title: the red queens

summary: put your war paint on, we've got an army to run.

dedication: supposedly for sara-beara on her birthday, but life and exams and funerals happened. this is horrendously late, but please don't think i love you any less because of that. only for you would i write teen wolf, you cretin.

red queens

She falls through a mirror, or something like it. Maybe she dies and wakes up somewhere else, maybe everyone does. Sansa doesn't remember, exactly; she only wakes up face down in a forest somewhere, with blood and smoke staining her dress.

"Oh," she says, spitting out a mouthful of mud. The world is growing lighter with every moment, a golden dawn creeping through the trees. "Oh."

On shaking legs, she stands, brushes down her ruined dress. She might be dead, but at least she's landed somewhere beautiful.

It's a tall man who finds her, unshaven and dressed in strange clothes. He is frightening, she thinks. There is something distinctly not-right about him, with his angry downturned mouth and grey eyes.

Arya had grey eyes like that, Sansa remembers, and she does not feel afraid.

"Fall out of a renaissance fair?" he asks, without preamble, still and watchful. He is looking at her like she is a threat and it's intoxicating, somehow.

Not a pawn, but a player.

"I think I might be dead," Sansa says, but the bark beneath her hands feels real. "Not that it matters, Ser. What is your House? To whom are you allied?"

"Oh, Jesus fucking Christ," he mutters. "Who the hell are you?"

"It's rude to demand a lady's name without offering your own first."

"Derek Hale," he grouses, reluctantly and she smiles.

"I am lady Sansa Stark," she tells him, relishing the words, the name, the forbidden truth. She watches him the way she watches everyone and is pleased to see this Derek Hale become unnerved. She suspects he is not used to having such a stare returned, least of all by little girls.

Sansa tilts her head, curiously. Her smile widens. "I think there is something of the wolf in you, Derek Hale," she says.

He takes her in with silence and a deeply etched frown on his face, but there is kindness beneath his surly attitude which reminds her of Northern hospitality, of her father putting on his lord's face, of direwolf banners blowing in the wind.

His house is a ruined, half burned thing – tiny, nothing like the great castles of home.

"Take a seat," Derek tells her gruffly and Sansa perches delicately on a wicker chair as he stalks off, a silver device held to his ear.

"Lydia. I need your help."

"So Derek says he found you in the woods."

Sansa inclines her head, observing this skinny half-naked girl with auburn hair. She takes in the painted face, painted nails and meticulously styled hair.


"So what are you? Witch? Time-traveller? Banshee?"

Explanations rise up and fall flat on her tongue. How can she possibly explain what has happened, when she does not know herself?

"I am a Stark," she begins, knowing somewhere in this creaking shack, Derek Hale is listening.

"How did you know?" Lydia Martin demands, filing her nails with an air of casual unconcern. Her mouth is red and perfect. "How did you know about Derek?"

Memories of Arya rise to the surface, so wild and full of laughter, the snarl of her mouth whenever Joffrey was in the same room. Memories of Lady and Nymeria and Grey Wind and Ghost and Shaggydog, and the grey one, the one Bran never named before he fell.

How could she not see it in Derek, when the wolf-blood runs in her veins? When she was born of a wolf and surrounded by a litter, when she felt Lady at the fringes of her soul?

Sansa laughs – laughs as she hasn't done in years until there are tears in her eyes and hiccups coming out of her mouth and she cannot stop.

"What's so funny?" Derek asks appearing in the doorway and that just makes her laugh harder.

Because it isn't funny. It isn't funny at all.

Lydia sorts her out. Sansa gets the sense that Lydia is used to sorting people out – that she can look at a crisis, purse her lips just so, and dismantle the chaos with nothing more than a look and a forceful voice spewing out instructions.

Men – boys, really, so soft and good and nothing at all like the hardened warriors of the world she knew – listen to her, too.

"I think a little sparkle would light you right up," she says, perky and in command. "Sequins, Sansa! And heels. You've got killer legs, you need to show them off."

Seeing so much of her own body is alarming, but Sansa dons flimsy skirts and lacy little tops and stockings and learns how to apply war paint to her lips, her eyelids.

It is a woman's power, Lydia Martin has and it is one Sansa has always understood. She adjusts. She learns.

(She will conquer).

"I feel like a whore," Sansa admits, staring at her reflection, dolled up in tiny clothes and impossibly tall shoes. Her hair shines in newly done curls. The power around her eyes accentuates the blue of her irises.

"You look like a goddess," Lydia corrects her, with a self-satisfied smile.

Not a goddess, Sansa decides, picking out a lipstick and applying it with newly learned precision. Blood red and so very daring. A Queen.

"You scream in your sleep."

Sansa applies mascara, barely looking at Derek's reflection in the mirror. "What of it, Derek Hale?"

"You cry for people. Robb. Father. Mother. Bran. Always the same names."

"And you scream for your sister," she counters, anger flaring to life in her bones. "Lydia told me what happened here, how your whole family died in a fire, but I don't ask you about it. I don't pry and try to dig my way in to the places where you bleed."

And she could. Oh, how she could. This brave new world is so liberating. She has no use for masks here, no use for ugly lies, not unless she wants them. Without them, she finds rage rising to the surface, smouldering in her blood. In this world, Sansa is allowed to have claws.

"Sansa," he starts, eyes glowing, hands clenching and she is not afraid of him or his anger. Not when it pales beside her own.

"You wouldn't have lived through what I had to," she sneers, standing up and staring him down. "You men, with your bloodlust and your idiocy and your impatience – you wouldn't have lived through any of it! You know nothing about me, Derek!You don't know anything about me or them and you have no right to say their names!"

Derek lets her rage, expression cooling to become inscrutable. She beats her fists on his chest, throws everything in reach, takes pleasure in screaming wordlessly. She claws and kicks and scratches.

"Wolf-child," he murmurs, when it's over and passes over his leather jacket. Wrapped around her shoulders, it feels like armour. "You don't need to be scared anymore. You're part of the pack, now. That's what we do. When our pack dies, we build a new one."

She looks down at her blood-crusted nails. Not lady-like. "Do I have to call you Alpha, now?"

Lydia takes her dancing. The room is hot and smells of sweat and it's too loud and with the buzz of vodka hitting the back of her throat, for a moment Sansa can pretend she always belonged here.

Men stare at her – Stiles, in particular, watches her with his mouth open and eyes wide – and it doesn't feel like entrapment, it feels like power.

"They'd die for you," Lydia whispers in her ear, under the pink and blue and dancing lights. "All of them."

Sansa stills, becomes a statue in the middle of the dance floor. This isn't the sort of power she wants, has never been the power she wants.

If I'm ever a Queen, I'll make them love me. She pulls away from Lydia, remembering Dontos, remembering her father on the steps of the Sept.

"I've never wanted anyone to die for me."

"So, I know Derek is like, the all-powerful Alpha and Scott thinks he's werewolf-Jesus now, but I kinda realised something."


"You've got them all in the palm of your hand," Stiles side-eyes her, watchful and so, so smart. No one knows how smart Stiles really is. "You're queen and they don't even know it."

"Men with power never know when they're under a woman's thumb." That is something she has learned first-hand. "Lydia knows that too, I think."

"But you know how to use it."

Sansa smiles at him and runs a brush through her shining copper hair. Of course Stiles would be the one to see through her; he sees everything and no one realises. The people on the fringes of the circle are always the ones who are underestimated.

"You remind me of someone," she tells him fondly, a little sad around the eyes. "A girl I once knew. She was surrounded by enemies, Stiles. She was trapped in the lion's den with no way out."

He watches her with curious eyes and she loves that he listens so intently. No one ever listened to her in Westeros, no one took her seriously.

"Do you know what she did? She made herself stupid and small and unthreatening. The lions thought that because she acted like a pretty little bird, that was all she was."

"What happened?"

"She outlived every single one of them. The wolf that hides in sheep's clothing is the one that survives, because no one thinks it's a danger."

"Why did you tell me that story, Sansa?"

She cups his face with one perfectly manicured hand. "Oh Stiles," she murmurs. "Don't you see? You're just like the wolf. You're the weakest, most normal person here – and not one of them realises that you're the most dangerous of them all."

You are just like me.

He stares at her with shining eyes and Sansa knows she has her general.

"Boys are idiots," Lydia sighs, throwing the car into reverse. They are both wearing big sunglasses, the stereo turned up loud.

No more Florian and Jonquil in this world; Sansa doesn't mind the loss, somehow.

"They need looking after, or they're all going to get themselves killed."

"Can't have that."

They share a look and a crown; their wolf-boys need to be directed for their own safety. Sansa has no plans on letting any of them die for her, on letting any of them die at all.

This time it's going to be different, she thinks, remembering Robb and father and mother and Bran and Rickon and Arya and even Jon Snow. Her first pack; the one she couldn't save.

She is Queen and more than make them love her, she will make them live.

Turning to the window, she lets her fingers trail in the cool autumn air and smiles her saddest smile for the ghosts she's never managed to leave behind.

"This time," she promises in a whisper Lydia doesn't hear. "This time, I'll be the hero of this story."


notes: this was supposed to be redheads crushing the patriarchy I'm not sure what happened.

notes2: I've only ever watched seven episodes of teen wolf forgive me for this awfulness

notes3: sansa/stiles brotp? thoughts?