John left the garden and left Arya, Bran and Sansa behind. Bran finally told them about John's origin and Sansa was now sure more than ever that the queen was not the right person for the throne. Arya was surprised by the news and so was Sansa. They were trying to wrap their minds around it. Their bastard brother was Targaryen all along? Sansa looked at Arya and their brother.
''What do we do now?''
''We can't do anything. He doesn't want the throne.''
''But it's his!''
''I wish I knew how to solve this.''
Arya looked at Sansa and shrugged her shoulders.
''But he is too loyal to the queen… He loves her… He would never betray her.''
''Men and stupid things they do for love!''
Arya could agree… Just few hours ago she refused Gendry's offer to marry him and be his lady… She was still thinking about it, if she made the right choice. Silence was broken by their brother.
''John is not the key...''
They turned back at their brother. They noticed that Bran was looking somewhere so they followed his line of view. They saw Tyrion standing with Brienne and talking about something. Sansa knew what she had to do then. She was surprised how she didn't think of it before. She turned to her siblings and turned back and started walking toward Tyrion and Brienne.
''My Lord… Brianne…''
Arya was pushing Bran's wheelchair behind them and they walked slowely.
''Are you going to be one of the torch carriers Sansa?''
''I have to be.. I am lady of Winterfell…''
''Yes, you are.''
''And I owe it to Theon… He was like brother to us… He grew up with us here…''
''I am sorry for your loss… I didn't have chance to tell you that.''
''Thank you Tyrion, it means a lot.''
They walked in silence for a few moments and then Tyrion spoke…
''About the crypt…When we were about to die.''
She looked at him waiting for what he would say.
''If I died then and there, I would have died a happy man.''
''But we didn't…''
''Dying by your side would be one of the ways I would choose to leave this world.''
She gave him a small smile.
''It would have been my honor to die by your side too Tyrion…''
Brienne felt like she was not wanted in that moment so she slowed down and waited for Arya and Bran to reach her. Sansa and Tyrion continued walking together and talking. She was surprised by Lady Sansa's action but who was she to blame her. She spent the night with Jamie Lannister… Her prospective on things was not clear either. Sansa and Tyrion walked together to the pyre. Sansa went to stand with the Starks and the people of the North and Tyrion went to his queen. But even during that time she didn't brake eye contact with him for too long. Arya whispered to her in a very worried tone.
''Sansa, what are you doing?''
''What has to be done…''
''Is it worth it?''
She didn't respond. She just looked at her sister.
''You are lucky that you are free… I am Lady of Winterfell, North is my duty…''
''And what about your dignity Sansa?''
She just looked at her sister and responded in a very cold voice.
''We all lost it… None of us has luxury to have it anymore… We were born to be ladies…and marry into noble families and live perfect lives… And look at us now… How did that work out? How many beatings and things we survived?! Now we can't afford dignity…Now we just play the game.''
''I never knew how.''
''Unfortunately, I've learned how.''
''I just wat to know if you are sure Sansa?''
''What has to be done will be done.''
Arya didn't say anything more. John started his speech and after that it was Sansa's turn to throw the torch to the pyre. She watched Theon burn with the rest of the fallen and her heart was breaking and hate for queen was growing. Her mind went back to this morning and the talk of the war against Cersei and Sansa felt anger brew in the pit of her stomach. She wanted to go to war without thinking about the injured men who just got out of one of the biggest fights they ever had. She was not surprised that John sided with her. When she said that, even Arya was on her side. John could dismiss Sansa because she never fought in the battle, but when Arya said something he had to at least listen to her. Remembering queen's speech and comments she was even more determined to get on with the plan of getting John on the throne… She just had to be wise and patient…Very patient. After the burning of the pyres they all retired to the main hall to eat but Sansa went to the gardens. Before she walked away she looked at Tyrion and smiled at him. With that smile she gave him an invitation for him to join her. She took a seat on the beach in the corner and he joined her.
''How are you Sansa? I saw you took it hard to burn Greyjoy's body…''
''I am better now… I guess it will take time to heal.''
''I guess it would.''
''And you my Lord… I saw that your friend Jorah died.''
''Well, I wouldn't really call him my friend…''
''And what was he?''
''Someone who wanted to be the hand…Someone who loved the queen too much and she never loved him back… Rather sad story…''
''I think it's nice… He died for the woman he loved.''
Tyrion had sad smile on his face.
''That bastard died happy… Giving his life for the life of the woman he loved.''
''I bet it is nice to be loved like that… I can't imagine someone loving me that much…''
Tyrion just looked at her. She could see it in his eyes that he wanted to say that he loved her just as Jorah loved his queen and that he would also love her from the sidelines. Sansa looked at his and her eyes softened.
''Oh, you love the queen too?''
She knew he had no feelings of that sort for the queen, but she had to get him to tell her it's her.
''Queen? No! Never!''
''Oh, I was under impression that you do love someone like that.''
''I do my lady…''
And then he looked at her. She took it as a sign that it's her. She got up and offered her hand to him. He was a bit skeptical but he took it. She got him back to the castle through some secret halls and places he never walked and straight to her chamber. He was not sure if she should enter, but since she didn't let go of his hand he had no other option than to follow. She bolted the door and dropped her fur.
''I need you to share my bed Tyrion…''
''You said you would never do it until I ask you… Now I am asking…''
''Why me? There are so many better men…''
''I don't want them… I want you Tyrion… I want someone who wants me…not my name…my land… just me…''
He came up to her and kissed her hand.
''I don't want to hurt you Sansa…''
She was on her knees before him.
''I know you will not… I am just asking of you to love me… You will leave soon and I might never have a chance to be in the arms of the men who loves me… Please, don't let me die marked by the man I hated and who abused me.''
He cupped her cheek and pulled her into very tender kiss. After he broke the kiss he pressed his forehead to hers.
''But if at any moment you want to stop…''
''I will tell you… But please…don't make me wait.''
He helped her with the belts on her dress and her boots.. Sansa was in her under dress and barefoot on the furs that were on the floor.
''May I ask something of you Sansa?''
''What is it that you ask?''
''Can you let your hair down?''
She just smiled and nodded. In a matter of moments, her braids were not anymore in her hair and her long copper colored hear was down. She took a seat on the bed and he climbed behind her. He kissed her neck and shoulders not daring to go further. Sansa was surprised how different he felt than Ramsey. Tyrion touching her body didn't make her feel things Bolton's touches did. At first she was really stiff, but Tyrion was very gentle and patient with her. Sansa could never imagine feeling that amount of pleasure and joy like she did when she and Tyrion were being intimate. She finally realized why people loved to…fuck… even if it was not the word she would ever use in public… But her mind was not public… her chambers were not public…and she was learning so much about herself just from this one time with Tyrion. He really knew what he was doing and knew how to do it. Sansa let him hold her and she was on her side with her head on his chest Her arm was over him and he held her hand. From time to time he would kiss it, kiss her hair and kissed her mouth. He was sure this was just a dream. That Sansa was not really in his arms cuddling with him after hours of making love.
''I could never imagine this happening?''
''Me neither… I feared being touched for so long…and you.. You changed it… You made me feel like I can want and not be scared for my life.''
''I could never hurt you Sansa.''
She kissed his chest and put her head back.
''It should have been you.''
''The first…the last…only one.''
She was about to cry but she managed to keep it under control.
''You are an amazing men Tyrion Lannister and now I know why you were so popular with the ladies… And I bet you still are.''
''Well, there were some attempts to get me into bed, but I never did… I haven't been with a woman since we got married.''
''Because you were the only one I wanted.''
She kissed him and they made love one last time. They knew that soon they would have to go back to the world of the living and eager to go to war. So they took their time to enjoy one last time.
It was almost time for the big feast when two of them were getting dressed in Sansa's chambers.
''I must say it was one of the best afternoons in my life.''
He came and kissed her hand.
''Thank you for giving me the memory I will proudly take to my grave.''
She felt kick in her gut when she heard that.
''No, don't say that.''
''I don't want to die…''
''Then why do you speak of death?''
''One day I will have to die…''
''But not now…not in this war…''
''I wouldn't be able to bare it if anything happened to you...''
''I wouldn't want to live in the world where you don't exist… I am so yours that it would devastate me.''
He didn't expect that from her.
He stood behind her chair and put his arms around her. He kissed her neck and took her brush. He was brushing her hair and treated it like it was one of the most precious things in the world. He kissed her and just admired her.
''You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen Sansa Stark.''
She blushed a bit when she saw with how much honesty he spoke to her.
''And I am yours…''
''You made me feel alive… For the first time in years… I dared to feel…''
''And how do you feel Sansa?''
''Like I don't want to spend a moment far from you.''
Tyrion longed to hear those words for years and now hearing them he was too scared to accept they might be true. He had to convince both of them that it was just something she was saying. He had to make himself believe she had no idea what she was talking about.
''It's the high from the….''
''Don't you dare say something like that… It was more than fucking and you know it.''
Her word choice surprised them both.
''And how would you call it Sansa?''
''Love making… Because we did that… I was fucked… But this was more…''
''You are right…''
She smiled at him.
''Will you come back tonight?''
''Are you sure?''
''We only have two days more.''
''Yes, I will come back…''
He smiled and kissed her.
''Now I must go… Feast is starting and I have to be there.''
''I will be there soon.''
''See you after they all get drunk…''
''See you Tyrion.''
He left the room and Sansa smiled to the mirror… Arya entered the room and bolted the door.
''What are you doing?''
''Playing the game she started.''
''Sansa… You can't play with her… She is queen… White queen, Dragon queen or whatever she wants to call herself.''
Sansa had pretty evil smirk and devilish glint in her eyes.
''Well, someone should tell her that the black queen just took her bishop...''
Sansa looked herself in the mirror and in the background was the bed they just got out of. Arya noticed her sister's look and turned to find her bed being a mess. Sansa was bedded by Tyrion…Already? She didn't believe her sister would move so fast and already get into the bed with the imp. Sansa fixed her last braid and got up.
''We have feast to attend…before We continue the game.''