Checkmate

Arya tugged lightly at the needle and Gendry felt the thread tighten around the skin over his eye brow. He winced, letting out a strained groan.

Dramatic opera music was playing somewhere in the suite; muffled by the walls and doors, and Gendry though it was a ridiculous score to their little situation.

"This is the last one" Arya assured him as she pushed the needle in and out of his tender skin one last time before knotting and snipping at the string with the small scissors from the medic kit. "Done."

The pads of Gendry's fingers brushed across the stitching tentatively, feeling the swollen, sensitive skin as he stood and leaned into the bathroom mirror to take a closer look. He frowned.

"It looks terrible," he thought out loud.

Arya groaned besides him. He turned to her with a laugh. "Did you sew me up with your eyes closed or something?"

"Remind me to tell Lem to give you a straighter cut next time he beats the crap out of you" she pushed past him with a scoff, leaving the bathroom.

Gendry screwed his face, which pulled at his wound. He bit his lip against the pain and soaked a towel under warm water, pressing it lightly on the cut. It made it feel slightly better.

"He didn't beat the crap out of me. He hit me. Once. Just once." he called out to her as he took one last look at the stitched wound before switching the light off.

When he walked into the next room, he found Arya curled on her side across the bed. Her back was to him, so he changed out of the suit.

"You shouldn't sleep in that dress."' he balled the shirt and pants into the jacket and tossed it to the floor.

"I'm not asleep," her small voice assured him. He recognized that thoughtful tone.

Arya was Arya about 99 percent of the time. Ignoring his warnings and arguing with anyone who dared come against her and being an all around pain in the ass; her every word delivered in a tone that demanded respect...

That one percent, Gendry had learned, was reserved for moments like this one. Moments she didn't have until her father was murdered.

He sat by her feet, knowing this was not the time to bring up her conversation with Jaqen. He sighed, thinking about her brother Jon, and recalling the afternoon he found her trashing her Winterfell home. She's known grief since way before her father's death.

At the thought of it all, his stomach flipped with anger and nerves, so he pushed the thoughts aside, letting exhaustion settle over his bones.

"Well," he tapped the back of his middle and forefinger softly against her leg. "I am going to sleep. Move."

There was a hesitant knock on the door and Arya's head rose off the pillow. "Yea?"

Harwin opened the door, letting the music in along with himself. "I'm making pan con tomate. Are you kids hungry?"

Gendry's hungry stomach let out a shrill grumble, drowning out his heavy exhaustion, and any thoughts that still clung to his throbbing mind.

"Starving." Arya pushed herself off the bed, padding to the door. Gendry followed her lazily into the kitchen.

There were worse places to be. Shittier situations too. Gendry offered himself that as comfort every time he accepted a meal from the men that kept him and Arya from leaving. Every time they stalled. Every time he enjoyed himself even a little in their company. A small voice always reminded him, though, that there was also better places to be. Like Arya's grandfather's home, with Arya's family. At least for her.

Gendry placed a pot of coffee over the flame while Harwin uncorked a bottle of wine and Arya sliced tomatoes in half.

"Puccini." Harwin pointed at the record player near the balcony doors with the knife he was using to cut the thin loaf of bread. "Tom's the singer, not I," he let out a hearty laugh as he resumed slicing the bread, "But I still enjoy my music while I cook. It makes every meal turn out that much better."

Gendry feigned interest in the man's senile ramblings while Arya set the table, and for a small moment, just for tonight, gave himself permission to clear his head of all the shit with the Lannisters, and Arya's family, and now Jaqen, and simply enjoy the moment.

"So you two go to school together, or ...how do you know each other?" Harwin asked once they were all sitting on the table, nibbling on the seedy toast.

"No," Gendry shook his head, swallowing hard what was in his mouth before he could speak again.

"Gendry's a police officer." Arya took a big, crunchy bite out of her bread. "He's in dad's unit."

Gendry noticed her use of "is" instead of "was", but didn't correct her. "I arrested Arya for egging her sister outside a petrol station. That's how we met."

Harwin chuckled, taking a sip of his wine. "You arrested her?"

Gendry nodded with a sneer in Arya's direction "More than once."

Harwin pressed the napkin over his mouth to keep from spitting out the wine. Gendry didn't bother to hide his amusement, especially when Arya was glaring at him as she was.

"There was the egg incident. But then I saw her again at the train station when she was about to..."

"You're telling the story all wrong," Arya mumbled, through a mouth full of food. Crumbs flew out as she protested indignantly, but she didn't seem to mind. "After the eggs, I saw you at the gym," she turned to Harwin, "I was going to kick his ass."

Gendry coughed. "That ... is not true." he cleared his throat and reached for his coffee.

"Careful lad. This is a very dry snack." Harwin pointed out with a smile.

"I was." Arya shrugged carelessly and took another bite.

Gendry rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

"Whatever yourself; tell the story right," she flung her napkin at his face, grinning idiotically.

He smacked it away and flung her his own, and then hers.

"Hold this," Brienne slipped a box into his arms as she scanned the room one last time.

Gendry blinked and turned down at the box in his hands.

"Where did you go?" Brienne didn't meet his eyes.

"What?"

"You've been ignoring me for over ten minutes."

"I'm sorry."

"Remembering Yoren?" she asked as she lifted the cushions from his living room sofa.

This his first time back in his flat since the morning he and Arya slipped out the window and jumped onto the building across the alley to run away from Officer Levan and his men. If it were up to him he would not have returned, but he needed to pack up for the trip and change out of his clothes.

He was still wearing the same dark sweater and chinos Brienne had fetched for him to wear to Jaime's trial.

"Now I am." he admitted glumly, thinking back on his old friend and ex partner. He'd saved his life... both their lives... that morning by giving up his own.

"I can't find your car keys anywhere." Brienne said, pushing the cushion back in its place.

"It's fine," he told her, walking to the door. "Let's get out of here."

xxxxxxxxxx

"How did you find me?" Cersei's voice was calm as Tyrion climbed up on the stool besides her at the bar. She took a deep, sad drag from her cigarette and exhaled a thin stream of blue smoke that whirled towards the ceiling, growing thinner the higher it rose until it disappeared.

"Please," Tyrion said once he had settled himself on the seat. "Give me some credit." He inspected their surroundings with a curious eye. Many years back, before Jaime left for school and Cersei went off to be a wife, this town had been their secret hideout.

They would come here to get away from home, just the three of them, and stay at this very inn. They would always ask for a room with a view of the sea. "I hear Old Megg's lamb puree pie is still the best in all of Kent."

"What do you want?"

He signalled to the bartender, who was cleaning the empty tables. The man nodded and walked behind the bar to fetch Tyrion a drink.

"Don't bother Charles," Cersei gave the man a small, broken smile, "My brother was just leaving."

"I'll have what she's having, Charles. Thank you."

"Tyrion?" Cersei called in a hushed tone.

The small man turned to his sister.

"Leave." she let out in a breathy voice.

"Jaime..." his eyes moved over her face, searching for any sign of guilt. Any sign of emotion. Any sigh of anything. "...is in prison." Her usually composed face fell, and she pressed the pad of her palm to her forehead. "Joffrey is dead. Little Tommen and Myrcella are inconsolable. Alone and terrified."

Cersei's face twisted with grief. "You think I don't know this?" she whispered bitterly.

He averted his eyes to the drink that had been set in front of him.

"I never... I never wanted... any of this," Even when he was not looking at her, Tyrion could hear the anguish in her voice, and it turned his stomach and put a knot in his throat. "How did I get here?" her voice was lower than a whisper and Tyrion knew she was thinking out loud, and did not expect an answer from him. Good. He had none.

They both simultaneously picked up their drinks and took a sip. He reminded himself why he was here. Why he'd driven all the way over here.

"Why did you do it?" he asked, setting aside his purpose for a moment. Minutes had passed and neither of them had spoken, and his words felt as weightless as the smoke from her cigarette. When she didn't speak, he wondered if he'd asked anything at all, or if he'd just thought about asking. He asked again. "Why did you marry him?"

His sister's cold laugh cut through his nerves, but offered him a sort of familiarity that set him slowly at ease.

"You have to ask?" she snapped at him, raising her glass for the bartender to fill.

"This isn't the eighteenth century, sister. There is no such thing as arranged marriages anymore. I know father can be... difficult," Cersei scoffed at his choice of word to describe their father, "Do you remember the summer you turned 9? You decided you didn't want to take piano lessons anymore. You marched into his study, picked up his newspaper, found out about some local fencing lessons, and faked father's voice to enrol over the phone."

The small tug at the corner of Cersei's lips as he told the story could almost be considered a smile.

"You've always been the most headstrong of us three." Tyrion continued, "While Jaime and I tried to find ways to please father, you invented new ways to spite him. Do you honestly expect me to believe you married Robert because of father?"

"I think..." Cersei began, her voice slightly distant, "I wanted power," she pulled out another cigarette to light.

Tyrions eye brows twitched at her answer. "You did get power," he took a small sip from his drink, "The power to destroy your family."

Cersei huffed out, wiping a tear from her cheek with the tip of her finger. "No. I believe you had that privilege, actually." A grin split her face and another tear rolled out of her eye. "When you killed my mother, you ruined our family. You destroyed father. His love died with her"

"Our mother." Tyrion corrected, trying to mask the hurt in his voice.

"She was not your mother. She didn't even see your face. She never held you in her arms..." Cersei's words cut him. "I did... Hold you in my arms. You were so small." her eyes travelled over his body. "Not much has changed."

Tyrion shook his head. "Cracking jokes has never been your strong suit."

"No. It's always been yours."

"And Jaime? What was his role in your master plan to gain power?"

"I loved you once, you know."

Tyrion was stunned cold and silent by this confession. His wide eyes turned to his sister, under deeply furrowed brows. "You were so small. So small... and so ugly." Cersei's words fell onto his lap and Tyrion did not know what to do with them. He was afraid. Afraid to let her words sink in.

"Mother was gone, and father was so different. I went to the nursery one night, and picked you up in my arms. I remember... I remember I wanted to kill you. To spare you. I wanted you to be with her. To keep you safe. Safe from him. I was only eight, and a foolish girl." Tyrion swallowed hard, but the lump in his chest was still there. "Jaime had followed me into the room, and talked me out of it, and I never tried anything like that again. But the night stuck with me. Like a leech. I thought if I ..."

"I'm having Robert advised to claim sole custody over Tommen and Myrcella."

Cersei's head snapped to him, tired eyes glassy and wide with fury.

"It's for the best."

"What," she cleared her throat, the stifled rage clear in her tone, " do you mean?"

"You are no longer fit to raise them."

"No." she shook her head. "You won't do it."

"It's been done. Robb and Sansa Stark will have spoken to him about the matter by now." Cersei's eyes blinked at the mention of Sansa and Robb. "If he will have me, I will represent him, but I suggest you give him custody and keep this little business out of the court room. The Lannister name had dangled on display long enough. Those children need to start living a normal life again."

"That drunken fool in not even their father. They need me! I am their mother!"

"And you are hiding in this godforsaken place!" Tyrion cried out as his small hand gestured their surroundings. "They need you now, and you've abandoned them, you selfish bitch!"

Cersei shoved him back, and he fell to the floor, knocking the bar stool along with him."They need you now!" He repeated from the floor. "Their father was almost killed, their brother is gone, they've been pulled out of school, their mother is gone and their uncle is behind bars. They need you now more than ever, and you can only think of yourself!"

"Everything I've ever done has been for them!"

"You continue to lie to yourself, Cersei, and maybe one day you'll believe that." he wiggled to his feet, taking the offered hand from Charles.

"You won't get away with this," she whispered down at him through her teeth, her eyes glaring savagely down at him.

Tyrion looked up at her with sad eyes. This is it, he told himself. I am taking from her the last bit of humanity she has left. I am taking from her the only people left in this world that love her unconditionally. I am as much a monster as she is.

"Good bye, Cersei." he turned for the door.

"I will destroy you, do you hear me!" he heard her voice cry out, followed by the shatter of glass.

Tyrion walked through the doors and out into the snow, reminding himself that this was for the children. For their well-being.

A small, dark part inside of him, though, couldn't deny that he was also using them as an instrument to finally get back at his sister.

xxxxxxxxxx

After he and Brienne checked into a hotel in London, he had showered, shaved and borrowed her car to drive to Scotland Yard.

He walked down the decorated hallways, and took the lifts to Dany's floor, where she was waiting for him.

"There is someone you must speak with. Get here as soon as you can," was all Dany has said to him over the phone before the line went dead.

He wanted to call her back and demand an explanation, but knew she wouldn't offer one, so he resolved to save the questions until he had her face to face.

"So? What the hell is this about?" he didn't bother concealing his deep annoyance. "Who do I have to meet?"

Dany laughed at his tone, which only annoyed him further. "I am sorry if this all feels a bit hush-hush. I am swamped with work. There's been a change of plans and we are leaving tonight, and I..."

"Tonight?"

"Yes. And this is all straining my resources quite a bit and, well, you're here now, and there is someone you must meet."

"Who?" Gendry stepped hesitantly into the door she held open. It led to a small dark corridor. He'd been here before. The door ahead of him led to the interrogation room.

"A woman. Her name is Osha. I have a bit of a confession to make. What you told us about Arya, well, it's not the first time I have heard about something like this. That is why I had such an easy time believing your story. This girl, Osha... I think it may have happened to her too. It all makes sense with her records, and her involvement with Jaqen.

Gendry froze.

Brienne had mentioned her before. It was the same girl that had kidnapped Rickon Stark.

"She's in there?" Gendry pointed to the door.

"No. You wait in there. I'll bring her to you."

Gendry nodded and did as Dany told him. It didn't take long for Dany to walk in with a handcuffed girl in her early 20's.

"I've said I'll I've said, lady," Osha told Dany in a thick Northern accent. "I have nothing more to say." she turned to Gendry. "Who is that?"

"Constable Waters," Dany answered, taking Gendry a bit by surprise with his former title.

"A constable?" Osha rolled her eyes and snorted.

"I'll leave you two alone," Dany nodded at Gendry before stepping out.

"What the hell does a constable want with me?" Osha demanded rudely.

"Please sit," Gendry barked curtly.

Oshe sunk into the chair across from his, inching it closer to the table. "I've said all I have to say..."

"This is about Jaqen."

She snorted again, " I already told your friends, you won't be getting no information on Jaqen from me."

"He has my friend." Gendry told the girl. Her bright, wild eyes met his.

"So?"

"So, he's made her forget who she is. He's made her forget everything."

Osha swallowed.

"Osha. I want my friend back. I'm taking her back, and I need to know how to make her remember."

"Why are you telling me?" she hissed out.

"Because you know Jaqen. Because he did the same to you."

Gendry was half expecting Dany to be wrong about Osha. He was still having a hard time believing all of this himself. And this girl didn't seem to know what the hell he was talking about.

To his surprise, though, she said, "If she really did forget, it's cause she wants to."

Gendry blinked, sitting straighter. "That's what I was told. But there must be something you can tell me. Something that can help."

"Told? Who told you?" her head cocked to one side.

Gendry turned to the glass window. He was not sure if Dany was standing behind it. He doubted it, since she claimed to be busy with last minute arrangements.

If he told Osha about Anguy, he might gain her trust. She might tell him something helpful.

"I'll tell you if you promise to help me."

Osha smiled. "If your friend is really in this mess, she's put herself in it."

"Did you?"

Her smile faded. "Yes."

"Will you help me?"

"What's her name?"

"Arya."

Osha gasped softly, her feature's softening under thick eye brows. "Rickon's sister?"

"Yes."

"She's with Jaqen?" her eyes glazed over.

"I'm going to bring her home."

"Jaqen is too clever. He has too many people working for him."

"I have my own small army." Gendry offered, with little confidence.

"These people?" Osha scoffed, "I wouldn't trust them with my..."

"I don't trust them."

"Someone else is helping you. Someone else is getting you inside."

"Yes."

"Who?"

Gendry took a beat before answering in a small, hushed whisper, "Anguy."

Osha sighed, "that little worm." she whispered back with a smile.

"Don't do this for me. Do it for Rickon. He needs his family back. All of them."

Osha's gaze fell and she nodded, "I'll tell you all I can."

xxxxxxxxxx

Beads of sweat rolled down her neck like little insects, soaking into the collar of her tank top. Her short hair clung to her wet forehead, and every muscle in her body was on fire.

She punched the bag Jaqen held in place. Once. Twice. Again and again.

He'd been working her all morning, and her movements were becoming mechanical now. They were a flinch. A reflex. She no longer had to tell her body to do something. It just did it.

There was a soft knock on the door.

"Come in." Jaqen called, not breaking eye contact with her.

It was Anguy. "You called me."

"Would you mind changing the CD?" Jaqen told him with a smile.

Anguy hesitated before crossing to the stereo and shuffling through the CD case, pulling out a CD.

Jaqen pushed away from the bag, and nodded to Cat. She relaxed, wiping the hair away from her face with the back of her arm.

"Is that all?" Anguy sounded slightly annoyed.

"Yes. You can leave now."

The tall boy licked his lips, clearly trying to repress a groan, and with a nod, walked to the door.

"Wait." Jaqen called out before he reached the door.

Anguy turned.

"How's your judo these days?"

"Fine." Anguy's eyes narrowed suspiciously, trailing for the first time towards Cat.

"Cat is just terrible at it. It's not her fault. She gives it her all. We just have not had much time to work on it."

Both Cat and Anguy stood still, waiting for Jaqen to speak again.

Finally, the man smiled, and turned to Cat. "I need to step out for a moment. I have a call I need to make. Go easy on her, Anguy. The banquet is tomorrow night, and I don't want any bruises on her. It's bad enough she has those." he pointed to her tattoos before heading for the door. "Not too easy, though." he said to Anguy as he left the room.

Anguy's eyes met hers, and he raised an eye brow, with a twist of his lips. "When'd ya get the tats?" he pulled his sweater over his head and kicked his shoes off.

Cat shrugged, pulling the mats to the centre of the large room. She ripped the velcro gloves from her hands and took a swig of her water before taking a stance in front of Anguy.

"Do they mean anything?" Anguy asked as he too, took a stance before her.

"Ready?" Cat ignored his questions.

He nodded and his hand reached for her, but she blocked it.

"Good." he said.

Before he could regain his proper balance a, she got a good grip on his muscle shirt collar and pulled. He was over a foot and a half taller than her, so all she was able to accomplish was to swing him to the left a few inches. Her grip tightened on his shirt, and she tugged at him again, hearing the fabric stretch, which seemed to distract him a bit.

Twisting down to her knees and with a swift bend of her arms, he was behind her, and all she had to do was pull.

She flipped him on his back, fully aware of how much easier this felt than when she was with Jaqen. She jumped on him to lock him in place.

"You did that!" she accused him, smacking her palm on his shoulder. "I felt you. You flipped yourself."

Anguy laughed under her.

"You're not even trying," She smacked him again and rolled off him. "How am I supposed to learn anything, if you don't work me hard?"

"Why do you have to learn any of this?" He propped himself on his elbows.

"To be strong." Cat snapped at him.

The smile left his face, and he pushed himself off the floor. "You already are strong." he held a hand out for her. She took it, pulling herself to her feet.

"Not strong enough."

She only had a split second to catch the sudden anger that flared in his eyes before she was flipped on her back. She gasped for air, coughing out in spasms.

"Arya. I'm sorry! I don't know why I did that." she heard his worried voice call out. His face appeared over hers and she felt his hands fidget with her shoulder, trying to pull her into a sitting position. She pushed off the floor furiously, her forehead slamming into his mouth.

"Fuuck!" he cried out, cupping his mouth with a hand.

Cat in turn, winced at the sharp, white pain and pressed two fingers to throbbing area near her hairline. "My name, is Cat!" she spat out, inspected her finger, expecting blood.

There was none.

When she turned to Anguy, he was staring at her with a resigned expression.

"What is your problem?" Cat demanded, no longer willing to ignore the fact that there was one. When Anguy dropped his hand from his mouth to speak, she realized she'd busted his lip. Blood swelled over the red cut.

She got on her feet and fetched a clean towel for him.

For a second, Anguy seemed to consider telling her whatever the hell was pissing him off, and Cat realized it was probably to do with the girl she used to be.

Just like the rest of Jaqen's men, Anguy knew who she really was.

She immediately regretted asking him, and was about to cut him off, when he threw her one of his crooked smiles, dismissing his mood with a light shrug of one shoulder. "IMS, I suppose." He pressed the towel to his lip, pulling it away to inspect. He rolled his eyes at the stain of red left behind on the crisp white towel, and pressed it against his lip again.

"What?" Cat shook her head, confused.

"Irritable Male Syndrome," he seemed amused, "PMS for blokes," he offered when he noticed she had no idea what he was talking about.

It sank in and Cat snorted grimly, feeling her own anger settle. She offered him a hand, which he took to stand. With careful fingers, he hesitantly reached for her hair and picked a few stands aside to inspect her forehead.

"It's red. Does it hurt?"

"No." she lied. He poked it and she flinched, pushing him violently away from her.

"Liar," he sang as he rubbed his shoulder.

"Shut up!" she rolled her eyes. "Ready for round two?" she still felt pumped.

His finger pointed at his cut lip, "I don't think so," his eyes narrowed impishly. "Rain check?"

Cat tried to hide her mild disappointment, managing to catch the oddness of Anguy's tone. "Sure."

He bid her goodnight in Spanish and bowed out of the room.

Cat stared at the door until she could no longer hear his retreating steps, and then turned to the room, eyeing carefully, and considering each of the optional exercising equipment.

When nothing appealed to her, she decided to go pack. They'd be leaving for Finland in the morning.

Packing had become a common thing for her. Jaqen was never anyplace for more than a few days.

There was a boring order to how she assembled her suitcase, which she had memorized.

She clasped her small suitcase shut and set it by the floor under the hanging bag that held her dress. She groaned, looking away.

She was really not looking forward to tomorrow night.

xxxxxxxxxx

"Get me the British Embassy." she scribbled her signature on the form before her and handed it to Jack. The beady eyed man nodded and turned for the door.

"Captain Greene is here." Jorah intercepted his assistant by the door and snatched the papers the man's thin hand. "Jack," he pulled his glasses on and glared at the man from behind them. "I thought you worked for me." His eyes fell to the forms.

"Don't be cross at Jack. Blame me. We leave tonight and I need all the help I can get." Daenerys explained in a defiant tone, crossing to Jorah and snatching the forms right back from him. "Where have you been?" she demanded, handing the papers back to Jack.

The nervous man bowed out of the office, closing the door behind him.

"I heard the Baratheon boy will be joining us."

"Gendry. Yes. As well as his friends, Brienne Tarth and Sandor Clegane."

"Clegane?" Jorah said the name stiffly and carefully. "His trial date is days away. He's a..."

"He has been convicted, and I've arranged for his pardon with the Secretary of State for Justice."

"His pard-" Jorah sighed. "Dany. What has gotten into you? This is not a game."

"I'm know this isn't a game, Jorah. I am very aware of the severity of this situation."

"Then why are you endangering the lives of three civilians. Why are you involving an ex-Lannister dog? He's a criminal!"

Dany chuckled. "We need Gendry, and he won't do it without them? He has seen Jaqen, Jorah. He has a motive. He wants to get his friend back. How many years were you chasing that man? I got you back this case, so you have to trust me. Gendry... he has a way inside. A boy is helping him in."

"How did you get this case again?" Jorah's tone was accusing. Her head snapped to him.

"I just did." she said stiffly.

"You were in that room with my father..."

"We've been through this, Jorah."

"Tell me what you said to him." Jorah's voice was low, and insistent. His hand closed around her arm, squeezing softly. "Dany." he made her meet his eyes. "What did you say?" he whispered.

Dany sighed, masking her feelings. "I said there was no other man out there who could solve this case. Just you." her gaze fell when his grip loosened aroung her arm. "I told him the lives of those who died and would die because of Jaqen were in his hands if he didn't let you finish what you started."

"What makes you so sure I can do this?" Jorah's voice sounded almost pained.

"Because you have me. I won't let you fail."

His eyes closed against her words and he took a few steps back.

She walked to his side, setting her hand on his shoulder. "You've been after Jaqen for years, watching helplessly as he slipped through your fingers over and over again. I think it's time to try something different. We know exactly where Jaqen will be, and we know the exact time he will be there,"

"We've tried an ambush."

"We won't ambush. We have Gendry." her hand squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. "He just wants to find his friend. But I have my own reasons for involving him. I have a way of using the Stark girl's affiliation to Jaqen to our advantage."

Jorah turned to her, eye brows furrowed with shock. "Use?"

"I have a lot to take care of before we leave." she lead him to the door. "We can discuss this on the plane," she opened it with a smile and walked out before he could say anything else.

xxxxxxxxxx

Cheery Christmas music played overhead as Gendry and Brienne waited in the lobby of a privately owned jetport, for their bags to be checked in.

Dany had explained to them she wanted to do things as secret and quietly as possible. She didn't want Jaqen to have even the slightest suspicions of their plans.

Gendry thought a man like Jaqen would always be on alert, but he didn't say anything to Dany. She was a smart woman who knew perfectly well who she was dealing with.

"I want to murder Michael Bublé." Brienne whispered at him in a stiff tone.

"Hmm?" Gendry turned to her, noticing her set features and her large eyes darting amongst the men waiting in line behind them and rolling large black boxes along the room and talking to each other in small hushed tones; Dany's team.

She's anxious, he thought as he nodded at her.

He didn't blame her. The severity and reality of their situation was finally sinking in, and he was terrified.

"All right children," the old, bearded man behind the counter smiled at them and handed each a slip, "You're all set, the signs will lead you all the way through the building. Just follow your friends." he pointed at three men walking down the corridor towards the main gate, "Now you two have yourself a lovely Christmas." he smiled and turned his attention to the man behind them.

"Tomorrow's Christmas day," Brienne noted in hushed surprise.

Gendry didn't say anything.

He recalled Brienne mentioning back in November, how ecstatic Renly was over the excellent tree they'd bought that year.

"Christmas was his holiday." she said softly as she pushed the double doors open and a gust of ice wind slapped their faces.

Gendry was about to say something comforting to her, when he noticed Sandor amongst Dany's men. "What is he doing here?"

From a distance, it looked as though he was nodding stiffly while a man in uniform spoke up to him.

"I guess he changed his mind." Brienne replied in her low voice.

"I guess he did." Gendry agreed.

xxxxxxxxxx

AN

Very short, I know. But it is as much as I could muster up as a prelude to the Masquerade.

The next chapter will be focused on just the Masquerade.

I expect only three POV. Anguy, Gendry and Arya.

I really want to thank you all for making it this far with me. It has been rough, since I have recently had a drastic change in my life, involving school, friends, work, and leaving to another city.

Some updates took longer than other, and I apologize, but I didn't and don't intend to leave this, or any of my other stories (The Bull and Anger Management) unfinished.

Also, just to let you all know, I intended this chapter to have the last Jorah/Dany POV.

They will still be in the story, I just don't intend to use them as POV anymore. The only reason I ever gave them a POV was to clear up some of the legal and public issues in the story.

This also applies to Tyrion. I never intended to use him at all, but felt obliged to when I realized I didn't want to leave poor Myrcella and Tommen without a proper ending.

Anyway, I am rambling.

Enjoy this chapter, review, please. I really benefit from your comments, and opinions. This is your story as much as it is mine. Your reviews not only help me, but they fuel me.