The gods are cruel. They throw you the things you need, give you that small glimmer of hope to see you through a harsh time, they help you live and see the good. But then they snatch it all away. They take what they gave and leave you with nothing again. With nothing but blood stained hands and a place in your heart where that thing was. Where she was. Gendry knew the gods were cruel. Knew what they did, but still he fell for it, and still he was left broken and empty, just like he'd started. No name, no life, nothing to say who he was. The gods are cruel and they take what gives you hope.
He could still remember the day. There had been fighting that morning and no one had seen her. The small thing she was, almost hidden by the choppy undergrowth and derby. But someone had, someone had pulled a trigger and the bullet had found her. Cutting through the flimsy protection she had on, working its way into her body, stopping just deep enough to cause harm, to far in to rescue her. Blood poured from the hole in her side, the flesh no longer there to stop it fleeing and a scream escaped her lips, lost in the sounds around her. No one noticed as the small girl lay dying on the ground.
Gendry began to worry when he hadn't seen her in a while, dread creeped into his mind, whispering harsh truths he wanted to ignore. So he ran out into the battle ground, not caring for the shouts from both sides, not hearing the pounding steps following behind him, intending to drag him back. But it was too late, he'd already seen the trail of blood she'd left as she staggered for shelter from a blown up wall. Nothing else mattered but finding her. Arya. The girl who'd shown up in his life one night and had refused to leave. An unknown feeling rushed through him as he saw her, back against the ruined wall, a hand putting pressure on her side, blood pooling to the side. But when her eyes found his, a small glimmer of hope appeared. Gendry fell to his knees beside her, replacing his hand on the wound, not daring to look at the damage that was draining away her life. Behind him he could hear the men barking orders to get a medic to them fast, but it was all drowned out.
"It's not as bad as it looks. I- I can't feel any pain." she said, her voice weak and shaky, not how he was use to. All the emotions she'd hidden, kept locked up insider her were suddenly evident on her face. Gendry could have laughed at it, all the times he'd wanted to see her venerable and just her and it was a moment like this.
"You're gonna be fine. See, they've got to get help. Just...just stay with me okay, please." there was a hint of desperation in his voice and he knew it, she knew it as well. Arya knew exactly what was happening, she'd already accepted it. "I need you Arya, you're my partner."
"You don't need me Gendry, all I've ever done is get you in trouble. I've always been the one who needed you. You're the one that saved me all those times." Arya said wincing in pain, folding in on her self. Gendry put an arm around her back, the wound forgotten, as he supported the little weight she had. "Do-don't lea-leave me. Pl..please." the smallness of her voice tugged at his heart, and all of a sudden he was reminded of how young she was and why she was here.
"I'm not going anyway, I swear." and he meant it. No matter how much it pained him to watch or accept, he knew the truth. Knew what was coming and how it would end and if all she asked was for him to stay with her, he would do it.
"I ne-never got t-to tell m..my d-dad about thi-this. That I...I wa-was joining. Fi-fighting. I on-only told Jo-Jon. Y'know wha-what he sa-said to me? Sho-shoot 'em in th-the ass." Arya said, laughing breathlessly from the effort. Every word was taking its toll, blood loss taking effect more rapidly. "Th-they wou-would have like y-you. San-Sansa would hav-have tri-tired to set us up on a da-date and Ro-Robb would have warn-warned you to no-not hurt me and then to-told you t-to pro-protect me. Rick-Rickon would have lo-loved you and Bran...Bran would ha-have tol-told you all the emb-embarrassing stories. My mu-mum would h-have frowned, di-disapprovingly, bu-but come aro-around eventually."
Gendry sat in silence, just listening to her speak of her family, smiling every now and again at the images she painted in her shaky voice. There was nothing he could say, not now, not when she was reminiscing and dreaming of scenarios that would never happen, not now. All he could do was listen and be there for her. Like she'd been there for him. He knew when news of this reached her family the war would be real, not just a little game between a few hundred men like it was now. Full on war. And she wouldn't even want it. War wasn't her. She was the North, the snow and the cold, riding through forests alone, not caring for the danger but wanting to feel it all the same. War and fighting was just something she had to do, for her family. And now her family would go to war for her.
"It's raining." she said quietly as she looked up at the grey sky. "Don't sup-suppose it can do much da-damage to me n-now." she comment as Gendry moved to unzip his jacket for her.
"You need to stop talking like this is the end, Arya. You're gonna be fine." But even he knew it was a poor promise, they both knew it was a poor promise.
By the time the other men returned with a medic, she was cold and her grey eyes that he'd loved so much were closed. Gendry hadn't moved, with his arm around her protectively as her head rested on his shoulder. The rain was still falling, mixing with the tears on his cheeks. Slowly, they got him, but nothing could make him realise his hold on her, so he carried her back, no more threat of further injury in his mind.
The gods were cruel. They liked to offer hope and salvation then take it way in a blink of an eye and Gendry knew that. That night he washed her blood off his hands, the blood of the girl he'd loved but hadn't realised. They took what they gave him, and left him with a hole in his heart. The gods were cruel and Gendry knew that, and he hated them for it.