Rating: T due to dark and violent thoughts and some language
Notes: Confession, this is a modified scene that didn’t quite work within the flow of my ongoing multi-chapter fic, “Kingstealer.” If you haven’t read that, basically all you need to know is that Sandor and Sansa kidnapped Joffrey when they fled King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater, with plans to present their captive to King Robb.
Joffrey slumps against the tree trunk to which the Hound has lashed him, cold and dirty and aching from weeks of riding, wishing that he were closer to the fire that Sansa built, wishing that he had a knife to slash the throats of his captors while they slept, wishing that his drunkard father had never betrothed him to the traitor Stark bitch, wishing that Stannis’s archers had put an arrow through his sworn shield’s heart at Blackwater. But most of all, he wishes that he weren’t so bloody hungry.
A few feet away, Sansa perches on a log by the fire in her squire’s clothes, skinning a scrawny rabbit that she will split between her protector and her hostage. Joffrey knows by now just how that division will go; the girl will hand off the choice cuts to the Hound, keep a haunch or two for herself, and toss the head and feet and other gristly bits to Joffrey. To keep his fury in check, Joffrey imagines how one day he will throw his two captors into a cell and make them fight over clean-picked bones until they starve to death or one of them kills the other.
Sansa’s bare hands drip with the blood of the hare, and she bites her lower lip, trying to pull the whole pelt off in one piece the way the Hound taught her. In spite of the night’s chill, a sheen of sweat makes her filthy face glow in the light of the flame. She looks and smells like a leather tanner, and Joffrey can only recall with great difficulty how he once thought her elegant and beautiful, with a submissive demeanor that befit his future queen.
Acidic rage sizzles through Joffrey’s veins, and he clenches his teeth. The little bitch will never be a queen of anything, Joffrey will see to that; he will escape and bring back an entire army to run her down, she and the Hound both –
“Oh –” Sansa mumbles a mild woman’s curse in disappointment as she peels back half the skin, leaving the rabbit’s rear haunches still covered in fur. Gods, she is so pitiful. The Hound must have shown her how to do that a hundred times, Joffrey thinks, and resents the fact that Sansa’s incompetence means that his dinner is even further away.
Sansa glances at Joffrey with a look on her face that he remembers seeing back at King’s Landing, that way she used to furrow her brow after she did something unbearably stupid and expected Joffrey to call attention to her idiocy. Joffrey’s every instinct screams out to berate the daft little imbecile, but he can’t, not with the Hound so close by. The warrior crouches just across the clearing, eyeballing Sansa as usual, as though she were the most fascinating highborn lady he ever saw.
Joffrey glares at his former dog. You turncloak bastard. I know your secret, and you will pay for it with your life. And hers as well. After a week or so on the run with the Hound and Sansa, Joffrey discerned that his sworn shield’s betrayal was the product of a hopeless obsession with the girl. Now that Joffrey knows all of the Hound’s tells – the constant staring, the lingering touches – Joffrey feels foolish for not realizing it much earlier. It is pathetic – almost as pathetic as Sansa’s obliviousness to the Hound’s obviousl desires. Joffrey decides then and there that after he escapes, he will kill them together.
The Hound rises and approaches Sansa, and Joffrey carefully returns his face to a neutral expression in case he looks over. Sansa bites her lip, her deepening humiliation evident, and Joffrey suppresses a gleeful grin as he waits for the Hound to snatch the half-prepared rabbit away from the useless girl and finish the job himself. To Joffrey’s dismay, the Hound instead turns the mistake into a learning experience and directs Sansa to cut and peel the skin off the paws with a certain flick of the wrist.
She gets it right on the first try, then glances up at the Hound to get his validation. Revolting, Joffrey thinks, a highborn girl seeking a traitor’s approval.
The Hound pats her shoulder roughly. “As deft as the king’s butcher,“ the Hound mutters, then tears his eyes from the girl to get the spit ready for the fire.
Joffrey wants to puke. /He/ never got compliments like that from the Hound, and he was his King! The beast probably thinks it will help him get into Sansa’s smallclothes. Maybe it’s not such a bad strategy. His looks certainly won’t get him in there. Joffrey glances back at Sansa to check out her reaction.
Amidst the sweat and grime on her dirty face, Sansa’s eyes light up. She gazes at the Hound’s back with a very strange look on her face and blushes, which she often does when he talks to her. A small, shy, closed lipped smile forms on her face as she slices open the rabbit’s abdomen. There is something about that smile that looks familiar to Joffrey, and it annoys him that he cannot quite place it. But then the Hound rises again and tosses an old shriveled plum into Joffrey’s lap, and Joffrey dares not stare at Sansa any longer.
Later that night, when the fire has burned down to embers and the moon lights up the clearing, Joffrey gazes over at Sansa again, who is still awake since she drew the first watch. She should be listening for intruders, or pacing the clearing like the Hound taught her, but she is just staring at the Hound’s snoring bulk. She goes over to him and pulls his thick cloak up around his shoulders, and he shifts, as if he knows she is there. All through her watch, she keeps checking on the Hound to make sure that he is comfortable. It’s almost as if the idiot girl is fascinated by the sleeping Hound.
Fine. They can have one another. When Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne again, they can suffer together too.
If you liked this, you might enjoy my story “Kingstealer” - this is a part of that universe, if not “on screen”.