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It was late in the night when he came back.

She'd heard waves of footsteps running on the steps, a choked shout; she'd been hidden under the cloak for a long hour when she heard footsteps again. They were much heavier but unsteady, and she knew before the door opened that it was him again and not Ilyn Payne. He came in clanking on a gust of stink, holding a jute sack, and his face was terrible. She breathed, and waited. If I scream, someone worse will come. He walked to her, swaying, and held down a crusted hand to her. I won't, I can't, she thought, but the hand stayed there, and with a sense of falling, she took it.

He pulled her to her feet, pushed her over to her bed, and stood in the center of her room, breathing like a bull and looking around in the dim light. When he turned to face her, his eyes had narrowed and she couldn't see them at all.

"You're going, you know. Can't stay."

She felt her mouth dry. The words clogged in her, she could barely get them out. "I can't go now, I have to wait, I just– I have to wait–" She shook her head pleadingly, the words gone.

He gazed at her. "Some ship in the night? Luck for you. Who helms it, do you think? Not who they told you, I'll bet on that."

"I can't–" It doesn't matter, tell him, he's leaving anyway. "Ser–Ser Dontos. There really is a ship, and–" She stopped at the sight of his face.

He had blinked at her, stood wavering. Then his face split. She'd never seen him truly laugh before; she was mesmerized as his good side creased and the other rippled shallowly after it, slower, like a reflection in a pool. He laughed until he gagged, then caught himself and shook his head, swallowing. A tear caught in the crack of scar below his eye and he rubbed it away, still shuddering. "Dontos. All right, then, have Dontos. I'll… Ah, you're too young, a pity. I'll tell you later and see how you like it."

The Hound went to her wardrobe and leaned into it, dug through the chest at the bottom. She watched, shaking, as he pulled out her dresses, tossing away the new ones until he reached the layer of heavy dresses from home. Those he crumpled up with her cloak and dropped in the sack. Then he turned, absently knocking the bag against his leg so the contents settled, and looked at her, blank-faced, his underlip jutting. As if measuring. It was then that she realized.

Her body moved much too slow, far too slow in her shock. She'd barely gotten to the door when his arm came around her shoulders, heavy like a gate, and pinned her back against his armoured ribs. The other hand, wiry and overlarge and smelling sharp of copper coins, clenched over her mouth before she could finish the scream. Biting didn't change its grip at all. He looked down at her, over her head, his lank hair falling in her face. "Easy now," he muttered, but from her angle his grimace seemed more of a smile. She bit harder, gnashed, and the penny taste of his blood filled her mouth. "Easy," he said again, louder and with anger in it, and the wet hand was gone and replaced just as fast with the sash from her grey dress. She felt him knot it behind her head, felt some hair go in with the knot.

"Worst thing. I know. You'll scream if I don't and then we both die, me now and you later. Hold still and–" She writhed away, but he still held the ends of the sash. He pushed her down to the bed, swung down and caught her ankles together in one hand. They ground together in his grip as he bound them. It took him longer to catch her wrists. She watched his face while he tied them; he was masked in dried blood and it had pooled to black clots in the stubbled line under his jaw. Both sides matched now, she saw, his good side so crusted it looked a scar. Is any of it his. Her stomach dropped. The meager fight she'd had left her; her breath was gone. She closed her eyes and kept them closed as he lifted her, set her feet on the bag on the floor. She felt the edges of the sack draw up over her, and that was that.