Sansa had no idea how to seduce a man.
Wasn’t it ironic that she, who had been taken every way a man could use a woman, had no idea how to make a man give her what she wanted?
The old Sansa would not even have tried to entice a man into her bed. The old Sansa would have lost herself in pretty daydreams of entwined limbs and fantasies of gentle couplings. But she was not that silly little girl anymore. Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton had seen to that.
Yet, despite having been beaten, raped and abused she had sold herself to another monster and she had every reason to believe Petyr Baelish would continue the work Baratheon and Bolton had started - if she survived the coming battle. If Littlefinger came.
Would he bring the might of the Vale to save the day? Would the prospect of his becoming Lord of Winterfell by virtue of marriage to her be enough to entice him?
She had to be prepared if it was. She had to prepared if it wasn’t.
Together with Brienne, she had prepared for defeat. Tarth’s gift was already hidden in Sansa’s smallclothes. The weapon was so well disguised that any man stripping her would easily miss it. Even if they found it, they would likely mistake it for a woman’s fancy pin. Brienne had assured her that the secret weapon could kill a man and Sansa had one particular man in mind. If Ramsay Bolton touched her again, she intended to make sure she was last thing he’d ever touch.
And if Littlefinger kept his side of the bargain? If the Knights of the Vale came and if the battle was won? Sansa intended to be ready for that too.
The prospect of marrying Petyr, of his being Lord of Winterfell made her stomach roil. The thought of that double crossing, deceitful, lying little coward taking her father’s place filled every Northern bone in her body with revulsion. No Baelish should ever rule Winterfell. No Baelish deserved the North. But that deal was done, that Devil’s bargain struck and there was nothing more to be done about it. In the anxious days that had passed since her secret meeting with Petyr there had been plenty of time to ponder what she had done and what she must do.
Petyr thought he knew everything, but what Petyr didn’t know was that Sansa had learned how to play the Game of Thrones. Baratheon, Bolton and Baelish had taught her well. Oh the lessons had been hard, but she would have the last laugh and she would beat Lord Littlefinger at his own devious game.
If he came, there was no doubt Petyr would want to collect his payment and secure his position with all possible haste. She would be wedded and bedded by this time tomorrow, with Petyr insisting upon immediate and public consummation of course.
And Jon? She couldn’t tell him. If he knew she had sold herself in exchange for the Vale’s swords, he would never let her honour her devil’s bargain and they needed the Eyrie’s help so badly. Any slight to the Lords of the Vale would lose them Winterfell, weaken their cause irreparably and start another war in the East when they were already had enemies closing in on them from North and South.
Sansa was caught in a trap of her own making but she entered it willingly. If playing the Game of Thrones had taught her anything it was that sacrifices had to be made. Tomorrow she would make hers. Her future was at stake, but this game was bigger than she was, bigger than them all. What she was about to do was for Winterfell, for House Stark and the North.
For her unborn son.
To ensure their future she would gladly sacrifice her own.
Sansa knew, of course, that Littlefinger’s reputation and his association with the Lannisters would not sit well with the Northern Lords. But his heir was a different proposition entirely. An heir would command fealty from the Northern Lords by virtue of the Stark blood running through his veins. Just as Littlefinger ruled the Vale through Lord Robert, he could rule the North through his Stark son.
She had no choice but to participate in another hateful wedding, but Winterfell’s heir? That was still within her control.
What if she could ensure that only Stark blood ran in her child’s veins? House Stark would be preserved, untainted by traitorous Baelish blood. The truth would be revealed when the time was right. Until then, only she would know who her child’s father really was.
She had but one night. Only one night to ensure a true Stark would once again be Lord of Winterfell. How could she make Jon understand that, no matter what tomorrow held, tonight was all she had? How could she make him give her what she needed without revealing why?
Only tonight was hers.
Tonight was her time.
Tonight was her one chance to get what she wanted.
What she needed.
It was already full dark by the time their war council ended. Everyone had given Jon their advice and the air in the tent was heavy with stoic resolve. They all knew the odds were stacked against them.
Tormund was first to leave, announcing his intention to get drunk. Brienne and Lady Mormont followed with heavy hearts. Ser Davos departed to spend the night walking as was his habit on the eve of a battle. Even Ghost left, stalking silently away.
Then, for the first time since her arrival at Castle Black, Sansa was alone with Jon.
All her courage seemed to have departed with the others. Jon was weary and distracted. How was her oh-so-clever scheme to work when he would not even look at her?
She had no idea how he felt about her. He loved her like a sister – of that there was no doubt. But tonight, when she needed him most, he seemed determined to avoid her gaze. Could it be because he also sensed what was building between them? Could it be that he felt something more for her than chaste brotherly love?
That first night in Castle Black, after they’d caught up with the events of their years apart she’d asked him where he intended to go. He had looked at her with those flat, dark unfathomable eyes and instead of answering her question he had shaken his head and reprimanded her with a growled, “Where will we go.”
She hadn’t realised it at the time, but that was the moment everything changed.
Since then, she’d thought Jon glanced in her direction more often than was proper, certainly more often than Ser Davos and Tormund did, but then Tormund only had eyes for Brienne. How she wished a man would look at her the way Tormund looked at Brienne – with lust and awe and respect. Right now, for Jon to even look at her would be a start, but he steadfastly refused to meet her eyes.
Not knowing what else to do, she offered him a tentative smile and one of the bowls of soup that still lay warming by the fire. He grunted his acknowledgement, his attention still on the maps spread out across the table. Sansa’s hopes fell a little bit more.
Still, when she sat down he followed. He sat by her side, close enough that she could see the fine lines around his eyes that hadn’t been there before and feel the heat of his thigh through his leather britches as they brushed against her skirts. When she looked at him, she was filled with a compelling need to touch him, to have him hold her until she forgot all about Ramsay Bolton and what he had done to her. After all she had been through, she thought nothing could scare her any more, but she had not anticipated her feelings for her half-brother.
This was not supposed to be about her or him.
Or them. There was no them.
There could be no them.
This was supposed to be about preserving House Stark.
When she had first made her devil’s bargain with Littlefinger, Sansa’s plan had been merely to use Jon.
They had never been close and she had not expected to develop feelings for him beyond those that would exist between any Lady reunited with her bastard-born half-brother. But these past few weeks had revealed the man to her when she had known only the boy.
As Lord Commander his every word was an order to be obeyed and he led his men with none of the mocking and bullying threats of Ramsay Bolton and without the haughty conceit of the Lannisters. Every man, every Wildling, every Lord, followed Jon because he was one of them, only better. They saw something in him she was only beginning see. Jon was fair, listening to arguments and concerns if he thought they had any merit and sometimes even if he didn’t – if he respected the man raising him. Yet he was quick to make a decision when it needed to be made and ruthless in its implementation. He reminded her so much of her father it hurt.
In Castle Black her nights had gradually changed. Her tortured mix of Bolton nightmares and memories receded, to be replaced with fevered dreams where Jon had wanted to touch her too, to kiss her until they both senseless with it. So many times she had imagined how he would scoop her into his arms when they were finally alone, that she had begun to believe it would happen of its own accord. But now here they were and Jon made no move. Instead he stared intently into his soup as the silence between them grew and stretched awkwardly.
Despite her being certain there was an intangible something in the air between them, Jon said nothing, gave her no hope he saw her as anything other than a sister.
Thinking about what she had to do had her hands trembling so much she was worried her soup would spill. She should start slowly, touch his face, feel the smoothness of his skin and the bristle of his beard, feel his breath and the life of him, a life force she needed if House Stark was to survive.
But what if she offered herself to him and he rejected her? What if she touched him and he recoiled? What if, instead of reflecting her desire, she saw only revulsion in those steel grey eyes?
It belatedly occurred to her that she had no idea what good men wanted from a woman. She hadn’t known any good men since her father died. Perhaps no good man would want her after the things Ramsay had done to her and made her do to him.
Shame and disappointment felt like a huge, hollow ache inside of her. But she would not give up so easily. Could not. Baratheon, Bolton and Baelish had already stolen her innocence. They would not steal her future . . . Winterfell’s future.
She had to do something and, as her hands were shaking too much to touch him, she said the first thing that came into her head, “This is good soup.”
Before Jon could reply he had to choke down his first spoonful.
“No it’s not. It’s shit soup.”
On the field, on the eve of battle, no one expected a feast but still, this broth was particularly bad. Then it occurred to Jon that perhaps Cook had given Sansa something better than the thin tasteless swill that slopped around his own bowl. Scowling, he was about to demand to see Sansa’s soup when he noticed the expression in her eyes as they peeked over the rim of her bowl. She was laughing at him.
Sansa didn’t smile often, but on those rare occasions when her eyes gleamed and her lips twitched, the urge to hold her and thrill her until she laughed out loud, was like a wild thing with a will of its own. He thought he’d known all about wanting a woman, but what he’d felt for Ygritte hadn’t been like this, hadn’t felt like an explosion right inside his chest, like wildfire that burned so hot and so fierce that it felt like it was eating him up inside.
Having Sansa’s steady gaze on him made that heat inside him worse and he had to look away for fear he might combust from wanting.
“It’s not as good as Old Nan’s soup, but it’s not that bad,” Sansa teased, looking more at ease than she had all night. “You thought I’d been given something special didn’t you?”
“Of course not,” he lied. Was he really that easy to read? The thought made him uncomfortable. It had been so long since he had been around a proper Lady that he wasn’t sure if anything he was doing was proper at all. The two of them being alone in his tent was probably not even proper. Lady Catelyn Stark would certainly not have allowed it.
He gazed into his soup and the silence grew between them. This was ridiculous. He was a man full grown and he couldn’t even talk to his sister? The problem was he ached to touch her, to run his fingers through her hair, to learn every one of her curves and kiss her senseless. His mind was too busy imagining what that would be like to hold a conversation.
“I wish I could go back and change everything,” she blurted out, mercifully interrupting his indecent thoughts.
How often had he wished that too? He nodded and sighed. “If only we hadn’t left Winterfell.”
“I mean even before that. When we were young. I wish I had treated you better . . . spoken to you more.”
It only now struck him as odd that he had exchanged barely a handful of words with Sansa in all those Winterfell years. Arya had always done as she pleased and that included talking to him, but Sansa . . . Sansa hadn’t. She had been entirely under her mother’s influence. While her Lady mother had treated him with ill-disguised contempt, Sansa had simply ignored him. Jon only realised now that was the way Lady Catelyn had wanted it - her precious eldest daughter could not be allowed anywhere near ‘the Bastard’. It was only as a man he understood why.
Sansa looked so sad and beautiful in the firelight it was all he could do not to pull her into his arms and kiss her until she had forgotten everything but him. But that wasn’t what how you comforted your sister.
Instead he bumped his knee gently against hers. “I was just as bad. Too busy sulking to speak to you.”
“Will you forgive me?” She looked up at him with something that might have been hope in her eyes and that fire inside him roared.
Jon nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
Catelyn Stark hadn’t trusted him around Sansa and she had been right not to. What man could resist? Jon certainly couldn’t. Since Sansa’s unexpected arrival in Castle Black he’d had an ache in his gut, something tight and vague that left him feeling hollow. The only thing that seemed to alleviate it was watching her. Everything she did was done with a grace and ease that bewitched him. To his shame, he found himself imagining holding her, feeling warm, supple curves and soft hair against him. He was lusting after the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and his cock didn’t seem to care she was his half-sister.
Catelyn Stark would be turning in her grave if she knew what the Bastard of Winterfell was thinking now. Jon had to hide a satisfied smirk behind another spoonful of the brown muck lest Sansa thought him mad for being amused by nothing.
She might be here with him now, but Sansa deserved much better than he could offer - he had no fancy wheelhouse for a Lady to ride in, the only tent he could offer was his own, the soup tasted like shit and there was a better than fair chance that they would all die tomorrow. That morbid thought reminded him of a task he would have given anything not to have to face. Jon set his bowl down with a sigh and reached for the gift he had to give Sansa.
“Here. Take this. If the worst should happen . . . use it on yourself.”
Offering her the handle first, he held out the sharpest blade he had been able to find. If he fell, if she was captured, then it would be best for her to make her own end quick and painless, for it was certain that Ramsay Bolton would not.
Sansa set her own bowl down, took a long look at the knife he offered and then looked at him.
Jon had expected she would be afraid, or at least appalled by what he was offering – a way out, a way to end her own life. Instead she gave him a cold, hard smile that seemed to reach even her eyes, turning them hard and grey like the Castle Black steel he offered. With a start, Jon was reminded of Arya and the gift of a blade he had given his younger sister so long ago.
“I have no need of your gift. Do you still think me the same useless, empty headed girl I used to be?”
Once again he felt uncomfortable at how easily Sansa seemed to be able to read his thoughts. Jon shook his head to deny her accusation, even though they both knew he had been found out.
With a hollow laugh, Sansa began to unlace the front of her dress. “I have no need of your gift. See, I am already prepared.”
He watched, equally appalled and fascinated as the plain material of her dress slipped from finely boned shoulders, exposing her smallclothes to him, black that contrasted exquisitely with her milk white skin. His eyes followed every nuance of movement; the graceful flex of her arm, the shadow in the hollow of her collarbone that moved as she did, unblemished skin that seemed to provoke a primal need in him to feel, taste, touch. He could have watched the elegant play of her woman’s body for hours, but too soon she drew a thin, sharpened piece of steel from the depths of her bodice.
Jon had to avert his eyes, but even so, he could not say what disturbed him more, the fact that Sansa took such obvious delight in having that killing weapon or the sight of his sister’s exposed flesh. He closed his eyes in shame, intent on banishing the sight of his fantasy come to life; smooth bare flesh, elaborate smallclothes, tightly laced, narrowed waist, flared hips, bound and barely restrained. Gods, he had even seen the tops of her teats, mysterious and full of sinful promise, crowing the globes of creamy breasts that rose like new moons from those black smallclothes. Even as he tried to forget, he knew that glimpse of forbidden flesh would remain etched onto his memory until his dying day. With a shake of his head he realised that his dying day may be the next one.
“Do not worry for me Jon,” Sansa said with a brittle laugh, “Brienne showed me how.”
Slicing the needle-like steel through the air, Sansa made a feint towards the artery at the side of Jon’s throat. He instinctively pulled away although the blade never came so close as to truly threaten him.
Sansa’s teeth were bared as she swore, “I’ll kill Bolton before I let him touch me again.”
Jon gaped at this new Sansa. It was hard to reconcile the aloof, pampered girl he remembered with the vicious, vengeful woman before him now. Sansa swung her weapon back and forth, her blood-thirsty glee evident as it glinted evilly in the firelight. He began to realise the horror she must have suffered at Bolton’s hands.
Still, he doubted Sansa had ever killed a man before, much less considered the consequences if she were to attack Ramsay Bolton and fail. If she was so determined, Jon owed it to her to ensure she would not suffer the fate Ramsay had promised mere hours before when they met face to face across the field.
Jon’s blood turned cold as he remembered Ramsay’s threat - to make Jon watch as his soldiers took turns raping his sister. Cold, hard hate for Bolton and his allies hardened Jon’s resolve. That must not happen. No matter the outcome of tomorrow’s battle, Ramsay must not get his hands on Sansa again. So Jon took a deep breath and steeled himself for the task no brother should have had to undertake – telling his sister how to kill herself.
“If you are going to attack Ramsay then you had best be ready to do for yourself too. You know his men will not let you go free even if you succeed in killing their Lord, don’t you?”
“As long as I see him die first, then I will die happily.”
Sansa made another rapid motion through the air with her blade, this time slicing towards her own slender neck.
Jon gave an involuntary shudder. What would be worse – Sansa killing herself or Sansa failing and being captured alive? Without thinking, he caught her wrist, terrified she might somehow harm herself with all this waiving around. In his rough hand, her wrist felt as delicate and as fragile as a bird’s wing.
The need to protect her, to keep her safe from every harm hit him as suddenly and as unexpectedly as a Wildling arrow, the intensity of it surging through him with such force that it nearly knocked him to his knees. Never had he felt such a need to protect another before. Ygritte had been able to take care of herself. Gods, she had usually been the one taking care of him.
He loosened his hold on Sansa’s wrist, terrified he might hurt her in his haste to keep her from hurting herself. But he did not let go of her entirely.
“Not like that. The artery in your neck is a small target and too easy to miss when you cannot see what you are doing. You will only have one chance to . . .”
He could not bring himself to say kill yourself, so he coughed to hide his anguish and shame that it might come to this, that he could not guarantee her safety.
“. . . you cannot risk failure. If you do not succeed with your first strike, then Bolton’s men will have you.”
Sansa stared at his hand around her wrist and he felt her tense under his touch. Her skin was cool and smooth where his was heated and rough. He should not have grabbed her like that, should probably not even have touched her, but now he had her, he did not want to let her go.
They stared at each other, the air between them heavy with knowing that this night might be their last.
Sansa’s voice was a mere whisper when she finally broke the silence, “If not my neck, then show me how.”
“Here,” Jon fisted his gloved right hand and made a stabbing motion across his chest. “Slip your blade in sideways at the centre of your left breast and . . . well . . . the outcome is more certain.”
“Here?” Sansa mimicked what he had shown her and Jon shuddered at the thought of her having to do this tomorrow. But her aim was off, too much to the centre of her chest, and she needed to be more accurate if the outcome was to be certain.
“More to the left, like this . . .” As he moved their hands together, the exposed skin of his wrist accidentally brushed over the prominent mound of one breast. He cursed himself for being so careless, but perhaps it had been a fortunate accident as the stiffness of the material that covered her breasts surprised and worried him. No thin blade could pierce that easily for it was as hard as a turtle’s shell.
He tapped his nail against what he deemed the safest area – between her breasts. As he suspected, it rang with a hollow sound. “Is this armour?”
Sansa looked down, as if seeing her under things for the first time and to his surprise she laughed. “Armour? No.”
Jon frowned. Was she laughing at him again? He glanced again at her elaborate smallclothes, willing his face not to burn and his eyes not to hunt for another glimpse of her teats.
“Then what is it and what is it made of?”
“I suppose it’s made of the same things a Lady’s small clothes are always made of, whale bone and silk.”
This time Jon knew his face was burning. Did high born Ladies always wear such restrictive undergarments? He had no idea.
“Forgive me Jon. I forgot you are a man of the Night’s Watch and I suppose that is why you stare so. You have never seen a woman’s smallclothes before.”
Embarrassed at being found out, manly pride made him snap back, “Yes I have.” Although this was not strictly true as Ygritte had not worn any smallclothes. Sansa accusation stung doubly deep, for it was also true that he was staring. Try as he might, he could not seem to keep his eyes from drifting back to the soft swell of her breasts.
Feeling the need to rebut Sansa’s suggestion that he was still an untried, green boy, he pressed on, “I admit that I have never seen smallclothes such as yours because a free woman doesn’t feel the need to hide herself under a turtle’s shell.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, Jon regretted them. Sansa could not have looked more hurt if he had slapped her. He wanted to apologise, to explain he had only said that because she had implied he was a maid. But to admit that made him sound prideful and pathetic. So he just stood there. Silent. Trying not to stare at her teats as she started to cry.
Unable to talk, he tugged gently on her wrist, hoping that would somehow stop her. Ygritte had never cried and Jon was at a loss as to how to deal with Sansa’s tears.
He was a boy indeed.
Instead of stopping, Sansa turned away from him, jerking her wrist out of his loosened grasp and sobbed even harder. Her refusal to touch, or even look at him wounded him more than if she had cut him with her blade.
“Sansa . . . I . . .” he floundered, having neither the experience nor the words to say what he felt.
Free woman. Why did he have to say that? Why did he have to compare her to them when she was the exact opposite?
For most of her life, Sansa had looked down on the Wildlings and their absurd obsession with being free. But now she would have given anything to be free like they were, free to love a man like Jon.
Images of him with dozens of proud, naked wildling woman flooded her mind.
Of course a man like Jon could have any woman he wanted.
Of course he would not want a damaged woman like her.
During all of her scheming Sansa had not contemplated this – that she would care so much about what Jon thought of her. That she would want him to make love to her rather than just use him for his seed.
She whirled around, anger and shame adding spite to her words, “Don’t you think I know that I am not free? That no man will want me after what Ramsay Bolton did to me?! I know I am caged, ruined. But I do not need to hear it from you!” She half screamed, half sobbed at him.
“I didn’t say that!” he yelled back, shocked by how much it hurt that she thought so little of him.
Sansa was so startled by his shouting at her that she momentarily stopped crying to stare at him with big, watery blue eyes.
Jon seized the moment and pulled her into his arms. How could she think he didn’t want her? He wanted her so badly he shook with it. She struggled against him, but he whispered soothing words to her, the way he had seen mothers do to their crying babes, holding her tight and rubbing his chin gently over the top of her head. Her hair smelled of summer and he found himself pressing his nose into her hair, inhaling her scent, trying to commit it to his memory for fear he would never smell anything so wonderful again. Gradually Sansa stopped fighting him until she sagged, trembling like a frightened animal against him.
The need to protect her, to keep her safe from harm roared through him again and, if he was being honest with himself there was another need too. Jon knew he would burn in the seven hells for finding the press of his sister’s breasts against his chest, the scent of her hair and the sensual curve of her back arousing. He shifted his hips slightly, angling his body away from hers, lest his sister feel the effect she was having upon him.
He told himself it was only because he had not held a woman in so long. The memory of Ygritte, the only other woman he had ever held still flayed his soul as surely as one of Ramsay Bolton’s knives.
Shoving his dark thoughts as far back in his mind as he could, Jon closed his eyes and imagined the life he would give Sansa if he could.
Keeping his voice soft and reassuring, he wove his dream for her, “After we win the battle tomorrow you will be the Lady of Winterfell. You will be magnificent and you will restore Winterfell to its former glory and more.”
Sansa shook her head and at first he thought she might start to cry again, but after a moment he felt her sigh deeply and then relax against him. “I want to make our father proud.”
Jon smiled into her hair. “You will. You’ll earn the gratitude of your people, of the North and the respect of all Westeros. You will also have every Lord from every great House in Westeros clamouring for your hand.”
“Not House Baratheon,” Sansa murmured against his chest.
So she was at least accepting of her future. Jon breathed a sigh of relief and agreed, “Not House Baratheon.”
“Or House Lannister.”
Jon smiled. “And not House Lannister. Every Lord from every great House except those. There will be so many Lords desperate to court you that you’ll have to beat them off with a stick.”
“There are certainly some I want to beat with a stick,” Sansa sniffed, looking up at him with red rimmed eyes.
“Me too,” Jon said around a grin. “But you will make some lucky Lord a fine Lady.”
Before Jon could finish his daydream, Sansa stiffened in his arms, and said coldly, “We both know I have no choice, no freedom. All those men will only want me for my name and what I can give to them.”
She was right of course, that was why most men wanted her, but that wasn’t why he wanted her. Jon could hardly admit that though, so he said nothing, not knowing how to tell her she was the most perfect woman he had ever known without revealing something of himself that was best left hidden.
If they won tomorrow, if she did indeed become the Lady of Winterfell, then her duty would be to make a match to strengthen House Stark and the North. Great Ladies like Sansa could not chose to wed for love and he had no business giving her hope that she could.
Not having the courage to speak the truth aloud, Jon gave her the most reassurance he could. Enfolding her in his arms, he pressed his nose once more into her hair as he murmured, “Not all men are like Ramsay Bolton.”
No they were not, Sansa thought, but Petyr Baelish was almost as bad - it was he who had traded her to Ramsay in the first place. Come tomorrow, if she wasn’t dead, she would be chained by marriage to another evil man she despised. This time she had no one to blame but herself and knowing there was no other way did nothing to ease her despair.
She started crying then, really crying. Jon held her as she howled into his shoulder. He made her feel safe and hopeful, things she hadn’t felt in so long, things she needed so desperately right now that his holding her only made her sob harder.
Jon closed his eyes and held Sansa tight, soaking in the wonderful feeling of her against him, so soft, so warm and yielding, rocking her a little because just holding her wasn’t enough. Her tears swept that fierce wave of protectiveness through him, adding anger to his need, unleashing emotions he didn’t know he had, let alone knew how to deal with. Her obvious distress tangled his mind and his heart into knots, leaving him restless and confused. She felt so fragile that his inability to protect something so precious to him and so vulnerable tore at his soul.
He dropped his head to her shoulder, burying his face in the silky cloud of her hair, fighting the fire that had started between his legs and spread up his spine until it reached his scalp and the tips of his fingers and ran out of places to burn. It took everything he had to fight the need that was raging inside of him and just hold her.
By the time she had control of herself he knew no effort would be too great to keep her safe and that he would do anything to see her smile again. She disturbed him in a way no other woman had. His feelings for Ygritte had been lust and the desire to learn the differences between them - he could see that now. With Sansa it was so much more; the sound of her voice, the way she was both so hauntingly familiar and achingly unknown, the way she was as soft as could be and as strong as she needed to be.
Sniffing and hiccupping through the last of her tears, she looked up at him and asked, “Why did it have to be Ramsay? Why could it not have been a man like you?”
Why indeed? Because the Gods willed it? Yet again he had no answer for her and he made do with kissing the top of her head, only this time he did not stop there. He could not help himself, he was carried away on a tidal wave of feelings. He kissed away her tears – eyelids, lashes, cheeks and avoiding her lips, her chin, neck, shoulder, trying to erase the evidence of her anguish.
When he had kissed away every last one, she cupped his face in both her hands, an intent, questioning look in her eyes. “Do you want me Jon?”
He did. Once again he was shamed by her ability to read his darkest thoughts. However, admitting how much he wanted her would only make things harder than they already were. She was so hurt and vulnerable and he was supposed to protect her, yet here he was, contemplating taking advantage of her trust to satisfy his own shameful needs. Something twisted up inside him. He took her wrists in his hands, freeing his face from her caress and stepped away.
If he didn’t stop now, he didn’t trust himself to ever stop.
“We can’t. It’s not right.”
For a moment he thought she was going to argue with him and she looked so beautiful standing there, half undressed and undone in the fire light that if she’d begged him, he didn’t think he’d have the strength to resist.
But she didn’t. Instead she sniffed and laid her hands flat against his chest, fingering the laces on his shirt.
Jon was looking at her intently, the tight hard lines of his face and the set of his mouth told her he was struggling with his conscience. He was as honourable a man as her father, but hadn’t her father also given in to temptation the night he sired Jon? Perhaps it had been on a night such as this.
Sansa had judged her father, without ever knowing the circumstances that led to Jon’s birth. She was her mother’s daughter and, without it ever being discussed, had shared her mother’s dismay and shame at her father’s weakness. Yet here she was, wanting the same thing Jon’s mother had wanted all those years ago – a man who could never truly belong to her. Sansa also knew from the tension in the air between them that Jon wanted her the way she wanted him.
She had to find a way to make him see that the fractured childhood they shared didn’t matter – not tonight.
“I’ve soaked you with my tears.” Without waiting for his permission, she began to undo the laces.
He didn’t move, but he did sigh, “It doesn’t matter.”
“Nonsense. It will dry more quickly by the fire.”
That was a lie. His shirt would dry perfectly well where it was. Jon’s body felt like a furnace, blasting heat, making her want to press herself against him and let his warmth soak into her bones.
“Here, let me take this from you.” She gripped the bottom hem of his shirt, ready to pull it over his head, still waiting for him to stop her at any moment. He didn’t. He bent and let her remove it.
Hope blossomed. Perhaps this was one battle she could win.
Willing herself not to stare at his naked torso, she waked to the fire and laid his shirt over the nearest bench. “There,” she said loudly, attempting to justify her undressing him. “It will dry in no time now.”
When she turned around, he had her back to her, one arm raised as he leant against a wooden tent pole. The soft glow from the fire highlighted the shadowed hills and valleys of his back and emphasised the latent power of his body. But it was not his impressive musculature that caused her to catch her breath, rather the sheer number of scars that shone silver in the firelight.
She had heard what his Black Brothers had done to him, but had not truly believed it until she had seen the evidence with her own eyes. The fact that he had suffered so much, died they’d said, yet still stood so wonderfully alive before her made her insides do strange, fluttering somersaults.
Here was magic.
Here was proof that anything was possible.
He must have heard her gasp, as he murmured, “Is it really that bad?”
“No,” she lied. How had she become so wrapped up in her own misery and pain that she had never once thought about his?
Walking over to him, she stopped close behind. When he didn’t move or speak, Sansa knew she had to seize this chance and, with her heart hammering, she tentatively touched one puckered scar. He flinched, but didn’t pull away. Emboldened, she traced the jagged outline with her fingertips, feeling the warmth of his skin, the muscle and tendon and bone underneath. What was it about him that made her ache to touch him and make him forget every bad thing that ever happened to him?
His half- smothered groan vibrated against her cheek as she laid her head against his shoulder. His skin was warm and solid and he smelled reassuringly of leather and horse with just a hint of male sweat. Ramsay always smelled of dog. Ramsay had never felt like this either - his body was soft, as he preferred to have others do his work for him. But Jon . . . Jon was unlike Ramsay in every way. Jon’s shoulders seemed impossibly wide, with skin stretched tight over muscle and bone. No wonder Ramsay had refused to meet Jon the old way - man on man. A man did not acquire a body like Jon’s and the scars to go with it without hard toil and hard won victories.
She bent her head and touched her lips to a scar, slowly, softly, giving him every opportunity to object. When he didn’t, she moved her mouth to the next, pressing gentle kisses to his hurt as if she could heal each one.
As her tongue tasted him for the first time, she felt a strange tingling in her teats and between her legs. It was a new feeling, one she had never experienced before and never expected to know again after tonight.
His gloved hand, fisting and releasing by his side drew her attention, the only movement in his otherwise rigid stance. She reached for it. When he tried to jerk his hand away, she held on tight. It was common knowledge Jon’s hand had been burned in the struggle with a wight, so why did he still feel the need to protect her from seeing it? Did he not know that she had seen things that were much, much worse?
When it became clear she had no intention of letting go, Jon ceased struggling.
Keeping her head bowed, Sansa allowed herself a little smile of satisfaction.
“I have scars too,” she said softly, easing the worn glove over the puckered and scarred tissue that marred his hand, “only mine are on the inside.”
Although they had never discussed it, Jon knew a burned hand was nothing compared to the suffering Ramsay Bolton must have subjected her to.
When he found he had no words to communicate the sorrow and regret he felt, Jon stroked her bowed head, wordlessly trying to soothe her pain. When she sighed softly and inclined her head to press her cheek against his palm, he ceased thinking about the suffering of the past and gave himself over to the pleasure of feeling her hair slipping over his scarred hand.
He should have gone walking with Davos or drinking with Tormund. He should be thinking about the impending battle, about strategy, about Rickon. Instead all he could think on was the temptation offered by this beautiful woman who, as a result of his father’s weakness, was his sister. Jon strived to be like his father but, he thought bitterly, in every way except this one.
Had his father felt like this? Was Ned’s wanting also like a tidal wave, sweeping away every piece of good sense? Had his father known he would regret his weakness every single day after, but still been unable to resist?
“We could be dead tomorrow and I want to know a man other than Ramsay.”
The haunting expression of lust tempered by shy uncertainty on her beautiful face unmanned him. He had to close his eyes. It was the only defence he had against need so strong he shook with it. Fisting his hands, he fought against the urge to turn around and take her in his arms. It would be so easy to give in, to give her what she wanted. But of all the women in Westeros, no one was more forbidden to him than she.
Jon turned away to hide the effect Sansa was having on him. “No.”
He had suffered guilt before - when he had first broken his vow as a man of the Night’s Watch and more when he had kicked his heels to his horse and fled from Ygritte, but those sins were as nothing compared to what he was contemplating this night.
Why was he comparing himself to his father? Ned Stark hadn’t sunk as low as Jon was in danger of sinking now. Whoever she was, Jon’s mother wasn’t Ned’s sister. His sister. Jon was actually considering making love to his sister.
“No,” he repeated, more forcefully this time, as much to convince himself as Sansa.
She stilled behind him and for a moment he thought she might concede defeat but the thought of her leaving him, of his being alone this night left him bereft. He fisted his hands by his side to stop himself from catching her, begging her to stay. If he had any sense he would walk away but, Gods help him, he couldn’t.
She whispered from close behind, “This isn’t real you know . . . tonight . . . you, me . . . us. It’s a dream, like when you’re standing on the edge and you know you’re going to fall and there’s nothing you can do to save yourself.”
“We’re not going to fall,” Jon said with more conviction than he felt.
She said nothing, but he felt one arm glide gently around his waist.
Then the other. Gods help him, but her hair brushing gently against his back aroused him more than he could bear.
He should have stopped her, should have thrown her arms off before they encircled him like velvet ropes. He should move. He should never have let her take his shirt off. Now standing like this, her front to his back, skin against skin, her heart beating behind his, he knew it would take a greater strength of will than he possessed to break free.
“Sansa . . .” this time when he said her name, it sounded like a prayer.
How could the gentle pressure of her head against his shoulder and the feel of her soft hair swaying against his back make him feel like he had wildfire burning inside of him? Lust roared through his veins and he had to clamp his teeth to hold in an animalistic growl. Her every touch, no matter how slight, fanned the flames of his desire and threatened to burn away all that careful control he’d been hanging onto his whole life.
Jon looked down at her delicate hands, clasped together around his waist, holding him as if he was her anchor, as if she would somehow lose herself if she let him go. He rested his hands on top of hers, enveloping hers in his, skin upon skin upon skin. It was already too much, yet he wanted more, so much more.
“I don’t want to die Jon. I don’t want to die knowing Ramsay Bolton owned me. I want to be free of him, I want to choose my own destiny, rid myself of the memory of his hands on me, of him in me. Tonight might be all I have . . . all we have.”
He didn’t want to die either and he wanted Sansa.
One long strand of her auburn hair had fallen lose across his chest. He watched it glint in the fire light and he remembered another time and another woman kissed by fire, another line he had crossed, another vow he had broken. He took hold of the silken ribbon of hair and stopped worrying about the past or the future. He gave himself over to the now, to the supple curves pressed against him, to the soft refuge from responsibility, obligation and war that only a woman’s body could give.
Following his lead, Sansa began to move her hands over his stomach and chest, exploring him, learning his body, her every touch intensifying his need.
Gradually he became aware of the sound of her breathing, as rapid and as ragged as his own.
“Jon.” His name was a plea, hot and moist against his shoulder.
Perhaps Sansa was right, if tonight was to be their last, then what did anything else matter? He knew the odds were that they would both die in the morning – him on the field, her by her own hand if Ramsay did not get to her first. But tonight . . . tonight the silk of her hair and the fullness of her breasts pressing against his back held the promise of sanctuary. He could bury himself inside her and forget everything else for one night.
“Please . . .” she whispered.
Could he deny her? Deny them both? Honour and every vow he had ever taken demanded he must.
Yet Sansa’s request could be her dying wish. And he wanted her. Oh, how he wanted her.
He had never known that a war of honour against wanting could hurt so much.
Bowing his head, Jon let that battle rage within him while Sansa pressed soft, yet demanding kisses into his skin and her hands roamed where they willed.
Jon’s beard felt rough and alien against her face, but Sansa welcomed the sensation, anything that set him apart from Ramsay. She was desperate to feel skin on skin and Jon’s was smooth and warm, gliding over muscle and sinew. He was hard where Ramsay was fleshy, hesitant and gentle when Bolton was vile and cruel.
Although she was no longer a stranger to sex in all its basest forms, Sansa had never kissed a man like this. She felt like a maid again, shy and unsure but full of a need she couldn’t express with words. Instead, she poured all her need into her touch, sliding one hand down his chest, his belly, behind the laces of his britches to cover his erection. They groaned as one, but he grabbed her wrist ending her exploration as surely as if she had been caught in a vice.
“Sansa . . .”
They were both breathing hard as he turned to look over his shoulder at her, their eyes locking on each other in wide eyed intensity.
She had seen that expression before, but never on a man. It had been a long time, but she would never forget that expression, that hungry Direwolf look.
Standing as if he were a statue, he let her press small, heated kisses to his lips, although he refused to participate in this madness. But her breath tasted like spring and her breasts were velvet soft against his arm as she slid sinuously around him until they were thigh to thigh, her teats pressed against his chest, and his cock hard against his britches, pushing into the delicate skin of her belly. He was distantly shocked by how right it felt to have Sansa pressed against him, kissing him . . . wanting him.
The last words he heard before soft lips against his robbed him of all conscious thought were, “Make me forget . . .”
The self-control that he held so dear finally snapped and he kissed her back, cupping the back of her head with his scarred hand to hold her steady as he kissed her. Her lips were full and soft and yielding. She opened to allow him access to stroke his tongue into her warmth so it danced with hers. Her fingers traced light, teasing circles on his back, his sides, down his belly. A thrill of anticipation burned through him like wildfire, but he damped it down. He would make her forget but he had no intention of using her to satisfy his own base desires.
Breathing hard, as if he’d run a mile in armour, he dragged his lips from hers. Her eyes were half closed, alluring, captivating. Although he would have sworn it wasn’t possible, her features softened with desire for him made her seem even more beautiful.
He needed her to lie down so he could kiss her properly.
“The bed,” he managed to gasp as her hands slid down his thighs and back up to grasp the laces of his britches. He stopped her by walking her backwards until her legs hit the edge of his narrow bed. Lowering her to the thick soft pelts, he followed her down, his body reacting with fierce desire as he pinned her under him.
But what he wanted didn’t matter. Tonight was for her. He would see to himself later, swiftly and guiltily under the furs when she was asleep.
Dazed by his magical kisses, Sansa let him press her into the furs. He was careful to keep his weight off her breasts, but she welcomed the pressure of his hips on hers and the long, hard ridge of his leather-clad cock digging into her belly. His breath was coming fast and warm against her neck, his voice deep and ragged as he growled, “I can’t give you everything, but I can give you this Lord’s kiss.”
She had no time to gather her scattered thoughts and ask him what he meant. With all the distractions of his weight and his warmth and his obvious desire for her, she couldn’t keep a single thought in her head as his hands were on the laces of her smallclothes and then on her breasts.
She startled, but his touch was nothing like Ramsay’s kneading and pulling and biting. Jon was gentle, deftly stripping her of her bodice before running his thumbs around her teats. They tightened and hardened and she gasped with surprise when he lowered his head to suck one stiff teat between his lips. His mouth was tender yet insistent and when she arched her back and whimpered with the pleasure of it, he made a sound deep in his throat like a growl. It vibrated through her, so hungry and so wild. Her own body answered his primal call with its own aching desire and she knew with unwavering certainty this was how it was meant to be.
Closing her eyes, unable to watch, she gladly abandoned herself to him. He sucked on one teat and then the other, flicking each gently but insistently with his tongue which was somehow both rough and luxurious at once and a world away from Ramsay’s cruel teeth.
Was this the Lord’s kiss? Then it was no wonder Jon was called Lord Commander. Jon drew even more sensation out of her by rubbing a calloused thumb over whichever teat was not in his mouth, leaving her breathless and panting and so full of new sensations she had no idea what to do with.
When she thought she could stand no more, he slid his hands down and tugged at the waistband of her skirt. Sansa had known this moment had to come, if she wanted it all from Jon then he would have to know her shame. Placing her hands over his, she stalled his attempts to remove the clothing that hid what Ramsay had done to her.
“Please. Don’t be shocked.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
His eyes narrowed with confusion and concern. “I thought you said all your scars were on the inside.” Jon’s stomach clenched in anger and fear. What had that monster done to her and what was she trying to hide?
Sansa tried to smile and failed miserably. “It’s not as bad as you are thinking. It’s just . . . Ramsay hated my red hair . . . there. Someone told him it was lucky and . . . well . . . I suppose he did not want me to have any luck.”
“What did he do to you?” Jon’s teeth were clenched so tight that he could barely grit the words out. Rage exploded in him and it was all he could do to stop himself from ripping her skirts off so he could see for himself. Now. But had Sansa not experienced enough violence and anger at the hands of men already?
Sansa flung one arm over her eyes to shield them from Jon’s hard glare as she admitted quietly, “He shaved me. Often. With an open blade and he enjoyed it when his hand slipped. I never knew if it was intentional or not.”
“Fuck.” Jon somehow managed to put all his outrage and compassion into that one word and Sansa loved him for it.
Dragging her arm away from her face, he fixed her with a look that she remembered from their childhood, his eyes blazing, his mouth a tight, hard line. A muscle along his jaw twitched. It was the look he got when someone called him “bastard”. Jon studied her for a long moment and she though he might ask more about what Ramsay had done to her. She was grateful when he didn’t.
“The most beautiful women in all Westeros are the ones kissed by fire. It is lucky and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever. Do you hear me Sansa Stark?”
Sansa looked up at him in grateful appreciation. Hearing him say that almost made enduring Ramsay’s mocking worthwhile. Did that mean Jon thought she was beautiful? She wanted to ask him, but the words wouldn’t come.
“Let me see you.”
Lifting her hips, she helped him remove her skirt, petticoats and small clothes in slow ceremony, until she was left in nothing but her stockings and garters. An unexpected wave of shyness washed over Sansa as she held her breath, waited for him to say something.
He examined her and his fingers brushed reverentially over her stomach to her inner thighs, pushing them apart so she was fully exposed to him. Her red hair was beginning to grow back, just enough not to feel as rough as a man’s stubble, but nowhere near long enough to curl softly the way it should.
She felt more naked than naked. Ramsay had stripped her countless times and she had never felt anything like this. The realisation hit her that she had been numb that whole time – it was the only way she could get through what Ramsay had done to her. But with Jon she was flooded with new and unimagined sensation. Everything felt like the first time.
Although he was gentle, she still tried to close her legs when his fingers parted her nether lips. He still had his britches on. What was he doing? She opened her eyes to see him looking at her with that narrow eyed intensity. His eyes looked black now, with the firelight behind him and he was focused, like she was the only thing that mattered in the world. His voice, a deep murmur broke the silence, vibrating through her, “Relax, let me kiss you.
Sansa closed her eyes and waited, ready to receive the kiss he had promised. He surprised her by pushing her back on the furs.
Although he loomed above her, all black beard and hair, dark eyes twinkling in the firelight, he made no move to kiss her. What was he doing?
Still he said nothing. But she could not have been more shocked when he dipped his head and pressed a kiss to her belly. Then he kissed lower. And lower still until he kissed her in a place she had barely even touched herself.
“Jon.” She gasped his name as his mouth found something so sensitive she nearly shot off the bed. She had to curl her fingers into the thick furs to anchor herself, to stop herself arching away from him. Without warning, he pushed his hands under her to wrap his arms around her thighs, hauling her hips up higher, spreading her legs wider. He licked and sucked and ate at her as if he was starving. Every swirl of his tongue pushed her higher and needing more, she reached one hand into his dark hair, holding him there, loving the feel of his beard, rough on the inside of her thighs, his thick, soft curls fisted in her hand.
All the while his clever, wicked tongue drove her towards the edge of something, some peak so high she felt she would die before she got there and die if she didn’t. Writhing with need, she pulled on his hair, whimpering and gasping with pleasure. He tightened his grip on her thighs and suckled on her as if he would never get enough, pushing her higher and higher until she arched and called his name and flew over that ledge, soaring upwards then falling, falling into a soft peace and a depth of pleasure she’d never imagined.
Even when she was spent and he could not wring one more drop of pleasure from her, he continued licking and sucking until she could stand no more and shoved his head away. Collapsing back against the furs, she lay limp and panting.
Jon wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, knowing he’d be tasting her in his beard for hours to come and relishing the thought. He sat back on his heels, his work done, intending to leave her and go roll in the snow, anything to cool the fire burning in his loins, but instead he was transfixed by the sight before him.
What a sight she was with her auburn hair fanned out over black furs. Cream skin glowed in the fire light, her soft breasts topped by big, hard raspberry teats heaving with ragged breaths as she come slowly down from the heaven to which he’d sent her. Knowing he had given her want she wanted and more, that he was responsible for her pleasure sent a burst of manly pride fizzing through his veins, making his cock even harder, if that was possible.
Although he’d removed his hands from her thighs, her legs remained splayed open, wanton, sated, tempting, displaying her most private parts to him, pink, swollen and slick with a mixture of his saliva and her juices. He was seized with the urgent, elemental need to push into her, to finish what he had started.
It came as shock to realise Sansa had been right. On the eve of battle, when the Stranger already rested one hand upon your shoulder, there was no better way to deny the Gods of Death, to prove your determination to survive and triumph than to celebrate life in the most basic elemental coming together of a man and a woman.
The need to pump her ripe, glistening cunt full of his seed roared through him,
Until that raw, primitive need reached what little was left of his brain and his flaming lust was extinguished as suddenly and as surely as if a bucket of ice water had been poured over his head.
Even if they were destined to die tomorrow, there was no excuse. Had he really been contemplating fucking his sister?
The all-to-brief respite and pleasure he’d found vanished like ash in the wind. All his responsibilities came crashing back down around him, hemming him in and he found himself as trapped as he’d always been – by family, duty and honour.
Sansa had no idea such pleasure existed. How could the humiliation and pain inflicted upon her by Ramsay be remotely connected to the wonderful experience Jon had just given her. All this time and she had never know, never imagined it could be like this, that a man could make her feel so free that nothing else existed; no war, no obligations, no past and no future. Only the moment had mattered and the two of them in it.
As she finally floated down from her otherworldly, blissful state, Sansa became acutely aware of Jon’s absence, missing his strong hands holding her thighs apart and his heated breath on her skin. She opened her eyes, searching for him only to be dismayed by what she saw, his shadowed grey eyes filled with pain and self-loathing. Her stomach lurched as she was faced with the awful realisation that he was retreating from what they had only just begun.
She tried to sit up, but the release he had given her had left her feeling satiated and boneless. All she could manage was to reach her hand out to him, his name like a plea on her lips, “Jon . . .”
To her dismay, he shook his head as he rose to his feet, “I cannot. I gave you what you wanted. Do not ask any more of me.”
What she wanted perhaps, but not what she need. She needed to feel him deep inside her, to feel him loose his seed and give her the babe House Stark needed. She was losing this beautiful, damaged man and she knew the next moment would be crucial – push too hard and she would lose her chance to keep a piece of him for ever.
“Then come lie with me. Hold me and I’ll ask no more of you tonight.”
He hesitated and she could see the warring sensations of honour, guilt and desire in his shadowed grey eyes.
“Please hold me Jon. Tomorrow we could be . . .”
She could not bring herself to let the word “dead” pass her lips, not when she had felt so alive only moments before.
Jon would never know the horrors Bolton had inflicted upon her, but in that moment, as she looked up at him with an expression somewhere between hope and desperation, he could not deny her what little comfort he felt free to give. With a sigh he relented and stepped toward the bed of furs, lowering himself down so he was lying on his side beside her. When she tried to turn towards him, his firm hand on her shoulder stopped her, pushing her gently back down against the furs.
“No,” he said from behind her. To have to look at her and then to refuse her was beyond him.
Sansa did as he asked, turning over so her back was to his front, smiling to herself. If he did not trust himself if they lay face to face, then there was still hope. He threw some furs over them and then draped his heavy arm across hers, effectively pinning her where she lay. She could feel the warmth of his breath on the hair at the back of her neck but there was no warmth from his body below her shoulders. He must have angled himself away from her as her bare bottom made no contact with any part of him.
So they lay there, together yet apart, listening to the sound of the fire gently dying. Had she ever felt like this before, safe, protected, almost floating with it? Just lying here with him was indescribably wonderful. She wanted to commit every moment to memory, to sustain her in the dark days and years to come.
Her body might have been still, but Sansa’s mind and body buzzed with this new, strange exhilaration. Tonight was no longer only about making a Stark babe. Jon had given her a taste of what she had been missing – of what she would probably never experience again, and she wanted more. She wanted to experience it all. Already he had kissed and licked and sucked away the memory of Ramsay’s mouth on her but she wanted to know what it felt like to invite a man into her body rather than have him force and fight and tear his way in. The memory of that first time gave her an involuntary shudder.
“Are you alright?” Jon’s voice was soft and deep behind her but his tone was wary.
She could never tell him the truth. “I’m just cold.”
With a sigh he shifted until he was pressed tightly against her. She felt leather, hot and hard and so very, very tempting.
“Yes.” Her belly clenched tight, seeming to pull between her legs too, making her aware of how wet she was between her thighs. He had been wet too. She had felt it on her fingertips as she touched the tip of his cock, before he had stopped her. This was all new to her and she felt like a virgin again. Reborn. This was what it was meant to be like, desire for each other easing his way into her and she imagined a smooth glide and their bodies gently entwined. How very different it would be. But she didn’t want to be left imagining for the rest of her life – whether the rest of her life was only one day or a lifetime chained to Littlefinger. Sansa wanted to know.
Trembling with expectation, she inhaled Jon’s warm, manly scent. Held in his solid arms she felt safe and secure. Even if it was just for one night, she would always have this memory to sustain her through the seven hells with Petyr Baelish that were surely ahead.
Arching her back sent a thrill of excitement shivering through her when she felt something thick and hard pressing into the small of her back.
“Sansa.” Her name was spoken as a warning, but in the darkness his voice was a rumble, rough with what she hoped was need for her. He had made her forget herself and her troubles with his Lord’s Kiss. Why would he not let her do the same for him?
“I can’t sleep.”
“You’re not trying hard enough,” he grumbled.
She couldn’t resist pushing back against him again. Only this time a little harder and with an added little wriggle.
He groaned, deep and heartfelt. Hope swelled within her and she whispered, “You could help me get to sleep.”
She bit her lip as she waited for his reply. Excruciatingly long moments passed while her heartbeat pounded in her ears and between her legs.
She did not miss the frustration in his voice when he eventually growled, “I told you. I cannot give you any more.”
Screwing up her courage she whispered, “All you have to do is lie there.”
His only answer was his breath against her ear, coming much too fast for man who was intent on sleeping. Quivering with excitement at what she was about to do, she turned beneath the weight of his arm so she was facing him.
His eyes were closed, his lips slightly parted, but she resisted the temptation to kiss him and instead pushed gently against his shoulder. He offered no resistance as she rolled him onto his back and in one fluid motion, she raised herself up and slipped a thigh over his hips.
Jon had not though he could get any harder, but his cock seemed determined to prove him wrong. It felt like a solid bar of forge heated steel trapped in his britches.
If she had made a move to undo his laces and free his cock, he would have stopped her, but she didn’t. She had said all he had to do was lie there and it seemed she was determined to keep to her word.
Would that be a sin? If he just lay here? Could he do that? He would think of the impending battle, of Rickon, of their father, of anything except the warm, beautiful woman above him. Yes, he could do that. He could. And then the weight straddling his hips began to undulate slowly.
The wonderful breathy little sounds she made told him she was finding her pleasure and, once again, he could not deny her. But he did not trust himself enough to open his eyes and see her full breasts sway, her sweet hips and so much of that smooth, smooth skin that he hadn’t tasted yet. So he lay there like a stone knight, just as she had requested, his eyes screwed tight shut and his hands fisted into the furs to stop himself from touching her.
It was torture, it was hell and it was also heaven all at once.
Perhaps it was because his eyes were closed, but every other sense seemed to be heightened. He heard the nuance in every soft sigh that escaped her lips, felt the brush of every single one of her long hairs as they swayed back and forth across his chest as she rode him and felt the excruciating temptation of every flex and roll of her thighs and hips over his poor, trapped cock. He had been burned, betrayed, stabbed, even died but he had never experienced a pain like this – one that pleasured as much as it hurt, one that made him feel more extraordinarily alive than he had ever felt before.
His cock felt so thick and hard, throbbing in anticipation. But anticipation of what? His own hand hours hence, alone in the dark? While she was there, so wet and so willing above him now?
The laces of his britches must have afforded the friction she needed as her breathing grew steadily more rapid and ragged, her movements more erratic as she ground herself down onto his tortured cock. He could tell her release was imminent and he found himself longing to see her face when she came undone, but he fought that urge, as he had always fought every other personal urge.
His tormented mind hunted for something, anything, to distract it from the urge to watch, to touch, to participate and he found his mouth silently forming around the words of his vow, although already betrayed, trying to anchor himself to what he ought to do, not allowing himself to think about what he wanted . . .
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death . . .”
His death. He had died once before and yet it could come again with the dawn.
That ugly thought coincided with Sansa throwing herself forwards, her weight suddenly upon him, the palms of her hands flat on his chest, jolting his thoughts back to the present which was so much better than his past or future. His eyes flew open to stare up into blue eyes, vivid and sparkling with life and lust, her sweet mouth open and only a kiss away from his lips. She was still moving, but with more desperation now, her breath a hot, ragged rush over his face. He was aware of all of her all at once; tantalisingly, gloriously naked, her softness and curves, lips, breasts, teats, hips, cunt, everything that could make a man forget death waited for him.
She was pushed up on her knees and had his laces half undone before he gathered his ragged thoughts enough to realise what she was doing. He opened his mouth to tell her no, but all that came out was a gasped moan as her cool, smooth hand wrapped around his cock. He was already on the verge of exploding and her touch set off what felt like a series of wildfire explosions, shooting through his balls, up his spine, thrusting his cock into her hand as she freed him from his britches.
Her mouth crashed into his, stealing away whatever words he had been going to use to stop her and this was no chaste kiss.
Sansa let him feel every pent up need and desire. This was her decision. For the first time here was a man who had not forced himself upon her and she intended to seize this moment and wring as much pleasure out of this one night as she could.
In her naivety, Sansa had imagined all men to be the same there, but she had been so wrong. In her mind she had often likened Ramsay’s manhood to a sharp stick with which he poked, prodded and hurt her. When she grasped Jon for the first time, her fingers did not meet around him, not nearly. The rightness of his hot, heavy cock in her hand and her mouth on his charged her with a renewed resolve and overwhelming desire. Centring herself above him, she guided him to her entrance, settling the head of him between her slick folds.
Hard hands on her waist stopped her before she had captured more than the tip.
“Sansa.” His voice was gruff and deep, “Look at me.”
Blue eyes found his and he was lost.
Jon knew he was going to hell. Perhaps he was going to every one of the seven hells for this, but in that moment he did not care. He wanted to see her, wanted her to know it was him. Loosening his hold, he let her sink slowly down, impaling herself upon him as her wet heat swallowed the head of his cock. The luscious pressure of her velvet embrace had his mind spinning out of control.
She rose up, drawing him out slightly before sinking down. And again. And again, taking him a little deeper each time, letting her body accommodate his unfamiliar girth.
Jon dug his fingers onto the soft flesh of her hips, teeth clenched, every muscle drawn taught. It took all that was left of his self-control not to thrust his cock home the way his body demanded he do. Finally, he was all the way in and he could keep still no longer. Flexing every straining muscle, he thrust up, knocking the air from her lungs.
In the breathy sound of his name he heard surprise, delight and maybe even awe. All that while he was balls deep inside her. A bolt of pride sent pleasure rocketed down his spine.
“You are so very . . .” she gasped again, “. . . wonderful.”
He doubted anyone had ever said anything better to him in his whole life. His world narrowed to an intense awareness of her and him – her body undulating above him and of how deep he was buried inside her. He wanted to just stay like this, watching her, holding her, making her gasp with every slow, deep stoke for ever. He also wanted to roll her onto her back and fuck her hard until she screamed.
He wanted it all.
The difference with Jon was breath taking. She had never voluntarily opened her eyes before, had always tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, but she wanted to burn every moment with Jon into her memory, to sustain her through the next hateful man. But that was tomorrow. Tonight . . . tonight it felt so good to feel him move below her, inside her, to feel his heart pound as she braced her hands on his chest. Up and down, in and out, harder and faster, faster and harder.
His orgasm had been building since she’d first run into his arms in the courtyard of Castle Black and there was no hope of him hold it back any longer. His fingers dug into her hips, slamming her down as he pounded up, her head rolled forward, her hair wild, her lips drawn back over her teeth in an exquisite look of pained ecstasy.
“Oh, Jon,” she gasped as her velvet walls began to milk his cock, “Ah . . . Jon . . .”
She pulsed around him, squeezing him, pulling his own release from him, shocking him with its intensity, making him jerk and convulse and shout her name as his seed pulsed and spurted, marking her deep inside, in the most primal way as his.
Sansa collapsed on top of him, her heaving chest colliding with his, both sweat soaked and panting. He slid his hands into her hair and she rested her head on his shoulder. They lay like that, still joined as their hammering hearts slowed and skin cooled.
When Sansa shivered she knew it had nothing to do with the cold night air. As always, Jon took care of her, pulling furs on top of them both and then smoothing her tanged hair away from her face ensuring they couldn’t hide from each other or the enormity of what they had just done. If the Gods were good, his seed would take root and give her the saviour of House Stark. She held on to him, willing him not to move, not to withdraw and leave her bereft, praying for his seed to catch as fervently as she prayed for Ramsay’s not to.
His eyes were closed and one arm slid from her back, just as his cock eased out from inside her.
She held him tighter and, stretching up, pressed her mouth to her ear. The words stuck in her throat like day old bread, but they had to be said, “Tell me you don’t regret what we just did.”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth and the hand still in her hair, his burned hand, slid slowly down her back to rest heavy on curve of her bottom.
“No, I don’t regret it, but I think we’ll burn in the seven hells for it.”
She sighed with relief, letting go of the anxious breath she had been holding. “At least we’ll burn together.”
She kissed him then, right at the base of his throat, where smooth skin met soft, dark curls and where his pulse pounded with life.
He cracked one dark eye open and sighed, squinting down at her and slowly shaking his head. “Not you. That was all my fault and the Gods know you deserve every bit of happiness you can get.”
If the Gods think I deserve anything, then please let them give me your babe, she thought, although of course she could never say that to him. Instead she huffed, “We both know I made the first move and bedsides, why don’t you deserve some happiness Jon Stark?”
He raised one dark eyebrow, silently questioning her name for him.
She pushed up on her elbow and gazed down at him, “You are as much Stark as I am and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Ever. Do you hear me Jon Stark?”
His lips twitched and his eyes gleamed as he listened to her throw his own words back at him. He should be regretting all of this but he couldn’t. Sansa was such an intoxicating mix of the familiar and the exotic, with her perfect manners and her fancy underwear, of determination and sweetness, full of conviction and self-doubt. He thought he’d learned about women, but Ygritte had been right, he knew nothing.
Still, as he looked at Sansa, flushed and glowing from what they’d just done, he realised he must have learned something.
Sansa sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. “Our father would have been so proud of you.”
Now that was too much. Jon screwed his eyes shut, refusing to follow that train of thought, for it led to a dark place full of regrets and shame. Instead he imagined the look of horror on Catelyn Stark’s face if she had found them like this in his bed, naked as babes, sweaty and happy and stinking of sex. Wicked and sinful as it was, that thought made him smile.
“What’s making you so happy?”
“This,” he growled as he rolled her over so suddenly that he was on top of her, pinning her with his hips, his mouth plundering hers before she could even yelp.
The way he kissed her made Sansa even wetter, the way he moaned into her mouth made her insides quiver and the way he parted her legs and settled himself between them made her whimper with need. His hips shifted, seeking entrance for his big, hard cock. The tip of him, as slick as she was, pressing against her stirred her bliss drenched brain and she shoved at his shoulders, breaking their kiss, murmuring, “Not like this.”
His lifted his weight off her in an instant, deep concern and a little fear shadowing his dark eyes, “Did I hurt you?”
“No . . . no. It’s not that. It’s just . . . “she trailed off, unsure how to ask for what she wanted, having never had the opportunity before.
“What?” He traced the outline of her upper lip with the pad of his thumb, “Don’t hold anything back Sansa. Tell me what you want.”
She screwed her eyes shut, unable to look at him as she put a voice to her shame, “I want you to . . . Ramsay made me . . . “
When she didn’t go on, he kissed each of her closed eyelids in turn. His warm breath feathered her hair as he whispered huskily, “Just say it. Tell me and if I can fix it, I will.”
Gritting her teeth and taking a deep breath she hissed, “Take me from behind.”
There. She had said it, the rest came out in a hasty tumble, “It was Ramsay’s favourite way. He liked to call me a dog, his bitch and fuck me like one. Only he treated his dogs better.”
Jon’s stomach clenched and fierce, righteous anger roared through him like wildfire. He was going to kill Ramsay Bolton tomorrow and he’d be doing it for Sansa.
“Please,” she whispered, dragging him back to the present.
“You’re sure, you want me to . . . like that?” Imagining the scene had Jon almost choking on the question.
Her eyes flickered open, shining with tears and only then did he realise how much it cost her to ask him, to even talk about this.
“I hated everything Ramsay did to me, but with you . . . everything is different . . . so wonderful. I never knew it could be like this and it’s you I want to remember. Not him. So will you Jon? Can we do it like that? To make me forget?”
Gods, he would do anything for her.
Sitting back on his heels, he watched as she turned gracefully around, getting down on her hands and knees before him, offering him her exquisite arse. Her eyes seemed to glitter in the fading firelight as she looked back over her shoulder at him.
His cock was so hard it ached, but his mind was not half so sure. “Tell me if you change your mind.”
“I won’t.” She arched her back, stretching out further, pushing her arse towards him until it was only inches from his straining cock. Her sopping cunt glistened invitingly in the fire light, smeared and dripping with the essence of life, with their blended silky cum.
He reached for her, tugging her hips back until they slapped against his, trapping his erect cock in the sweet confine between the cheeks of her arse. They groaned in unison as he dragged his cock down to tease her cunt with its broad head.
Everything in him demanded he take her now, but he had to restrain himself. If he was going to do this, he was going to do it his way.
With one hand on her hip to steady her, Jon took his cock in the other, probing gently as he lined himself up, ready. Leaning over her, pressing his front to her back, he felt her tense as she braced to take some of his weight.
When he was sure that one hard thrust would impale her on his thick cock, he twisted to growl against her ear, “When we do this, it’s not as dogs, but as wolves.”
“Yessss,” she hissed as he drove home, sinking deep, deep inside her.
Cock sliding, thighs straining, back arching, Jon threw his head back and howled.
Somewhere off in the distance, a Direwolf answered.
Jon wasn’t sure what woke him, the sound of the tent flap lifting or the feel of Sansa’s delicious arse pressing against his cock. But it was the clearing of a man’s throat that made him sit up in the near dark, suddenly alert, knowing this was the day.
A knight walked towards him. Ser Davos in full armour. “My Lord it’s near dawn and I thought you’d want to . . .”
Jon gave him a look made fierce by narrowed eyes and the tight, hard set of his mouth. Davos stopped mid stride and mid-sentence, but it was too late. He was already close enough to see the tangled cloud of auburn hair deep amidst the black furs of Jon’s bed.
The old man raised his eyebrows and cleared his throat again. Sansa raised her sleepy head to see who was waking them at this ungodly hour. She had hardly slept, neither of them had. Any time one of them fell asleep they had soon been wakened by the other, desperate for another last coupling.
Davos turned on his heel, saying over his shoulder, “I’m sure you’ll both be out when you’re ready.”
A broad grin lit up his weary face. Gods willing, if he survived this battle, he’d need to try that before his next. Walking all night, he thought, was beginning to lose its appeal.
Jon fought the urge to jump out of bed, grab his britches and follow Davos. He need to settle some things with Sansa first.
He had not though it would have been possible for her to look any lovelier than she had last night, but he was wrong. With her lips swollen red from his kisses, her cheeks pink where they had been chafed by his beard and hair a tousled mess, she was exquisite.
“Gods, you’re so beautiful,” he whispered. The awe in his own voice both surprised and embarrassed him. But to be the recipient of her shy, sleepy smile made any amount of awkward self-consciousness worth it.
He cupped her face with one hand, tracing the perfect bow of her upper lip with his thumb. “Tonight, after the battle, if we’re spared, will you come to me?”
She blinked at him as if she did not understand his request.
He was not the most eloquent of men and he had no experience of wooing a Lady, but desperation and a lack of time made him bold, “I need you tonight Sansa and I’ll need you the next night and every night after. Will you come to me?”
Sansa did not know whether to laugh or cry. Jon wanted her. He wanted her with the same madness she wanted him. But even as they spoke, dawn was breaking and the battle loomed. The only way they would both survive the day was if Littlefinger brought the might of the Vale to their aid and if he did, last night was all she would ever have of Jon.
Last night and, if the Gods were good, his babe in her arms come spring.
“We’ll see,” was all she could bring herself to say.
Her non-committal answer and sad eyes puzzled him, but Jon had no time to ponder either. His army awaited.
Pressing a last hard, urgent kiss to her lips he rose from the bed, pulling on his britches, boots, shirt.
“Kill Ramsay for me.”
He had been reaching for his armour. He stopped and turning towards her gave her a brief nod.
Sansa knew that was his solemn promise.
A single tear escaped from the corner of her eye as she watched him go. She swiped it away, furious at herself for being weak.
Westeros was full of people who never got what they wanted. Why should she be any different?
And besides, wolves don’t cry.