Here's the first chapter of a brand new fic I started. I think I should warn you that anyone who doesn't like dubcon should skip this one.
This fic takes place in some imprecise moment of the story so don't be surprised if the timeline seems a little confused. Sansa is aged up for obvious reasons but I'm not going to give her a precise age either.
I hope you'll enjoy! I can't wait to hear what you all think of this one!
(Oh and by the way, this fic should be about 5 or 6 chapters long)
The long corridor before her was dark, so dark that Sansa couldn't discern any of what lay more than a few yards ahead of her. All along the old stony walls hung scattered lanterns that glowed dimly but their halos were more blinding than anything else. Careful with each of her steps, Sansa anxiously advanced in the gloom, her hands sweaty and shivering as they held her cloak tightly around her. By finding herself in these parts of the Red Keep at such a late hour, the young girl was well aware that she would almost certainly stumble into the Hound and the prospect of seeing his terrible face take form in the darkness and feeling his steely grip on her wrist was bloodcurdling to her. Anytime she met him by herself, she always felt so exposed and vulnerable, as if he could read through her very soul and gain control over her whole being. And yet here I am, walking in these areas with the sole purpose of putting myself in his way…
Her whole body shivering with a mix of cold and nervousness, Sansa kept going through the water-seeping rock alley. Each of her steps followed the last in a succession of automatic movements that made her feel almost as if she wasn't truly marching through the long passage but really dreaming the whole thing. Or perhaps it is a nightmare, Sansa mused, knowing very well it was not. Although her existence had indeed been turned into one over the last year, she had stopped hoping she'd awaken in her bedroom at Winterfell several moon turns ago. The realisation that she would need to find her way out of the trial she was in by herself had recently struck her, and hence here she was, a young maiden lost in the night with a very specific goal in mind.
After days of intense reflection and hesitation, she had finally made up her mind moments earlier and resolved to act on the crazy idea that had sprouted in her head almost a sennight ago. Fearful that her courage would abandon her if she waited so much as an additional minute, Sansa had immediately hurried out of her room and headed for the less recommendable parts of the Red Keep. Even now as she explored the unknown corridors, her resolution was still wavering but a stubborn part of her kept her going anyhow. After all, however weak and helpless she often felt, deep down Sansa was a wolf that yearned to survive more than anything else.
The girl gained a new burst of courage at the thought and she was just starting to feel slightly better when her reflections were abruptly interrupted by the echo of faraway footsteps. Is it him? she wondered, petrified and gaping in the darkness.
"What's the little bird doing here in the middle of the night?" the rough steel-on-rock voice of the Hound resounded from the other side of the long corridor, confirming her suspicions.
In the blink of an eye, the faint confidence Sansa had barely managed to gather vanished into thin air. She had to wonder at that instant if she wouldn't have preferred to run into someone else instead and see her scheme crumble before her than having to proceed with the mission she had given herself. There's no turning back now, she realised, breathing in deeply. Trembling, she watched, wide-eyed, as Sandor Clegane's towering shape took form in the gloom before her.
The strong scent of wine that so often enveloped him quickly reached Sansa's nostrils. He must be off-duty, she surmised. While the man was a well-known drunkard, he was always sober during his shifts. He wasn't wearing his armour either - although he still had his white Kingsguard cloak draped over his shoulders - but was garbed in plain wool breeches and a roughspun tunic instead. Sansa couldn't have prayed for more ideal circumstances; well into his cups and dressed as simply as he was, Sandor Clegane was undoubtedly free of any assignments until dawn. It was almost as if the planets had aligned on Sansa's behalf tonight… the only detail that lacked for everything to be truly perfect was some much needed assurance on her part.
"Shouldn't you be in your room sleeping?" the Hound asked in a mocking tone while seizing her by the upper arm. "What would the king think if he knew his betrothed was out in the dark of night by herself?" As usual, the man's face was twisted in a mean scowl but the queer spark that gleamed in his eyes told Sansa that he was amused at finding her here.
"I was… I was lost," Sansa lied. She didn't want to reveal herself so soon. This was not the place.
Snorting, the Hound stared down at her for an instant but Sansa didn't dare meet his gaze for fear she would lose her nerve. "Still don't know your way around the keep, do you? What a helpless little bird you are. You're lucky I found you." With that, the man let go of her arm and put a heavy hand on the back of her shoulder. "Go on, girl. I'll bring you back to that chamber of yours," he rasped, pushing her forward.
Without a word, Sansa obeyed and let Sandor Clegane guide her though the maze of corridors, her eyes politely lowered even though the man was behind her. Her cheeks were burning with shame at the thought of what she intended to do and her heart was beating so loudly that she wasn't even certain she would hear anything if the Hound addressed her. Could she really go through with her plan? It seemed impossible that she found it in her to be so bold. I have to! Or else, I'll die here in King's Landing. Joffrey will kill me sooner or later and this is perhaps the last chance I'll ever get to flee.
About a sennight ago, Sansa had heard about a great Braavosi ship which had recently anchored at the capital's harbour. Such vessels were certainly common in King's Landing but what differentiated this one from all the others was that its captain had been given permission to dock even though its next destination was White Harbour. Of course as foreigners, the Braavosi weren't expected to stop trading with the Northerners but the fact that the ship would go directly from one side of the divided realm to the other was uncommon enough that Sansa had heard about it.
From the moment she had heard of the unusual visitor, Sansa had daydreamed of watching the capital disappear from the horizon, comfortably installed on the vessel's deck. If only she could find a way to creep out of the castle, everything would go smoothly afterward, she had thought to herself when she first heard about the ship. While she had far fewer jewels than most ladies at court, the necklaces and earrings she possessed would surely suffice to pay for a cabin and once she'd arrived at White Harbour, House Manderly would undoubtedly loan her the sum she needed to travel to Winterfell.
It was useless fantasizing about such a flight though. There was no way Sansa could ever secure a place for herself on the craft and most of all, escape from the Red Keep at all.
If she wished to board the ship, she'd need help, for it was impossible for her to achieve it on her own. Sadly, not a soul cared about her fate in the capital. She was a mere traitor's daughter, despised by most and ignored by all. The sole person that had given her a little of his attention since her father's death was the Hound but although he had often been gentle to her in his own harsh way, the man was still Joffrey's sworn shield. She couldn't possibly ask him to help her escape, Sansa had soon concluded. Sandor Clegane was no selfless knight looking to rescue defenceless maidens at his own risk. He wouldn't waste his energy on such a venture if there was naught he might gain from it and Sansa had nothing to offer in exchange that might interest him anyhow… unless…
A recent conversation Sansa had had with the queen had suddenly come to her mind one afternoon while she was despondently lying on her featherbed and turning the whole situation over for the hundredth time in her mind.
"Tears are not a woman's only weapon, Sansa," the woman had told her on a night she was enjoying lecturing her as she so often did when she was in her cups. "A woman can also use what she has between her legs to get what she wants."
Such crude words coming from a lady's mouth had shocked Sansa. The very thought that a woman might use something as precious as her virtue as a tool to get what she wanted had scandalised her at the time but now… was she not about to heed the queen's advice?
It had taken Sansa days to begin allowing herself to consider the idea properly. When the notion had first crossed her mind, the girl had been completely appalled that she could even ponder something so vile and she had immediately discounted it as utterly insane. Staying intact was crucial for a maiden of high lineage. Her purity was a treasure she should protect and cherish!
Over time though, some very reasonable objections had hit Sansa, one of which had ended up bringing her to change her mind on the matter completely. If she stayed in King's Landing, Joffrey would continue his beatings and as his cruelty kept escalating with each occurrence, the chances that Sansa would survive longer than a few years were obviously quite low. Of what use would her maidenhead be if she lay dead on the throne room's floor? Before her chastity, Sansa had better protect her life for the former had no meaning to a cadaver.
Once the first step of accepting that she might need to sacrifice her maidenhood in order to escape had been taken, Sansa had been confronted with an equally, or perhaps even more frightening prospect… Lying with the Hound.
There was indeed no other man in her surroundings she had any hope of swaying to help her and even with the Hound, she wasn't entirely certain it might work. Sure, she had noticed how he looked at her and was almost sure he had some sort of interest in her. Also, he had commented on her growing body once and saved her from the bread riots without being ordered by anyone but still, there was a risk he might laugh in her face at hearing her proposal. However, it wasn't as if Sansa had many other options and thereby, she had kept trying to convince herself she had to do it over the last couple of days.
The prospect of undressing herself in front of Sandor Clegane, of letting him caress her young body with hands more accustomed of killing than caring for a maiden was also quite terrifying. What if he hurt her? No, he wouldn't, she kept repeating to herself as she walked, feeling the warmth of his hand on her shoulder. The Hound has always been gentle toward me. Still, whenever Sansa envisioned how his cruel, burned lips would feel against hers and how his scarred cheek would brush against her skin, a shiver of disgust would go down her spine and she would bite her lip in fearful anticipation. He may be hideous, but if Sandor Clegane can help me get to this ship, I won't stop him from doing whatever he wishes to me. I'll be forever grateful towards him and work very hard not to show him my aversion.
"Almost there, little bird," the man announced as they began going up the Serpentine stairs. "Next time you go on one of your nightly visits to that buggering godswood you love so much, make certain to follow your usual path. The area you were in is certainly not fitting for a bloody lady."
"I thank you, my lord," Sansa muttered, biting her lips. It was slightly ironic that Sandor Clegane would refer to her as a lady when the proposition she was preparing to utter was anything but ladylike.
"Still chirping your empty little words, are you?"
"No, I… I owe you quite a lot, my lord," Sansa answered. Trying to appear more at ease then she truly was, she turned around to look him straight in the eyes and curled her lips in a small, tense smile. If she really wished to lay with the Hound, she had better start gazing at him and giving him more than a little girl's scared glances. "I'm sincerely thankful."
Her attitude seemingly startling him, Sandor Clegane halted and tightened the hold he had on her shoulder. From where he was a couple of steps down from Sansa, they were almost of a height and his frowning face approached hers.
"What game are you playing now, little bird?" he hissed, looking irritated and bemused at once.
"It's not a game!" she cried, both panic-stricken and abashed at how badly her words had been received. "It's the truth I'm telling you, my lord. I… I know you don't have to help me but you always do anyway."
At hearing her reply, the man's eyes widened but then he began staring at her with so much contempt that Sansa barely contained tears from welling in her eyes. His fingers were painfully digging into her shoulder and she was just about to try to shrug him away when he shook his head and pushed her forward.
"You're really a stupid bird, are you? Wasting your pretty little words on me like this," Sandor Clegane hissed as they resumed their ascent.
I'll never be able to go through with this, Sansa repeated to herself once more. She couldn't let it go so easily though. Perhaps a more straightforward approach would work better with the Hound. He was certainly not the kind of man who liked to be flattered after all.
"Here you are, little bird. And no fucking show of gratitude needed here," the man spat when they reached her door.
He was just about to leave and head towards the stairs when Sansa caught him by the sleeve. "Wait! I… I need to talk to you about… about something. My lord, please. I have a proposition."
The man's previous bemused expression returned to his terrible face but the hint of a mocking smile curled the corner of his lips this time. "What could a little bird like you have to propose? Doesn't seem to me that your life is full of occasions to haggle over anything."
His response making her even more anxious, Sansa breathed in a few times while she tried vainly to find the perfect way to answer him.
"Go on. I haven't got all night," the Hound ordered when she didn't reply, before taking a gulp from his wineskin.
Breathing in deeply, Sansa decided the time to reveal herself had come. "I… I would like you to… to help me get on the Travelling Titan. I can pay for my passage only, I'll never be able to get to the vessel by myself."
On hearing her demand, the Hound nearly choked on his wine. "Let me get this straight, girl. You're asking your betrothed's own buggering sworn shield to help you flee from his master's loving embrace?" His eyes narrowing in mirth, the man barked a hoarse and low laugh. "You got more nerve than I believed." A mean grin on his lips, he eyed Sansa with curiosity. "And why would I do something like this, tell me?"
"I would… repay you. I don't have any gold and only a few jewels but I could…" Sansa paused, not certain if she had it in her to finish her sentence.
The Hound was staring at her with a fixed smirk and an incredulous expression in his usually unreadable eyes - as if he had already divined her intention and couldn't believe what he had read in her.
"Tonight I would give you… anything you want… from me," she whispered, each of her words smaller and weaker than the previous one.
At that, Sandor Clegane's eyes grew wide and Sansa began wondering if she had not put herself in more trouble than she ever had in her short existence.