Sansa reflects on her husband and children. Futurefic. Enjoy.
Note: This first chapter sets the frame. This takes place after any chapters posted hereafter, unless otherwise stated. :]
Sansa padded softly down the corridor, finger curled around the handle of the candle holder. Her hand cupped the flame, face warmed by the glow. Truthfully she didn't even need the candle. She knew these halls like the back of her hand; she'd been traveling this same path night after night since the first of her babes had been weaned off the breast.
As always, she stopped at the boys' room first. A fire burned low in the grate yet the room was still chilly. The twins were curled up in wolf pelts, heads bowed toward each other. Their masses of auburn-red hair framed their pale faces, tiny hands fisted around the furs and tucked under their chins. Little Ned's feet had kicked themselves free of the furs. Smiling, Sansa bent to pull the pelt back over the boy's little toes before settling down beside him to look over her boys' sleeping faces.
Laboring over the twins had been a far harder ordeal than Sansa had ever imagined. She'd labored for more than a day, drifting in and out with fever and delirium, barely aware of her husband grasping her clammy hand between his own. Many hours later she'd come to and found an emptiness in her belly and a baby boy at her breast. The other boy was in the arms of her husband, gently rocking the infant while pacing to and fro at the foot of her bed. He was smiling down at the child in his arms with such a far-off gaze, a look so tender and private Sansa couldn't bear to watch. Sometimes she still saw the tenderness in him, softening his scarred face as he smiled and laughed and lifted a twin high above his head. She imagined the boys' joyous laughing was just as infectious to him as it was to her.
The boys themselves had her red hair, but their faces were neither Tully nor Stark. Were he not partly disfigured, she could easily see what he'd looked like in his boyhood. When the twins grew into adulthood, she knew that she would see what he would have looked like if not for the fire that had marred him.
Sansa bent to kiss the brow of each of her boys before moving silently from the room. Just down the corridor was her next destination. The little lady's room was messy as usual; dolls had been discarded on the floor where she'd played with them last, and her small wooden sword was peeking out from beneath her bed. The wolf pelts covering the small girl were askew, thrown halfway off the bed in her nighttime tumble through her dreams. The dirty misshapen wolf doll, ever her favorite, was clutched tightly in the crook of her elbow, pulled tight against her body.
With her free hand, Sansa retrieved the sword and leaned it against the foot of the bed. She then moved to the head of the bed and pressed the back of her hand to the girl's cheek, feeling the warmth. She'd had a cold all week, but Sansa was glad to see the fever had broken.
The boys looked like their father, but the girl was her mother in miniature. She had the blue Tully eyes and auburn-red hair, even the same face shape. While she looked like her mother, however, her personality could not have been more different. Often times Sansa was reminded of Arya when she looked at her young daughter; she preferred playing at swords with her brothers rather than learning needlepoint.
Her father was undoubtedly very fond of her. He encouraged her swordplay and took her riding often. He called her Little Bird, a name that had been a mockery for Sansa, but had transformed to something sweet. Sansa couldn't help smiling at the memory of their conversation.
"It's musical," he'd told her. "Her happiness, her laughter; it's like birds singing. It's the sweetest sound there is."
A lifetime ago, he might have said something similar and yet much more gruesome. But this was a different lifetime and he was a transformed man.
Sansa arranged the wolf pelt until they covered her babe, then bent to kiss her brow as well. She edged quietly from the room and began her journey back to her own chambers. As she pushed the heavy wooden door closed behind her, a voice grumbled at her from her bed.
"You always take too long."
Sansa placed her candle on her night stand and began unbuttoning her night shift.
"You know I like to look in on them," she said, slipping the fabric off her shoulders and letting it pool on the ground. Sandor looked up at her with dark eyes as she slipped under their pelts and pressed herself against the hard line of his body, resting her cheek on his shoulder.
"It's not like they won't be there in the morning."
"You never know, my love," she murmured sleepily against his skin. "Things happen. We should know that better than anyone."
Sandor brought his arm around her shoulders and together they drifted off to sleep.