kasiopeia (kasiopeia) wrote in scrik,

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond (Chapter 2/3)

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond (Chapter 2/3)
A song of Ice and Fire | Sansa centric, Sansa Stark/Jamie Lannister, Sansa Stark/Tyrion Lannister | 2607 words | PG13 | Spoilers for all asoiaf books, AU after A Dance with Dragons | AO3
She smiles slightly, but it does not reach her eyes. "He taught me that secrets were to be kept, only to be given out when there was something to gain in return."

"And what do you hope to gain from me, my lady?" He says, his voice deep like gravel, pressing against her bones.

"I do not know."

Sansa can see the way the wars have ruined the kingdom. Everywhere they go there are traces of it, and the people they meet all have the same haunted look to them. Her heart bleeds for Westeros and the pain it has been through. It is broken, but she does not think it is beyond repair. There is hope when she sees children playing, buildings being restored and people making a new life for themselves.

War is a travesty, and when wealthy men go to war to get even wealthier, or more powerful, or for kings and queens, or for blood, both poor and rich suffers (but the poor more that the rest, because Sansa has learned that is how it goes; the high born suffer from the mistakes of high born, while the poor suffer every time anyone makes a mistake).

Her father said that the one who says the sentence has to swing the sword, and she vows to herself never to let someone else do the heavy lifting for her. Because she might be a lady, a high born, but she knows what it is like to be a bastard and to feel the heath of unwanted glances and the frozen coldness of backs turned away. And if she makes mistakes, she wants them to be her own, not the mistakes of someone who let things get out of hand because she didn't pay attention to the world around her. If you don't swing the sword, the sentence is as easy to hand out as one of her empty courtesies. And once it gets to easy the world crumbles.

When the banners are called, the poor man suffers.

Jaime rides beside her, and Tyrion's men around them. They do not talk much when they ride. But when they stop and makes camp he seeks her out to talk, she thinks he means to shock her, to draw her out of her shell. Sometimes she even lets him. She is not as easily shocked as he seems to think, but she lets him try anyway.

"Have you ever been in love?"

The question surprises her, and she weights her answer before she decides to give the truth.

"I loved Joffrey once, but it was a child's love, given away lightly and I know now it wasn't real. It was a love for something I once thought I wanted; the handsome prince and the kingdom that followed him." She smiles a sad smile and looks at him. "So no. I do not think I have ever been in love."

"Then you haven't." he said. "Because if you had loved, you would know."

His face has hard lines and his eyes are dark. She thinks that he does know love, and how it can twist you into something you didn't think you could be. Cersei hover between them like a shadow and she thinks of Petyr again, and that the last word he spoke when the light left his eyes was her mother's name.

And she thinks that being in love is a curse, and that she hopes she will never feel love like that.

Two weeks after leaving King's Landing it start to snow. They are crossing the Neck and although there is still leagues to go before they get to Winterfell, winter is in the air. Sansa stops her horse when she feels the first touch of the cold snow on her face. Tilting her head back she smiles and it feels like her heart is exploding, that something she had closed off is making itself known again.

The other men have passed her, but Jaime is sitting right in front of her, looking incredulous. Somehow it's the way he looks at her that sets her off, and she smiles at him widely and laughs. It's a real laugh, one she thought lost, but she finds that it didn't wither when unused. And that makes her laugh more and to lift her face towards the havens again. The snow feels like home, it feels like a lost childhood and a new beginning. Finally she turns back to Jaime and find an unusual softness in his look. She smiles and moves past him, continuing on the road to Winterfell.

She can feel his eyes on her for the rest of the day.

"Have you ever killed someone, Lady Sansa?" Jamie asks her.

She can see that it is meant as a rhetorical question, as a lead-in to more of his superior self-pity, but she suddenly wants to shock him, and to shake his opinion of her.

"Yes." She lets the word hang in the air between them, as he looks at her in shock.

"What, you actually killed Joffrey?" he finally says.

"No, I didn't." She said coldly. She hadn't meant to say more, but when she thinks about the fact that the man in front of her was Joffrey's father, she's compelled to say the rest. "It was Petyr Bealish and the Queen of Thorns. She did not find Joffrey to be the husband she had envisioned for her Margaery. I am sorry." she is not sure what made her add the last part, but it's there now.

"No, you're not." he says, voice flat.

"I am not sorry he died, but I am sorry for your loss."

"There is no need my lady, I have lost more than a son." But he rides in silence after that, and she leaves him to his thoughts, having enough of her own to contemplate. She can feel her mask slipping more than she likes, it seems that is a talent he shares with his brother. keep your secrets close, only give them out when you can get something in return. She finds she tells more to Jaime than she intends; giving out her carefully collected secrets like they were rocks, not jewels.

He doesn't press her further about the day's discussion. But she can see him looking at her curiously, searching for something and she feels herself grow hot under his gaze. She wasn't going to tell him anything, glad when he left the subject alone. But when she looks over at him by the fire that night and meets his eyes, she thinks that maybe she does get something for her secrets. That this man is someone she needs now, because the North is cold and unforgiving, and she has a long road ahead of her before she reaches her final goal. So she starts talking, and when she starts she can't stop. Sometimes all you need is a confessor.

"When Joffrey died Petyr Baelish took me with him to the Vale." she starts, she doesn't look at him, but she knows she has his full attention. She can feel it in the way he shifts beside her and at how quiet it is all of a sudden. "Cersei wanted me because of Joffrey's murder, so I dyed my hair brown and we passed me off as Petyr's bastard daughter. He married my aunt Lyssa, but she did not like me. She blamed me for Petyr not loving her, just like she had spent her whole life blaming others. She tried to kill me, so he killed her." She shudders at the memory, she can still feel her feet slipping on the ice and see her aunt's expression right before she fell. Jaime doesn't say anything, and she is grateful. She wants to tell it all now, or she is afraid she will lose her courage.

"Petyr saved me from King's Landing and in return he expected me to do his bidding, call him father and let him into my bed. He used to whisper my mother's name in the darkness." Jaime made a sudden movement beside her, and she presses on. "He opened up to me, and he gave me more than he intended; thinking me one of his court ladies, a pretty flower with no will of her own. And in one way he was right, I was Alayne Stone for a long time. I pulled on a mask for him, being what he wanted me to be. Masks are the way I stay alive. But underneath Alayne I was always Sansa, a Stark of Winterfell. And the North remembers."

She is quiet for a heartbeat, she thinks he knows by now where this story is headed, but it has to be voiced. Petyr might think that all secrets should be kept, but she thinks that if she keeps too many she might one day break apart.

"I waited until the time was right, until the dragon was at the door and I knew that my cover would be blown either way. And then I slit his throat." she clenches her fists in her skirts as the image of him flashes before her eyes. "He taught me how to play the game, even when he thought me just a pawn. I can still sense him in the back of my head, assessing my every move and giving his instructions. His voice is always with me, and sometimes I feel as if he is winning, even though I am the one still alive." she confesses and is quiet. When he doesn't say anything, she turns to look at Jaime. His face is in the shadows and she can't read his expression.

She smiles slightly, but it does not reach her eyes. "He taught me that secrets were to be kept, only to be given out when there was something to gain in return."

"And what do you hope to gain from me, my lady?" He says, his voice deep like gravel, pressing against her bones.

"I do not know." Sansa answers, her voice solemn, her eyes still where she knows his eyes to be.

He is silent for a long time, but then he leans forward and she can see the Lannister smirk in place. "Then I think that your story should be repaid by a story. I have killed more people than you have my lady, and I will not bore you with all of them. But I will tell about the only murder I do not regret. I stabbed the Mad King Aerys in the back, and I would do it again if I had the chance."

Sansa stiffened, she had heard this story before but never from the Kingslayer himself.

"They say that your duty is to protect the king and the king alone. But when he needed protecting from himself no one stepped up. They make you swear and swear, there are so many rules, but they do not say what to do when you swear conflicting oaths. As a member of the King's Guard I was supposed to protect the king, but as a knight I was supposed to protect the people. In those final days he had wildfire placed all over the city, the maddness was in him and he intended to burn everyone. So I killed him."

He is quiet and Sansa does not blame him, she does not know what to think of this new knowledge. She thinks that even before she meet him she has build an image of him that was mostly based on half-truths and stories. She does not know what to do with this new Jaime, the Jamie she thinks she knows better after their weeks on the road.

"Why didn't you say anything?" she says in the end, when she can't take the silence any more. "Why didn't you explain yourself?"

He laughed then, but the laugh was without joy. "It was your father who arrived first and he did not want to listen to my excuses. Never mind what he would have done himself if the King was still alive. He always believed in honour and duty before everything, and he had already made his mind up about me. And after that I didn't bother. What did I care what people thought of me?"

She thinks he is lying, he does care what people think, but she doesn't call him on it. They have both been honest enough for one night.

The closer they get to Winterfell, the more Sansa feels it's pull. There is a strange sadness lodged in her breast and she knows it has been there for years. But now. Now that she is so close it feels like it is expanding, like it is almost breaking. She is afraid that it will be taken away from her, now that she finally is close to home.

She is afraid to hope.

They stop at an inn for the night. The boy serving them blushes scarlet when she smiles at him, and hurries away. Jaime smiles his mocking smile at her.

"Your beauty is turning heads wherever you go my lady." She can tell he's drunk and just hoping for a reaction, and she turns away.

"Someone should put a smile on your face. I'm not sure that lad has a good fucking in him, but I am sure you could get some kisses out of him if you so desired."

"I've only kissed four people in my life, none of them led to smiles and I do not know if I intend to add a fifth." she said coldly. She could tell that he was being crude just to bait her, and she is angry at herself for giving in.

"You might have to, to hold the North." is his swift response.

She knows in her heart that he is right. She will need a husband and heirs for the bannermen to trust her. They were childish words of a girl who didn't know her duty. She thought she was past impatient thoughts like that. He doesn't say any more either, the bravado leaving him just as sudden as it came. She is used to his mood swings by now, and she has her own thoughts to keep her company.

It is only later when she is done eating and he is on his third tankard of ale that he speaks again. "So who are the lucky men that got a kiss from the Lady Sansa?"

She doesn't answer, just feels her mouth fill with ash with the thought that only one of them got it freely, and that is the one she most want to take back.

When she doesn't answer he continues on: "Because I have been thinking about it, and I can only name two: My dear brother and that bastard Petyr. And if I would dare to hazard a guess on the third it would be Joffrey. So who is the forth my lady?"

She does not really see a reason to hide it from him, but it is still a secret she has kept with her for a long time. A moment shared between a hound and a bird, something sacred to her now, although she can't quite say why.

"Sandor Clegane" she says softly, anticipating his mockery and getting none of it. He doesn't say anything at all, just looks at her, his eyes filled with something she does not quite understand. He opens his mouth to say something, but she stops him.

"It is a long story, and not one I am eager to share. At least not tonight." she gets up, "I will retire now. Goodnight ser." And with that she leaves him, tired to the core, longing for the bed upstairs after a long day's ride.

Three days later they can see Winterfell in the distance and Sansa feels the longing sadness in her chest breathing out and expanding.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 3
Tags: author: tale, fandom: a song of ice and fire, pairing: sansa stark/jamie lannister, pairing: sansa stark/tyrion lannister, rating: pg-13, type: stand alone
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