Author's Note: I do not own any of the characters mentioned in the following story, nor could I even hope to! I know GRRM hates fan fiction, but damn it, sometimes a fan girl's gotta take matters into her own hands! Hope you enjoy. This is my first time writing this pairing, so feedback would be great!

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He felt compelled to check on her after Joffrey, his Majesty had shooed him away so he could play with his whores. The way she had reacted after her brutal public beating followed quickly by her disrobing, he realized he had underestimated the girl. He hadn't been able to look as she was hit, for once hiding his own face in disgust.

The Imp had interceded then, coming in at just the right time. Sandor Clegane didn't want to know what would have happened had he not waddled in right then and there, saving her. The Hand demanded someone cover her up and when no one else stepped forward, the Hound ripped off his own 'honorable' cloak to drape around her shoulders, stepping away from her at the sight of fear in her eyes.

For once, he was certain that her fear was not directed towards him, but at the King and what his power could do to her. He watched silently from the steps as the Imp offered a hand to her and she got to her feet, not even wincing as she did so. The hits she had taken were sure to bruise her milky skin, as well as possibly cut open the back of her legs. But if she was in pain, she didn't show it. The tears had ceased running from her Tully blue eyes and she walked calmly out of the room as if nothing had ever happened. She had more dignity than any other person in this court, he realized.

Dark thoughts plagued his mind. What would Joffrey had done to her past beating? Would he been able to step in to save her yet again? He wasn't sure and that upset him deeper than he wanted. The little bird had no protector other than him. How could she survive if Joffrey plucked each feather from her wings, leaving her no way to fly away?

On his way down the hall, he passed a room that housed jugs of wine. He grabbed two of them for good measure in case he was stopped along the way there. It wouldn't be unusual for him to be in her room, that was certain since Joffrey frequently had him escort her back to her cage, but nonetheless, he wanted to conceal his true intent.

It was something that kept him up at night, growling at the wall as he found himself not only wanting her but wanting to protect her. Half the time he was around her, she was cowering in fear or crying and that hurt him more than it should. But the little bird was meant for something more than this. She was after all the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, though he wouldn't wish that on her. Never on her. If the Gods truly existed, they would find a way to sever the tie between Joffrey and the Stark girl and allow her to return to her family whole. He couldn't even say unharmed after what he saw today.

He arrived at her door sooner than he thought he would and realized that while he was deep in thought, his body still carried him to her. He knocked once and her handmaid, the one with an accent that was thick, let him in, a glare in her eyes.

The little bird was laying on her bed, sobbing into a pillow, curled up on her side. She had been changed into a white shift and he could already see the welts on her lower legs forming and he couldn't imagine what her stomach looked like. He knew with a sinking feeling this was only the first of many beatings.

"Leave us." He snarled at her maid who curtsied with disgust written all over her face. At his voice, Sansa sat upright, fear in her eyes.

"I brought you some wine. It will help numb your body." He nearly tossed it at her, but instead, he walked over slowly to hand her the jug. Sandor wondered if she'd be ladylike and refuse it, or request a glass, but she surprised him by lifting it to her lips and taking a rather long swallow of the sour wine. A wince appeared on her lips but she took another one. Then another.

"Little bird. Stop, you'll make yourself sick." He placed a hand on her shoulder to stop her, but she flinched away. What was he thinking? She had just been beaten by men like him. Why would he think she'd be comforted by his rough touch? Seven Hells, he was fucking stupid.

"I also came to get my cape back." He rasped, opening his own jug to drink a lot of it. He was suddenly very thirsty and very aware of the womanly curves that were only partially hidden by the little bird's white shift.

He watched as she quietly stood up on shaky and sore legs and wobbled like a baby deer learning to walk. She made her way to the chair where his robe was draped but the pain in her legs must have made her faint because she started to fall towards the ground. With a speed he only used in battle or fights, Sandor reached her side and lifted her into his arms.

"Little Bird." He whispered, lowering her softly onto her bed, careful not to touch any part she had been struck. A whimper came out of her and she clung to him, her body starting to shake. "You're safe now, Little Bird, you're safe." He found himself saying to her, though he knew at any moment the King could request her presence and have her beaten within an inch of her life again.

She lifted her head to look at him, sniffling pathetic and something snapped within Sandor. She did not deserve this kind of treatment especially from her husband-to-be. "You must stay strong. When it happens, which we both know it will again, you must clench your stomach to ready your muscles for impact. Afterwards, order a hot bath and drink some wine. It will help." He started to back away from her, but another sob left her lips and he found himself unable to leave her.

Instead of sitting on the bed with her, which would probably get him beheaded, he grabbed a chair and placed it next to her bed. "I'm right here, little bird. You are safe." For now floated in the air between them and he watched as she settled back against the pillows, staring at him for a brief moment before closing her eyes to give into the pain she felt.

"Thank you, ser." She spoke and he bit back the growl he felt growing in his throat. He wanted to scream at her that he was no knight, but the knights she had long believed in had just shown their true colors. He wanted her to know that he was as dangerous as them, if not more so because he wanted her. Gods, how he wanted her. Instead he grunted in her direction.

She had had enough trauma for the day. He had no reason to add to it. For now, he'd simply sit and watch over her, thinking of all the things he wished he could do. But a bird would never chose a hound for a companion. There were no songs like that. There would never be.