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Due West

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"A man hears a girl will be leaving on a long voyage soon," he said, his voice at once familiar and that of a stranger. "A man would ask if a girl has considered her companions for this voyage."

Arya didn't bother wondering how he had even known. (She felt herself wince, anticipating the switch, the hit, but it didn't come.)

Jaqen smiled, and it was Jaqen now, wearing the face he had worn when she had first met him.

"I guess," Arya said. "A little. Why?" The most logical thought occurred to her. "You're not here to kill one of them, are you?"

"A man would not tell a girl if this were so. A man would have no reason to talk to a girl." Jaqen paused. "A man might feel disappointed at the limits of a girl's imagination."

"I'm going somewhere no one has ever gone before, and you think I have a limited imagination?"

Jaqne inclined his head. "When it comes to certain things."

Arya considered. "You think there's going to be people to kill there? Your god wants you to come with me?"

"Again, a man is disappointed," Jaqen said. "Still, a man accepts a girl has been busy."

"You can say that again." Arya shook her head. "You still haven't answered my question, though. Why do you want to come? What's out there for you?"

"A girl expect a man to know already what she has set out to discover for herself?" Jaqen shook his head. "A girl is mistaken. A girl has eyes, yet a man fears that still, she does not see."

"Well enough to keep alive until now," Arya said. "I killed the Night King, you know."

"A man has heard," Jaqen said. "A man is pleased a girl is still alive. A man notes that a girl has not yet answered the question he has asked her at the beginning of this conversation."

"You want to come with me," Arya said. "You could have just snuck on board."

"Both these things are true, yes. And?"

"And why?" Arya asked. "What's out there for you?"

Jaqen glanced out at the sea. "Out there? Nothing."

Arya scowled at him. "I can delay our departure until you tell me, you know. This is my expedition. I'm in charge. We're not going to leave here until I say so."

"A girl continues to tell a man things he already knows," Jaqen said.

"Fine." Arya rolled her eyes. "Say 'please', and I'll let you come."

Jaqen chuckled. "Please. See? A girl only has to ask, and a man will obey."

"You still haven't told me why," Arya said. "I mean it. I'm not going over there to kill people. I don't even know if there are any people where we're going. Probably not. There's probably nothing but plants and trees and animals."

"A girl should know plants and trees and animals may be quite dangerous."

"You want to come along to protect me?" Arya laughed.

"No," Jaqen said. "And, perhaps, yes. A girl must decide that for herself."

Arya groaned. "A girl is beginning to regret she agreed to let you come just because you said 'please'."

"That is a girl's right. A man would ask a girl to consider one more thing before she goes back to preparing for her departure."

"All right." Arya sighed. "What is it?"

Jaqen kissed her. A rather chaste kiss, barely more than a brush of his lips against hers, over before she could even decide whether she liked it or not.

"Now, does a girl see? What a man values, what drives a man to undertake this voyage is not out there. It is right here."

"Uh. Thanks? I guess?" Arya said. She felt annoyed, mostly with herself, for also feeling like an idiot.

Jaqen smirked. "A girl must consider how she wishes to proceed. A man would not want a girl to - "

Arya lunged and kissed him, a good deal less chastely, but then (she reasoned) he'd started it. "To kiss you back? That's a pity. I'm not used to letting people do things to me and not doing them back."

"A girl should keep up a better guard," Jaqen said, revealing the knife in his left hand. It looked sharp.

Arya scoffed. "Like you were really going to stab me. You can just admit I got you, you know. I got you all figured out, Jaqen H'gar."

"A girl should - " Jaqen started.

"I can kiss you again, you know," Arya warned.

"A man is terrified," Jaqen said. "A man humbly asks permission to find a place to store his few belongings and familiarize himself with his new home."

Arya snorted. "Like you haven't been over every hook and cranny of this ship already. Fine. Go. I'll find you later."