AUTHOR'S NOTE: Oh, my loves! For that's what you truly are to me for sticking with this story (and with me) even in my absence. I'm so glad the latest chapter has pleased you and I hope this one does too. Please, let me know what you think.

DISCLAIMER: I don't even own the brand new mattress I'm currently laying on… What's that tell you?

-x-x-x-x-x-x-

As the days passed, Sansa seemed to get stronger and lovelier, as if that was even possible, Sandor mused with a weird twitch of his lips. Motherhood did, in fact, suit her tremendously if the rosy cheeks and happy gaze she had on her lips at all time was any indicator. Her husband had all but abandoned her, never coming to her at night, never coming within her chambers alone. Sandor was always there and he was plotting.

He was planning their escape. He promised the little bird it would happen sometime after their babe was born. And he planned on bringing the child with them, if it was possible. No, he would make it possible. It was a piece of him and more importantly, a part of her. He only hoped the child would be born with her gentle nature.

But then one miraculous day, it seemed that his nonstop planning needn't continue. An accident had happened when Joffrey had been hunting (how ironic that he is to suffer the same fate his 'father' had) and while there were no clear witnesses, it was obvious from his weakened and bloody state that he'd be lucky to live through the night.

Sansa, slipping on a mask of pure terror and sorrow, ran down the halls as quickly as she could, holding her skirts improperly away from her ankles. Sandor followed quickly behind, trying not to rejoice in this unforeseen fortune that had fallen into their laps. The Gods must be trying to make up for all the abuse his little bird had experienced and this was a good start.

They were admitted to the King's solar and then into his bedchambers where Sansa had to hold a hand over her nose and mouth to keep from throwing up. Her days of sickness due to the babe were not quite over and the smell of sweet rot and other unpleasant things made her head swim. The Lannisters were gathered around Joff's bed and all but Cersei looked at her upon her entrance.

"Ah, my sweet lady wife come to bid me farewell." The voice made her skin crawl but she plunged forward fearlessly knowing that his fists would never come to hurt her again.

"My love, my King, what has happened?" Her voice was high and shrill as Tyrion waddled away to give her a seat near her husband. He looked significantly at the Hound as he too entered the room, preferring to hang back by the doors.

She slid delicately into the chair that was offered, closer to her husband than she would have preferred but even now she had a role to play. "Oh, shut up, Sansa. We all know you were probably giggling with delight to hear about me on my deathbed." The king looked paler than usual, but with the amount of blood surrounding him on the bed and the multiple bandages around his head and midsection, she could hardly believe he was still alive. The King broke off, coughing and wincing as his mother reached forward to smooth some of his light blonde hair out of his evil eyes. "Mother.. And I have devised a plan. To destroy you even as I die. I hope to see you cry one last time."

Sansa didn't even feign shock or anything like it. She simply looked weary, as if she too were ready for her destruction. She stole a glance towards Sandor, very quickly that hopefully no one noticed. But one had. The Imp. "What is it you wish to do to me now, Joff?"

"He is still your King and you must speak to him as such!" Cersei cried out, her voice cracking in the middle of the sentence. Sansa bowed her head but only minutely. "Since my son is so weakened, I will tell you myself. We plan on having you dishonored and set aside. We cannot blame you for his death, since you are with child and the stupid people seem to love you but we will blame you for the angst that lead the King to hunt and to his death. Oh, do you not know that your little secrets would one day come out, little dove? We know you have been writing to any northern man you could possibly reach to beg for help to escape! You are still here though, aren't you? Your northern men were true to you though, fighting for you until their death. Men will die for you, Sansa, silly fool that you are, but no one here wants to see you on the throne. Or perhaps, we will say you were so distraught over the imminent death of your beloved King, you threw yourself and your babe into the sea. You are to be banished from King's Landing. Where you go, we hardly care. You are a traitor and should be put to death for all of your family's crimes, but you are loved by your people, so we will simply shame you instead. Sweet little dove.. Leave now before I change my mind and have your pretty little head rotting on a pike somewhere…."

Sansa didn't hesitate in the least, bowing quickly before scampering from the room. She couldn't believe her luck, their luck. Her planted letters (some were real, some were not) had done as they were supposed to. No one knew the biggest secret she carried inside of her. She fought to keep composure as she fled. Sandor slipped quietly from the room as well when all attention (but one) was turned back to the dying King. Only one set of eyes followed the fleeing pair and only one set of legs started to follow them.

-x-x-x-x-x-

A delirious laugh started to erupt from Sansa's lips and she had to clap a hand over her mouth to stop them, trying hard to make it sound like a sob instead of joy. She heard heavy footsteps behind her, but felt no fear because she knew it was her love, her savior, her hero. Her knight. Sansa felt like she was flying through the halls as she tried to reconcile her sudden luck with the misery she had lived with for years.

She threw open her door, startling Shae who was making her room look nice. Sandor followed her in. "Out." He barked and she nodded, pointing to the bed that had a bundle on it. There was a smirk on her lips as she exited, closing the door behind her. Neither thought to bar it behind her. Sansa walked over slowly to the bed, fingering the delicate fabric of the bag that lay in front of her. It wasn't a huge bag, could hardly carry any thing of import, but she could tell it was filled with something. She looked up to Sandor, question in her eyes but he merely shrugged. Her fingers worked the knot as nimbly as sewing and she gasped upon opening it.

"Sandor… There's money and jewels in here! Between this and all of the lions you have won during the tourneys… Sandor, we will hardly want for anything! But who gave this to us? And why?"

There was a sharp knock at the door and Sansa paled, looking wildly at the door and Sandor. They had no choice but to let whomever it was in. Had Cersei already changed her mind? But as the door swung open, Tyrion Lannister walked in. "My Lady Stark." He said softly, bowing to her before closing the door behind him and then motioning to the Hound to bar it.

"I see you have received my present. You must hurry. I had Shae gather as much of your items as she could while you were away, and Sandor, we have already had your monster saddled up. There are people out there, willing to help the Lady of Winterfell and her sworn shield and I have made sure of their loyalty myself."

Sansa stilled, staring at the small man with shock and question in her eyes, her lips parted as she inhaled noisily. Sandor walked away from the door to place a steadying hand on her shoulder and she couldn't help but place her small one over his. Tyrion took it in and surprised them both by smiling.

"But… Why?" Sansa blurted out.

"Because it seems like my sister has forgotten my family's unofficial saying. She lives her life by 'Hear me Roar' but ignores the fact that we always pay our debts. Your lady mother let me live, however unwillingly, and to that, I owe your family a debt I hope to pay with your freedom and safety and happiness. Now, please, go. You need to leave now." His words seemed to jolt Sansa into action and she scurried forward to fall gracefully to her knees in front of the smaller man.

"I can never truly thank you enough for this, my Lord. I… If there is ever a time when I can help you in any way, please call upon me." He nodded and she leaned forward to brush a gentle kiss on his cheek, before standing up and turning to Sandor. He grabbed the bag off the bed and tied it to his armor. He nodded to the Imp, saying nothing, but it seemed Tyrion read enough in his eyes. He nodded back and stepped aside to let them by.

He feared and hoped it was the last time he'd see either of them.

When Sandor and Sansa were situated on the saddle of Stranger in the unusually empty stable, when they started forward and rode hard out of the Keep, neither of them looked back. Neither of them cared to.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: a little longer so hopefully you guys liked the length?! Was this believable enough?! I hope you guys liked it! Let me know!