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Don't Be Stupid

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From all the stories she’d heard of the war from her father, Arya thought the King would be a great warrior of a man. Even the distance she was away viewing the procession approaching Winterfell from the branches of a tall leatherleaf, she could tell he was a stout, obese beast. She frowned and looked down at the wolf pup whining and circling the tree below her.

 

“Dad never said anything about the King being fat Nymeria.” She told the animal.

 

From what she’d been told he was supposed to be a handsome brute who inspired courage in his men, wielding his enormous hammer like the warriors in the stories. She supposed the southerners must’ve fattened him up.

 

She frowned squinting off into the distance and sighed. “His horse looks as if it’s going to collapse.” She said disappointedly. Carelessly she climbed her way down the tree, jumping when she felt she was close enough and ripping the skirt of her dress horribly in the process.

 

“Damn.” She cursed pausing to inspect the damage. There really was nothing for it so she just shrugged it off as accident. “Come on girl. We best get back. I want to see the soldiers up close.” She started running for the walls of Winterfell. They would only just beat the arrival and her mother would already be angry she’d run off.

 

She sprinted off in the direction of the east gate, Nymeria trailing after her leisurely, bounding through the high grass and keeping pace. She made it through the entrance just as the procession was coming into the Keep’s yard. She spotted her family lined up and quickly skidded into her place among them amidst glares from her mother and sister. She ignored them, choosing instead to marvel at the armor of the Kingsguard and trying to pick out notable knights among them.

 

The King was even larger up close than he was from further away. His Baratheon livery looked as if it would come undone from the strain. She couldn’t help but imagine golden stag buttons flying everywhere if it were to burst open from the tension of being stretch across such a substantial girth.

 

She felt a bony elbow jab her on the left side of her ribcage. “You look a wreck.” Sansa whispered tersely. “What happened to your dress.” It wasn't really a question, more of an exasperated admonishment after seeing the tear in skirts. Sansa was glaring at her out of the corner of her eye while trying to remain the picture of a perfect lady for the arrival of their guests. No doubt she was angry that Arya ruined her image of a grand welcoming reception with her disheveled appearance.

 

Arya pursed her lips and only just managed to refrain from sticking her tongue out, she knew if she did she’d only be in more trouble later.  Instead she settled for annoying her sister further. “Septa told me to find things to mend for sewing practice and now I have.” She offered smartly as explanation for the obvious rip in her dress. Arya wore a self-satisfied mischievous smirk, her sister’s mask failing for an instant to scowl at her younger sibling.

 

She heard the stifled chuckles of both Bran and Robb at her words and she thought she could see the corners of her father’s lips twitch upwards after glancing at his profile. Suddenly she realized they were missing one person. “Where’s Jon?” She questioned frowning.

 

Bran jerked his head motioning across the way while Sansa scathingly murmured, “It’s not like he can stand with us, idiot. It wouldn’t be proper.”

 

She looked to where she saw her half-brother alongside Mikken and other townsfolk and glowered unhappily. To hell with civilities, he should be standing with them! Jon gave her a knowing smile, if a bit sad, and shook his head ruefully after looking at her pointedly, taking in her sorry appearance.

 

The injustice of her mother’s discrimination was infuriating and unfair, and she knew it hurt Jon. Her mood was suddenly soured and she found herself gratified a bit thinking she had caused her a bit of aggravation by running off while everyone scrambled to prepare. She was lost in her resentment and started when the King stepped in front of her.

 

“And who is this wild, unruly northern Lady.” He asked mirthfully, taking in her disheveled appearance.

 

She blinked and grimaced slightly smelling the alcohol on his breath. “Arya Ser.” She answered. She grunted feeling another elbow to the ribs. “—I mean your Grace.” She corrected. She offered him her best curtsey and almost fell on her face in the process. She thought she heard a whimper of horror from Sansa seeing her less than impeccable gallantries and had to work to stifle a grin. She knew she’d hear more on it later from both her sister and mother, and probably Septa Mordane as well, but hopefully she could find the means to sneak away again. She didn’t see how it really mattered anyways because the King had already moved on and didn’t seem to care about her indiscretions, he’d almost seemed amused.

 

Her attentions turned back to the introductions as a boy about the same age as Robb, although much broader and corded with muscle, hopped awkwardly off his horse after being beckoned to by the King. He marched up to the fat royal with his head hung a bit low and keeping his eyes on the ground.

 

“Where’s your spine boy?” The King told him as he gave him a hard smack on the back.

 

Had it been anyone else, Arya would’ve bet they stumbled forward from the force of the blow. He however, stood his ground like a weathered oak rooted in granite, barely flinching from the jolt. He was huge, especially for his age, he couldn’t be more than four and ten. Standing next to him her own nine, almost ten, years would look more like five. The boy finally looked up and gave everyone a view of the electric blue of his eyes, very similar in color to the king.

 

“Ned, I’d like you to meet Gendry Waters, my bastard son.” There were murmurs within the crowd as Robert continued. “The Lannister brood wished to remain in King’s Landing so I brought the boy along.” He slapped him on the back again and threw an arm around his shoulders. “A glimpse into days long past is he not?” The King grinned.

 

Eddard looked as if he couldn’t believe his eyes, shock written all over his features. “He is the mirror of you from our years at the Eyrie.” His expression turned a bit perplexed. “How come I’ve not heard of him before?”

 

Robert harrumphed. “You can thank my lion of a wife for that! Tried to force my hand and have me send ‘em to the Wall, but Jon Arryn found the boy an apprenticeship with a blacksmith. The Hand’s taken a liking to the child it seems. Son of his disgraced niece he is.” He waved his hand dismissively. “I’ll speak with you more about the Hand later. He’s become a surly old lummox, always arguing with that damnable Littlefinger and that golden haired coin-purse Tywin. But enough with the miseries of ruling Seven Kingdoms. Right now I have need of a proper meal and a large goblet of your finest wine.”

 

Her lady mother stepped forward. “Forgive my husbands want of proper cordiality. We have a feast made ready for your arrival your Grace.”

 

The King grinned. “Ned never was one for manners. He’s lucky to have a proper southron Lady who knows her courtesies and can keep his head off the block. Would that my own wife were as capable! Luckily no one would be daft enough to try that as I sit on the throne, though I’d welcome the chance to wield my hammer once more! The tortures of being a King!” He jested as he followed Catelyn’s lead into the Keep with everyone shuffling in behind them.

 

The feast was like nothing Arya had seen in Winterfell before. The food was plentiful and the amount of wine consumed was sure to leave their stores empty come winter. Even so, it was none too enjoyable a night for Arya.

 

Sansa wouldn’t stop pestering her to act like a lady and Arya was reprimanded when she attempted to get her insufferable sister to shut her fat mouth by flinging potatoes at her. To make matters worse, Jon was left to sit by himself while the other bastard sat along side the king. She even heard word that the Imp had come North but had gone on to the Wall and wouldn’t be seen until the whole procession was to head back south for King’s Landing. She desperately wanted to see the half-man and now that was even out of the question. The King’s visit certainly wasn't turning out to be anything like she'd expected and it didn’t get any better in the weeks following.

 

Her behavior at the arrival ensured that her Lady mother kept a close eye on her to make sure she remain with the other girls for their tedious lessons. She had tried everything to sneak off but Sansa and Jenye Poole always managed to catch her and tattle. It was as if they made a game of it. She pushed them both in the mud when Septa Mordane took them for air, but after the third time they both became wary and expected it.

 

It wasn't for a long while that she actually managed successful escape. When she did she was making her way to the practice yard, hoping to find someone to spar or shoot arrows with, when she saw noticed a large crowd amassed in the stable lawn. It was a hunting party and she wasted no time running up to her father and tugging on his stirrup pleading to go along. He never got the chance to answer before the King began laughing jovially.

 

He was looking down on her from his saddle, chuckling patronizingly with a gleam in his eye. “I’m afraid you’d find it hard to keep up with the dogs riding side-saddle little Lady.”

 

Arya glowered at him unhappily. “I don’t ride side-saddle.” She spat at the King, forgetting all decorum. Her expression twisted into one of disgust at the idea of such nonsense.   

 

“Arya!” Her father bit out gruffly causing her to flinch. Hearing the outrage present in his tone, when she was only used to receiving it from her mother, had an immediate effect. He was normally so level headed and soft spoken. “Be mindful of your manners! You’re speaking to your King.” He scolded her angrily.

 

She looked to the ground scuffing her shoes. “Forgive me your Grace. I meant no offense.” She bowed her head. Still, she wasn't going to relent. “Father, please let me come.” She begged before looking back up at him wide-eyed and imploring. “My fingers are numb from stabbing myself with needles. I hate my sewing lessons. You know I won’t slow you down. I can out ride Jon and Robb, you’ve seen it first hand!”

 

Her father grimaced trying to find words, but it seemed the King was disbelieving. He turned to Robb and Jon. “Is it true what she claims? Can she really out ride two strapping Northern bred lads?”

 

Her brothers both sent her displeased looks, pursing their lips unhappily. Finally Robb sighed resignedly. “We always jest she’s half horse.” He admitted.

 

Arya grimaced thinking of the nickname his best friend Theon liked to call her. Arya Horseface. It had caught on with Sansa and Jeyne as well.

 

Jon nodded his head in agreement not acknowledging the disguised slight or not noticing it. “She rides as if she were a Ranger. She’s like no other girl I’ve witnessed.”

 

Ned shook his head pensively after hearing Jon’s statement. He looked to be recalling something a bit painfully when he met the Kings eyes, a meaningful look in his own. “She rides like Lyanna.” He murmured significantly.

 

It seemed as if that was explanation enough. There was silence in the courtyard as the King shifted his gaze towards the young girl in between him and his old friend. His expression was haunted and he seemed to be considering her carefully. The silence was broken however when all heads whipped up to the Keep’s wall where Septa Mordane could be seen scowling and heard yelling.

 

“Arya Stark! You get back to your chambers this instant! Your mother is furious and so am I!” She shrieked.

 

Arya’s eyes widened and suddenly instincts took over. She bolted out the open gate and off into the town, the sound of the King’s uproarious laughter following her and supplemented by that of her brothers and father.

                                                                                        

Of course she would have to face punishment for her escape eventually, and she did, but she needed a little freedom in the meantime. She wandered around the walls fighting off dragons and battling with the odds against her, trusty stick-sword in hand and wolf pup companion by her side. She knew the hunting party would be gone for a couple days and that meant no reprieve for her besides whatever chance she had now and she meant to take advantage.

 

When she did eventually make it up to her chambers come darkness, it was to find her mother had assigned a serving girl to tail her for the time being. It wasn’t until the last day of the Kings visit that she managed to get her freedom back.

 

It was right after the departure feast that she snuck off seeing her brothers do the same. She lost track of them for a moment and began searching the grounds when she turned a corner and ran straight into something solid. She grunted from the force of the collision, and thought she was going to hit the ground when someone reached out and caught her hand, allowing her to find her balance and pull her into them.

 

“Are you alright milady?” They asked anxiously. “You’re not hurt are you?”

 

Arya pushed away from the person roughly and looked up into the concerned but timid clear blue eyes of the King’s bastard son. “Don’t be stupid.” She said dusting herself off. “Off course I’m not hurt. I’m not breakable you know.”

 

The boy chuckled softly hiding a grin and Arya glowered at him. “What’s so funny?” She demanded to know.

 

He looked up, startled by her snippy tone having been caught laughing. “It’s nothing milady. I meant nothing by it I promise.” He said hurriedly.

 

“Quit calling me m’lady. I’m not a Lady!” She told him appearing stroppy and stamping her feet.

 

He looked at her quizzically. “Aren’t you Arya Stark? Daughter of Lord Eddard Stark?”

 

She huffed at him knowing where this was going. “Well yes, but that doesn’t mea—“ 

 

“That makes you Lady Arya Stark, does it not milady?” He chastised, knowing his logic was clear and inarguable. She scowled at him and a subtle grin eventually erupted on his face unable to contain the fact that he was pleased to have irritated her.

 

She continued to glare at him and childishly tried to push him, but he was much too big for it to move him at all. Honestly, he was as heavy as a marble statue and had the physique of one as well. The fact that her attempt only made him chuckle outright doubled her fury. She stamped on his foot as hard as she could and snickered, snorting unattractively when he started hopping around cursing creatively. It was the noise that brought her older brothers and Theon from wherever they had run off to. 

 

Robb saw the scene before him and gave Arya a knowing look. “What’ve you done now Arya? Leave the poor fellow alone.”

 

She glowered and knew she was going to get lectured by her siblings. “ I haven’t done anything!” She huffed indignantly. He was the one who laughed at her and called her a Lady after all.

 

Robb rolled his eyes and brushed past her looking to speak with Gendry as he stood upright, finally able to put his significant weight back on his foot. “Are you alright? You’ll have to excuse my sister.” Robb tried to apologize for her.

 

Gendry glanced at Arya’s pleading expression and exhaled loudly. “Its nothing. It wasn't her.” He assured. “Really.”

 

Arya felt a wave of relief run through her. She didn’t understand why exactly he was sticking up for her but she appreciated it.

 

Robb frowned perplexed and Theon snorted from off to the side. “Standing up for Arya Underfoot? Don’t want her to stomp your foot again?” He goaded.

 

Theon.” Robb looked to his friend warningly.

 

Theon ignored him. “Looks like the King was right.” He said shaking his head smirking. “His bastard really doesn’t have a spine.” Then he glanced at Jon. ”Must be a common trait for the whole breed.”

 

Arya and Robb both glared furiously at Theon and Jon just looked away, nose flaring at the slight and clearly biting back rage but still managing to harness it.

 

“Apologize.” Robb demanded.

 

Theon snorted again. “Why in the Seven Hells would I do that?”

 

Robb went to open his mouth, but before he could, the large blue-eyed boy went barreling past him, tackling Theon into the wall where the Ironborn had the wind knock out of him. He got his breath back quickly though and began pummeling the larger boy in the sides trying to make him let him down. It didn’t work, but pretty soon they were on the ground with Gendry on top of him, returning the blows to the ribs he’d received.

 

Robb quickly saw the need to get involved, but his allegiance being to his friend since birth, he grabbed Gendry by the collar and threw him onto his back. Seeing his chance, Theon promptly climbed on top of his attacker and brought fist after fist to his face.

 

Arya looked to Jon who appeared torn between helping and staying out of it. “Do something!” She screamed at him. His expression twisted painfully but he still didn’t take action, he didn’t want to go against his brother regardless of the harshness of Theon’s familiar words.

 

Huffing, Arya launched herself at Theon wrapping her arms and legs about his person, restricting his air and his movements as he flailed about. He stopped his assault in shock at the weight on his back just as Gendry, still underneath him, threw his own punch towards his jaw. The blow landed true, and Theon was knocked out cold on contact, Arya still latched on to his back. Together they fell to the ground, Arya underneath him and almost crushed by his weight, hitting her head against the stone of the walkway. She heard multiple calls of ‘Arya!’ sounding frightened at the sound of the impact, but her senses were a bit blurred and she couldn’t tell where or whom they had come from.

 

It was Gendry who was the first one to her. He rolled the unconscious Theon off her and lifted her slightly off the ground with a hand underneath the neck. She blinked profusely coming to, finding two pairs of blue eyes and one grey looking down on her concernedly.

 

“Are you hurt?” She heard Robb ask at the same time she heard Jon say, “Are you alright?”

 

Arya scowled at them, still a bit dizzy, but sat upright steadying herself with her arms behind her for support. “Of course I’m alright you idiots! I’m not made of glass!” She asserted grumbling. She heard chuckles from everyone, even Gendry, as she started to rise. They died out however as she stumbled dizzily and almost fell again. She felt strong arms catch her and heft her up easily.

 

“Put me down.” She said through gritted teeth. “I can manage just fine!”

 

“No milady, I don’t think you can.” Insisted Gendry. “We can’t have you to hit your head again. I’ll take you to the Maester's.”

 

“No!” Three voices said at once.

 

Gendry looked around bewilderedly at the three siblings. Robb grimaced but explained. “Maester Luwin has known us since birth. If we make up a story as explanation he’ll know we’re lying and find out about the fighting. My Lady mother would throw a fit and I’m certain you don’t want the King to find out about this.”

 

Gendry looked at Theon on the ground and the young girl in his arms, his expression looking as if he were battling himself. Finally he made a decision, even if he didn’t much like it. “We have to take her to the Maester’s. She wasn’t walking proper.”

 

Arya began struggling in his arms to get out knowing she’d be in trouble. “I’ll have you know I can walk just fine!” She insisted, becoming aggravated that she couldn’t get out of his grip. “If you don’t let me down this instant I’ll do worse than stamp foot the first chance I get! I’ll have Nymeria piss in your boots I swear it!” She seethed, glaring at him even though her eyes couldn’t focus on his and trying to made her woozy.

 

There were more chuckles at her threats, and stronger flailing on her part as a result, but Gendry only held her to his chest more firmly. She stopped eventually, sulking petulantly but figuring there was no use. He really had an iron grip.

 

“You’ll have Nymeria do no such thing or I’ll lock her in the stables and have Ghost guard the doors.” Jon warned her.

 

Arya crossed her arms and stuck her tongue out at her favorite brother.

 

“Do think you could manage seeing Arya to her chambers?” Robb asked of Gendry suddenly.

 

His eyes widened. “Me?” He questioned incredulously. “Wouldn’t that appear improper?”

 

Robb considered it for a moment but then nodded his head. “Mayhaps, but I have to stay with Theon and get him back to his rooms once he stirs, and Jon will have to remain close by in case an explanation of our whereabouts is necessary. The servants will only think it suspicious and go searching if you are here to offer words rather than someone they are familiar with.”

 

Gendry frowned realizing there was sense in his words. He sighed in resignation. “Where are her chambers?” He asked. There were relieved breaths all around and Jon explained the best route to go to avoid being seen.

 

He wasn’t even around the bend when Arya again began asserting she was fine to walk.

 

“You can let me down now.” She told him.

 

He looked down at her sideways, lopsided grin in place. “No I can’t. I gave my word to your brothers that I’d see you to your rooms.”

 

Arya rolled her eyes and immediately regret it as it left her dizzy. Regardless, she wasn’t going to let that stop her protests. “Yes but that was before I was okay. I’m fine now.” She asserted.

 

She couldn’t quite make out his expression because her eyes wouldn’t focus but she could tell by his tone it was insufferable. “So you’re normally cross-eyed?” He asked holding back laughter.

 

She huffed and began struggling once again, angry that she was being cradled like a helpless baby. If there was one thing she wasn’t it was helpless, although the fact that she was still unable to get out of his grasp really made her feel like it. “Will you just let me walk! What kind of stupid boy has arms this big anyhow?”

 

He lifted an eyebrow at her. “I’m not a boy, I’m almost a man grown.” He told her.

 

“If your stupid arms get any bigger you’ll fall over from the weight of them.” She grumbled insultingly. “How much bigger could you possibly hope to grow?”

 

He shrugged. “Don’t know milady.” She scowled at the formality and he sighed noticing. “Don’t know Arya.” He corrected.

 

She smirked satisfied that she could get her way on this one thing. They were silent for a moment as he made his way carefully up the stairs towards her door. They were almost there when she decided to speak again.

 

“Thank you.” She burst out.

 

He looked at her brows furrowed. He definitely hadn’t been expecting her gratitude. “For what?” He questioned.

 

She looked at him as if he were daft. “You know what.” She almost went to roll her eyes at his expression but then thought better of it remembering how it had left her woozy the last time. “For not telling my brothers I stamped your foot, that’s what!” She explained not sounding very appreciative.

 

He smirked. “It was pretty obvious what you’d done anyhow.” He told her.

 

“But you still didn’t tell them.” She nodded her head as if that was that.

 

He gave her a small smile chuckling. “You’re welcome then mi—Arya.” He caught himself at the last instant and he was happy to see her grin. 

 

There was another moment of silence and she once again broke it. “You shouldn’t let Theon bother you. He’s stupid. He’s just mad he’s a ward of Winterfell. Jon says he needs to feel more important than everyone else and that’s why he makes stupid comments.”

 

He blinked at her. “You and Jon seem close.” He really didn’t want to discuss what had happened with Theon.

 

Arya smiled genuinely at his statement. “We are. He’s plays stick-fight with me and helps me hide from Septa Mordane and my mother.”

 

Gendry chuckled. “You really shouldn’t run from your lessons. How are you supposed to learn to act a proper Lady if you do?”

 

Arya frowned at him affronted and crossed her arms over her chest petulantly. “I don’t want to be a Lady.” She snapped crossly.

 

Gendry rolled his eyes. “If you don’t want to be a lady what do you want?” He kicked open the doors to her chambers and made his way over to her bed.

 

“I want to have adventures.” She told him, eyes gleaming at the mere thought of experiencing the world and discovering all its secrets.

 

He smiled down at her and sat her on top of the covers. “Let your head feel better first before you go gallivanting off.” He turned to leave giving her a small coy smile. “Good night milady.” He teased finally, smirking now.

 

She had the urge to run up to run up and kick him in the shin but refrained, opting for words instead. “My head is fine stupid!” She insisted. “And I’m not a Lady.” She yelled after him but didn’t get out of bed. Her head really was hurting her.

 

***

 

It was five years and then some before any of the Starks ever saw King Robert or Gendry Waters again. When they did, not many of them were glad for it.

 

Their trip south was quite unexpected. Arya had woken one morning to the feel of something sticky between her legs and thrown off her covers to find her linens and smallclothes a mess with the coming of her first moon-blood. As soon as Catelyn had informed her husband of her daughters flowering he had grimaced and ordered preparations to be made for the trip south, heading to the Maester’s chambers and sending a crow to King’s Landing.

 

No one except Ned seemed to know the significance of their travel but Arya was panicking almost immediately. Her first bleeding followed by a journey to the capital, it was too much of a coincidence not to be correlated. When she approached her father and begged him to abandon the trip he could hardly look at her. It was an admission to the worst kind of guilt as far as she was concerned.

 

She had screamed at him and thrown things and he had done nothing. He didn’t reprimand her and he didn’t try to stop her, he left her to rage. It was only after she demanded he look her in the eyes that he turned to face her and she saw his tears. She had never seen her father cry and never wished to again. It was unsettling, and it was all the confirmation she needed to know what was planned for her.

 

She didn’t talk to her father for the whole slow trip south and it didn’t go unnoticed. Her brothers had begun to worry and her mother and sister would offer them no enlightenment even though it was obvious they had an inkling of what was going on. Initially Sansa had been unwilling to admit that her younger, wilder sister had flowered before her, but after seeing how closed off and despondent Arya became the further south they traveled, she approached Jon hoping he would talk to her. He did, but it only made things worse.

 

Arya had told Jon of her suspicions regarding the intent behind their trip and begged him to run away with her, to find passage to the free cities like they had always imagined when they promised each other to find adventure together. It was with pain that he had informed her of his plans to become a Brother of the Night’s Watch like their Uncle Benjen. She had broken down at the thought of having her favorite sibling so far from her, alone in the wind and cold with nothing more to hope for but fights among wildlings. She couldn’t bear to think that they were both being forced to give up their dreams, to think that he'd already abandoned his own and her time to do so had come now as well. It made everything so much more miserable and real.

 

It wasn't until they reached The Neck that she began to come to terms with her circumstances. She certainly wasn't happy, but she was a Stark of Winterfell. She would do her duty and no one, not even a husband, would take away her wildness. The North was in her blood, they couldn’t make her something she wasn’t. Mayhaps she could still try and make adventures for herself, even if they were small.

 

Knowing she might not be as free to do the things she loved in the near future, Arya began to spend all her time on horseback or practicing her archery and swordplay. She had become quite talented with the Braavosi rapier and could regularly challenge Theon at archery. Still, it was on horseback that she felt most free, and with the Red Keep in sight she took to the saddle hoping to keep the city at her back and her thoughts at bay. She galloped in the opposite direction of King’s Landing, refusing to go anywhere but away until she came upon the end of their procession.

 

She expected one of her brothers to be sent to fetch her but was surprised to see her father fast approaching. Immediately she dung in her heels and took off at a gallop, she had no wish to speak with him, not yet. She knew he would catch her eventually considering his mount was of much better breeding, but she was determined to be as far from the city as she could before then.

 

She was almost over the next hill when her father’s hand grasped the reins of her horse’s bridle and brought them both to a stop. He didn’t say a word at first, just pulled her off of her saddle and into his, hugging her tightly to his chest. She wanted to resist but she didn’t. She wasn't sure know how much longer she’d be able to have moments like this with him and it felt good to be in his arms after not talking to him for so long. He was a solemn man who could always communicate better with actions than words. She knew in her heart marrying her off wasn’t something he wanted to do, but rather an obligation.

 

When he pulled away he pushed her dark brown waves away from her eyes and grasped her head with both hands searching her face like it was the last time he would ever see her. He looked almost desperate and after a moment he hugged her back to him. His voice was hoarse when he spoke into her ear. “I always hoped it would be Sansa I’d give away first.” He wrapped his arms more tightly around her and she fisted his cloak. “Sansa’s ready to leave the North. Not you, my willful wolf-pup. You’re as untamable as the winds of the Winterfell themselves.”

 

Tears were streaming down her face now, but she pulled away so she could look into steel colored eyes so similar to her own. “Who am I promised to?” She asked fearing the answer.

 

He looked at her appearing pained. “Gendry Waters.” He told her resignedly, stroking her hair.

 

Confusion swept over her and it must have shown on her face for he spoke again before she had a chance to ask questions. “He will be given titles, wealth, and lands along the Kings road near the Long Lake. There is an old hold that will be rebuilt and there are caved in mines that were once bountiful and can be reopened. You’ll be in the North where you belong.” He told her.

 

She wasn't unhappy to hear it but she was still perplexed. She was a Stark of Winterfell, a daughter to the Warden of the North, a member of one of the Great Houses and a powerful wife for anyone to have. “I am to marry a bastard?” She breathed sounding perplexed.

 

He grimaced at her. “Your brother Jon is a bastard and you love him fiercely.” He reminded her. “Gendry is a good man.” He murmured trying to sooth her.

 

Arya wiped the tears from her face. “That doesn’t mean I want to marry him. I don’t want to marry anyone! I want to travel and have adventures like Queen Nymeria and Wenda the white fawn.” She entreated, wide-eyed and peering up at him like the incorrigible boyish ten-year-old girl of years past.

 

The agony displayed on his features was exceedingly apparent and his eyes turned to a soft grey mist, his heart aching. She was his brave little girl and it tore him up to think someone with such an unbridled spirit would be forced to settle down at such a young age. She had to understand that he wouldn’t make her a match that would destroy her. She knew he would have his reasons for making her a match at all. He reluctantly let go of her as she moved within his grasp.

 

Arya climbed back onto her own horse and out of his arms. “When you see fit to tell me the true reason I am to marry this man I’ll gladly hear it.” She told him steering the creature back towards the city.

 

There was a tinge of bitterness in her tone, but Eddard knew it wasn't because she believed he didn’t have her best interest at heart. It was because she knew that he was keeping something from her concerning one of the most influential decisions he’d have to make on her behalf.

 

She didn’t hear the hooves of her father’s horse following her for almost a full minute, but then he heeled his horse around and caught up to her. They rode in silence until they were less than a league from the Walls of the city. He’d apparently told their caravan to go ahead without them and it appeared as if they’d already made their way to the Keep.

 

With how far away she had ridden from the city in her escape, she almost thought her mother would now be in the throne room greeting the King by herself. The thought gave her a brief moment of happiness but seeing her father break out into a gallop while eyeing her challengingly caused her to grin in true delight. One more lasting moment of freedom was just what she needed before she was to be cloaked in the protection of another man's name.   

 

He of course did beat her by the original two-length advantage he’d started with, plus one more due to the quality of his horse. She didn’t hold it against him though. In fact she was content to feel her heart racing and was pleased to know that her hair was a complete wreck and she was probably covered in the dirt her horse had kicked up.

 

Her father either didn’t take notice of her unkempt appearance or didn’t care because he led her through the Keep and into court without stopping to have her fix her clothing or wipe the dirt from her face. She strode into the hall next to him and whispers followed in her wake, nobles discussing what she could only assume was the condition in which she chose to address the court.

 

The King was speaking with her mother when he saw them enter. The bright smile he directed at Ned faded into astonishment as his eyes glided over to her and nearly bulged out of his head. He pushed past Robb and Sansa brusquely and walked towards her and her father as if he was unaware of the steps he was taking, as if he were possessed.

 

Arya stopped where she was and tugged on her father’s hand, frightened of what was taking place and thinking the King might’ve actually taken her tousled garb as insult. Robert didn’t take notice of her movement towards her father and never took his eyes off her. He slowed his approach as he came nearer and held out his hands as if he were going to grasp her face in affection. “Lyanna.” He breathed disbelievingly as if he thought his senses were failing him.

 

Her eyes widened in panic comprehending that he was mistaking her for her long deceased relative. Before she could stop to remind herself of the courtesies necessary in court she was speaking curtly, horrified at the idea he believed she was his lost love and finding it necessary to correct him before he laid a hand on her and she took action that would land her in the dungeons.

 

Arya. My name is Arya.” She corrected him tersely before realizing she sounded hostile. She shook her head and managed a strained smile knowing she had to make up for coming across as offensive to a very powerful man. “Apologies my King.” She bowed her head slightly. She was in King’s landing after all. She must at least attempt to remember her civilities less she find herself at the wrong end of the executioners axe. “I am Arya Stark of Winterfell your Grace.” She introduced herself properly though her tone was still as bit rough. She only barely managed an embarrassing excuse of a curtsey.

 

Her emphasis on her name seemed to shake the King from his stupor. “Arya?” He babbled withdrawing his hands as if stung. He blinked a couple of times and then glanced over at Eddard, his eyes widening in comprehension. “Yes yes of course!” He said loudly. “Forgive me my mistake. Your hair, your eyes. You are every bit the image of your father’s sister. My you’ve grown in five years time! A northern beauty if ever there was one!”                            

 

Arya frowned trying to figure out if he was jesting or not. She probably looked like a Wildling at the moment, and she'd never been called beautiful by anyone who wasn't obligated to say so. Perhaps the days where people had referred to her as Arya Horseface had long since past, but she certainly wasn't chasing suitors off with a stick like Sansa. Although there was that one time the when the baker’s boy Mycah had absurdly tackled her and tried to pin her to the ground while playing stick-fight. At first she'd thought he was simply trying to wrestle, but then there had been hands in inappropriate places. She had quickly ensured he’d never try anything further by bringing her knife to his neck. She was certain he'd warned the other boys in town as well because they all went from hanging around and being friendly to avoiding her like the plague, even seeming afraid to look at her wrong less she take action.  

 

She didn’t really have much of a chance to dwell on whether the Kings words had genuinely been meant as compliment considering her father was now pushing her towards the front of the room where she could see the Queen still seated on her throne, her golden haired children flanking her menacing chair. She thought to fall in line between Sansa and Bran, but Eddard brought her forward to stand facing the gathered crowd and grabbed her sister as well.

 

Once they were both settled and standing in front of their father facing the court, King Robert projected his voice across the room seeking to clear up the speculation that could be heard in the whispers whirling around court. He didn’t draw it out longer than necessary. “I am aware that it is unorthodox to do what I intend without a formal introduction of the Stark girls to the court, but I do so nonetheless with my own authority. As King of the Adals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, I Robert Baratheon, First of his name, with honor and praise to the Seven announce with a happy heart the joining of House Stark with House Baratheon through the betrothal of Sansa Stark to my son and heir Joffery Baratheon.” The hall erupted into astonished chatter but the King quieted them all down with a wave of a hand and an angry bellow of “Quiet you fools I haven’t finished!” Everyone including the Queen, Lady Catelyn, and Sansa herself appeared quite surprised at the proclamation, but their objections and exclamations died out as the Kings voice rang out. “They will marry as soon as she is a woman flowered.” King Robert paused and glared challengingly less anyone speak, holding up his hand once more to indicate that he still wasn't finished. It seemed as if the whole hall choked on their words as one, waiting to hear what else he could possibly stun them with. He certainly didn’t disappoint. “I am also to announce the betrothal of Arya Stark to my son Gendry Waters Baratheon.” Gasps could be heard from nearly everyone, not only at the betrothal but the apparent legitimatization of his bastard. “They will be united as one in the Godswood tomorrow and a celebratory feast held in their honor following. Sons, come greet your wives.” He finished, apparently done with court altogether. As the King turned around and made his exit, an angry Queen following behind closely, the court erupted into near chaos. Amongst it all Sansa turned to face Joffery blushing, and an absolutely flabbergasted Gendry stumbled forward having been pushed from within the crowd by the wisened Lord of the Vale. Arya wasn't sure what was being shared between her sister and her newly betrothed as all she could concentrate on was the floor in front of her feet.

 

It wasn't until she saw boots come to stand in the exact spot her eyes were focused that she looked up. She remembered him being large the last time she had seen him, but she had just chalked that up to having possessed only nine, nearly ten, years compared to his four and ten at the time. Now, five years later and then some, she couldn’t help but think maybe she hadn’t been wrong in her first impression. He towered over her still, and his muscles were just as large if not larger than she remembered. If that were at all possible.

 

She let her eyes sweep over his massive frame and felt herself beginning to lose her breath. He was certainly formidable. Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered something about him working as a blacksmith, and while that explained a lot, he was certainly the largest smith she had ever seen. She cautiously let her eyes move upward to meet his own, and she stared wide-eyed into his ice blue gaze, unable to look away.

 

He bowed his head to her nervously but never broke eye contact. “Milady.” He greeted cautiously.

 

Arya ripped her gaze away from his and scowled. “Don’t call me that.” She said through gritted teeth before pushing past him and practically running from the hall leaving him there. Tomorrow was going to be horrid enough, there was no need to prolong the torture this night.

 

She didn’t see him at all for the rest of the day. In fact, she didn’t see anyone at all for the rest of the day except for her mother and what she was assured was the city’s finest seamstress. As if she cared. By the end of it she wanted to throttle the both of them for their fussing.

 

Time seemed to pass exceptionally fast while somehow she moved painfully slow through it. She didn’t sleep at all that night and wasn't surprised that her mother and Sansa admonished her the next morning for the appearance of dark circles under her eyes.

 

She said barely a word as they dressed her in silks of white and grey mimicking the colors of House Stark, powdering her face and lining her eyes. She only ever objected when they tried to tie her hair up off her neck. When her mother protested to her request she almost felt herself snap. “Leave it down and leave it wild.” She fumed whirling on them eyes flashing. “I’ll not have my husband believe he is receiving a tamed wolf!”

 

“Arya—“ Catelyn had tried to reason with her.

 

“No.” She snarled cutting her off. She wasn't going to compromise on anything further. She was giving up her happiness and that should be enough for them. “You’ll leave it down or I’ll cut it all off and you’ll be giving me to my husband bald!” She thundered, making it clear she wasn't jesting.

 

They mostly complied with the request, curling the ends of her unruly dark hair and leaving it down around her face. They did, however, manage to secure half of it on the top of her head with some jewel-encrusted combs while she stared off into the unknown, dreading the hour she knew was fast approaching.

 

It wasn’t until her father entered the chamber alongside her brothers that she felt her chest tighten and her eyes begin to water. Several times Robb or Jon tried to speak to her but she’d cut them off with her most murderous glare, desiring to be left alone and not wanting to hear any of their meaningless comforts. There would be no escape for her and she’d had enough of them telling her she might come to be happy in time.

 

No one said a word as the family left and they made their way towards the Godswood together. As each one of her siblings and her mother walked past her to join the small crowd gathered beneath the Heart tree, leaving her with her father, she felt as if they were deserting her forever.

 

Jon was the last to depart and he pulled her into an abrupt embrace looking pained as he did. She gave in and threw her arms around him, holding onto him desperately as he whispered into her ear. “I’m sorry love.” He pulled back and tried smiling to lighten the mood. “At least your not stuck with that little Lannister shit.” In spite of herself Arya laughed and he smiled if a bit sadly, he rarely ever cursed. Nevertheless, as he turned and walked to stand next to Robb, his arm extended and hand reached out so as to never leaving contact with hers until they were too far away to do so, she began to tremble in fear anticipating what was about to come.

 

When her father secured the white fur lined, gray velvet maidenscloak about her shoulders, it felt like the noose tightening around her neck. She tugged back on his arm and refused to walk when he tried to usher her forward. Seeing her frightened look, he softened and gave her a kiss on the forehead.

 

“Come little wolf.” He told her with a reluctant sigh.

 

She followed him this time, though she looked at the ground the whole while, and continued to do so as her cloak was removed and replaced by large unfamiliar hands with emerald green silk lined in gold. Her eyes never wavered from the soil until she felt calloused fingers grasp her own gently and a cord wrap around their joined palms. She stared at their merged limbs feeling as if she were looking into the mouth of a dragon. She didn’t even hear the words she had been instructed to say coming out of her own mouth as she spoke them. It was all too surreal.

 

When a hand not entwined with her own reached up to caress her cheek, her own fingers flew to a wrist wanting to prevent them from reaching her skin. She only just managed to stop herself from flinging Gendry's hand away from her, but he seemed to be reading her hesitancy because he withdrew himself.

 

Finally, she chanced a glance at his face and was almost relieved to see he didn’t look very joyful, in fact he looked utterly miserable and was similarly staring at the ground. When his blue eyes met hers she saw the guilt there, and she could feel a question developing in her own. They stared one another down, brows furrowed for what seemed like an eternity until throats were cleared around them and they both blinked.

 

“Kiss her boy.” She heard the voice of King Robert urging his son.

 

Her eyes widened realizing it was almost over, that she was almost married, all they had left to do was seal it with a kiss. She wanted to run, to make sure none of this could hold, but she knew she couldn’t. When she saw him step closer it was out of instinct that she tried to take a step back. She found she couldn’t though as a strong arm snaked its way about her waist. Not really sure what to do next she closed her eyes and waited.

 

His lips ghosted over hers tenderly, almost remorsefully, before pulling away. He never left contact though as she found her mouth following his of its own accord, seeking more pressure. He seemed to recognize her unconscious appeal for more sooner than she did because instantly his lips were pressed back up against hers only more firmly. He moved his mouth cautiously against hers and she followed suit curious about the sensation. When he finally pulled away she was surprised to find herself left feeling wanting, one hand fisted in the fabric of his tunic.

 

She gaped at him in surprise, not completely comfortable with the strange feelings she was experiencing. She saw some of that mirrored in his own expression although he looked more worried, though about what she couldn’t say. They didn’t have much time to really dwell on it before they were being showered with unwanted congratulations and shuffled off towards the banquet hall and the feast.

 

Arya still hadn’t come to terms with everything that had taken place by the time they were half way through the meal. She was married. She had a husband. She was a wife.

 

She didn’t even touch her food until Gendry gently tried suggesting to her that she fill her stomach and calling her milady once again. She tried to resist the urge to throw a drumstick at him and instead settled for a roasted carrot. She heard him chuckle a bit beside her at the action and blushed when she saw her mother shaking her head at her from across the hall. Arya’s expression quickly turned into a scowl that she directed at Gendry. Leave it to her to get reprimanded on her wedding day. Stupid cad just had to provoke her.

 

Soon enough people were up and dancing and she couldn’t help but gulp thinking of what was coming next. As soon as the sun was set the first drunkard would call out that it was time for the Bedding. She had never been exceptionally fond of wine, she didn’t like feeling fuzzy with her senses dulled, but now she understood why people might enjoy that sensation. She drank one goblet then another, hoisting shaky hands to her mouth anxiously.  

 

Jon seemed to comprehend the worry she was experiencing and tried to give her cause to forget about it by taking her for a spin dance around the floor even though he knew she hated dancing. It was an effort she appreciated regardless, although it appeared her disquiet was written all over her face all the while.

 

“Stop fretting Arya. There’s nothing for it.” He tried to tell her gently.

 

“It’s not as if I want to fuss.” She glowered at him before snappily adding. “You can tell me to stop fretting when you have a dozen men waiting in the wings to rip your clothes off.”

 

Jon grimaced and scanned the hall, only to begin glaring darkly ahead of him realizing she was correct.

 

His apparent worry did nothing to help quash her nerves. “Will it hurt?” She asked meekly looking up at him through painted lashes.

 

Jon looked at her, his expression twisted as if she had just ripped out his heart. He stopped their dancing and held her to him, resting his head atop hers momentarily before dragging her off to the side. He sat her down on a nearby bench and crouched in front of her pushing stray hairs behind her ears. “I’m not sure what it will be like. You’re used to bumps and bruises though. I can’t imagine its more than a bit of discomfort.” He looked around the hall and beckoned someone behind him. “Perhaps you should ask Robb or Theon. They would know better.”

 

Arya glanced around her brother to see Robb and Theon approaching looking concerned, Robb more so than Theon.

 

When they arrived Robb looked between his two siblings. “Is everything all right?” He asked brows furrowed.

 

Jon glanced at the two briefly before turning back to Arya seeing her picking at her skirts. He could tell she wasn't comfortable asking the question again. He sighed and looked to the other boys. “She wants to know what to expect. To know if it will hurt.” He told them for her.

 

Robb softened same as Jon, but Theon just snorted out a laugh. “The way she rides she probably already ruptured her maidenhead.” Robb and Jon both sent him murderous glares and he rolled his eyes and turned to Arya. “You ever returned from riding to find blood stained your small clothes?” He asked her condescendingly, as if he already knew her answer.

 

Arya shook her head no.

 

He looked genuinely surprised for a moment then shrugged. “Well then it might hurt a bit.” He told her honestly before seeing her expression turn upset and adding. “Only for a moment though. Once he starts to move again you’ll like it. I’ve never known a woman who hasn’t. Besides, you like to ride. Get on top and it’s much the same as that. If you can ride a man like you can ride a horse you’ll have a happy husband indeed.” He told her smirking.

 

Jon stood up threateningly at the same time Robb pushed Theon away forcefully giving him a stony look. Neither action caused the Ironborn to stop from laughing having gotten his jest in. Robb tried to help brush it off by taking her for a whirl around the dance floor but nothing was really going to help at this point. There were too many thoughts running through her head. Men liked to be ridden? Was that even possible? Jon had often let her ride around on his back when she was younger, pretending as if he were her horse and she a knight, but she didn’t think that was what Theon meant now. That couldn’t be anything like lying with a man. She was now possibly more confused than ever.     

 

It wasn't until she had danced with both her Father and the King that Gendry sought her out for his turn. He cut in just as Arya was certain his father was going to start calling her Lyanna once more. She really couldn’t have been more appreciative. The King’s breath had reeked of sour wine and his hands held her a bit too closely. It was all a stark contrast to the behavior of his son, her husband.

 

Gendry rested his hand lightly on her waist while the other entwined his fingers with hers slowly, almost gingerly. Neither of them were particularly good dancers and he left enough room in between their bodies to fit another person. He didn’t meet her eye for the entirety of the dance, instead choosing to stare pointedly past her. It made her wonder why he had asked for the dance in the first place though she didn’t ask. Soon enough the torture was over and Theon interceded. Both Arya and Gendry grit their teeth seeing him approach, however they couldn’t come up with a proper excuse to turn him away.

 

His smirk was entirely insufferable as he pressed himself against her and began the steps to the song that was being played. She followed his lead with a clenched jaw as he used words to goad her further, just as he had always done.

 

“Not much of a dancer, are you?” He sniggered.

 

Arya only rolled her eyes. Then a thought occurred to her and she smirked. “If you would like me to show you the water dance it would be my pleasure.”

 

The smile dropped off Theon’s face and he scowled at her. Everyone in Winterfell knew the dance lessons she had been privy to weren’t necessarily what one thinks of when the word ‘dance’ is uttered. Her mother had thrown quite the fit when she discovered what kind of instruction her father had allowed her. The servants had quickly let it spread.

 

“Are you eager for the Bedding?” He retorted acerbically, leer sliding back into place knowing full well that she was dreading the inevitable custom. He nodded towards the window where the last light of day could be seen disappearing. “It’s almost time.”

 

Arya looked to the ground and away from him, her body going stiff in his grip at the reminder.

 

His expression was wicked and he was enjoying the torture too much. He didn’t stop either. “If your husband is at all proportional then I suppose it will hurt more than just a bit.” He leaned in to whisper malevolently. “They do call him the bull. Perhaps he is hung like one.”

 

Arya wasn’t really sure what he meant with his comparison but looked up and glared murderously at him nonetheless. She didn’t need a reminder of the hurt she would have to tolerate while at the mercy of her new husbands whims. It was already at the forefront of her mind.

 

He only smiled happy to get a rise out of her. He shrugged for show, “I suppose we won’t have to be guessing for long. We'll find out soon enough won’t we?” He took a long greedy sweep of her body, “We’ll find out what’s beneath your smallclothes as well. Tell me Arya, are you still the skinny little stick you’ve always been, or has your body followed the lead of your handsome face and transformed into that of a woman?”  

 

She did her best to restrain herself, and she thought she had done a damn good job so far considering she hadn’t acted until that point, but she'd put up with enough. Without so much as a warning she brought her foot down hard on his instep and whirled away from him as soon as he let up his grip on her.

 

She was wearing quite the self-satisfied smirk as she stalked away from him, but she hadn’t gone more than four steps when it faded into a look of complete horror.

 

From behind her, in the unmistakable voice of Theon, she heard a bellow projected loud enough for the whole hall to hear. “It’s time for the Bedding.” He rang out malevolently, greeted by the sound of boisterous agreement.

 

To Arya it was if someone had sounded the warhorn of an approaching army. She heard chairs scraping back and sinister chuckles as men began to make their way towards her. Her hackles rose along with a growl in her throat.

 

She was desperately trying to control her breathing and had to resort to her training to do so, she felt like a cornered wolf, panicked and dangerous. When she felt wind at her neck and heard the noise of boots settling behind her, her instincts took over and it was as if everything went in slow motion. She had never moved so quick in her life.

 

Before she really had time to comprehend what she was doing, she whirled around suddenly, grabbed the dagger at Theon’s belt, unsheathed it and had it flush with his neck. Somehow she’d known it’d be him.

 

Everyone in the hall froze and all eyes were on her holding in a collective breath. She glanced at the hand Theon had on her shoulder, his fist full of her dress, and pressed the knife further against his throat. “Remove your hand.” She said through gritted teeth.

 

He did as was directed but not before she heard her mother’s pleading but appalled voice. “Arya! Stop this at once!” She hissed.

 

Arya bid her no mind and felt herself snarling more. She saw someone, two more people, enter her periphery and let her eyes flicker to Jon and Robb.

 

“It is tradition.” Robb tried to tell her gently, looking tensely around at the men encircling his sister. He rest his hand on her arm and put pressure there, hoping to get her to lower her arm less someone else try to and find themselves at the wrong end of the blade. It didn’t work.

 

“Listen to Robb.” Jon urged slowly, trying to make her see sense.

 

She didn’t care about the stupid tradition, it was barbaric and there was no way she’d submit herself to the fancies of these degenerate drunkards. She frowned at both of her brothers wondering when it was they had stopped trying to protect her.

 

It wasn't until she saw ice blue eyes over Theon’s shoulder that she realized what she was doing.

 

“Arya.” Gendry said firmly, eyes boring into hers brokering no nonsense.

 

Working her jaw for a moment unhappily, she finally acquiesced. “Fine.” She spat before hastily adding a warning. “But no one is disrobing me. I'll do it myself.” She would do this on her own terms, custom be damned.

 

There seemed to be a massive release of held breaths throughout the hall once she removed the dagger from Theon’s throat. After she did, it seemed as if the crowd was moving in to claim her heedless of her defiant words but they stopped again eyes wide as she turned the blade towards herself with a trembling hand. Everyone collectively halted, a chorus of incredulous gasps echoing through the hall and assuming the worst while wondering exactly what she planned.

 

She knew there was no chance she'd be able to remove all of layers of clothing herself, what with all the buttons and laces, and she certainly wasn’t going to ask for help after the scene she'd just caused. Besides, the help she would receive wasn't something she'd readily welcome, in fact, it was exactly what she was trying to avoid. She wouldn’t give these fools the satisfaction of degrading and stripping her for the sake of this sickening perversion they disguised as tradition. She resigned to cut herself out of her clothing and take at least that much power away from them.

 

She started at the collar of her dress and sliced the fabric down to the waist where she stepped out of her skirts. With a deft hand, although still slightly quaking, she cut the laces of her bodice and then stepped out of her small clothes. She was completely naked except for the fabric she used to bind her breasts and she wasn't going to take the time to unwind it. Running the dull side of the dagger against her skin, once it was fully underneath the cloth she pressed the blade against the material and felt it fall to the floor. She was bare for all to see and she could feel eyes grazing her skin though she refused to acknowledge them, instead choosing to stare at the Baratheon banners hanging as decoration.

 

She stood there for what seemed a lifetime, waiting to be picked up and carted off to the Bedding Chambers, but it seemed everyone had forgotten that part of the ritual. She heard a rustling within the crowd and felt silk encircling her shoulders.

 

Confusion swept over her and she lowered her eyes to see Gendry fastening his huge emerald and gold marriage cloak about her shoulders, giving her some semblance of coverage. It seemed as if that brought everyone back to their senses because she was almost immediately scooped up into the arms of an eager stranger and hauled out of the room as the majority of men followed and began poking, pinching, and prodding.

 

They cackled at her sinisterly carrying her up to the tower, laughing as they questioned if she was prepared to be mounted by the bull. They shared jests as she scowled at them murderously and they spoke of how he’d take her roughly from behind like the bastard animal he was. How as the northern whore she’d probably enjoy it. Several of them tried and succeeded to grope at her bum and her breasts. And while she initially thrashed wildly in protest, throwing elbows and lashing out with her legs, she refrained after her flailing only worked to displace the cloak and expose her to them renewing their fervor.

 

She was passed around carelessly like one of Sansa’s old porcelain dolls, no one with the strength to hold her for long as she writhed fiercely and knocked the wind out of them. Each man commented vividly on how they’d like to take her, how they’d best her as she struggled, and how she’d incur a bastards temper should she try to deny Gendry his rights.

 

She did her best to ignore the cruel remarks but it was more difficult than she imagined and she found herself repeating the names of the worst offender in hopes she could one day serve them their just desserts. Her anger and dread built to the point of explosion or break down, and once they arrived at the Bedding Chambers, she was pushed inside unceremoniously and left to wait while they continued to offer crude remarks about her person through the door.

 

It wasn't long she was left by herself, and she was glad for it because she couldn’t stand the anticipation and fidgeting, it was bound to drive her mad before long and she was helpless to stop it after the torment she’d endured. When she heard the door rattling open, and an uproarious commotion erupt outside, she bolted up right from her position seated on the bed just as Gendry stumbled inside wearing not a stitch of clothing but holding his bits and covering himself. She wondered if the women had traumatized him the way the men did her. She doubted it.

 

They stood there awkwardly for a moment just staring at each other. Arya eyes wide like a deer facing a predator, and Gendry startled at finding himself alone with his petrified Lady wife. She looked as if she was prepared to run or fight if need be, eyeing him as if he would pounce on her.

 

After a moment of tormented consideration Gendry dropped his hands away from his body and strode towards the opposite side of the room and away from Arya. “No need to be frightened milady.” He asserted a bit bitterly, solemn eyes turned towards the ground and head hung stiffly, jaw clenched. “I won't force myself on you.”

 

Arya narrowed her eyes at him suspicious of his intentions, not sure what he was on about. Was he attempting to take her by surprise or was he truly not trying to lie with her this night? Either way he wasn't serving anyone considering their union would have to happen eventually and she’d be drowning in dread until then.

 

The way he pointedly kept his back to her and refused to glance in her direction allowed for the conclusion that he had been speaking truly, he genuinely had no intention of taking her maidenhead. Suddenly she felt rebuffed and oddly insulted that he could so easily brush her off and had no inclination of consummating the marriage. She stalked after him indignant, but stopped suddenly when he turned to face her questioningly having heard her follow.

 

Unsure of what to do, or what she’d meant to do once she reached him, she halted her progress abruptly feeling foolish. Eyes scanning the room trying to figure out an explanation for her behavior, her gaze strayed to his groin, eyes bulging at the sight of him before they snapped back up to his face. Arya gulped. She had seen her brothers on many occasions as a child but never a man, and he was certainly grown.

 

She flushed red and struggled to figure out what to say. Eventually she found her words. “What makes you believe you could force yourself onto me?” She challenged ridiculously, drawing herself up to her full height.

 

He was huge, he could easily have his way with her. She was practically defenseless without any weapons. That’s not to say she wouldn’t put up a fight if necessary even though she was naked as her nameday.

 

He seemed to agree with the fact that her question was a bit absurd. He lifted an eyebrow bemused, holding back sardonic laughter. “You truly want me to answer that milady?” He asked letting an incredulous little chuckle escape as he did.

 

She scowled at him and clenched her fists at her side. “Stop calling me m’lady, and don’t laugh at me!”

 

Whatever humor he'd felt died out and he exhaled heavily, sighing upon seeing her irritation. “I’m sorry milad—Arya.” He ran a hand over his face frustrated. “I wasn’t laughing at you.” He tried.

 

“Don’t be stupid.” She scowled at him. “Of course you were.”

 

He grit his teeth clearly exasperated and at a loss. “Okay, mayhaps I was.” He admitted in irritation. “Its just, you’re a slight thing. What would you have me do?”

 

She grimaced at his description of her and licked her lips looking around. She really wasn't sure what she would have him do, or what he was supposed to do even. She was a maid! He ought to know how this was supposed to go.

 

The extent of her knowledge regarding what was supposed to happen was the disgusting bits she'd overheard from Theon and Robb, as well as what little her mother had decided to disclose less she decide it sounded appealing and disgrace herself. The way Robb and Theon had discussed the squirting and ejaculating made it seem like one huge, humiliatingly horrible mess of nauseating bodily fluids complete with awful squishing noises, smacking, and awkward positions. Coupled with her mother’s description of a man ‘sheathing his sword inside of a woman to draw her maidens blood’, that was enough to shock her vivid imagination into believing it would be as painful as being stabbed with a blade and as gruesome and messy as viewing her mother giving birth to Rickon. Of course the added tidbit that should anyone try to ‘grope or penetrate her inappropriately’, she was to tell her father and he’d have them publicly flogged only added to the confusion. Why anyone would attempt such an act considering how repulsive and painful it all sounded, only to risk the wrath of another's family, was beyond her. It certainly didn’t sound like it would bring pleasure regardless of what everyone was always going on about. She didn’t care if people thought she would take to it eagerly, she would happily stick to riding and fighting.

Besides, what classified as an appropriate type of penetration? Is that what she should have Gendry do?

 

“I would have you do your duty.” She finally told him. It seemed simple enough.

 

His brow furrowed momentarily, uncertain if that’s what she really desired, but then he took a step towards her intending to do as she asked. He stopped, however, when she took a step away from him swallowing thickly, eyes wide and anxious.

 

Gendry ran a hand through his hair aggravated at her apparent uncertainty and the guilt he felt because of it. “You don’t want this.” He told her brushing past her and climbing into the opposite side of the bed. He lay down facing away from her.

 

She bristled at his action and the assumption of his words, and climbed into the other side, making certain the maidenscloak didn’t flutter open even though he wasn’t looking at her. “You don’t know what I want.” She flared, lifting her chin impudently. “Besides, I was told I’d probably be good at it.”

 

At that he rolled over to face her, looking at her skeptically although appearing slightly entertained. “Is that so?” He asked disparagingly amused.

 

It was clear he didn’t believe her and that renewed her anger. “That is so!” She snapped. “Theon told me that I was talented on horseback so I should be good at riding men.” She stated matter-of-factly.

 

Gendry snorted and really did have to hold back his mirth. He looked to her with laughing eyes. “Do you even realize what you’ve just said?”

 

She glowered at him. “Of course I do idiot.” She lied.

 

He looked at her sideways, clearly not believing her. Patronizing silence dominated for a moment and she couldn’t take it.

 

She didn’t understand why this was so difficult. From what she’d been led to believe men usually didn’t give their new wives much of a chance to protest. Yet, here he was letting her stew in apprehension.

 

“Am I not to you’re liking? Do you not wish to take my maidenhead?” She questioned curiously. She came out with it brazenly, but the idea that he didn’t want her brought strange and unwelcome pangs to her stomach.

 

His eyes widened and he sat up. “No.” He said quickly. “No, that’s not it at all. I—I just don’t want you do anything you don’t wish to.” He offered quickly. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He explained.

 

She looked at him as if he were daft. “Don’t be stupid. You won’t hurt me.” She told him. “I’m not breakable you know.”

 

At her words he smiled wistfully and chuckled. She found she quite liked the look of him that way. “You spoke those exact words to me five years past.” He reminded her, regarding her with glittering blue eyes.

 

She bit her cheek and furrowed her brow. “You don’t believe them then?”

 

He shook his head. “I do believe them.” He told her. “You may be a little Lady, but you’re quite tough.” He chortled at her.

 

She should’ve appreciated the favorable expression of his opinion but she found she could only fidget under the intensity of his soft gaze. It felt as if her skin were ablaze underneath the cloak. She scooted a bit closer to him before settling back on her knees. “Then why not just do it? I won’t try to stop you.” She told him quickly, tilting her head and trying to figure him out.

 

He grimaced and looked to be trying to find words while waging an inner battle. It was then that she realized he was akin to her brother Jon. He was a bastard and didn’t think himself good enough, he didn’t see himself as a Highborn. He didn’t think he had a right to her even though he’d been legitimized and they were now married.

 

She now knew he wasn’t going to do anything and that she’d have to. Rolling her eyes and trying to relieve herself of her nerves, Arya surprised him by moving to straddle his legs. Once there she paused, feeling her pulse begin to quicken. Licking her lips and building up courage she pushed the cloak off her shoulders.

 

She sat there, bare breasts on a level with his face, breathing heavily not really sure where to go from there. Searching his face for anything, she only saw him staring stunned. “Go on.” She urged him, feeling silly just kneeling there over him.

 

His eyes ravenously scanned her body breath held, but after a moment he sat up and met her gaze, pulling the combs from her hair and letting it fall around her face before bringing a hand to her neck and cautiously tugging her closer to press his lips against hers. He was afraid she’d pull away leaving him feeling guilty, like an unwelcome aggressor. She didn’t.

 

Much like their previous kiss, Arya was intrigued by the pressure and feel of him and moved in tandem with his lips, wondering how this could possibly feel as wonderful as it did. When his tongue ran across her bottom lip she pulled back in astonishment bringing her fingers to her lips and feeling a shudder run through her body.

 

“What was that?” She asked him wide eyed.

 

His eyes scanned hers momentarily unsure of what she meant. “My tongue?” He finally answered brows furrowed, hoping that’s what she was referring to.   

 

She had figured as much, what she couldn’t figure out was why she enjoyed it so thoroughly and where the sensational jolt had come from. Hastily she decided she didn’t care. “Do that again.” She ordered before she eagerly crashed her lips back down on his mouth and wrapped her hands around his neck, pressing herself up against him and feeling a needy heat rise deep within her begging for contact.

 

Gendry, surprised at first by her enthusiasm, moved one of the hands from either side of her face to between her shoulder blades, holding her close and assisting to press her up against him further. He relished the feel of her supple skin against his. As soon as he slipped his tongue past her lips, she moaned against him and melted in his arms.

 

Allowing his tongue to explore the sweet taste of her mouth, Gendry let himself fall onto his back then rolled her over onto hers never breaking their kiss. Ayra was a bit startled by the change of positions but was too enthralled with the magnificent feel of his lips to care. Suddenly Sansa’s incessant prattling didn’t seem all that much like nonsense. This was nice, exhilarating even. She was even surprised to find that she didn’t mind him hovering over her like he had bested her in some type of wrestling match. Instead of trying to move to the dominating position she simply arched her back thrusting her body up to keep in contact with his.

 

Gendry was happily amazed by the eagerness with which she responded to his touch and didn’t know which of the Seven he should be sending his praise to. Then again he should probably be thanking the Old Gods of the North because she was like no southern Lady he’d come across. Her claim in that regard was true.

 

She was impetuous and audacious and wild, just like her wolf and just like her homeland. He couldn’t imagine her ever being anything but, and found he didn’t want to. If nothing else, her brazen approach to even the unfamiliar often provided cause for amusement and endeared her to him further.

 

She pulled away from their kiss abruptly, this time looking slightly alarmed. She squirmed underneath him trying to gain room while clenching her legs together. “Something’s wrong.” She told him.

 

He had to bite back a groan as he felt his cock twitch due to the friction of her fidgeting. She must’ve felt it too because she went still and then looked down between their bodies.

 

She furrowed her brows further and looked at him confused. “It’s growing bigger.” She stated clearly intrigued and seemingly having forgotten about her worry in the face of this new development. “Is that supposed to happen?” She questioned shamelessly. She didn’t appear afraid, just curious as she looked for explanation for the strange phenomenon.

 

He grimaced slightly at her ignorance feeling uncomfortably hard now and a bit idiotic as she stared. “It is.” He told her she continued to marvel at his prick. He was surprised it didn’t wilt under her scrutiny.

 

She looked up after a moment to meet his eyes. “Can I touch it?” There was no awkwardness in her tone, just interest and a bit of a hopeful gleam.  

 

He swallowed but nodded his head, watching as she reached her hand down gingerly and wrapped her slim fingers around his girth. He felt a rush of blood to his groin on contact and grunted slightly, holding his breath before exhaling deeply. He struggled not to pant as all the muscles in his body tensed and she tested his weight in her grip. The unexpectedness of the movement caused him to involuntarily jerk his hips into her hand and grit his teeth in aggravated embarrassment. She didn’t seem to mind though, she was too captivated with his cock care.

 

“The skin! It’s loose! It feels like satin” She exclaimed, informing him of her findings as if he didn’t know the feel of his own prick. Her fingers darted from his head to stem covetously and he bit his lip at the feel. “It’s hard too, and long.” She paused with her hand still gripping him and looked back to his eyes appearing thoughtful. “Is that what they mean when they say you’re hung like a bull?”

 

 “What?” He sputtered hoarsely in astonishment. His voice was much more of a croak than he would’ve liked to admit as he stammered out his question. Hung like a bull? He knew people called him the bull because of the helmet he’d made, but did they actually say that about him as well?  

 

She frowned at him removing her grip on his cock thinking maybe she shouldn’t have said anything. “What? That’s not a bad thing is it?” She asked of him.

 

He licked his lips wishing her hand would return to him and shook his head. “No its not. It means…never mind.” He said brushing it off. Now that he was fully erect he desperately wanted more contact and didn’t want to explain, or have her considering his anatomy awkwardly for that matter. “Did you say something was wrong?” He asked.

 

“Yes.” She told him suddenly remembering. She squirmed again propping herself up on her elbows and reaching down. Spreading her legs a bit, she ran a hand over herself and brought it back up between them to observe the sticky substance on her fingers. She examined it for a moment. “It’s not my moon-blood. That ended weeks ago.” She told him before meeting his eyes.

 

He bit his cheek to keep from laughing. “That’s meant to happen as well.” He tried explaining.

 

She searched his eyes, her own narrowed slightly, trying to figure out if he was just saying that.

 

He considered her intently, brows furrowed. “Have you never touched yourself before?” He asked scrutinizing her features disbelievingly. He knew most men could hardly go a day without stroking them selves until release, he among them, and he’d heard women speaking of delving fingers into themselves for relief as well. He couldn’t imagine that everyone didn’t do it. 

 

She shook her head no then spoke seeing his surprise. “Should I have?” She asked intrigued.

 

He blinked at her words then shrugged. “I suppose not. Men do and it’s said to feel good for women as well. Of course its better when another person does it for you.”

 

She stared at him blankly for a moment then a demanding expression came over her features. “Show me.” She insisted of him, grabbing his hand boldly and guiding it down her belly as if she didn’t think he’d do it himself. 

 

He paused for a moment hovering over her belly button, but hesitation was short lived. He didn’t need any more encouragement than the feel of his throbbing cock and the inviting look of her creamy white skin. He trailed his hand slowly down to the bottom of her abdomen, feeling her stomach shy away from him as she inhaled sharply, wondering at the magnificence of the foreign sensation of another’s touch.

 

His fingers moved delicately through the soft dark curls of the hair decorating her mound and he saw her gulp before he ran a hand over her opening. She fisted the linens and squeezed her eyelids shut as he rolled her shiny pink lips between his thumb and forefinger, appreciating the wetness he felt and the delightful little gasps she tried to hold back by biting her lip.

 

When his thumb finally came back up to gently circle her clit as experiment, her hips jerked off the linens and she cried out loudly, one of her hands flying down to lie on top of his, gripping him tightly.

 

He thought she meant to push him away. “Should I stop?” He asked hastily.

 

She writhed against him and gave him a contemptuous look. “Don’t be stupid.”

 

He struggled to hold back a smile at her choice of words and only chuckled a bit before picking up where he’d left of, stroking her gently now rather than just skirting around her nub. He watched as her eyes darted all over the ceiling, not really sure about what she was feeling.

 

She couldn’t decide if it was pure ecstasy or some obscene agony, but she wasn't indecisive about the fact that she didn’t want it to stop. She felt the muscles at the base of her abdomen flutter in pleasure and the building of something in her core that she couldn’t quite comprehend. She didn’t know what would happen when that feeling came to be too much, but she knew by instinct it would be something significant. The instinct alone was enough to make her anxious, and the perception of some unbelievable, euphoric frustration instigating pleasure caused her to question if she was going mad. She grit her teeth in aggravation but couldn’t help but thrust herself against him, using her hand to push his against her further.

 

The fact that Gendry could feel her appeal for more as her hand scraped up and down his substantial forearm, urging him on in his rhythms, was enough permission for him to move his mouth to circle her nipple with his tongue. He and every other man at the wedding feast had probably wanted to do as much after she rendered them all speechless, proving her still budding figure did have curves.  

 

Just eyeing her while she was clothed, one wouldn’t really think there was much underneath. She was a tall skinny little rail of a thing, or at least that’s what he’d come to believe. After she’d cut herself out of her skirts, he was surprised to find they hid long attractive legs which led up to shapely hips and an ass with curves that would make any mans blood boil. She was quite the active one, so maybe her lithe, elegant body should’ve been expected, but the size of her breasts had been a shock to practically all the men present in the hall.

 

He’d heard of women binding themselves to their chest to prevent their tits from hindering movement, but only among those who worked fields or the rare woman soldier, certainly not proper Highborn Ladies. He still remembered the way Arya’s surprisingly sizable, pert breasts had bounced proudly when she cut away the fabric, her small rosy nipples springing erect once exposed to the breeze that swept through the hall.

 

He appreciated them even more now that he had his head buried between them and she was shoving them up in his face as she moaned, appreciating his efforts. He devotedly bit and sucked at them with his mouth and massaged and plucked with his hand, welcoming the mesmerizing melody of her keens. They were the perfect small handful for his large callused palms, and as he explored them he felt a new wave of wetness from between her thighs, beckoning the fingers he had still diligently working her clit lower to her opening.

 

The moment Arya felt his fingers let up on the pressure and leave her completely she growled angrily. She almost felt obliged to act out on her anger after hearing him laugh slightly hearing her protestation, but then she felt him move from his position lying next to her, down the length of her body. She felt all her muscles stiffen, entirely uncertain of what he was going to do and unsure if she should let him, but she didn’t have time to object and she was happy she didn’t.

 

When his mouth came down in place of his fingers, sucking magnificently, tongue flicking just so, her eyes bulged out of her head and she clawed the linens of the bed with one hand. Her other hand flew to clutch at his ebony curls as her hips rose in the air. She was vaguely aware of her strangled cry of “Gendry”, before he chortled into her sex. She nearly forgot her own name in the feel of the vibrations.

 

Something within her center was throbbing desperately, and while his mouth was remarkable, the addition of his fingers probing her entrance made the whole symphony of sensations excruciatingly glorious. He circled her opening with his middle finger teasingly as one of his hands snaked its way up her belly to toy with her breasts. His mouth worked in concert flicking and circling and nursing on her clit, his fingers finally plunging into her impossibly tight cunt, slowly setting a smooth easy rhythm.

 

Arya didn’t know what to do with herself. She couldn’t imagine anything more exhilarating than riding or fighting, but this was incredible, something else entirely, something more exquisite. The whole conflagration of movement fostered feelings of pleasure similar to those of her favorite distractions, though more intense if not frighteningly maddening. She wanted to move, to sweat. She wanted to feel the ache of her muscles alongside this new arousing ache he was cultivating between her thighs. She bit her lip, ignoring the keens coming out of her mouth, completely at a loss of what to do and squirming because of it, though careful not to lose the feel of his fingers.

                                                      

The deliberate slow pace Gendry worked into her seemed like it wasn't quenching her need sufficiently. Soon enough she was driving herself further onto his fingers and shoving her clit into his face expectantly. Her groans were reaching a higher frequency the faster and further he plunged into her wet opening, and she was clearly close to orgasm though he wasn't sure she knew exactly what was happening. She was almost thrashing now, unable to cope with the sensation as she reached a fever pitch. He was struggling, although determined, to keep his mouth latched onto her clit and his fingers pumping in and out, her walls convulsing around his digits. He brought his spare hand up and used his considerable strength to keep her hips pressed to the linens, but she overcame even that as her body tensed in climax.

 

She was incapable of noise entirely as her eyes widened in final ecstasy, breath caught in her throat as she ultimately reached release. It wasn’t until her hips collapsed back onto the linens having been lifted in the air as she arched her back impossibly high, that she finally found her voice. “Seven Hells!” She breathed closing her eyes briefly.

 

Gendry moved to his knees while wiping the taste of her from his cheeks. He intended to move to lay next to her but he fell back onto his rump after deciding that his view of her as she lay there in the last thralls of her orgasm was much too exquisite to pass up.

 

Her wild hair was even more unruly as it cascaded away from her head in a dark halo framing her long, blissfully satisfied face. She had one hand thrown above her head and the other resting carelessly on her stomach below her lovely breasts. She was beautiful, gorgeous even, and when his eyes moved back up to her face he was immediately drawn to her gaze.

 

She was smiling at him serenely now, still intoxicated with pleasure. Where her eyes were typically a vibrant clear steel, they were now the tempestuous grey of a summer storm, promising relentless winds and pounding rains, but also life for the lands they swept across in their passion. In her stare he neglected to see himself as a bastard, he was a man reveling in the fervency he’d cultivate in such an astonishing creature. He felt powerful here with her.

 

He returned her smile with a heady one of his own, smirking almost. “Did you enjoy that milady?” He asked impishly, feeling entitled to use the formality she found irritating after bringing her to climax. He clearly knew the answer to his own question. 

 

For some reason the formality didn’t annoy her this time. She found that the way he said it caused that same throbbing to begin again within her abdomen. She rolled her eyes and swiftly crawled towards him. “What do you think?” Then her expression morphed to one of incomprehension. “Your fingers didn’t hurt.” It was as if she suspected they should’ve. She cocked her head to the side sitting down next to him. “Did you take my maidenhead?” She asked him curiously, grabbing his sizeable hands audaciously and inspecting for blood. When she found no trace of crimson she looked to him questioningly.

 

 “I’m afraid fingers won’t do it.” He informed her carefully, still entertained by her unabashed flagrancy and holding back chuckles. She was utterly unaffected by the embarrassment that generally accompanied the impropriety of talking about such deeds. Gendry himself still found he squirmed when speaking crudely, but here she was entirely crass bordering on shameless and still a maid.

 

She frowned a bit at his words then shrugged. “Well go on then, Lord Baratheon.” She urged him now with a little nudge, rolling her eyes at his new title and happy to see him grimace. “Now that I see what everyone is always going on about I think I might overlook the pain.”

 

He was still resistant and apprehensive about hurting her, and she seemed to read it in his expression. She drew closer though hesitantly. Settling herself on her knees next to him, she captured his lips in a chaste kiss before pulling away. She blinked a bit and looked at him peculiarly, rolling the flavor around in her mouth. “Is that me I’m tasting?” She asked curiously.

 

He nodded thinking that she wasn’t going to want to kiss him after his response, but she just blinked then pressed her mouth back against his. He was surprised momentarily but should’ve expected as much. He responded just as eagerly as she did, matching her desire with his own. He brushed his lips against hers fiercely, answering her aggression by nibbling on her lip and drawing her into his side a bit roughly as she ran hands through his shadowy locks and across his broad chest.

 

Soon enough he needed her even closer. She didn’t flinch at all when he grasped her with two hands on either side of her hips, picking her slight body up easily and bringing her to straddle him once again. She didn’t break her contact with his lips until she pressed herself up against him in such a manner that his erect cock probed her entrance.

 

She pulled away eyes wide searching his face, apprehension still present but masked now by want. Seeing Gendry’s eyes roll back in his head at the feel of him so close to inside of her, Arya couldn’t help but be curious what his reaction would be once he actually was. Without a second thought she sank herself further onto to him and was delighted to see his eyes fly open as he watched her in shock and struggled to control himself, growling in need as she brought him inside her warmth.

 

Arya had to bite her lip feeling the resistance of her body to his girth. He was thick and long, and the way he parted her, her walls tensely giving way around him, made her eyes water a bit.

 

She never remembered holding her breath, but as his progress into her stopped, and she felt a prickly pressure causing her to squeeze her eyes shut as he came into contact with something that eventually burst painfully, she found herself gasping and panting. The strength of her muscles gave way leaving her to fall the rest of the way onto him until he was fully sheathed inside of her.

 

They sat there fully immersed in one another. Arya with her arms thrown about his neck breathless and clutching him to her as the pain ebbed only to be replaced by something else, and Gendry breathing thickly into her collar trying his damnedest to stop himself from moving until she was ready to do so herself.

 

As soon as her breath slowed she pulled away from him meeting his eyes, gazing at him in amazement but a bit unsure what to do now. Still, she figured it out on her own by testing to see if the sting truly was gone. He groaned into her skin as she wiggled her hips slightly, moving in small circles to check. She sighed at the feeling and seemed curious about how other movements would feel.

 

Gendry threw his head back and exhaled loudly as she used her knees to sit up, drawing him out of her snug warmth. It wasn't until she fell back onto him rather more abruptly and with more force than he anticipated that he finally gave voice to his ecstasy.

 

Fuck.” He stammered loudly, his eyes bulging and rolling back in his head as she too cried out blissfully. She paused, savoring the feeling the jolt had given her, and looked to him to find an agonized expression twisting his features as he tried to hold himself back from surprised release.

 

“Did I hurt you?” She asked seeming uncertain, concerned she might’ve done some harm as unlikely as it seemed.

 

He let out a brusque little laugh and shook his head adamantly. “No.” He told her smirking briefly. “Quite the opposite actually.”

 

She grinned along with him. “Good.” She told him with a nod. “I really want to do that again.”

 

Gendry felt himself gulp, unsure how long he could take her exploration until he gave in and began thrusting into her without heed. Regardless, he was resolved to let her do as she pleased. Hell, if she kept up with the movements she claimed to enjoy he might not be left to exert himself at all. 

 

She didn’t hesitate to start once more, this time with new confidence though she watched his face carefully to see if she did anything wrong. She began slowly, rising up off his cock languidly, feeling herself convulse around him involuntarily as if her cunt was trying to lure him back in. She withdrew from him languorously up until the point she couldn’t take the absence any longer and had to drive herself back onto his prick, happy to feel full once again.

 

Her pace steadily grew faster and faster, and where she had been using his shoulders to assist in her movements, after he laid back onto the sheets to watch her work, it was the strength of his arms and his grip on her hips as he came up to meet her with his own that now aided in keeping the pace. 

 

Gendry had an exceptionally difficult time trying to keep his eyes on one thing. He also couldn’t help but think that she was right, she was good at this. Her head was thrown back in breathtaking euphoria, her eyes closed as she rode him. A sheen of sweat highlighted her body beautifully as her breasts bounced delightfully in rhythm with her glorious movements, indulging him with an unanticipated spectacular bliss. He grit his teeth craning his neck so he could view himself disappearing into her, gobbled up by her tight virginal cunt. She was a vision as she rode him, giving the both of them satisfaction, there was just too much to see.

 

She kept up her efforts for an impossibly long time as her muscles began to ache, but even then she couldn’t give up the pleasure. She continued, only now falling forward and resting hands on his chest for support as her hips continued to bob deliciously up and down over him.

 

Gendry grunted as she fell forward onto him, hands propping herself up using his pectorals. He was surprised that she hadn’t fallen on him in complete exhaustion considering the fervor with which she was fucking his exultant cock. Now that she had a means to support herself, he removed one hand from her hips and ran a knuckle over her clit.

 

Arya reveled in the burn of her muscles and the sweat dripping from her pours as she speared herself over and over again savoring this new addictive gratification. Impaling herself again and again she felt the build of that fantastic throbbing that promised an ecstatic release like nothing else she’d experienced in the world. When she felt one of his hands leave her hip she didn’t think anything of it until he brushed over her nub and she lurched forward. It took her a moment to find her rhythm again but she did with a renewed vigor, mewling reflexively as his pressure drove her mad.

 

Her movements became frantic as she neared the edge, her thrusting erratic and losing pace. With practiced ease he remedied the situation and flipped her onto her back, picking right back up with the pace, propelling his cock into her just as feverishly. She met his hips with her own eagerly, one leg wrapped about him, heel digging into his back, and the other bent at the knee, foot flat against the linens for leverage.

 

Her attempts to meet him thrust for thrust eventually caused them to move slowly up the bed as she pushed up off it. Eventually her head was pressed up against the carved wood headboard, her neck craned at an odd angle. She didn’t complain, and seemed as if she had no inclination to stop. Still, it looked uncomfortable and he had no desire to cause her pain. He grabbed two handfuls of her brilliantly enviable ass, keeping himself sheathed inside of her all the while, and lifted her effortlessly up off the sheets, pressing her back against the headboard and pinning her there with his body as she instinctively wrapped both her slim legs around his waist to hold herself up.

 

They both seemed to be of the same mind because she lifted her arms back over her head and grasped the headboard for leverage just as he did the same, moving one leg from kneeling so that he was flatfooted and could supplement his thrusting with more force. She rode him marvelously as he skewered her again and again coarsely, both of them grunting and moaning loudly in ecstasy as their bits collided over and over with obscene, wet sounding smacks.

 

She was right on the verge and so was he. They both renewed their passion, frenetically anticipating release. As her cunt began to spasm deliciously, she buried her face in his neck, throwing her arms around him as he felt himself come as well, her walls milking the seed from within him. He held her to him relishing the feel of her compulsory convulsions before he fell back on his rear still clutching her to him, their sweat and juices melding as they panted from exertion still intertwined.

 

She pulled away after a moment just to gaze into his eyes, scrutinizing his face with an amazed, euphoric expression as he did the same, brushing a stray strand of her wild dark hard behind her ear tenderly.

 

He placed a kiss on her forehead before resting his own against hers. Gods he wanted another go. The knowledge that she’d be sore in the morning from their union made him hold himself back. “Best you get some rest milady.” He told her still breathing hard.

 

She furrowed her brows slightly but shook her head. She wasn't nearly done now that she’d started. “More.” Was all she said before she crushed her mouth to his passionately and they began anew.

 

They lay together twice more that night, bringing each other to magnificent climax before finally collapsing in exhaustion, limbs intertwined atop the sheets as they fell asleep side-by-side. When the suns rays finally entered through the windows the next morning and they began to stir, it was to find servants fussing about in their chambers.

 

They didn’t share many words while dressing themselves for the day, feeling slightly ill at ease in the presence of others and each other. When he was fully clothed he turned to her, mouth opening and closing uncertainly. He scratched the back of his neck embarrassedly, looking as if he wanted to say something, but then thought better of it and departed without a word, head hung low, leaving her to stare after him strangely.

 

Arya had no idea where he disappeared to that day nor did she really concern herself with it. She was to meet her family that morning to break fast, so she headed to her parents chambers as soon as she was clothed.