Chapter OneMature

A small, sweet, story about the brighter side of Ayra's relationship with the Hound as she comes to terms with him being a necessary ally rather than foe.

AN: Please be nice, I'm very unfamiliar with the GoT universe, some mistakes may apply.

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It was the middle of the night, and winter was definitely coming - Arya Stark was shivering uncontrollably, she tried to pull the poor excuse of a coat that she had as her protection from the wind up, but it was old and tattered, not very thick at all and had many holes in it. Her stomach too was quite empty, even after having a chicken leg for dinner; and the fact that the Hound lay across from her, snoring his brains out, did not help her cause, and all of this coincided against her even getting close to sleep.

She swore loudly, continuing to shift where she lay, trying to get comfortable on a forest bed was a big ask - there was always either a stick or stone in her back, and a tree-root in her side, no matter how she contorted her body. Sleep was not something she could risk losing, she needed her wits about her whilst travelling with the Hound, especially since they had only one horse, and that she was the one riding bitch between him and the reins.

She didn't trust him still, despite him constantly expressing his motive in protecting her was to receive a reward from the Starks - but though he was leading her South, and though he kept on emphasising the point, Arya never wavered from her paranoia. She had not given up thinking about dropping a rock on his head, or putting his own sword through his eye while he slept - she had simply began to buy into his words, and whether they were truthful or not, she found herself hoping that they were.

The worse part about travelling with the Hound though was definitely the stench she had endure from him. Even now, where she lay, she could smell his filth filling her nostrils - like the smell of death after war, it did not go away, and she could smell it on her clothes and in her hair. She had asked, frequently, but he had denied the chance for her to acquire her own horse, stating frankly that he did not want to see the only valuable thing that he owned ride off into the sunset.

Arya sat up suddenly.

Attempting sleep was useless - she cast an eye across the dying fire at the Hound, anger billowing up inside of her; so often thought of it as unfair, that someone so heartless and murderous could sleep so easily, without a care in the world - when someone like her, whose innocence had been tested on the back of her father's death, found sleep impossible.

'You should sleep.'

Though she'd been staring at him, his voice startled her and made her  jump. She could see now that his eyes were open, and they were looking directly at her - she automatically pulled the coat she'd been using as a blanket over her torso. Why she did this, when she was clearly fully clothed, was a mystery to her.

'Can't,' she said.

'Can't? Or won't?' the Hound asked.

Arya contemplated this. She supposed, in a way, it was both - she couldn't because of a set of circumstances beyond her control, and she kind of wouldn't due to being paranoid that the Hound would take umbrage of her while vulnerable.

'It's not that difficult,' the Hound went on without waiting for an answer.

He turned and faced away from her, and the fire, evidently drifting back to sleep.

'It might not be for you,' Arya retorted, there was venom in her voice.

'Just lay down and close your eyes,' the Hound said, without moving to look at her.

'Oh right, that's what I'm meant to do,' Arya said sarcastically, 'because I haven't been trying to do that already, makes perfect sense.'

'Just do it,' he insisted.

Arya lay down begrudgingly and stared up at the canopy of trees above her, still very cautious about the idea of closing her eyes in his company.

'Now imagine you're wrapped up in your four-posted bed back at home,' the Hound explained, causing Arya to crank her neck and look at the back of him.

'I may be a Stark,' she said, 'but I definitely don't sleep in a Kings bed.'

'Whatever cot you sleep in then,' the Hound practically shouted, 'just picture that yourself under the thick woollen blankets, dressed from head to toe in all manner of clothing, and the heat from the roaring fireplace blistering your skin...'

And just like that, the next thing Arya knew, she was being kicked awake by the Hound.

The End

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