He likes to watch her dress.
Maybe it is because of the transformation of her in front of him, from his Arya to the other one. And he can't help but feel glad at the anxious way she curls the fabric up past her shoulders compared to the deft, easy grace she has when she tears it off. Because he realises he only sees the real Arya when she is there, naked and coiled beneath him, all limbs and bone. When she dons the dresses Queen Selyse gifts to her, she wears them as easy as a wolf would wear deer skin. At least his Uncle Stannis wasn't trying to dress him.
"Will you come back tonight?" He asks, sliding on his breeches. She looks across to him from a naked shoulder and almost, almost looks a lady.
"If that stupid Queen doesn't keep me again." She says. "She keeps on inviting these idiots to come and have supper with us."
They both know why, but neither say. Arya was near six and ten now, oddly beautiful, with a strong tie to the North. The knowledge settles between them, dismal and dull. It is only when he spots her sliding on silk stockings that he breaks the silence, laughter involuntarily pouring out from him.
"What in R'Hllor is that?"
She frowns. "Selyse is making me wear them for tonight. They were a gift from some Lord or another."
"You look like a stupid swan."
He carries on laughing. Before he realises it she is hitting him, and they collapse together on the bed. He grabs her waist, laughing her hits away.
"Tear them." She orders suddenly, her voice low and dark.
His laughing stops. "What?"
"No! They look expensive." He says feebly. A poor boy at heart, really. He sees the stockings and can hear the chink of coins on the table in a way she can't. He had been raised to respect expensive things. And not to touch. Never, ever to touch. A bastard's hands were dirty, not meant to caress silk or the skin of a highborn woman.
"Then at least get them off." She bites. He complies quickly, his fingers pausing every now and again to marvel at the way the liquid silk seems to become one with her skin. He kisses, trails his lips on every new angle of skin, new curve he can find. He slides his hands up her thighs, savouring the way her muscles contract and shudder underneath his fingertips. The sensation he feels when he realises there is still more of her body to explore even after all this time makes him harder, hungrier for every unexplored line of her body to become his.
She giggles, and he knows she thinks him stupid, naive, otherwordly at the way he marvels, but he doesn't care, because it is still him she wants, not some merchant of love poetry and silk stockings. His dirty hands leave smear marks on the silk, and he's forgotten all thoughts of shame, of duty, in that way that only her; her in here, in his bed, slipping his name from her mouth like a dirty word; can.
He uses his tongue to explore between her legs. Like silk, wet and smooth, but he can taste salt at the same time, like how he imagines the seaside to be. She wriggles and moans, lost in the movements of his tongue, the fire coursing through her body, moving her closer to the edge. And she realises this devastating sense of need for him, for the way he can make her forget herself for these few moments and become nothing more than her body, a tangle of muscles that somehow seems to respond to his touch, to slot into his hands, his tongue, his kisses. Somewhere in her mind she whispers the word 'love' but she muffles it as soon as she can, silences it with every bit of
strength she has, instead trying to focus on nothing more than the sensation of him. Soon her body arches, and for a few moments her body becomes washed over in warmth, in cold, in colour and in sound.
He lays down beside her, grinning, licking the taste of salt from his lips. She lays there, frozen in fear as she realises how used to him she has become, how comfortable and familiar the edges of this room and the warmth of his body are now. He brushes his nose against her bare shoulder, settling for sleep against her like he always does, and she can feel the threatening scream in her throat. No, no, no, no.
She sits up, brings her knees to her chest. This would need to stop, soon. She could only trust the shadows to protect her for so long. Gendry could end up banished, killed. She watched his face as he slept, and for a moment she could almost see the little boy she had never known, with the faintest of smiles playing across his lips. The silk stockings lay on the floor, tangled and limp. Before it had felt so simple. Before she would have thrown the silk stockings in the fire and woken him up, ready to feel him in her once more, but this night she shivered. Where could she run to but to him?
Outside the wind beat against the windows and the fire of the forge went undisturbed. It lit his skin a soft orange, and he looked so perfect there, like she was seeing him for the first time. And then she realised that it was perhaps too late for her to silence the voice in her mind, even if she would never, ever admit it out loud...Not to him, not to anyone. She would shut this love deep inside of her heart for no-one to see, where no light could penetrate, where she would let it slowly die.
"I'm sorry," she mouths silently, speaking only to the darkness, moving in between shadows back to her bedchamber. The tears freeze on her cheeks, transforming the warmth to cold in an instant. "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry."