All characters belong to George R. R. Martin.
This was the first fic I wrote in English, a year ago. English is not my mother tongue, I had no one to beta read this fic and some people even complained about the ending, so... at your own risk!
I even considered to delete that story but I suppose I couldn't. Anyway, if the terrible writing irks you, you can read my other stories: they're much better!
First of all, get rid of the red-haired man. He is older, taller than the other ones and the mail he wears reveals he's the only real threat in this clearing. The two younger men's outfits are too fancy for fighting. Drawing his sword whose blade shimmers in the autumnal light, Sandor is in a few strides on him. The red-haired gets up, opens his mouth to say something but before he can shout he is dead. In panic, one of the others begins to run, but too late. The last one draws his sword; he is clearly thinking of all is been taught by his master-at-arms but he is not ready for that. As he can see terror on his face, he is wondering how old he may be. Sixteen? Seventeen?Won't see his next nameday. At least, he can give him a clean death. When it's done, he looks forwards and sees her, a shaking form sat on a stool.
From where he was observing, hidden by hundred-year-old trees, he wasn't sure it was her wearing this blue dress under a brown cloak. Her dark hair could have mistaken him, but her silhouette, when she dismounted... She began to walk towards the maid who was bringing food for their meal and he knew this dark-haired girl on the road to the Eyrie could only be her.
Now the maid is on her knees, begging for her life and he ignores her, grabbing Sansa's arm with a bloody hand and forcing her to follow him back to the forest. In a few seconds, Littlefinger's men will be here. She doesn't resist but she's still looking at the corpses he left behind when they reach Stranger. He lifts her onto his horse and climbs up in front of her.
"Where are we going to?" she asks in a high-pitched voice.
It was quite a good idea to steal a mare for her in this inn he's been dining in. With Lord Baelish's men after them, it could have been difficult, even for Stranger, to carry them both. She could try to escape, but she doesn't, managing to keep close to him. Obviously she's not a good rider.
At dusk, they reach some ruined castle set on a hill and he hears dogs barking behind them and human voices too. Here they are. He hurries himself to the ruins of a tower, dismounts and ties his horse. When she finally arrives, he helps her, then almost push her inside the old tower. She seems to hesitate before running upstairs as he closes the door. Horses can't be seen from the road, but if their dogs can recognize her smell...
She's waiting for him upstairs, in a tiny room. It has still its roof, with an oak frame and most of the tiles. Orange and saffron tiles with flaws. Not that he's a very good observer, but the roof is too low for him. Or maybe he's too tall. As Sansa sits on a corner, almost out of breath, he kneels in front of the only window and watches them. They're on the road, a bunch of riders with dogs. Some of them wear the blue coat of arms of House Arryn, others a ugly green which can only be Lord Baelish's.
"Come" he says in a low voice.
She obeys and sits by him. He puts an arm around her shoulders and shows her the little group of men. She remains silent at first, then asks under her breath "They won't find me?"
"They're going away" he answers, looking at her.
He can't say if she's relieved or sad. It's the first time he can watch her since they left the clearing: her blue eyes shine in her oval face, and her skin is as pale and smooth as in his memories. Her blue dress seems ordinary compared to those she used to wear in King's Landing. Of course, she was traveling and needed more convenient clothes, such as these leather gloves without a single ornament. But why this dark hair?
"Are we supposed to spend the night somewhere else or could we stay here?" she asks. She seems to like this place.
"We could stay here, but the horses..."
He gets up and almost knocks himself out with the frame. She stares at him, repressing a smile. She's still afraid and very careful; she doesn't want to make him angry."Not this room, maybe" she says.
"We'll find a place in another part of the castle" he rasps, bending his head to avoid the treacherous frame until he reaches the staircase.
They have finally settled in what might have been the first floor of the keep, a big gloomy room, near a great fireplace. She's looking down at the bread he gave her as if it was poisoned. Could it be a consequence of Joffey's tragic wedding banquet? When she lifts her eyes to meet his, he realizes the young king's assassination has nothing to do with it.
"What do you want from me?" she asks. "Where are we going to?"
"Home. At least your lady mother's home. I'm taking you to Riverrun."
"Riverrun is no home for me" she answers.
"Your great uncle Brynden Tully will be glad to see you."
She seems surprised. She lowers her gaze, pensively, then asks in her soft voice "Did he hired you? Are you now serving House Tully?"
He shakes his head. "I'm not serving anyone."
She gets up, walks towards him and sits on her heels, just in front of him, her blue eyes widened in surprise. Or is it lack of understanding, or something else? He takes a good breath.
"Ransom" he rasps. "Can't stay anymore in those damn woods. I need money to settle in the Free cities."
She remains silent for a while. He can read disappointment on her face, and sadness as well. No, it can't be; she never trusted him, nor liked him. When he offered her to fly with him after Blackwater Battle, she said no...
"Am I your prisoner?" she says, catching him unawares.
He nods. She stares at him, almost challenging the large dangerous warrior he's supposed to be.
"You slaughtered them" she says in a sharp tone. "They were good men and you slaughtered them."
Eyes filled with tears, she goes back to where she was, leaving him with the visions of his fight, a few hours ago. The older one, who could have fought with skill, if he had let him some time; the one who tried to run away; the young lad gathering his strength and heart... But it wasn't a fight, she's right. It looked like a slaughter.
He hears her crying, a few steps away. She's lying on the floor, wrapped in her cloak, turning her back to him.