Summary: Jon Snow is the one part of Sansa's past she wouldn't mind revisiting.
Notes: nymeriaandlady made a lovely graphic for this fic, which you can see under my likes on tumblr (justadram).
The rain has driven people inside the coffee shop, despite the fact that it's only the first week of school, when caffeine needs are not nearly as high as usual. Not to mention that it has been unseasonably warm for September and their shop has no blender to make frozen coffee drinks, limiting the desirability of visiting their establishment. With no rain in the forecast, more than one university student is caught in the sudden torrent, and The Bean is the only public building between here and the next university shuttle stop. It's simply convenience and the urge not to ruin their laptops that makes them suddenly popular. They're not properly staffed for this kind of unexpected rush, but Sansa can't help but think of the extra tips she might make as a result, and she smiles to herself as she flicks her braid over her shoulder. The espresso machine hisses, and Sansa grabs the black sharpie on the counter, ready to mark the customer's name on the unbleached paper cup.
John, she writes, turning the 'o' into a smiley face. It's kind of her thing, along with dotting 'i's with daisy flowers and turning 'a's into hearts. Her manager, Mya Stone, always rolls her big blue eyes at her, when she sees one of Sansa's doodled names, but she's always got the best schedule out of anyone, so she knows she's Mya's favorite, despite her Disney princess styling.
She sets the cup down and looks up at the man already reaching for it. He wears black frame glasses and has the kind of scruff that he couldn't quite have managed five years ago, but they're superficial changes. Sansa would know him anywhere.
He pushes his glasses, which have slid slightly down his nose, up with the knuckle of his index finger, his grey eyes distractedly glancing up from the cup he reaches for to nod his thanks. His hand doesn't quite close around it, when his eyes meet hers. He blinks. His brows draw together.
She looks far more different than he does. She saw to it that little of her old self was left. He might not recognize her. The thought is like a jab in the chest.
"Hey," she says, although it doesn't come out as boldly as she intends and she's not sure he heard her.
He backs up, bumping into the kid with blond dreads that's next in line.
She calls out after him, but he's already pushing through the crowded tables and shouldering through the door. The jingle bells announce his departure, and she stares after him, as he hurries passed the wide café window, rain plastering his long curls to his head.
"Alayne?" Mya says, bumping her hip. "What was that about?"
Sansa didn't think she'd ever see Jon again. He was from her former life, and she considered him as lost to her as the big house, designer clothes, and shiny red sports car she'd made out with him in, struggling around the gearshift.
She tugs at the strings of her black apron and whips it over her head. "I have to go. I'm sorry," she calls back over her shoulder, as she rounds the corner of the bar.
People part for her with amused looks on their faces. They've created quite the scene. Not the first time. She remembers how badly her mother reacted when her parents first found out about Jon. If she'd only been honest about their relationship, the way he wanted to be, let him go to them and ask permission, instead of sneaking around, it probably wouldn't have ended in a shouting match. But she never could quite bring herself to let people know about Jon.
The rain is cold, startlingly so, given how warm the weather's been, but she's only down one block when her skin pebbles in gooseflesh. Standing at the corner, she looks left and right, trying to see around which corner he might have disappeared, when she spots him across the street under a spreading oak, his arms folded over his chest and his head tipped down. She checks for traffic and jogs across the steaming asphalt, her black ballet shoes slapping in the puddles.
The tree is only partially successful in blocking the rain. His hair is still dripping steadily and his messenger bag is so soaked that she hopes for his sake there's nothing too important inside. She knows how careful he is about his belongings, lacking the kind of careless approach to things that is born of too much disposability. As if she's responsible, she feels compelled to apologize for this freak shower that's spoiled his day and forced him back into her life, when clearly he doesn't want to see her. She's good at apologies. She has a lot of practice. She can cool the anger of a disgruntled customer in just a few calm sentences and sweet smiles.
It wouldn't be nice to manipulate Jon like that though, so she toes his soggy sneaker with her shoe, instead. "You left your coffee."
"I paid for it."
Does he think she chased after him to get him to pay? "I know. I should have grabbed it for you. You could use a warm cup, right?" she says, lifting her shoulders in a mock shiver.
He pushes back his wet hair and shifts against the tree. It's not just the three day beard or the glasses that are different: the way the rain makes his dark grey t-shirt cling to his chest and biceps, she can see he's not exactly pole thin anymore. He's grown into himself.
"I was supposed to act a lot cooler than that if I ever saw you again."
Sansa bites back a smile. He sounds and looks miserable, but the fact that Jon Snow sometimes thinks about her feels good. Everyone from her old life has forgotten about her. She learned to be okay with that, but they don't matter the way he does.
"It was certainly memorable. The girls at The Bean are going to grill me about it for weeks."
"And what will you tell them?"
It's something about his tone, about the flex of his jaw that makes her cross one leg over the over.
She shrugs. She'd always refused to call him that. Even when her parents caught them, she'd insisted he wasn't her boyfriend. They were just having fun, hanging out, screwing around. She didn't even think about how that must have made him feel, when she refused to grant him the same title she'd granted Theon Greyjoy, whom she dated for a week her sophomore year of high school. It was just that she didn't want to be serious about the boy who ate ramen every night and couldn't afford to take her out on Valentine's for a nice 's the stupid shit that mattered to her then.
She has ramen at least three times a week now, so she can afford to get her nails done every other Tuesday. It's the only real extravagance she allows herself, so her fingers don't end up looking as chewed up as Arya's.
"What are you doing here?" she asks, gesturing towards campus.
Sansa swallows. She was once the bright student, the shining star, but when her parents lost everything and there was no money to pay for her fancy liberal arts school, she dropped out. There were other options, but she couldn't make herself sign up for community college and the idea of going to beauty school so she could do the hair of the girls she once went to school with made her want to die inside. So she moved three towns over, got a series of minimum wage jobs, and shared an apartment with three girls.
Jon started out at community college. She used to tease him about it.
"That's great. What for?"
"Anthropology. I'm TAing for Dr. Mormont for the first time this afternoon." The girls would certainly appreciate the wet shirt. Statistically, some of the guys would as well. "Native cultures of North America."
"Congratulations. I'm sure you've worked really hard."
He was always a hard worker. That embarrassed her too. It was like he was trying too hard at life. She didn't understand at the time that the world requires real effort from those to whom not everything is handed on a silver platter.
He untucks one hand from under his armpit and reaches out to tap her name tag with his long middle finger. It's pinned above her chest, but close enough to the cup of her lacy, black bra hidden under her tee that her heart skips. She remembers how it felt the first time his hand slid under the fabric of her bra.
"Oh, I don't like randoms knowing my name. Male customers can be a little creepy sometimes. It's a safety thing."
He makes a sound in the back of his throat that she's forgotten until just now. He used to make it when she related stories of the things boys at school had said to her in order to make him jealous, looking for some testosterone driven reaction, when all it did was worry him.
"And this?" he asks, grabbing the end of her braid.
He rubs his thumb over the clear rubber band before letting it slip and fall wetly back to her chest.
"I kind of stole your style. Sorry," she says, rolling her feet to the outside edge of her shoes.
Skinny jeans, t-shirts, dark hair, and a face scrubbed clean of all makeup. When she dropped out of school and left home, the only person she knew who didn't have a trust fund to back him up was Jon. So, when she found herself having to cut up her credit cards and sell her car, Jon's style not only seemed more affordable, but also weirdly inspirational.
"It's really good to see you, Jon. Really good. I should have said that right away."
So good all she wants to do is tuck herself inside his arms and see whether he still smells the same.
"It's uh, good to see you too. I almost didn't recognize you. The way you wrote my name though…misspelled, but that smiley face…" He stuffs his hands in his pockets. It's a tight fit. "I hadn't seen that in a while."
"Five years. How did you ever manage?" she teases, wrinkling her nose. "You know, I always hoped we'd meet at a party." He frowns. "I didn't say it was likely. Just that it would be convenient. A little liquid courage close by to help me say what I wanted to say."
"What is it you wanted to say?"
"Wow. I've only had coffee," she says with a laugh, tugging on her braid. "But, I'd say that I was an idiot."
He brings his shoulders up to his ears and rocks on his heels. "That's it?"
"No, then I thought I'd kiss you." His movements still. She laughs again and tilts her head, wishing that in absence of alcohol that the ground would open up and swallow her whole. "Hence the liquid courage."
At her suggestion, his focus shifts. He's gentleman enough that he hasn't stared at her breasts, which are just as much exposed by her dash through the rain as his muscles are by his, but his gaze fixes unapologetically on her lips, and she licks them in a Pavlovian response.
His Adam's apple bobs and his voice sounds lower than she remembers it ever being, when he says, "Are we still speaking in hypotheticals?"
Not on her part. Her answer is to step towards him, rise up on the balls of her feet, and clutch his shoulder, as she brings her lips to his. It's deliciously familiar. The soft give of his mouth. The bowed shape of his upper lip and the feel of his one crooked tooth slightly overlapping its neighbor there at the corner, perceptible with a firm kiss. The way he lets her lead, lets her take her time pressing closed mouth kisses to his lips until he almost lazily pulls a hand free of his pockets to grasp her hip and rock her closer, his thumb hard against her hipbone and his fingertips just hovering above her ass, pressing into the rise of her flesh. She sighs, her body shuddering, as he finally tilts his head, taking her with him, falling into a deeper sort of kiss with a bite on her lower lip and a sweep of his tongue. It makes her want to open more than her mouth to him.
He tastes like Juicy Fruit. She smiles into his mouth, as he threads his other hand through her hair, chasing his tongue with her own. He used to chew an entire pack in a day, when they were younger, nervously pulling one out after another, when he had nothing else to say or do amongst the crowd she used to hang with. He's probably nervous about teaching today. Who knows how many pieces he's chewed?
She slips her arms around his waist, settling her hands in the places they belong, behind the strap of his bag, there at the midway point and lower where his back narrows. She smoothes her hands over him. She was right about him filling out. There are muscles there she never felt before, flexing as she mewls in encouragement as he leaves her lips to kiss her cheek, the ridge of her jaw line, and back to her ear, right below the lobe, where her pulse flutters and her nerves set her afire. There's the rasp of his beard against her skin along with the hot touch of his tongue and lips. That's new too. Feeling weak kneed, she grips the wet fabric of his shirt, twisting.
She remembers how their hips fit together. How he feels when he's hard under his jeans and she's pressed against him, and she'd give anything for this to be some darkened party, where she could push him against a wall, and he could heft her up, and everyone would be too drunk or too high to care.
Someone whistles from the opposite sidewalk and Jon pulls back, huffs a frustrated sounding laugh, and presses his wet forehead to hers. His eyes slip closed and he draws his thumb over her heated cheeks, hot despite the cold rain.
Jon doesn't have the most expressive of faces. He rarely smiles. But she knows his temperament well enough to guess that he's being smart with her, as he opens his eyes and stares bug-eyed back at her. He's not wrong either. She feels the effects of his kiss in more than the racing of her pulse.
"It is raining. You did make me chase you out into the rain."
"I'm sure that's it," he says, untangling himself from her with the barest hint of a smile tugging at his mouth.
He turns to the side, trying to adjust himself discretely, and she clears her throat, feeling suddenly shy. It's silly. She's more experienced than she was when they last parted, but she blushes scarlet at the thought that she's made him hard.
"I, uh…" he says, scrubbing his face. "I have a meeting with Dr. Mormont."
"Oh." If he walks away from her now, she'll deserve it. She watches him slick his hair back, nervously fidgeting. A stubborn curl pops up, and she wraps her arms around herself to keep from reaching out to fix it for him. "Yeah, I should get back to work."
"My schedule sucks, but…do you have your phone? I'll give you my number."
"Oh!" She pats her back pocket, although she knows it's not there.
He swings his bag around, unzips the front pocket and pulls out a blue ball point pen. Without asking, he grips her wrist and turns her palm up. He has to push a little hard to get it to write, but her hands are so cold from the rain soaking through her clothing that she barely feels it. His numbers are narrow and tall. His handwriting is like that, taking up more vertical space on the page than horizontal. She forgot that too. She wants to remember everything. She wants to learn everything she didn't bother to find out.
"You'll call?" he asks, not looking up, as he recaps his pen and tucks it inside his bag.
She can hear the waver in his voice, the thing he wants to hide from her by keeping his eyes down.
She stares at her palm. It's the first link she's had to Jon in years, and he's the only part of her past she'd ever want to revisit. Will she call? "Yes."
"Keep it dry then," he says, chancing a quick look up. Her fingers curl in, protecting the ink from the rain that continues to fall. He hesitates for just a second, and then brushes a kiss against her forehead. "Good and dry."