Life was something of a mess these past months. It is not a good excuse, but it is all I have. I think that this is all that I had left to do. Apologies that it took far too long.
Sandor looked out into the small godswood at Clegane Keep. Lords and ladies in brightly colored garments stood in quiet rows. The dragon queen sat in a large chair while her monstrous beast swooped through the sky.
How much longer would Sansa take? It felt like he had been waiting for hours here on top of the rest of the time, but Sansa had said that all she wanted was a northern wedding in front of the tree that he brought to his godswood.
Her words floated back to him. I've not been happier since the death of my father than in the time we spent at your home, and that is where I would be married.
He was drawn from his thoughts a moment later when soft gasps caught his attention. He lifted his eyes to gaze into her shining face. Her dress was long and floated behind her, silvery and silken. Gorgeous red hair like fire flowed free behind her back. Her maiden cloak was simple wool stitched with a dire wolf by her own hands, but the most beautiful thing he saw was her smile.
He wonderingly glanced to the strange northern god. If he were religious, he would believe that the god gave her to him. As it was, he would never know what foolishness had led her to take his hand.
"My Lord, I hope that I am pleasing to you."
Sandor nodded, reaching out to take her arm and move her closer. He gripped her hands, helping her kneel to the tree.
When it came to northern weddings, he had gone to converse with Lady Sansa's savage sister for advice about what to expect. He was told that the northerners decided what vows they took to their intended ones. He was to say what he would fulfill to her.
"Lady Sansa, of House Stark. I would be your husband. I'm not a perfect man. You know this better than any woman. I have made many mistakes. I have been cruel with my words to you, and chances are my words will hurt you in our marriage. I was not so good at helping you as I thought I was. I want you to know that I vow to do better, and that with your guidance-" He tucked her hands against his face. "I have changed from who I used to be. You are the reason I am a better man. I will never deserve you. Whatever you've done, I'll never understand. I vow to be ever faithful to you."
Her fingers traced his face.
"I ask you to hold my leash as you have so long now. Whatever you wish that I can give is yours, even my life, because without you, my life would be nothing without you as it was before you. I have new purpose. The reason is you."
"My Lord, I would be your wife." Sandor almost moaned as she pulled his head down to rest their foreheads together. "Life would have killed me if I hadn't had you. Every memory I had of our time together—every memory real or imagined was comfort and strength, helping me remember tiny pieces of who I was as a monster tried to strip me of all I am. You helped bring me back. You brought my songs back, even if they are just silly chirps of a bird."
Sandor leaned desperately against her, tipping his head to her shoulder.
"There is no life for me without you, and I would have been dead so many times without your words and your sword. You are the bravest, gentlest, most strongest man I've ever known, strong both in nature and conviction, and I know that I will never meet another like you. I don't want to. I don't need to. My father told me that he would find me someone brave, gentle, and strong. I think if he knew you, really knew you as I do, that you would be whom he would have chosen. You are good to me. I am grateful. I vow to be your obedient, gentle wife who loves you. Whatever you wish, I would give as I can. We will surely have our share of problems, but we've overcome so many of those already, that I hardly think more could long separate us."
Sandor pressed his cheek close to hers, gripping a handful of her hair. He pulled back enough to look at her.
"As foolish a bird as ever, and I would never see that change, Sweet Bird." He pressed his lips to hers gently, pulling her into his lap. He could not care less that wetness from the snow was seeping through his trousers as he released the clasp of her cloak, taking it and hanging it on one of the low branches of the heart tree. He tugged his own from his shoulders, the one she had stitched so carefully and wrapped it around her shoulders.
He was married. She was his little bird forever.