My girl Meera was so fucking disrespected. you’re telling me, girl left her home to get to where Bran was with Jojen. she was beaten and almost raped by Karl Tanner Craster’s keep. She had to see her brother getting sicker and sicker by day and then had to KILL HIM when he was attacked by white walkers! SHE CUT HIS FUCKING NECK! HER LITTLE BROTHER’S NECK! she then had to live in a frozen cave for MONTHs OR years, only eating moss, also had to see Poor Hodor and Summer die. finally.. she dragged BRAN’S cripple ass across THE FUCKING TUNDRA to take him home! AND ALL SHE GETS IS A “THANK YOU” and gets dismissed just LIKE THAT. I mean.. shit. after he reminded poor Sansa of being raped on her wedding night I don’t know what I was expecting. shit. FUCK!
↳ “What happened to your family was a terrible crime. I didn’t know your brother; he seemed like a good man but I didn’t know him. Your mother, on the other hand, I admired her. She wanted to have me executed but I admired her. She was a strong woman, and she was fierce when it came to protecting her children. Sansa, your mother would want you to carry on. You know it’s true.”
Despite being lady of Winterfel and ruler of the North with a massive army of the dead approaching, Sansa Stark’s most difficult task at the moment is figuring out what the fuck is up with her weird ass siblings
I wrote “Like Snow on Glass” as a one-shot. Then Jonsa Week, hosted by the amazing ladies over at @jonsa-week, rolled around, and my plot bunnies wouldn’t get out of my head till I wrote a sequel. I meant to post it in time for Day 4 (“Holidays”), but time moved faster and the fic got longer than I’d intended, so I’m posting it for Free Choice Day instead.
Without further ado, and with my sincerest apologies to those who were expecting the second installment of the series to be as brief as the first. I had such an expectation myself until I actually wrote the chapter. Sigh.
Sansa Stark had looked forward to a quiet week at her job during Christmas and New Year’s Day.
So much for that.
Granted, Winterfell University was not holding classes during the holidays, and the undergraduate students were gone. However, graduate students had rushed through the visual arts department in waves with scheduling questions and requests to have missing lab keys replaced and desperate begging for last-minute supply orders to be placed before the January term began the following week. Sansa had spent perhaps half an hour at her desk the entire week, and it was already Wednesday afternoon. Still, she managed to keep what she hoped was a friendly smile on her face as she turned from a belligerent exchange student who had spent the last ten minutes trying to get her to break the school’s key replacement rule and greeted the next student. Thank the gods this one seemed friendlier, she thought.
“Is there a Sansa Stark working here?” the girl asked before Sansa had gotten a chance to wish her a good afternoon. Sansa’s eyes widened. She didn’t recognize the petite brunette, which was a good sign, since she had no desire for contact with anyone from her old life in King’s Landing.
“Um – yes, I’m Sansa Stark,” she said. “How can I help you?”
The girl’s face lit up, and she looked as though she were trying to refrain herself from jumping up and down with delight.
“You’re Sansa Stark? Oh, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m Rhaenys Targaryen – ” she held out her hand, which Sansa shook without thinking – “also known as your biggest fan.” She gestured to the sleek scarlet-and-black patterned bag hanging off her shoulder, and Sansa recognized it almost at once. “You are singlehandedly responsible, or so I hear, for the best Christmas present I have ever gotten from my brother. I loved it so much, I made him tell me where he got it.” Seeing Sansa’s raised eyebrows, she lowered her hand and smiled sheepishly. “I hope you don’t mind. I’m not a stalker, I swear! I just loved it so much that I had to thank you in person.”
“Oh, you’re Jon Snow’s sister.” Sansa felt her face redden. She had ridden the same bus as Jon Snow to Winterfell University every morning for the past nine months, but they had only begun speaking to each other three weeks ago, when he had forgotten his glasses on the bus one morning and Sansa had run past two stops in the frigid northern wind to return them. That was the day he had noticed the homemade bag hanging over Sansa’s shoulder and asked her to make one like it for his sister’s Christmas present. Sansa had asked Jon to acquaint her with Rhaenys and her tastes, and Jon had been only too happy to oblige. Rhaenys, Sansa had learned, was actually Jon’s half-sister, although Jon had only mentioned that detail once and hastily moved on to mention that she was three years older than he and an MBA graduate student at Winterfell University. Jon had described her as driven and extroverted – unlike his half-brother Aegon, who apparently was as outgoing as his sister but far less driven.
“Oh, of course – I should have mentioned that straight away,” said the other girl apologetically. “Different last names and all. But yes, Jon’s my brother, and this is quite possibly the best present I’ve ever gotten from him. And it’s not just me. Half a dozen of my friends have said how much they love it and asked where I got it. Do you have an Etsy shop, by chance?”
Sansa, still trying to keep up with the rapid flow of words coming from the other girl’s mouth, shook her head.
“No,” she replied. “I – well, I haven’t made any of them for years – not for anyone except myself, anyway. I’m only glad you like the one I made you; I’m quite out of practice.”
“Oh.” The disappointment in Rhaenys’s tone was obvious. “I see. Well, I’d never send them to bother you or anything, but if you ever decide you’d like to do it again, please do let me know – oh, wait! I’ll see you at my aunt’s New Year’s party, right?”
Sansa could only stare in reply. “I’m sorry,” she finally said. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
Rhaenys’s hazel eyes went wide as saucers. “She didn’t even tell you?” she asked, clearly incredulous. “Or even Jon– and after the way he was talking about you, I’d thought for sure – oh, that clueless – urgh.” She sighed, and Sansa, who after all had grown up with three brothers herself, smiled faintly. Then she wondered what on earth Jon had said about her, and she felt the flush return to her cheeks. She’d mentioned little about her own family, and nothing at all about her life in King’s Landing, which meant she was leaving out all the parts anyone would find noteworthy. They’d mainly talked about sci-fi novels and obscure pieces of classical music and Trivial Pursuit and Jon’s fellow graduate students in Winterfell University’s computer engineering department – all right, they had talked a good deal, although Jon usually had seemed content to listen more often than not. And Jon could be forgiven for not inviting her to Daenerys Targaryen’s party when she had answered in the affirmative after he’d asked her if she had holiday plans. He could not be expected to know that those plans consisted solely of reading, Netflix, and lemon bars because she hadn’t seen or spoken to her family in years.
“So if they haven’t asked you, then I definitely will,” Rhaenys was saying. “It technically starts at six o’clock on Friday, but really, you can show up any time – and, of course, leave any time; every year we have people who stay the night.”
Just as she opened her mouth to continue, Sansa heard the clang of the office’s back door. Rhaenys turned on her heels just in time to see Daenerys Targaryen striding through it, tapping briskly on the surface of her phone as she did so. Sansa straightened her back out of instinct.
“Aunt Daenerys,” Rhaenys demanded without losing an ounce of sweetness from her tone, “why on earth haven’t you invited Sansa Stark to our party? She made Jon’s present for me!”
The older woman dropped her phone into her black leather purse. When she turned to regard Sansa, she actually smiled. Sansa could count on two hands the number of times Daenerys Targaryen had smiled at any of the office assistants.
“So you’re the girl my nephew’s been talking about,” she said, and if Sansa had not known better, she would have thought the older woman impressed. “Of course you should come. The rest of the family would love to meet you.”
The only appropriate response was a smile, so Sansa summoned one at once. “Thank you, Ms. Targaryen,” she said, thanking her lucky stars that King’s Landing had taught her how to keep the nerves out of her voice in any and every possible social situation. “Of course I’d love to come.”
That was how Sansa found herself perched two days later on the doorstep of a house that rivaled any of the mansions she’d seen in King’s landing. She had to take two deep breaths before she rang the doorbell. Fortunately, she only had to wait for the space of one more before the door swung open to reveal a young man of about her own age with platinum blonde hair and a platinum white grin.
“A Happy New Year to you, lovely lady,” he said and gestured grandly back toward the inside of the house. “Please, come in.”
“Thank you.” Sansa gave him a grateful smile and followed him through the door into a hallway that looked as though it had emerged straight out of a historical fantasy novel. The stone floors gleamed in the light emitted by a plethora of wall sconces shaped like dragons’ heads. The walls between them were studded with tapestries depicting various coats-of-arms, mostly depicting dragons and bears. Two sets of carved oak doors faced each other at the far end of the hallway. The only thoroughly modern element was an abundance of miniature white lights looped gracefully across the tables and over the doors.
“May I take your coat?” the young man was saying, and Sansa turned sharply back to face him.
“And any other burden I can relieve you of,” the man went on, flashing Sansa another grin.
Sansa smiled back wanly. “Where would you me to set the food?” she asked, holding out the pans of mini-quiches she had baked that afternoon. “It’s a bit hotter than I’d thought and I brought a trivet, but I’d hate to set it down in the wrong place and ruin anything.”
That clearly surprised Aegon, who took a moment before gesturing toward an open doorway behind him. “The kitchen, I believe, my fair lady,” he said, “although just there should do while I get your coat.” He indicated an ancient-looking wooden table whose legs were carved like bears’ claws and whose top was covered with a rough woven runner matching one of the wall tapestries. Sansa bit her lip as she set the dish down gingerly and prayed that the trivet did its job.
“The lady is a gourmet cook as well,” said the blond-haired man as he reached to take the sleeve of Sansa’s coat. Sansa was quicker and pulled the garment off herself. That startled the man, but he quickly resumed smiling when Sansa handed the coat to him. “What a tragedy it is that I have not had the pleasure of making your acquaintance before,” he added. He winked again, and Sansa noticed just what a bright shade of blue his eyes were – almost violet, she thought. He had to be wearing contact lenses of some sort.
“My name is Aegon Targaryen,” her host continued. “And what might yours be, gorgeous girl?”
Sansa cursed the heat flooding her cheeks, but before she could respond, someone trotted rapidly through the open doorway behind Aegon.
“Aegon!” A few more steps, and Sansa could see that the owner of the sharp, girlish voice was none other than Rhaenys Targaryen. “Stop hitting on the guests, and for gods’ sake go help Uncle Jorah with the roast – as if I haven’t asked you a dozen times already.”
Aegon waved her off with one hand. “Jon’s already got it,” he replied, and Rhaenys narrowed her eyes at him. Aegon paid her no mind.
“I have yet to finish introductions with this lovely lady,” he continued, “which you so grievously interrupted.” He turned back to Sansa, whose eyes had gone wider than usual. Aegon did not seem to notice.
“I must ask you to forgive my sister, my lady,” he said. “She can be a bit rude sometimes.” As Rhaenys rolled her eyes, he added, “For instance, she did not give me the chance to ask for your name properly.” He held out a hand, and Sansa took it out of instinct.
“I’m Sansa Stark,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Aegon raised both eyebrows. “The Sansa Stark?” he asked, winking at Rhaenys. “The talented lady we’ve heard so much about?”
Rhaenys, seeing Sansa’s eyes widen, rolled her own emphatically at her brother before setting a warm hand on Sansa’s arm.
“Don’t mind his exaggerations,” she reassured Sansa. “Jon didn’t share your life story or anything like it – just that you’re a talented seamstress and very intelligent. And you look lovely, by the way.” She beamed at Sansa as warmly as she had back at the office in the visual arts department.
Sansa blushed again. Even if being told that a man of Jon’s obvious intellect had complimented her own, her green wool dress with a black lace yoke, which she had thought would be fancy but not overbearing, seemed hopelessly overdone next to Rhaenys’s black skinny jeans and off-the-shoulder scarlet sweater.
“Well, I’m a bit overdressed, really,” she said. “I should have thought to ask, and – oh, the food!” She dashed over to the table where Aegon had placed the quiches, but he beat her to it.
“Allow me, Lady Sansa,” he said, and seized the dish before Sansa could finish warning him that the handles were hot.
“Son of a bitch!” Aegon dropped the dish at once and dashed through the doorway, and Sansa clapped a hand over her mouth. Rhaenys waved away her apology before Sansa could voice it.
“Maybe he’ll finally learn not to grab hot things at the tender age of – what? – twenty-five,” she said. “Here, though, let me help you with that – assuming you have hot mitts for it? And really, you didn’t have to bring anything. But you’re so lovely for thinking of it – here, let me show you to the kitchen.” She led Sansa toward the doorway. “And I apologize on behalf of my idiot brother. He’s harmless, really; it’s just that he thinks he’s the gods’ gift to women.” She rolled her eyes. “And they only know how that knucklehead could possibly be related to Jon.”
She led the way to the kitchen, chattering, and when they got there Aegon was still running cold water over his hands.
“Sorry about that, Lady Sansa,” he said. “I am not always so clumsy, I promise.”
Rhaenys grinned at Sansa. “Don’t worry. He is.” She reached into a nearby cabinet and withdrew a partitioned glass tray. “I think they should fit on this one.”
Five minutes later, Aegon and Rhaenys led Sansa into an enormous room lit by a black iron chandelier and filled with dozens of people chattering away with such enthusiasm that Sansa could not hear herself think. Most of them were swarming around the biggest table she had ever seen, which given her stint in King’s landing was saying something. It was loaded down with platters of fruit and bowls of bread and trays of finely cut meat and cheese. They were clearly caterer’s work and made Sansa’s homemade quiches look dusty and forlorn. At the center sat a brilliant silver platter bearing a mountain of steaming meat carved into thick slabs and arranged in the shape of a giant bear.
“Well, at least someone in this house can get a job done,” said Rhaenys gaily as Aegon rolled his eyes. “Oh! Uncle Jorah! Here, come meet Sansa Stark.”
She led Sansa to a very weathered but very handsome man arrayed in jeans and a red plaid flannel shirt. Rhaenys introduced him as Jorah Mormont, Daenerys’s husband. He gave her a firm handshake and a warm greeting, and Sansa liked him at once. Still, she straightened her posture at once when Daenerys Targaryen strode over to wish her a Happy New Year. Like her niece, Daenerys was clad in jeans and a sweater, and holding a bottle of craft beer to boot. Sansa almost pinched herself to ensure that a doppelganger had not stolen her no-nonsense, Casual Friday-eschewing boss. Daenerys, however, greeted Sansa gaily and bade her make herself at home before heading off to greet somebody else.
“Mmm.” Sansa turned to see Rhaenys chewing on something and moaning with joy. She was holding part of one of Sansa’s quiches in her hand.
“This is divine, Sansa,” she gushed when she had finished chewing. “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about leftovers – oh, there’s Alysanne Swann! Pardon me, Sansa I have to return a book I borrowed from her.” She laid an apologetic hand on the younger girl’s arm, then turned to Aegon, who had just plunked an entire mini quiche into his mouth. “Behave yourself, Aegon.”
She swept off to greet a girl who had just arrived. Sansa stood next to Aegon and waited for him to finish his quiche.
“Delightful, my lady,” he gushed, “and completely worth the slight burn.” He swept one hand grandly toward the double doors at the other end of the room. “May I interest you in a tour of my aunt’s fine home?”
Sansa, who knew no one else in the room, saw no real alternative, and anyway, the house’s sheer age and beautiful architecture did intrigue her. She had barely had time to nod before Aegon offered her his arm, which she took with some hesitation. The last time she had decorated the arm of a man had been the night she had broken up with Joffrey after he’d given her one too many bruises at his mother’s spring charity gala.
This time, however, only Sansa’s ears received a bruising. Aegon swept through room after room, showing her hunting trophies and cases full of war medals and portraits of men and women with the same platinum blond hair and striking violet eyes he shared with his aunt. He introduced them as his dignified ancestors and gushed over the longevity of the family name. He could not, however, remember the names of any save the few men who had had distinguished military careers or won medals in the Olympic Games, nor could he tell her exactly where the family name had originated. He knew more about his own achievements at golf and skiing and all the best hills at the local snowboarding course where he worked; and when Sansa could get a word in edgewise to ask a question about any of the other portraits, or which Targaryen lady it was who had obtained the dragon statues about which Aegon spent five minutes boasting, he would usually shrug, apologize for not being able to answer the lady’s question, and move onto another room (“It was Jaeherys’s wife, is all I remember, my lady. I’m sorry.”).
At last, Aegon led Sansa down a flight of stairs and into a room covered with the most modern-looking carpet Sansa had seen so far. It had two pool tables, several dart boards, three pinball machines, a minibar, and yet more tables bursting with food and drinks. Aegon made a beeline for one of the pool tables, where several people about their age had congregated.
“Fancy joining us for a game, my lady?” he asked when he had finished introducing her to his friends.
“I haven’t played since I was in elementary school,” she demurred, but Aegon waved away her protest at once.
“It’s easily re-learned, my lady,” he said before she could mention that she was hungry and would prefer to visit the snack table. So she forced a smile and took the pool cue Aegon offered her.
At first, Sansa played as badly as she had worried she would. Aegon seized the opportunity to show her various ways to position her cue for better results. Much as his chatter had begun to annoy her, she found better success with one of the maneuvers he showed her, and actually managed to sink a ball into one of the table’s corner holes on her next turn. Aegon applauded loudly.
“Beautifully done, my lady!” he exclaimed. Two of the other girls rolled their eyes. Sansa, who had begun to feel like imitating them since Aegon had begun his tour, smiled back at him instead.
“Now,” Aegon said, “I’d suggest trying the seven there.” He gestured toward a red ball nestled near the closest side of the table. “If you tap the cue ball just like this – ” he positioned his cue to demonstrate – “it should go right in.”
Sansa turned to imitate his position, but before she could move her cue, she felt a sudden movement behind her. Before she could whirl to avoid whoever was behind her out of instinct, she felt Aegon’s hands encircle her from behind to join her own on her pool cue.
“You want to hold it more like this,” he said smoothly. Sansa barely heard him over her startled gasps. He was not touching anything other than her arms, but that was far more than enough for Sansa, who had not had such close contact with another person since the night Joffrey had nearly broken her ribs, the night his mother had grabbed her arm and hissed at her that she might act more grateful for having the arm of Joffrey Baratheon, which any number of girls would kill to enjoy.
So Sansa squirmed out of Aegon’s grasp as quickly as she could. She could feel the blood draining from her face but mustered a quiet, “Thanks, I’ve got it,” just the same.
“Well, here, I meant more like this,” Aegon began, gesturing toward the table with one hand and reaching to her with the other. Sansa had half a mind to make a break for the snack tables when she heard a familiar voice behind her.
“I believe she said she’s got it, Egg,” it said, and Sansa turned to see the welcome sight of Jon Snow standing at the corner of the table, owl-eyed glasses and all. She did not remembering his eyebrows being so bushy, but that may have had something to do with the way he was frowning at his brother. Aegon raised both arms in mock surrender.
“I apologize, Lady Sansa,” he said. Sansa nodded and turned gratefully to Jon.
“You all right, Sansa?” he asked, and she nodded again.
“I’m almost done here,” she said, and this time her smile was not forced. Jon nodded again.
“You’re welcome to join me in the other game room when you’re finished, if you like,” he said. “Of course, we have plenty more food in there, if you’d like something to eat or drink.”
“There’s another game room?” Sansa blurted, and Jon grinned as he nodded back.
“For the nerd games,” Aegon put in from behind her, and grinned at Jon, who rolled his eyes.
“He means board games,” he said to Sansa. “But if you’d rather go back upstairs, feel free. I know Aunt Dany’s got a wine and cheese table, and there are always boatloads of people playing card games.”
Sansa shook her head. “Well, you know how I am about board games,” she said, and Jon grinned at her.
“You’re welcome to join us,” he replied, and the look on his face reminded Sansa of Rickon asking his mother if he could have a friend over after school.
“I will,” she said, “once I’m done.”
Five minutes later, Sansa made a beeline for the tables, where she piled a paper plate with fruit and cheese and chocolate-covered pretzels before heading into the second game room. Jon beamed when he saw her and beckoned her toward the table at which he and several other people were crowded, which, like the other tables in the room, looked exactly like an appropriated restaurant booth. Within short order, she had been introduced to Sam Tarly and Gilly North, Jon’s two best friends in his graduate program, as well as their friends Pyp, Grenn, Alys, and Val.
“Do you like board games, Sansa?” asked Gilly, the young woman sitting next to Sam, when Sansa returned to the table, and Sansa nodded at once before settling herself carefully onto the end of the table, next to the other girl.
“I’m not very good at them, but I do like them,” she said. She had grown up on far too many long afternoons full of laughter and Monopoly and Chinese checkers with her siblings to care that Joffrey and Cersei and their lot had scorned such childish pursuits.
Gilly’s face lit up. “Perfect! Now we just have to keep Jon from staring at the ‘Risk’ box all night.” She grinned at Sansa’s puzzled look. “Jon’s been officially banned from playing it at any of Daenerys’s parties. Last New Year’s, he kept us up till almost sunrise because he ‘didn’t want to waste a perfectly good game.’” She lowered her voice into a scratchy rendition of Jon’s over the last several words, and Jon looked affronted.
“It was a perfectly good game – ” he began. Everyone else at the table groaned in unison.
“You’re still not playing it, mate,” said Pyp, another of Jon’s fellow graduate students, clapping his friend on the shoulder. “Now I vote for ‘Pictionary,’ just to watch Grenn here try to draw a stick figure to save his life.”
Grenn playfully elbowed him in the ribs. “Rather like trying to watch you beat anyone at ‘Monopoly,’ Pyppy,” he shot back. Jon burst into laughter. It started off so high-pitched that Sansa almost thought Gilly was the one emitting the noise, although it quickly deepened. Joffrey would have derided Jon for laughing like a girl. Mother would have said, Sansa thought with a stab of longing, that Jon laughed with character.
The group settled in to play first ‘Settlers of Catan,’ and after that a couple of games Sansa did not know. The others were only too happy to teach her, especially Jon. He listened carefully to Sansa’s questions and answered either by demonstrating the maneuver in question or by asking Sam or Gilly or whomever he considered the resident expert on the game to answer for him. A couple of times, when he saw her hesitate, he or Sam would remind her that she could ask again if she needed to do so. Their undergraduate students, Sansa mused, were lucky to have them. Gilly apparently thought so too, at least about Sam. The longer the night wore on, the more times she asked the shyer Sam for his opinion on this maneuver or that news science experiment, and any time she got up to refill her snack plate, she always took his with her. Sam, for his part, took on what Sansa’s grandmother would have called an “addled” look
Eventually the group got around to Trivial Pursuit. The others refused to let Jon and Sam team up; Pyp explained that they must have found a way to cheat when they did because the other team almost always lost.
They had just begun the first round when Aegon swept into the room and over to the table.
“What? I’m not above a nerd game or two,” he announced into a circle of blank stares. Before anyone could blink, he slid onto the end of one of the bench seats. That pushed him up against Sansa, who flinched and huddled to her left against Val.
“Gods, Egg, cut it out,” growled Jon, and Aegon shifted over at once.
“Sorry, my lady,” he said, smoothing back his hair with one pale hand. He had the grace to sound sheepish, but Jon continued to glare at him, and this time Gilly, Alys, and Val followed suit.
“Grab a chair and sit at the end if you’re so set on playing, anyway,” Jon told his brother, and Aegon complied. “And you’re on Sam’s team, with Gilly and Pyp and Grenn.”
Not having to deal with having Aegon on her team relieved Sansa. It also meant that her team won handily, since Aegon proved as hopeless at Trivial Pursuit as he was adept at pool.
They were cleaning up the board over Aegon’s protests about a rematch when Rhaenys burst into the room to announce that it was almost midnight.
“Oh, come on, the ball drop happens only once a year,” she said, her voice sweeter than the cotton candy Sansa had seen piled on one of the tables earlier, when Sam and a few of the others began grousing. Apparently, the only real requirement of Daenerys Targaryen’s New Year’s parties was that everyone gather in the room with the iron chandelier to watch King’s Landing’s famous 60-second ball drop on one of the room’s four big-screen TVs.
“Besides, the maesters are calling it the Year of the Wolf,” Rhaenys wheedled. “Can’t we all show a bit of Northern pride? You know, make all the lightweights in the South hear all the way from Wintertown how much noise just a few Northerners can make? You know you want to.”
She turned her sweetest smile to Grenn, whose scowl vanished almost at once, and then to Pyp, who followed suit and stood up. Jon rose and spread his hands in surrender.
“All right, all right,” he said. “But you have to promise it’ll only take a minute, Rhae.”
Both Rhaenys and Sansa groaned at his pun. Rhaenys reached over to muss her brother’s curls and kiss his cheek.
“Love you too, little brother,” she crooned, and turned to loop one arm through Val’s and another through Alys’s as she marched them out of the room. Jon raised one eyebrow at Sansa as Gilly helped a red-faced Sam out of his chair and followed suit, with Aegon trailing reluctantly behind them once he saw Sansa rooted to the ground at Jon’s side.
“See? Told you she couldn’t possibly be an extrovert,” Jon said with such a straight face that Sansa could not hold back a giggle. Nor could she hold back the shiver that swept over her now that she was not surrounded by warm bodies.
“Oh, here.” Jon whipped off his flannel shirt, which to Sansa’s amusement was covering a worn Star Trek T-shirt, and offered it to her.
“Oh, no, you don’t have to,” she protested, but Jon shook his head.
“I was getting warm anyway,” he said. “Besides, I can steal one of Egg’s if I’m that desperate. I’m sorry about him, by the way.” He fixed her with the same concerned look she had seen the day they had first spoken, when she’d yelled at him to get his attention so she could return the glasses he had left on the bus and she had flinched out of long-standing instinct. “He wouldn’t really hurt a flea, or else I’d have tried getting Aunt Dany to kick him out, not to mention reporting him. He just lets being the world’s biggest flirt go to his head. He overstepped, and he’ll hear it from me. Trust me.” His eyebrows had knitted together ferociously again, and Sansa stopped tugging the sleeves of his shirt up her arm for a moment. A hundred different words perched on her tongue, but the only one that found its way was, “Thanks.”
Jon’s scowl vanished in a heartbeat, and he reached back to rub his neck.
“So – if you want to go upstairs,” he said. “It’s – I mean, pretty much all we do is watch the ball drop and head back down here.”
When they reached the chandelier room, Daenerys and Jorah were standing in the middle, surrounded by their guests.
“Gods, I hope they don’t get as embarrassing this year,” Rhaenys was moaning to Val when Jon and Sansa approached them. Seeing Sansa’s questioning look, she added, “They make rather a big deal out of the whole ‘kiss at midnight’ tradition. Really, it’s more like ‘make out at midnight’ with them. Oh, don’t worry,” she added when she saw Sansa’s eyes grow wide. “Nobody expects anybody in here to do that. Most of the couples do, but none of them are nearly as bad as my blood relations.” She sighed dramatically and perched herself on the arm of a nearby couch.
Just then, Aegon swept up to them and sat down just as dramatically next to his sister.
“Alas, I still cannot find a partner,” he groaned, casting a sad stare at Sansa and Val, who stuck out her tongue. Rhaenys slapped him lightly on the side of the head.
“Good,” Jon growled at exactly the same time. He gestured toward the bar in the corner of the room. “I’d rather drinks anyway.”
“The usual for me,” chorused four or five voices around them, and Jon grinned and turned to Sansa.
“Would you like anything from the bar, Sansa?” he asked. “See, we nerds think toasting at midnight is a way better tradition than kissing.”
“I agree with the nerds,” said Sansa, and followed him to the bar. Jon rattled off a list of drinks, and they made their way back to the couch with their hands full. No sooner had the last drink been handed out than the countdown began. Sansa closed her eyes. Back when she’d been a little girl, she had made a habit of choosing one wish for herself to make for the upcoming year as the ball dropped. Usually, it had taken the form of good grades or a trip to King’s Landing. After she got older and moved to King’s Landing, she’d wished first for a scholarship she’d later narrowly missed out on, then for her career to take off. Last year, she’d repeated, Just let me get out of this place and away from Joffrey, for the entire 60 seconds of the ball drop. She smiled widely when she realized that was her first New Year’s wish that had ever come true.
“Ten!” Sansa opened her eyes to the roar of the crowd around her. They had reached “Five!” by the time Gilly pushed past a startled Aegon to grip Sam’s hand. Just as the ball hit the bottom of the pole, she leaped to her tiptoes to kiss him full on the mouth. For a moment Sam went stiff as a board, and Jon and Alys and even Rhaenys froze in shock. Then Sam dropped his drink on the floor, threw both arms around her, and kissed her back enthusiastically.
Pyp and Grenn whooped loudly. Sam went beet red but kept kissing Gilly anyway. Jon shook his head and held his glass out to Sansa, who touched her own against it.
“Happy New Year,” said Jon, and grinned at the remnants of Sam’s spilled drink. “Thank the gods it’s plastic.”
Sansa smiled. “Cheers,” she said. No sooner had she taken a sip than a loud bang sounded from somewhere just outside the house. Sansa squealed and jumped so hard that she caught the heel of her shoe in the ornate floor rug beneath it and tripped straight into a startled Jon, spilling her drink all over his shirt and glasses.
“Oh, gods, I’m sorry!” she gasped at the same time a shower of green sparks splintered into the night sky outside the window. Apparently Daenerys Targaryen’s neighbors were fond of fireworks displays.
“Don’t worry about it.” Jon removed his splattered glasses and carefully set them on an end table. “You OK? Sorry – the Manderlys do this every year.” He gestured toward the window and checked the old-fashioned watch on his left wrist. “12:01 exactly. I keep forgetting I’m used to it. They always manage to scare a few people.”
Sansa shook her head. “Just startled here,” she replied, “not scared.” She stared at the twin royal blue bursts painting the sky. She’d seen bigger fireworks displays all the time in King’s Landing, but only through the smog and the mist from the sea. The colors were crisper and more vivid and far more enchanting here, against the clear Northern sky. “Besides, these are worth a scare.”
She barely heard Jon’s murmur of assent over the gasps and cheers of the guests. It sounded like a pleasant hum. When Sansa turned back toward him, he was staring out the window and clearly unaware that his hand still rested lightly against her upper back from when he had caught her as she tripped. It felt warm and pleasant, like a cup of hot cocoa in her hands, and Sansa did not step away.
Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon would have laughed themselves silly, she thought, over the sight of her clad in a flannel shirt over her party dress and holding onto a plastic drink cup proffered by a rough-hewn Northerner in an old Star Trek T-shirt. But at this distance, she could laugh herself silly back at them, for now that she had left them behind, she did not even need a ball-drop wish to get her new year off to a happy start indeed.
So I just spent the better part of the last hour torturing myself by watching clip after clip of Sansa Stark being treated horribly in Game of Thrones, starting with Joffrey showing her Ned’s head and ending with The-Scene-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named that happened on a certain wedding night in season 5. It was awful, but there’s a method to my madness, I swear. I wanted to get a sense of how Sansa’s troubles have changed her and made her perceive and interact with Jon differently from how she may have done had they been reunited after many years in which nothing bad in particular had happened to her.
Instead, I found myself focusing on the different ways the various men in Sansa’s life treat her, and I’m not just talking about the differences among rape, creepy groping, and sweet hugs and forehead kisses. I noticed right away how different Jon’s body language and tone of voice are from those of the other men. From Joffrey to Petyr to Ramsay, and even Tyrion to some extent, all of them step into her personal space and take charge, leaving her with little to no agency or choice. Joffrey bullies her and has her beaten; Petyr gropes her and verbally strong-arms her; Ramsay, even before he starts raping her, uses his torture and domination of Theon to show Sansa that he, and not she, is the one in charge; and Tyrion, while he treats Sansa very decently, guides her around within the perimeter of the gilded cage in which his family has imprisoned her. (Granted, she was very young at the time; had she been older, the dynamic between them may have been quite different.)
Jon, however, is the opposite. From the moment they meet at Castle Black, he (literally) steps back and lets her have the agency she’s determined to recover. He even lets her approach him when they first hug! And during both of their disagreements later in the episode, he argues with her from a distance; he doesn’t touch her or step up in her face, so to speak. She’s actually the one grabbing his hand at the breakfast table and insisting on taking action, rather than the other way around. And throughout their journey around the North, he respects her and her boundaries, especially her physical boundaries. Even when they argue, even when he raises his voice, even when he’s annoyed as heck with her, he never lifts a hand to her (not even to within a foot of her); he never grabs her arm; he never tries to force his own opinions on her “because I’m the man”; and he never pulls a Petyr by trying to gaslight or manipulate her. The one time, as many other Tumblrs have pointed out, when he initiates physical contact with her, it’s to give her a very gentle, non-threatening kiss on the forehead - i.e., positive physical contact, which she hasn’t had with another man since she lost her father. (Just to be clear, I’m talking about positive physical contact in general, not in a sexual context.) In short, he treats her with utter kindness, gentleness, and respect.
Which brings me to the last part of my theory. I haven’t seen all of Season 6 yet, but I’ve watched most or all of Sansa’s scenes in it, and I’ve observed that she acts markedly different with Jon from the way she acts with other men. She puts a mask on around them that she loses when she’s with Jon. With other men, she’s the shrewd strategist (i.e., council scene with Davos and Tormund), the brittle, wronged ward (i.e., the Mole Town scene with Petyr Baelish - and notice how she shows almost no emotion when she first rides to the battlefield near Winterfell with Baelish and his army in “Battle of the Bastards”), or the commanding Lady of Winterfell (i.e., the disastrous attempts to get Houses Mormont and Glover to aid House Stark). But with Jon, she loses the mask. She lets herself do what I did a very long time ago, when my parents and I had left a destructive cult and the therapist they had me see advised them to give me free rein to express the anger I’d been bottling up for years, so I could get it out of my system. Well, I let loose (verbally, not physically), and so does Sansa. She yells at Jon; she questions his judgment; she disagrees with and once or twice even ridicules his decisions - because she feels safe enough to do it. At some level, she understands that he won’t retaliate with violence or gaslighting or putting her back in her cage, as the other men would have done. She probably has faith as well in his willingness to forgive her for it because he’s done so once already, back at Castle Black when he told her there was “nothing to forgive.” Yes, she goes a bit overboard at times, but then so did I in my anger, and once I’d gotten it out of my system I began to stabilize again. And I think we see signs of Sansa’s stabilizing in “The Winds of Winter.” I don’t mean that she’s mentally unstable, just that she was suffering from the sort of emotional instability that could be expected of anybody who has gone through what she has. And, unlike many of those people, she has a gentle, kind, loving person waiting for her on the other side. When she apologizes to Jon (and it’s a true apology, not one such as the men before him have forced or manipulated out of her) and says he is a true Stark to her, I think she’s showing him true gratitude for sticking with her and being so incredibly kind to her. I think that she values the gentleness and freedom and safety she gets with him far more than she’d value being named Queen of the North, and that’s why I don’t think she’d betray Jon in a million years. It’s also why I think she’ll fall in love with him once they find out about his parentage and open herself up voluntarily to the vulnerability of sex and marriage. I don’t think anything short of what Jon offers could ever make her do that again.
Sorry, way too long ramble.
TL;DR Sansa has suffered unbelievable cruelty, manipulation, and other forms of mistreatment throughout Game of Thrones at the hands of men who take away her agency and violate her boundaries. Jon treats her with kindness and love and never infringes on her agency. She won’t betray him. She will eventually fall in love with and even voluntarily marry him.
“It’s our presence really necessary?” Since his travel to Dragonstone to meet his aunt, Jon decided he hated the south, far too warm for him. His clothes sticked to his skin on a completely disgusting way, his hair was even more at disarray than usual, and worst of all he couldn’t wear his everyday clothes. His cousin Sansa had made him a few breeches and tunics out of gauzy silk and fresh cotton, but he felt it would be a shame to ruin such fine garments with his sweat, so he was donning a black wool tunic, the thing was in a pitful state for Jon used it to train often but he would change as soon as the reached Sunspear.
Sansa laughed, Jon was especially grumpy since they reached the westerlands and the temperature kept on rising “If you wish to keep a good relationship with the Martells then yes. You’re the King cousin, at least until all the realms can reunite again and decide if they are to crown you and if the Red Keep and Iron Throne are to be repaired or if we wish to be independent like we were before the conquest, and this is the wedding of Princess Arianne, it would give the dornish a poor impression of you if you refused to come”
“I hate it”
She laughed again, and Jon cursed to all the gods and hells, she had no right to look so beautiful. That was of course the other reason why he was despairing in this hot wheater, the vision of his fair cousin in those light dresses that exposed far more skin than he was accostumed to made him feel a green boy anew.
Catching Jon’s sour expression she stopped laughing “I am sorry your Grace I shouldn’t be mocking you so. We should be arriving very soon, then you can take a bath and change into more appropiate clothes, I bet you’ll feel much better at once”
Jon groaned “Don’t call me your Grace, Sansa.”
“But I must, it’s the appropiate way to address you, in Winterfell among my siblings is not a problem if I call you Jon cousin, but here things are different and you know it”
Damn her and her political savvyness! Damn her cleverness! Damn her beautiful blue eyes and the curve of her delicate waist! But most of all damn the game of thrones people on the south so loved to take part in!
“I suppose I should call you Lady Sansa then” he wanted to make her mad, to have at least the smallest of hopes that she returned his feelings.
“You supposed correctly”
As unreadable and proper as always, he thought dejected.
Prince Doran himself recieved them among his children and brother. He was tired and his courtesies were surely more than lacking, not that it mattered much, for only Prince Doran and Princess Arianne seemed to look at him. Princes Quentyn, Trystane and the infamous Red Viper’s eyes were immediately drawn to his cousin. How could they not? Her bright blue eyes complemented perfectly the blue of her silky dress, the one with a big V of exposed flesh in the front that he tried desesperately not to stare at, her flowing red hair bright as burnished copper, and her lovely face. Every man’s dream.
Her manners however were perfect, she curtisied graciously and smiled. Prince Oberyn stepped forward and took her hand between his.
Jon frowned what was he–?
Oberyn bent and kissed her knuckles “You have truly grown into a beautiful woman Lady Sansa”
“I could never match your Lady Ellaria, but thank you my Prince”
He couldn’t believe this! He barely dared touch his cousin, she usually never permitend such close contact with anyone and he never wanted to make her un comfortable as much as he itched to hold her and kiss her soft pink lips… But he didn’t, the last time he had touched her so intimately was when he kissed her brow after retaking Winterfell, they were brother and sister back then, it wasn’t wrong, no matter if for a moment he had wanted to kiss her senseless, it wasn’t wrong, he was as brotherly as his budding feelings allowed him to be and that had to be enough (gods knew how disgusted he had been of himself back then) and yet, here she was, letting a stranger kiss her hand and call her beautiful without flinching.
He saw red when Prince Quentyn did the same, even more when he noticed the lad blush when his cousin smiled. For a moment he was back in the crypts of Winterfell (“I love Sansa as I loved her mother”) his fists tightened, but then he tried to relax, he couldn’t do this,Sansa would surely hate him if she saw him like this, the gods knew she had had enough man that desired her… He was disgusting, even if his intentions were to protect her, she didn’t needed nor wanted his protection.
When Prince Trystane turn came he had enough sense to look in other direction.
It was more than scandalous, one thing was touching a lady’s arm to escort her and another kiss her knuckles and bow to the level of her teats! But then Dorne was famous for such a relaxed behaviour.
Sansa, as most times, had been right he did feel better now that he bathed and changed. Though his uneasiness remained, his cousin was surely changing for supper, but he didn’t liked the idea of her being alone for long, dornish man were rumoured to be bold and if the innappropiate greetings Sansa got from Dorne’s princes were anything to to by he didn’t want to think what lesser lords and knights would be like, his cousin was far too corteous to stop them, and Lady Brienne would probably be stopped from taking any action that would offend their hosts, Jon cared little for it though, he didn’t meant to start any conflict with Dorne of course but he wouldn’t just stand by if any man dared disrespect his cousin.
He walked to Sansa’s door, guarded by Brienne and Podrick. “Has my cousin settled down?”
Brienne fixed him an icy stare, the knight woman had never quite liked him “Lady Stark is getting ready, Princess Arianne invited her to sup with her”
“Brienne, is that Jon outside?” came Sansa’s sweet voice from inside the chambers.
“Let him in please”
The tall knight stared him down and then stepped aside.
Once he entered the chambers and took in the sight of Sansa sitting in front of the vanity’s mirror, hair unbound and wild around her naked shoulders a pout on her pink lips and a frown he ached to smooth with his hands, he almost fainted from the sudden heat prickling his skin, he averted his gaze at once and cleared his throat to announce his presence.
She turned around and sighed “Thank the gods you’re here Jon! I can’t tame my hair and I am in need of your assistance”
His throat felt parched suddenly, but he still approached her and took the brush from her hands “You should really consider taking a handmaid my Lady” he grabbed a handful of her bright copper locks and started brushing them softly, ignoring how much he to bury his face in them.
“Nonsense, I can manage just fine most of the time besides I have the sweetest cousin to help me the times I can’t”
Though her tone was light and teasing, he knew the real reason behind her lack of maids: she couldn’t bare the idea of a stanger touching her in such an intimate manner, one that reminded her so of her mother and the innocence of her childhood. It didn’t made it less of a torture for him nevertheless, he longed to not only help her dress her hair but of mussing it up in the throws of passion, of having that fire-kissed hair spilled over his furs, at the same time he felt guilty for such wanton and lustful thoughts when she showed nothing but trust in letting him brush her hair he dreaded to think what her reaction would be if she knew of his desires.
“I can’t think of a better suited task for a King” he replied.
Princess Arianne was already waiting for her in her solar. The table was richly served, a suckling roasted pig among plates full of colorful fruits and a bottle of what Sansa asumed was Dornish wine.
“I am greatful for your invitation Princess”
Arianne dissmised her courtesy with a movement of her hand “None of that formalities Lady Sansa come sit by me”
She did as instructed, not knowing exactly how to behave now that Pricess Arianne asked her to leave courtesies aside.
“Your hair has the most stunning color” Princess Arianne reached for a strand of her hair and twisted it gently in her fingers “You’ve already caused quite the impresión among the lords and knights of Dorne, why even my brother Quentyn couldn’t take his eyes off you, and believe me he is not the type to fawn over a pretty Lady”
“Thank you my Princess” she didn’t liked all this talk about her looks or the Prince’s opinion on her looks.
Arianne laughed “You needn’t look so weary my Lady, though I supposed I was a bit inconsiderate, I know you haven’t had the easiest of lives and rest assured I merely wished to compliment you”
She allowed herself to relax a little “Thank you my princess, you are also very beautiful, your hair specially it looks immaculate even in this heat, I could barely brush mine”
“It’s nothing really, I use some water and a couple of oils brought from Essos for that. I’ll have someone take a bottle to your chambers”
She smiled “You’re really kind my princess.”
The princess frowned and took a sip from her cup “You’re awfully proper my Lady, not that I think that is wrong but you look so young… You know my Lady, once my cousins told me something my uncle Oberyn advised them to do, they said he wanted for them to find pleasure wherever they could for there was very little of it in the world, to this dar I think is the wisest thing I’ve ever heard, don’t you agree?”
“I think he was very right about being little pleasure in the world, but personaly I could never dare to seek for it, I have too many responsabilities to my people to go out of my way looking for pleasure, besides the North is a very different place from Dorne”
“Fuck them” Arianne said hotly “All of them grand Lords seek their pleasure in brothels why should we not?”
“I could not say my princess” she said agreeing in her heart with Arienne’s rage and even took a sip from her wine.
“Then you and your cousin never…?”
Sansa blushed “No! We never, you see we believed to be siblings and Jon is too honorable to think about me in such a way.”
“I see, I guess you must have had a very close relationship as siblings for you to believed that”
“No, quite the opposite really,we rarely spoke to each other, my mother did not like for me and my siblings to spend time with him, though I was the only one who pleased her in that aspect, we only grew closer after we met again”
Arianne smiled “See? Then what is the problem? Don’t you like him? Because I admit if I wasn’t getting married I would have definitely tried my luck with him, such handsome man, and strong from what I’ve heard.”
“I do like him” her face was very hot, but it wasn’t the wine nor the food she knew, it was this feelings she had never dared to voice “but I know he would never see me in that way, he is too honorable for that” and what a cruel joke from the gods that one of the things that made her love him so was also the one that would make her feelings remain unrequited.
“Honor” Arianne snorted “the worst mistress there ever was, dry as dust between the legs and as cold as the fucking wall in her affections.”
Sansa almost spit the wine from the laughter that overcame her.
“Good to see you smiling Lady Sansa” Arianne smirked “I wouldn’t be so sure about his disinterest though, his Grace seemed more than ready to punch my kin for kissing your hand”
Her eyes widened “I don’t know what to say, why would he do that?”
“Well maybe he doesn’t know that is the proper greeting here and can’t stand the thought of another man touching you”
Sansa considered it for a moment, Jon hadn’t had much time to adjust to being King and getting the fitting education for it, so it was a given he hadn’t known about it but jealousy? her heart skipped a bit, but no maybe that was not the case he never looked at her like Littlefinger, he barely looked at her at all and se preferred it that way for fear he would see through her and know about her feelings. But then she remembered what Theon told her about Jon forgiving him for what he did for her, not to mention the way Littlefinger had taunted about Jon being the same as him… Could it be?
The very next day she got her answer.
Jon had been in a very foul mood after his supper with the Red Viper tough he could not anything but warn Sansa to stay away from him and his lover. So she proposed to take a walk through the gardens the very next day, surely not even Jon could be grumpy with such a beauty surrounding him.
She had been wrong about it for now as Prince Quentyn explained the types of flowers and times of the year they bloomed to them Jon was frowning.
“You should really see Sunspear at summer, no better time of the year for the blood oranges and lemmons, I heard you were rather fond of lemmoncakes, and we have the very best of them in Dorne, just last year he had the biggest production in 5 years” Prince Quentyn enthusiastically listing figures and lots of different data about the crops and castle.
“Are you feeling well your Grace?” she asked him in a whisper when Prince Quentyn wasn’t looking.
“I’m as well as I can be my Lady”
But she noticed he was still looking at Prince Quentyn with displeasure, her conversation with Princess Arianne came unwillingly to her mind.
“This is my brother’s garden” he led them through an elegant arch adorned with orange an yellow tiles, on both sides of the cobblestone path beautiful rose bushes stood proudly filling the air with their sweet scent “There he is”
Prince Trystane was sitted on a bench, a book on his lap.
“Your roses are beautiful my Prince” she said in awe.
“I planted most of them for Lady Myrcella” his voice was tinted with sadness, but he shook it off maybe not wanting them to see him so vulnerable. Then he plucked a white rose from a nearby bush and extended it to her “It goes well with your dress m'lady, and I know Lady Myrcella would have liked to see you again so take it in her stead please”
Before she could thank the prince, Jon spoke.
“I don’t feel very well, I think I should return to the castle” he said with pained voice. “If you excuse me”
“Mayhaps your cousin hasn’t yet acostumed to dornish cuisine” Prince Quentyn suggested.
Prince Trystanne looked completely confused “No I don’t think that is so brother, Lady Sansa did we do anything to upset his grace? he looked angry rather that sick”
She felt her heart pounding wildly in her chest “I could not say, but maybe I should go and make sure he sees a Maester. If you excuse me my Princes” se curtisied and spoke properly but her mind wasn’t even into it, she just wanted to see Jon and maybe– Well she didn’t know if she would say anything to him yet, but maybe she would know when she saw him.
Her voice made him stop, he had wanted to get as far as he could from the Princes of Dorne for fear, Sansa deserved happiness and lemmons and gallant gestures, she deserved someone who loved her freely even if he didn’t liked it, he was afraid because he had wanted to chase both Princes away from Sansa, he was afraid of her reaction would be if he did.
Damn Dorne! Seemed every man in the castle was after his cousin, he almost had punched the Red Viper when he suggested he and his llover would love to invite his cousin into their bed just to laugh it off and tease him about how in love he surely was with her to be so angry.
She catched up to him, chest heaving up and down, hair messy and unbound, eyes bright. He felt his loved her so much in that moment, may the gods forgive him.
“Are you truly un-well?” she aside her taking his hand as was her custom when she wanted him to really listen.
“Then you should see a Maester at once” she licked her lips and that was his undoing.
“No” his voice was breaking, he cupped her face in his hands expecting her to refuse his touch, instead she leaned into it. He looked her in the eyes willing her to understand “I don’t think a maester could help me.”
“Then who?“she asked breathing heavily.
“You” he breathed against her lips, closing at last the distance between them. Her lips sweeter and softer that he had ever dreamed, her kissing him back surpassed any hope and dream he had ever had, and now he vowed he wouldn’t let go, diplomacy and political matches be damned.
Gods I am sorry for taking so long in writing this but my week has been pretty busy, I am working on the rest of the prompts I swear! So I actually don’t like the over-sexualization of dornish people cuz that is pretty racist in my humble opinion, but I love angsty Jon so here! Also I would love for Arianne and Sansa to be friends. Hope you liked it and keep sending prompts my way!!!
“They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They’ve never seen a battle, they’ve never seen a man die, they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them.” - Sansa, A Storm Of Swords
“No, Jon might have said, Gerrick is descended from a younger brother of Raymun Redbeard. To the free folk that counted about as much as being descended from Raymun Redbeard’s horse. They know nothing, Ygritte. And worse, they will not learn.” - Jon, A Dance With Dragons