it was just me in my room by myself a lot and I had my dad’s old collection of X-Men comics and at first I thought they were the dumbest fucking thing ever written because in the real world, the good guys never won and they were all dressed in bright fucking colors and it was ridiculous. How come those freaks got the girl or won and I didn’t? But it turned out that good guys didn’t always win or get the girl but they didn’t stop trying and I guess they grew on me.”

Sandor shrugged his shoulders, and was glad when she didn't ask for more details, “The point is, even though a lot of the times they made me mad, they helped. So, I get it. You love this shit, Sansa,” he said and waved at the evidence around her room. “You're trying to start a damn cosplay company and you live and breath comics and fuck that guy for trying to take that away from you so, me too. If a Captain America action figure is was what it took, then I’m glad you love comics enough for it to have mattered. And,” he added because comfort sat strange on his tongue when anger had always been so much easier, “if I ever see that shitstain, I’m gonna beat the fuck out of him.”

“You mean the fiddle-faddle?” Sansa asked, still small but at least not crying.

“Sure, I’ll beat the fiddle-faddle out of him,” Sandor said and got the smile that he was hoping for plus a laugh he hadn’t expected.

And maybe Sandor was no Captain America but he’d do anything for that smile.

**

Which apparently included going to the Kappa Gamma Halloween party in an orange and green lycra jumpsuit just so that he could be the Aquaman to Sansa’s Queen Mera. Fuck , he thought, looking at himself in Sansa’s bedroom mirror, I look ridiculous . At least the thing fit him; Sansa had taken a ridiculous amount of measurements before sewing it.

“I still think you should have gone shirtless,” Sansa told him, dropping a kiss on his neck when she went by. Sandor turned and maybe the party would be worth it because Sansa’s costume had a neckline that was going to have him drooling all night.

Smirking, Sandor strode up behind her and gathered up his sweet girl into his arms. She sighed and leaned back into him.

“Hey Sandor,” she murmured and lifted her hand to his cheek. “Thanks for coming tonight.”

“Mm,” he smacked a kiss against her cheek. “You owe me.”

She laughed, pulling away. “Oh yeah? And what am I paying?”

“You in a Starfire costume,” he grinned. “Her New 52 outfit,” he finished when Sansa looked eager to accept.

“You should be so lucky!” She huffed and smacked his arm but she was grinning so even if Sandor knew he’d never get her into the skimpiest superhero costume ever designed, he’d made her smile and really, that was still all he wanted from her.

And maybe her signed copy of Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths .

**