Sandor had been under the impression that overdosing was supposed to feel bad.
He'd watched people overdose and die before—they always looked like they were in pain, fitting and seizing and choking on their own vomit. He had hoped the wolf-bitch would spare him the indignity of it, as he felt sure this time he had gone too far, done too much, that this shit would kill him if she didn't kill him first. It would have been a mercy, he'd thought, barking for his gun back, asking for help aiming it at his heart. She hadn't complied though, even after he tried provoking her, telling truths about her friend and lies about her sister.
(He never would have raped her, never could have brought himself to do such a thing, even high out of his mind. It wasn't her body he wanted—not first and foremost, anyway. All he wanted was for her to look at him...How hard would that have been, little bird?)
But the bitch had fled, leaving him in his black Caddy pulled up along the banks of the Trident River to die on his own. He had closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep, hoping to get it over with.
Instead, he dreamt.
It was a dream, he knew, because he could see clearly out of both eyes—no hazy glare over the one, cut off by a drooping, melted brow. In his dreams, he was whole. In his dreams, she could look at him.
The sun was impossibly bright, the sky clear, the weather fair. He was moving fast, gliding over pipe and concrete, dipping into bowls and flying, tapping his fingers to the edge of his skateboard just to make sure it was still there when he went twisting into the air. He heard a squeal and he threw his hips towards it, jerking his board so that it sailed towards her, perched and watching on her little bench. She was exactly as she'd been when he'd first seen her—flared skirt and basic v-neck tee, her coppery hair alight on the wind, a bright smile on her face. A smile that she meant.
She reached out to him as he skated towards her and she took his hands. "Show me how you did that trick," she urged, pushing him back towards the ramp he'd just twirled off, giggling impossibly for him.
"Which one?" he asked, kicking his board up into his hands, catching it in all his imagined smooth operation. He had never skated well—always been too big for it—but he'd always wished he could skate. Guys on skateboards always got the girl's attention.
"The one that made me scream," she said.
"How 'bout one that makes you laugh?" he asked, digging his fingers deftly into her waist where she was most ticklish. She shrieked, waiting for him to laugh before she laughed with him, throwing her arms around his neck and giving him a long, sweet, impossible kiss.
"If you show me how you do it, I promise that I'll run away with you," she whispered.
I'll run away with you. Words he'd hoped to hear in another situation, in another reality, darker and truer than this. The whole shipyard had been on fire (it was the most terrifying thing he'd ever seen) and he had offered to take her away from it, from them, from everything, but she never let him get that far. He knew from the look in her eyes she wouldn't go. He didn't even have the balls to ask.
But that reality was elsewhere. Here he had her in his arms, dancing with him senselessly in the bright afternoon sun. He spun her until they were both dizzy, kissed her cheeks and her hair, held her just to hold her, because here, she was his. And God her smile was bright, so bright her whole affect seemed to glow, the light she gave off whiter and brighter than the California sun above them. It was a celestial moment. Heavenly.
Why are you so far away? Why won't you ever know that I'm in love with you? His thoughts cut through, slicing up the illusion of the dream into ribbons until it started to slip, her memory twisting into images of angels dancing on ocean waves, twirling on point like a ballerina, before she morphed into a bird and flew straight into the sun, unlike Icarus, her wings holding up beneath its heat.
It was the daylight that woke him, pulled him back into his car, packed him tight back into the dark reality he hated calling home. Her name rang on the air in the voice of a broken, dying man. That's my voice, he passively noticed, my lips are moving.
"Sansa," the world seemed to say with him.
He was shaking violently and covered in sweat, his stomach cramping and his limbs aching to the bone. The vomit staining his shirt was long dried and his heart beneath it was thrumming like the beat to a bad pop song. How long was I asleep? He wondered, closing his eyes, willing himself to fall back under, let his dreams be his escort out of this world, if only he could.
But there she was, her image cut into the backs of his eyes, arms crossed and jaw set, a look that might have been strong if not for the paralyzing fear in her look that made her beauty all the more terrible and heartbreaking. Fear of you, dog, he told himself, unable to show himself kindness even in his final hours. He had spent enough time facing Reality in all of her cruelty—why could he not, with his last brainwaves, let himself savour another truth? One where Sansa Stark was alive and in love with him? With all his strength he distracted himself from the pain of his death and recalled her form, toes curled on the waves of the Pacific like the supernatural force she was.
But then she slipped, her white body and red hair sliding down, down, down into the water. He willed her to fight but she did not. He begged her to breathe but she did not. She disappeared into the ocean as he had disappeared into the night, the fires and her fate at his back.
I drowned her, he thought, the notion horrifically familiar. Momentarily he fought the onslaught, the rage and self-loathing and regret that drove him to his booze and his pills in the first place (not in the very first place, but in this first place)—fought to keep her his, to keep his delusions, his fantasies, his last moments in someplace like heaven before his deeds anchored his soul down in hell, but had not strength for the fight.
And so it was with a heart full of regret that the Hound in Sandor Clegane met his end.
NOTES: This ficlet is based off the song "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure—overwhelmingly so. I adapted much of the lyrics and imagery of the song to my content, which is based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
It is part of a series of modern!AU song-based ficlets that should morph into a proper Fanfiction in time.
(Should you guys want more, that is. Leave your wants in the review box.)