A/N: Yayy, pretty long chapter! Tell me what you liked (or didn't like), and ideas how to continue are welcome! I'm not sure how this story is going to unwind, so suggest, critise, and review, review review please!
On the seventeenth day, Sandor had surprise for Sansa. He waited to tell her until late afternoon, still on horseback. He knew that she would be happy, but somehow, he didn't want to see the delight on her face. It would be too painful.
'Sansa,' he said softly.
'Hmm?' She had been daydreaming again, he could tell.
'I thought we could stay at an inn tonight. You'll have a real bed, it'll do you good.'
She gasped before he could finish what he was saying. She couldn't turn around to face him, but she tried anyway. She craned her neck to look back and up at him.
'Really?' she nearly shouted.
She just nodded, trying to smile. 'We might stay two nights.'
She cried out in wordless excitement, and writhed around on the saddle. He sensed that she wanted to hug him, but he didn't want her too.
It would be too much. Hearing the joy in her voice already gripped his heart. He didn't want her to thank him, because she must have known that this was just a logical step.
If it were up to him, they would spent the rest of their days in the woods, by their self.
But she needed human contact.
And you're just a dog, remember?
When they dismounted at the little inn, the first thing Sansa did was throw her arms around Sandors broad chest. She actually wanted to throw her arms around his shoulders, maybe even kiss him on the check, that's how happy she was, but he was too tall for her.
He didn't hug her back, but she expected that. At least he didn't stop her.
By the time she let go of him, an old lady had come round the little wooden building. She was hunched, grey, wrinkled and ugly, but she had a kind smile on her face that made her glow.
Even her voice sounded wrinkled, but sweet.
Sansa walked closer to the lady, but Sandor held her back and went to her himself.
'Good afternoon madam. My niece and I have travelled for a long time. Is it possible for us to rent one of your rooms?'
The woman looked at Sandor, but Sansa saw that her eyes were a milky white. She was blind. Which was probably the reason Sandor didn't scare her in the slightest.
'Of course, dear, of course, come in! You are in luck, there's just one room left at the moment. Please, come in, come in, dear. My grandson will take care of your horse.'
'Actually madam, my horse has some of a temper, so I'll do that myself. But my niece would very much like to take a bath, I think. Could you show her to our room?'
Sansa walked forward and carefully put her hand on the old woman's arm.
'Good afternoon madam.'
The old woman turned her blind eyes on her, and smiled a toothless grin. Sansa smiled back, even though she knew the old woman couldn't see it.
'Now, come on darling, I'll show you to your room. You must be tired.'
The woman told Sandor that the stables were at the back, and guided Sansa slowly into the inn. The dining room was small, but cosy, and there were a couple of men eating at the tables. Most of them looked up as she walked in, clear interest in their eyes. When they arrived at the correct room, the woman told her she would sent up her grandson with water for a bath. Sansa thanked her, and fell down onto the big bed as soon as she closed the door behind her.
It was soft, and huge. Sansa idly wondered how Sandor was going to act tonight. It was obvious they had to share a bed. Somehow, that idea didn't bother at all.
After a couple of minutes there was a firm knock on the door. Sansa stood to open it, and saw a tall young man carrying her bathtub, steaming water included. She stepped back so he could set it in the room with a loud thunk. He turned, but didn't leave. He was very handsome, blond with blue eyes. But there was something about him that made Sansa feel very uncomfortable. The way he was looking her up and down sent shivers down her spine, like he was undressing her with his eyes.
When Sandor looked at her that way, it felt good, like she was in control. But with this guy, is was scary. Maybe because he didn't try to hide his animalistic admiration or maybe just because she knew Sandor so well.
'Thank you,' she said dismissively.
'You're welcome sugar,' he answered in a low voice, 'tell me if you need anything else.'
Luckily, he left it at that. As soon as Sansa closed the door behind him, she relaxed.
Sandor would never let anything happen to you.
Sandor led Stranger to the stables, and relieved him of the saddle and their baggage. He started brushing the giant horse down with rough but careful strokes. When he was almost finished, he felt like someone was watching him. Stranger felt it too, he snorted and whipped his tail.
Sandor turned around to see a blonde boy watching him. He looked rather muscular for his age, but it was nothing compared to Sandor himself. However, Sandor remained wary. There was something off about the boy.
'So you're her uncle, right?' he sneered.
Sansa! What has he done to her?
'Yes, I am,' he grunted 'So you'd better stay the fuck away from her.'
The boy just sniggered.
'To be honest, I don't see the family resemblance. She's a hot piece of ass, and you're as ugly as can be.'
Sandor growled softly.
'And apparently not capable of human interaction. You see, humans need words.'
He stepped closer, but stayed carefully away from Stranger. His eyes were fixed on the scarred half of Sandor's face.
'You're not really family, are you? She's just some beautiful girl you kidnapped? You're the monster that haunts her in her dreams, and then she wakes up to see the reality is just as bad.'
Hate cursed through Sandor's veins. But what was worse, he realised that the boy was speaking the truth. He was a monster, and he had kidnapped her. He wasn't sure if he appeared in her dreams, but he was sure she hated every day she spent with him. He was disgusted with himself. But there was also something that told him that if he had been young and handsome like this guy, Sansa might have actually liked him.
He stepped closer to the boy, towering over him. He hated him, not only because he was showing him the painful truth, but also because of his handsome features that didn't scare away everyone within two seconds. The boy opened his mouth again, but before he could produce any sound whatsoever, Sandor gripped the front of his shirt and pulled him up close. Their noses were almost touching and the boys expression went from smug to terrified in less than a second.
'Stay away from her, or I will rip off your balls and shove them só far up your ass, you'll taste them for days.'
Sansa lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. The bed was incredibly soft and comfortable after the past two weeks, but she still couldn't sleep.
All because he has to be so goddamn stubborn.
Sandor had insisted she'd take the bed for herself. He was lying on one of the bedrolls on the ground beside her. Not because the bed was too small or anything (it was frickin' huge), but because he had somehow gotten into his head that he wanted to give her as much space as possible. Or that's what he had grunted at her anyway.
With the result that she now not only felt incredibly guilty that he was paying to sleep on the floor, she was also freezing. In the woods, Sandor had always been close enough to keep her warm. Right now, with him giving her "space", she was colder than she had been on some nights at Winterfell.
She rolled over until she was at the edge of the bed, looking at Sandor, who had his back turned her way. He was breathing evenly, so he was probably asleep.
He had been acting strange ever since they got here. He had seemed pale when he finally came back from brushing Stranger, and he had been more silent than usual. At dinner, everyone except the old blind lady had been stealing glances at our table. Most of them horrified and disgusted glances at Sandor, but also quite a few hungry glances at her.
She didn't really care about the men fantasising about her, she felt safe with Sandor near, but she did care about them hurting him. She could tell that he had been pretending not to notice, but the stares hurt him. He wasn't some animal in a cage.
A shiver ran down Sansa's spine. It just kept getting colder. She couldn't take it anymore. As silently as she could, she slipped out of bed, into a bathrobe and out the door.
Her bare feet took her down to the dining room. Maybe somebody would still be up, somebody who could give her an extra blanket or a hot-water bottle.
The dining room was empty, but she could see light shining in the kitchen.
'Hello?' she called out softly, while walking closer to the door, 'anybody there?'
Once she reached it, she knocked softly and pushed the door open. The young man who had brought her her bathtub was sitting on the worktop, a nearly empty bottle in his hands. He looked at her with his eyelids half closed, as if trying to remember who she was.
'Oh, I- I'm sorry. Never mind, I'll go back to my room,' Sansa said while she started to turn.
Faster than she imagined he could in his drunken state, he was by her side, gripping her arm.
'Nooo, nnnooo, commonin Beauty! You have finally mmmanagedto slip away fromthe Beast, and noooow you want mmmy protection!'
He was speaking loudly, slurring his words heavily. His grip on her arm was strong though, and already it started to hurt.
'No, I was just cold, I- I don't need protection,' she resisted, 'please, let me go, let me go back upstairs!'
He wasn't listening at all.
'Buuuuuut, if you wannntmmy protectiooon, I want somethinggg in return.' He pulled her closer, and she could smell the alcohol on his breath.
She was really starting to panic now, but she couldn't break away from his hold on her, he was too strong. He dropped the bottle with a crash, and she could feel the glass shards and the last of the liquor raining down of her bare feet. With his free hand he grabbed her chin. She tried to jerk away, but in the end he got her to look straight at him.
'I wannnta kiss,' he whispered.
Sandor woke with a start as he heard a chrash of glass breaking somewhere downstairs. He immedeatly jumped up and grabbed his sword as he saw that Sansa was no longer in bed. Running down the stairs with four steps at a time, his mind was panicking.
It's my fault if she gets hurt. I am supposed to protect her.
As he entered the dining room, he froze for a heartbeat as he looked through the open door into the kitchen.
The arrogant boy from the stables was groping Sansa, her bathrobe ripped open, mouths pressed together. For the shortest of moments, he thought he was looking at a couple, madly in love, about to have sex. That moment ended when Sansa jerked back her head, and spat something bloody on the floor. The boy screamed, and hit her hard in the face.
Sandor was on him before Sansa had fallen to the ground. He didn't even think about using his sword, he just punched the boy as hard as he could on the jaw. The boy fell to the ground, but before he realised what had happened, Sandor was sitting on top off him. He grabbed the boy's head on both sides with his huge hands, and smashed it hard onto the ground, once. The boy went limp immediately.
Sansa was looking at him with huge eyes. Glass was everywhere on the floor, and she had hurt herself falling into it. But what drew Sandor's attention most, was the smear of blood on her mouth. His eyes found the thing she had spat out. It was a piece of flesh.
He looked back at the unconscious boy beneath him, and saw that his lower lip was torn off.
Sansa just stared at Sandor. He had saved her. There was glass in her hands and knees where she had fallen onto the ground, and she could taste the boys blood on her own lips. As she saw the realisation dawn on Sandor's face about what she had done, she scrambled upright, sprinted a few paces further into the kitchen, and retched. Vomit sprinkled over her feet, which were now also bleeding because of the glass shards.
She heard Sandor stand up, walking towards her. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, and turned to look at him.
She saw love and concern in his eyes, right before everything went black. The last thing she realised before she slipped into darkness, was that Sandor was holding her, stroking her hair.