Disclaimer: I do not own A Song of Ice and Fire or anything affiliated with it!
A/N: Just a warning that I have taken some HUGE liberties with the saga. If you don't enjoy extreme plot changes, then please don't read any further. This fic is purely for entertainment purposes only, and there shouldn't be any spoilers due to the fact that I am straying so far from the original plot. Some quick notes, ages have been changed and people dead in the series may or may not be brought back to life for storytelling purposes only. This takes place in a time where winter is closing in, and yes, Sansa is still in King's Landing. I really hope those who read enjoy it! If you want to review, that would be super nice:) I am open to opinions and ideas and help of any kind! Okay, sorry for taking up your time. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Behind the Scars and Broken Things
It was a world without color, and yet, the bleak surroundings of this godswood held more life than she could have ever thought possible. The very air seemed to speak to her; strange, faint murmurs that sighed in her ears, then faded away into nothing.
Though the wind blew, whipping her red locks about her face, the branches of the dark trees never so much as trembled. Within the grove, one tree stood out from the rest. It was all white, a weirwood, with its red leaves and red tears staining the otherwise desolate atmosphere. The eyes etched into the trunk reflected a hundred familiar faces, all of them staring at her, looking to her expectantly. Sansa looked down, overcome with shame for a reason that she could not seem to describe.
Underneath her feet, the ground shone as pale as the moon; the roots of the trees visibly twisting beneath like rivers of black. It wasn't cold and she wasn't afraid, but Sansa shivered all the same. This was so unlike any dream, but it felt so familiar, like she had seen this all before. It felt like home.
"Sansa..." a quiet voice floated out from the depths of the trees.
Somehow, she knew exactly who it was. Her heartbeat quickened as she slowly turned her head, reaching up to push her wild hair from her eyes. "Lady?" Sansa's own voice came out in a single, shaking breath as she tentatively called out the name that had been frozen on her lips for years.
The direwolf stepped out of the gloom, appearing all at once from behind the weirwood. Sansa's dead direwolf. Lady was five times the size of what she had been when Sansa had seen her last; she couldn't help but stare in wonder as her beautiful, dead wolf padded nearer. Lady sat daintily on her haunches, towering over Sansa - yellow eyes meeting blue eyes.
"Lady..." Sansa said again, wishing to run and cling to the huge wolf. Tears welled in her eyes as she refrained; when she realized that this wasn't really real. "But... You are dead. This is a dream and you are still dead."
"Let go, Sansa." Lady's voice echoed through her head. "Let go and you will see."
"I can't!" A gasping sob escaped Sansa's lips, rattling her chest and she hugged her own arms tightly as she cried, "I don't have anything else. I need you Lady, I need you!"
The great direwolf came closer and crouched so as to nuzzle against the girl's neck. Sansa reached out and buried her hands and face within the soft, grey fur. For a moment, she could almost pretend that everything was as it had been all those years ago, but that moment quickly melted away. A deep and bitter longing awoke inside of Sansa causing her stomach to turn and her heart to ache. "I am no more," the whispering voice echoed, "This part of your life is no more. You are meant for something else. You were always meant for something else."
This ghost that she held tight to felt like so many things. Winterfell, her childhood, her family - all of them - but they only felt like foggy memories of a dream. Winterfell had been destroyed. Her childhood long gone. Her family... dead and buried and rotting in the ground. It's gone. It's all gone, she thought to herself. "I have no one else," Sansa whimpered into Lady's fur, "Please don't leave me again."
She felt the direwolf sigh, "Open your eyes and see, Sansa. We are of the same soul... I have never left you." Lady's ghost began to pull away and Sansa fearfully grabbed at her, only to grasp handfuls of air.
"Lady! Please don't leave me! Please, Lady, come back!" Sansa begged and pleaded with the wind, hot tears streaming down her pale cheeks.
The gentle voice of the wolf passed through still lips as Lady drifted away, "I am always with you. I have never left you. You must let go. Open your eyes, Sansa. I am right here always. Let go of me and see."
A rough gale of wind caused the godswood to vanish in a streak of red, and Lady disappeared with it.
A vision of falling swam into her eyes. The sensation of utter hopelessness, of dying before she ever hit the ground, melded with images of a great fire. It was a roaring, black and orange inferno that was swallowing everything. Faces of people long since gone from her life. When she passed through the billowing hell mouth though... the flames never so much as reddened her flesh. She was unharmed until the ground appeared before her, colliding against the walls she had built around herself and pushing all the breath from her body.
Waking up had never been easy as of late, but now it seemed near impossible. Sansa felt inhibited; her arms and legs rigid and her head pushed deep into the pillow. When a shuttering gasp, air filled her lungs once more. Her chest rose and fell painfully as it remembered how to breathe, and her muscles felt as if they were writhing beneath her skin. She sat up, her back arching and her hands twisting into the furs. Her breathing was still erratic and laborious when her vision finally focused. With a pounding head and stinging eyes, Sansa came out of the recesses of her mind completely and reentered Westeros - as heartbreaking and unpleasant as that was. Longing for comfort of some sort, Sansa reached behind her and pulled the downy pillow into her lap, folding her arms tightly across it as she drew it underneath her chin. It was damp. From tears or sweat, she knew not. But I was crying, she remembered. The skin of her face felt tight and swollen, so she knew it must have been true.
From outside, tiny beams of grey light were slipping through the window, basking her chambers in a cold atmosphere. The fire in the hearth had burned out during the night, warmth abandoning the chamber like a stupid, frightened dog... but she was not cold. When she felt the beads of sweat rolling down her back in tickling trails, she kicked back the furs that covered her, allowing the chilly air to wash over her skin. Just as the flames had. Moving carefully to the balcony, she opened the doors wide, the cold air biting straight through the thin gown she wore, but she didn't care. Closing her eyes, Sansa breathed in the smells of an on-coming winter. King's Landing was truly a strange place now that the hot, summer weather had fled. It seemed quieter... Empty even. No one was out and about like they once were. The vacant village streets and market places were proof enough. Everyone chose to stay indoors. Snow had not yet fallen, but it wouldn't be much longer now. Soon, the whole of the seven kingdoms would be plunged into a waking dream of icy darkness. Sansa found she couldn't wait for that day.
It was the early morning hours in King's Landing, a time where the palace would still be fast asleep for a few precious moments longer. Sansa wanted nothing more than to be completely erased from their memories, just as she was seemingly erased from her brother's. She understood duty. She understood honor. But she realized all those years ago that she had never understood family. Now that Robb lay defeated and dead, her family all rested together, while she was made to suffer alongside the living. Looking down at the courtyard below, she couldn't even begin to count how many times she had thought to throw herself from this very ledge. There would be no one to stop her, and there would be no one to mourn her. Had it not been for those dreams about Lady in the godswood, she would have done it a very long time ago.
This part of your life is no more. You are meant for something else. You were always meant for something else.
Was it a fool thing? To still hold tight to dreams? Dreams had never gotten her anywhere... except here. Her stupid, childish dreams got her right to King's Landing, and it only cost her an entire family. Sansa stepped closer to the railing of the balcony, leaning over the side with her arms spread wide to catch the wind. The cold, angry breath of the gods whipped at her fiery hair and pushed against her arms. She almost felt like she could jump up and fly away. In her mind, she could. In her mind, the first draft her wings caught would sail her high above the ground. She would fly over King's Landing and over the Narrow Sea, over the Free Cities and over the Shadow Lands. She would fly until she came somewhere completely unknown.
She would fly until she was forever out of reach.
She would fly until she found love again.
It was a strange and sad thing to her... To only be able to fly away in her sleep.
For the very first time in her life, she wished that she were truly a little bird.