Author's Note: This is an AU and was written before I started reading the novels (aka over the summer). So my apologies for any and all possible mis-interpretations of these characters.
Disclaimer: All this belongs to GRRM.
Beta Readers: A huge thank you goes to Onborrowedwings for all her help and for convincing me this might be worth posting after all.
'Whom is the Stranger's most loyal servant? A warrior who rides the death god's black courser and whose face bears the mark of seven hells?'
'Who is this harbinger of death, for whom killing is the sweetest thing? A shadow who stole a little bird's song, and left only a tattered bloodied cloak in exchange?'
'Of whom do I speak? Answer me this, and I will give you my hand in marriage, and my lands to call your home.'
Many a knight, lord, and even a prince sought to provide the answer the northern queen desired, for the reward promised was great. Queen Sansa Stark was as beautiful as she was powerful; many desired her and the lands she ruled. None were found worthy, so the northern queen remained untouched, and untamed. Until one day during the long winter a cloaked warrior riding on a black warhorse approached the great walls of Winterfell.
'I came for my queen,' said he, in a voice better suited for a beast, than a man. Lowering his cloak the man revealed his face, half whole and half burned, scarred beyond recognition. At the sight of him the guards stood straighter, for all knew of Sandor Clegane. In the south, the warrior was but a stray dog picking at the scraps of lions; in the North, he was a fearsome war hound who roamed amongst direwolves.
To the Hound, the riddle was simple, downright obvious to anyone who truly knew Sansa Stark. It was a different matter that there was no soul, either from the south or the north who knew the fair maiden truly, save for him. Her birth name, her family history, and her beauty which had inspired many a bard to compose songs in her honour, were all that were known of her. The Queen of the North remained a mystery to all.
With guarded respect, and growing curiosity the court watched as the giant scar faced man stood before the northern queen. Their eyes met and the room grew still with anticipation.
'To whom do I speak, that I may share with you the riddle of my heart?' asked the queen; her voice soft as silk, and hard as ice. For it was her custom to address her suitors in this manner of fashion. The scar faced man gave a harsh laugh. The queen's blue eyes never broke from his gaze of grey.
'I am the bugger who serves the Stranger most loyally; riding on his black courser of death; the man whose face bears the mark of seven hells.
'I am the harbinger of death, for whom killing is the sweetest thing; the shadow who stole a little bird's song, and left only a tattered bloodied cloak in exchange .
'I'm the one you seek, but I've not come for lands, power, honour or favours. I am no lord, nor am I a knight; I piss on their pretty ribbons and their pathetic oaths.
'I am here, because I have one wish to ask of you, little bird.'
The great queen of the north stepped down from her throne. With silent steps she approached the Hound; facing him, Sansa softly spoke. 'What is your desire, Sandor of the Hounds? Ask, and it will be granted, so long as it is within my power to do so.'
'What do you want of me? That you would mock these fools with a riddle; knowing full well that only I held the answer,' he rasped in a low voice.
The court gasped and whispered in shock as the northern queen reached up with pale fingers to caress the towering man's scarred cheek. With blue eyes filled with love, the young woman softly spoke. 'I want nothing more than you are willing to give. For it is you that my heart desires; whom I would gladly give my hand to in marriage and share my lands so that you may call them home.'
Humbled by her words, the Hound bowed his head. He had loved the young maiden, long before his heart was even aware. 'I would lay down my sword if you asked it of me,' he answered in a whisper meant only for her ears. Beneath the surface of his words there was another truth; a secret they had once denied for so long. With cheeks rosy and a smile on her lips, Sansa, Queen of the North, rose to the balls of her feet and kissed Sandor full on the lips.
Days later, the Queen and her beloved Hound exchanged their cloaks and shared a kiss filled with passion while nobles, royalty, and smallfolk watched on. As beyond the walls of Winterfell the warm winds of spring began to blow marking the end of the long winter.