Sansa Stark was a bird. She was no longer a wolf, and she would never be a lion, even when she would marry Joffery. All she was was a pretty little songbird singing all the things the Queen and her fiancé wanted her to sing. And she was completely and utterly alone.
Her father was dead- beheaded at the order of Joffery. Robb was at war, and no matter how much Sansa dreamed and wished, he was nowhere close to coming to her rescue. Bran was crippled and was know Lord of Winterfell, and Rickon was four- they would not be saving her from the Lion's Den either. And Arya, Arya had vanished. Sansa had no idea where her sister was, but she prayed it was somewhere far, far away from King's Landing.
She knew Joffery didn't love her, and she knew she didn't love him. Their marriage- if they ever did marry- would be like King Robert and Queen Cersei's- loveless. Perhaps that didn't bother Sansa anymore. Maybe she would grow to accept her marriage and even love Joffery again.
Then the image of Ser Ilyn with Ice raised high above his head bringing the sword down in a mighty arch and beheading her father, flashes in her mind. Every time she closes her eyes, she saw her father's corpse- headless- she saw Ice, dripping red with her father's blood. And she saw her father's head, mounted on a spike.
The memory of seeing her father's head on a spike reminded Sansa of the many beatings she receives from her 'unruly behavior'. Joffery enjoyed listening to his fiancé cry out in pain, or watching as the noble knights from the Kingsguard stuck her. He preferred to use Ser Meryn- he hit the hardest. Sansa could rank the members of the Kingsguard in order of how they hit her.
Ser Meryn was first. His blows left her bruised and bloody, and unfortunately for her, Joffery usually chose him to beat her. Ser Preston was next, closely followed by Ser Mandon. Both knights left her bruised, but never broke her skin. Ser Boros was next. His hits were no softer, but did not sting as much because he simply did not seem to care. Ser Arys was last. He was the only member of the Kingsguard who argued before hitting her, and then only hit her lightly.
Two members of the Kingsguard had never laid a hand on her, however. Jaime Lannister, the Lord Commander was one; although it would be hard for him to beat her because he was out fighting the war against her brother. The other, was Sandor Clegane. The Hound was the biggest of the members in the Kingsguard, and- from what Sansa saw- was the strongest, but Joffery never ordered him to raise a hand to Sansa.
"Harder! I said harder!" Joffery's voice rang out in the Red Keep. He sat upon the Iron Throne, with one leg swung over the arm rest. His crown was too large for him and slipped slightly onto his forehead. "Were you not listening to me, dog?"
Sansa watched as the Hound looked up from the crippled mess of a man as his feet. Although her heart went out to the poor man who he was beating, she was grateful it was not her who was the center of Joffery's torment for the moment. "As you command," the Hound said in his raspy, rough voice. Sansa winced and closed her eyes as his boot kicked the broken man harder, until he began to cough up blood.
Please. Sansa begged to the Old Gods. Please stop his pain, just let him die! Please, I beg you! Mercifully enough, Joffery grew tired of watching the man being beaten and ordered the Hound to slit his throat. Sansa watched the man's blood seep from the line across ear to ear. The sight of a dead man no longer frightened her; she saw her fair share of death watching Court.
"I'm bored," Joffery decided. He stood and removed his crown, handing it to his mother who sat next to him. "You can listen to their whinnying now, Mother." Joffery leaned down and pecked her cheek before walked down the steps from his throne to Sansa. "Come."
Sansa bowed her head and followed her King. She did not ask where they were going or even walk beside him. She walked behind him with her eyes downcast. The little bird was learning how to live without her wings.
"What did you think of Court today, my Lady?" Joffery asked her. He didn't bother to turn to look at her.
"Your rulings were fair, Your Grace," she replied. The man didn't deserve to die was what she truly wanted to say. He had come to Court to ask for the King's Justice on a man who had raped his daughter. Sansa had thought Joffery would allow the man to be executed- he loved putting Ser Ilyn to work. But instead, Joffery proclaimed the man wasn't a good enough father to protect his daughter from the raper and sent the Hound on him.
"Of course they were; I am always right." His voice was arrogant, it was a good sign. It meant he was in a good mood- perhaps Sansa could escape today without a beating.
"Yes, my lord."
Joffery stopped and spun on her, his green eyes filled with rage. "'My lord'?" he spat in her face. "I am not your lord, I am your king! And I will be addressed as such! Ser Preston, teach her how to speak to me!"
The knight stuck her in her lower back- she hadn't even known he was there, but of course he was- Joffery was never without a knight or two. Sansa fell to the ground, and received a foot in her stomach, the image of the man coughing up blood flashed in her mind. Ser Preston pulled her up by her hair and smacked her across the face. "I am sorry, Your Grace!" she yelled, trying to protect her face with her hands. Joffery smiled at her and crossed his arms, and Ser Preston released her. Sansa's body fell to the ground and she did not bother to attempt to stand.
"Much better. If I were you I would remember that lesson or relearning it will be a painful experience for you, I can guarantee it." His voice had lowered to a dangerous hiss, and Sansa shivered. "Leave her here," he said to the knight. "I'm sure my Lady can find her own way back to her chambers."
Sansa waited until their footsteps died away before raising her head. Her fingers felt at her face, trying to find any source of blood. Finding none, she struggled to her feet, clutching the wall for support. The world spun around her, and she closed her eyes.
"Little bird, what are you doing?" The Hound's voice was as raspy and rough as ever, but this time it was a blessing. At least someone would be able to at least try to catch her if she fell.
"I… I misspoke before the King," she whispered. Sansa took a small step forward and then another. Pain shot up from both her stomach and back, and she inhaled sharply. "Ser Preston was ed-educating me on how I should speak to him. Joffery wants me to go back to my chambers now to think about what I have learned."
The world began to spin a little fast around Sansa and she tried to hold onto anything on the wall. A strong grip on her arm steadied her. The Hound kept his hand on her arm and half-led, half-dragged Sansa back to her chambers. She lowered herself onto her bed, the world no longer spinning.
"Thank you," she whispered. Sansa may have not addressed the King properly, but she had learned not to call the Hound 'ser'. He was not knight, and probably would never become one- not that that seemed to bother him.
"You better start watching yourself, little bird. Or soon enough you won't have any feathers left," was the only reply she received before he walked swiftly out the door.