Hold on to Me as We Go
Her feet were aching so much that she was almost of a thought to sit down and never get back up. Her belly ached for food and her throat burned for water or ale or even wine. She was cold at night and hot during the day as they travelled. She missed home. She missed Winterfell. Arya supposed that she should just be thankful enough that she was going to the Wall to be with Jon and that she could find a new home. Not at the Wall, no, but perhaps in a nearby town. Or maybe Robb would come for her once they sent out a raven if he wasn’t too busy fighting his war.
Or perhaps…she cast a sidelong glance at Gendry as they walked, heat rising in her cheeks as she studied the stupid bastard boy. Even though they were travelling – walking and riding for days on end towards the wall with Yoren, she felt…safe with him. Was that the word for it? No. Yes? There was something comforting about Gendry’s stubborn presence that made her want to refrain from whining too much. He made her want to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
That night, she lay under several layers of furs, shivers wracking her body so that her teeth chattered. She heard Gendry stir from his pallet beside her but her back was to him. “’S the matter with you?” he asked groggily, the chattering from her teeth having woken him from his sleep.
“I’m c-c-c-cold,” she managed, feeling like a pitiful excuse for a travelling companion. She could tell by the grunt that came from behind her that he had most definitely rolled his eyes but before she knew it, he had made his way to her, his furs bundled in his arms as he came to stand in front of her line of vision.
“Scoot over,” he grunted, laying down some more furs beside where she lay, her cheeks flushed with cold. “The last thing anyone needs is you getting a fever.”
He settled in beside her, pulling her roughly into his arms as she stiffened. “If m’lady has no objections,” he added a bit uncertainly.
She was about to protest when she felt the heat of his body melt the chill that seemed to refuse to leave her since they had started back North.
“N-n-no,” she muttered, wiggling closer to him as he held her tight, aware of his body’s reaction to her but choosing to say nothing. She didn’t want to ruin the way it felt, to be warm and safe with Gendry curled around her, by uttering stupid unnecessary words. As she grew more warm and sleepy, her head resting on Gendry’s arm, she found the word she’d been looking for earlier – Gendry felt like home.
Nymeria was waiting for her in the guardroom at the base of the stairs. She bounded to her feet as soon as she caught sight of Arya. Arya grinned. The wolf pup loved her, even if no one else did.
T H E R E I S O N L Y O N E T H I N G W E S A Y TO D E A T H.
(skull drawing by K. Martinez)
"Don’t worry. They’re still there." "I know they’re still there." "You check every five minutes like you’re afraid they’re gonna move." "I’m not afraid." "Of course you are. You’re almost there and you’re afraid you won’t make it. The closer you get, the worse the fear gets.”