Author's note

If I owned any of this, do you really think I'd be writing a fanfiction? Nope, I'd be bathing in money, like George RR.

Dull, throbbing pain shot between her legs when she made a move to get up. She sighed and closed her eyes again, waiting for the mild pain to go away and enjoying the comfortable weight of Gendry's arm around her waist. He was still asleep and spooning her. At that moment, she wanted nothing more than to snuggle closer to him. She spied the half closed door leading to privy so she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and made herself get up.

She cleaned the blood, sweat and seed off her skin and went to find some clothes to put on. She found her silken dress on the floor besides the bed, in the bundle of clothes. The laces on the bodice were all torn up. Pity, even Arya liked that dress, and she never wore dresses. She'll have to see if her handmaidens could do something to fix it. She went through the rest of clothes and settled for Gendry's shirt. It reached down to her thighs, and the sleeves were too long, but it smelled of Gendry.

She walked to the window and opened it. Sun was still low, hiding behind clouds and colouring them a pale pink. She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with fresh morning air. She bit her lower lip to stop herself from smiling as she dozed off into the memories of last night.

He was trailing kisses down her neck, with her hand in his raven hair. She was hurriedly unbuttoning his shirt and then appreciatively moaned at the sight of his lean, hard muscles. He chuckled, his teeth on her laces.

"Why are you up so early?" she heard a hoarse, sleepy voice coming from the bed. She turned around, lazily walked over to him and jumped into the bed again, straddling him, a smile spreading over her face.

"I could ask you the same."

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

"My lord? My lord, are you in there?"

Gendry groaned. Arya's eyes were as big as saucers, panic creeping down her spine. "I told you we'd get in trouble!" Stupid, stupid, stupid. They never should've crashed into some random room.

"My lord! Lord Baratheon wants to see you! My lord!"

Gods, the lad was annoying.

Another voice joined outside the door. "What in the seven hells possessed you to yell this early in the morning?" Arya recognized Ser Jensen.

"I'll handle this," Gendry said, pulling up his breeches, as Arya was maniacally throwing her clothes on.

"Are you crazy? We have to stay low, maybe they'll go away." She couldn't afford to be seen rolling in bed with a blacksmith. The whole castle would think she's a cheap whore. And what if the word reaches Lord Baratheon? She shivered at the thought.

Someone started pounding on the door again and trying to open it, shaking the handle. Gendry rolled his eyes and unlocked the door, causing the person to fall into the room.

The boy picked himself up and gracefully dusted himself off. He was tall and skinny. He raised his head and opened his mouth to start shouting again, but then he noticed Arya for the first time and shut his mouth, managing only to squeak out a weak "Oh."

The boy had unruly brown hair and brown, lively eyes, which were now travelling from Gendry to Arya. His cheeks reddened. "I...I..." he stuttered.

"What Sammy here is trying to say," Ser Jensen said, leaning against the door frame and patting the boy's shoulder, "is that he mistook the room."

"But, I..." poor boy seemed completely lost and was making puppy eyes. If Arya hadn't been so embarrassed at the moment, she'd have felt bad for him. Jensen only laughed, winked at Gendry and started pulling the younger boy out of the room.

"Jensen, what do you think you're doing?!" the lad asked, his voice unnaturally high, "We don't have time for any of your..."

"Shut up, Sammy."

"It's Sam!" the younger boy shrieked, their voices slowly fading, leaving Gendry and Arya in silence. Arya blinked.

"Well, this went...smoothly." She cleared her throat. "Who was that boy?"

"You have had the honour of meeting Jensen's brother Sam, a boy of 15, but he likes to think he's already a man grown." Gendry chuckled. "He's a squire."

The boy somewhat reminded her of her own little brothers and filled her heart with homesickness and nostalgia.

Next week was one of the best ones in Arya's life. She met up with Gendry whenever she could, but never in that room again. Gendry tried to assure her that the incident with Sammy-sorry; Sam- won't happen again, but she didn't want to risk anything. She still blushed every time Ser Jensen smiled mischievously at her and Gendry.

One day she bumped into Gendry after having a brief conversation with Lord Stannis.

"What's wrong?" he asked, "You look upset."

"It's just... Lord Stannis organized for me to go home."

"Oh," he replied, thinking, "When?"

"Tomorrow," she said, taking his hand and leading him to the first empty room.

For the journey, she was allowed to dress in her usual garb again. She has always been more comfortable in breeches than in skirts.

She was given a small party to escort her back home, including 5 knights and a septa. First day of the journey, she kept septa's company. The old lady kept going on and on about the importance of virtues and gods, and how it's not appropriate for a young lady to travel around the world in man's clothes. She even tried to make her do needle work. Arya's only reply was that she already knew everything that is to know about needles.

Next morning she chose to ride with the knights. She was glad to have Ser Misha there, so she spent most of the time mingling among the knights with him, instead of sitting in a carriage with the septa. She had found out more about Misha. Once she went past his shy appearance, she found that he was talkative after all. He told her about his childhood as a fourth son, how he always fought for the spotlight, how he squired for the famous Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras, and in return, he listened to Arya babble about her own family. She was anxious to finally see them all. She even thought about going to the Wall to see Jon. He'll probably muss her hair again and call her 'little sister' although she wasn't little anymore.

When she saw the walls of Winterfell for the first time after five years, she promised herself she wouldn't cry. But when the gates opened and she saw her usually composed and elegant sister running across the yard, her skirts swirling around her, hair in a mess, tears running down her cheeks, Arya jumped off her horse and broke down to tears as they hugged so tight she thought she'd never be able to let go, and they tumbled down to their knees. Rickon followed close behind and helped Bran to dismount his horse. They just sat there, in the dirt, huddled together, crying and laughing at the same time, mumbling inarticulate words.

When they calmed down a bit, she got the chance to inspect their looks. From a pretty girl Arya remembered, Sansa turned into a beautiful woman. Bran was almost all grown up, tall and slender, and Rickon was still a boy, but his plump cheeks were gone.

They spent the rest of the day (and most of the night) talking and occasionally crying. When Bran and Rickon left them, the sky was already beginning to lighten. The sisters snuggled in the same bed, like they used to do which seemed hundreds of years ago.

Another author's note

Sorry you guys had to wait so long for this chapter. It's a bit shorter than the last one. I'll try to update soon, and you could motivate me a bit more if you leave a review.* wink, wink*