To Nedsseveredhead, who gave me the idea of this ;)
Ned and Sansa had their little routine on the morning.
He was going to be late. For once Ned – who usually was the first one up - hadn’t woken up in time, and it wouldn’t have been important if he hadn’t a meeting with the Greatjons this morning. They had arrived the night before, but as tired as they were they had agreed to postpone it for today. And now, it was Ned who was late.
He was lacing up his boots when he glimpsed a red lightning rushing toward him.
« Father ! »
He whirled, caught the creature about the waist and lifted her in the air. Sansa laughed happily in his arms. At four, his daughter was a little ball of energy, sometimes to the distress of Catelyn that wanted her to be softer. Ned reckoned she had all the time to be soft, and if she couldn’t be reckless now he didn’t know when.
He kissed her on the cheek and she giggled, throwing her tiny arms around his neck.
« Had a good night sweetie ? »
She nodded vigorously, and started chatting about her dreams.
« I dreamed of Florian Father ! Of Florian and Jonquil, only it wasn’t Jonquil but it was me, and I was trapped in a dungeon by a monster but he came and killed it and freed me ! And after I was his princess, and we lived in his castle with plenty of children, and I was happy forever ! »
He listened, faking an interested look on his face but he couldn’t help but think he was running out of time. But suddenly his daughter became quiet, looking at him with an expectant look in her eyes. He knew what she wanted.
« Father, may I do your braid today ? »
This had become their routine. Every morning she would come to his chambers, brush his hair and do his braid for the day. Her first results had been terrible – he actually looked like a bird had nested in his hair - , but that made her so happy he had let her do it again, despite the japes of his wife. But Sansa was a fast learner, and today she managed to do it perfectly.
Infortunaly he was in too much of a hurry to allow them this luxury, and he feared to offense the Greatjons if he stayed any longer. He put her back on the floor, ran a hand in her hair and apologized.
« I’m sorry Sansa, but not today. I have a meeting. Tomorrow, I promess. »
It broke his heart to see the hope in her eyes be replaced by sadness. To her credit Sansa didn’t cried, although her lower lip was slightly shaking. She went back to a more composed posture, her hands clasped together, the very image of her mother. She avoided his gaze.
« I understand Father. I’m sorry if I had bothered you. »
She was so piteous-looking that Ned couldn’t help but kneel and take her in his arms.
« Of course you don’t, sweetheart. I’m just busy this morning, that’s all. »
She sniffled in his jerkin but she nodded. He was less strong though, and to see her so sad made his will snap.
« What do you think you go get that brush and we do that very quickly ? » he whispered softly in her ear.
She drew back, incredulous, but her face lighted up when she understood his words.
« Yes ! Oh thank you Father ! »
She planted a kiss on his cheek and bolted to his desk. She had to push on her tiptoes to reach its top, but she managed to grab the brush.
He went to sit on the edge on his bed, waiting for her to slide it in his hair. The Greatjons were surely growing restless, but he thought that his daughter’s smile was worth a few annoyed scowls.