"I bet it's not a direwolf,"Arya said,"I bet it's not even corporeal. Otherwise she could just show us."
"Your sister just doesn't appreciate you being nosy,"Catelyn scolded."Lysa never wanted us to see her patronus either, and we all believed her when she said it was a trout. Although, it did later turn out that is was a mockingbird and she had, in fact, been lying to us -"
She trailed off, having realised that she was not actually helping the point she was trying to make. Her daughter only snorted."Who'd lie about something as lame as a trout? If you admit to that, everyone'll believe it 'cause it's too embarrassing to be made up."
She cringed at the look Robb threw her, remembering her mother's patronus had been a trout for years before changing form once she had fallen in love with Ned."Sorry, mum."
Jon groaned, grabbing Arya by the scruff of her neck as she tried to sneak past him."You can't just follow Sansa around until she casts her patronus. Why do you care what it is anyway? It doesn't matter."
"Easy to say when your patronus is a dragon,"Arya countered. They had all been surprised, expecting a direwolf to match Father's and Robb's, Jon more so than anyone else. But, Arya had to grudingly admit, a dragon was cooler. A dragon patronus wasn't something you saw every day, in fact, Jon had been the only one at Hogwarts to have one until Daenerys Targaryen had transferred from Beauxbatons in Robb and Jon's final year."And Sansa's hiding whatever it is, which makes it important, you stupid. Or it might just not even be corporeal."
"It is, I saw it from a distance once,"Jon said, not sure why he was indulging his sister's silly obsession."It was about the right shape, mind you, had four legs and all."
Arya stared at him as if he'd gone mad."Lots of things have four legs."
"She's probably ashamed because she doesn't have a direwolf patronus like a proper Stark,"Arya mused loudly, finding herself faced with her brothers glaring at her at that statement. Oh, right."Look, I didn't mean it like that. Dragons are cool."
Jon didn't exactly look appeased and Bran scoffed as she turned to him."You don't even know if yours isn't a direwolf. You managed a corporeal patronus once, for maybe two seconds."
"It was a crow,"Bran said as haughtily as a twelve year old could manage, crossing his arms and continuing to glare at his sister.
Arya let her head fall on the table, exhausted by attempting to weasle the information she needed out of anyone she could find."Even Jeyne Poole swears she doesn't know, and that girl can't lie. I bet Sansa has a really embarrassing patronus, like a rabbit or a bird or a doe-"
She broke off as Robb cleared his throat pointedly, giving her a look that reminded her a lot of Mother's I'm-not-mad-I'm-just-disappointed look.
"Yours is a stag,"she said defensively, sadly not able to keep in the giggle that always slipped out when she remembered Robb's patronus had changed to match his girlfriend's after only six weeks of them dating.
"Right,"her brother replied icily."Myrcella's is a doe."
"It's a lioness, isn't it?"Arya asked as innocently as she could. Sansa sighed and put the little bottle of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion down dejectedly."I knew there was a catch to you agreeing to this. You never just 'think it would be nice to spent some time together' nor would you 'love to dress up and go out.' How did I even fall for that?"
Then her sister's question seemed to think in."Why on earth would it be a lioness?"
"Oh, you know,"mumbled Arya, suddenly regretting the question."I just thought - well, Joffrey's a lion, see-"
"I had a crush on him in first year,"the older girl replied, frowning."I'm hardly in love with him, especially not now. I haven't even talked to him since before he transferred to Durmstrang."
"Would have explained why you won't tell, though."
If Sansa took one thing seriously, it was grades.
If Arya took one thing seriously, it was self-imposed challenges.
For once, both coincided. Arya knew that Sansa would practice her patronus before the Defense Against the Dark Arts examination, she just had to figure out when and follow her.
She could hardly believe Sansa was desperate enough to keep her patronus a secret to actually go out after curfew, but stranger things had happened (even if she couldn't think of any at that moment).
When Sansa cast her patronus, Arya blinked at it in confusion. Then, forgetting she was on an undercover mission, she burst out from between the trees.
"A hound? Are you kidding me? A hound?"
Sansa spun around, staring at her sister, words eluding her. Which wasn't a problem, Arya had enough words for the both of them, half choking on her laughter as she rambled on."Oh my Merlin, a hound. Slytherin's nipple, you're in love with the Hound! I can't believe this. You're in love with Sandor freaking Clegane. For the love of Hufflepuff, wait until I tell Jon - wait until Robb hears, I bet he'll go off and try to hex him - oh this is fantastic - I've never been this happy - Merlin's pants, what will Father say?"
"I am not in love with Sandor,"Sansa finally said, sounding desperate rather than angry. Arya just laughed harder."Shut up, stupid. Don't tell anyone. Don't tell or - or -"
"Or what?"Arya sing-songed, enjoying her sister's anguish far more than she probably should.
Sansa searched for an appropriate threat and then smiled a smile that made Arya's laughter stick in her throat."Or I'll make sure you can explain to Robb and Jon just why Gendry's patronus is suddenly a direwolf."