Title: If I Cannot Fly, Let Me Sing
Fandom: Game of Thrones
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Sansa Stark, Sandor Clegane; slight SanSan
Summary: Sansa thinks that Clegane had the right of it; she is just a caged, little bird.
Notes: Written last night, for lenina20's prompt, 'he calls her 'little bird' for the first time'. I wrote it after two in the morning to cheer myself up over some things, so...it's kind of sappy. I think. I can never tell (I've found I can be a really bad judge of these things sometimes). ^^() I really enjoyed writing it though, so thank you, lenina20, for the prompt! Hope you like. :)
She can play the high harp and knows her favorite songs by heart. She loves the stories; all the pretty tales of grander days. Once her mind had conjured up days to come where she would play and sing for her golden prince.
There are no songs, no talented musicians playing their pretty instruments. Not any more. There are punishments and brutalities; there are screams and cries. The only songs her golden king enjoys are pleas and worthless confessions.
Sansa wonders if she asks the queen sweetly, would she be given a harp to play. In the comfort and quiet of her own room; with only the ghosts in her memories for an audience.
Once she would have asked Joffrey. She would have played for him gladly; wearing the heavy necklace he'd hung around her neck. She would have played, and she would have sung, and she would have smiled for him. She would have been happy; they could have been happy.
But then King Robert died, and then her father had been tricked somehow, and then her king answered her cries for mercy for her father with swiftness in death instead of dragged out agony.
Out of his affection for her; that was the only mercy Joffrey knew.
So she asks the queen one day - sweetly, meekly - if she may have a harp to play. She does not cry or let her chin quiver; nor does she plead. She asks; sweetly, meekly. She does not cry when the queen has granted her request - 'The old thing isn't be used,' she says, impatient where once she was kind - and Sansa thanks the queen with a smile; sweet, meek. She does not cry until she is safe within the walls of her chamber, and it is safe to let them fall where no one will see.
It is the next day when she receives her harp - given to remind her of Joffrey's affection, to keep her practiced for the day that she becomes queen, and she might have need of it. Sansa does not care what reason the queen tells her, or what reason the queen gives it to her. Only that she has it all the same.
She practices every day. It cheers her more than her stitching. She is happy to play, to hear the longed for tunes. She sings for herself, for the ghosts in her memories, and the ghosts of all her dreams.
Unknowing, she sings for Sandor Clegane.
"The little bird sings a happier song in her cage these days," he says to her as he escorts her to court - where Joffrey and his sharp instruments and his cruel songs are waiting. The Hound's voice is gruff; it is always gruff. Gruff and rough and raspy; and sometimes, it is warm.
Like today, she thinks. Today it is warm.
A blush colors her cheeks, and her head bows. "Thank you, ser." She lets it slip in her surprise. The moment the word is spoken she regrets it. She thinks to correct herself - but there is no alternative. She cannot call him by name, and she will not call him by his given title.
Clegane grunts slightly, and says not a word otherwise.
Sansa chews the inside of her lip, and her cheeks burn hotter as she feels like a fool. She hates the silence; it is not so bad to talk with him on the days when his voice is warm. So she speaks; voice timid but the silence is too oppressive. "I am not a bird, though."
The Hound shrugs. "You sing. You chirp your courtesies, all those words you've been trained to say. Like one of those talking birds from the Summer Islands. A pretty, chirping bird," he tells her. His voice is not quite so warm. "Now, you're a songbird too."
"Do you like my songs?" she asks him sharply. She immediately wishes she hadn't; embarrassment flushes her face red, and all she can think is how impolite she must have sounded.
But Clegane laughs. It is a harsh sound, harsh and deep. His laughter is a rumble even when it is faint and brief. It is a mocking sound. "They're not my kind of songs."
"Perhaps you could teach me one you would prefer?" she suggests perhaps a touch too stubbornly.
Clegane almost pauses his stride and glances her way. There is something in his eyes; something hot and foreign. Something she has only seen once before - 'Who do you think sent me?' - and it is something that sends a shudder racing down her spine. He stares ahead again; the something is gone. "Maybe one day I will. But today sing your courtesies, little bird. Sing them well."
Later, Sansa plays her harp and sings of Florian and Jonquil. A bruise is forming on her jaw, and her tummy is sore. But she sings through the pain with all her heart.
And she thinks that she is indeed a little bird in a cage.
- FanFic: If I Cannot Fly, Let Me Sing