“Am I trembling with excitement? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s not like I’m afraid, but my body has realized before my brain that for the first time, I’m faced with an enemy I might not be able to beat.”
Prologue: It was 4 or so years since the…incident. Since then, there was not a single day when you didn’t think about the true love that brok your heart. However, you had to move on, for your own sake…and for the darling little girl that you had given birth to. One day, you had returned to the kingdom of your love, to show your little girl what kind of place her father came from. The one thing you didn’t expect however, was to come face to face with your past.
“____________?” You turned around at the sound of your name being called out. The face you were greeted with made you tremble to the core. Though he was in disguise, you could recognise him anywhere. A string of emotions attacked you. First, it was confusion that turned to realization. From that, stemmed memories which resulted to anger…but the last set of emotions that hit you, was the pain, heartbreak and yearning that had haunted you for the past few years. You stared in shock as all the emotions you had been suppressing and had hidden away began to well back up inside you, keeping you in a trance until, “Mummy?” You felt a small hand tug at the hem of your skirt and watched as his attention turned to the small girl beside you, eyes widening in shock.
Wilfred: Carefully, he began to approach you, the usual cool smile that graced his face showing you the kindness that you had missed all these years. His deep, crystal blue orbs never leaving yours, yet you could see them waver now and then. “_________.” When he finally reached you, you bobbed a curtsy, unsure how to greet him. “Your Highness.” The response you gave him stabbed at his heart and his eyes became racked with sadness. “_________ I-” “Mummy? Who’s this strange man?” Bending down, you smiled at your daughter. “This man is the crown Prince of Philip! He’ll be King here soon, now, what do you say?” Nodding enthusiastically, your daughter turned to him and bowed her head. “Good afternoon Mister! I mean, Your Highness!” Smiling proudly, you stood up, fully prepared to bid your farewell to the Prince when, “She’s a cute kid…” he began. “Yeah…she’s my world now, and I love her to bits.” You found yourself smiling fondly as you watched your little girl crouched over a small pot of flowers, admiring the colours. “May I ask…how old is she?” “She’s 4 and a half-” you had answered before you could stop yourself and looked back at Wilfred, covering your mouth in shock. “4 and a half?” You watched nervously as his eyes widened from the realization. “You mean…” Slowly, you began to nod. “Yes…she’s yours.” Bracing yourself, you squeezed your eyes shut, only to find seconds later that you were wrapped in someone’s warm embrace. “Y-Your Highness?!” “Thank goodness…” he murmered. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if she was someone else’s…_________. For these 4 years that we’ve been apart, I’ve done nothing but think about you. Think about the future we should’ve had together. The life we should’ve lead…if only I hadn’t been so stupid.” His words, tinged with regret, made you tense up from the stinging memory. Noticing this, he quickly continued. “I have spent the last few years dreaming that you would come back to me, praying that you would find it in your heart to forgive me…and now that I’ve seen you again, after these few years, my heart yearns for you even more so than before. Please _________. Return to the Chateau with me. Bring your daughter, our daughter…please, these pasat few years have been torture without you and I don’t think I can take it much longer.” “….” Feeling you hesitate, he continued. “Please….if not for me, do it for her.” It was at this point that he pulled away and motioned towards your daughter, filled with innocence and joy. “I already know that you’re doing an amazing job with her but I want to be there for her too, as her father…and don’t you think she’d be happier if she could grow up with both her parents around? Please. I want to be here to support her. To support you…not to mention, I never stopped loving you once in these 4 years so please _________. Give me another chance.”.
Keith: “Who is he?!” Almost immediately, Keith was marching up to you, absolutely fuming. “Who’s this unworthy jerk that knocked you up?!” Ignoring him, you ushered your little girl to play on a nearby slide, making sure that you could watch her as she did so. After she skipped away, you turned back to Keith, expression turning dark. “Look Keith, you need to calm down. You have no right to come marching over to me, demanding the name of a man I may or may not be involved with, it is not your place.” “My place?! My place?! Of course it’s my place! I’m your-” “My what, Keith?” Silenced, by your words, you turned to go meet your child and before you left, turned to him and said, “She’s yours by the way.” “Mine…” a few seconds later, as you were approaching your daughter Keith grabbed your arm and pulled you back. “Wait! I wasn’t done yet! ________,,,please will you come back to me, and live with me in the Manse?” His words were like a dream come true…but then you remembered the reason you left in the first place and felt your mood cloud over. Somehow sensing this, he reached for your hand. “Please ________, without you by my side, I’m restless everyday. You saw me just now, even the slightest possibility that you might be with some other guy is enough to drive me insane so please, come back with me…bring out daughter too…I want to be there for her, as a father should be. I’m begging you _______, I can’t take this anymore. A life without you is too painful.”
Roberto: “Hello little girl! My name’s Roberto! What’s yours?” Within seconds, Roberto was crouching down to match the height of your daughter and was engaging in a conversation with her. You smiled as you watched the two of them and caught yourself wishing that the three of you could stay together in such a way forever…it was almost as if, with that one scene of father and daughter bonding, the past could be overlooked because it was worth it, as long as your child was happy. You knew that you couldn’t keep her father’s identity from her for much longer, and it when you looked at Roberto, there was still the aching love you had for him that refused to disappear. After some time, Roberto stood up again and pulled you tight into his chest. “_________. My dear, dear _________” As he said your name, his grip on you tightened. “I’ve waited for so long to have you back in my arms like this again, and I don’t intend to scare you off again.” “….” Taking your silence as a signal to continue, he spoke again. “…she’s mine, isn’t she?” At this, you pulled away in shock. “Huh? How did you know?!” Chuckling slightly, he stroked your cheek gently. “She told me she turned 4 a few months ago and so I just figured…why didn’t you tell me?” “W-Well I just figured you wouldn’t care about me anymore…you know, just considering…” You had expected to hear some sort of joke, but when you looked up, his eyes were laced with sorrow and regret. “My dear _________…I am so sorry I made you feel that way…believe me, there has not been a day when I don’t regret my actions…please, don’t say ridiculous things like ‘I wouldn’t care about you’. You are the one person in this world that will always stay in my heart _________, and if you can find it in you to give me a second chance, with you and our adorable daughter, then I would be the luckiest man alive.”
Joshua: “This is…” still bewildered, he stared from you, to your daughter and back again. Figuring it out almost instantly he asked, “Is she….?” Slowly and uncertainly, you nodded. Eyes, wide open, he approached you, a gentle smile on his face. “She’s so cute…and I’m sure she’ll grow up to be just as beautiful as her mother.” Hesitantly, he reached up and stroked your face. His touch was so familiar and comforting that you felt yourself lean into it, eyes closed at the relaxing warmth of his palm. “________.” You looked up to find his expression suddenly serious. “It’s been too long. Life without you has been bleak and colourless…and now, with this little girl too, I want nothing more than to have you back in my life, than to support you. I have never missed someone this much before. I have never felt this empty by myself before. I need you _________. You are what brightens up my world so please, let me show you how much you really mean to me.”
Glenn: The second he met your eyes again, you simply nodded politely and began to usher your child away when, “_________, wait.” You felt him pull you back the and turn to look at him. “What is it Glenn?” “Noth-no, I miss you _________. I can’t lie to myself anymore. My life is empty without you in it. I remember the day I found you again after all those years was one of the happiest moments of my life…and when you left well, I almost felt dead inside…and the only one who can resurrect me is well…you…” After his speech, your daughter poked her head out from behind you again and he smiled gentlly at her. “I don’t know who’s she is…but because she’s yours, _________, I would be more than happy to support her and care for her as if she were my own, so please _________, give a foolish guy like me another chance…”
Edward: “Hello! …and who is this beautiful bud?” You watched as Edward bent down to greet your daughter. “When you grow up, I’m sure you’ll be the most graceful rose there is! …after your mother of course…” after saying this, he looked up to smile at you gently. “My rose, how have you been? It is amazing because it only takes me a single glance at you to have my breath stolen from me. Once again, your beauty has captured my heart, though my heart has always been with you, even in the last 4 years…” Suddenly, his gentlemanly smile was tinged with sadness and regret. “There will never be enough ‘I’m sorry’’s in the world to make up for what I have done. I had you by my side and I took advantage of that and betrayed your trust…I do not blame you for resenting me…however, my dear, dear _________…I have also come to realize that a life without you in it is like a flower that cannot bloom, pointless, and painful. My garden is meaningless without you in it my flower so please, give me another chance, let me show you how vulnerable I am to you, how weak I am to your power over me, for my heart and soul has always belonged to you.”
Tired. Sleep. No time to proof-read. Sorry if it’s gross. Good night.
~ TalentSwap, Part Three: The Finale That Never Truly Ends! ~
Ohhhhh snap! Are you ready for the 10k finale of TalentSwap I know I am! 030!! I’ll keep this short and just get into the fic for you all :pp
Thanks one more time to @hellofriend304 for editing and helping me out with the logic behind this fic, you’re the beeeest and thank you and yaaaay and thanks again and blah blah blah, ahaahah! <3333 But seriously, thank you for your help ^3^
Previously, I looked at Ned’s decision to betroth Sansa to Joffrey and the fight at the Trident.
After the fight and the hearing, Ned has plenty of indications of Joffrey’s character. He has heard what happened from both girls – he should know Joffrey is violent and aggressive, he’s seen Joffrey lie, and he’s seen him smile when the order to kill Lady is given. He’s also seen Sansa lie about not remembering – a pretty big indication that she was scared to go against Joffrey. Plus, Joffrey’s mother had Sansa’s pet killed.
Ned does nothing. He doesn’t take any steps to end the betrothal, send Sansa back to Winterfell, or, as far as we can see, even talk to her about Joffrey. For Sansa’s part, she knows that Ned was present for everything, and that he still intends for her to marry Joffrey.
The next interaction between Joffrey and Sansa is at the feast during the Hand’s Tournament, and Sansa goes all in on talking herself out of her fears and into thinking she is in ‘love’ with Joffrey:
He had not said a word to her since the awful thing had happened, and she had not dared to speak to him. At first she had though she hated him for what they had done to Lady … But then she told herself that it had not been Joffrey’s doing, not truly …
Sansa looked at [Joffrey], and trembled, afraid that he might ignore her or, worse, turn hateful again and send her weeping from the table. Instead Joffrey smiled and kissed her hand, handsome and gallant as any prince in the songs … [Sansa’s] heart was singing.
From this point in, her worries about Joffrey cease to appear in her POV narrative. We see her talking about the fight with Arya from her own POV, and she is repeating Joffrey’s version as if she believes it. This is one of the first times in her narrative that we see her altering distressing past events (the Unkiss being another example).
In Sansa III, Ned informs Sansa that she and Arya are going back to Winterfell. Although this is, for the second time in the book, a radical change for Sansa’s future, Ned tells her only:
“I want you back in Winterfell for your own safety. Three of my men were cut down like dogs not a league from where we sit, and what does Robert do? He goes hunting.”
When Sansa protests that she is to marry Joffrey, Ned says:
“When you’re old enough, I will make you a match with a high lord who’s worthy of you, someone brave and gentle and strong. This match with Joffrey was a terrible mistake. That boy is no Prince Aemon, you must believe me.”
Here, Ned echoes his initial reservations about the match – Sansa is too young, and Joffrey is what Joffrey is. This is the first time we see Ned telling Sansa that the betrothal she has mentally committed to for months was a mistake – and he gives her no real reasons.
We don’t know exactly how much time has passed, but Sansa was betrothed to Joffrey before Daenerys married Drogo, and there has been enough time for word of Dany’s pregnancy to have reached Westeros several chapters before. Sansa is being told to abandon views she has committed to for months. Rather than go with this new psychological whiplash, she argues and gives Ned the clue about Joffrey’s legitimacy. He gets diverted and sends her away without further explanation.
Even after being told she is going to leave, Sansa does not go to Cersei. Time passes while Ned confronts Cersei and tries to organize to take over. When the girls packed and are about to leave, Sansa asks to be able to say goodbye:
“If [Arya] can have a dancing lesson, why won’t you let me say farewell to Prince Joffrey?”
…“It would not be wise for you to go to Joffrey right now, Sansa. I’m sorry.
Sansa’s eyes filled with tears. “But why?”
“Sansa, your lord father knows best,” Septa Mordane said. “You are not to question his decisions.”
“It’s not fair!” Sansa pushed back from her table, knocked over her chair, and ran weeping from the solar.
Septa Mordane rose, but Ned gestured her back to her seat. “Let her go, Septa. I will try to make her understand when we are all safely back in Winterfell.”
This is the breaking point for Sansa: from the timing she must have gone to Cersei immediately after this conversation, since she is then until the fighting starts a few hours later. After Sansa storms out, Ned goes to his solar. He receives word of Robert’s death an hour later, and then goes from there to the council room, and then to the confrontation in the throne room.
When Sansa thinks about going to Cersei, she thinks:
She was the good girl, the obedient girl, but she had felt as wicked as Arya that morning, sneaking away from Septa Mordane, defying her lord father. She had never done anything so wilful before, and she would never have done it then if she hadn’t loved Joffrey as much as she did. “He was going to take me back to Winterfell and marry me to some hedge knight, even though it was Joff I wanted. I told him, but he wouldn’t listen.”
Sansa goes to Cersei because she doesn’t understand the reasons for Ned’s actions and because she no longer trusts him to do the right thing for her.
This is why I suggest that Sansa should bear very little, if any, blame for her actions both at the Trident and in going to Cersei. Both are the direct result of decisions Ned makes about her without any regard for the consequences. He repeatedly puts her into situations which are dangerous for her, and are far beyond her capability to deal with as an emotionally immature, sheltered, and dependent eleven-year-old. Ned is the adult, he has all the power to control Sansa’s circumstances, and he has to shoulder the majority of the fault.
Just to wrap things up, the question of why Ned has the attitude he does towards his eldest daughter can’t be definitely answered. However, I think it may be the result of his history with his sister Lyanna. In Arya II, he attributes Lyanna’s death to her wild nature, saying about the Stark ‘wolf blood:’
“Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave …”
…[Lyanna was] ‘beautiful, and wilful, and dead before her time.’
Sansa is Ned’s first daughter, and she was born just a couple of years of Lyanna’s death. Like Lyanna, she is beautiful. Ned allows her to be raised to be almost the complete opposite of his sister. Lyanna was wild; Sansa is compliant, traditional, and tries to please others. Lyanna has reservations about her betrothal to Robert Baratheon; Sansa wholeheartly commits to her betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon. However, in the end, Sansa does act ‘wilfully’ for reasons she doesn’t entirely understand, with equally disastrous consequences.