AU: Arya is 17 and Gendry is 20. I kept some characters alive that GRRM killed off so things are happening differently and some things don't happen at all. This has been in my head for days and just need to get it out! Arya and Gendry never separated, but rather they travelled together with their goal being to find her surviving family.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. It all belongs to GRRM!

The air seemed to dry before her very eyes. It was like the moisture was being sucked from it. The wind grew harsher and seemed to cut her cheeks. She welcomed it. Welcomed the feeling of having a pain to feel other than the pain of her losses.

Winter is coming. She thought and her thoughts instantly floated away from the weather and to King's Landing. To when Joffrey had ordered her father's head to be cut off for treason.

Her fingers curled in clawing at her palms as she thought of the monstrous craven. Father had always said that the man who ordered the death should swing the sword; otherwise a man would forget what death was.

Joffrey was no man….he was a craven, and she would kill him once she had the chance. She closed her eyes tried to empty her mind. She needed to focus for the road ahead of them.

Arya idly wondered what her siblings looked like. She had only been two and ten when Yoren took her from Kings landing. Sansa had been the last of her family that she had seen. Yet she had heard the rumors. Her mother had been killed at the Red Wedding, and Rob badly wounded but alive. Bran and Rickon were presumed dead from the hands of Theon and Jon….Jon was at the wall as the 998th Lord Commander.

Arya was an orphan, they all were, but she would have her justice. Hot Pie, Gendry and herself were travelling to find Rob and from there on she hoped to join him in freeing Sansa before Joffrey could hurt her. I will find my family and we will avenge our parents. The Freys and Lannisters will suffer as my family has. Before Arya could continue her thought she heard a twig snap behind her.

She didn't turn. She didn't need to.

He settled down next to her and bumped his shoulder into hers.

"It's getting colder Arya. You shouldn't be out here without a cloak."

She looked at him then, at his piercing blue eyes that seemed to see into her very soul.

"I'm from the North, Gendry" she replied "winter is coming, and I…we… will think of this morning as warm." She cracked a smile at him then knowing he always worried about her even when she was perfectly fine, he worried.

He huffed and breathed out a hot pocket of air, and then he smiled at her, saying "We should wake Hot Pie and get going then. I'd like to be inside somewhere when this winter of yours does get here. I rather like my fingers and toes intact m'lady."

Instantly she reached out to push him, but he caught her wrist and pulled her around laughing.

"I am not a lady!" She huffed pulling her hands to her chest and pushing back against him, but he was too used to her violent antics. His eyes twinkled with amusement and he knowingly taunted her again, "M'lady this is not ladylike behavior at all! Hitting men is quite…"

He didn't get to finish his taunt because her hand had finally found purchase and she was able to push him hard enough that he fell backwards into the drying grass.

Her other wrist was still captured in his hand and so she fell down with him landing on top of him. His laughter echoed throughout the woods and she couldn't help the smile that tore across her face as she laughed with him.

He always knew how to make her laugh. After 5 years of travelling with him she knew everything about him, and he, she thought, knew everything about her.

She rolled off of him and turned on her side to look at him, as he did her. They laid there smiling at each other and he gently reached over and brushed a strand of her chestnut hair back behind her ear.

She felt the need to stop breathing as his hand brushed over her cheek so gently and she closed her eyes briefly to relax. Only once she opened them she found Gendry still staring at her.

He was lying on his side with his arm supporting his head. His coal black hair flopped lazily over his forehead. It had grown past his eyebrows and he had reluctantly allowed Arya to cut it with a dagger so it did not interfere with his line of sight.

Her own hair now touched her shoulders now. Both Gendry and Hot Pie insisted it was useless to keep chopping it short since, in their opinion, there was no hiding that she was a girl anymore. Arya didn't see whatever it was they saw.

She still felt like the horseface girl that the ladies of the North made fun of. Even though she had flowered 2 years ago and her body had since developed curves, Arya still thought of herself as boyishly thin and unattractive. Regardless, she was a woman now, why hide it, she thought and so she agreed to not continue to chop her hair.

"Alright enough with relaxing! We have your brother to find!" Gendry interrupted her pointless thoughts.

Arya blinked furiously to pay attention to the man before her. He pulled them up and brushed the dead leaves out of hair. "Come on m'lady" He said smirking and then ran off to find Hot Pie.

Arya ran off after him prepared to yell at him, and just as she caught up with him she stopped short.

There before her, Hot Pie stood over a breakfast of fruit and bread and 2 small packages wrapped in dirty rags.

She blinked and looked up at the two men before her. It was a small gesture, but still…it meant the world to her. "You remembered!" Truly, she should not have been so surprised, but she was. Since Arya had revealed her 13th name day had passed without fuss, they had always remembered her name day, and yet she was always amazed they remembered that they cared.

Hot Pie walked up to her and gave her a gentle hug, "Happy name day Arya! This one is from me!" He said thrusting one of the small packages into her hands. "I thought you could use it since yours is so worn."

She smiled at him as she opened the small gift, letting the rag gently drop. Inside was a solid but strong strip of leather, like the one she used to tie her hair back when she felt uncomfortable with it blowing in her face.

Hot Pie was right, hers was worn and breaking, she could barely even use it anymore.

"Thank you so much Hot Pie!" she said giving him a tight hug. "I'm starved! I haven't had fruit in what feels like forever!" she exclaimed as she knelt down and grabbed an orange.

"Gendry made a deal with a vendor in the town over in the East, he agreed to haul his loads in and out of his cart every morning this past week for it." Hot Pie said in-between bites of bread.

"That's where you've been ducking out to every morning you liar!" she said as she reached out to push him. Gendry just looked down bashfully saying, "You deserve to have something special. You're ten and seven today." Then he reached out and handed her the other small package handing it to her.

She took it smiling, and began to uncover the item that laid in-between the folds of the broken cloth. "O Gendry, it is beautiful!" she exclaimed as she stared at the item in her hands. He smiled then looking at it, "I made it myself, I had to barter time in the forge helping the local armorer, but he let me have a steel scrap as payment for my help.

In her hands Arya held a necklace, but it wasn't made of gold or any colorful stones. It was a plain leather cord that wrapped around a small steel circle. The steel was cold, but smooth. There was no pattern or design. It was basic and that made it all the more precious to Arya.

Arya quickly lifted it over her head and put it on, and it fell below her collarbone, landing neatly in-between her breasts. She rubbed her thumb over the cold edges of the circle, tracing it.

"I know you hate anything remotely feminine, but I just felt like I wanted to give you a little piece of me….to always have, and it's simple and beautiful….to me it is anyway….like you." Gendry basically muttered the last part, but Arya heard him.

Before he could look up, Arya had lunged herself at him hugging him close to her. "I love it Gendry. It is perfect." She whispered in his ear as she clutched him to her. She felt his arms come around her, tightening around her body, securing her to him.

Being so close to him was natural to her, but this felt different. It felt as if they were still so far and she needed to be closer. A tightening in the pit of her stomach coiled as Gendry's hands opened across her back to hold her to him. It was innocent, but Arya could not help the feeling within her own body as she somehow scooted closer to him.

Any closer and she would be in his lap… that just made her all the more anxious to keep going though.

"Ummm guys," Hot Pie interrupted and Arya quickly pulled herself away from Gendry, taking notice of how his hands stayed firmly on her as if he did not want to let her loose.

She took notice of how he was staring at her, an unreadable expression on his face, and she quickly looked away and grabbed a piece of bread stuffing it into her mouth.

They ate all of the fruit of the breakfast enjoying it as today was meant to be a celebration, but experience had taught them to save the bread regardless of it being her name day. Rationing had kept them alive in the past, and hunger was a horrible feeling….especially for Hot Pie…who always seemed to be hungry.

They started on their travels. Heading to Riverrun, where rumors claimed they could find her brother. If they walked until nightfall, they could make it there within 3 days time.

A few hours had passed when they felt the ground shaking from the hooves of horses. A moment later they heard the shouting of voices. Quickly, Hot Pie dove into the brush closest to him keeping their pack of food and medicine and supplies close by his side.

It was not cowardly, it was what Arya and Gendry had trained him to do…to hide and to protect their resources. Hot Pie was not a fighter…..but he was brave, and his bravery often lead to situations he count not handle and so this was what worked best for the trio.

Arya and Gendry hurried to the other side of the road rushing ahead. Arya kept her hand on needle in case she needed to draw it and she saw Gendry's hand resting on the dagger he kept tucked into his waistband.

If seen they would claim to be siblings fleeing from a raid, and hopefully they would be left and forgotten. But things never seemed to turn out quite so fortuitously in their case.

They stopped behind a large brush, and behind them was nothing but trees and woods. Gendry turned to Arya then and quietly looked at her. Silently willing her with his eyes to not be brave and foolish.

Annoyance filled her….he always felt the need to protect her. She had killed men, by his side and yet he still wanted to protect her like some little lady. Her thoughts ceased though as she heard the shouting increase in volume.

They were getting closer.

Suddenly she felt Gendry's hands at her chest. He was lifting her new necklace up and he pulled it to the top of her shirt dropping it on the inside so it was not visible. He was so close to her. So close and the cold of the circular pendant felt like ice on her skin.

Without thinking she raised her hand away from needle and laid it on Gendry's chest, taking a step closer to him. She looked up at him forgetting the horses and men. Forgetting the potential danger, and she took another step. They were mere inches apart now and Gendry looked down at her. Confusion itched into his face, but his eyes had darkened considerably.

He opened his mouth to speak, but instead a different voice rung out. A voice Arya would never forget, one that sent chills throughout her body as hatred filled her. She felt Gendry's muscles tense and tighten.

"Well, well…what do we have here?"

Years had passed since Harrenhal, but those days had been seared into Arya's memory.

She reached to her side for needle, but another hand grabbed her wrist throwing her hand against him while his other hand grabbed her other wrist bringing her against him completely.

"Let her go!" She heard Gendry scream as he punched one man down into the ground ignoring the man's blade as it cut across his arm. Blood seeped through Gendry's shirt and Arya bucked against the man holding her hands against him. His laughter sent her into a rage and she threw her head backwards against her captor.

The pain of the hit was nothing compared to the satisfaction of hearing the man's nose break under her skull.

She quickly grabbed needle and slid it into the man's neck. She didn't need to watch, she knew he would die, drowning on his own blood. She turned to the next man ready to fight, but instead she saw 3 men beating Gendry down. He had his dagger out and had just managed to slit one of the attacker's throats as the other two came at him from a different angle.

Her blood boiled and she charged at them, but suddenly she was thrown down to the ground. Needle flying from her grasp. She desperately reached for it, but her hands were quickly captured and pulled back as a different man kicked her in the ribs.

Arya gasped in pain. When she looked back up he was standing over her.

The man that had killed Lommey.

Raff was staring down at her.

Gendry's screams filled her ears as Arya's world turned red.

AN: I hope this story will have plenty of chapters and there will be lots of Gendry and Arya to come. I already have half of the next chapter written, and will post it by the end of this week. PLEASE REVIEW and give me feedback. It means a lot =)