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With her hands hugging her ever growing belly under the thick cloak Sansa watched the red sails slowly sink behind the northern horizon. The wind howled around her on the top of the watchtower, stretching high at the outskirt of the Rock, making her long cloak fluttering against Lady at her side, a feeling wistfully watching her brothers leave for their home in the North overcame Sansa.
She had had struggled with herself for a long time to let them finally leave. She didn't want them to leave. She feared for them, feared to lose them in the North. Sansa had already lost her brothers once, she was certain a second time she wouldn't weather it. Eventually though she head to let them go, though.
The war was over, and so her fears should have been put to rest, - they weren't.
There on top of the tower Sansa's mind began to wander over everything. All the bloodshed, for what? Nothing had really changed, even though everything had changed.
The Wildlings had been driven out of the North and the Lords had taken back all their lands. Even Lord Bolton, simply because nobody could prove if he was involved in the horrible betrayal of his bastard. Jon had settled the Wildlings in the Gift, staying north to oversee the reinstitution of the Night's Watch and commanding the little garrison of Lannister troops, Tyrion was lending her father to keep order after the blood loss during the campaign in the South. Her half-brother had been reluctant to take that position but Sansa had been able to convince him after all. Robb and his new wife were already on their way to Winterfell as well – even though Sansa knew out of Tyrion's good informed contacts her new good-sister wasn't very enthusiastic about leaving the capitol. With Robb as acting Lord, Jon's decision to stay was surely easier.
The rest of the Lannister troops were coming home, from the North and the Iron Islands. After the misunderstanding had been solved, for which Sansa had nearly killed her husband for. Poor Theon had been imprisoned in King's Landing for month because he had forgotten – Sansa still nearly shook of anger about that – to inform her father about the peace treaty with the Iron Islands. This affair had caused so much unneeded tension. On the other hand Tyrion had argued he had only missed his misconduct because he had rushed back to her in fear for her well-being. Back when Lady had howled about the fall of Winterfell, hundreds of miles away. Sansa had decided to allow his excuse – once.
The Reach was free from Stannis, the Stormlands under the regency of an 'Onion'-Knight, or Lord, her father had appointed for Stannis' daughter. Sansa wasn't exactly sure about what the settlement precisely entailed, the ravens were still scares from the South, but peace had returned. Dorne and the Riverlands had never been site of a battle, as well as – and she thanked the gods for that – the Westerlands. Only the situation of the Vale was not clear, the last thing she had come to know was that her aunt and all the great Lords of the Vale had been ordered to the capitol to answer for themselves or face war. Tyrion was suspecting Lady Lysa would lose her position as Regent in favour for some Lord.
If there wouldn't be another war.
Joffrey was dead, killed in his sleep by an unknown assassin who had circumvented the knights of the Kingsguard and slit his throat without leaving a trace. The thought of it filled Sansa's chest with a cold clenching darkness. Not that she was particularly mourning for her nephew – he hadn't been a bearable person – but because of the implications of his death. Nobody knew who was responsible, as far as Sansa had heard, in King's Landing, it was speculated that it had been some Stannis supporter, who acted out of revenge or even a secret group of Targaryen loyalists. Either way the situation was stressed.
Ser Jaime had abandoned his self-made quest in the Reach with his companion and returned to the capitol too. With a small party they had hunted down the last of Stannis's Red God fanatics – who were burning Septs, terrorising the smallfolk - as well as deserters turned bandits on the streets. It was weird for Sansa to imagine cocky and not so little arrogant Ser Jaime becoming a battered knight-errant bringing peace to the smallfolk. But amusing.
The last she heard though, had been that he was determined to find the murder of the King, no matter how long it would take him, even if he had to go to Essos.
One good thing Joffrey's dead had presented was: Arya had been very easily moved to travel back to King's Landing. With her betrothed dead, not by her doing, and Tommen a little boy, marriage was out of the question for her now. It eased the tension.
And with that thought she was with her father and Cersei.
Sansa was still not sure, and would probably never be, what to think of her father marrying her, nor would she ever trust Cersei again, or trust that her supposed affection for Sansa's father was real. The entire affair made her uncomfortable.
But her father was apparently thinking or feeling otherwise, and apparently he was happy. Tyrion had made a valid point. Sansa would have never been able to forgive herself if she had taken the happiness away from her father for her petty revenge against Cersei. Not to mention the chaos such a scheme could have caused. All the chaos of the last year since the fall of Winterfell and her mother's death had Sansa lose focus of her feud with Cersei. In perspective it seemed petty.
So she had taken a step back. She had agreed to send Bran and Rickon back to Winterfell. – Including a small guard of knights of her choosing to make sure they were safe. Arya had been on her way a fortnight ago as well, before the winter would make the streets unpassable. She also had a small retainer of guards. Even though Sansa was no longer sure her sister really needed them for protecting, more like for protecting everybody else from her. Their father wouldn't punish Arya, Sansa knew that. And to top it all she had eve wrote a letter of apology to him and congratulated to his marriage with Cersei. And it had worked, all she had to do is to swallow her personal wishes and anger and put it behind.
Nevertheless on a separate occasion she had let Cersei know that only because she had put her own desires behind her father's, it wouldn't mean she had forgotten that Cersei had tried to usurp her husband's rule of the Westerlands and that she had used her and lied to her. If she would dare to try again or try to position Sansa's father against his children or cause him pain, Sansa was determined to come down on her step-mother and good-sister with all her wrath.
But apparently, at least to the so called well inform contacts of her husband it looked like Cersei would not. Arya had said her father and Cersei would be in love, maybe it was true. Sansa would like to see that herself, make sure of it. In a sort affirming that her decision to follow Tyrion's advice was right.
Tyrion had once promised to Tommen and Myrcella that they would visit them again in King's Landing after all. This would be a perfect opportunity. But in her current situation travelling was impossible. Sansa would never forgive herself if anything would happen.
"Still watching them leave?" Tyrion's voice travelled to her ear over the howling wind. Sansa waited where she stood her eyes not leaving the tiny red dots of the sails on the horizon. A small smile forming on her lips while her husband stepped to her side.
"I thought you would watch them leave together with me." Sansa stated playfully webbing in an accusing undertone.
"I did." Tyrion commented lightly, Sansa felt him stepping even closer to her side. "This morning when we broke our fast I did. When we send them off on the docks and even when we waved the ships passing around Casterly Rock I did. "He listed, with a light chuckle. "So I thought I would sit out the starring from the watchtower. You know, my feet hurt when I stand to long."
"Very funny" Sansa smiled moving her right arm out of her cloak and to her side, letting him take her hand. "Be careful."
"You should be." Tyrion's voice turned concerned, Sansa finally moved her eyes away from the sail, hoping they would still be there when she looked back. Tyrion looked up at her with his mismatched eyes, his light golden hair dancing all over his face. "You should not stay out here in the cold."
"I am with child, not sick" Sansa replied her belly warming with affection for her little husband. "But good for you to care."
"This is my fault after all." Tyrion commented wittily turning his head to stare on the horizon.
"I know that." Sansa replied and followed him by turning her eyes back to the quickly descending sails on the horizon. "That is why I blame you for growing so fat." Sansa chuckled and added: "And my feet."
They stayed there in silence, on the watchtower of Casterly Rock, eyes turned north, handholding, watching Sansa's little brothers leaving for home.
"I love you." Tyrion broke the silence after a long while after the sail had been disappeared into the sea while the sun had begun to sink. He looked up at Sansa. Her eyes met his and she felt a smile forming on her lips. Her auburn hair flying around her.
"I love you too." She said. Tyrion laid his arm around her waist, pulling her closer. All the while Sansa could feel how Lady was standing up and with a content sound starting to circle Tyrion and her.
Sansa felt good. Slowly she lowered herself on Tyrion's level, kissing him, there on the top of the tower with her baby growing inside her she felt happy.
So, that is it. At least so far.
First thanks to all of you that stuck with me and this story over three long years. Especially considering that the last chapters show how much my motivation is in the drain. Nevertheless this was the ending I had planned after deciding to write more than the first seven chapters (the original plan). Originally the "Things we do for love" theme was to end like it did (even if I imagined a better handling of how [my approach isn't the best really]).
There won't be a sequel, sadly but I want to get away from this ship and everything around it
Thank you all very much, for your support, your help and reviews. Also great thanks to my betas, (even after abandoning me ;)