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Apr. 20th, 2011 09:56 pm
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[personal profile] summer_sparrow
These are totally unbeta'd and written while sleep-deprived, so I apologize for any grammar or spelling errors.

A Beautiful Lie

Rating: PG or PG-13, I think.
Word Count: 178


When Sandor was young, a mere boy, before fire ruined his face and future-- before eveything, he'd dreamt of knighthood.

The dreams soured as harshly as wine left too long in the sun when his face was half a ruin. Yet even then, tucked deep inside and far from Gregor's eyes, hope lingered. A mere ember, perhaps. He'd never take knighthood, not now, but perhaps a wife--

The scars ran deeper than skin, but perhaps, if the gods were kind and the songs were true, a woman-- not even a lady, he'd settle for any lowborn girl so long as she loved him-- might see past the ugly man and love the broken boy.

Hope dies hard, he'd once been told. He learned that lesson well. A boy became a man at the winner's end of the blade, and the man learned within the year to let the whores look away. It was kinder than forcing his face upon them.

When he told a little bird how deeply songs lied, Sandor Clegane spoke a truth he'd learned firsthand.




The Mad Dog's Ride

Rating: M, maybe?
Word Count: 573


He keeps his wife tight against him in the saddle, as unwilling to lose her limp form to the ground as he is to slow Stranger's pace.

Perhaps his life's trade has numbed him; he hardly notices the blood.

--

Gregor stole his countenance, his childhood, his chances. Gregor steals everything.

---


He'd been riding hard for days, maybe weeks. He'd been riding since the raven.

It'd only been a days ride, less if he pushed it; there'd been no reason for a new wife with a swollen belly to accompany her husband on such a trip. Sailors were unsavory, and he'd spare her their coarseness while he found them a ship.

She ought to have been safe, even though she wasn't by his side.

He'd been so wrong.

---

Gregor stole every future but battle. Even landed and moneyed, what woman would have wed the Hound? And who could blame them. No woman loved a broken cur, least of all the kind that dog could have loved.

So he whored his sword as a woman might her body; the faithful Hound no more than a lion-cub's plaything and snarling guard.

---

The wind whipped her ruddy hair, slapped it stinging into his face, but
he paid it little heed.

He knew he should let Stranger rest. The horse was dying beneath him.

He no longer cared. All that mattered was reaching Winterfell.

---

Gregor stole light and life and hope, stole all goodness from the world, wresting the bird from her nest as easily as he breathed.

He'd have raped another man's wife, and killed her besides, but his brother's wife lived, and rode before him on his saddle. Some claimed she went willingly, and smiled for the Mountain, rescued from her monster of a husband.

Most whispered that she was little more than a corpse, beyond weeping and lost to the world.

All know how the Hound chased madly after.

---

He hardly recalled when he'd last taken food, or drunk, or slept. He
scarcely noticed Winterfell's ragged condition as he rode into it, unkempt and nearly empty. He only noticed the woman in his arms as he slipped from the saddle, and spared only a moment's regret for Stranger, collapsing slowly to the ground behind him.

The last of his strength takes him past gaunt and staring faces, takes him deep into the godswood, nearly weeping when he stumbles. The precious burden shifts, precarious in his weary arms.

He lays her before the weirwood, oblivious to the few folk trailing behind him. The world is gray at the edges, quiet and cold, but it's the North, after all, and always cold.

"I brought you home, Sansa," and it's thirst that cracks his voice, surely, not the stillness of her rounded belly as he lays a hand upon it. "Just like you asked."

He's tired, beyond tired, aching and weary like he's never been. She
wouldn't mind, surely she wouldn't, if he just laid his head against her for a bit.

Sandsor Clegane's last words are barely more than a whisper against his wife's cold cheek.

"Little bird, will you sing for me?"

----

Long after the misery of the wars, when the Mountain is long fallen and all the horrors of those years mere pages in a history; when the cold long winter is past and another summer and winter still; in taverns, in whorehouses, in lordly keeps-- centuries pass, but bards still sing the ballad of The Mad Dog's Ride.
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November 2012

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