This is an A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic based on the following prompt:
Any/any. AU. They live in a world where love at first sight happens and when they meet their soulmate, a matching mark appears on both persons' right wrist. 5+1.
Notes:Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot, and I earn no money from this. ASoIaF belongs to G.R.R. Martin.
It is a romance in a modern setting with a difference, for there's a little magic regarding the OTP marks. As it is too long a fic for a single post, I have split it in two in order to avoid everlasting scrolling.This is the 2nd and last part.
Sansa Stark sighed contentedly. Although she wasn’t as crazy about romance and beauty as she had once been, she still thought that grandeur added to a wedding meant blessing. After several years of engagement, Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, both of important families, had just got married, taking advantage of the new Marriage Equality Law. The celebration was but magnificent. Everybody who was somebody attended the wedding.
She had her friend Margaery to thank for this, as far as she had been the one to convince her brother Loras to include Robb and Sansa into the invitation card sent to the Starks. Well, it couldn’t have been too complicated a mission. Having a young and talented writer like Sansa, who had already won a major poetry award, was glamorous, and the grooms loved glamour. Besides, she was well aware of her friend's crush on Robb. Margaery had been looking at him with doe eyes from her place at the head table. Barely a moment ago she had asked him to the floor. Her friend was playing her cards. Anyway, she doubted Margaery would be lucky in her attempts: Robb was dating some Jeyne girl. The Starks were not much happy with the girl's family, but that was unimportant. They didn't have the love marks, so they would split up eventually. Unfortunately, Margaery and Robb didn't have them either.
The grooms did have the marks. As they waltzed around, Sansa could almost see the radiance coming from their wrists. In fact, they glowed of happiness. She felt a little jealous: they were meant for each other and they looked so cute together!
Garlan Tyrell approached the table and greeted her parents before asking her for a dance. She accepted; everyone knew Garlan was a gentleman. She moved to the sound of the music and saw her parents share a smile. They were meant together, as well. They had lived and were still living a love story, nearly as romantic as she had once considered aunt Lyanna's. Foolish little girl.
When Sansa was younger, she had daydreamed of being like her aunt. Someday she would be able to leave everything behind for true love. Nonetheless, when she grew up and realized the pain Lyanna's flight had caused to others, she had had doubts. Maybe love was not always the key to happiness. She knew her father used to adore his little sister. Nowadays, their relationship was distant and estranged. They only got through via phone or mail and only from time to time.
Maybe she would also find her true love, one day. However, she would not rush; she was young and she had already fallen for the wrong boys before. She had been a fool. She would not make the same mistakes again. Sansa would wait.
The music changed and they stopped dancing. Garlan’s wife appeared and the three of them engaged in small talk. After a while, the couple left and Sansa lounged around the place. She had a glimpse of Renly talking to a young woman whose lean body, dark hair and mischievous smile triggered a memory in Sansa. Greyjoy. Theon. The first boy she had laid her eyes upon was her brother’s best friend—a cliché and a waste of time. Annoying little girl.
If only it had been her biggest mistake.
Sansa had been barely a teenager when she started fancying Theon. She had done what almost every little girl would have done in her place, that is, make entries in her diary, draw hearts, write silly poems and blush when the object of her affections was in sight. She had also dreamt of the love matching marks, of course. It didn’t matter that she had met Theon several times before: the marks would appear, sooner or later. They had to appear.
Thus, one day, Sansa had finally gathered her courage. She’d made up a silly excuse about Theon’s watch and touched his wrist. Then, she had waited for something to happen until Theon mocked at her and complained about whims and annoying little girls. Sansa had fled, sad and embarrassed, and erased the drawings, crossed out the words of love and cried herself to sleep.
Nonetheless, that failure had not been enough to make her forget her hopes of finding her soulmate. Soon after, she had started hanging out with Margaery. When her friend introduced her brother Loras to Sansa, she had almost fainted. Apart from his uncanny handsomeness, he was gentle and good-mannered, and nicer than Theon. He had even given her a rose.
Needless to say, she had fallen head over heels. She had resumed writing and having dreams of wonderful things to come: matching marks, a tender and passionate relationship, a beautiful wedding, a new sister in Margaery, children. Stupid little girl. The day the two girls found Loras kissing Renly, several things were broken—Sansa’s heart, and the boys’ eardrums when Margaery started yelling at them. At least, it would have eventually made for a funny story that the four of them still remembered with a smile.
On the contrary, there were no smiles when it came to Joffrey.
In the beginning, their story had reminded her of a fairy tale—a pretty and polite prince charming that adored her, families that got on well, dreams of golden futures, popularity. God, she had been so delusional that she had even seen the non-existent marks! However, step by step, the golden façade had started to crumble. It began in little ways—a rude word against her siblings, a derisive comment on her clothes or hair style, practical jokes that none but him found funny, a look of contempt when Sansa uttered an opinion. It only got worse. By the end of the time they were together, Sansa had lost her friends, argued with her family, changed her looks to suit his tastes, given up her own preferences, learnt to take in every cruelty he said or did to her, to bear the humiliations. She had learnt to be nullified.
The last straw came when he had viciously kicked her puppy Lady, hurting her. Lady had whined, Sansa had started and pushed Joffrey, and he had slapped Sansa. Hard. Epiphany. She had left him and never thought of coming back. He thought otherwise and it was necessary an encounter between Robb and Joffrey to put an end to the nightmare. Nobody ever knew what had transpired in that encounter, but, afterwards, Joffrey appeared at school with a limp and a swollen eye, and no intention of ever getting close to Sansa again. Her father and his father’s friendship had suffered from the strain. Sansa was beyond care. She only wanted to make a fresh start and go on with her studies and life. Professional help and university had granted her wishes.
Something had remained within her, nonetheless—a haunting demon made of mistrust, shame and rage. A demon she had only been able to tame after meeting Professor Clegane. He was a scarred and embittered man known for his rudeness and harshness. In spite of that, he had the gift of bringing out the full potential of the students that attended Creative Writing—like a hound, he dogged and pushed and dug until the treasure showed or the tomb collapsed.
Sansa hadn’t collapsed. She had bled out both the treasure and the demon and written them down.
“Which realm are you visiting, honey? Outer space, Musetown?” a voice said.
“Memory City, Robb. It’s not the best place to go on holiday, trust me,” answered Sansa.
“Don’t worry, that dick isn’t coming,” Margaery said. She was clinging to Robb’s arm.
Sansa nodded. Joffrey’s homophobia was notorious.
“Let’s drink to that! Margaery has just told me about that new cocktail. Will you have one, Sansa? ” Robb asked. His eyes where a bit glazed and he had a goofy grin on his face. Margaery was smirking.
“No, I won’t, thank you. Go get your drinks, I’ll be dancing,” Sansa answered.
“Don’t get lost in thought, then. See you later,” Margaery said with a wink. They left, holding hands. Sansa sighed. It seemed that the Starks wouldn’t have to be bothered by Jeyne’s family for long.
She danced, humming happily. After a while, a young man got close to her and they began talking. He was nice and funny, and his talk was interesting—Sansa enjoyed the time with him. Then, the youngster hesitated and took something out of his bag.
“Err...You don’t mind if I asked you for your autograph, do you?”
He was holding in his hands her first book of poetry, Little Bird, Little Wolf, the one that had been awarded. Sansa smiled and took the book from him.
“Of course, it will be a pleasure. So, do you like poetry?”
“Well, I like reading. I’m more into the classics, but a friend of mine recommended this book to me and now I must say I love it. Seriously, it’s really deep, and I find the bittersweet contrast quite moving. Some lines are soul-piercing.”
“Thank you,” she said. That was flattering, and he was good-looking. Truth be told, he had a shock of dyed blue hair, but he had beautiful indigo eyes and a fit body. It’s a start, but beauty is not the most important trait in a person, remember!
“You see, when Renly told me that Alayne Stone was going to attend the wedding, I thought he was joking. So it has been a wonderful surprise!”
“Well, Alayne is just a pseudonym, so she is not here, indeed. My name is Sansa.”
He laughed and Sansa’s smile broadened as she finished writing.
“And to whom...?” she asked.
“Young Griff,” he answered. Sansa frowned and he resumed laughing. “I know, it’s a ridiculous nickname, but Coach Connington always call me that and I kinda like it.”
“Ok. Young Griff, then.” Sansa signed and gave the book back to him. “So, do you have a real name?”
“Of course. It’s Aegon.”
Aegon? A memory sparked in Sansa’s mind. At the same time, her fingers touched Aegon’s, and the spark turned into a shining made of blue and indigo.
“No way! That can’t... And with a Stark!” Aegon said, but he didn’t move his hand from the contact.
A glass fell to the floor behind them and both started. A woman that was wearing a beautiful sun-shaped pendant stared at them in horror.
“Mum?” he asked.
And Sansa remembered the family names. She remembered and shuddered. That was a joke. It had to be a joke.
But love and hope don’t know of memory, and the story will start again.
The head waiter hid a grimace—the wedding reception had only just started, and the guests were already behaving pathetically. Everyone was commenting on how lovely the ceremony had been. Everybody complimented someone else’s clothes or hairdo. A bunch of females was making a fuss over the wedding bouquet, which had been caught by one of the bridesmaids, the Tyrell pussy. Undoubtedly, that was going to be a long, long evening.
It was not that the head waiter hated weddings—not really. In fact, he had been married once. Things had not run as expected, but he had no objections if he were to get married again—for the right reasons.
What upset him was the fact that everything seemed fucking perfect there. Tooth-rotting perfect, as if a giant bear had opened a monstrously huge jar of honey and sugar-coated the whole place. The hotel that gathered the reception was the best in the area. The weather was mild and the gardens where the cocktail was taking place were in bloom. Several tasty courses would be served for dinner. Wherever you looked at, you saw happy faces. Everyone seemed happy and, when he said everyone, he meant it. The place was crowded.
He could not wait for the turning point to come—it always did. Someone would drink too much, some old grudge would arise, someone would flirt with the wrong person. Then, veneers would fall off. Bye-bye, perfection. Now, let’s get the party started.
Nevertheless, he hoped the point didn’t come too soon. That reception was crucial to his future. The business was successful, of course, but there was a major difference today: he was the one in charge. There were plenty of opportunities there, and they were waiting for him, not for D.
“Would you like something to drink, madam?” he asked the bridesmaid who was sister to the bride. The girl took a glass of wine while using her cell phone and struggling with her dress at the same time. A juggler, this one. He had heard that she was a theatre actress. That didn’t impress him—he could best her anytime. He had been able to deceive a jury. He was playing the part of a footman for those snobs’ sake presently. Compared to him, the Stark chick was but a dilettante.
Dilettante. He tasted the word. He had listened to it on a TV show. He had made a habit of learning new words of late. He would be given his dues soon, and great men needed use learned language.
He took a look at his watch. It was time for the guests to move into the hall, where they would be waiting for the grand entrance. He gave some commands to the staff. Within a few minutes, all the guests were heading for their tables. He smiled. Yes, he could manage that. Better than D.
The music sounded, and the newlyweds arrived. The head waiter was not much into redheads, but he had to admit that the pregnant bride was beautiful. The groom was also handsome, even with the ridiculous streaks of blue that spoilt the almost white hair.
He felt a pang of jealously and disgust. They had youth, beauty, love and money. Apart from their families’ wealth, they were successful in their careers. The groom had won medals with the National Sailing Team. The bride had a name in literary circles. He had heard that she had written a playwright for Broadway, lyrics and all, and he put his bet on her writings ending up into the hands of some Hollywood producer. Showing-offs.
He had to look at the bright side. Professional sport and film industry. Oh, the contacts that awaited him!The waiting service had to be top-notch.
Bride and groom moved from table to table, greeting their guests, until they got to their places at the head table. He welcomed them, and then, he had a quick meeting with the staff.
“Here we go. Remember. There are eleven veg menus. They go to tables nine, twelve and seventeen. Table seven: take into account the allergies of the Arryn kid. Table two: no alcohol should be served to Mr Baratheon.”
“Which Mr Baratheon, sir? Which one?” an idiot lad dared ask.
“Have you read the list? Do you know how to read? Table two. Here! Baratheon-Tyrell: 2. Baratheon: 3, two of them with tits. Can you recognize tits when you see them?”
“Excuse me, sir,” muttered the redneck. The old mummy must have been drunk to take him on.
“No excuses: you are busing tables from now on, and don’t get close to the main ones. I don’t want any mistakes, or else all of you will be sacked. Now, go. Move!”
They moved, and his scowl followed them, harsh, controlling. Then, the scowl disappeared and he moved himself to the table occupied by the AA member and company. There stood one of his focuses of interest for the evening: the eldest among the bridesmaids, Rhaenys Baratheon. She favoured her mother’s looks, although he had noticed that her stern expression and mannerisms mirrored her father’s, which was curious, taking into account that Stannis Baratheon was not her biological father.
Anyway, what mattered was that she was some kind of genius in the law field. It was always convenient to have acquaintances in that field. She had won the trial against Tywin Lannister’s crew of attorneys in the fight for the control of King’s Landing. “Yes, the same Lannister with whom we almost had business in the past. Rhaenys crushed him in court, and now King’s Landing belongs to Stannis Baratheon and his wife. Sales have increased twofold since then,” D would say before praising the woman for the tenth time in a row. The head waiter had been compiling data about the important people who would attend the wedding, and D had been a large source of information. D didn’t hide his admiration for the woman, and the mummy thought her to be a good match for him.
Pity D had fallen sick: he wouldn’t meet her tonight. He would never meet her, if the head waiter had a say in it.
“We’ll have crostini to accompany the salad,” the woman said. Commanded. His stomach churned—even her voice sounded uncompromising. Danger! No ally here. Better forget about it, a primitive part of him screamed.
The last bridesmaid, Shireen, smiled at him, as if trying to soothe her sister’s demeanour, and his stomach churned once again—for different reasons. In her pale pink dress, she had a halo of vulnerability. And the mar on her face only added appeal to her appearance. Was that a birthmark? Some kind of disease? Self-inflicted?
He must have been staring at her, for he was rewarded with a glare that mixed shyness and defiance. His thoughts ran wild.
“Certainly, madam,” he said, and left before getting too aroused. He saw one of the groomsmen, the Seaworth boy, touch her shoulder possessively, and anger fell upon the head waiter. That asshole’s hand would look better without fingers.
He breathed slow and went on faking. He had to focus on his goals and keep calm.
His goal sat like the Dowager Queen, pouting and making a fuss over her daughter, a little girl with grey-green eyes. Lysa Baelish, twice a widow, filthy rich, fond of fatou... fastuous ceremonies and parties, and a coquette—a hella good match. Oh, it might be difficult, but they had things in common already. Besides, he knew how to handle mature widows—his wife had also been a widow. He was a widower himself. He could use that to appeal to Lysa’s sympathy. This time, he had to be more careful or he would finish up without a dollar, like before. Well, in the end, being excluded from the will had been a stroke of luck, or else there would have been a trial, and if the heirs had started inquiries...
He frowned. No happy times, those ones. At least, Lysa had some attractive traits. Her tight dress promised miles of yummy, creamy skin. The things he could do to her.
“Even with the red hair,” he mumbled.
“It’s not red, it’s auburn. The hair of the bride and most of her relatives, I mean,” a kitchen assistant said.
Prissy cow. He felt like smacking her, just to find out if her blood was auburn.
“Whatever” he replied, but he added mentally the new term to his wordlist.
There had been a little argument with the kitchen staff prior to the reception, until the chef had understood that the head waiter was the one on top of the chain. He was not only the head of the waiting staff. He was the senior, the general manager, the owner of the business. No D, and no old crank—only him.
He deserved respect, and respect he would get.
All in all, things were running smoothly. He even let himself enjoy some naughty little pleasures. A pitiful waitress was scared of a certain professor whose face was burnt and, of course, she was held responsible for serving the table where he sat at. The pretty and shy waiter that blushed at everything was thrown into the wildness that was the place ruled by those crazy bitches, the Sand Snakes.
Tiny pleasures to bear the burden of the dull, perfect evening.
Courses were served. Time passed by. Desserts were served. Time came for speeches and lauds. Semblances of husband and wife. Memories of relatives and friends. The groomsmen tried to be funny—failed spectacularly. Shireen’s lovebird proved his tongue need cutting, too. Quentyn Martell, an ugly toad among the herd of sexy beasts that crammed his family, made it worse. Anyhow, people laughed, applauded and cheered up. Then, glorification of love, talk about matching marks. Kisses, sighs, tender looks all around.
A bit more of fluffiness, and the head waiter would be vomiting hairballs.
To add insult to injury, the newlyweds asked for silence and proclaimed that their baby would be a boy.
“His name will be Jon. We want to honour Coach Connington’s memory. He was sadly departed a year ago. Wherever his soul rests now, I am sure he is proud of you, darling,” Sansa Baratheon said. Her husband was unable to utter a single word. He kissed her hands; tears stained his face. Teary faces multiplied and a long standing ovation followed.
The head waiter fled. He was on the verge of guffawing.
“It’s time for the wedding cake,” he said to the staff.
The cake was cut, the dance got started. The bar opened. Now, he had to monitor the bartenders. Maybe alcohol would do a miracle.
The formal pieces of music gave way to the modern ones. He wandered around, grasping some fragments of conversation.
“Arya, why hasn’t Jaqen come?” the bride asked her sister, in a low voice. “I told you dad had finally got over the age difference.”
“Really? It won’t be because of him, will it?”
The bride nodded towards a young man built like a bull.
Arya Stark, a.k.a. Mercy, the ruthless star of controversial playwrights, blushed.
“Wow! This is priceless! Does Mya know? And do you have the...?” asked the bride. She made a gesture and moved her right wrist.
The juggler blushed even more and her sister giggled. Nothing to do here.
He walked towards the corner where the bull stayed. He was talking to a woman and a youngster. The three of them had the same mop of black hair. Robert Baratheon was also there, smiling awkwardly. He thought of giving him a glass of whiskey, just to have some fun.
He remembered the man’s divorce, three years ago. It was said that he had found his wife doing her own brother. Surprisingly, he had not killed them at once. Afterwards, a paternity test had revealed that none of the children were his. It was the biggest scandal that the state had known in ages. The eldest child had OD’ed; the head waiter did not remember what had happened to the others.
However, the man himself had not kept his cock useless, and the three fakers had been substituted by three children that had been sired by Robert out of wedlock, a daughter and two sons. The four of them seemed to be trying to make up for the lost time.
A father, illegitimate children, recognition at last.
The head waiter felt a stab of some uncomfortable feeling he could not quite apprehend, so he made for another place. He held on to feelings he could understand. Ambition. He had been taking steps to getting closer to the prospect of an engagement to the rich widow. Control. Lust. The provocative dance of the hottest bitch he had ever seen, Arianne Martell, and her puppy boy, Oakheart. Thoughts of a threesome assaulted him—the woman would dominate the puppy boy, and the head waiter would dominate them both. His groin stirred.
He rushed to the restroom and stayed there until he chilled out. That was neither the place nor the time for his appetites.
He left the restroom and almost jumped into another couple, the doe-eyed Tyrell and the eldest of the Stark boys. He hid, and hoped they were not there to make out—it would be vexing to have a new hard-on.
“I’m serious, Marg. I’ve missed you sorely, I want to make up”, Robb Stark said.
“Seriously? And what about your uncle’s girlfriend?” she fumed.
“I told you a hundred times it was a one-night stand before she met my uncle for the first time. Damn it, we weren’t even together by that time!”
“That is what you say.”
“And you? What about your heavy swan with the ridiculous name, Balon?” The Stark was right, there were too many dumb names those days: Balon, Aegon, Devan...
“Don’t be absurd, Robb. Are you jealous?”
He took her hands.
“Let’s stop pretending, Marg. You know we love each other, we have these feelings...”
“But we don’t have them.”
“Fucking matching marks!” the young man started. “This is real, what I feel for you, what you feel for me. We don’t need the hand of fate to decide for us. Your parents don’t have the marks, and they are fine.”
“It’s a little scary. It’s a leap of faith.”
“It will be worthwhile. I’m ready to fight for us. Are you?” He took a little box from his pocket, and a golden ring from the box. She gasped. “I want to marry you, Margaery Tyrell. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”
“You... you are crazy! Yes, I will, you crazy idiot!”
They kissed, holding to each other for dear life. The head waiter left them, unnoticed.
That Robb had guts, and he agreed with him about the marks. A real man had to take the reins of his life, had to be in control. He believed in creating his own destiny.
The guests kept on drinking, dancing and having a good time. The newlyweds congratulated the head waiter for the work of the staff and said they would recommend their service to other people. Later, they said farewell and left for the honeymoon. Filthy-Rich-Lysa also left soon after—he had got from her the promise of a business call and a smile that looked lewd. All in all, the evening was a great success.
Suddenly, the turning point occurred.
He didn’t know how it started. The mood of the crowd changed without warning. Rumour had it that two unexpected guests had appeared out of nowhere. The expression of bliss on the faces shifted to one of worry, rage, confusion or curiosity, depending on whom you were looking at. The Martell Bunch got restless. Eddard Stark rushed towards the gate, tight-lipped. Rumour spread like fire and got to Robert Baratheon. The man made a face. Then he strode towards the gate, forgetting he was sober, shouting and acting like a mad drunkard. His children went after him; the Stark stood in his way.
“It’s not true, Robert, it’s been a misunderstanding.”
“The fuck it is! Get off me, Ned! Lyanna! Where is she? Where’s the son of a bitch?”
Oberyn Martell and his retinue of snakes joined the party. Quarrels began.
“Step aside! The Targaryen is mine!” Oberyn cried.
“Over my dead body!” Robert replied. He pushed the Martell and things got out of control. Oberyn punched the Baratheon and both started a fight over which one would beat the Targaryen bloody. Threats, insults and hits followed. People tried to separate them, while Eddard Stark kept saying that it had been a lie and nobody had arrived. Other people made drunk remarks and added fuel to the fire. At a certain distance, the mother of the groom spat more expletives that you would think possible in such an elegant woman. Stannis Baratheon stood frozen with a look of concern on his face. Rhaenys put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, while repeating that he was her true father.
The head waiter was feasting on the delightful havoc when he saw him.
He was laughing out loud, enjoying the show as much as the head waiter was. He had his head tilted back; his dark hair was dishevelled. His face was flushed with mirth and alcohol, drops of sweat ran along his Adam’s apple. His eyes glowed and his lean body shook with laughter.
A bolt of electricity ran through the head waiter’s spine. He eyed his right wrist as his heart thundered.
Bottoms up! He swallowed the whiskey and refilled the tumbler while making himself comfortable in the only armchair in his apartment. He was too excited to feel the exhaustion that tried to creep over his limbs. Not yet. Things should be done before he went to bed.
He turned off the cell phone. He had already listened to the voice messages. There was some bad news—D was going to survive. Well, it didn’t really matter. Eventually, gullible D would meet his end. The old leech had phoned, too—a call-back wouldn’t be necessary when news about the success of the reception got to him. He would have to keep his promise and give him his share of the business.
However, he was done with business for tonight. At heart, he was a man of passions, and passion was overwhelming him. He took a look at the paring knife and the rest of the stuff as his insides craved for the man. To think that he had nearly finished the evening without noticing him! Too many people; too much work to do.
Anyway, he had found him and talked to him for a while. At close range, he was even more appealing. He looked like a faceted gem: cocky, insecure, defiant, vulnerable. He knew that, he could smell it: doms never missed their subs-to-be. Not that he considered him to be another inconsequential pet. He would be the only one. He was the one.The head waiter had almost taken him there and then, and dragged him to his apartment, but he had contented himself with a phone number.
He emptied the tumbler and put it aside, for he didn’t want to be numb. Humming happily, he took the paring knife and looked at the flesh in his right wrist. The matching marks had not appeared, despite having felt the electricity that irradiated both his body and his one’s. Well, it had to be like that. After all, he did believe in creating things. After all, he was a craftsman. He would make love marks of their own. He had found his soulmate; no fucking destiny was going to make him think otherwise.
He cut, drew blood and hissed. Then he cut again. Time, patience and lack of disinfectant would be necessary for the scars to appear and last. It would be worth the effort. He worked in the shape. It would look even more awesome in his lover’s wrist. The design was simple: blood drops around a single letter. He didn’t like the name of his only one, an awful name with one of those stupid endings. He had thought of a better name for him, one that was funny and would suit him after being trained. Besides, the first letter of the name was the same as his. Thus, he would always remember both his and his master’s name. People had to remember their names.
He must be mine. He is mine.
He stared at the beautiful, bloody, capital R.
“Mine,” he said, and closed his eyes.He would dream of love and hope.
But madness and obsession don’t know of love, and hope will be flayed.