|bound_by_honor (bound_by_honor) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-03-15 03:41:00
|Entry tags:||arya stark, door: a song of ice and fire, eddard stark|
Who: Ned and Arya
When: Immediately following this conversation
Where: Winterfell, The ASoIaF door
Warnings: All the wibbles in the world.
Not a minute after Nell wrote in the journal that she was back in the hallway, Ned opened the door. He half expected Arya to be standing there, but it was the blond that Theodore knew of. Nell seemed like a very nice young woman and he was glad that Arya had been lucky. He hoped his other children had been as well. “Can you come through?” he asked her, holding out his hand without letting it break the plane of the door.
Nell had been proud of herself for not bolting. Going through the door had been strange enough; taking the backseat in her own body had been really fucking weird. Still, Nell could still taste Arya’s unvoiced panic at finding herself stranded on the road to King’s Landing, and knew just how important it was for the girl to find her father. Nell had found a family after 18 years. Arya deserved no less.
Nell took a deep breath and nodded in response to the man’s question. She stepped forward and through the barrier, steeling herself for the change that she knew would hit her.
When Arya opened her eyes, she was in Winterfell. She was really here, after all these years, and there next to her, holding her hand was... “Father!” Arya leaped forward without second thought, arms wrapping tightly around her father’s neck. The difference in height had been a lot smaller than she had remembered it, but she supposed it made sense given the time that had passed. “Father! I can’t believe it’s really you!”
Ned held his breath as she nodded and it felt like a lifetime before she stepped through the door. All he could think of in that moment was how desperately he needed to see her alive and well before him. For her, it had been ten years since she’d seen him beheaded at Joffrey’s hand. He had a great deal to make up for and giving her a proper hug was the first step to that.
The change happened almost instantly and although she was older, she was still his daughter. “It is me, Arya. I will not be going anywhere, ever again,” he replied, wrapping his arms around her tightly. He didn’t want to let go of her, not after finally getting her back. “I promise I wont leave you again.” His voice was tight and gruff, thick with emotion, but he wasn’t ashamed of that, nor of the tears that formed in his eyes. “I am so sorry, Arya.”
Arya kept her hold on her father, perhaps a little more tightly than she should have. It was all rushing back to her in that moment - her father, bruised, broken, on his knees outside the Great Sept as his own sword was raised against him, Sansa begging for mercy on his behalf, the crush of the public in the square as they pushed forward to see better, the fear and hatred and anger that almost blinded her even further - and the only thing keeping her from being swept away was the embrace of the man she had always felt utterly safe with. “I...” she began, swallowing hard, blinking back the tears as she tried to find the right words, “I’m sorry, Father. For everything.” Arya didn’t know why she was apologizing; after all, she had only done what was necessary to survive. There was still that lingering feeling that the woman she had turned into would be a disappointment to him, to her family, to the Stark name. “I didn’t know what else I could do.”
Ned had the benefit of only being aware of the television show. The last he’d seen of his youngest daughter was on the day he died and he knew nothing of her future. He couldn’t understand what she could possible be apologizing for and he found himself holding her even tighter. “Shhh, hush, it’s okay,” he soothed, rubbing her back reassuringly. “I will never stop loving you, no matter what I’ve missed,” Ned promised her fiercely. How much had he missed that she felt the need to apologize? He still had far too much to make up for, but for now, he would hold her for as long as she needed and then, perhaps, a bit longer. The tears he’d been trying to hold back fell silently down his cheeks, but Ned wasn’t embarrassed by it. She was his daughter, after all.
Arya held on silently, an act completely uncharacteristic of the girl her father had known. Being silent, being utterly still, slipping into shadows, blending into the night, these were all skills that had come much later. Her eyes prickled once again as she thought back to the last time her father had hugged her like this, and this time Arya did not push the tears away. The wave of emotion came, and then ebbed, and when Arya finally pulled away from her father’s embrace, her face had mostly dried. She reached up and put a hand on her father’s thick beard, and choked out a laugh. “It still prickles, just like I always told you it did.”
It wasn’t hard to miss the change about her even in the emotional embrace where his thoughts were dominated by an overwhelming relief to be reunited with her. He felt responsible for the change, but he didn’t know how to broach the subject. He also wasn’t sure that he wanted to at that moment. She pulled away and he loosened his grip to lengthen the hug for just a few moments longer. A smile graced his lips for the first time in what felt like a lifetime when she touched his cheek. “Perhaps this time I’ll shave for you,” he replied with a laugh, leaning down to kiss her cheek. He turned and offered her his arm. “Come, we have much to share,” Ned said, ready to lead her out to the Dogwood.
Arya laughed and slipped her hand through her father’s arm. “No you won’t!” she said accusingly, her brows furrowed in an exagerrated reproaching look much like she would have given when she was a child. Arya knew full well that Stark men did not shave, not unless there was a formal occasion coming up. Even then, she remembered Robb and Jon dragging their heels when they got pulled in for a shave, much the same way she had rioted about being put in a fancy dress. Perhaps the Starks simply weren’t meant for the finer things in life, but Arya didn’t care. As far as she was concerned, there was a particular place she would tell people concerned with being proper and polite to go put it. These were all thoughts for another time, and for her to share with anyone except her father. “You’re right,” she said with a sharp nod, banishing away her wayward thoughts as they left the hall and walked outside. “You need to tell me everything you’ve found out about Robb and Jonn and Sansa and Bran and Rickon and mother. I can’t wait to see everyone again.”