Fear Cuts Deeper Than Swords
Chapter Thirty - Eight

Disclaimer: As much as I wish I was, I am not GRRM.

It feels as though the years have passed. But they haven't. Only one. And yet, so much has changed.

Each time Arya thinks back to her last night at the wall, the memory fades just a little bit more. Stannis had let them leave, his grief for Melisandre too much to bear. She had never seen the man so emotional. So affected by something. Someone, even.

The 'rightful' King had fled south the next morning, taking only a small number of men and his daughter, Shireen, with him. They had not heard from him since. Arya had heard rumours from all over, but she was certain only one was true - he was at Storms End, biding his time until he was ready to fight for Kingslanding again. It seemed the man would never give up.

Winterfell is almost as it was, although it will never be the same. With the help of many, surprisingly willing Northerners, the ashes were swept away, the memories almost forgotten. Almost.

There is no Lord of Winterfell, or Lady. Sansa takes up the duties that are required of her, and Arya helps her as much as she can, but Lady Stark refuses to be warden of the north. It is not hers. Not until their brothers are dead. Everyone says they are, but Sansa has not lost hope. Nor has Arya. Bran and Rickon will find them one day. Or maybe Arya will find them.

Arya hears other rumours too. But of course, she knows those to be more than just rumours. The White Walkers attack the wall frequently enough, but there is hope. There has always been hope. The common folk say that Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen lives. They say she has three dragons. They say that once the beasts are fully grown, they will fly over the narrow sea as effortlessly as though it were land. And they will destroy the White Walkers. They will burn them, right to the ground.

No one knows if that is the truth or not. But they must hold on hope. What else is there?

That's what Arya thinks to herself every time the worries that she has grip at her. Squeezing their control on her. There is always hope.

And Gendry is her hope. He is by her side, day and night, more devoted than any husband Arya has seen in a marriage. Sansa pretends that their marriage does not bother her. She says she supports it, in fact. But Arya knows different. Her elder sister stills makes Arya drink Moon Tea whenever she returns from the forge.

Old traditions will never change.

Arya does not see Jon much. He is her other hope, you see. He's taken men North and South, and West and East. In search for their brothers. She is grateful, and Arya is sure to show Jon that gratitude whenever they meet, but secretly she wishes he would stay with her. Arya may be a woman grown in most men's eyes, but she still craves her elder brother's company every time she is alone.

But that is not often.

Gendry is always there. Wrapping an arm around her shoulder and whispering meaningless words in her ears. But the words do not have to mean anything. He was with her. That alone, was enough to comfort her.

All that time ago, almost two years perhaps, Gendry promised he would not leave her. And he had not. She was his Lady, and he was her 'stupid bull.' It was common knowledge. Everybody knew.

And there were days when Arya Stark could be found chasing the cats away from Winterfell, and the Blacksmith's booming laughter followed her throughout the castle.

So! I know it was quite short, but I wanted to tie up lose ends, and not drag it out too much. So in the end, I settled for short and sweet! I know a lot of people wanted to see how Stannis would react to Gendry and Arya's marriage, but that's not the way I wanted to go with the story, and I thought it best to stick to what I had originally planned.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading, and thank you to those who have reviewed/favourited/followed all the way through!

I'll say bye for now, until I ever decide to write anything in the future! Thank you :-)