Like I promised a new story
I own nothing
Sansa adjusted the last folds of her Stark-grey gown, carefully moving. She was a bit nervous about the day. It was cold outside, it had snowed and she let her gaze wander over the snow-covered roofs of the rebuild Winterfell. It had taken very long to rebuild her home, the walls might have stood but the rest had had to be built up from the ground. During the winter the task had been even harder. Nearly an entire year of housing in a tent had been obligatory before they had been able to move into the new castle.
Winterfell looked like it had been when she had left so many years ago, to a future she had never imagined becoming so dark. When she had come back the castle had lain in ruins and she had been married to a Lannister.
Her husband, Tyrion, so she called him now, was now the Lord-Protector of the North. Appointed by the King he had to rule the lands of her ancestors. Sansa shouldn't be, but she was actually glad it was him, not House Bolton anymore.
It had taken her very long to accept her faith of being his wife, even longer to bring herself to lie with him. But all of this was past them now. They had come to an agreement, it wasn't love, more an awkward friendship. The only clear was that they were partners, some sort of at least. She knew he wanted more, maybe one day they would, she didn't ruled it out anymore. She liked him.
But he was after all the stunned dwarf of Casterly Rock, Sansa still hadn't got used to his mismatched eyes or his huge scar. She still sometimes felt uncomfortable by his touch, or to look at him. But on the other hand he was kind, gentle and funny, he made her laugh, something she appreciated more than anything with him. She could live with him, she could be happy with him, or at least a bit. He was also a very capable administrator of Winterfell and the lands surrounding it, another benefit. Sansa hadn't been able to rebuild Winterfell so perfectly or manage the fortune of her house on her own. He involved her in anything though. She didn't know why exactly, maybe out of guilt. She depended on him when it came to ruling, she knew that. He was the Lord she was the Lady that was the way of the world.
All his efforts would reach their height today, it was the same reason she dressed up. Today the Lords of the North, at least the one who had survived the war and winter would come to pledge their fealty to the new Lord of Winterfell. Afterwards there would be a feast in the new dining hall. Sansa had concentrated all her efforts on it during of the last weeks. Sadly the Lords wouldn't be able to pledge their fealty to her son, like she had thought it would happen after their return to the North. But after nearly three years into their marriage she still was childless.
Maybe because she hadn't let him touch her until last year. He had always held true to his words not to force himself upon her. In the afterwards she had schooled herself silly for stalled it so long. After it had happened she realized she had feared only a phantom not something to fear. Even if the first time, or better the way there was very unusual.
With a smirk she recalled the events. There had been a flying vase if she remembered right, and some nasty words and then a few month before it finally had happened. However, he had somehow managed to convince his father to let them go to Winterfell without an heir to her father. It had been the best day since a long time when he had told her they would leave.
Adjusting her hair in front of the large, very expensive, mirror, there were few benefits to be a Lannister, such as certain luxury, she gazed at her medallion which hung on a filigree golden chain around her neck.
It had a Lannister Lion engraved into it, Tyrion's gift to her Nameday, during their first year together.
'Always remember what you are.' He had told her and when she had opened the secret chamber in the medallion she had had the first impression that she could live with him eventually. She hold the medallion dearly, it was a possession she wouldn't exchange for anything.
A knock on the door startled her out of her thoughts, quickly checking her exterior she turned to the door.
"Yes please." She called courteous. The door was carefully opened and her husband waddled in the room. He wore a simple west in Lannister-red over his black clothes, his lion ring the only adornment on him.
"You look beautiful, my dear." He greeted flattering, his arms raised in a gesture like he wanted to worship her. As always a witty charmer. He smiled, one of his kind smiles, Sansa had learned to differentiate between the kind and the cruel or witty or mocking one.
"Wouldn't Lannister-red be better?" She asked a bit uncertain. The gown was new, his latest gift but she thought maybe he wanted to show his dominance by her wearing a red gown.
He had made extraordinary few arrangements for this day, no Lannister flags or other signs of his power over the North. She had asked herself how he wanted to establish his sovereignty over the Lords.
There would be already enough problems, after all he was a Southerner. The Lords won't accept him easily, no matter what they had said. Sansa actually worried that they might kill him in a year or two. She didn't want him dead, not to mention Lord Tywin's reaction. He would lay waste to the North, with the war ended he had enough power to do so. The common people would suffer and no matter what the Lords thought, they would lose.
"I don't think so." He chuckled lightly, his deep voice echoing in the room. "You look perfect, a true daughter of the North." Sansa wanted to reply but he grabbed her hands with the words: "Come on, or we will be late."
He dragged her behind him through the doorway.
"Wouldn't it be better if I meet the Lords after the ceremony at the feast? Or welcome them at the gates?" She spoke breathless while he dragged her through the corridors in a surprising hurry. Sansa already feared her hair would look like the one of a Wildling in the end.
"No, you will have to meet them in the great hall I am afraid." He said while grinning, gesturing one of the guards to open a door in front of them. All the men, or better most of them were former Sellswords or Lannister men, all under command of Ser Bronn. But today they wore the crest of House Stark, the direwolf.
Sansa had finally come to a clear notion what he had planned, he wanted to show her off during the ceremony. The daughter of Lord Eddard Stark standing obediently besides him while he sat in her father's seat and received the pledges of the Lords. Clever, but she felt offended, this was an obnoxious plan. Clever yes, but he had missed a little thing. She wasn't his trophy, nor his slave or pet.
They had come to terms about that a long time ago. He had to treat her with respect and decency, she had demanded so and he agreed. Even before the arrangement he had never mistreated her, but Sansa had still made him say it to make clear there was no middle ground in this. Sansa suspected he wanted to stretch this agreement. Sansa would let him for the sake of the North but she would make him pay for it.
Sansa had developed some methods for occasions like this over the last year. It wouldn't harm him physically or scar his mentally but he would get the notion that he did something wrong and would regret it. The way of a wife, and it would be very funny for her, a guilty pleasure she allowed herself. After all it was harmless, but he would deeply regret what he was about to do and would come to her to beg forgiveness.
Sansa was already planning what exactly she would do. She had some amusing ideas out of her repertoire when they reached the great hall and the large new oak doors with the silver direwolves were opened just enough to let them pass before closing quickly afterwards.
First Sansa's gaze fell on the large podium at the end of the hall. As much as she could see it only contained her father's seat. The throne of the Kings of the North had survived the sack of the castle and was polished and ready for his new owner. Everything else, the tables and other chairs had been removed, together with all tapestries, only grey flags with the direwolf remained behind the podium.
The hall was lit with torches on the walls and the floor was cleaned, the stone polished. It looked like new, not like a fire had raged in her just three years ago. The room sent a chill down Sansa's spine, all memories flashed through her head. She briefly smile when she thought about the feasts in this hall, with her family. Now she was here with him, he was all her family now. She remembered how her mother had stood beside her father, like she would beside her husband.
Tyrion let loose of her hand and marched through the room, he appeared nonchalant, like nothing would happen today. Sansa on the other hand was nervous. What if something would go wrong? She even hadn't ruled out an assassination attempt today.
To her surprise she found no Lannister flags or lion symbols in the hall, only Stark-direwolves. She wanted to ask him why his already sparse use of his family symbols was even stronger marked today. Yes, since a long time, he less and lesser had used his family crest or colours, but today was rediciulous What was he thinking to accomplish by acting so weird, even her presence besides him was surely not enough. But then her gaze fell on the right of her father's chair.
On a lower podium and in the, from her point of view, right side of the high seat stood a simple wooden chair. The chair was studded with gold and had lions as arm rests together with red cushions. Smaller and insignificant-looking compared to the large stone throne with wolves carved in it. Sansa was confused. She turned to Tyrion who stood in the gap between both chairs and opened her mouth but he was faster.
"Won't you sit?" He asked surprisingly expressionless, but she could see he was hiding a grin. He wanted her to sit in that, the Lannister chair. It would make her to a Lannister, if this would be his plan it would be even nastier than she thought. Sansa was about to decide that he would pay for that even more, when she slowly approached the wooden chair and he stopped her with a gesture of his hand.
"My Lord?" She asked him, she was satisfied by seeing him flinch by the use of the old title for him. He didn't like it but straighten up quick.
"What are you doing?" He asked her as if nothing had occurred.
"Sitting down." Sansa became suspicious, what was he doing? Was he up to more?
"The Lords will be here soon." He gestured with his hands to her father's chair. By the sudden realisation what he wanted she gasped. Seeing her surprise Tyrion grinned and explained: "This is yours."
"No" She objected still surprised. "The Lords are here to…"
"To pledge fealty I know. But they won't pledge to me." He made a meaningful pause. "They will bend the knee to you." This couldn't be, she was a woman, he was the Lord-Protector, even if they would, what would the throne say.
"But I am…"
"You are your father's daughter, the Stark in Winterfell. You are their Lady." He smiled at her, folding his hands behind his back. "I on the other hand are nothing more than your caretaker. And husband, but what we do in the bedchamber isn't their business." He stepped back to the wooden chair and continued to explain. "I also must admit that I like it how it is. Peace and solitude with you united with little work for you. You are always the centre."
"But you are the Lord-Protector" Sansa objected looking from the high seat to him and back, was he mad? How had he planned to explain this, especially in this political situation?
"Lord-Protector, caretaker, what is the difference?" he sounded nonchalant, too careless. "My father wants me on that chair, but he is far away and the Lords of the North, who most likely want me dead are not. I am more than happy that we let my father believe he won and me seeing you sitting on this thing. But I would advise a pillow, it looks very uncomfortable." He added more serious, but in a warm tone: "This is who you are." The last sentences was stated clear, without a doubt serious.
Piece by piece Sansa slowly put together the puzzle and had to smirk by the picture she formed. Clever, really clever of him. He was intending to share, that's why he had involved her in everything concerning Winterfell, it would make things easier.
She would still depend on him, she hadn't the education or resources to rule the North without him, not even Winterfell. She needed a Lord-Protector, she needed him. For all the Lords or even merchants, sellswords who felt themselves too precious to deal with a woman. For accountings or warfare. Not to mention that Tywin Lannister would never accept a different arrangement. Tyrion's mind would be helpful too. But he also depended on her, she was the one with the claim, she was the Stark of Winterfell, he was right with that. In the end the Lords of the North would follow her, not him. He needed her too.
They would have to stand together, husband and wife ruling together. She would be the ruler of Winterfell and he her Hand.
Clever little man Sansa thought. They would share the power, rule together, it would clearly make many things much easier.
"You would…?" Sansa asked suspicious, she still couldn't fully believe his words, she needed confirmation of her thoughts.
"I insist." He stated clearly, "but now hurry they will be here soon."
In a confused mood between smiling and sudden fear Sansa carefully stepped on the higher podium. She reverently traced one of the wolf heads made out of stone. This was her father's seat, the chair of house Stark and now it should be hers? She was intimidated by the prospect, the mere presence of it. The Kings of the North had sat in this chair, her ancestors, great and powerful, and what was she? The prospect of ruling Winterfell became very inconvenient by this thought. She would be responsible, the Lords would expect her to solve their problems. She gulped and steeled herself. A quick glance over her shoulder confirmed that Tyrion was still with her. Yes she would need him.
Slowly she sat down, adjusting her gown before leaning back in the chair. She sat like Septa Mordane once had told her, legs together, chin up, like a Lady should. Only her hands weren't folded in her lap, she had placed them upon the wolf heads.
She could see the entire hall from the seat. All looked so tiny, inferior from up there, but Tyrion was right, it was uncomfortable. The high rest and the cold stone of the huge seat surrounded her. She felt like a child in this big old noble seat, insignificant. Looking down she found her now absolved husband grinning at her.
She had made a mistake, had misjudged him. This hadn't happened to her in a long time, normally she got his intention very quick. He may be cunning, but usual lack of viciousness made him easy to read for her. He couldn't hide his true self from her, she had shared the bed with him, her sorrow and happiness, she knew him. This was the reason of her surprise.
"Don't forget, you are the Lady." He made clear, as if he had to. Sansa wasn't a child. She knew exactly what to do, what she could do now.
She started to think about if there could be more reasons why he had done what he had done. Maybe there where more than the obvious, if yes she had to know. Lately he had seemed much more lacking the motivation when it came to power, maybe he was weary of it. This could it be, ruling was after all a burden and so why not sharing it.
She gave her husband a confident glance, before he made his way to his wooden seat and set down, just in time before for the doors were opened again.
One after one the Lords and Ladies of the North marched in the room, the crest of their houses on their chests. Sansa recognized them all, House Mormont, Umber, Dustin, Flint, Karstark, Manderly, Ryswell, Glover, Tallhart and at least twenty more. They all lined up in front of the podium. By their gazed Sansa took a more noble position in the large chair, back straight, her head high she observed how all of the took position. They looked around a bit confused, some even angry. They after all saw the daughter of their beloved Lord on his seat and her 'vile Lannister captor in a Lannister chair before her.
"What is this Imp?" The man with the chained giant of Umber spat at her husband, gesturing to her. His face grimaced in anger. Sansa saw he felt insulted.
"A nice day to you too, my Lord. I am fine thank you for asking." Tyrion started slow in a patronising tone. Sansa had to control her lips not to smirk. "As for what this is, you are here to pledge your fealty to your Lady. Like you should." The last words sounded very dangerous, his deep voice let no doubt there was an option to that.
"You think if you just present us Lord Stark's daughter like a trophy we will be less despised by you?" Sansa felt suddenly anger boiling in her. This wasn't King's Landing, she was no trophy, most certainly not his, not here in her home.
"I am no one's trophy, Lord Umber." Sansa hissed icy, she changed her position, hoping she would look more like her father.
"My Lady you must understand we are … eh … uncertain what this is." The woman with the crest of the bear explained more friendly but reserved. She gestured with her hands towards her, but gazed at Tyrion.
"I say you what this is." The one with the crest of Glover shouted indignantly. "The Lannister want to lure us in with a …"
"Think wisely what you say next." Tyrion warned him, pointing his finger towards the man. Sansa didn't hide her smirk now, his tone could have even scared Joffrey away. And Lord Glover's finch was a bonus to that. "You wanted me here." A puff of air escaped his throat before he continued.
Sansa couldn't see his expression from her place, but he sounded even colder than she had.
"You are here to renew your oaths to your liege Lord. Lady Sansa is your liege lord now, not I. You know the consequences of not following her. Treason is still punished by death." He changed his position, Sansa could see Tyrion's hands now gripping the arm rests. "She might can't swing the sword, but I can."
"Nice words, but where is the proof?" By the question of the Mormont woman Tyrion turned his head over the rest of his chair and looked at her expectantly. Sansa let her gaze wander and saw confused and expectantly faces in the entire room. She leaned back, still pretending they acted out of order to a totally normal situation.
They wanted proof that they would take an oath to her not him. She was the Lady. Gathering her strength she took a stern look and gazed at Tyrion, he had decided to share, to be her Hand then now he had to suffer the consequences. Without moving a muscle she said:
"Leave us." It was an order, not a request and to Sansa's relief it sounded like one.
"My Lady." He grinned mischievous at her, so only she could see it before jumping out of his chair. He bowed to her and left without a word, forcing the Lords to step aside to let him through.
The doors closed after him and Sansa was alone with the dumbfounded Northerner. Raising an eyebrow she looked at them expecting. It was silent for a while.
Lord Umber was the first who eagerly stepped forward and bend the knee, reciting the vow he once had given her father and brother. The other Lords followed quickly one by one, they said the words, assuring her their loyalty.
Sansa listened but her inside was churning, all was out of order. Now she was the Lady with a husband as a hand instead of master about what he could have had alone. He would not retreat just step aside.
She was now the Lady of Winterfell, she was the Stark in Winterfell. Who else would have allowed her such without demanding more than she was ready to give? She would have had to fight for it, but he just had gave it to her.
So much to her plan to punish him, now she had think of a way to thank him properly.
She smiled thinking about what would be from now one while Lord after Lord bend the knee before her.
I hope you liked it and review
If there are inconsistencies I am sorry, in the first version Sansa was much more passive, nearly weak. I didn't like it and changed her, hopefully to a better version. The revision added more than 1000 words so that you know
I really think something like this could have happened
-This story is the first out of a series of three one shots
There will be two, smaller prequels in the next two weeks one about the medallion and one about the flying vase