"My lady. I swore to defend you. And I can't do that if you insist on letting these southron lordlings mutter poison about you behind your back."

He falls into dialect so easily, she muses. Trying to belong somewhere, perhaps. "I don't need you to defend me, Sandor."

His mouth gapes, scarred face stretching and catching the light in different ways - a soft glow from the flames on one side, a scattered, smashed plain of reflection on the other. Like a broken mirror.

"Close your mouth, ser. It does not become your face." It had taken much cajoling, but he'd eventually accepted the title, if only because it had given him just cause to sit at the high table with her.

"I do not need you to defend me. I can defend myself. Let the summer boys prattle - Arya is taking her notes. The point of this tourney is to sort the potential potential allies from the dross of second sons sitting in their father's chairs. Our relationship with the Queen of the South is tenuous, if you hadn't noticed. Part of her still thinks of me as the daughter of the man who tipped her father off the throne."

His mouth snaps shut, but his brow creases and his eyes darken. Dark brown eyes, usually warm like a hearth fire. They're sharp now, though, little chips of dirty ice.

"If you don't need me to defend you, my lady, then why keep me around?" His is voice is sharp, harsh, and it makes her shiver involuntarily.

"I need someone to protect me, physically, should the need arise. And you keep me sane." She props herself up on one elbow, pulling her night gown up her leg a little with the other hand. "Now, are you coming to bed or not?"