First great thanks to my beta Andrich
GRRM owns all of it, I own nothing
Bran climbed over the roofs of Winterfell, the cold wind flying around his head. The day was cold and clear, and the wind was heralding the end of the summer. Winter would be upon them all very soon.
Taking a run, Bran jumped from the roof over to the inside wall. A guard had noticed him but just turned his head away in false ignorance. Bran knew his mother had ordered all guards to prevent him from climbing. She was always in worry about him, but he loved it. He felt free. The guards knew that and turned a blind eye.
Quickly he ran along the wall towards the tower at the main gate of the castle. Today would be a special day. Since his mother had told him, his siblings, and Theon nearly two months ago, he was anxious for this day. He had driven Maester Luwin mad by asking all sorts of questions about the road leading to Winterfell, about the conditions, and how long they would need.
But yesterday two scouts had come riding through the gates. By then Bran had known that the day had come. He wasn't dense, he was nine years old, old enough to interpret their arrival.
Arriving at the tower he didn't bother to use the stairs, instead Bran made his way hand over hand along the stones outside the round tower, climbing to the top. He tore open the skin of his hand at a sharp stone, as well as his shirt. His mother would be angry but in the moment he didn't care. He was too excited about what would come when reached the roof of the tower.
Stabilizing himself on the shingles, he climbed further up to the spire. The northern wind was biting cold and he had to grab the spire to not fly away. From down on the ground he heard a man shout something up to him, but he didn't understand.
His look was directed on the southern horizon, eagerly waiting. Today was the day, after more than two years his sister would return from the South. She would visit them together with her husband, Lord Tyrion Lannister.
While waiting for the first flags to appear at the horizon, Bran remembered how it had been almost three years ago.
First his father and mother had acted strangely, he might have been only six but he had noticed it. He and his siblings had heard them arguing. His mother had had puffy eyes, like she had cried. His father had retreated to the Godswood, hiding from them all. Nobody had known what happened, not Robb, Jon, Theon or Sansa. Arya had asked around but nobody had known anything. Only Old Nan had an explanation, that white walkers had risen and would march to the Wall. It had scared him, as much as Rickon had been scared. Robb had said that it was just a story, but they all had spent much time together, waiting for an explanation.
A few days later his parents had requested Sansa's presence. She had been nervous and only with small steps she had gone to their father's solar. Bran and the others, even Theon, had waited in the hall, hoping everything would be all right. Sansa however hadn't returned. Later when Robb had gone searching for her he had come back with the news that she had locked herself in her room. He had heard sobs from the other side of the door, and hammered on it, but Sansa hadn't let him in.
Bran and his siblings hadn't a clue what was with Sansa until later. In the evening their mother had come to them. She sat in her chair with them at the table, folding her hands in front of her. She had looked exhausted, sad and even angry, not like always when she was angry with him for climbing, when she smiled just a moment after schooling him. Her blue eye had been hard, harder than Bran had ever seen them. She just had sat there for a while, mustering Robb, Arya, Rickon and him carefully. It had seemed as though she hadn't even minded Jon's and Theon's presence.
Bran would remember what had followed his entire life. After his mother had taken a long breath she had carefully, and with a stoic voice, explained to them that Sansa would leave. She would have to marry Tyrion Lannister, the new Lord of Casterly Rock, known as the Imp.
Bran hadn't been able to understand, and still couldn't, why Sansa should have had to marry the ugliest man in the seven Kingdoms. Even then he had known the stories about him, that he was a dwarf and a vicious creature out of the nightmares. Sansa on the other hand had been the one of his siblings loving the stories about knights and princesses most.
Bran himself wanted to be a knight someday, like the one out of stories, having adventures against black knights and rescuing the damsel in distress. Lord Tyrion might be the richest and one of the most powerful Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, last in a long line of great Lords, but still. He had been rumoured to be a vile man, the sort you didn't marry your daughter to. Now Bran thought he understood his father's decision. He had always assured him it would be the best thing, the right thing. Sometimes you had to do things you don't like, for the realm.
Back then he hadn't understood, but his brothers had. Robb had spoken against it. He had been as mad as hells. Bran had never seen him like that, so angry. Maybe it had been because he had been the first to hear Sansa's sobs through the door.
Eventually Jon had calmed him down, since Mother had not been able to do so. Robb had left the table, hands formed to fists, muttering something under his breath. Jon had followed him.
Bran had looked around, Arya and Rickon had been as silent as he had been and Theon had had a strange, maybe disappointed expression on his face before he followed Robb and Jon.
During the next days none of them had seen Sansa, she had hid herself in her chambers. He had tried to visit her on occasions but her door had always been locked. He had heard sobs and cries from the other side. It had been then when he had understood Robb's anger.
A loud noise from below forced Bran out of his mind for a moment. Looking down he spotted a cart with a broken axle. The men scurried around it, and Bran thought they looked like ants from his high stand. Turning back to the horizon he buried himself back again in his memories.
He remembered that a week or so after the reveal there had been a big turmoil in the castle. From the other side of his door and from the window he had heard horses neighing and men shouting. Nobody had ever told him what had happened that night. But his father had been furious. It had been the first and till now only time he had seen him so angry. Bran had asked around but had never gotten an answer.
Then the day of Sansa's departure had arrived. She and father had taken leave from them in the yard. His father had prepared a large group of men, even a carriage for Sansa.
It had been very sad, Sansa had hugged all of them, very long, as if it would delay her leave. She had even hugged Jon. But it hadn't helped, father had guided her to the carriage, his arm on her shoulder. Bran remembered the sad expression on his face, but he had kept guiding Sansa in the carriage. She had gripped his arm, had pled, but it had been futile.
Bran had cried, like Rickon had, he hadn't cared what the others might have thought. Sansa had looked so lost, pale and with tears streaming down her cheeks. Bran had felt strange, he had felt like his parents had betrayed his sister, sending her in the seven hells alone, away from her family.
After they had left his mother had gestured them all to her and explained that Sansa had to follow her duty, like everybody else. She hadn't sounded convincing, her own grief had spoken more than all her words could have done.
It had taken more than three month for father to return from the Westerlands. They only heard that the wedding had gone by without incident. Father had told them that everything had been all right, and that Sansa had been and would be fine.
"The Imp is a better man than others would have you believe" he had said.
They had received ravens from Sansa from time to time. The letters had never been long but she had sounded happy. Bran had hoped she was.
When he let his gaze wander over the horizon again, he could finally see what he had waited so long for.
A red spot appeared on the horizon, and made Bran's heart jump. She was there, finally she was there. Slowly the red point turned into a long slow streak of red, snaking along the road north to Winterfell. It appeared it would never end, it looked like they had brought hundreds, no, thousands of people with them.
The mass turned slowly into horses, and men, and carriages, all in red. Bran was able to see knights and flag bearers and all kind of men, all marching in a line with the red and golden lion above them. At the end of the group were at least twenty enormous carriages, covered with gold, sparkling in the northern sun.
Bran already wanted to climb down, when he saw more. The group was followed by a little army of brown carts and people, in disorder, following the neatly marching group of red.
Not wasting a second thought on them, surely Sansa would explain who they were, he climbed down the tower, jumping the last few feet down and unrolling on the wall. Not bothering the guards he jumped onto the battlements and leaped from one to the other in a rapid succession.
After he reached the spot where he could reach the roof of the stables, he jumped over and ran to the slope to slide to the ground. Bran was panting, not so much from exertion, rather from excitement.
On the ground he hurried to his mother, shouting: "She is here, she is here!" to everybody on his way.
He found his mother together with Septa Mordane near the Sept, she had seen him from far and didn't look very happy to see him with his clothes torn open.
"She is here!" Bran exhaled cheerfully when he reached her, jumping up and down. But his mother's gaze fell on his trousers. Looking down he noticed blood, most likely from his hand on them.
"You were climbing again." She stated sternly, gesturing the Septa to leave.
"Yes." Bran looked down, caught disobeying her orders again. "But Sansa is here, I saw them." He added excitedly again, looking up to his mother.
Suddenly her face changed, it seemed she had forgotten what to say, just staring into the open. It took her a moment to compose herself.
"Are they?" she sounded different now, Bran was sure she just tried to hide her own anxiousness. "Go find your siblings, tell them to meet in the yard." She gestured him away with a smile. Bran had already turned and was half way to the yard when she added: "And change your clothes!"
Bran had changed and gathered his siblings, together with Theon. They all had been as excited as he, finally Sansa would come back home. This news had brought a smile on everybody's face.
But now, after all had lined up in the yard they were nervous. How will she be after two years? They all stood in order of their birth, only Jon and Theon behind them. The place of Sansa between Robb and Arya had been left open. The entire castle had come, from the sides, windows, and walls they gazed upon the large gate house, waiting curiously.
Bran looked to his parents. His father had a stern expression, but Bran was old enough to see that he was nervous. His mother didn't hide her feelings, she was tense and played nervously with her hands. His brothers and sister weren't better, like him they were tense, impatient. Where were they?
Then there were the horns. Looking forward he marvelled the spectacle. First a line of mounted knights came through the large and high gates of Winterfell. Always two together, holding flags with the crest of House Lannister. They were coated in crimson red, fine armours under their cloaks.
Bran could only gape, he had never seen so many knights in armours like these. They looked like the one out of the stories. One after another they lined up on the wall to their left, their heads high. One of them dismounted his horse and took off his helmet.
It was a young man with long golden hair. He stepped forward and briefly Bran thought that it might be Lord Tyrion. But Lord Tyrion was an Imp, a dwarf, where this one was at least as tall as Robb.
Bran's attention was driven away from the man to the gate where now more men marched in, soldiers in red armours who lined up beside the knights. Bran asked himself where Lord Tyrion was. His father had always told him a Lord should ride in front of his men, but he was nowhere to be seen.
The men were followed by a carriage, Bran noticed that that couldn't have been all, because he had seen much more.
The carriage was drawn by six large horses and surrounded by servants in red who walked besides. Bran had never seen such a carriage, it was enormous. It looked like a little house on ten large oak wheels. Painted red and covered in gold together with large windows of lead glass, it looked more expensive than anything Bran had ever believed to exist.
Bran glanced at his parents again, his father's face was unreadable but his mother now looked a bit confused.
After the carriage came to a stop the servants started to hurry around it like bees around a beehive. They brought a little staircase for in front of the door, other held the horses and two others lined up left and right of the door. Glancing to his left Bran could see that Robb looked like he had enough of this and wanted to step forward when the door was finally opened.
Out of the shadow of the carriage a small man appeared. He wasn't even as tall as Rickon. Mustering him while he waddled over the steps, Bran saw his stubby legs and a jutting forehead. He was deformed, stunned and had white blond hair. His wardrobe couldn't hide how ugly he was. And Sansa, who had always wanted a handsome knight to marry her, was now married to him. Bran could see the shock on Robb's face, his mother was now better in hiding but still. Arya seemed less shocked, more curious, so Rickon was too. Bran was indecisive about him, yes he was ugly, but on the other hand he smiled. Bran thought that he looked very kind, he also wasn't dirty or dishevelled like he had imagined the Imp. Apart from this his deformations he looked very normal, like a Lord.
Instead of stepping to the ground he stayed on one of the step and held up his hand, looking in the carriage.
A hand and then an arm appeared out of the dark of the carriage, the long pale finger closing around his. And then Sansa came out, wearing a long blue dress, her long auburn hair open and flying in the wind she stepped to the ground.
Bran felt the sudden urge to run towards her, welcoming her, his legs tingled and he jumped from one foot to the other. Sansa looked good, she looked even more like their mother now, but taller. Her gown shimmered in the sun while she tried to control her hair. She let her gaze wander above them and a big smile appeared on her face. Quickly and very audibly, yet gracefully, she nearly ran towards them. Bran wondered how she could walk so gracefully, rather how she could walk at all considering all the gold she was draped with. He could see rings, necklaces, and a golden hairnet with big red stones in it, not to mention earrings with sparkling stones or the gold ornaments of her gown. She appeared to shine like a sun in the blue sky while all her jewellery clinked with every step.
Her little husband stayed in the background while she swung her arms around mother, embracing her before she continued with father. Now all formalities were forgotten, first Rickon, then all of them stormed towards Sansa, hugging her. She lowered herself to kiss him on his cheek, also Rickon. Robb lifted her from the ground in a fluid motion when he embraced her. They were laughing, smiling. Their sister was back.
Sansa looked so happy, Bran saw tears in her eyes while she hugged everyone a second time. Then Jon appeared in a gap between Robb and him, stepping back he and Robb made room. Jon looked uncertain what to do, but Sansa smiled warmly at him, gestured with her arms that he should come forward, and embraced him too.
"How are you Sansa?" Their mother finally broke the scene of laughing, hugging and smiling, and laid her hand on Sansa's shoulder.
"Yes, tell us what you have done for so long?" Bran asked her excited to know.
"How is Casterly Rock? Do there really live Seadragons?" Rickon followed with his question, asking about one of Old Nan's stories.
"Are you well?"
"How is your marriage?"
"Is he really an imp?"
Questions bombarded Sansa, who gazed around, smiling but not able to answer one because it followed more and more. Rickon was tugging at her gown, wanting to have his questions answered first. Bran followed his example but Arya screwed herself in. Sansa started to laugh and moved her hands around.
"Enough of that, now. Leave her some space." Father intervened, smiling as he guided them away from Sansa in a line before taking Rickon and lifting him from her coat-tail. Robb and Jon also stepped back, grinning at their overwhelmed sister.
"How are you?" Their mother repeated her question, more firmly, lying her arm round Sansa. Sansa gazed in the round, meeting him and Rickon with her eyes, they looked eagerly up to her.
"I am fine, really fine." Sansa stated, smiling even brighter. "And concerning my husband…" She looked around, searching before turning her head to find Lord Tyrion standing offside.
He hadn't involved himself in their reunion, for Bran it seemed he had stood there by the carriage without moving, his hands folded on his back. Sansa eagerly waved him nearer.
Carefully he approached them, like a man would approach a pack of wolves. It seemed he had been too slow for Sansa because she paced to him and dragged him into their midst.
"May I present you, my Lord-Husband." Sansa declared, chuckling briefly, her hands rested on his shoulders. "Tyrion"
"My Lord." The Imp had a very deep voice, it sounded strange for a man of his height. He bowed to Bran's father and offered him his hand.
"Lord Tyrion, good to see you again." It looked nearly comical how Lord Eddard Stark shook the hand of a man not half his seize. "I see you have taken good care of my daughter."
"You sound like you had doubted me, my Lord." If it had supposed to sound like an accusation the grin on the man's face gave its frivolous meaning away. Then Bran witnessed how Sansa nudged him slightly, with a half stern tone she said:
"You said you would be nice." Her husband smiled up at her and turned towards Bran's father again.
"Apologies, my Lord, I hadn't planned to offend you." He said nonchalantly before turning to Lady Catelyn, still grinning. "My Lady." He bowed deeply. "Now I know where Sansa got her beauty from." Bran's mother mustered him critically, Bran wasn't sure why she had. Lord Tyrion appeared to be nice.
"You must be Robb" The husband of his sister turned towards his brother. "Finally I meet you, I heard awful rumours of you horribly mistreating your sister." He said, Robb looked totally confused and dumbfounded, gazing from him to an innocently smiling Sansa "I heard you once threw her in a pond. Or once you told her there would be snakes living in the walls, even if it only was the water to heat the castle."
"You mock me" Robb exhaled taken aback. Bran first had been confused to but now he chuckled, his brother and sisters did too.
"Am I not allowed to?" Lord Tyrion offered him his hand, Robb took it smiling lightly, but his face was sour for being mocked by the man.
"Arya I suppose." Lord Tyrion walked onwards, to greet everybody. "What shall it be? A kiss on the hand? Or better a hug?" He raised his eyebrows. Arya smirked and took his hand to shake it.
"Do you want a kiss on it?" She asked cheeky, turning his hand
"Arya!" Lady Catelyn yelled but the Imp seemed to enjoy the banter, a barking laugh escaped him.
"Maybe I want one" He grinned at Arya but both released each other's hand. Now it was Bran's turn. Hoping he would have a good reply if he would mock him too. Bran had laughed at Robb and Arya, but now he didn't want to become the laughingstock.
"Bran" A hand reached in his direction and he took it. "Firm grip, already taller than me, surely a future knight aren't you?"
"Yes my Lord, I hope." Bran replied, a bit taken aback by him, he was nice.
"Tyrion." He said and turned to all. "You all can call me Tyrion if you want." He gripped Bran's hand tighter and pulled Bran towards him. "Don't be shy, I was said my brother had a firm grip and was tall at your age too. Those are good signs for a knight. Maybe I can introduce you both some time." Ser Jaime Lannister was one of the most famous knights in the seven Kingdoms, of course Bran wanted to meet him. The prospect brought a bright smile on his face. Tyrion patted him on his back before turning to Rickon.
Rickon was a bit reserved towards him, maybe because of his look but he took the offered hand.
Finished with Rickon Tyrion gazed around, turning back and forth like he searched something.
"Didn't I forget a brother?" He asked towards Sansa, although it sounded more rhetorical.
Jon who had waited in the background after Tyrion had arrived stepped forward, looking uncomfortable.
"Jon then?" once again a hand was offered and shaken.
It looked like Theon wanted to be next but was ignored. He hadn't even been included in the welcoming of Sansa, she had only nodded towards him. The Lord instead turned to Bran's father again.
"I thank for your hospitality, my Lord." Bran suddenly noticed how bustling it was around him. Dozens of servants were carrying chests from carts.
"You are welcome. The steward will lead your men to your chambers." His father turned. "Poole, show Lord Tyrion's men his chambers." He then turned again to his son-in-law.
"There will be a feast later." Bran's mother said, gesturing to the hall.
Later in the evening there indeed was a feast. After Sansa and Tyrion had settled down and eaten, they had spent the short rest of the day sleeping. It seemed the journey had been really exhausting for them, but in the evening they of course visited the feast to their honour.
It was great. Bran loved it, they sat all together at the high table. Tyrion joked around and told stories. Rickon asked again about Seadragons and was disappointed because Tyrion told them, and Sansa confirmed, there didn't live Seadragons in the caves under the Rock. Apparently stone eating and gold shitting Glarps weren't the source of the Lannister wealth either.
They laughed much, and a bard Sansa had brought played songs about the North and the Westerlands. But Bran thought when he sat at the table that Sansa was a bit bossy to the servants, always ordering them around. His mother observed that with disapproval in her eyes, but didn't say a word.
After the sun was down and the feast drew to an end Sansa told that she had been in King's Landing for prince Joffrey's last Nameday. Bran wanted to hear the story but she said she'd tell him tomorrow. Bran then had to witness a kiss between his sister and her husband, it looked like one wanted to eat the other.
Happy bride indeed (sorry for that) but just so easy everything couldn't work out
Just as a remember it's 298 AL
Thanks for all the reviews and alerts I hope I can hold on your kind words