Petyr / Sansa Week: Howl

Winter is coming.

That is what the Starks always said. It is coming. They are coming.

They are here.

Icy wind whispers down the corridor, my footsteps silent amid the cold. My bare feet leave tracks in the frost, my hand closed firmly around the hilt of my sword. I don't like fighting. I am not much good at it; the scar across my chest is more than ample proof of that.

But when White Walkers are at my door, what choice do I have?

Blood stains the courtyard. It spatters the walls leading into the keep. The moon door is unguarded. I enter carefully, tensed, listening for any sign of movement. They came upon us an hour ago. It must have taken them hours to climb their way up. The first screams awoke me before dawn. Torches still flicker in thin brackets along the walls.

There are stories about the White Walkers… legends. I can't remember any of them, except that they are neither dead nor alive… but something else. I haven't seen one yet, but I heard them silence the screams of Lysa's men, one by one.

It's bitterly cold. Snow dances across the grounds and through the arches as I creep down the passage. I pray Sansa had the intelligence to bar her door, to hide, to climb out her window and make her way to the roof if she had to. She's smart. Much smarter than I was at her age. She reminds me of her mother yet… she doesn't. My pull toward her is stronger somehow; I sense possibility in her, a strength that for all her graces, her mother lacked. There is a Direwolf in Sansa, a beautiful, ruthless Direwolf just waiting to be freed.

Shivers caress my spine as I reach her door. It's slightly ajar, frost touching the handle. Dread burns in my chest, my heart quickening beneath the ugly scar. I can't bear to look inside and find her dead, her crimson hair spilled across the floor. I can't bear the thought of stepping in her blood. Not now. Not again.

I had a dream of Catelyn the night she was murdered. I saw her death… not as it was, but as I wished it to be – old and warm in my bed. But it was not to be. Catelyn was given no such grace, no such mercy.

Oh god, whatever god there may be… don't let it be the same for Sansa.

I enter the room carefully. There is no sign of her, only an open window with a fluttering curtain. I breathe again and turn—just in time to block the blow. The White Walker is huge, his eyes burning like sapphires in his grotesque, inhuman face. The metallic sound of his sword colliding with mine sends shuddering vibrations through me, forcing me back several paces. He strikes at me again and I twist and duck, his sword severing the bedpost in half. He is stronger than I am, quicker—one vicious blow sends my blade skidding across the room. Massive hands close around my throat and he lifts me off the ground.

Sansa!

Her small hands snatch up my sword, almost too much for her to carry, and slice the Walker's leg out from under him. He goes down to one knee, releasing me with a howl of rage. Red hair flying and a flush of anger and fear coloring her face, Sansa stabs him a second time. She leaves the sword sticking through his chest and backs away, gaping. I snatch it up and slice the beast's head off. It bounces across the room and lands at her feet.

She stares at it and covers her mouth with her hand, choking back tears. I understand. The last head she saw severed was her father's. But she lifts her chin, sets her mouth in a firm line, and says, "We must burn them. Burn them, or they don't stay dead!"

White flakes dance around us as she tears a torch from its bracket. She lunges toward the body and I stop her, nodding at the rich brocade of her room. "Not here."

Fierceness glints in her eyes as she nods and taking one lumbering arm, helps me drag the Walker out into the hall. She throws down the torch and fire licks along the blue body. Snowflakes fall through the columns and she shivers, wearing only a night shift. I remove my robe and wrap it around her; she clings to me, pressing against my warmth. The vulnerability I saw in King's Landing… in her face when she climbed onto the boat… in her countenance when I first brought her here years ago is gone at last, torn out of her. Her softness, her sweetness is gone, and strength is in its place.

Her face tilts upward to mine. "Petyr…" she whispers.

It's the first time she has said it without prompting, the first time it sounds like we are on equal ground. I caress her cheek with my thumb and impulsively, she leans in to kiss me. Her lips are soft and cold, like the rest of her; but warmth flows in and she steps closer. Thin fingers fumble at the lacing on my nightshirt. I break the kiss to put my hand over hers.

"No," she says, "I want to see the scar."

I let her open my shirt and look. Gentle fingers trace across it, and she kisses me again. "It isn't safe here," she whispers, our faces inches apart in the semi-darkness, the Walker in flames behind us. "We must leave. We must run. We must become the hunters, not the hunted."

And she takes my hand and pulls me forward, leaving bloody footprints in the snow.

She is the Direwolf at last.