The man sat on her bed silent and waiting. An ethereal mist surrounded him as if he had just dozed off and woken up to find the world was not the same anymore. The air was filled with nostalgia as he breathed in the sights of her bed chambers, the bed that would not have been made if she didn't have maids, the dirty clothes that lay unattended on the floor and some draping on a chair. The wall plastered with tokens of swords, daggers, helms and shields screamed her pride and conquest at him and he couldn't help to be amused. The lovely girl had not lost any of her vigour. His thorough search of the room had already revealed; a knife under her pillow, one in a compartment in her desk and one intelligently hidden on the leg of the chair so that from the doorway it would be invisible. Where wardrobes would usually be filled with dresses of fine silk and lace, he spotted several bounded packages full of knives, flint, survival gear and some potions which he recognised along with other's he didn't and assumed she concocted herself.
She would recognise him if he wore the dead man's face of Jaqen H'gar so he did not wear it. The man was dead and what is dead cannot come back to the world of the living. That was the fate of a world of black and white. What was dead was dead and could only seem alive. The dead could never truly live again. He wanted her to see a stranger's face but recognise him anyway. To test her to see whether she would know it was him or perhaps turn one of her many daggers on him.
He looked outside through the window she had left open. It was cold and dark but the cold did not disturb him and the dark on made him wonder when she would retire to bed. The man was getting impatient. He reclined on the bed his hands behind his head, not bothering to take off his muddy boots. That's the girl's punishment for making me wait he resolved.
As if summoned the girl opened the door whilst he was in his thoughts. She halted in the doorway looking at him queerly eyeing him from head to toe.
What did they teach you before you decided not to join us? Are you smart enough to realise who I am?The girl held a hit of recognition in her mind but otherwise kept her face straight.
That's right I'm a faceless man, but what more? I'm giving enough away. Look at my posture, my face, what do you see?
As she assessed him, he returned the favour. Years had made her a woman by nature but in his mind she was still a girl. She had grown tall, her back straight asserting herself changing the room into her den where she was alpha wolf. Her body was more shapely, it was easy to tell even under the shirt and breeches and the man watched the hairs stand on her nubile skin against the cold of the land. The lovely girl's hair had grown out but had not reached its full length in. It swept over her shoulder in a matted braid which hung loose.
"Jaqen H'gar" she said, her voice had gained maturity and she succeeded in intertwining authority with it.
The man smiled.
"A man is please you recognise him but Jaqen H'gar is dead. Now there is only a man and a lovely girl" he told her. The girl smiled and walked through the door and closed it behind her softly. He ignored the prickles of excitement in his chest when he beheld the smile.
"Who are you?" he asked as she walked forward to the bed.
"No one" she replied the edges of her lips teasing a smile.
"You lie" he answered back, "Who are you?"
She stopped her knees touching the bed and she bent down, awfully close- but the man didn't mind.
"Lady Arya Stark of Winterfell. Age 16. Occupation variable" she made a sly smile there wringing out the word with insinuation, "Sister to Lords Bran and Rickon Stark and Lady Clegane, all who retire in the rebuilt Winterfell"
"That is the truth" he said with a bittersweet smile. Even though he had urged her to stay she had still decided to resume her identity. Family was harder to give up after you found they were alive.
She sat on the bed and smiled at him. He didn't know at the time that he started a dance on the edge of his life that night but he would know in years to come.
The man remembered often visiting the lovely girl between jobs that carried him close to her home. Always appearing on her bed waiting for her to talk and share stories, find out what she did, what she was doing and what she had become. They would oft talk until the morning came both seated on the crumpled covers of her bed, speaking of conquests and battles whilst laughing at the occasional joke and riddle. He wore a different face every time but now the lovely girl was a master at recognising him, even if he didn't want to be recognised. But for a reason unbeknownst to him he always chose the youthful and good looking faces whenever he did call on her.
The man particularly remembered the night she didn't sit on the other edge of the bed but planted herself in his lap and took his arms to wrap around her.
"A girl does not know what she does" he warned her.
"A girl is now a woman and knows exactly what she does- and wants" she said and turned around to face him flickering her eyes up and down his body.
"A girl who thinks herself a woman is playing a dangerous game" he retorted and started to push her away far too aware of the tightness in his chest and other areas.
"A woman is annoyed at a man who rejects her though he clearly wants her" she countered nudging a place that made him groan deeply.
"A man does not want" he told her.
"You lie" she smugly replied and twined her fingers together behind his neck.
The man couldn't understand why he didn't take her though he wanted her, he had always taken what he wanted, but he had left early the night to ensure that he wouldn't. He had given everything to the Many Faced God which meant his certainly shouldn't give his body to a woman. Occasionally though the Faceless Men would in order to obtain information but that was in order to fulfil deeds for the Many Faced God- this was different.
The man left and didn't come back for a time until he found her in King's Landing where an assignment had called him. He hadn't meant to spot her but when he did he had to follow.
The man found her in the arms of a tall man, with black hair and blue eyes and the arms of a blacksmith. She had a coy smile on her lips as the black haired boy struggled to keep her in his grip but she was only toying with him.
"Marry me" the boy said with a smile and the lovely girl only smiled back. The man frowned at the boy's audacity to ask for the lovely girl's hand.
The boy kissed the girl and to the man's horror she kissed him back. She pulled away suddenly ducking under his arm to escape. She smiled yet again.
"Maybe" she teased and disappeared from both the boy and man's sight.
That night he didn't wait for her on her bed and he normally would but hid in the shadows. He remembered the anger, the uncontrollable emotions that he thought he had forsaken long again. The black pit in his belly which was insatiable, never to be filled, overcame him with a certain hunger. The man didn't comprehend the hunger but he could feel that the residual person inside him did- and knew how to deal with it.
He waited until she had undressed and crept into her inn bed before he came to her.
He took a kiss and much more, placated when he spotted the blood on the sheets after he had taken his pleasure. The boy had not gotten to her maidenhood, no one had and he made sure to kiss her as many times as he needed until he was sure no other boy or man could've amounted to the number of kisses.
There the man found another trait that existed from the person he had once forgotten- he was controlling and possessive and what was his would never be taken away from him.
There begun a long affair. Now every time he could he would visit her in Winterfell and spend the night with her. Always after they had finished their business she would lie in his arms and tell him stories and tales of the life of Arya Stark.
"Sansa gave birth to another pup today. She called him Eddard" she told him has he weaved his fingers through her hair.
"I wonder how big a litter she wants- that's three already and she doesn't seem tired of it all yet. To me Caty and Robb seem enough trouble as it is. Caty looks every bit of Sansa but she's really the Hound's daughter and gets into all sorts of trouble. Even some that I didn't even get into at her age, while her father can't see though all her scheming- he bought her seventeen dolls you know? Seventeen in one go just because she asked"
"Bran's trying to teach me to warg with Nymeria. Already do when I sleep, but he says I can will myself to do it while I'm awake if he teaches me- I could even warg into other people one day if I get good at it. Sansa doesn't like the idea of warging but I guess that's because she knows what it's like to be so controlled by others and she doesn't want to impose control over anyone else"
"The Hound and I are teaching Cat how to use a dagger. I still don't like him but he has sense in teaching the girl how to protect herself and you wouldn't believe how many places in a ladies dress there are to hide knives"
"Sansa is pregnant again. It seems she just loves giving birth. She's trying to marry me off now- Don't worry I can deal with her"
Sweet years passed by and the man found himself holding more interest in the stories she told about a simple and peaceful life than he found in his work. What would it be like to have children? To live with an honest name and to do honest work. Maybe he could've been a Lord or Ser and have lands of his own and a wife to hold. Who would be his wife he was certain of. He mused the fancy in his mind, have Arya as a wife and their own litter of pups, to hold her each night in his arms and to die in a warm soft bed. He put those thoughts away with the scent of her skin and hair and his lips on hers. It was dangerous to think about such things- this was much easier.
It was about the time where Arya had reached the age of four and twenty when the man decided never to come back to her.
He held her as he planted kisses all over her body. She moaned and dug her finger into his hair mercilessly. That night there was an air around them which was so thick and tangible with an emotion he did not recognise. But he could feel want- something he did recognise. I want to hold and cherish her. To make her completely and utterly his.
To hold him in his own hands. His real ones. To hear her say his real name though he had forgotten what it was. To plant his child inside of her and give all of himself to her.
"I love you" the man he used to be whispered hoarsely into her ear in the peak of their excitement. He watched her eyes go wide and wild before he realise the intensity of his words.
The man fled into the night.
The man knew he couldn't come back.
The man knew he couldn't give himself to her.
He was not his to give.
The man returned to the temple of Black and White and forgot about Arya Stark. He forgot all the things she had told him, about dragons and wild fire, the ways to skin a rabbit, her sister Sansa and her brother in law the Hound with their many children Cat, Robb, Ned, Eliza and the two more in her belly, her brothers Bran and Rickon with their direwolves and families, he forgot everything.
Purging them from his mind was one of the hardest things he could do but he asked the Many Face God for a mission, one that would take up all of his mind and effort to complete.
And so he forgot.
He was a man once more and not the man he used to be. He counted the years that passed by and paid no thought or heed to the life he had led with Arya Stark. The others did not know how close he had been into falling away from them but he did not let them know. He kept to himself. He was no one and had no friends.
And though his world was once more in order and life was like it always was he didn't feel the same. Something was missing. There was a need for something he didn't know. But he ignored that.
There was only once where he remembered her during the five years they did not meet. That was the time where her face had come upon the list for slaughter. Then he remembered and he killed the brother who had taken the mission.
The man remembered the horror on the other man's face when his own brother, another Faceless Man slit his throat. He remembered the blood on his hands after he had finished the deed. But he could not let her be killed. He didn't remember why anymore but he couldn't.
A Faceless Man died not often but it did happen every few decades and it was just about time for another death to occur. No one suspected him and he stood there as they held a ceremony for their brother, his face giving no inclination of his sins. He had taken a life the Many Faced God hadn't asked for. But that didn't matter. She was alive.
He would not have met her again if he could've helped it. But duty called him close to her.
The man recognised her. She was older, still skinny and bore line of maturity on her face but that did not make her less beautiful in his mind. She was always so beautiful. The loveliest girl he had ever set eyes on.
He only meant to look at her as she slept- that's what he told himself at least, but in his heart he knew that when he would set eyes on her, he'd never leave her again.
She woke when he crept through her window and sat up and stared, absolutely bewildered- before she threw a knife at him.
"Five years! And now you come back! Five years with nothing and now you come back!" she screamed at him with a shrill voice. He managed to catch the first knife but not the second. However it flew past him and struck the wall instead, her aim askew due her distraught.
She collapsed on in the ground in a puddle of tears and sobbing.
"A man is sorry" he did not know what else to say.
"A man is stupid" her words laced in disgust.
He reached at hand out to her expecting her to hit it away but he had to try. Instead she grabbed it and pulled him to her chest and smiled.
"As angry as a woman is with you, she's happy you're back" she told him her smile playful and sly.
"A man is happy to be back" he told her and kissed her with a passion of five years. He ached when she pulled away but she was still smiling. Instead she stood up and walked to the door beckoning someone to come.
"Send Nym to me, she told the man behind the door, I have a surprise for her" she ordered.
The man looked at her confused, but the confusion could not stop his coy smile. She looked back and walked to him wrapped her arms around his neck and kissing him sweetly.
"You know I almost got married about three years after you didn't come back? If you leave me for this long again I swear I will" she told him.
"A man won't leave for too long ever again" he told her and he truly meant it. He would've taken her to bed right there and then if it weren't for a knock on the door.
"Oh and you have a daughter by the way, thought you should know" she told him smugly and she left his embrace again to go back to the door before he could say anything. She opened in a little so he couldn't see what awaited him and took a small hand and tugged the little girl gently into the room.
Arya smiled at him widely and back at the girl. She looked about four years old, hair a deeper brown than her mother's and glistening with fiery strands of copper and blue eyes. She had a cute pout on her lips from being woken so late and night and her fist were balled.
"Everyone was asking who's daughter she was. Gendry was ruled out when she didn't have black hair which left people only more confused. It was all quite funny actually" Arya told him looking for a reaction, "Nym why don't you say hello to your father"
The girl looked at her mother and then at the man.
"Hello" she said with the boldness of her mother. Not an ounce of shyness was heard.
The man was stunned and fell to his knees. The girl walked forward him warily but she refused to let any of her worries be seen.
A man held his daughter in his arms while a woman smiled at them that night.
They told stories, fabricating some about her Nymeria's father was a man from beyond the skies where face's were like clothing and could be changed at will. There her father was a prince and so could not come often to the realm below, as his kingdom had needed him to take care of very important matters. They told her of how her mother had beguiled him, drawing him with her beauty and strength causing him to fall in love and explained how a war had occurred in the realm above and so he could not see her for many years though he wanted to.
Three shared a bed that night and the man was now a father. But most importantly when the man looked into the little girl's face he did not see any resemblance to a face he had put on- he saw features of a face he had forgotten.
And for the first time in many years of service the man remembered what he truly looked like.
To kill a man was not a complicated thing though that didn't mean it was an easy task.
For another ten years he played the role of the man often visiting the lovely girl and the lovely daughter. For another ten years he and the lovely girl planned his death, laying out everything in order in an elaborate plan. For another ten years the man looked into his daughters face and later his son's and fought to remember who he once was.
Ten years after he met his daughter a man died.
And the dead man Jaqen lived once more.
It seemed he had been wrong in saying a dead man could've live again.
"I first knew you as Jaqen, and names aren't that important anyway they can be changed easier than faces" Arya told him, "As long as you're you"
He couldn't remember his original name but he had acquired his face and body again thanks to the fragments of his past self that remained in his children. He smiled knowing that far away in Bravoss the temple of Black and White were holding a funeral for a Faceless Man who was still alive. He shrugged off the thought with amusement and nuzzled her brown hair breathing her scent.
"So I will marry an Arya Stark in a fortnight?" he asked. Arya nodded and breathed deeply.
"Finally" she sighed adjusting herself to lie flush with his body.
"Finally" he agreed.
Jaqen H'gar smiled.
A/N: Looks at the 3,500 word count... yeah I'm not gonna read through this and edit. This story is tied with 'Whipped' if you did notice.