Arya didn’t know the specifics on what happened to Sansa when the Lannister men took her, although no one had even confirmed that they were Lannister men, but everyone knew. They had been paid for their work to say the least, the Lannisters had plenty of money to throw around which was how they were able to get some idiots to think that it was a smart idea to take Sansa. In the end they were the ones who paid, her father Ned Stark made sure of that. It was more than they had bargained for and had cost them their lives. There was no sympathy or pity to be spared for them.
She still hadn’t figured out how Sansa had been taken, considering she always had a small entourage with her no matter where she went, not that she really went many places. Gang life wasn’t as simple as every day life. If she were a normal girl, which she sometimes longed to be, Sansa would have gone to the movies with her friends and been even more focused on getting the boy’s attention, or maybe less focused. Arya didn’t understand it. Instead Sansa was often shut in, not caring for the gang life just like her mother Catelyn. They just seemed to enjoy being shut away from the world in order to keep themselves safe. The few places they did go were familiar and safe, so for Sansa to get taken on the way to a safe location was unnerving. Either the men had been trailing her for months or someone was spilling their secrets. Just the thought made Arya’s blood boil.
Ever since Sansa had been taken life within the Stark family had been on edge. Catelyn and Sansa seemed to keep each other company along with Bran and Rickon. Bran and Rickon were still too young to understand, having been told that Sansa was spending time at their aunt and uncle’s while she was in fact being held for ransom. The four of them kept inside the house, not daring to go into the outside world where danger was lurking. It was safe to say that the absence of her father contributing to the atmosphere within the home. He was still out in the streets, searching for more information on Sansa’s ordeal. He wouldn’t stop until he found out everything he needed to know but even then he would take matters into his own hands to make sure that it never happened again. There were men who worked with her father that would gladly do all the work for Ned but he saw fit to do it himself. His best friend Uncle Robert was doing what he could on his end to help an old friend. Although their gangs were on friendly terms no one ever liked the thought of two gangs becoming one. To some it would seem strange for a gang leader to be working the streets for information, but the Stark’s knew it was because there was no one better suited for the job.
Her brother Robb and half brother Jon seemed to be the only ones keeping the house together with their calm demeanors but Arya knew better. She had heard Jon say that something wasn’t right and a war was coming. At the time Arya only knew of wars that were fought and played in video games. There were wars in other countries but those were more with governments and militaries. How could there be a war in the streets of New York? Arya refused to be kept inside along with her brothers and sister. She wasn’t so weak and afraid of the world to think that hiding from it would be the answer. When she could she snuck out the window and down the fire escape of the apartment. Bran had discovered the small escape route and showed her his trick after he perfected it. Timing was everything in order to not get caught leaving the apartment safe house. They had their home of course but everyone knew where that was. It would have been pointless to try and hide out there. The apartment was small and inconspicuous. It blended in with it’s surroundings and no one would ever suspect the Stark family to be there even if it was within the gang’s territory. The other tenants of the apartment, in order to make it look less suspicious, were close family friends who didn’t mind keeping up a charade in order to keep them safe. That meant eyes were everywhere when a person even got close to the property.
On the third night of being in the apartment safe house Arya peeked at the darkness around her from underneath her covers. Her eyes didn’t take long to adjust to the lack of light, considering she had been awake the entire time. She could hear the quiet snores of her brothers even from the next room. Everyone was asleep, or so it seemed before she noticed that Sansa’s bed seemed to be unmoving. The blankets didn’t rise and fall with her sister’s breathing. There actually wasn’t any sound to be heard coming from her sister’s side of the room. Arya quietly slid her covers off of her and walked over to Sansa’s bed, pushing down on the blankets. There was a cushion underneath Arya’s hand and she realized Sansa had left a pillow in her place. Perhaps she had gone into their mother’s room and the pillow had somehow been moved into just the right position. Where would Sansa have to go at this time of night? Instead of actually worrying about her sister Arya shrugged it off, returning to her bed to make it appear as if she were still underneath all the blankets before she slipped out the window and down the fire escape.
The night air was cool against her face, which had the only bit of skin that was actually visible. With a dark hoodie on and her hands shoved into her pockets Arya walked along the alleyway, heading to the back and away from the street. The street in front of the apartment would have people standing watch, although they wouldn’t be obvious to anyone, not even herself. Being discreet was a talent that was hard to master. Arya still lacked the ability to hide how she really felt. Even if she were to remain silent, which would have been a miracle, her thoughts would be written all over her face. There were muffled blares of sirens sounding off in the distance, which was something Arya would have felt lost without because after so many years they had become like a lullaby, but then an unfamiliar sound filled the air as she turned the corner. The tone was low and hushed although something sounded desperate. That was when she realized that she was hearing voices, but who would be out here at this time of night, besides herself of course. She quietly followed the sound of the voices until she stopped just short of another corner where two people were bargaining.
“This is all you have?” came a hushed tone with a hint of desperation. For some reason it sounded familiar, but then again all whispers sounded the same.
“For you, yes.” replied another voice, this one deeper and more relaxed.
“Fine.” sighed the first voice in defeat.
Arya could only wait as she knew an exchange of some sort was going down. She wasn’t a stupid little girl, it was either drugs or pills or something else. A junkie running around in need of another hit was what it sounded like.
“Pleasure doing business with you.” said the other voice, obviously pleased with the transaction. It was a guy talking, not a kid but not necessarily a man either. The familiar sounding voice belonged to a girl, who Arya could hear fussing with the bag to open it and take what she needed. Arya was lost in her thoughts for a moment trying to think of who she knew that would be dealing with pills or drugs that would sound so familiar. No one in particular came to mind, especially not another girl. It was safe to say she was a tom boy through and through, always with her brothers or some male figure who was a family friend. She wanted to be involved in the gang life unlike her mother and Sansa. There was an entire world waiting to be explored and shutting herself in one of the safe houses wasn’t going to accomplish anything.
She didn’t have a chance to finish her thought as the sound of footsteps rounding the corner she was hiding behind drew her back to reality. It was too late to move however, considering there wasn’t exactly anywhere to hide in the middle of the alleyway and she would only make more noise trying to not get caught by the somehow familiar stranger, unless it was the guy coming her way. Before she could attempt to stare at the ground and act like an innocent bystander the person leaving bumped straight into Arya with a sigh of annoyance. Arya immediately looked down at the ground and backed a step away, knowing that her hood would block her face from whoever it was. “Sorry.” said the familiar voice before continuing on, obviously in a hurry. Arya caught a glimpse of auburn hair from the corner of her eye and suddenly everything was starting to make sense. She turned her head slowly, making sure to keep her head at an angle to keep her face blocked. There was her sister Sansa walking down the alleyway and away from the deal that had just taken place. Her auburn hair was enough of a hint but Arya recognized her sister from behind, Sansa’s long auburn hair was pulled into a ponytail on the side and Arya watched as Sansa pulled her hood over the top of her head before going back to the apartment.
What in the world was Sansa doing? What was she even thinking? Arya couldn’t understand why Sansa was running around late at night. What drugs or pills would she even be buying? She didn’t have a need for them. They had been raised better and Sansa was smarter than that. The better question was who was dumb enough to sell to Sansa and risk getting caught? If her father heard who was supplying his beloved daughter with anything he deemed garbage they would have hell to pay. Whoever had dared to come this close to the apartment safe house was either stupid or had a death wish. For the time being Ned Stark wasn’t around and so Arya deemed it necessary to take matters into her own hands. Facing forward once more she rounded the corner, finding a figure perched on the ladder of a fire escape. They were counting their profits of the previous transaction and Arya braced herself for what she was going to do and say. In actuality she didn’t have a plan, besides finding out who was doing the selling and what they were selling to Sansa.
“Who do you think you are?” she blurted out, her mouth a few steps ahead of her mind. She realized that her hands were at her side now, clenched into fists. She wasn’t planning on hitting anyone but she was going to do what it took to get answers.
The figure looked up at her, taking in the sight of her small size, before chuckling a bit. “I don’t think it’s any of your business little lady.” he answered.
She was taken back for a moment, surprised that he had been able to tell that she was in fact a girl when she could have easily been mistaken for a boy as she usually was by others. His little lady comment got to her, that was the insult her brothers liked to use when she wasn’t acting like Sansa or her mother. She wasn’t very lady like with all of her boy-ish tendencies.
“It is when you sell to my sister.” Arya retorted after a moment as she began walking towards to the stranger, fists still waiting at her side, “Who are you and what are you selling?” She knew she didn’t stand a chance at threatening him, at least not physically. She could fight of course, plenty of practice was available with so many brothers, but she didn’t have a weapon of any sort save for a bottle of pepper spray and the guy in front of her obviously wasn’t intimidated. She would have to be fast to pull one over on him with her bottle of pepper spray, but who knew what he was carrying.
“Your sister huh?” he questioned, still very much at ease on the ladder as if he didn’t have a care in the world, “All I’m doing is giving her what she needs.”
“That’s a lie.” Arya spat, “She doesn’t need anything that you’re selling.”
“Apparently she does.” he shrugged in response.
“What are you selling to her?” she questioned once more.
“Are you interested in buying?” he said with a smirk. Now that Arya was close enough to him she could see dark black shaggy hair that was almost to his eyes. It was his eyes that stunned her and caught her attention. They were a piercing blue which was a contrast to his dark hair. He didn’t wear a hood or try to disguise how he looked. He was taller than her, which wasn’t much of an accomplishment for anyone considering she was still waiting on a growth spurt, or so she hoped. He was wearing a pair of jeans along with a long sleeved shirt, as if he had nothing to hide or stash away from anyone.
“No, of course not!” she said as if she were offended by the very idea, which she was. “I don’t want you to sell to my sister ever again you idiot! I don’t care what you have, it can’t be good for anyone save yourself when it comes to the profits.”
He still wore a smug grin as he leaned down towards Arya’s face, looking her right in the eyes. It was a little too close for comfort but Arya knew she had to stand her ground, if only for a few moments. “That’s the only reason to sell though.” he said to her as his eyes seemed to look right through her.
“Yeah, well…” she fumbled for a moment while trying to return his gaze, “You’re an idiot and you better not sell to my sister again!” Her arm rose up and with her hand still balled into a fist she punched the dealer on the side of his head close to his ear and the beginning of his jaw. It was hard enough to get her point across, but not hard enough to bruise or do any permanent damage. Right after hitting him she realized how careless such a move had been, it was a mistake on her part because she didn’t know who the guy was or what he would do to her. Of course she didn’t regret hitting him because she had wanted to but now the consequences of her action were in the hands of a stranger. There was a look of shock on his face but that was to be expected. It wasn’t every day he got hit by a girl.
Arya braced herself for retaliation and her eyes went to the ground for a moment as she wondered what would happen. There was going to be a click of a gun or a switchblade, only the worst things possible came to her mind. It was bad enough that Sansa had been taken but if Arya got hurt because of her own actions that would make things even worse at home. Then she would truly be on lockdown within the apartment, if she lived of course. As she looked back up at the guy she heard him start to chuckle before he barked a loud laugh. He thought this was funny? Maybe he was on something himself. That would make sense considering Arya didn’t see this as any sort of laughing matter. Or perhaps he thought what was going to happen next would be funny. She should have ran by now, this was the perfect time to try to get away, but she knew better. They were in the alleyways, there weren’t many places to hide and even if she did start going he was larger than her. That didn’t mean he was quick, but with his stride he would likely catch up to her.
“Listen here.” he started to say as his laughter faded with a smile on his face, “I sell based on supply and demand so as long as your sister wants some I’ll sell to her. It sounds like you need to work something out with her so she doesn’t buy again.”
“She’s being stupid, which is the only reason she’s even buying.” Arya replied, “Do you even know who she is or what will happen to you if you don’t stop?”
“Let me guess, she’s another girl just trying to fill a void.” he lulled, as if bored by the thought of it, “And if I don’t stop I’ll have you to deal with.”
“She’s Sansa Stark.” Arya blurted out before realizing she was giving away too much information. They were hiding after all so if this guy decided to share their general whereabouts with anyone he would get a reward while her family would pay.
“That would make you Arya.” he answered, obviously all ready aware of who his customer was.
“How did you-?” she started to stammer.
“I don’t do business with just anyone. I was only referred to her by a friend of hers, so she has no idea who I am.”
“Then she had some shady friends.” Arya muttered just loud enough for him to hear. “I don’t want to see you around here ever again or you will have me to deal with.” she said loud enough to be a threat.
“Maybe I will see you, maybe I won’t.” he shrugged as he stepped down from the ladder, “If I have you to deal with it you may see me more often.” The smirk on his face made Arya want to punch him. Did he think that he was being funny, because he wasn’t. “It’s far past your bedtime though so hurry home and get some sleep. Good night Arya.” he said with a nod as he walked away from where she stood. For some reason it was as if she was frozen, at least until he was out of sight. She couldn’t even think of a good comeback for his bedtime comment but perhaps that wasn’t the worst thing to happen that night. Instead she made her way back to the apartment, finding Sansa sound asleep in her bed while the rest of her family was undisturbed. Arya would have to keep an eye on Sansa if she wanted to be sure that nothing like this happened again. The blue eyed guy wouldn’t be around again as long as she could help it.