“NO!” She shouted, the conversation ceasing around her. Three people turned to look at her, shock evident in their faces.
The door to the room flung upon and Jaime Lannister burst in brandishing his sword, searching wildly for the threat. Brienne threw her hand up.
“It’s fine, Lannister.” Brienne explained, shooing him back out to his station.
“I heard a shout,” he sneered but backed out of the room, closing the door behind him. Arya stared at Stannis’ stone face, her mind whirling with new revelations.
“I’m sorry, but that is simply impossible,” she insisted. She refused to turn and look at Gendry, sitting silently next to her. Instead she pointed her finger at Stannis, “It is cruel of you to make him think he has some sort of royal blood. Gendry is just some bastard from King’s Landing.” Stannis narrowed his eyes.
“Oh?” he asked, his face stony. “And you are an expert on Baratheon lineage? Jon Arryn knew him to be Robert’s bastard and moreover your own father knew him to be so. And you think to question my authority on this matter girl? I recognize a Baratheon when I see one.”
“I’m glad Brienne brought this to my attention,” Stannis said turning to address Gendry. “I see this is quite a shock for you, but any fool could see you’ve Robert’s blood in you. The only question now, is what to do with you?” He trailed off.
Brienne looked at the Gendry still silent.
“I’m sorry I waited so long to tell you. I couldn’t be sure on my own," she told Gendry. Arya could feel her heart beating faster in her chest.
“They’re wrong," she said quietly, turning to convince Gendry. His face was full of something she’d never seen on Gendry before. Fury.
“Because I’m not lordly enough to be a king’s bastard?” He pushed himself away from the table violently, knocking several items off the table. He stormed out before Arya could even release the breath she’d been holding. Arya glanced up to see Brienne’s face full of reproof.
“That was not well done, girl.” Brienne's voice was soft but chiding. Arya hadn’t been scolded in a long time. Her face red, she walked out of the room without another word leaving Brienne and Stannis to their grand plans.
Arya wasn’t sure what she was going to say, but she knew where she needed to go. She had the trip to the Blacksmith’s memorized but she took her time getting their, trying to think of something to say, some way to explain.
Gendry was already in an apron, pounding away at a piece of steel when she slipped through the doorway. He didn’t even look up to acknowledge her presence, but he knew she was there. He would have felt the cold air as the door opened, but more than that, Gendry could always seem to sense when she entered a room.
“I’m sorry," she said, breaking up the rhythm of the hammer hitting the anvil, “I didn’t mean it that way.” The steady pounding of the hammer didn’t even slow. “You do look like him, you know? He was a horrible, stupid person, Gendry, and an even worse king. I guess I never saw it before now because you aren’t like him at all. You’re bull headed and you can be bloody annoying, but you’re kind and you protected me when I was only dirty little Arry. You’re nothing like him and I can’t believe someone like you came from someone like him.”
Her eyes were focused on his back, she searched for some sign, but he didn’t react at all. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought he hadn’t heard her.
“You knew I was a bastard Arya, is it that hard to believe my father was highborn?” Gendry stopped swinging at the anvil, and straightened, still facing away from her. She took a step closer to him.
“It’s not that!” She took another step closer. If only he would face her, she could make him understand.
“Whatever you say, milady.” Arya flinched as if she’d been struck. She’d never heard his voice so full of venom and directed at her. She hated fighting with him.
“They all say I look like her. They say that I’m wild like her.” He twisted around, glancing at her for a second. ”Lyanna,” she explained. “You know she almost married Robert. She was a wolf, a true direwolf. All she wanted was to be free, but he wanted to chain her down. She hated him for that. That’s why she ran away with Rhaegar. She tore apart a kingdom because she couldn’t not be wild.” She had never shared this part of herself with anyone. She didn’t know how to explain her fears. She looked intently at his back, begging him in her mind to understand, but he still didn’t react.
She took two more steps forward and shoved him from behind. He stumbled and turned staring at her with his face unreadable.
“Don’t you understand? I can’t be that!” she yelled, embarrassed as a tear rolled down her cheek. “I’m not some lady, to marry some lord and be locked up in a tower for the rest of my life. That’s not me!” Suddenly, she was staring at her own feet, embarrassed by her outburst.
“I just want to be free and if you are who they say you are, then that makes you a player in their stupid game of thrones. I don’t want that. I just want…” She choked back a sob. “I just want to be free." Her voice caught in her throat. She had to make him understand. “I just want US to be free.”
She heard him move, but she was too scared to look up and see his face. What if he never forgave her?
“You really wouldn’t care if I was some poor blacksmith in some backwater village?” he asked incredulously. She looked up, nodding tentatively.
“I think I could be a good blacksmith’s wife. Jon used to say I had the hands of a blacksmith.” He was on her in a second lifting her into his arms and burying his face in her hair. His arms tightened around her, anchoring her to the ground. For the first time in years, Arya felt light as air.