Sansa was six when Catelyn watched her pour her heart over something over the table, using her watercolours and frowning adorably over her papers.
It was the weekend before Valentine's Day and tomorrow, her whole class would exchange Valentine's Cards, and Cat was very sure she had already helped her daughter – well, all of her children – through the process of making or buying their cards. She was the only one in the three kids in school to make her own cards, and Arya and Robb just asked them to be bought, whining through addressing all of them on their personal level.
But not Sansa.
Her oldest daughter was a dedicated girl, already such a perfectionist and dedicated artist where both her brother and sister were more sports' kids than anything else.
"Sansa, dear?" she called. "What are you doing?"
Her girl didn't move her eyes from the project in her hands.
"A card, mummy," she said simply.
"I thought you were done making your cards."
Sansa shook her head, long light auburn braid falling over her shoulder.
"I didn't make one for Jon."
That earned a frown from Catelyn. Jon? She never heard of a Jon.
"Jon? And who is that?"
Finally, Sansa looked at her, and her sky blue eyes were so big and bright her mother had no choice but smile in an unconscious response.
"He's a new boy in my class," she explained. "He arrived last Friday, and I don't know if anyone else will remember to give him a card."
Catelyn pulled a chair for herself and observed her daughter's work. She'd helped her through every single card while Ned took it upon himself to assist the other kids in writing the names of their classmates down to theirs – even though Robb and Sansa were twins, they were in different classrooms since the start of the school year, after her son begged to follow his best friend into his new classroom, with 'cooler kids', according to himself. Catelyn remembered quite well what she made. Colourful cards with 'Happy Valentine's Day', 'You'll Always Bee My Friend', 'You're pinkatastic' and many puns with friendship were thrown. This wasn't one of those.
Instead of animals, Sansa had painted little hearts and butterflies, and nothing was really written on it.
"Do you want my help to write something on it?" she offered.
Her daughter just shook her head.
"He can't read yet, mummy," she explained. "The kids make fun of him. I don't want to make him sad."
She didn't answer but nodded gently at her revelation.
"Do you think we can let him borrow one of Robb's superhero comics?" Sansa questioned. "He said books are too hard, maybe he'll like comics better."
Catelyn tried not to look surprised.
"Well…" she looked over the living room, where her oldest twin was curled over one of his Captain America's comics. "We can certainly talk to Robb about it."
She wasn't surprised to see the boy with his nose almost pressed into one of the oldest editions her son didn't like reading any more just three days later, with her oldest girl helping him spell each word after all four kids spent the last hour playing outside in Sansa's little castle. She was the princess, Robb and Arya were dragons, and Jon was the prince who'd come to rescue her. That was how the black-haired silent boy came to meet their family.
Sansa was twelve when her mother first noticed the way she always dressed up a little more when Jon was in the house. She always put her favourite clothes on and took her hair down from her braids – because they 'made her look silly' -, and basked in the attention he always gave her, even though he was Robb's best friend.
"Mum, can you teach me how to make the lemon pies?"
They were in the kitchen, and the boys and Arya were playing some game outside, and she was about to make something for everyone to eat.
"Well, do we have the ingredients?" she asked.
They did, and she made the pies all alone under her mother's instructions, and the dough was just as good if she'd helped her with her own hands. They ended up burnt though, and Sansa cried so much that Jon came inside to see what was wrong.
Arya, Theon and Robb mocked her lack of baking skills.
Jon ate half of the pies and took the rest with him home at night.
Her oldest daughter bought herself a kitchen timer the next day, and always sent him home with baked good from that day on.
Sansa was supposed to be celebrating her 18th birthday at a party when the police called the Stark's house saying she was in the hospital, and a boy named Jon refused to leave her side.
Ned had never driven a car so fast in his life or hugged Jon Snow so tightly when he saw him. He had a black eye, his lips were swollen and bleeding from a punch, and his arm had a big gash someone still hadn't come to stitch together up.
The police had been called to the party they were in with Arya after Jon had been in a fight, just to find out he was trying to defend her sister. Ramsay Bolton – the son of one of Ned's employees – had drugged Sansa and was trying to take her to a bathroom to take advantage of her. If it wasn't for Arya – who was in the Police station with Jon's mother, Lyanna, who was a lawyer –, he would have done it, and if it wasn't for Jon, both the girls would have ended up hurt, as the delinquent had a knife, and was clearly not afraid to use it.
Ramsay was arrested, witnesses were taken to the police station, and Jon and Sansa were sent to the hospital after he'd told the other cops what had happened. He refused to leave her alone even after the couple had arrived, only allowed the nurse to stitch him up if it meant he didn't have to leave her side, and only went home after Ned promised to bring him back after a night of resting to pick Sansa up from the hospital in the morning, and after Catelyn assured him she wouldn't leave her side.
Rickon named one of his action figures Jon, saying he was a superhero, and Robb had cried and apologised for not being there to defend her as soon as Sansa came home the next day.
They became boyfriend and girlfriend before Jon's black eye had disappeared.
Sansa was 25 when Jon came knocking on their door with a ring in his pocket and the most nervous look they'd ever seen on his face to ask them – and their other four kids – for permission to propose to her.
He had grown a lot from the six-year-old who learnt how to read on her dinner table but still had the same eyes she'd seen when he first arrived at their house, with a UNI student mum with two jobs thanking her and Ned profusely for how their daughter had made her Jon feel included in his new school. They had just moved out, alone together, for her to pursue law school, and he was terribly shy.
Arya mocked him for taking too long, and Robb confessed that he was looking forward to the day that happened. Bran and Rickon were happy that now Jon could become an official Stark. Catelyn and Eddard didn't even hesitate before saying yes.
Sansa was still 25 when they got married in front of a Heart Tree in the godswood behind the castle the Starks owned since the times of the old gods. She had her hair in traditional braids and the happiest smile on her face. Jon looked at her like he always, like she created the whole world for him, with the devotion of a man who'd loved someone for the last 19 years of his life, and was finally marrying her.
He cried when she walked with an arm looped with Ned's and put himself on his tiptoes to kiss her forehead – because he refused to deny her the opportunity of wearing the perfect shoes for her wedding day, even if it meant that their height difference was even more apparent when she wore them. He didn't care. If Catelyn was to be asked, he was in a completely different reality, where they were alone together.
Jon and Sansa dashed their last names when they became a pair.
"Now I'm a Stark too," he smiled when he said it to their guests.
"You've always been a Stark to me," Sansa had told him.
Robb was Jon's first man and had made a big discourse about how he always knew Jon was in love with Sansa, from the times when they were teens. Arya was Sansa's maid of honour – and was wearing a suit, for her mother disbelief – and made a speech about the day Jon and saved both of them at Sansa's 18th birthday, and about how she knew at that moment that they would be together eventually and that Jon was the perfect man to make her sister happy.
When she climbed to the small stage and stood in front of the microphone, Catelyn looked at the recently married couple standing a few steps from her, holding hands while Jon dabbed the tears from Sansa's cheeks, look like the devoted man has clearly always been, and couldn't help but smile more, remembering the exact vision she'd seen 19 years ago, on the weekend before Valentine's Day.
"I'll have to disagree with my children about when Jon and Sansa's future became clear to me. They were clearly in love as teens, and I will never forget the day he saved my daughter, but that's not how everything started," she told their guests. "It really started with a Valentine's Card…"