A Lightness


Chapter 021





It wasn’t hard to find Ramsay. Sandor could hear his voice from halfway down the hall, before he even saw him. He was talking to yet another friend. Man sure likes to brag doesn’t he?

“Won’t be too long now. As soon as we get to Winterfell we will be married. We’ll return to the Dreadfort, and I’ll put a baby in her right away. Show her what the imp couldn’t.”

Sandor didn’t wait to hear more. “Thought you might have learned to stop running your mouth. Should’ve known it wouldn’t be that easy for you.”

Ramsay turned and smiled widely as Sandor. “Dog! Ah, I do hope we can be friends. We will be spending quite a bit of time together on the road!”

Sandor felt a smile creep onto his face. “I have orders from King Robb. He wanted me to tell you that you will not be accompanying the Princess on her journey home.”

Ramsay’s eyes went wide, but he kept that smile on his face. “Of course I will. You heard from the King just now. My father has seen to this arrangement himself.” Ramsay took a step closer to Sandor, but he did not move from where he stood. “And when we’re on the road, I will make sure I am by pretty Sansa’s side, at all times. Soon enough, she won’t be needing you anymore. Her loyal hound.”

“Things have changed, as luck would have it. You will not be coming.” Sandor repeated. His muscles were taught, ready for whatever Ramsay had planned. Ramsay laughed as he stepped even closer to Sandor.

“If Robb doesn’t want me to go, then he will have to come and tell me himself, dog.”

King Robb wanted me to be the one to inform you, bastard.” At that, his smile was gone, but Sandor’s grew wider.

“This couldn’t have anything to do with our brief encounter last night, could it?”

“But you said it yourself. I am her loyal hound. For me, that means I must protect her, at all costs, from the likes of you.”

Ramsay reached for his sword at his side, but he was too slow. Sandor saw it coming, and already had the point of his sword at the bastard’s throat by the time Ramsay got his hand on his.

“Do it.” Sandor goaded. “I would love for you to give me even more reason to bring the Princess your head. Go on. Do it.” Ramsay slowly released the sword from his grasp and put his arms out to his sides. Sandor continued. “You are not to touch her, speak to her, or even look at her again.” He twisted the sword under his throat. “Or I might just have to try what you Bolton’s rave about.” Ramsay’s head tilted back. “Flaying. I wonder... “He moved the tip of the sword slowly up Ramsay’s face, until it laid right underneath his left eye. “Do you know what it’s like to feel the skin slip from your face? To leave the flesh, bone and blood open for the world to see?” He smiled. Ramsay looked back at him with true fear and disgust. It was times like these that he appreciated the scars he had received.

“Ramsay.” His friend pleaded. “Let’s just go.”

“Go. Do as your friend says.” Ramsay backed away and Sandor lowered his sword. “One more thing. Since I am always with the Princess, if I should ever see you again, then this new agreement is over. And I will kill you where you stand.”

Sandor turned and left without another word- off to another sleepless night outside of Sansa’s door.


Sansa could not fall asleep. The candle was burning very low, and she didn’t have another. She wanted to get to sleep before it was out, otherwise she wouldn’t get a wink of sleep in the dark. When she had come back to her room, she broke down and cried, her anger all but worn out on Robb. Her mother tried to open the door, but she didn’t respond. Sansa felt guilty about it now, but she would make sure to say goodbye in the morning. How could they do this to me? How was she going to manage spending all of this time with Ramsay? The man that gave her chills and made her sick to her stomach. The man who reminded her so much of Joffrey. She fought with herself for the better part of an hour, trying to convince herself not to do what she was about to do. What if I don’t wake up before Shae comes in? What if she sees? But Sansa needed to sleep and knew this was the only way. She creeped out of bed, silently, as if she was being watched. She snuck over to her trunk and knelt down in front of it. She lifted the lid as slowly as she could and grimaced as it creaked loudly. She dug down deep, past her old dresses, shifts and small clothes to the thick wool that lined the bottom of her trunk. She grasped it and pulled, not caring about the mess she made with the rest of the garments. It took a moment and some effort, but she managed to get it out. The white cloak was still stained with blood and smoke. But Sansa didn’t care. She dropped it and pushed the heavy trunk toward the door. She hoped the sound of Shae struggling to open the door would wake her up in the morning, give her enough time.

She shook the cloak out of its folds and wrapped it around herself. It was still big enough to enclose her entire body. She ran over to the bed and jumped on top of the covers. She held herself in a tight ball and closed her eyes. Sansa could remember the last time she did this. She could remember that night like it had just happened. Every single detail. But she wouldn’t let herself think of that. She was already having too much trouble falling asleep.

As she curled up underneath the cloak, she thought about how far she had come from the last time she needed it. She was in a completely different standing. She was safe. She would be going home tomorrow. As for Sandor, his role in her life hadn’t changed since then, not really, he had just made it official. He had always looked out for her, protected her. She could only imagine what he would think if he could see her now, huddled underneath his filthy old cloak that he had dropped on her bedroom floor almost three years ago. She wondered if he even remembered that night, or if he was too drunk. Instead of fretting over Ramsay’s wormy lips, she let herself be brought back to that night. She kept her eyes shut as she imagined Sandor’s face, just inches from hers. And soon enough, before the candle burned out, she was asleep.