Gendry found her wounded, under a tree. When she noticed him, she swiftly twisted into a defensive crouch, hand trembling as she tightened the grip on the hilt of her sword. She was weak.

He had not seen her in ten years. She had been just a child then. They had both been. And even when she'd grown into the woman that was before him now, he still had no doubt in his heart it was her. Her face was still hers, even when there was no sign of Arya left anywhere in her large grey eyes.

"It's me." he said, holding out a hand for her to see, as if he were coaxing a dangerous animal.

That was all she was now. Just animal. Her soul an empty vessel that only the blood of men filled. She had already killed more than half of the men in their group in just two nights. It had been Anguy that had finally managed to wound her, and when they asked who wanted to go into the forest to seek her out, Gendry volunteered.

"Do you remember me? Gendry. We met in Kings Landing. Remember Hot Pie? Harrenhal? The Brotherhood? I'm still a knight." He took another step. Her eyes never left his; and never betrayed any sign that she recognized him. Just animal. Two more steps. Her sword sliced at the air between them as she slashed at him.

Just animal. Just animal. Just. Animal. He pulled his sword out and lunged for her and she sprung to her feet and blocked his blow right on time. But she was too weak, and he disarmed her in a few quick moves. He had her pinned against the tree with one arm now; his sword against the soft flesh of her neck. She did not seem afraid.

"Arya." he said sternly, slowly pulling the sword away from her neck. "You're Arya. Arya Stark. Remember? Arya Stark of Winterfell. Ned Stark was your father."


Just empty grey eyes.

"Arya. Please remember. Please."

Just animal.

He shook his head as his bottom lip trembled and his eyes grew wet. "I'm sorry." he whispered. "I'm so sorry." a tear rolled down his face just as he slid his sword into her chest. Into the place where her heart once was. She gasped out in pain, but her eyes still never left his. The tip of his sword hit the tree, so he pulled her into him, so that the sword slid all the way in, before pulling it out and dropping it on the floor besides him so he could hold her with both arms.

Her lips parted with a small gasp, blood rimming the edge, and she uttered three words that haunted him the rest of his life.

"Thank you . . . Gendry."