the knotted root of sorrow (ao3 | ff.net)
rated t | wc ~5,000 | tw: miscarriage, underage
It is Sandor who looms over her when she kneels to receive her brother, accompanied by Ser Davos and Shaggydog, who is monstrous and black, green eyes shining out from behind a wide set skull and a flop of wild fur. Rickon is eight, and does not remember her. It is Sandor who stands with her as she tries to untangle the knots that tie her down to the past in the bones of her home, when at last her pack returns to her. Post ADWD. Future fic.
Happy birthday, Jess! I love you, big sister!
needlework and seedlings
in the way you’re walking
to me from the timbers
faded from the winter
Sansa and Sandor in the Season 4 trailer [x]
and when I go to bed tonight, I will dream a sweet dream, and when I wake there will be dogs barking, women gossiping beside the well, swords ringing in the yard. And later there will be a feast, with music and dancing. It is my dream of spring.”
(A future where Sansa and Arya install Rickon as Lord of Winterfell and keep the North as their homes, and are free to marry who they choose and live how they choose. Sansa, of course, chooses the man who helped her escape Littlefinger and the Lannisters once and for all, and who faced the flames not just once for her, but twice, and led her to slay the giant Ser Robert Strong.)
If you let my soul out, it will come right back to you
we have lingered in the chambers of the sea
by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
(Happy Birthday, Sweetrobin! I know it’s still the 21st here, but it’s a little late, your time…)
It was a complete surprise to most people, that she and Sandor Clegane were drift compatible. But Sansa thinks it makes sense; they may not know everything about each other, but their time together in the King’s Landing Shatterdome is a complicated secret in and of itself. Even still, people look at the slender, poised daughter of the martyred Ned Stark and Joffrey Lannister’s old trainer, and think they don’t quite fit.
It would upset her more if it mattered less. But they’re inside each other’s heads now, and know that they’re not fragile. They have their demons, and they fight them. She knows what goes on in his head the nights she hears him shudder awake from a nightmare, and he lets her touch him in gentle, soft, ways that she knows he’s never let anyone else do, before.
(She’s his first drift. He spent years working on bringing up and serving the Lannister piloting dynasty, running away from letting anyone else inside his head. A kind of self-preservation that she can understand, but times are desperate. And with Arya’s leg broken in four places, she’s run out of choices as well.)
(She thinks she would have chosen him anyway.)
He knows what bends her smile.
Sansa ignores the looks Arya throws her, hobbling around the control room, deciding instead to smile wanly and say, “You know how it is.”
“But him? Really? Why not Gendry? Or not Gendry—”
Sansa makes a noise that might be a snort, if it wasn’t tamped down on. Sansa Stark does not snort. (Sandor Clegane knows otherwise, but he likes to keep her “unladylike” qualities to himself. How a jaeger pilot could be so… delicate, he’ll never really understand, and Sansa thinks he may never stop teasing her about that and she doesn’t really mind, not when she knows what’s inside his head.) She crosses her legs in a way that might convey condescension, if Arya hadn’t spent two years crawling around the inside of her head.
“I don’t like it.”
Sansa smiles cheerfully. “You don’t have to. I’m the one who has to be inside his head, not you.”
Arya scowls. “I’m sure it’s a lovely place to be.”
It’s no, not particularly, and Sansa remembers the first time in neural handshake with Sandor, how they both struggled not to chase the rabbit—how she first chased him down the hall of a small, rattletrap house to a warmly-lit room, a small boy playing in the dim light with his older brother’s Christmas toys, looking around nervously, and then the snap of fear Sansa had felt go down her spine, how she had begged him to come back, that it wasn’t real, that it was over, the little boy screaming as the flesh burned away from his face.
“Come back,” she’d whisper. Again, and again, stroking his hair while he shivered into the skin of her neck. “Come back.”
He’d seen her dark spots too, in person, and then from the inside. She’d seen his time with Arya, on the run, was inside his head while Joffrey beat her. Forgiveness is a funny thing, but Sansa thinks the good outweighs the bad, and at the end of the world, she’d rather let go of the hurt where she may.
He strokes her hair too, sometimes, just because although she smiles more it doesn’t mean she needs it any less.
And then calls her “little bird,” because he was there, even before she found him in the drift.
He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing.“And the little bird, your pretty sister…”
Sansa is obsessed with their daughter. Out of childbed and back to attending her duties as Lady of Winterfell, Sansa misses her babe so during the day. As the Warden of the North she recognizes the practicalities behind a nurse and what Sandor has told her several times—only half seriously, the other half to make her laugh—is a veritable army of attendants, but even still, she drags him out of bed every morning before any sort of decent hour to the little Lady Catelyn’s chambers before any of Sansa’s maids can make an appearance.
Not that Sandor minds, of course. He’s just obsessed with their daughter as she is. It’s just that the Captain of the Guard and Lord Commander-of-whatever-the-bloody-hells-Sansa-made-up-to-suit-him has the time to see his little girl in the daylight hours…
If you bought the 2012 ASOIAF calendar, illustrated by John Picacio, you might recall that October was the month for Sansan!
In retrospective, here’s John Picacio discussing the evolution of his Sansan illustration. From storyboards, using a real life model for Sandor, greyscale version, to the finished final color. Some things I thought were interesting:
- GRRM suggested that a Sansan illustration be included in the calendar
- Picacio’s loves Sansa’s hair because of the “Starry Night” quality that emerged unexpectedly from the composition.
Final words from the artist:
And what better than the month of Halloween for a face like the Hound? It was a no-brainer that this artwork would be October’s. I look forward to seeing lots of scary, scarred Hounds roaming the streets on Halloween this fall.