Disclaimer: I don't own A Song of Ice and Fire.
They had been in King's Landing nearly two months when Tyrion's late night reading was interrupted by a strange knocking at his chamber door. Hopping down from his chair and sparing only a moment to stretch his back to relieve the cramping in his muscles, Tyrion crossed the room and pulled open the door. Not many people had cause to disturb him so late at night, and it was odd that someone would do so now.
Even this thought did not prepare him for the peculiar site that greeted him once he opened the door. Tyrion had thought perhaps it was some sort of emergency summons from the Queen, but when he swung open the door an extremely large brother of the faith was standing before him. The brother's face was wrapped in a wool scarf and hidden behind a gray hood, concealing his identity. Though the site of a Brother was rarely imposing, this man's enormous stature suggested that of a fighter not priest. The man stood still for a long moment staring down at the Imp, and Tyrion felt every inch of the near three-foot difference in their heights. At length the brother spoke in a gruff voice took Tyrion longer to place than it ought.
"Found something that belongs to you," he rasped at Tyrion.
This was not at all what Tyrion was expecting to hear, and it took him a few moments to realize that the large man was moving and that he was pulling something out from behind his back. By now the man had moved into Tyrion's chambers and Tyrion waddled after him to see exactly what was being placed on his bed.
Though Tyrion wouldn't have believed another shock could be in store for him, when the big man moved back to kneel beside the bed, Tyrion felt his stomach flip with surprise. Words escaped him and his mouth went completely dry. How long had it been since he'd seen her? Five years? Maybe six? Truthfully, he had never expected to see her again. No one had seen her since that night six years ago. There had been a whisper that she'd been spotted in various places about the kingdom, but the rumors could never be confirmed before she disappeared again. And now, here she was as pale and beautiful as ever- looking conspicuously like a sleeping princess from one of those songs she loved so much.
Tyrion never did find the words to speak, and had nearly forgotten about his strange companion until the man spoke once more. "She's not... right. Something happened. They weren't careful and the little bird got hurt. Won't sing at all now. Needs to be protected. I can't... I did what I can." After a pause he pulled a bag off of his shoulder and laid it beside the bed. Then, after thinking a moment he pulled out a crimson garment and handed it to Tyrion. "She was wearing this when I found her," the man offered in way of an explanation.
Unfolding the gown Tyrion felt his eyes widen as he realized that the dress was not a deep red shade like he had thought at first glance but instead had been a light shade of blue. It was covered in, "...blood," Tyrion whispered in shock.
"And not a scratch on her," the large man rasped with a nod. At length he stood and looked hard at Tyrion again. "She needs to be taken care of now," he said and Tyrion tried to work out whether it was a suggestion or a threat.
As the man started to leave, Tyrion gathered his wits and called out, "Clegane." When the man stopped and turned to look at him, Tyrion went on. "Why me? Why bring her here?"
Squaring his shoulders, the man said stiffly, "I promised to take her to family, and she wanted to be brought to you."
With that, the big man left Tyrion alone in the room looking down at the sleeping form of the wife he had never thought he'd see again. For a long moment, Tyrion simply stared at her taking in the soft rise and fall of her chest and the way her unbound auburn hair fanned out around her on the pillow. A glance to the window told him it was the hour of the wolf- a fitting time for his Northern bride to be returned to him. In the morning he would call the maesters and septas to look her over, but for now he would let her sleep.
Tyrion had never been a particularly good sleeper and had yet to retire for the evening. Now that his night had been so disturbed, he thought it unlikely he'd sleep at all. His mind was filled with too many questions and too many strange hypotheses. So resigning himself to a long bout of wakefulness, he settled into a chair and let his mind wander over the many possible explanations of where his wife had been these last years.
Eventually the cold light of dawn began to creep in through the windows and Tyrion decided to retrieve the maesters. Before exiting the room, Tyrion paused next to the bed long enough to brush a lock of hair from her forehead. Somehow, he still couldn't truly believe that she was there sleeping in his bed after so long. He nearly expected her to disappear before his eyes. There were some things he still wanted to ask her about, but those would wait for now. It was strange having her here suddenly- the wife that had never wanted him.
Part of him dreaded the moment she'd wake up and look at him with those cold, unyielding eyes of hers, and yet something about the fact that she had wanted to be brought to him intrigued him. What had happened to her while they were apart? For now, he would observe her and shelter her. There would be time to figure the rest out later.
Seeing as she was exhausted, Tyrion had the maester and the septas wait in the hall until his wife woke of her own accord. When at last she did stir and Tyrion was about to be faced with her conscious form, he began to feel a bit nervous. Instead of waiting around to explain everything, he stood and let the healers in to tend to her.
In hindsight, it may not have been the best action because upon waking to see strangers, his wife seemed more than a little alarmed. In her haste to sit up and put distance between herself and the healers, she nearly fell off the bed. Realizing how skittish she was now, Tyrion finally spoke up, "It is alright, my Lady." His wife's frightened eyes moved slowly until they fixed on him and Tyrion was not quite ready for the look that passed over their icy blue surface. The wild, cornered look abated almost instantly and was replaced with a strange sort of calm. It startled Tyrion for the sheer fact that he couldn't recall a time he'd seen a look so near to trust on his wife's face. Clearing his throat to recuperate from his startle, Tyrion continued. "Sansa," he said addressing her clearly and he rather hoped reassuringly, "this is Maester Collum and Saptas Alysan and Marea. They only want to look you over to make sure you are well after your... ordeal."
Sansa did look a bit relieved and Tyrion thought he should probably do something reassuring like smile, but decided it might frighten her further. Instead, he inclined his head and said, "I will leave them to it."
As he turned to leave he heard a small squeak that stopped him in his tracks. Surely he imagined it, but he couldn't keep himself from turning back to glance at his wife who was looking quite ill-at-ease once more. The thought was so bizarre, that he hardly dared think it, but he was certain the squeak had come from her. Tyrion could remember moments in the past when he had wanted to comfort her but didn't, or when he had wanted to touch her yet refrained. If she had made that sound, it wasn't exactly a reassuring sign that she wanted something more from him, but she had never been shy about distancing from him in the past. So not knowing whether the noise was such an indication or whether he simply wanted it to be, he asked, "Would you prefer if I stay?"
For a long moment, Sansa looked at him and Tyrion felt as though those bewildered eyes were seeing far more than a normal observer. A length her eyes met his own and she gave an almost imperceptible nod, almost as if she were afraid that he would refuse.
Taking up his seat again he said, "Then I'll stay."
With that Sansa relaxed, and let the healers begin to examine her. Tyrion adverted his eyes while the septas cleaned and changed her. The temptation to look was great, so he decided it would be best to otherwise occupy his eyes, Tyrion composed a missive to the Queen explaining his absence from court that day. There were few secrets in King's Landing and Tyrion had figured out that Daenerys preferred people to be forthwith rather than finding things out by unsavory means. And though Tyrion wasn't exactly certain what the return of Sansa meant for him, he was certain that he didn't want the Queen to think he was keeping it from her.
Just after he sent his letter off with a page, one of the septas approached him. Alysan he thought. "What news of my wife?" he asked when he noticed that the Septa looked a little distressed.
Nodding the woman furrowed her brow. "You wife seems to be in good health. There were several old injuries, but most have healed now. She is a bit travel worn, but you mentioned she only just arrived so that is to be expected."
"Healers don't wear grim faces to tell good news," Tyrion observed, "What exactly is the problem."
"She doesn't speak," the Septa informed him as she knotted her knobby fingers together. "We have asked her questions at length, but she remains unresponsive. There appears to be no damage to her throat or lasting injury to the area. From what we can tell she received no head wound. It leads us to believe that she isn't physically incapable."
"So you are saying she can speak but she simply doesn't want to?" Tyrion asked.
Shaking her old head the holy woman said, "It isn't always that simple. It often seems like she doesn't even hear us. There is a haunted look about her. Something has happened that has made her this way. I've seen it in the past- saw it a lot with the war. Someone sees something horrific and they become... strange. They go away somewhere inside. This sort of injury can't be treated by a maester. We always have room for lost souls in the Sept. She would be comfortable and perhaps could find some peace with the Seven."
As the implication of what she was suggestion washed over him, Tyrion scowled . "She is my wife," he intoned in a commanding voice, "you are not going to lock her away. She will remain here with me. And if there is nothing useful you lot can tell me, you can get out." He wondered briefly whether he had a right to act so possessive or protective over the girl, but there was simply too much mystery surrounding her appearance for him to let her be taken away now. There had also been something in her eyes, that he couldn't quite comprehend, but Tyrion had the strange impression that she didn't want to leave him.
The other septa and the maester heard the commotion and seemed ready to take their leave as well. Once they were out, Tyrion pulled his chair over by Sansa's bedside. Perhaps she was still tired because Sansa was laying on the bed still and looking at the far wall. Tyrion sighed and was once more at a loss for what to say. Eventually, he spoke in a small not entirely reassuring voice. "It's all going to be alright now," he promised somewhat emptily. "So many things have happened to me since the day we parted- so many seemingly impossible things. I've looked fate in the face more times than I can count and somehow persisted. I'm sure you have done the same. This- whatever this is- is just one more thing that we will overcome."
She turned to face him then, and Tyrion was nearly startled by how wrong those healers had been. Sansa was anything but unresponsive. It was true that her mouth stayed fixed in the same sad line and she gave no indication of being able to speak back to him. But her cold icy eyes blazed behind their glassy exterior. Perhaps something had happened that had frightened or scared her badly, but Sansa had not gone away. She was right there, burning behind her cold blue eyes. It was that look that made him certain that she'd be herself again in time.
He was so focused on what was wrong with her, he didn't take the time to pause and wonder why he actually cared. He could always argue that he cared because she was his wife, but their marriage at best had been a ruse and he hadn't seen her in years. Still, that didn't change the fact that he'd put his cloak around her shoulders and promised to protect her-she needed protecting now more than ever. He had to admit that it plied at his vanity a bit that she had come to him- that she needed him- and so he couldn't simply turn her away.
Honestly, Tyrion had no idea what to do for her. A servant had arrived with some food and Tyrion looked at his wife and said, "Shall we?"
Sansa didn't answer, but made the slightest nod of her head. With some difficultly, Sansa managed to sit up and push her legs over the edge of the bed. Uncertain of how much she was capable of on her own and whether she would want help at all, Tyrion decided to offer her a hand. A moment passed where she simply stared at his proffered hand, but just as Tyrion was about to pull away, she took it gently. Her fingers were soft and cold in his warm hand. When she stood up, Tyrion noted that the gown they dressed her in didn't quite cover her wrists and the skirt fell a few inches above her ankles. It was obvious that the dress was not made for her, and Tyrion made note to have a seamstress visit in the afternoon.
After leading Sansa to a chair in their sitting room, Tyrion took a seat opposite her and started in on his breakfast. The lack of sleep made him doubly hungry and he was so intent on his own meal that he didn't stop to look at his wife until he was halfway finished.
Across the table from him, she was poking at her porridge with a spoon, but not managing any of it to her mouth.
"Sansa," he said softly causing the girl to look up, "you need to eat something."
There was a wounded look in her eyes and Tyrion realized that there had been more sorrow for her once she'd left King's Landing. A moment of guilt seized him- he should have protected her better then- but he pushed it aside since she needed him now. Something about the way she was sitting, almost as if she might need to stand up and flee any moment, gave Tyrion some hints into what she must be feeling.
Tyrion dabbed at the corners of his mouth with a cloth, before setting it aside and looking at her seriously. "Things are different now Sansa. The people in power are not out to hurt you. Queen Daenerys is especially sympathetic to young women who have faced hardship. She will see that you are no longer the target of political ploys. No one is going to hurt you any more," and with a fierceness he didn't quite know he possessed he added, "I won't let them."
Her sad eyes drifted up to his now and seemed to consider that statement for a moment. Tyrion went on, "I cannot change the things that happened to you in the past, but I can promise that the future will be better. But you have to help. You need to eat and regain your strength so you can see just how different things will be." A flicker of something passed before her eyes and Tyrion recognized it again- she trusted him for some inexplicable reason. "Eat," Tyrion said with a smile, "Or I will be forced to embarrasses us both by feeding you."
He meant it as a joke and was glad to see the corners of her lips turn up slightly in recognition. It convinced him more than anything that his wife was not an invalid. She was perfectly capable, she was simply a little lost. Despite himself, he found it intriguing. Not only was there the mystery of what had happened to her, but he had always been drawn to people he needed to help or save. Maybe he liked to feel needed. Sansa started eating and Tyrion counted that as his first small success. He waited until she had eaten her fill before he spoke again.
"There are some things I will need to do today, many of them I think I can accomplish here if you like," Sansa nodded at this. "I will need to leave at some point though. And we will need to have you fitted for some proper gowns." A nervous glint flashed through
her eyes and Tyrion said, "I can be here for that if you like." She nodded again and Tyrion felt curiously important. "Very well then. I need to get started on my work. I'm afraid I don't have many of the things young ladies find entertaining. When you feel well enough, you can go up to the sewing room with the other ladies, but if you wish to remain here, I'm afraid all I have to offer is books." She nodded again and Tyrion mused for a moment that it was only slightly different than the last time they were together when she spoke nothing but courtesies to him. "I will be in my study, should you have need of me."
And true to his word, when he went into the adjacent room to work he left his door open. Sansa looked around the room. She was quite glad that it wasn't the same chamber they'd shared last time they had been in King's Landing. They weren't in the Tower of the Hand either. These rooms were entirely different and she could almost pretend that King's Landing wasn't just on the other side of those doors. Despite the peace that had been instilled in the kingdom, their journey to King's Landing had been exhausting and dangerous. On the road, Sansa hardly had any time to stop and think about anything. Now, that she had finally arrived, life suddenly seemed so still. All the things she'd been running from on the road threatened to catch up now that she stopped running.
Sandor had been right though; she needed to rest. She couldn't keep going they way they had been. They had ridden aimlessly for a few weeks, but one night he announced that he was taking her back to her family. At an inn, they'd heard tidings that young Rickon had been restored as Lord of Winterfell and was returning to rebuild the castle with his great-uncle. But when Sandor mentioned this to her, Sansa shook her head violently. They had only just left Winterfell weeks ago and she had no desire to return there. Not after what had happened.
In addition, she'd seen what she was worth to men. If she turned up in Winterfell, her great-uncle would waste no time in marrying her off to strengthen the ties between families. It seemed that the resolution of war was marriage. There had been more wedding tidings now than Sansa could ever remember hearing at once. Going North would see her re-married within the turn of a few moons. Sandor had saddled the horses and had come to help her mount her mare, but Sansa stood ridged as a stature. The gruff man cursed at her and tried to explain that he couldn't keep her like this. Sooner or later they'd be discovered and it'd mean trouble for them both. She was better off with her family and away from him.
Sansa didn't move. There were several reasons why she couldn't go to Winterfell, but she lacked the ability to convey them. When she tried, everything began rushing back at once and she began to feel unstable. Sansa didn't realize she was swaying on her feet until Sandor's big hands caught her. Even after weeks of traveling together, she couldn't abide by being touched. Quickly, she pulled away and stumbled into the horse. His hands on her waist brought back memories of a different man and for a moment the world blurred as her reality shifted and she was in a different place entirely.
Her knees gave out and it was only her grip on the saddle that kept her upright. It was a few moments more before she registered the raspy voice calling, "Little bird." Eventually, her breathing calmed as the panic left her. "You don't want to go to Winterfell, little bird?" he asked softer now. She shook her head no. "Where will I take you then?"
A moment of clarity came to her and Sansa stood and looked around her and pointed to the opposite direction of the horses. "South?" Sandor gasped, "There's nothing for you there. No family." Sansa shot him a look then that clearly meant there was something for her in the South. How to make him understand... Sansa's hands went to her cloak and she mimed putting it on over and over again.
Sandor cursed under his breath, and she knew he understood her meaning. It was one of her better days. Some days were simply awful and later when she tried to remember those, the memories were fuzzy. She could scarcely remember anything about the days before Sandor found her. Once he did find her and promise to keep her safe, she started to remember more, but there were days still when she was simply lost. They couldn't travel when she was like that and they couldn't stay in the same place for very long since "the Hound" was wanted all over Westeros for crimes committed during the war. No one in authority would care that he lost his helm before they were committed, so long as someone died for the crimes.
Maybe they both knew he wouldn't be able to protect her for long. Even if he wasn't thrilled by the choice she made, he respected her decision. When they were on their way to King's Landing- on the days her mind was unmuddled enough to think- she remembered her first marriage and realized that she had been lucky in that her husband's pride would not allow him to touch a woman who didn't want him. That had not been the case once she left King's Landing and she believed this would not be the case anywhere else too. She couldn't explain to Sandor that Tyrion was safe, that he wouldn't touch her or give her away. Sansa could scarcely comprehend the reasons herself, but she knew deep down that she was safe with him.
Now, wandering about Tyrion's rooms, an overwhelming sense of guilt and regret washed over her. Maybe her knees gave out, or maybe she simply collapsed because before she knew it, the ground had rushed up to meet her and she felt as though she couldn't breathe. It was her fault for trusting Dantos, for running to Petyr, for everything that happened- all her misfortune was her own doing. She shouldn't have left, shouldn't have trusted Petyr, shouldn't have... shouldn't... as the days began rushing past her and her mind returned to the Vale and the North, she felt her body growing weaker and breathing became harder. It was all her fault- all of it happened because of her.
She didn't realize that her husband was calling out to her until she felt the warmth of his hand on her shoulder. His mismatched eyes were looking at her with concern as he worried his lips apparently at a loss of what to say. Sansa didn't care. She didn't need words; she didn't rightly know what she needed. There was hesitation written all over his face and Sansa knew he was at a loss of what to do.
The only good that had come from her time with Petyr was that she had learned how to read people. As the fog cleared from her mind, she took in her husband's strange features and realized that he wanted to comfort her but was reluctant to touch her. A moment of panic seized her. He knew how dirty she was- why else would he shy away from touching her? She was vile, filthy. She...
"Forgive me, lady," her husband breathed out in a rush and the next thing Sansa knew she was being held tightly to his chest. Now he would move, like Petyr, like other men. But then instead of groping around to her breasts, Tyrion's hands went to smooth down her hair and remained there. He simply held her and Sansa's slightly panicked mind struggled to think what he could mean by it. Eventually he spoke again in a soft voice, "I know you are not particularly fond of me, and I can't imagine you want to be held by me, but you looked so sad, my lady."
His words sunk in and Sansa realized that the reason for his hesitation had been because he had been considering her feelings. It had been so long since anyone had considered the way she felt that Sansa struggled to believe it. Steadying her breath, Sansa waited for his hands to move down her back to her bottom or her breasts. But his hands never strayed from her hair and at length she realized that he never meant them to.
It was in that moment that she felt her own arms move- stiffly at first- from her sides to her husband. Once her hands brushed his tunic, they moved faster, more sure of what they were doing. In the next instant they had wound themselves round him completely and clung to him. She buried her face in his neck and held him while her shoulders heaved and her breathing came erratically. His hands shifted only slightly in order to rub her shoulders in a comforting manner. When at last the shaking stopped and her breathing had evened out, Tyrion's hands grasped her shoulders more firmly and pulled her away from his chest. She half expected him to push her away entirely, but one hand held fast to her shoulder while the other hand fumbled in his breast pocket.
Eventually he found the handkerchief he was looking for and brought it up to Sansa's face. Lightly he brushed it against her cheeks and only then did Sansa realize that her cheeks were wet. Her eyes closed involuntarily and she leaned her face into his palm. He stiffened then as if he were suddenly unsure of all his movements. Sansa's eyes flew open and she looked at him uncertainly, suddenly remembering that they were really only two outcasts who had been thrown together by others. She had come here because she knew being here would stop her from being forced to go somewhere worse. She had come here because he was the one man she trusted not to touch her. So why then, for that moment, had she felt so safe when he held her?
Tyrion was still facing her with the handkerchief held in his outstretched hand, so Sansa moved to take it from him. When her fingertips brushed against his, her husband seemed to come back to himself and he let her take the cloth. Feeling a little embarrassed, Sansa dabbed at her eyes and thanked the Seven that her nose had refrained from running. Tyrion was watching her as Sansa held the handkerchief back out to him. With sympathetic eyes, he took the handkerchief back and stuffed it into his doublet. "The seamstress is supposed to be here shortly, but perhaps we can send her away until tomorrow morning." Sansa nodded at this and her husband continued. "Do you think you could manage some dinner? Your lunch seems to have been left untouched."
How much time had she lost that day before Tyrion came in? It had only been just after breakfast when everything started to overwhelm her. Lunch had been brought in and she didn't even notice. With a slow nod, Sansa made to stand but Tyrion jumped up and helped her to her feet. Then with a slight bow, he said, "My lady," and offered her his arm. When she took it he escorted her to the sitting room for dinner.
The meal began in a strained silence, but eventually Tyrion began to speak. "I'm sure you are eager to tell the tale of what you've been up to these last few years, but I think I will take that opportunity first. I do wonder who's adventure has been bigger, though I daresay it is mine. I traveled more than half the world under a myriad of professions to meet the dragon Queen and come back to Westeros." With that Tyrion began to talk of all the things he'd seen and done since the last day they were together. Sansa was glad for the distraction and found herself actually engaged in his story. It was the most focused she had felt in weeks. As she listened to him speak, Sansa appreciated the fact that he spoke to her as if they were conversing even if he knew she wouldn't respond. On the road once people realized she wouldn't respond, they simply talked at her. Tyrion even left pauses as if he was waiting for her answer and after, he spoke as if she had truly answered him.
The meal ended and still they sat there, Tyrion telling the tale and Sansa listening with rapt attention. He was pleased by her reaction and engagement in the tale, and so he kept talking until she was unable to completely hide a yawn.
"It is getting late I suppose," Tyrion sighed. "I will have a girl come in to help get you ready for bed." With that he rose and went to find a handmaid for the evening. Sansa wanted to tell him that she didn't care, that she'd rather listen to more of his story, but the words wouldn't come out.
The girl came in to help Sansa wash and dress. Eventually she was clean and ready for bed and left on her own. Sleep wouldn't come however and she found herself awake and sitting at a window. The moon had climbed high in the sky when her husband walked in. Perhaps he didn't expect her to be awake, because he sounded a bit surprised, "Oh, you're still up."
Sansa simply looked at him with her sad eyes and let him keep talking. "The Queen is very keen to meet you, but I've convinced her to give you a bit of time. She's agreed with me to keep your presence here quiet until you feel more up to making yourself known."
Giving a slight nod, Sansa let her husband know that this was fine with her.
"I'm not sure how long we can make Daenerys wait," Tyrion went on, "she is the Queen after all. But I think she will understand if you are not feeling well still when you do meet her." Sansa turned back to the window and shrugged. She figured that he would probably begin getting ready for bed, but instead she heard him sit down heavily and sigh. "I wish I knew how to make you better," he confessed sounding almost like he was talking to himself more than her. "It's just like the last time all over again. I can see that you're hurt, but there is nothing I can do about it. Would you even want me to? I have been told that I think myself too important. Perhaps I should stop forcing my presence on you and find you some handsome young knight to keep you company. And like some shining hero in a story he will make you feel better again."
Sansa had been given one shining young knight and found that she liked him no more than she liked princes or kings or whatever it was that Petyr was meant to be. She could have gone back to Winterfell and her family would have found a way around the marriage and found her a young lord to give her away to. She hadn't come to King's Landing for any of those things, she had come for her husband. And though it was because she at least knew what life with Tyrion was like and it was preferable to the other ways of living she had known, and much preferable to the uncertainty of a new life; she couldn't deny that she felt a bit better when he simply held her and let her work out her own mind. Other men always expected things of her, or demanded things of her. Tyrion simply accepted whatever she was able to give whenever she was able to give it. She hadn't understood it until earlier that day, but perhaps she had known it in the back of her mind for some time.
That was why she wanted to come back here. Not because she had to or because she felt obligated, but because of Tyrion. It was a startling realization, and she didn't quite know how to let him know. So instead of trying, she stood from her seat by the window and walked over to the bed where he was sitting. Without a word, she pulled back the bed clothes and sat down, then made sure to pull the covers back from Tyrion's side as well. He gave her a questioning look, but she simply nodded.
As quietly as she had moved before, her husband moved now as he removed his shoes and jacket and stripped down to his small clothes. He understood her it seemed because when he slipped into the bed, he did not move to hold or touch her- he merely laid down beside her. The candles had been lit some time ago, so most had burned out already leaving only a dim glow in the room. Sansa moved slowly to touch his shoulder and she heard him release a long breath. Allowing her fingers to move slightly, Sansa traced small circles over the skin of his shoulder. It wasn't much she knew, but the smallest touches spoke volumes between them.
Tyrion had closed his eyes and focused on breathing evenly. Her presence in the bed was affecting him, Sansa could tell by the way the covers laid over his body, peeking just below his waist. But he did not move to take pleasure in her no matter that she was technically his wife and that she'd come back to him. At length, he reached a hand up to his shoulder and took her hand softly in his own. His expression was somewhat pained as he whispered, "You should try to get some sleep."
When she returned his suggestion with a soft smile, the corners of his lips twitched upward and he relaxed a bit. Sansa turned onto her side so that she was facing him and did not untangle her fingers from his. She had closed her eyes, but she could feel the bed shifting and knew that he'd turned to face her as well. When they had last shared a bed, there might as well have been a stone wall in between them. Their sleep had never been restful as they focused on keeping as far apart as possible. This time, facing each other with their hands clasped together, Sansa felt a strange sense of comfort and belonging.
Perhaps if they had never been married, Sansa would have never found such ease in his presence, but since they had, it gave her a base for comparison. She'd never felt so comfortable with Petyr. In fact it was quite the opposite. Even sleeping in different rooms in the same castle as Petyr made her feel ill at ease. But that line of thought turned her mind to unpleasant things and without realizing or meaning to, she shifted closer to the warmth of Tyrion's hand. By the time she fell asleep, she'd had her cheek pillowed on their entwined hands.
It wasn't until after Sansa had finally drifted off to sleep that Tyrion finally felt bold enough to move. Her cheek felt so soft where it rested against the tips of his fingers that he couldn't keep himself from stretching his other hand out to softly caress her other cheek. Sansa sighed in her sleep, which prompted Tyrion to move his fingertips back toward her hair. Pushing one long red strand back behind her ear, he let his fingers trail around the smooth curve of her ear and down the line of her jaw before letting his fingers fall away and bringing them back to himself. She had been so perfectly made that it seemed a cruel jape of fate that she had been forced to share his bed even if he had never taken her the way a man takes a wife.
But she had come back to him. She could have kept running, or returned to her own family and fought their union, but she returned to him. Perhaps what had occurred for her while they were apart had been so terrible that being with him paled in comparison. He shuddered at the thought even as an intense curiosity filled him. He would find out one way or another what had happened and make sure those responsible for his wife's current position were rightfully punished. The hand holding hers tightened with his resolve. Maybe she would never want him, Tyrion thought, but she trusted him now and that seemed to make all the difference.
After her brother's death, Tyrion had wanted to comfort her- to make her see he wasn't the monster she imagined him to be. It seemed now that she'd come to that conclusion on her own and she was letting him help her. For now, that change was enough. It was something after all. As he drifted off to sleep, he wondered about what had befallen her. Had she spent years on the run as he had? Had she been cold and tired and hungry? Had she run away to a Sept or been taken in? Had she pretended to be nobody and that was why they couldn't find her? Filled with questions, his mind finally drifted off.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed! This story is written completely, so I ought to be able to post the chapters fairly quickly. (I just have to split them up as I go.) Thanks for reading! Reviews are always appreciated!