Author's Note: This story picks up during episode 8 of season three (Second Sons). Some of the dialogue in the beginning is taken directly from the show. If you recognize it, it isn't mine. No infringement intended, these characters are not mine, I'm just borrowing them. This is my first GoT fic, and I am only going by the show, not the books. Please review and let me know what you think!
"My lord father has ordered me to consummate this marriage," Tyrion says, looking anywhere but at her.
Sansa takes a deep breath, approaches the table, and pours herself a glass of wine with a surprisingly steady hand. She downs the vile drink in two gulps, a desperate attempt to calm her nerves.
You can do this… you must do this, she orders herself. You've played your part far too well to abandon it now. If you turn away a Lannister your head will be on a spike before you can say 'traitor.'
Trying to appear much more sure of herself than she actually feels, Sansa moves to stand next to the bed.
Our bed… my marriage bed.
With graceful fingers she slowly starts to remove her wedding gown, thankful for the layers, and the slight delay it gives her. She can't see Tyrion standing behind her, but she can almost feel his eyes touching her. The heat from his gaze is nearly tangible.
She drops her dress on the floor, and nervously starts to slide the strap of her slip from her shoulder.
"Stop," Tyrion commands.
Her hand stills and she glances at him over her shoulder.
Does he want to undress me? I just want to be done with this. Please don't drag it out.
"I can't. I could," he clarifies, "I won't."
"But your father..."
"My father wants someone to get fucked, I know where he can start."
Sansa bites her lip, unsure what to say.
"I won't share your bed. Not until you want me to," he says.
"And what if I never want you to?" she asks.
Tyrion smirks without humor and lifts his cup of wine to her.
"And so my watch begins."
After downing his drink Tyrion collapses on the chaise lounge, and immediately passes out.
Sansa, once she is sure he is truly sleeping, lets out a huge sigh. All day she has dreaded this moment, and yet her she is, still a virgin while her husband sleeps off his overindulgence in wine.
She starts extinguishing the candles in the room until only one remains. Sansa is just about to put it out and climb into bed, when she glances at Tyrion, sleeping uncomfortably on the lounge. Before she realizes what she is doing, Sansa is by his side, taking the small throw blanket from the lounge and covering him with it.
She studies his sleeping face, wondering if she can decipher his motives, but quickly gives up and retreats to bed.
Darkness envelops her as she puts out the final candle, but sleep does not find her easily.
Her mind is too full to rest.
Sansa can't stop thinking of her family. There is an ache in her belly as she pictures them: Robb, Jon, Bran, Rikon, her mother, even Arya. She didn't part on the best terms with her sister, but Sansa thinks of Arya often, wondering what happened to her, and if she is still alive.
Before bed each night, Sansa pictures herself arriving home, with all of her family waiting to greet her. She thinks of Winterfell, of the smell of the snow, and the musty scent of wet stone that fills the family home. She tries to imagine her skin prickling from the cold, and the wind whipping her hair as she rides through the gates to meet her loved ones.
Tonight her normal ponderings over her family are interrupted by the drunken snores of her new husband, and it only takes that small, no pun intended, reminder to bring her back to King's Landing and her current predicament.
It has been a long time since Sansa has actually wanted to be a member of the Lannister family, but here she is. Married to the imp. She reluctantly admits it could be worse.
I could be married to Joffrey.
Sansa shudders at the thought.
At least Tyrion has always been kind to me. He stopped the knights from beating me, I heard he sent someone to find me when the mob attacked us after the Princess was sent off, and he promised he would never hurt me. Now, tonight, he disobeyed Lord Tywin's orders and didn't make me consummate our marriage.
She tosses in bed, not out of physical discomfort, but from the uncomfortable thoughts she is having.
A Lannister always has motives. They are never kind for no reason. Don't let your guard down because he didn't take you to bed after having a barrel of wine. Who knows if he'll even remember his promise in the morning?
The sun is almost rising by the time Sansa finally drifts off.
After what seems like far too little sleep, Sansa's handmaiden, Shae, bursts into the room waking her up. Shae quickly helps Sansa into her dressing gown, and leads her to the table for breakfast.
Sansa sees Shae glaring at Tyrion's sleeping form before collecting the bed sheets, and feels touched by the woman's concern for her. She is lucky to have someone like her in King's Landing.
Tyrion seems to be having a harder time getting up than she, and Sansa suspects his head is pounding from all of the wine. He is finally sitting up straight when Shae returns with a set of clean sheets.
One glance her way and he is on his feet, heading for the door.
"If you'll excuse me, my Lady, I have urgent… Master of Coin business to attend to. I will return later, but don't feel the need to wait around for me."
"Of course, my Lord," Sansa says, bowing her head.
He's already out the door by the time she looks back up.
Maybe Shae really is as intimidating as she thinks she is.
"Are you alright?" Shae asks, rushing to her side.
"I'm fine. Really," she assures the woman.
Sansa shakes her head, and Shae relaxes.
"You can't tell anyone," Sansa explains.
"Of course I won't. It is no one's business. Now, eat your breakfast. Lady Margaery would like you to meet her in the garden when you have finished."
Sansa obliges, eager to meet Margaery. Despite her initial cautiousness towards the Tyrell woman, Sansa is growing to like her quite a bit. While she likes having Shea to confide in, Lady Margaery is a highborn girl like herself. Some things Shae just doesn't understand.
When Sansa finishes eating, Shae helps her dress and escorts her to the palace garden. Lady Margaery is pruning a rose-bush, a habit she brought with her from High Garden.
"Good morning, my Lady," Sansa greets her.
"How many times must I tell you to call me Margaery?"
"Sorry. Soon it will be 'your Grace' though, won't it?"
"At which point we will be family, and I will still insist you call me by name. Would you walk with me?"
"I would love to. Shae, you can attend your other duties. I will be fine in Lady Margaery's company," Sansa tells the handmaiden.
Shae seems reluctant, she's untrustworthy of everyone from court, but eventually nods and heads back into the castle.
Margaery takes Sansa's arm in hers and leads her down one of the aisles of flowers that has nobody else in it.
"So, you must give me details! I was thinking of you last night, after that horrible scene Joffrey created about the bedding ceremony. I thought it was very sweet the way Tyrion came to your defense," Margaery says, smiling.
"Came to my defense? He… was just drunk. Wasn't he?"
"Did he seem more coherent once you retired to your chambers?"
"I guess he may have. Do you really think he did that just to draw attention away from me?" Sansa asks.
"I think that much was obvious to everyone but you. So, tell me, what happened last night? Is he as… experienced… as they say?"
"Oh, sweet girl, I don't mean to cause you discomfort. I'm sorry if I am making you uncomfortable. I suppose you don't talk about such things in the North? We are very open in High Garden," Margaery explains. "You can trust me. I haven't repeated anything you've told me so far."
"Well," Sansa starts, nervously, "we didn't actually do anything."
"He really was drunk then?"
"Yes, and no. He slept like a drunken man, that is certain, but that isn't why we didn't… you know. He told me Lord Tywin ordered he consummate our marriage, but when I started to disrobe he stopped me. He said he wouldn't do it. He… told me he wouldn't share my bed until I want him to. And then he went to sleep on the lounge."
Margaery's eyebrows practically disappear into her hair in her disbelief.
"That is… certainly something I've never heard before."
"Why would he do that?" Sansa questions, confusion clouding her delicate features. "Do you think he doesn't… desire me?"
"Trust me, darling, I doubt there is a man in the seven kingdoms who has seen you and not desired you. Perhaps Lord Tyrion is just trying to make the best of the situation. You two are stuck together. Maybe he just wants to show you he respects you, and earn your respect in return."
The two women continue walking through the garden, both lost in their own thoughts. Sansa has the feeling Margaery wants to ask her more questions, but none come. She finds herself again wondering whether Tyrion will remember his drunken vow to stay out of her bed until asked.
"Ah, there you are. Lady Tyrell, Lady Lannister, I've been looking for you."
Sansa's blood runs cold as the new voice behind them speaks. Margaery's grip on her arm tightens, and she pulls Sansa around with her to great the king.
"Your Grace," Margaery purrs, as she dips into a curtsy.
"Your Grace," Sansa stumbles a moment too late.
"How can we help you on this beautiful day?" Margaery asks.
Joffrey's cold eyes study Sansa intensely, looking her up and down, leaving her feeling exposed.
Can he tell? Does he know I'm still a virgin?"
"I was hoping to speak with my aunt, Lady Lannister, privately," he says smugly, caressing the word 'Lannister' and reveling in the discomfort its use gives Sansa.
Margaery squeezes Sansa's arm briefly, as if to offer her strength.
"Of course, your Grace. Perhaps when you finish with Lady Sansa, you could escort me through the maze? I have been eager to inspect it, but nervous of getting lost."
"Yes, my Lady, that would be splendid. On fine days like these one can often find servants lazing about in the maze. Maybe we can find a few to be flogged."
Margaery gives him a tight smile, nods and departs, leaving Sansa alone with her worst nightmare.