Chapter 1: Unexpected
Arya walked around Braavos, no mask in place. Today was not a day for masks. Not that anyone would recognize her face anyways, or so she thought. In the years she'd spent training as a Faceless Man, her body had changed considerably. She was no longer a child, but a slender young woman, with a noticeable swell in her chest and curve of her hips.
Her height hadn't changed as much as she would have liked. She'd only grown a couple of inches since coming to the Free Cities, but her face was much too hardened for anyone to think her a child any longer. Her grey eyes, sharp as ever, noticed everything around her as she walked through the streets. Her hair was much longer, usually tied in a braid down her back. She often thought it a burden, but could never go through with chopping it off again. It was her one reminder of what used to be. In any case, as long as it was tied up it didn't come in the way.
She was dressed in her usual clothing, an overly large shirt, to hide some of her form, and breeches with boots pulled over them to the knee. Her boots held a dagger, as did the bands, one wrapped around each arm, sheathing one blade each. Her hair was in a braid today, but coiled under a hat she'd swiped from an unfortunate merchant's stall earlier in the year. It was old and worn from the countless times she'd used it, not just in a disguise but as shelter from the cold.
Her target today was a guest landing in the ports. She hadn't been given a name, which she briefly thought was unusual before dismissing the thought from her mind completely. She was only told he would be bringing news of the war in Westeros, with a specific question about a lost Stark.
She was a Stark once, that much she remembered. The Faceless Men tried to make her forget, and she did, for a time. But even the training couldn't stop the dreams. Dreams of running through the forest with Nymeria, as Nymeria. She had no way of knowing if they were real, but they were her anchor to home. Something else that was her anchor, although she wouldn't admit it, was the place Nymeria always returned to at the end of the dream. The edge of a village, not far from which stood a forge, often ringing with the sounds of a smith at work late into the night. Arya usually wouldn't let herself think of him, that stupid boy who left her pack. But he always lingered in her mind as she awoke, and that she couldn't seem to stop.
"Watch yourself, boy!"
Arya sidestepped the cart at the last second, shooting the merchant one defiant glare before marching by. Idiot, she thought. Can't even tell the difference between a boy and a girl. But that was the point, then. Most people didn't stop to look twice at a small person in men's clothing, hair covered by a hat. Hiding in plain sight. It was her favorite disguise.
Arya approached the port earlier than expected, so she spent some time moving among the stalls, watching the boats come in one by one. As the morning gradually went on, the port became more and more crowded. Arya began moving closer to the docks, wanting to see who came off the ships. She was looking not for a large ship, but a smaller one that would only hold a few passengers who could pay by coin or trading. Just like the one I came on, she thought grimly.
But it soon became clear that too many boats would be coming in at once, too many for her to keep track of. She retreated back to the stalls, knowing that her target would go there first, as they were the best source of knowledge as to who came in and out of the city. Ever patient, she circled, and finally she heard what she'd been waiting for:
"...She'd have looked like a boy when she got here, tiny thing in clothes too big for her and short hair."
"Boy, do you know how many people come in and out of this port in a day? She could have been anywhere. And if she looks the way you said, she probably was snatched up by someone needing boys for labor. Now move on, you're scaring off all my customers!"
Arya could see why. He was tall, with broad shoulders, towering over many of the people in the area. Although she could only see his back, his shock of black hair and tanned skin would be easy enough to track, tall as he was. His voice had triggered something in her, but she ignored it. She couldn't forget her mission.
As he began to move on, she followed, trying to catch a glimpse of his face, but to no avail. Why wouldn't he just turn around?
Why does it matter? she chastised herself. It doesn't. What matters is that you finish this.
She moved in, got closer to him and got ready to make her move and get out. Nobody noticed a young boy. Until he suddenly turned around, and startled blue eyes met equally shocked grey ones.
Arya stopped cold, one hand up her sleeve on the dagger. For a second, she was twelve years old again, surrounded by pain and sadness, staring into the same blue eyes and wondering what would come next.
He moved forward slightly, one hand out as if to touch her face, and the spell was broken. She turned to bolt, but not before he caught her elbow and spun her around with enough force to knock the cap from her head. All she could do was watch as her braid unraveled and fell down her back, and a myriad of emotions crossed his face: stubborness, disbelief, and then grim certainty.
"I knew it." His voice came out hoarse and low, like he'd been yelling for ages. "I knew I'd find you."
His hand moved from her elbow, up to her shoulder and back down to her her hand, as he grasped his fingers in hers. His other hand moved to her face, and she was shocked to realize he wiped a tear from her face.
"Arya." He sighed her name, now holding her face with both hands.
She came alive in that moment, as if she'd woken up after years of sleep, or cleared the surface of water after having been under for too long.
Her hands came up to grip his arms fiercely, and she pulled him closer, touching her forehead to his.
"You stupid...stupid," she whispered.
Gendry choked out a laugh and pulled her to him, arms like a vice grip around her, his face buried in her shoulder. She felt his breath ghost along her ear as he said her name over and over.
Chapter 2: Nightmares
Post-war, Arya and Gendry are living at Winterfell, where Sansa is Queen of the North. Jon is also staying there after being wounded in The Night's Watch. Sansa is concerned about Arya's well-being, but when she confronts her she gets a surprise.
Sansa watched from her place at the front of the room as people began to file into the hall for breakfast. She sat in the middle of the table, surrounded on either side by Jon and a few other trusted friends. She smiled and said her hellos to those who passed by or waved, but her eyes remained on the doorway, waiting for her sister to come through. For the past couple of days, Arya hadn't quite been herself. Her tongue was sharp as ever, but the bags under her eyes told a different story. Her movements in the training yard were just slightly off - a step here, a slash there. Most watching would have assumed it was a quick mistake and moved on. But Sansa knew better. Arya didn't make mistakes.
Soon enough, Sansa saw her. As she did every morning, Arya walked in with her blacksmith husband, Gendry, waved at Sansa, and sat at one of the tables near the middle of the room, chatting with many of the workers who were rebuilding Winterfell. While she usually looked livened by her early morning water dancing, as she called it, her smile seemed forced this morning, as it had for the past two days. Her long, dark hair hung loose around her shoulders instead of being plaited down her back. Sansa wondered what she was trying to hide under all that hair. She watched as Gendry put a hand on Arya's neck, slowly massaging as they talked with the others. She leaned into him slightly, seeming to use him for support.
Sansa kept an eye on Arya and Gendry throughout the meal, noting that while they still chatted with the others at their table normally, neither was eating much, and they seemed more tired than usual. It was the same thing she'd been noticing the past few days, and Sansa was determined to get to the bottom of it today.
"You know you'll need to eat if you're going to try to get her to talk, right?"
Sansa turned to Jon, startled out of her thoughts. He pointed at her still-full plate, chuckling slightly, his dark eyes teasing.
"If you intend to get anything out of her, you'll need all your strength. Eat."
Sansa smiled and picked up her fork, knowing full well he was just as concerned about Arya but trying to lighten the mood. She was ever grateful for his presence, always comforting but solid as a rock. After he recuperated from his injuries suffered as a part of The Night's Watch, she had insisted he stay at Winterfell for a few days longer to help out with the place he so obviously loved. A few days turned into weeks, and then months, and neither had spoken a word of it since.
Later that afternoon, Sansa entered the practice yard where Arya usually trained with other men and women. Today, though, she was alone. Jon had seen to that. Sansa watched as Arya went through the motions of her water dance, jumping, spinning and slashing with a deadly grace.
As suddenly as she spun through the motions, she was done, ending in a defensive crouch. She stood up, her back still to Sansa, and leaned heavily on her sword, letting the pointy end dig further into the ground.
Arya came out of her relaxed stance briefly as she turned, then seeing it was only Sansa, she smiled - a tired smile, but a real one.
"Hello, Sansa. What brings you here?"
Sansa fidgeted. The last thing she wanted to do was start an argument. She and Arya had been close since they were reunited, and while they still had their fights, they were not often the yelling matches of the past. But this was a touchy subject.
"Sansa? Are you alright?" Arya came closer, touching her arm, a look of concern on her face.
Sansa smiled and gripped her hand. "Yes, I'm fine. I wanted to talk to you about...well, you. Are you okay?"
Arya smiled again, but this time it was forced. "Of course. Why wouldn't I be."
Sansa sighed. "Arya."
"Fine. You haven't been eating, you practically sleep walk in for breakfast for the past three days-"
"Maybe I'm not hungry-" Arya began to protest
Sansa spoke over her. "AND you tripped in training yesterday. You. Tripped."
Arya shut her mouth. Sansa recognized the look. It was her stubborn, defiant glare that dared her to keep going.
"We're just worried about you, Arya. Why won't you talk to us?"
Arya looked at the ground, at her sword, anywhere but at Sansa.
"That would be because she's trying to protect me."
Both girls turned to see Gendry standing at the training yard fence, a rueful smile on his face. Sansa heard Arya's intake of breath behind her, and then as she released it in a sad sigh. Gendry walked toward them, in his sturdy coat and boots. He came to a stop in front of Sansa, his hands respectfully behind his back, as he bowed his head slightly.
Sansa sighed. "Gendry, how many times do I have to tell you-"
"Don't bother," Arya cut in. "He won't listen. Never does." But she was smiling again, the soft smile she always wore around him.
He grinned at her briefly, and for a second Sansa felt as if she wasn't there. Then he turned back to her, his face more serious.
"I'm afraid I'm the reason Arya's been...not herself the past few days. You see, I haven't been sleeping all that well these nights. I'm not entirely sure what brought it on, but I..." he struggled for a second. "To put it simply, I have nightmares." He smiled sadly. "Every time I close my eyes, it's like I'm reliving a different moment from the war, or something before that, or something about mum..." he cleared his throat. "It happens every now and then, and I sort of just have to ride it out."
Sansa gaped at him. "But why haven't you seen a maester?"
"I tried. But whatever he gave me the first time had awful after effects, and I couldn't work for almost a week. So I just try to get over it as soon as possible." He looked at Sansa apologetically. "The yelling and shaking tends to wake your bed-mate quite easily. Arya's been trying to help. I told her to sleep in the castle with you, but she just told me I was stupid and laid back down."
"Because you are stupid for even suggesting that." Arya glared at him.
Gendry laughed. "Right. Forgive me, milady."
Arya huffed and crossed her arms, but her eyes couldn't hide her worry.
Sansa couldn't believe what she was hearing. This was the most she'd ever heard Gendry say at one time, to her no less. On top of that, she had been so concerned about Arya that she had barely spared Gendry a second look. Only now, up close, did she see his handsome face was extremely fatigued, and he stood stooped, as if a great weight was on his shoulders. All this time she thought he was supporting Arya, but she had failed to see Arya had also been supporting him greatly, as well.
Arya sheathed her sword and took Gendry's hand. "Can we keep this between us?" she asked Sansa.
Sansa nodded, but had to ask. "Why all the secrecy?"
Gendry chuckled as a wry smile crossed Arya's face, and he brought up her hand to press a light kiss to her knuckles.
"To be honest, it wasn't intentional at first. It's just...we're so used to it just being us, to dealing with things ourselves, we didn't really think to go to anyone about it." He smiled sheepishly.
"Besides," Arya said, "it's not exactly something you can just bring up over a meal."
Sansa nodded. It made sense. The two of them were such independent people. As a couple, she shouldn't have expected any different.
"If it does get worse, Gendry, you know you can come to me. We can try to figure something out with the maesters."
He nodded. She knew he probably wouldn't come, and so did he, but his face showed his appreciation of her offer.
Arya gave her sister a tight hug, whispering a quick "thank you" before letting go.
Sansa walked out of the training yard, listening to the sounds of Arya and Gendry's soft murmurs, so different from their usual loud bickering. She turned around once to see Gendry wrap his arms around Arya and press his forehead to hers. Her arms went around his back and her eyes closed, her face finally calm. He pressed a light kiss to her forehead, then her nose, and finally lingered at her lips before letting go. He went to lean against the fence as she settled into her water dancer stance once more. This time, she moved as if she was lighter than air, and never missed a step.
Chapter 3: Patrols
Slightly AU, I guess. Post-war, Arya has been on a patrol outside of Winterfell for a couple of weeks and is eager to return home to Gendry, and everyone knows it.
Arya rode through the gates of Winterfell after two weeks on the road. Her group of riders, including her younger brother Rickon, had been out on patrol in the areas surrounding Winterfell. They'd stopped at several towns, checking in on their supplies and rations and helping out where they were needed. But they had been waylaid by a storm for a few days, and one of their horses had to be fitted for a new horseshoe after cracking the old one.
Arya knew she couldn't control what had happened, but that hadn't stopped her bad mood. She had volunteered for this patrol, wanting to bring a proper report to Sansa and Jon, as well as show Rickon the ropes. But she hadn't been away from Gendry this long since...well, since Braavos. Neither of them wanted to revisit that time in their lives, and it had become unspoken to not be apart for more than a few days. The patrol had changed that.
"Arya, hang on!" Rickon called out to her, laughing. "Have you forgotten where the stables are already?"
She reined in her horse and turned to meet her brother, her long braid whipping around over her shoulder. Rickon's clothes were splattered in mud and his face was smudged from the dirt, but his Tully blue eyes were bright as ever. The people called him their wild prince, and he happily obliged the nickname. Arya encouraged it, too, to Sansa's dismay. Sansa had wanted Rickon to learn more of the politics of ruling, but he had shown no interest, seemingly happiest when helping the townspeople. She had no choice but to give her approval, albeit grudgingly, when she saw how his eyes lit up at the prospect of joining the patrols, and learning to fight.
"I know that, silly. I just want to give Sansa her report before I forget it all."
"Liar. You were heading for the forge."
Arya crossed her arms. "If you knew where I was going, why'd you stop me, little brother?"
"No way. If I don't get to see Shireen right away, you have to wait to see Gendry."
Arya glared at him. "Have you even gotten up the balls to kiss her yet?"
Rickon's cheeks reddened but he remained defiant. "That's none of your concern," he said, sounding far too much like Sansa for Arya's liking. "Stables first, then Sansa. She will come find you, you know."
The rest of their group came in at that moment, their horses breathing heavily. Arya threw her hands up in a huff and turned towards the stables, sparing one more look in the direction of the forge.
After leaving their horses with the stable hands, the group went into the castle and to the main hall, where Sansa and Jon were waiting. Sansa smiled widely and hugged Arya and Rickon tightly.
It's good to have you both home."
Arya hugged Jon, and squealed as he lifted her off her feet, making her feel like a child once more. "It's good to see you too," she said once she was safely back on the ground. Sansa and Jon greeted the other members of the group and then they proceeded into one of the smaller rooms and sat at the round table to give their report as usual.
Arya gave an overview of the towns, their supplies, and any problems they had faced. Then she nodded at Rickon, who took over with a much detailed report of each town. Her mind wandered as she listened to Rickon's voice recite the report he had drilled with her on countless nights.
Gendry would be in the forge, pounding away at some hunk of metal or another to create something useful and sturdy. Her hand went up to her neck, fingered the pendant she always wore around her neck on a black cord - the silhouette of a howling wolf. It was Gendry's first present to her (of many), and it was one of her most treasured. The other most treasured rested on the third finger of her left hand, a twisted silver ring to match one on his hand. She hated being away from him for even a day. It sounded petty to some, and she knew of many soldiers who left their loved ones for long periods of time, but she was not like that. Not anymore. After seeing him in Braavos, she barely left his side at first. Only after months of traveling and returning to take Winterfell with her family did she feel comfortable doing her own tasks and leaving him to his work. They always came home to each other at night, something Arya tried to never take for granted.
"Hello, anyone there?" A hand waved in front of her face.
Arya batted it away, feeling the heat creep up her cheeks. "What?"
Jon was biting back a smile, and Rickon was openly grinning cheekily. Only Sansa could keep a straight face, and even her mouth twitched slightly before she repeated herself.
"I asked you if Rickon covered it all?"
Shit. She hadn't been listening. But of course he had. "Yes, of course. Were you expecting anything else?"
Rickon spoke up. "I thought you could tell them about the girls who had asked you about the training school."
Damn. Why'd he have to go and bring that up now? Arya glared at him, then sighed, turning to face Sansa.
"Some of the girls in the neighboring town got wind of the fact that I was thinking of starting some training, basic defense moves, for anyone who wanted to learn. They had some questions, and I answered as best I could but told them it would be quite a while before anything was official."
Sansa smiled. "That's great! Now you know you have interest. We could develop a great program. You and Jon should sit down to plan this out further."
Jon's smile was downright devilish as he looked at her. "Yes, absolutely. I know Arya can talk for hours about the skills people should learn, who should teach, what should be taught. We can even find the builders and get their opinion on where to start breaking ground. Right, sister?"
Arya stared at him. He couldn't be serious. He knew exactly where her mind had been. The whole table did. She fingered her ring and stood up.
"Right. Well, you know how much I love to talk about that school. So of course when the girls asked me, I couldn't help but tell them all my ideas. But thankfully, Rickon was right next to me while I explained everything. So he can provide you with all the details. If that's all, then?"
She all but ran out the door, hearing Jon burst into laughter behind her, as Sansa said, "I can't wait to hear what you have to say, Rickon."
Arya took the steps two at a time, her boots clattering on the stone. She walked quickly through the village, waving but not stopping to talk with those who greeted her. Most of them smiled knowingly anyways, as her cheeks burned.
She pushed open the door to the forge noisily, feeling the heat hit her right as she was pushed to the ground. Laughing, she threw her arms around Nymeria, who was standing over her, tongue out and tail wagging. "It's good to see you, too, girl."
She heard him before she saw him, coming up behind Nymeria in his dark boots and trousers and removing his apron. Gendry grinned as he saw Nymeria standing over her and came over, patting the wolf lightly. Nymeria moved and he held out a hand to Arya to help her up. She grasped it and he lifted her up and into his arms, kicking the forge door closed, and she sighed contentedly. His arms were strong and comforting around her back; her hands were thrown around his shoulders, head nestled in his neck. After a minute, he moved as if to let her go, but she gripped his shoulders harder and shook her head, feeling his chest move as he laughed and whispered, "I missed you, too."
They stayed like that for some time, content to be in each other's arms. Eventually she unwound herself from him, but only to grasp his head to bring it down to hers for a kiss. Their lips met slowly, lazily, like old lovers, and she sighed into his mouth. His tongue tangled with hers, teasing. His hands brought her closer again, and she gripped his short hair harder as he left her lips to trail small kisses down her neck and up again, to the spot behind her ear that drove her crazy. She moaned, and he brought his head up, a smirk on his face. "I missed that, too."
"Shut up," she gasped.
His smirk grew wider. "As m'lady commands," he said, before capturing her lips in another kiss and walking her backwards into the forge.
Chapter 4: Ours
Arya and Sansa talk about Gendry.
School just started up for me, so I'm going to try to keep updating for my own Arya/Gendry fix as long as I can :)
Sansa walked through the godswood, grateful for the beautiful weather that had graced Winterfell today. The sun was shining, and despite the ever-present chill in the air, it was a lovely day. She had taken a break from her duties, on Jon and Bran's insistence, and decided to walk through the godswood for some peace and quiet. As she rounded one of the trees, though, she stopped in her tracks, taken aback by the sight before her.
Arya lay with her back against the tree, her hair escaping its long braid. She was in a soft grey tunic and breeches, her legs stretched out in front of her. Stretched out next to her, and partially on top of her, was the blacksmith. Gendry, Sansa corrected herself. Arya hated when people didn't remember his name. He too, was in a loose shirt and breeches, having left his heavy apron back at the forge. His head was resting on her belly, his arms loosely holding her around her waist, and her hands stroked his hair lightly, almost absentmindedly. He was sound asleep.
Arya looked the most peaceful she had in days, Sansa thought. When she wasn't training with the other guards, Arya was checking on the rebuilding of Winterfell. Gendry, with his size and strength, had been a hugely helpful addition to the team of builders, and as such, Arya had been involved in every step of the recovery process for their home. Now, she gazed down at Gendry with a small smile on her face, her features softening as they always seemed to around him.
Sansa knew the stories surrounding Gendry. Robert Baratheon's bastard. She didn't care, and neither did the people of Winterfell. He had helped bring Arya home to reclaim Winterfell and fought beside her and Jon during the battle. After, he had helped with the rebuilding - and still was - alongside his daily work at the forge. He was well-known to many, despite being a man of few words. His feelings for Arya were obvious - they were never too far apart, and while they were never publicly romantic, Sansa didn't miss the small touches and smiles they shared.
Sansa knew she should have moved, but she couldn't help watch her younger sister. She had once been so sure they would never meet again. Now, they were only a few feet apart.
Just then, Arya looked around and spotted Sansa. She didn't seem to react, but her face was guarded again, and her shoulders tightened with some tension. Sansa sighed, moving forward. When she was near enough to talk without waking Gendry, she surprised Arya by plopping down in a very ungainly fashion. Arya's lips curled and her hands resumed stroking Gendry's hair.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised you came out here," Arya grinned slightly. "I heard Jon and Bran practicing their arguments against you earlier."
Sansa giggled softly. "Well, they worked. Not that it took me too much convincing, since I was staring out the window as it were." She looked at Gendry. "I'm surprised you got him away from the forge and the builders."
Arya snorted. "Stupid bull. He was so insistent on using the good weather to build, but when nobody showed, he gave in." She smiled slyly at Sansa. "I told them all to take out their girls."
Sansa laughed. Arya had not lost her sense of humor over all these years, that was certain. Arya looked down at Gendry and continued quietly, "He's been so tired lately. I wanted him to get some rest."
"You've both been working very hard," Sansa agreed softly. They hadn't truly talked about Gendry, not really, ever since they were reunited. Sansa had been afraid to broach the subject, fearing it would cause an argument she didn't want to have, especially after finally having Arya back. But now, in the quiet of the godswood, Sansa felt brave enough to dip her toes in the water.
"Please don't ask me if I'm happy," Arya cut her off bitterly. "I'm sick of that question."
"That's not what I was going to ask at all!" Sansa leaned forward, trying to make Arya see the truth. "Arya, do you really think me foolish enough to ask that? Anyone who sees the two of you together has no reason to ask you that."
Arya gazed at her for a moment, eyes slightly wide, then reached out one hand and placed it over Sansa's. "Thank you."
Sansa smiled, clasping her hand. "What I was going to ask, is if you and Gendry wanted to stay at the castle, instead of by the forge? I know it's easier for him to work, but I just wanted to offer it."
Arya smiled. "I think we'd rather stay where we are. I quite like the place. It's simple, and..." she trailed off, then shrugged and smiled softly. "It's ours."
They sat in companionable silence for a minute or two, before Arya spoke again.
"I know what people must think, us living together unmarried and all," she said, looking down. "I don't really care about them, but I know it's important to you. Is it ... do you think it's wrong?"
For a second, Arya looked like a young girl again, and Sansa wanted to take her in her arms and make her every promise. Instead, she gripped her hand tightly and looked her in the eyes.
"Arya, nobody cares about your living situation. You're alive. That's all they wanted. You are a Stark, and you've come home." She paused, letting her words sink in, then added, "I suspect we owe Gendry more thanks than we've given. But don't think people don't recognize what he's done for you. For our home."
Arya simply stared at her for some time. Then she smiled and said, "I've got to start giving you more credit."
"That's what I've been saying all along."
Chapter 5: Interrupted
His lips separated from hers with a groan as the knocking continued. "They aren't going to go away," he sighed.
His lips collided with hers with the same urgency she'd shown moments before. This time, though, instead of her frenzied attack, he cradled her face with his hands, slanting his mouth over hers warmly. She moaned, opening her mouth and meeting his tongue with hers. She stretched up on her tip-toes and put her arms around his neck, fingers raking through his hair and and over the nape of his neck, wrenching a groan from him as he took his mouth off hers to breathe.
"How does this keep happening here?" He asked, grinning as he put his forehead to hers and walking her backwards. Her face was flushed, hair wild and loose around her head, lips already swollen from kissing.
She hit his chest lightly with her hand. "Shut up."
"I'm serious," he laughed. "I'll never get any work done if we always end up like this."
"Do you want to stop?"
"Gods, no." He covered her laugh with another lingering kiss that stole her breath once more, before lifting her to sit on the workbench in the corner. He stepped between her legs and put his arms around her, trailing small kisses down her jaw and neck. Her small sighs urged him on, as he peppered her neck with open-mouthed kisses and slipped his hand under her overly large tunic. She gripped his shoulders tightly as he caressed her skin slowly, lovingly.
"Gendry," she moaned softly. It got him every time. His fingers moved upwards, palming her breasts lightly, his touch still teasing. He kissed her again and she pulled him even closer, wanting to feel him everywhere. She ran her hands along his shoulders and the broad expanse of his back, raking her nails lightly over the muscles. Her hands wandered down, to the curve of his lower back, and she pressed lightly, feeling him thrust towards her and groan into her shoulder. She grinned triumphantly and pulled back to kiss him again, locking her legs around his waist.
He was about to pick her up and move to the cot in the back of the forge when he heard the knock.
"Seven hells," he muttered, dropping his forehead to rest against hers. "Please tell me you bolted the door, at least."
"Of course! But who is that?"
"My new, far too eager apprentice."
"Oh...that was today?"
"Any chance he'll go away?"
Gendry raised an eyebrow at her. She couldn't help but giggle at the expression on his face. "We really should stop doing this."
"Master Gendry! Are you in there? I'm to work with you today!" A voice shouted through the door.
Gendry sighed. "I'd better go let him in."
"I'll slip out the back," Arya smiled softly and kissed him quickly. He moved back and she hopped off the table.
Gendry tucked her hair behind her ear, stroking her cheek softly. "Come visit later?"
She pressed a quick kiss to his palm and started towards the back. "Of course. Maybe this time I'll leave the bolt unlocked." She winked and left, hearing his laughter follow her out.
Chapter 6: Jealous
Post ADwD. A nighttime conversation between Arya and Gendry.
"Tell me," Arya demanded, tugging on his shirt.
"Why is it so important?" Gendry looked down at her.
Arya paused, her fingers resting on his chest. "I just...I want to know."
Gendry sighed. "You'll laugh."
"Fine. But you have to tell me yours."
She paused, biting her lip. How he wanted to bite it for her. "Alright, deal," she said.
Gendry groaned and covered his face with his hands. How had they gotten on this topic?
They were lying tangled in bed after a long day of training (for Arya) and repairs (for him), softly chatting. He was in his loose breeches, Arya in one of his shirts (she looked far too good in them), her hair falling loosely over her shoulders. The conversation had wandered from the days events to Rickon and Shireen's engagement. Arya had laughed, remembering back to when they'd first met. Rickon was convinced that Shireen was interested in some lord or another, and Shireen was convinced her scars had scared off Rickon for good. Both were so shy, Arya had to practically bang their heads together to get them to see the truth. She told Gendry as such, and wondered aloud how they could have been so blind.
He was silent for a minute, then responded softly, "Sometimes people can't see what's right in front of them."
She had lifted her head from his shoulder to look at him quizzically, grey eyes studying him. Before he could backtrack, she had pounced on his choice of words. And here they were.
"Come on, Gendry." Arya shook his shoulder.
Arya stared at him for a long time, willing her mouth not to twitch. It didn't work.
Gendry frowned. "I knew you would laugh."
"I didn't laugh!" She protested, now grinning widely. She moved so she was now lying completely on top of him, her hair falling down and creating a curtain around his face.
"You were really jealous of Jaqen?"
"Yeah," he admitted, hands coming up to slowly caress her sides. "I suppose I didn't realize it was jealousy at the time. More like ... a protectiveness. You seemed to spend so much time with him, and you were always going to him for help, when you could have asked me. I wanted you to trust me like that."
He smiled at her. "I know it's silly. But I was concerned and protective, and yes, jealous that he was taking my little friend away from me." He kissed her nose lightly.
Arya leaned down, whispering, "You stupid, stupid bull," before kissing him slowly and deeply. She felt his hands tangle in her hair as their lips and tongues met sweetly. He bit her bottom lip, making her moan softly. She pulled away enough to see his face.
"I was young, and out for vengeance. Jaqen ... he reminded me of my old fighting instructor. He had the tools and training I wanted to get my revenge. I couldn't see past that sometimes," Arya explained haltingly. "I had a mission, and I thought he could help me. You helped me forget, sometimes. I see now that that wasn't a bad thing."
She stroked Gendry's face. "But I always trusted you. You know that, right?" she wanted to make sure he knew.
"I do, love. I do know."
He pulled her back down and kissed her in response.
After a few minutes, he broke off and grinned. "Your turn."
Chapter 7: Mouse
This is a completely modern, AU. Arya is a fearless fencing champion and adventurer, but there are some things she will always have to call Gendry for. Established relationship between Arya & Gendry.
Arya might be a little OOC but I just need to get this out of my system. Loosely based on what happened to me tonight, and the fact that I wish I had a Gendry (hell, anyone) to call when I was freaked out.
The knock sounded twice.
"It's open!" Arya yelled from the couch.
Gendry opened the door and rushed in, his dark hair slightly damp from the drizzle outside. He saw her curled into a corner of the couch, holding her knees to her chest, and sat down next to her gently.
"Damn, Arya, what happened?" He brushed her hair behind her ear.
"It's over there. In my trash can."
Arya glared at him. "The mouse, stupid!"
Gendry stared at her, then laughed. "Come on, really, what's in there?"
She hit his chest once, then his shoulder when he laughed again. "I told you on the phone!"
Gendry raised an eyebrow. "No, you didn't. All you said was, 'Gendry, please come over because I really need your help. Please.'"
"Well I did! I do!" Arya exclaimed defiantly. Gendry noticed she still wouldn't move from her spot on the couch.
He looked at the trash can, then back at her, and then got up slowly, moving toward the garbage. He pushed the swinging lid of the can back just enough to peek inside, then looked back at her, eyebrows raised and mouth twitching.
"It's a mouse."
"Yes, stupid, haven't you been listening?!" Arya all but shrieked.
"You...you called me over here...to help you with a mouse?" Gendry's smirk grew. "You, Arya Stark, who is willing to pick a fight with just about any prick on the block, and who likes to wander London at night? You are scared of a mouse?"
Arya pressed her knees closer to her chest, curling even further into a ball. "You can laugh and tease me all you want. Will you please get rid of it when you're done?" she asked quietly, not looking at him.
Gendry stopped smiling and watched her. Her already small form looked even smaller all curled up, and she was far too quiet for his liking. He walked over to her, picking her up gently and then sitting down on the couch with her in his lap. "Arya. Hey, look at me. Please." He curled a finger under her chin until her grey eyes met his blue ones.
"You know I'll help you. I was just teasing, like we always do."
She sighed and rested her forehead against his. "I know. I'm sorry. I just...I hate this. You're right! How could I be afraid of a little mouse? And even if I were, why should I call a boy to come help me?" She groaned and pulled away. "I'm becoming Sansa."
Gendry chuckled softly and held her tighter. "I'm glad you called me," he told her, placing a small kiss on her nose.
She rolled her eyes. "Why, so you can hold it over me at every opportunity?"
Arya cocked an eyebrow.
"Alright, maybe now and then," Gendry conceded with a smile. "But I'm glad you called me because it means you trust me with something like this, when it clearly makes you so uncomfortable."
"Well of course, stupid. Who else would I call?" Arya smiled shyly, leaning in to kiss him softly.
The can in the corner shook slightly as the mouse ran around inside trying to find an escape route. Arya tensed again Gendry's arms, gripping his shoulders tightly. Gendry reached up and took her hands in his, threading his fingers through hers. "Do me a favor, okay love? Sit down again and close your eyes."
His mouth twitched at the skeptical look on her face. "Come on, trust me."
She sighed and moved off him, curling up in the corner again and closing her eyes. Gendry took off his jacket and from an inner pocket pulled out his mp3 player and earbuds. He adjusted it to one of her favorite playlists and placed the music player in her hands. Arya's face relaxed into a small smile as she realized what she was holding. He slipped the earbuds into her ears and whispered, "Just hit play."
He watched her for a minute, knowing the moment she lost herself in the music. Her shoulders relaxed, as did her death-grip on his music player. Her toes even loosened their grip on the couch cushion. He smiled briefly, soaking in the fact that she trusted him enough to let down the fiery guard she usually had up against the world. He knew he was crazy about her, but he was starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, she was starting to feel the same way.
Maybe he owed that mouse just a little.
Chapter 8: Protect
Post ADwD - Arya never goes into battle without one special item.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
This battle was like so many others before it. She danced through most of the soldiers, feeling her sword slip in and out of their bodies and steal lives moment by moment. They were already calling her The Young Wolf Reborn. At first, she had resisted the title, but soon came to wear it proudly, in honor of her brother Robb. If this was how she would reclaim her home, then so be it. She would finish Robb's work.
So Arya fought, grey eyes devoid of emotion, her long, dark braid whipping behind her. She had thought it would be a nuisance, and in more than one instance, her opponents had grabbed the end of her braid, trying to pull her off balance. She felt a slight tug at her head as someone did just that, then a yell of pain as he felt the spikes embedded in her hair, before he was silenced by Gendry's hammer. Gendry sent her a grim smile, then moved onto the next man.
And so it continued. Men just didn't learn their lesson. One after the other went for her braid, trying to find anything to stop her, and each one was met with the spikes. The first time it happened, though, she was caught off guard. If Tom hadn't happened to be nearby, her wounds would have been worse. As it was, Gendry was furious afterwards.
Of course, Gendry had done it as a joke when they sparred in the mornings, but that had always felt more like a lover's touch, meant to pull her closer for other reasons. And although he had voiced his concerns about her hair before, she couldn't bring herself to cut it, and he didn't ask her to.
So when he heard what happened, he went straight to the forge, taking out his frustrations on the steel while Arya sat on the bench quietly. When she couldn't take it anymore, she had come up behind him and slipped her arms around him, pressing a kiss between his shoulder blades and then simply holding him. He was breathing hard and shaking slightly as he set the hammer down. He had turned in her arms and held her close, content to rest his head atop hers.
The next morning, she found a thin, spiked strap lying next to her sleeping furs. She was testing the edges of the spikes with her fingers when she heard him behind her.
"I wouldn't recommend that," he said, coming and taking the cord from her gently.
"What's it for?" She watched as he knelt behind her, slowly gathering her hair and starting to braid it. Normally, she loved when he did this and began to relax, but today she felt a slight tug in addition to her hair weaving in and out. After he had tied the braid off, she began to pull it around her shoulder, but he stopped her hand.
"Careful," he warned. He took the braid by its tip and lifted it up for her to see, and she gasped. The strap was woven into the braid, disappearing into her dark hair. But the spikes were protruding throughout the length of the braid, ready to draw blood from the next hand that tried to grab her.
Arya looked at Gendry and the slightly shy smile on his face. "So, what do you think?" he asked.
She scooted closer, reaching up to pull him closer by his shirt collar, and kissed him on the cheek. "It's perfect," she whispered before pulling back.
His ears were slightly red at the tips, and she knew she was probably blushing slightly as well, but he looked so pleased that she forgot to care.
Now, when Arya went into battle, a small piece of Gendry was always there with her, protecting her when he couldn't be right by her side. She knew it gave him a sense of security, but she was surprised to find herself always reaching for her braid before a fight, running her fingers along the spikes for comfort. He'd caught her doing it now and then, and simply smiled, his blue eyes bright. She smiled as well, happy to carry this piece of him with her always.
So this turned into something completely different than I intended...hope you liked it anyways!
The spiked cord that I mention in Arya's braid is an idea I first read in Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper trilogy (Terrier, Bloodhound and Mastiff). I just loved the idea of it and thought it would be perfect for Arya also. Sorry if the description of it is a little weird, I couldn't think of how to describe it by itself, I just had the image of it in her hair.
Chapter 9: Want
Post ADwD. It's been a few years since Arya and Gendry returned from Westeros and helped reclaim Winterfell. They've been married a while but one day Arya sees Gendry with some kids and she's surprised at all the feelings the sight gives her.
Something that I thought of today during my morning physics lecture. Just had to get it out so that I could actually listen to physics again.
Arya walked into the castle towards the main hall, her long, dark hair loose over her shoulders today. She was wearing a grey tunic, with a slight design at the collar and sleeves (Sansa's doing), and dark leggings and boots, as usual. It was a quiet day at Winterfell, and after her training, she'd gone back to the forge only to see a note from Gendry saying Rickon had dragged him to the castle. So she followed, smiling at the thought of gangly, wild Rickon, and her sturdy, quiet husband together. She heard the laughter and children's voices before she saw the main hall.
She rounded the corner and grinned, spotting Gendry's tall form in the midst of the other families and children that were gathered. He was talking quietly with some of the other men, his head bowed slightly to catch their words. Probably another job. He was never without work anymore - they both were grateful for that.
As Arya looked around, she noticed all the food out on the tables, with people collecting slowly, filing in from different entrances to the hall. She realized there must have been an impromptu midday feast, as various women seemed to be adding their own foods to the main table for everyone to try. Sansa saw her from one side of the room and waved, mouthing "leftovers" wryly.
Arya smiled and turned back in Gendry's direction. He was nodding at something Lem was telling him, but his blue eyes were on Arya. As she was about to make her way to him, she heard a familiar yell from the other side of the hall. Almost everyone's heads snapped to the doorway, seeing a small, dark-haired boy barreling through.
"Master Gendry! Look, mum, Master Gendry's here!" the toddler yelled at his mother, who walked through the door after him, holding the hands of two little girls.
Before she could reply, he took off again, heading straight for Gendry. Most people laughed and turned back to their conversations, but Arya stood and watched as Gendry excused himself and bent down to receive the boy, who launched himself at Gendry as soon as he was close enough.
Gendry laughed, absorbing the boy's weight and standing up smoothly in one move. "Hey little man. You get bigger every day, don't you Tommy?" He grinned and ruffled the boy's hair, then called over his head, "What're you feeding him, Nel?"
His mother laughed softly, then went to the table with her girls. Gendry turned back to Tommy and whispered something to him. Tommy nodded clapped his hands in delight. Gendry raised him up slightly, then swung him around so that Tommy was astride his shoulders.
"Hang on, you hear?" Gendry asked him. Tommy nodded and grabbed Gendry's ears, making him wince. Arya covered her mouth as she giggled. Leave it to Gendry to make her giggle, of all things.
Gendry walked around slowly, Tommy on his shoulders. Tommy had found his way into Gendry's forge - she could never think of it as anyone's but his, now - a few months earlier, on one of his many adventures. Gendry, not knowing where he'd come from, had let him sit and watch, as long as he promised to behave. The boy, fascinated by the work, agreed. His mother came by later, frantic, only to see Tommy sitting still for the first time in as long as she could remember. Since then, she'd allowed him to visit the forge and see Gendry - and by extension, Arya. Tommy's mother always joked that he came out of the womb running, until he ran into Gendry's hammer.
Arya stood for a few minutes just watching Gendry and Tommy, not realizing she was smiling. Tommy's shock of dark hair was reminiscent of Gendry's, making her chest tighten with want. Arya had never thought of herself as the motherly type, and she still didn't. But Gendry - he would be a wonderful father. Watching him bounce Tommy on his shoulders slightly, talking to the boy and answering his questions, she had no doubts. She, she could learn to be a good mother. Gendry would help, as he had so many times before. She giggled now, for crying out loud. But he was meant to be a father someday, of that she was certain. As usual, he had let her come to her own conclusions on the matter, but they hadn't openly talked about it yet.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she almost didn't realize Gendry was headed towards her until he was a few feet away. He had a curious look on his face, and she knew he'd caught her. But Tommen, bless the child, was too excited to see "Miss Arya" to notice.
"Miss Aryaaaaa!" he yelled, directly into Gendry's ear.
Arya stifled a laugh and smiled, reaching up to pat Tommy's knee. "Hello Tommy. Still causing trouble?" She winked.
"He wouldn't be Tommy if he wasn't," Gendry grinned slyly. "I'm helping him. Want to join?"
Arya laughed. "You came to the right person."
Just then, Tommy's mom appeared behind them. "Gendry, thank you for distracting my son some. But I insist he eats before running off again."
Tommy groaned loudly, but Gendry looked up at him. "You heard your mum. Down you go," he said, bending slightly so Tommy could clamber off. "We'll have plenty of time later, don't you worry."
"Plus, you wouldn't want to get tired out before the fun begins, would you? You'll have to eat if you want to keep up," Arya put in.
Tommy's mother smiled gratefully at them, then followed her son as he made a beeline for the food.
"He's a sweet kid," Arya said softly. "Reminds me of ... well, me, actually."
Gendry laughed. "Why do you think I like him so much?"
She looked at him, blue eyes twinkling and roguish smile firmly in place. Behind that, though, there was also a silent question.
She took his hand, kissing his palm lightly, and leaned into him. "He's definitely a handful, though," she said, trying to gauge his reaction.
His grip on her hand tightened and he placed a kiss on top of her head. "Nothing we couldn't handle."
Arya smiled into his tunic, her face pressed into his chest. She felt him tentatively stroke her back, trying to figure out if he'd said the right thing. When she felt the butterflies in her stomach settle, she leaned back slightly and met his hopeful eyes.
"Be careful what you wish for," she said, watching the understanding dawn on him, as his face split into a wide grin. They stood there smiling foolishly for a few more seconds before Tommy's yells brought them back to the present. The rest of their afternoon, though, neither could seem to explain why they couldn't wipe the smiles from their faces.
Chapter 10: Names
Arya contemplates taking Gendry's last name.
Arya hacked at the wooden post with her sword, letting out her frustrations in the only way she knew how.
It was stupid. She had been consumed by the same thought for a few days now, and she couldn't seem to stop her mind from running in circles. She was marrying Gendry, that was certain. But had to go and be stupid and honorable and ask Sansa to legitimize him, the same way she'd done for Jon. Arya didn't want a Baratheon, she wanted Gendry. Just Gendry. Thankfully, Sansa had held off and not done anything on the spot, preferring to converse with Arya first. And now Arya didn't know what to do.
Having Gendry legitimized wouldn't make people stop talking, she knew that much. People would always gossip, no matter if there was no truth to it. But that shouldn't have been a problem - most of Winterfell knew Gendry, respected him for his work and help. They didn't care about names. It was the people outside Winterfell, the ones that dragged her family into their stupid game. They were the ones who would care, if he was Gendry Baratheon all of a sudden. No matter that he couldn't care less about the throne. Her father hadn't cared either, and they got him in the end. She wasn't about to let that happen to him.
She swung harder at the post, only stopping when she heard someone chuckling behind her. Arya turned, wiping sweat from her brow, to see Jon leaning against the fence. She smiled tiredly at her older brother.
"Feel better?" He asked, grinning.
"For now." She sheathed her sword and sat down on the ground, leaning against the post.
Jon came over and sat next to her. For a while they sat in comfortable silence, until Arya huffed and laid her head on his shoulder. "You were there, weren't you? When the idiot walked in and asked Sansa to change his name?"
Jon's voice shook with barely concealed laughter. "Yes, I was there."
"Did he seem to want it? Did he want the name for himself?"
"Arya, all of Winterfell knows the only thing he wants is you."
Arya smiled softly. "Shut up," she said, but there was no force behind it.
"Can I ask you something?" Arya leaned back to meet Jon's eyes. "Would it be so bad, him having the Baratheon name? I think he could do good things with it."
She sighed. That was the other part of what had been bothering her. It was the possibility of what Gendry could bring to a name that had been so tainted over the past few years. She would be proud of that, of course, especially knowing that her father was best friends with a Baratheon as well.
"It's not that I don't know that. I know he would make that name respectable again. It's just..." she trailed off, unsure of how to explain herself.
Jon nudged her. "Just what? Talk to me, Arya."
"It's Dad." Arya looked down, playing with the hem of her tunic. "Part of me hates Gendry for even asking for the name, only because I know how happy it would have made Dad, to see a union between his family and his best friend's. It'd be what he'd always wanted for us."
"But?" Jon prodded her.
"I'm afraid of what it'll mean for Gendry. They won't leave him alone, Jon. " He didn't have to ask who. "And I don't want...I don't want that for him."
Jon sighed. "Arya, Dad only wanted to see you happy. You know he would have approved of your choice as long as it was what you wanted." He made her look at him. "It's what we all want now. Sansa didn't legitimize Gendry because she knew you were happy the way things were. Gendry only asked because he thought it would make things easier for you and us."
Arya sighed. "I know he did. He thinks of everyone but himself."
Jon smiled, then turned sly. "Frankly, I think Dad would be so astonished that you're even marrying, he wouldn't give a damn what name you took." He laughed when she punched him on the arm.
His voice became serious again. "Was the thing about Dad the only thing stopping you from becoming Mrs. Waters?"
Arya blushed furiously at the question, feeling the heat spread down her neck and hating that she couldn't stop the smile from spreading across her face. Jon laughed at her reaction and grinned. "Well, that's my answer."
"Shut up," Arya shoved him. He was still laughing softly.
"I think I'd make a good blacksmith's wife," she said softly, more to herself than anything else. But Jon heard her.
"Then why don't you go tell your blacksmith that?" He smiled at her. He was right - Gendry was hers, and she was his. Names wouldn't change that.
Suddenly, Arya couldn't move fast enough. She hugged Jon quickly and nearly tripped over her own feet in her mad dash to the forge. She pushed the door open and walked in, stopping when she saw Gendry at work. She was overcome by a wave of nervousness, suddenly, and the words got stuck in her throat. He looked up and must have seen something on her face, because he put the hammer down and pulled off his apron, coming to stand in front of her.
"Hi, you," he said softly. She loved the way he said that. Like there could be no one else.
"Hi," she whispered. His blue eyes were concerned. He thinks something's wrong, she realized. She cleared her throat, trying to think of the right words.
"Do you want to be a Baratheon?" she asked instead. "Don't answer because of what you think it means for us. Do you want the name?"
She saw his face change, and knew his answer before the decision to answer truly flashed across his face. "No," he sighed. "I don't want it."
Arya nodded. "Good. I thought so."
His blue eyes were still staring at her with uncertainty. "Is it? Good, I mean."
Arya realized she hadn't answered his question properly.
"You promise, no more nonsense of changing your name?"
He nodded. She let out a breath and smiled shakily at him.
"Now, will you make me Mrs. Waters or not, stupid?" Arya's voice caught on the last word.
Gendry's eyes lit up and his lips crashed into hers as an answer. She held onto him tightly, meeting his tongue with the same ferocity. They gasped into each other's mouths, kissing fiercely and urgently. Eventually, it turned into a slower, deeper kiss that held both their silent vows to each other.
When they finally broke apart for air, Gendry smiled and rested his forehead against hers, whispering, "I thought you'd never ask."
Chapter 11: Kiss
Arya and Gendry's first kiss. Kind of a continuation of my first chapter of this drabble set, "Unexpected." But not really necessary to read that first - unless you want to, of course :)
Oh, and, I'm kind of ignoring that Gendry was her target in that first chapter...it doesn't really service the story I want to tell here.
It had been a few weeks since he'd found her, on the docks in Braavos. They'd stood there for what seemed like forever - yet not long enough - Arya thought, just holding each other, and remembering.
Now, as she walked next to Gendry's tall form, taking several short steps to match his long ones, she marveled at how far she'd come in such a short time. After they'd gotten over the initial shock and emotion of seeing each other again, Arya had remembered that there were eyes and ears everywhere. She would know- up until a few minutes before, she'd been one of them. Gendry was determined not to let her go a second time, though, and put up a fight at her suggestion to separate and meet elsewhere.
"No. I didn't come all this way just to lose you again, Arya," he said, jaw stubbornly set.
"You idiot," she whispered fiercely, ignoring the slight twitch of his lips and how happy it made her feel to see it. "You've already attracted enough attention. I promise I'll meet you. I swear it. I just have to get something first."
"Let me come with you."
"I can't. I don't want you near there." Her voice became pleading. "Please, Gendry." Something else crossed his face for a moment, too quick for her to pick up, and then it was gone. She opened her mouth to say something more, but he held up a hand.
"You've got 'til sunset, then I'll come looking for you. You pick the place."
Arya sighed in relief and chose one of the abandoned buildings in the city, not too far from the docks. He nodded, then shifted on his feet, looking unsure. She realized she was just as reluctant to leave him as he her. One of us has to go or we'll be like this the whole day, she thought. She nodded at Gendry once and turned to go, her throat too tight to say anything else.
A few steps away, she turned around, feeling his blue eyes still on her. He hadn't moved. She swallowed and walked back up to him, surprising herself by putting her hand up to his neck to draw his head down to hers. She leaned her forehead against his, as he had done earlier, watching as his eyes closed and and he let out a breath.
"I promise. I'll see you soon," she whispered.
His eyes opened and he leaned forward even more, brushing her nose lightly with his. "I'll hold you to that."
This time when she left, so did he. And she had showed up hours later, as promised, holding Needle tightly alongside a small rucksack. This time when she saw him, he didn't hesitate to lift her up off the ground, sword and all, and she held onto him just as tightly.
After that, they'd crossed the Narrow Sea again on a return trip to Westeros. Gendry fell back into his place as her protector easily, as if he'd never left. Now, they were traveling through Westeros, stopping at various inns when it got too cold to be outside. Walking next to him now, Arya realized they hadn't really touched since that day. Now and then he would offer a helping hand or they would brush against each other, but nothing more. Their conversation flowed easily, since they were avoiding a lot of the harder subjects. But Arya couldn't stop noticing him, couldn't stop wondering at how much he'd changed and yet remained her bull.
Gendry had never been one to converse quickly or freely, but Arya noticed now he carried himself with a quiet confidence, and when he did speak it was worth listening to. He was even stronger now, having continued smithing in the years they were apart. Arya wondered how much she had changed, and what he thought. She was still amazed at her own actions, having dropped everything for this boy from her past. But he wasn't just a boy. He was Gendry, and he'd come to find her, to remind her she was still Arya.
Maybe that was why it bothered her that all the other women kept taking notice of him. Almost everywhere they ran into people, there was at least one stupid girl or another, mooning over him from afar. The ones that got close either met Arya's glare or Gendry's disinterest and huffed off. That was another thing that bothered her. Gendry was no longer the boy who blushed or embarrassed as easily. It just seemed to spur all the other women on. Arya shook her head, trying to get rid of thoughts that would surely lead to no good.
That night, they stopped at an inn again. Just like the nights before, a couple of girls tried to flirt with Gendry, putting Arya in a sullen mood. He just laughed off their advances and tried to get Arya to talk, but she was annoyed with him and the girls and annoyed at herself for being annoyed. Her head hurt from everything, so she just begged off, saying she needed some rest. Going upstairs, though, she found herself restless and unable to sleep, so she slipped downstairs and out the back for a walk outside.
The cool night air was refreshing. Get a grip on yourself, Arya thought. You're not Sansa, mooning over boys left and right. But her traitorous side reminded her that this was not just a boy. He was Gendry, and she wanted him to be hers and nobody else's. The thought stopped her in her tracks, and she stood there for a moment, facing her realization.
His voice startled Arya out of her thoughts, and she whipped around, braid flying with her, to see where he could be. The stables. She definitely heard it from there. She walked in slowly, boots crunching on the hay and making enough noise, just in case...she didn't want to think about what might be happening. But when she rounded the stall where their horse was, she saw Gendry on the ground, checking the shoes.
He looked up, surprised. "Arya?" He stood to his full height and came out of the stall. "I thought you'd gone to bed?"
Arya suddenly felt shy and silly about her behavior earlier. "Couldn't sleep," she said softly, avoiding his eyes. "The horse okay?"
He frowned but didn't comment on her change of subject. "Yeah, he'll be alright for a while."
She nodded, scuffing her boot on the ground. "Surprised you're not with one of those girls," she tried to joke, but her voice wavered a little. Gendry frowned again and stepped closer.
"Now why would you be surprised about that?" he asked quietly.
"I...I just... I am, that's all," she stuttered, unsure of why he kept getting closer and why she couldn't seem to move.
"Really? Because I seem to remember spending every night with you lately." Gendry stopped right in front of her, looking down questioningly and more than a little amused.
Arya felt angry. How could he not see why she was annoyed? Or was he just playing with her? Either way, he was being stupid and she wanted to end the conversation.
"Never mind, then. I don't know why I brought it up," Arya made to move but he moved with her, blocking her way.
"Not so fast, milady." Seven hells. "Why did you bring it up, then?" Arya stared at him, surprised at his boldness. Unsure of how to answer, she just looked at him, noticing how his blue eyes were a little darker and full of...something. Hope. She tried to ignore the tingly feeling spreading throughout her, focusing on speaking properly.
"So what, I'm not allowed to ask you questions, then?"
"We both know that's not what this is about."
Arya wanted to hit him in frustration. "Then what is it about, Gendry?" There was that look again, on his face, just like in Braavos.
Gendry ran a hand through his hair. "It's about you knowing that I wasn't going to ever be with any of those girls in the inn, just like you're not gonna be with some lord or the next who wants you. Isn't that right?"
There it was. Arya gaped at him. He was strung tight as a bow, right in front of her, the energy coming off him in waves, but he still looked so unsure of himself despite his words. She realized suddenly that he was looking for confirmation. For her to tell him that everything he was saying was true.
Arya reached up on her tiptoes and locked her hands around his neck, bringing his head down and putting her lips on his. For a moment, they stood like that, and then Arya pulled away. Seven hells, I hope I did that right. Gendry was staring at her, a myriad of emotions crossing his face.
She bit her lip, trying to explain herself. "That...I'm not sure if I did that right, but I just wanted-"
She yelped as he reached out and pulled her to him, his lips slanting warmly over hers. Arya wound her arms around his neck again, trying to pull herself as close as possible, as his arms encased her just as tightly. I definitely did not do that right, Arya thought giddily. But I'll learn. One of Gendry's hands cupped her neck and she sighed into the kiss, opening her mouth and then gasping as his tongue touched hers. Gendry pulled away, misunderstanding, but her hands moved to his vest and pulled him back, whispering "no" before their lips collided again. He sucked lightly on her bottom lip and she was grateful he was holding her up, her legs having long since turned to jelly. This time, when he pulled away, she buried her face in his shoulder. Gendry held her for a moment, then swept her up, chuckling at her yelp.
"Just hang on a minute," he told her. He walked to the wall opposite the stalls and sat down, leaning back against it with Arya curled up in his lap. She lifted her face from his shoulder and bit her lip, looking at him. He groaned and kissed her again solidly, then pulled back.
"I can't not kiss you when you do that," he whispered.
Arya smiled slyly. "Good. I'll never stop it, then." She smiled even wider at his shout of laughter, which spooked some of the horses. Arya snuggled further into him, content to stay this way the whole night. Gendry seemed to have the same idea, continuing to press light kisses on her face. They spent the night in the stables, Arya learning even more about kissing and Gendry finding out she was still ticklish.
In the morning, Gendry's hair stuck up in every direction and Arya's lips were full and sore, but neither could stop touching the other for very long. As she leaned against him during breakfast, Arya was satisfied to see none of the women try to come near them. Gendry noticed her smug look and chuckled quietly, wrapping an arm around her. Her smile turned sheepish and she bit her lip. Gendry raised his eyebrow at her and grinned.
Chapter 12: Wedding
Modern AU - Arya and Gendry, established relationship, attend a wedding together.
Arya looked around the huge tent that was set up for her cousin's wedding. There were chairs everywhere, slowly being filled by people dressed to the nines in all their finery. She herself was in a dress, thankfully one of her own choosing, with her long, dark hair loose and falling over her shoulders. It was silvery-grey and silky, with thick straps on her shoulders that created a V-neckline. The dress was fitted to her waist, and then flared to her knees. It had been an impulse buy.
When she had tried it on with her sister, Sansa had smiled softly and twirled her once, and the dress moved with her. Although she would never admit it to him, all she had been able to think about was Gendry twirling her in much the same way. So she had bought it.
It had been completely worth the look on his face when he picked her up. She almost missed it, so busy was she looking at him similarly. He had rented a suit, but she was going to try to convince him to keep it. It fit him perfectly, stretching over his broad shoulders. He had smiled at her softly and leaned in for a kiss, which turned into more kisses, which turned into them catching a later cab to the wedding.
Arya felt Gendry's large, warm hand (he was always so warm) slide into her own, fingers intertwining with hers. She looked up at him to see a small grin on his face.
"Stop that," she admonished, unable to keep the smile from her face.
"You know what. You keep looking at me like that and I'll be picking leaves out of my hair again. Do you want a repeat of the engagement party?"
He raised an eyebrow "Well..."
She laughed and shook her head. "Don't answer that."
His laughter mingled with hers. They stood for a few minutes looking at the tent, and all the people filtering in, before Gendry broke the silence.
“Getting ideas for your own big day?”
“What?!” Arya whipped around to look at him. “No … I … you …” His face split into a sly grin. “You’re teasing me!”
She blushed furiously and started hitting him anywhere she could. He laughed and only mildly tried to fend her off. Arya stepped closer, grabbing his tie to pull him down. “Just for that, I get to pick the song for the first dance.” She gave him a sweet smile then turned on her heel, walking away and enjoying the gobsmacked expression on Gendry’s face.
A few steps later, he put an arm around her waist and pulled her back into his chest, resting his head on her shoulder.
“As long as I’m the one you’re dancing with, I don’t care what song it is,” he whispered.
Arya’s breath caught, and her legs turned to jelly. Damn him. Damn him for always being able to catch her off guard so that she couldn’t move. Or breathe. Or think. When she had regained some semblance of normality, she let out a breath and turned her face up to meet his.
Chapter 13: Sweater
Modern AU, established relationship, fluff. Arya & Gendry at school/uni.
not sure where all of this modern stuff is coming from lately, except that I really want a Gendry. Or Joe.
Arya slung her bag over her shoulder and joined the throng of kids heading out of the lecture hall. It was her last class on Friday, finally. She smiled as she ducked and weaved among the students, able to movie quickly through the crowd thanks to her small stature. The one time everyone wishes they were as small as I am, she thought.
She squeezed through the door and out into the fresh, chilly fall air. She was in a t-shirt and jeans, but didn't mind the weather. In fact, she welcomed it. A breeze played with her long hair, which was not braided, for once. Running late this morning from Gendry's, she'd barely had time to shower. Speaking of... Arya walked down the stairs and grinned, seeing Gendry leaning against the bike posts.
His blue eyes smiled as they found her in the crowd, oblivious to the other looks being thrown his way. Arya could see why. He was built like a jock, having worked long hours as a mechanic with his foster father during his youth. But most people didn't know that last bit. The girls just saw another piece of eye candy. Arya knew the story behind him, and learned something new almost every day around him. It was one of her favorite parts of their relationship. It was constantly challenging and unpredictable, but built on a strong bond from childhood.
She hopped down the last step and walked up to meet him, her steps light.
"Hey you, long time no see," Gendry teased.
Arya stuck her tongue out. "Must be nice not having class on Friday."
Gendry stretched exaggeratedly. "Well, you know, senior privilege and all..." He grinned mischievously and winked.
"Shut it, you're only a junior," Arya said, but smiled despite herself.
Gendry laughed outright and threw his arm around her shoulder, hugging her close to him. He stroked her arm for a second, then pulled away abruptly.
"What's wrong?" Arya asked.
"You're freezing!" He started to unzip his black hoodie.
"What? No, I'm fine," Arya argued, rubbing her arms. She felt fine.
"Arya...come on." Gendry took one of her hands in both of his. "Your hand's like a block of ice! Can't you feel that?"
"But...well, you're always hot!" Gendry's lips twitched upwards as Arya rushed onwards. "Of course I feel cold to you. This is my normal temperature."
Gendry shook his head and unzipped his hoodie, shrugging out of it and handing it to her.
"Seriously, you don't need to...I'm really fine..." Arya protested feebly, but it was no use. He just looked at her, holding out the sweater, until she gave an exasperated sigh and grabbed it. He grinned as she pulled it on, and swept his hands under her hair to pull it out from under the hood. She smiled softly and pushed the sleeves up slightly. Damn, but it was comfortable. It was overly large, but she didn't feel silly or lost inside it. Instead, she felt like a girl wearing her boyfriend's sweater. It was warm and soft and very...Gendry.
She zipped up the front, shoved her hands in the pockets and looked up at his pleased face. "Happy?"
Gendry smiled, his eyes both amused and adoring all at once."Very." He leaned down and kissed her firmly, putting his arm back around her as they started walking.
"Won't you be cold?" Arya asked.
He grinned slyly. "I'll be fine. Apparently, I'm pretty hot." He laughed as she hit his side, his arm, whatever she could reach, her cheeks burning.
But she kept his sweater on for the rest of the day (and many days after), and he didn't ask for it back.
Chapter 14: Storm
yet another modern AU. Hurricane Sandy + questionable wildlife caught in my vents = new chapter!
Arya giggled and pressed closer to Gendry, burrowing her face in his t-shirt. His hand was stroking her long hair, now and then following it to her waist and tickling her there. He was stretched out on his bed with her half on top of him. They'd taken shelter at his house after it started raining on their date, after which Arya got frantic calls from her parents, explaining the hurricane watch had turned into a warning, and clearly, a full-blown storm. So she decided to stay where she was. Gendry had no complaints.
At first, it was just rain and wind, and the two of them spent the time talking and kissing and teasing. As the wind started to beat the rain harder against the windows, Arya felt Gendry tense momentarily, but she decided to ignore it. Until the lightning made him dig his hand into her waist and shut his eyes, not letting go until the following boom of thunder had stopped.
"Hey," Arya whispered. She smiled when he opened his eyes and went back to stroking her hair. "What was that all about?"
Gendry tried to smile and failed. "It's nothing."
"That was most certainly not nothing." Arya pulled herself up so she was nose-to-nose with Gendry. "Come on. Out with it."
He sighed. "I just...I don't like storms."
Arya stared at him. "How did I not know this?"
"It's not exactly something you want to tell your girlfriend," Gendry laughed nervously. "Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?"
"Says who?" Arya smacked his arm lightly, making him laugh more and pull her closer. "Seriously, how did I miss this?"
"Well I wasn't advertising it," Gendry said. "It's just...always been a fear of mine."
He shook his head. "Leave it alone."
Gendry huffed. "Must you know everything?"
"About you? Yes," she answered, undeterred.
He studied her for a few seconds before a corner of his mouth turned up, and she knew she'd won.
"I guess I associate these storms with some of my less favorite moments."
Arya waited, but he didn't elaborate any further. She opened her mouth, ready to keep grilling him, then hesitated at the look in his eyes. There was something incredibly sad in his expression, something she didn't want to force out of him. Arya knew what it was like to have secrets. She wanted to know Gendry's, but only when he was ready to tell her himself.
So instead, she grinned mischievously and leaned down to whisper in his ear. "I guess we'll just have to start making some new moments, then."
She started kissing down his neck slowly, biting softly here and there. It wasn't long before she was flipped on her back and he was looming over her, fitting his mouth to hers. Just as she was slipping her hands under his shirt, a loud crack of thunder sounded outside. She felt his muscles tense as he broke the kiss for a second, resting his forehead against hers.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, eyes closed.
Arya hugged him close, trailing her fingers up and down his spine soothingly.
"Don't worry," she whispered back. "I'll protect you."
Chapter 15: Uncertain
Post ADwD, Arya & Gendry have returned to Winterfell and helped Sansa reclaim her title and their home, but Gendry is still unsure about where he stands with Arya.
I finally got back to this! I had my first taste of season 3 from the featurette last night, and it seems to have thrown all my otp feels into overdrive, so here we go again! :)
(Also as a completely random side note, I was thinking during this chapter how much Arya & Gendry are like (or could be like) Anastasia and Dimitri from the kids movie (my favorite) Anastasia. He helps her find her family, they constantly argue but fall in love, the princess life isn't for her...I'm rambling.) On with it!
Gendry pounded the steel with his hammer, easily sinking into a rhythm of blows that let him think about very little else. Especially her. It was all he could do to keep his mind off Arya these days. Here in the forge, it was a little easier to forget that Arya was only a few steps away, just as she was every day now that they had reclaimed Winterfell.
He could still remember his shock at finding her in Braavos, the stroke of luck that he couldn't believe had come his way, and yet had been praying for throughout his voyage. At first, she looked just as he remembered, just taller. Her eyes were still the same, strong and steely grey, and her wit had only become sharper. Her hair was longer, too. He loved her long hair, although he hadn't told her so. And although she was still dressed in boy's clothing, he noticed other things about her body, too. He just hadn't realized that others also noticed, not until after they had won the battle for Winterfell and Sansa insisted on parading Arya around in dresses most of the days.
Initially, the adrenaline and cleanup that had come after the battle had afforded Arya and Gendry a lot of time together. They worked as a team, as they always had, and for a long time both kept on pretending that wouldn't change. Their time together on their return trip from Braavos had been quiet and uncertain for both of them, although both knew it was right. But they hadn't talked about anything beyond that. Their focus had been getting Winterfell back, and then the rebuilding. Gendry knew he was avoiding the topic, but he wasn't sure if Arya was avoiding it by choice or because of sheer obliviousness.
Then, when Sansa was crowned Queen of Winterfell, she insisted that Arya take on some duties as Princess as well. Arya had resisted, but as Gendry later found out, Sansa had insisted it would be in Winterfell's best interests, just as their parents would have wanted. As much as Arya wanted to fight her, she couldn't fight the argument, low blow as it was.
So instead she spent her evenings in the forge, often bringing Gendry snacks stolen from the kitchen as she pestered him with questions about what she was missing. At first he used to tell stories about the villagers, but seeing the light in her eyes dim as she realized how much she'd missed made him stop that soon enough. Instead, he gave her the short version and asked her more about her family, about Rickon, and Jon, and her plans to become a fighting instructor. He continued to work, making armor for the knights and also repairs for the villagers, while she talked. Her voice was soothing (something else he hadn't told her), and in those moments he could pretend this would be their life.
But his reverie was always disrupted by her showing up at the forge before or after an event, in a fancy dress laced up tightly in the back. As much as the mud on the hem or her wild hair would make him smile, the dress would always be a sharp reminder that they were from different worlds. One such night, Arya was plowing on about the unnecessary things Sansa put up with and, unthinkingly, mentioned a drunk lord's wandering hands on her. Gendry missed his mark completely and the steel bent into some undefinable shape. Arya had stopped mid-sentence and stared at him, as he stood at the table, fists clenched until he was sure he wasn't going to go find the stupid bugger. After that, there was no mention of drunk men, or dancing, but Gendry never forgot.
So on one such night, he tried to lose himself in his work, and it worked for a time. When he finally stopped and looked around, he was startled to see Sansa in the doorway.
"Your Grace?" He didn't mean for it to come out as a question, but there it was.
Sansa laughed softly. "Hello, Gendry. I'm sorry to interrupt."
"Not at all." Gendry shook his head, putting aside the new steel and wiping his hands on his apron before removing it. "May I ask...what brings you here?"
Sansa's smile dimmed as she moved further into the forge, and she wrapped her arms around herself, looking around. "Arya spends a lot of time here, does she not?"
Gendry wasn't sure what to make of that, so he decided to stay with the truth. "I suppose so, yes. Is there a problem?"
"Oh no, not at all!" Sansa's hands went up reassuringly. "I only ask because...I feel like I'm losing her, Gendry." Her voice shook and she sighed and sat down on a bench. "I know she talks to you. Is she terribly unhappy here? With me?"
Gendry was startled by the sadness he saw in her eyes. It prompted him to be slightly more brave, if only to help Arya.
"It's not that she's unhappy with you, Your Grace, but with what she's doing here." Gendry paused. "May I ask, why did you ask Arya to fulfill her duties as Princess rather than let her help out another way?"
"I thought she would want to leave," Sansa replied quietly. "I had lost her once, and I didn't want it to happen again. This was all I could think of. I just wanted to have my sister back."
Gendry was silent for a long time before responding. "All this time, Arya's felt useful, she's had a purpose. Whether it was finding you or taking back your home or helping to rebuild, she was involved fully, in her own way. Your purpose is to help also, but in a completely different way, one that makes Arya feel quite useless." He paused, unsure about his next words. Ah hell, you've come this far, Waters. "Have you thought about making Arya one of your guards?"
Sansa tilted her head, considering his words. "You really think she'd agree to that, after all this?"
"You're her sister. No matter what, that's not changing. This way, you can still see each other, but maybe you won't butt heads so much." Sansa smiled wryly, and Gendry had to grin back. "Alright, maybe you will. But Arya will feel useful again. These are situations she knows how to handle, and she will feel helpful. Plus, it will free up some time for her to help with the rebuilding and being an instructor."
Sansa stood up, a smile forming on her face. "You know my sister better than anyone, don't you?"
Gendry looked down sheepishly. "It's nothing."
"No." Something in her voice made him look up. "It's most definitely not nothing, Gendry."
He blinked, unsure of what to say. Sansa looked at him curiously. "Why haven't you said anything to her?"
"Because I know how the world works, Your Grace," Gendry smiled bitterly. "High-born ladies don't marry bastard smiths."
"How many times do I have to tell you? I am no lady! " Gendry and Sansa both jumped in surprise as Arya marched towards them from the back of the forge. Gendry had to fight to keep the smile off his face. Her hair was wild and loose about her face, and she was back in her usual belted tunic, leggings and boots. "You!" She smacked Gendry on the arm as soon as she got within reach. "You are an idiot. A stupid, stupid..." She threw her hands up and turned to Sansa, but not before Gendry noticed her grey eyes were unusually bright.
"You. You should have known better than to try and make a lady out of me." She gave her sister a quick, tight hug nonetheless. "He's right. Let me be part of your guard. I swear I can do better there."
Sansa smiled and kissed Arya on the cheek. "We'll talk more about this tomorrow. Promise." She clasped Arya's hand tight before giving Gendry a pointed look and leaving the forge, closing the door behind her.
Arya whirled back to face him, her eyes still bright. Gendry noticed her hands were trembling slightly as well, before she crossed her arms in front of her to hide it. "Idiot," she hissed.
"So you keep telling me," he answered, smiling softly.
"Stop smiling!" She gave his chest a shove, which did nothing to move him. "Why didn't you tell me?" He heard the uncertainty in her voice, and realized what she was afraid of.
"Because I didn't think it was possible that you felt the same, or that we could even be together if you did."
Arya moved closer, quieter now. "How could I not feel the same? I wouldn't leave Braavos for just anyone. You...you're Gendry. My Gendry." Her fingers curled into his tunic. He tentatively reached a hand up to stroke her cheek, and smiled when her eyes closed.
"Exactly. And you're Arya. We're Arya and Gendry. I didn't want to lose what we had all on a guess."
"Stupid," she mumbled half-heartedly.
"Arya, look at me." Gendry waited until she opened her eyes. "I'm a bastard. I always have been and I always will be. Are you absolutely sure you're alright with that? I need to know. It's important to me."
She looked at him for a time, before her face melted into a sweet smile. "I never wanted to be a lady."
Gendry closed his eyes and let out a shuddering breath, unable to believe what was happening. He felt a slight tug on his tunic, and then the featherlight touch of lips on his cheek, then on his other cheek, and the corners of his mouth. He opened his eyes briefly to see Arya watching him, and finally pulled her in for a kiss. He knew he'd never be able to get enough.
Chapter 16: Sleep
The usual - post ADWD, back at Winterfell with Queen Sansa. A/G sort of established relationship. Sansa (and others) keep seeing Arya return from the forge early in the morning, despite the fact that she has her own room in the castle. Sansa confronts her, but doesn't get the response she expected.
it has been a while! life has been crazy, but I finally made time to write this. hope you like! :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Arya walked up the path to the castle, her dark hair swinging behind her in a braid, boots crunching in the snow. She hadn't brought a change of clothes. Why bother, when her cloak and coat would cover everything anyways? It was too cold to be outside without them. She hurried up the steps and made her way to her room, hoping to be ready soon to meet Sansa. It was her turn to sit in on the meetings today.
When she got to her room, though, she saw she needn't have hurried at all. Sansa sat on her bed, dressed in a simple blue gown, her hair loose around her shoulders. Arya sighed and shut the door, beginning to remove her cloak and outer coat.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, even though she already knew.
"Waiting for you. Where have you been all night?"
Arya laughed and turned to face her sister. "As if you don't know."
Sansa pursed her lips then sighed, pressing the heel of her hand to her forehead for a moment before looking back up at Arya. "People are talking, Arya."
Arya rolled her eyes, and Sansa fought the urge to smile at the habit. "People always find something to talk about, you know that. Why do you care what they say?"
"I'm not concerned about what they say!" Sansa protested. When Arya rolled her eyes again and made to turn away, Sansa scrambled off the bed. "It's true! Arya, I just came here to make sure you're alright. That's all, I swear it."
"Why wouldn't I be?" Arya crossed her arms and stared at Sansa. "You know better than anyone, I can take care of myself."
"I know that, I do." Sansa fiddled with her fingers, trying not to make it worse. "I just...he's so big and strong...are you sure? He didn't force you, or anything?"
Arya's mouth opened slightly and she stared at Sansa for a moment before bursting into laughter. Sansa took a step back, unsure how to handle this turn of events. Arya sat on the bed as her laughter subsided, brushing her hands over her eyes and trying to catch her breath.
"That...that might have been the best joke I've ever heard." When Sansa continued to stare at her, puzzled, Arya's grin turned mischievous. "Just what exactly do you think we're doing at night, Sansa?"
She was rewarded by a flush creeping up Sansa's neck into her cheeks, to the tip of her ears. To her credit, though, Sansa stood her ground and met her gaze. Arya chuckled again and decided to let her sister off the hook.
"I did try to sleep here a few nights. I truly did. I did everything I could to stay busy and tire myself out so I would sleep soundly." Arya sighed. "But, nothing seemed to stop the nightmares. At first, I would just move around, try to distract myself. That didn't work for very long. So I started going to the forge." Arya looked up at Sansa. "During the war, neither Gendry nor I could sleep, so we would just talk. Tell each other stories, jokes...anything. So when I found him awake also, we just picked up where we left off. And before I knew it, I was waking up on his cot." Arya raised her eyebrows. "Alone, I might add. He took the floor. Anyways, no more nightmares."
Sansa's mouth formed an "o" before she smiled sheepishly. "I'm sorry. It wasn't fair of me to assume anything about you."
Arya shrugged. "Thank you. Though I do appreciate your asking. But just for the record, if I ever did take him on, I would win."
Sansa laughed. "I have no doubt." She turned to go, then, feeling playful, faced Arya once more, raising one eyebrow. "So that's all you did, then? Just talk?"
Arya gaped at her for a second, then began to laugh again. "Well of course, sister. What else is there to do?" She smiled widely at Sansa- a true smile.
Sansa grinned back, making a note to get Gendry that apprentice he'd been after.
kinda got stuck on how to end it XD
Chapter 17: Comfort
Post ADwd, companion to chapter 16, "Sleep." Arya can't sleep, and finds Gendry at the forge.
Arya kicked her stool in frustration, having bumped into it twice now during her water dance. It was late at night, and the third night in a row she'd woken up in a sweat from nightmares. This time, it had been about Gendry. Before, it had been Rickon, then Sansa.
"The war is over, stupid," she kept telling herself. It wasn't working. She tried to distract herself by moving through her water dance, something that usually settled her mind. Instead, she was completely off balance. Arya huffed and pulled on her boots, overcoat and cloak, sticking a dagger on her belt and one in each boot.
I'm not going to see him. I'm just going for a walk. I need some fresh air.
As she stepped outside the castle, her eyes were drawn to the forge, where a small light still shone. She sighed. Seven hells.
Arya approached the forge slowly, her boots crunching on the fresh snow. She stopped at the door, suddenly unsure if she should continue. Get a grip! You're a warrior! She rapped on the door twice with her knuckles before she could over-think it any longer. She heard him come slowly to the door and open the latch, and then the door was open and Gendry's blue eyes were staring at her questioningly.
She clenched her fists. "Of course it's me, stupid."
"Since when do you knock?"
Arya opened her mouth to retort, then realized, she had no answer for that. Why had she knocked? She cleared her throat, preparing to reply, when she felt his hand on her face. Gently, he pushed her hair back and tucked it around her ear, tracing her jaw slightly before pulling away.
"What's wrong, Arya?"
Arya swallowed, suddenly feeling a lump in her throat. "Nightmares," she said quietly.
Gendry's face softened, like it always seemed to around her, and he took her hand and pulled her inside the forge. He didn't let go until she was seated cross-legged on the bench by the fire- her usual spot.
"Be right back," he said, disappearing into the back of the forge. Arya took off her cloak and loosened her coat, resting her head against the wall. She was already feeling better. The forge always felt comforting to her, but she knew that had more to do with Gendry than she wanted to admit. As if called by her thoughts, he reappeared with two steaming mugs of tea, handing one to her. She smiled gratefully and took a sip as he sat on the bench next to her. He studied the mug for a moment, then looked back at her.
"Want to talk about it?"
Arya shook her head. "No, not ... not right now. But..." she trailed off, biting her lip. "I would like to talk."
Gendry nodded, then leaned back against the wall and stretched his long legs out. "Alright. You first."
Arya began talking about the kids she was training, explaining the moves she was teaching them. He asked about Syrio, and she smiled, remembering her first instructor. Gendry talked of the Brotherhood, and the men who had taught him how to fight. Their conversation wandered, and sometimes stalled in companionable silence, and Arya realized it had been a long time since they'd been able to talk like this. Finally, their mugs long empty on the floor, she asked him what had been on her mind since he opened the door.
"Why are you still awake?"
"Dunno. I can't keep my eyes shut very long without something bad happening, so I just stop trying."
Arya studied him in the dim light. He looks as tired as I feel. She put her hand on his arm, unsure of what to say. He looked down at her arm then back up at her, slightly surprised. She pulled herself closer and knotted her fingers with his, resting her head against the wall and closing her eyes. He squeezed her hand slightly, and she smiled softly, content.
When she woke, it was still dark, but daylight would soon be fighting its way in. She was no longer on the bench, but on Gendry's cot, covered in her cloak and a blanket. She sat up and swung her legs off the cot, intending to find Gendry, and nearly tripped over him in the process.
"Ow! Seven hells, Arya, what are you doing?" Gendry groaned from the floor.
"Stupid!" Arya hissed. "I was looking for you! What are you doing down there?"
"Well, I was sleeping..."
"Gendry," she sighed.
"You fell asleep. So I put you there and lay down here. And it was a real good sleep, I might add."
She still couldn't see his face in the darkness, but she hoped he was being truthful. "Mine too. Now get up here."
Arya had to laugh. He sounded so scandalized. "Oh seven hells, I'm not going to bite. But this cot is big enough for two, and you need to rest as much as I do."
"But it's not proper, or-"
"Do you think I really care about that?"
"Please, Gendry." That quieted him for a moment.
"Alright," he sighed. "But you sleep against the wall. I don't want you falling off and having to explain those bruises."
Arya smiled and shuffled back on the cot, feeling it move as Gendry laid down, his back to her.
She shifted closer to him, then put one arm around his waist. He stiffened.
"So you don't fall off," she whispered. He laughed softly, finally relaxing as his hand covered hers.
"Good night, Arya."
"Good night, Gendry."
Chapter 18: Why
Arya stays on with the Brotherhood and gets curious about the reasons behind Gendry's knighting.
New season 3 trailer. Too many feels.
Also I have no idea what accent Lem has. It's late. I think he got southern in my mind at one point...apologies. And this went in an entirely different direction than planned...again, sorry. I just have too many feels.
Arya yawned widely and slumped down on the bench next to Gendry. Without a word, he pushed his plate over to her, still half-full with bread, fruit, and her favorite - a lemon cake. She smiled tiredly at him and he nodded, his blue eyes tracing her face in concern. She yawned again, and he bumped her shoulder with his slightly, his large pinky covering her small one briefly. Her stomach flipped, and she focused on the food, hoping it would stop the weird feelings that kept taking over whenever Gendry was around.
Arya was over six-and-ten now, and still traveling with the Brotherhood Without Banners. When Gendry had taken a knighthood with Beric years ago, she had been upset, thinking yet another person had chosen duty over her. All his attempts to explain himself were met with stony silence on her part. But after days of not speaking to him, she realized she missed him. The same day, they ran into a pack of bandits, and any feud between them was put aside to fight and protect each other. After that, they'd sheepishly returned to their old friendship without any mention of their argument.
Lately, though, Arya had been itching to ask him why he'd done it. She wasn't sure why it was so important that she know. But she had a feeling that it was the missing piece to her puzzle, something that would make it all click. She knew she and Gendry spent a lot of time together - that was how it had always been. Sure, she was older and so was he, but she hadn't seen any reason to look at things differently until she noticed Anguy and Lem watching them one day. She tried to ask Gendry about it, but he'd brushed it off and continued his work. She did, however, make a note that his ears had turned slightly red.
Now, finishing her breakfast, she watched him talk with the other men. She was always surprised at how well Gendry fit into the Brotherhood, this boisterous group of men. But his quiet strength seemed to anchor them, and he still cracked a smile or two at their stories. It was hard not to. She had been so worried about losing him, when he was knighted. Sometimes she still felt silly about the way she'd acted, but she knew if there was a chance of losing him again, she would probably react the same way. Arya wondered when she had come to think of him as her Gendry.
As if called by her thoughts, he turned to offer her a small smile before depositing more berries on her plate. She grinned and, feeling her face flush slightly, looked away - straight at Anguy and Lem, who pretended to have not been watching them closely. She was again curious, but didn't want to bring it up so publicly. Little did she know, she wouldn't have to wonder much longer.
The next night, they were all sitting around after dinner when Lem and Anguy joined them, their faces flushed from too much wine. Arya was leaning slightly against Gendry, full from the meal and tired from the day's work. Gendry was stretched out, one arm behind her for support. Arya didn't read too much into this. She and Gendry knew each other well; they could read each other's moods quickly. It was why they worked well together. But Anguy and Lem had other ideas.
She was telling Gendry a joke one of the village kids had told her earlier, during her training class. Gendry chuckled and smiled at her and she smiled back, suddenly noticing how close they were.
"Well i'n't that cute," drawled Lem from nearby, startling them.
"Seven hells," Gendry muttered quietly.
Arya stared at Lem, confused. "Anguy, look at this. I think our boy's finally grown a pair!" Lem yelled. He looked back at Arya. "Did he finally 'fess up to it? Because we've been telling him for months now-"
"Shut up, Lem." Gendry's voice was low and dangerous.
Lem gulped but turned to Arya. "You should really ask him why he asked Ser Berric to knight him if all he was gonna do was work in the smithy."
Arya looked at Gendry. His eyes were closed, as if he was having a bad dream. "What does that even have to do with me?"
Gendry stood up abruptly and walked away briskly. Lem gave her a loopy grin. "Exactly."
Arya stood up and gave him a good shove, making sure he hit the ground and stayed there before turning to follow Gendry. She knew he'd go to the forge, just like he knew to find her at the training yard. When she got there, the door was already open, and Gendry was sitting on a bench staring at the fire.
"Should've known you'd follow me." His voice was tired, but not harsh.
"You can't get rid of me that easy, you know that." Arya shut the door behind her and sat next to him. They sat in silence for a few minutes, Arya trying to study him out of the corner of her eye and then reddening when he turned to look at her.
"Go ahead, I know you want to ask."
She swallowed. "I do, but not because of Lem." Gendry raised an eyebrow. "I've been wanting to know for a while, but wasn't sure how to bring it up."
Gendry sighed, then ran his hands through his hair, making it stand up everywhere. Arya had the absurd urge to smooth it down, so she clasped her hands together to stop herself.
“Most of my life, I’ve been pretty invisible, and that was fine with me. But then you showed up.” He smiled at her. “With your castle-forged sword that was almost as big as you.” Arya grinned. “You asked me to keep your secret. You trusted me, and you made me feel like I was someone. But then I realized, we’re from different worlds. When I asked Berric to knight me, it was because I wanted to be someone again. Someone important enough to be near you. I didn’t want to lose my friend.”
Arya stared at him, and then let out a short laugh, meeting his startled eyes.
“And here I was, thinking you’d decided to leave me.” She smiled and shook her head.
His face dawned in recognition. “That’s why you were so upset with me.”
She nodded, then took a deep breath. “Lem didn't sound like he was talking about just friendship back there, though.” She raised her eyes to meet his, wondering if he would acknowledge it.
His eyes showed surprise before he hung his head sheepishly. “No, I suppose he wasn’t.” He paused for a moment. “I’m not sure when it changed for me, but it did. You don’t have to worry, though. I won’t let it get in the way of anything.”
Arya looked at him sitting next to her, shoulders taught and face drawn in acceptance. She unclasped her hands and ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. He jumped slightly at the contact, but wouldn't face her.
“Stupid,” she sighed. “Who said it was getting in the way?” She let her hand rest on his neck, stroking slightly until she saw his mouth curving up in a smile, and then he took her other hand in both of his, and she was smiling too.
Chapter 19: Crush
Modern AU - Arya is getting a crush on her TA, and she doesn't like it one bit.
Slightlymaybeprobablydefinitely based on real life. Sadly though, in my world he's taken. But of course, Gendry is not >:)
Arya threw down her pencil and lay her head on her arms, closing her eyes. This was the fifth time she'd tried to get through the physics problem and it was still not working out correctly. Her long, dark hair fell over her face like a curtain, blocking the library lights. Maybe I can just take a quick nap...a few minutes wouldn't hurt...
"That's an interesting way of doing physics."
Damn. She knew that voice. Not having a comeback this time, Arya slowly raised her head, meeting the very blue eyes of Gendry Waters. His mouth was curved up slightly, but upon taking in her cloudy expression, his face softened slightly. "What's wrong?"
Arya gestured helplessly at the papers before her. "I'm hopeless. Utterly hopeless."
To her surprise (and delight), he took a seat at the table next to her, looking at through her work. Arya twisted her fingers together, embarrassed at just how useless she was when it came to this subject. Instead, she studied Gendry out of the corner of her eye.
He was tall and broadly built - easy to spot walking around campus. Arya knew other girls had tried to latch on to him already; she didn't know if it had worked, nor did she want to know (so she kept telling herself). She was here to make the grades, not look for boys. Sansa tried to set her up enough as it was. But she had noticed him. He was quiet, almost always working on something, as if he didn't expect to be noticed by anyone. And then she'd walked into class on the first day and seen him, sitting in the back corner. Later, the professor would introduce him as the class TA.
At first, he had been surrounded by a gaggle of her classmates, asking for help and extra practice. He looked so uncomfortable that Arya had almost been tempted to go save him from the big group, before she shook herself out of it and left. But lately, she'd been getting to class almost an hour early, just looking for a place to study or have her coffee in peace. Gendry, she found out, had a similar idea. She'd been so surprised to see him the first day that she'd started stammering, before getting a grip and taking a seat nearby. She heard him stifle a chuckle, and turned to admonish him when she realized she quite liked his smile. And his eyes. So she'd smiled slightly and turned back to her coffee.
Now, weeks into the semester, they'd chatted more than once, but usually about classes or the next exam. And here he was, sitting next to her as if they were friends. She was struck by how much she hoped it was true. Arya wondered if he thought they were friends.
Just then, Gendry put down her papers and turned to her. She tried to look focused, but knew she'd been caught when he grinned (damn, but she liked his smile). "I think you need a break."
"What I need is for someone else to take this exam for me," she huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
Gendry paused for a moment, as if he was having an internal debate. Then, shyly: "I could tutor you...if you'd like."
Arya tilted her head, watching him deliberately pick at his jeans. He's nervous. "That...are you sure you wouldn't mind?"
Now he looked at her. "Not at all. Keeps me on my toes."
Arya nodded, tucking her hair behind her ears. Now she was nervous. "Then, yeah, that would be really helpful. Thanks."
He nodded again. Lots of nodding. It was weird. They set up a time to meet, and Arya tried to stop her stomach from flipping.
In the weeks that followed, they met every few days for help. The first meeting was filled with more nervous nodding and careful tip-toeing until Arya let loose a curse worthy of a sailor. She hadn't known Gendry could laugh so loudly, and felt absurdly proud for discovering it. She grew more at ease around him, and their study breaks often went overtime. She would tell stories about her sisters and brothers and the trouble they got into as kids, before everyone grew up and got serious. Gendry listened attentively, watching her with those expressive blue eyes. She cajoled him into sharing, too. He spoke of his adoptive parents. His dad owned a mechanics shop, where he worked part-time. She slowly began to understand his mechanics metaphors. Her favorite was when he compared learning, especially physics, to using a toolbox - the teachers gave you the tools, and you had to understand how to use them in the right ways.
Of course, they didn't always get along. Especially when it came to physics. He pushed her, and she pushed right back. But unlike most other people, he wouldn't budge. He was as stubborn as her in that respect. Some days that frustrated her, and she yelled and ignored him. Other days the challenge was welcome, and in the moments things clicked, she felt on top of the world. And, she had to admit, it was in large part his doing.
One day, in the middle of class, it hit her. I'm falling for him.
She didn't know what to do with that thought, so she let it drift around her mind, until a few days later, someone else brought it up. Arya was gathering her books at the end of physics when she heard one of the girls click-clack by in her high heels, towards the back of the room. Almost subconsciously, Arya slowed down all her movements, taking her time pulling on her coat and zipping up her bag.
"Oh, hello there. Um, can I help you with something?"
"My question isn't exactly physics-related," the girl giggled. Arya rolled her eyes but stayed put. "Well, I was wondering if you'd like to get dinner with me some night?"
Arya fiddled with her bag, caught between getting the hell out of there and knowing his answer.
Gendry coughed slightly, then quietly answered, "I'm actually seeing someone at the moment, so, um, thanks for offering, but..." Arya didn't wait to hear the rest of his response. She grabbed her bag and was out the door, not stopping until she was outside in the cold winter air. She felt like a fool. This is what comes of acting like a silly girl, Arya Stark. She shoved her hands in her pockets and headed for some coffee and a quiet corner.
She found an empty classroom in another building and set down her books and coffee cup. She decided to work on foreign language, her favorite subject, trying to lose herself in the tenses and pronunciations. A few hours and an empty coffee cup later, she was writing on the white board when she heard a knock on the door. A familiar shock of black hair was the first thing she saw as she turned around, causing her stomach to flip (annoyingly).
Gendry's gaze turned from concern to relief when he saw her. "Finally. I've been looking for you all over."
"Why?" It came out harsher than she intended, but she was in no mood to apologize.
"I thought you might want to work on some more physics problems, since the exam's coming up."
"Oh...sorry. I was trying to stay hidden and get some work done."
"Well, mission accomplished then." He grinned at her, but it faded when she didn't reply. "Hey, what's the matter?"
Arya turned back to the board. "Nothing."
"Arya." She didn't reply. "Arya, come on. It's me."
She fiddled with the markers. "I'm fine, really. You should go hang out with your girlfriend or something, I'm sure she'd like to see you." Damn, why'd you have to go and bring that up, Stark?
Gendry was silent for a minute, and she heard the door close. But then his bag dropped onto a chair and he was walking over to her. Oh, that's not good. Not good at all.
"Is that what this is about?" Arya expected him to be angry, but there was something else in his voice instead. More like...amusement? No, it couldn't be. She stayed silent, letting her hair cover her face, not willing to look at him.
"Arya." His voice was unexpectedly soft. "Arya, look at me. Please."
She sighed and shifted to face him, trailing her eyes up slowly until grey met blue. "Arya, I don't have a girlfriend."
She swore she'd misheard him. It wasn't possible. It must have showed on her face, because Gendry put his hands on her shoulders and repeated, almost whispering, "I don't have a girlfriend."
"But...but you told that girl-"
Gendry rubbed the back of his neck and grinned sheepishly. "I know. I'm an idiot. It was the first thing that came to mind, because I am interested in seeing someone...in seeing you...it just wasn't official. But she didn't need to know that."
Arya felt a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, and looked down to hide it, but Gendry saw it (as always).
"Why didn't you say something sooner?"
"Up until now, I didn't think I had a chance."
Arya's smile grew until her cheeks hurt. "Stupid," she whispered, grabbing his shirt and pulling him closer. His large hands came up to cup her cheeks, and her eyes closed as his thumb stroked lightly over her bottom lip. He kissed her nose lightly, then slowly the corners of her lips. She made a noise and yanked on his shirt, making him chuckle.
"So impatient," he whispered against her lips. But for once, he wasn't patient either.
Chapter 20: Home
Post ADwD, Littlefinger's plan to have Sansa reveal herself as the heir to Winterfell seems to be going well...until it doesn't.
Something I had floating in my mind for a while about what would happen if Littlefinger's plan to have Sansa reveal herself as the heir to Winterfell happened. Just...not at her wedding to Harry the Heir and coinciding with a well-timed takeover/take-back of Winterfell ;)
Sansa surveyed the room full of nobles and leaders gathered from parts of the realm, all of whom had been expecting dark-haired, shy "Alayne." Instead, they were met with the fiery red hair and unmistakable Tully blue eyes of Sansa Stark.
Petyr Baelish stepped out from the crowd and came to join Sansa at the front, smug smile in place. How she wanted to slap that off him. She gazed back out at the crowd while Petyr began giving his well-rehearsed, slimy-as-ever speech to the crowd about how he "saved" Sansa from a nightmarish life at King's Landing. Her eyes lingered at the back of the room, where the guards were standing by the door. Something was off. Sansa searched her memory, trying to figure out what had changed in the moments since her gaze had shifted to Petyr.
Then she realized: there had been three guards, not two. But where had the third gone? And so quickly, too...
She was about to brush it off when she heard noises coming from elsewhere in the castle, getting closer to the main chamber. They were the clanging noises of armor, of sword on shield, and bodies clashing: sounds of battle. Petyr pause from his speech as well, noticing something was amiss.
The chamber doors to Sansa's left burst open, letting in a group of darkly clad fighters interspersed with guards. But the some of the guards weren't fighting the new men, she saw. No, they were fighting together, against the men she now realized were Petyr's guards, brought with him from The Vale.
Now the main doors flew open as well, letting in even more people. Sansa's heart jumped, seeing a familiar mop of curly black hair at the front of the group. The nobles in the room panicked, trying to escape in the same way the newcomers had entered. Some succeeded, but others weren't so lucky to avoid the fighting.
Sansa moved to follow, thinking to take advantage of the chaos, but felt an arm around her waist tug her back. As always, Petyr was a step ahead of her.
"Where do you think you're off to?" he whispered into her ear. She struggled against him, trying to find Jon again in the crowd. There! He was taking on several guards, with the help of another young man wielding a hammer. Sansa struggled harder against Petyr, afraid she would never have a better chance of escape. Suddenly she felt the cool edge of a blade firmly against her throat, and her movements stilled.
Jon was the first to notice and drop his weapon, to Sansa's dismay. Petyr chuckled as soldiers in the room followed suit. But the man fighting next to Jon didn't. He kept a grip on the hammer, stepping forward to get Petyr's attention. Sansa couldn't believe her eyes - he looked so much like King Robert, but there was a quiet steeliness to him she had never seen in the old king. She noticed Petyr's intake of breath, too, as he saw the young man.
What was he doing? He made no move to fight, but didn't drop the hammer. He just waited a moment, letting Petyr come to the same realization as she had.
"Well well well," Petyr drawled. "What do we have here?"
"You'll never know," the young man replied, just as Sansa felt Petyr's grip on her loosen, and the blade clanked to the floor. She turned and gasped, seeing Petyr on the floor with an arrow protruding from his neck. Sansa looked up for the source, and saw a girl step out of the shadows. No - she wasn't a girl anymore. Her hair was longer, and she was taller, but there was no mistaking the aim. Lithe and cold, Arya walked forward, another arrow notched in her bow, her dark hair escaping its long braid. Her grey eyes only saw Petyr.
When she approached him, she knelt and leaned over as the last dregs of life left him.
"Look at me," her voice was sharp and full of command. "I want you to see my eyes when you die. His eyes. Know that you will never kill the Starks."
Sansa watched as Arya's face, full of hatred, stared at Petyr long after he was gone. His soldiers had surrendered the moment the arrow went through his neck.
She didn't realize she was on her knees until the young man from earlier came up behind Arya, slowly placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Arya." His voice was soft, and Sansa looked at him, surprised. Oh. His features had softened, blue eyes full of not sympathy, but pride and caring. "Arya. It's done."
Arya sighed and closed her eyes, and her shoulders slumped. His grip tightened, and she turned to look at him briefly, her hand resting over his for a moment. Then his eyes flicked towards Sansa, and Arya turned, properly seeing her sister for the first time. Sansa stared, unable and scared to believe what was happening. Arya smiled, laying down her bow and arrow, and crawled towards Sansa until suddenly they were hugging tightly, and Sansa couldn't tell who was shaking harder.
Steps behind them caused her to loosen her hold and turn slightly, and then Jon was in front of her, smiling softly. Sansa pulled Arya up, and didn't miss how the other young man came to stand close behind her, as if to support.
They heard howling in the halls, and Arya grinned. Sansa turned as a big grey wolf burst through the door, bounding up around Arya and her man. He smiled briefly, his hand buried deep in the wolf's fur.
"Nymeria," Sansa breathed.
Arya grinned. "Not just Nymeria."
Sansa turned again and there they were, the wild wolf and his boy. Rickon.
"Winterfell is ours," he said, and Sansa felt so light she could take off and fly.
She turned back to Jon and Arya, then pointedly looked from Arya to the man behind her. Arya looked at her, confused for a moment, before her gaze cleared and she realized what was wrong.
"Sansa, this is my...er..." she was twisting her fingers together tightly, and Sansa swore she saw her cheeks flush before she gave up trying to find a label for him. "He's Gendry. Gendry, my older sister Sansa." Gendry bowed to Sansa, but not before she saw him shoot Arya a cheeky grin. Arya stuck her tongue out in response and Sansa couldn't hold back her smile at the familiar gesture, even if Arya's cheeks were definitely red.
"Your Grace," Gendry addressed her. "It's good to finally meet you."
Sansa smiled at him warmly. "Likewise. And it's Sansa."
"Don't bother," Arya huffed. "He never learns."
This time Gendry didn't try to hide his grin, and Jon snorted behind Arya. Nymeria and Shaggydog howled, and as Sansa looked at her family, new and old, her laughter mixed in with the howls, resounding deep in the stone walls of Winterfell.
Chapter 21: Waiting
Gendry continued to hammer away at the breastplate in front of him, unaware of Arya standing in the doorway of the forge.
She studied him, her bull-headed old friend. He'd grown broader and stronger since she'd last seen him years ago. She'd changed, too. She'd left the Faceless Men, realizing she had to face her past properly, and own her identity as a Stark of the North. She found Sansa ruling over a much different Winterfell, and now she was standing at the forge, annoyed and nervous and hopeful at this boy from her past who made her remember everything and yet helped her forget all at once.
She realized he'd stopped hammering, and looked up to find his blue eyes on her, studying her similarly. He didn't speak, just let his eyes drift over her, as if he was memorizing her.
Arya felt warm and unnerved by his gaze, so she stepped inside the forge and looked around, anywhere but at him. Running a hand over the set of newly made daggers, she finally broke the silence.
"When Sansa told me you were here, I couldn't believe it."
"And why's that?" His voice brimmed with hurt and a little anger.
"What reason do you have for being here?" Arya tried to keep her voice calm, but Gendry stepped closer.
"What do you think my reason is, m'lady ?"
Arya snapped. "I don't bloody know or care! You left me."
Suddenly she was face to face with Gendry, his blue eyes blazing. "No, m'lady. You left me ."
Arya watched as his body tensed and he reached out as if to shake her, then rubbed his neck instead, his shoulders slumping.
"So I waited. You told me you wanted to find your sister. I knew if I found her, one day, you'd be back." He was looking at her again, but this time his gaze was knowing, as if he knew something she didn't. Arya wasn't sure she wanted to find out.
She swallowed, and was searching for a reply when she looked behind Gendry and her heart stopped.
Nymeria was watching them quietly, until she locked eyes with Arya and came forward. Arya put out her hand slowly, and Nymeria butted her head against it, nuzzling and licking and welcoming. Arya sank to the floor and put her arms around Nymeria, burying her face in her fur, and let the tears come.
When she finally broke away, Gendry was still there.
She stood up, and he reached out one hand, softly wiping tears off her cheeks.
"How?" she croaked. "How did she...did you...?"
Gendry smiled sadly. "I told you. We've been waiting for you."
Arya reached out, this time to take his hand in hers.
He looked at her warily. "I'm not letting you go this time."
She nodded, and suddenly his arms were tight around her and her face was buried in his chest. His face was nestled in her shoulder, his arms stroking her back lightly. The thought crossed her mind that she wouldn't be letting him go anytime soon, either.
Chapter 22: Lady
In honor of the season 3 premiere! It's finally hereeeeee! :D
Arya stared at the sword in front of her. Its steel glinted in the firelight of the forge and its blade was wider than Needle's before it tapered to a point, perfect to receive blows from her students. The hilt was a growling wolf, the sword coming out of its open mouth. It was beautiful.
She looked at Gendry, her throat tight. "This...you...it's..."
"It's yours," he replied softly. "If you'll have it."
"If I'll..." Arya couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry. "Stupid." She threw her arms around him, holding him as tightly as she could as he returned her hug, pulling her off her feet for a moment.
"I love it," she whispered into his neck. "And I love you."
She felt him smile into her shoulder before letting go. As she turned back to the sword, he remarked, "Every sword should have a name."
"Mmm." Arya traced the wolf carving and along the blade. "What were you calling it?" When Gendry looked at her confused, she revised. "When you were working on it, what did you call it?"
Understanding dawned, then a look that was both sheepish and cheeky crossed his face. "M'lady's sword."
Arya's eyes narrowed as he grinned at her, but before she could move to hit him for it, another thought crossed her mind.
"You know, that's not a bad idea." She turned back to the sword. "I think I'll call her Lady."
She smiled at Gendry. "After Sansa's direwolf. Besides, I think it's time the term lady got re-invented a little."
Gendry chuckled and placed a kiss on her head. "No one better for the job."
Chapter 23: Resemblance
Brienne and Gendry talk.
I have zero context for this conversation or how Brienne gets to Winterfell...but say she did. This was just floating in my head. It's the polar opposite of angry Gendry in the books...
Gendry placed the finished breastplate on the side, careful not to let anything scratch it.
"It's a fine piece of work."
Gendry turned, startled, to see Brienne standing in his doorway. He bowed his head. "Lady Brienne."
She smiled, as if in on a joke only she understood. "I'm no lady."
Gendry's mouth twitched at that, and he amended, "Very well, Lady Knight Brienne, then."
Brienne shook her head, but kept looking at him. Gendry waited, then realizing she wasn't going to speak, gestured to the breastplate. "It's yours. I hope it serves you well." When she didn't respond, he looked up again, only to see her gaze locked on him, unseeing.
An incredible sadness filled her eyes, and Gendry realized she wasn't entirely in the present. He waited, not wanting to break into her memories. Then it was over as suddenly as it began, and her face cleared, pulling the sadness back into its box.
"I'm sorry. That...it happens from time to time, I can't quite help it."
Gendry paused, wanting to ask but not wanting to offend her. She saw it on his face and waited until he spoke. "Do I look very much like him?"
She didn't need to ask who. "Yes. But you're your own man, of that I'm sure."
"Milady Arya wouldn't be with you if you weren't."
"That's true enough, I suppose," he smiled softly. Then: "Do you think I should have taken his name?"
"His name got him killed. You don't need any of that."
Gendry nodded again. "Does it...does it pain you? To see me everyday?"
Brienne looked at him sadly. "It used to. But it's much less now." Her face brightened. "I think I've gotten as much closure as I'll get, seeing Sansa as queen and Lady Catelyn laid to rest. The rest is just memories now, and that's alright."
Gendry swallowed, nodded. "I am sorry."
This time she smiled, a true smile. "Thank you."
Chapter 24: Together
What should have happened last night in 3x02.
Arya stared down the men, willing them to listen to her and walk away. Of course, they didn't. They laughed at her instead.
They always laugh. One day that'll change, she thought grimly.
The older one, their leader, grinned at her. "And what's a lonely little girl going to do with that sword?"
"She's not alone." Arya heard footsteps behind her and almost turned to admonish Gendry, but when he came to stand beside her, strong and silent, she kept her mouth shut. Even if his hand was shaking slightly.
She saw the older man's eyes take in Gendry slowly, and for a second she thought maybe their luck had changed. But then he smiled again, and the younger man readied his bow, and she knew they were done in. For now.
Later, as she and Gendry were walking with Hot Pie and the rest of Thoros' men, she couldn't help but scold him slightly.
"You shouldn't have come out."
He smirked. "What, and leave you alone?"
"I was fine," Arya gritted out.
"Yeah, I could see that." When her expression didn't change, he sighed. "He knew we were there. It was just a matter of who would give in first."
"So why did you give in, then? Why come out instead of waiting?"
"Same reason you gave Chiswick's name first to Jaqen." His reply came out so easily, so steadily, her eyes flew to his. There was no judgment there, just understanding. "We're in this together, right? Seemed only fair."
Arya was silent for a few minutes before replying.
"He was going to hurt you." Her voice came out smaller than it would have liked. "He hurt all those other people, and he was going to watch you die the same way."
"But he didn't." Gendry lowered his voice. "Arya, I'm right here."
Arya nodded, and they continued in silence, his voice resounding in her head.
Arya quite liked the sound of that.
Chapter 25: Family
Modern AU. Jon & Gendry are friends at uni, Arya started there recently too. Gendry and Jon get into a fight with Joffrey and his friends, and Arya helps Gendry afterwards.
another daydream from physics class :P hope you enjoy
Jon and Gendry were late. They were never late, until today. In fact, they usually beat her to their usual meeting spot after classes.
Arya stood by the fountain, frustrated, wondering why Jon wasn't picking up his phone, when she heard excited chattering of students that passed her.
"It's Joff and his gang, taking on these two large blokes!"
Arya grabbed one girl's arm as she passed by. "What did you just say?"
She looked at her friends and giggled. "Joffrey Baratheon and his friends, they're at the quad with that Snow boy and his friend. I think-"
Arya didn't wait for her to finish. She took off towards the quad, cursing the heavy bag over her shoulder. By the time she got there, she could see a crowd forming.
Great, just what he wants. A bloody audience.
As she shoved through the crowd, she caught glimpses of the two dark-haired boys, their backs to her. Facing them was the blonde, smug little prick who Arya knew wouldn't even chip a nail if a fight broke out. The hulking one next to him, his dog , would take care of things, along with the other two goons Arya didn't care to know the names of.
Every part of Jon and Gendry looked tense, but they hadn't dropped their bags. They don't want to fight, Arya thought. They don't need this on their records. She was almost to the front, when she heard saw Joffrey smile and whisper something nobody but Gendry and Jon could hear. Before she knew it, Jon was yelling and Gendry's fist was slamming into Joffrey's face. There was a huge (and satisfying, Arya had to admit) crack , and Joffrey was on the ground, blood pouring from his broken nose.
His goons moved in on Gendry and Jon fast, and the fistfight begun. Arya looked at the crowd, the mob, around her, egging on the fight. It was sick. Arya's stomach dropped as Jon and Gendry each received blows, but she grimly noted they gave as good as they got. When Gendry took a nasty punch to the head and hit the gruond, she heard a scream and was startled to realize it was her own voice.
Suddenly, there was more yelling and professors and campus security came running their way. And as quickly as it had begun, it was over.
"My father will hear about this!" Joffrey wailed as he was helped up. "Mark my words, you won't get away with this!"
Gendry and Jon were guided away by professors - one of which, Arya gladly noted, was Tyrion Lannister. Gendry turned back once, his blue eyes finding hers. She saw the bruise forming by his left eye before he gave her a small smile and turned back to walk with Jon.
Arya sat by the fountain for an hour or so, hoping that the boys would find her on their way back, but had no luck. Eventually, she headed back to the house she shared with Jon and Sansa (who was studying abroad).
Dropping her bag by the door, she walked into the living room only to stop suddenly at the sight of Gendry sitting in an armchair. He looked up at her entrance and smiled sheepishly, holding a bag of frozen peas to his left eye.
"Hey." When she didn't reply, he gestured to the peas. "Hope you don't mind. There was no ice pack."
Arya tried to smile wryly. "You're lucky there were peas."
Gendry chuckled slightly, then winced at the movement and moved the frozen bag to his jaw.
"What are they going to do to you and Jon?" Arya was afraid of the answer, but she had to know.
Gendry looked down, weary, then back at her. "Dunno yet. Jon's back there talking with them now, and Professor Lannister as well. Sent me back here to ice myself." He put the bag down and sighed. "Mum's gonna freak out."
"Tell her you broke that little shit's nose." Arya grinned. "Certainly made me proud."
Gendry smiled slightly, but the worry didn't leave his eyes. Arya came and sat in front of him, surprising both of them by picking up the frozen peas and laying them against his eye and jaw. She didn't know what to do with her other hand, so she left it resting on the other side of his face, tilting his head now and then to ice his swollen jaw properly.
He relaxed into her after a moment, letting her help him.
"So he said something about your mum, then?"
He stared at her, surprise evident on his face. "How did you...?"
Arya shrugged. "Not too hard to figure out. The Lannisters are a fucked up lot, and everyone knows Joffrey's one of them, as much as he pretends not to be. So he goes around trying to screw up everyone else's families, too."
"That's true enough."
His hand came up to adjust the frozen bag, and she noticed his bloody knuckles. "Stupid, how did you not clean these yet?! Haven't you heard of infection?" Arya stood up abruptly and grabbed a washcloth from the kitchen, soaking it in the sink and then returning to sit in front of Gendry.
She cleaned his knuckles slowly and carefully, while he looked on without a word. When she was done, he grasped both her hands in his. Arya finally looked up at him, only to see an incredible warmth in his blue eyes as they looked back at her.
"Thank you," he said softly. "You didn't have to do that."
"No, I didn't. But I wanted to," she admitted, and his smile finally reached his eyes. She bit her lip, then grinned. "Someone's got to look after you, clearly."
He hung his head sheepishly at that, but his grip on her hands tightened slightly. She squeezed back.
Chapter 26: Lesson
Follow-up to previous chapter - Arya, Gendry, Jon at uni. Gendry and Jon got into a fight with Joffrey and Arya decides to teach Joffrey a lesson of her own.
Gendry was on his way to the Rush building for class when he heard the barking. Soon after, there were high-pitched yells, followed by scattered laughter. Cautiously, he made his way to the quad, where people had gathered to watch the spectacle that was unfolding, although they were trying not to be too obvious about it.
He hesitated at the edge of the main quad, not wanting to draw too much attention. His knuckles were still bandaged and sore from the fight a few days ago - not that he regretted a second of it. Still, he had escaped with little more than a slap on the wrist, thanks hugely to Jon, and Ned Stark. He didn't want to repay their aid with stupidity.
Standing in the shade of a building, he saw Joffrey and his group backing away slowly from a very large dog. The young boy had his hands out in a placating gesture.
Gendry squinted, trying to make out the creature's build. He'd only seen a dog like this once before, and that was Jon's dog Ghost. But where Ghost was almost pure white, this one was large and grey. It could have been a wolf, for all Gendry knew. Its hackles were raised as it circled Joffrey and his minions, barking every now and then and making all of them jump. Well, all of them but the large one. He was probably half-beast himself, Gendry suspected.
Then he noticed her. Standing even further in the shade of the building and hidden almost entirely by a tree, was Arya. The wind was whipping her long hair around her face, and her lips were curled in a smirk as she watched the scene. Gendry watched her for a moment, remembering how she'd stayed with him after the fight, and pretty much every day after. He seemed to keep finding reasons to hang out at their place even when Jon wasn't there, and she hadn't complained.
It was then that he saw her hands move, and the dog barked again, eliciting a girlish wail from Joffrey. Gendry was startled. He looked back at the dog, then at Arya. It can't be.
He walked over to her, careful to stay in the shade. Arya turned to look at him as he neared her, her grey eyes sparkling with mischief.
"Hello there." She turned back to survey the quad.
Gendry stood by her silently for a moment, then couldn't help but ask. "Arya, is that Nymeria?"
Arya looked at him sidelong, her mouth twitching. "Now what would Nymeria be doing all the way up here? You know dogs aren't allowed on campus."
Nymeria was still circling the boys, but Gendry could tell that it was all play. For now.
"You don't have to do this, you know," he said quietly.
"Yes, I do. I don't care what his last name is, he shouldn't be free to treat people like shit."
Nymeria growled in agreement, and Gendry had to smile. It was definitely her.
"Thank you," he told her softly.
She didn't acknowledge him at first, but then he felt her pinky finger loop around his and give a small squeeze.
Nymeria gave Joffrey one last warning growl, making him trip in fright. She tore his trouser leg and bared her teeth in what Gendry could only describe as a feral grin (scarily similar to Arya's) before bounding off.
Chapter 27: Surprise
Arya's parents pay her a surprise visit at uni and get a surprise of their own.
Continuing with my modern AU streak from the last two chapters. I'm just really in the mood for it right now, probably because I've been reading so many other great modern AU's. I totally recommend checking out Watching You Watching Me and the sequel Watch Us Go, by crossingwinter. Awesome stuff.
This is my first try at Ned's POV, hope it works! Also Catelyn might be nicer than expected so maybe OOC a little there.
Ned felt bad for dropping on on Arya - and Jon, for that matter - without any notice, but Catelyn had insisted on it that way. Less chance to hide anything, she said. After he'd had to intervene for Jon and his friend Gendry, Ned just wanted to put the whole thing behind them. Catelyn, though, wanted to see Arya (and Jon, he suspected) in person to make sure things were alright.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't concerned either, having gotten a late-night phone call from Arya the day after the incident, ever-so-quietly thanking him for helping Jon and Gendry. He'd never heard her voice sound so small before, and he wasn't sure what to make of it. So he'd taken off work as soon as he could - which was still weeks after the whole thing had occurred - and they'd set off.
And Jon, the poor boy, nearly had a heart attack after picking up his phone in the midst of what Ned thought might have been a date, only to hear his parents were awaiting him at the station. Ned had thought Jon would warn Arya ahead of time, but as he walked into their house he saw that was certainly not the case.
His youngest daughter was fast asleep on the couch, curled under a large, black hoodie he didn't recognize, her hair falling loosely around her face ... which happened to be in the lap of a very panicked-looking young man who looked astonishingly like young Robert. He set down his textbook, his bright blue eyes flipping from Ned, to Catelyn, and finally narrowing at Jon before worriedly zooming over to Ned again.
He almost laughed at the young boy's obvious discomfort, until he saw his eyes settle on Arya and soften noticeably, as he pulled the hoodie closer around her, smoothing her hair slightly, almost subconsciously. He looked up again apologetically, and Ned knew he wouldn't be standing up to greet them.
So he walked over to him, taking care to keep quiet, and clasped hands with the young man as his daughter slept on.
"Mr. Stark," the boy spoke as low as possible. "I apologize, but..." he gestured to Arya's sleeping form. "She's had a rough week with exams and such, and she's only now got to rest-" he stopped as Ned held up a hand.
"It's alright. I'm just glad to know she's sleeping at all."
The boy grinned briefly, and Ned realized he knew his daughter quite well. Then he spoke again.
"I want you to know...I very much appreciate what you did for me a few weeks ago. I did not...I do not usually find myself in those situations. But I am incredibly grateful, as is my mum."
Ned nodded, all the while berating himself for not recognizing Gendry sooner. Of course this was Gendry, the very same that Jon had told him about in his early days at uni. The boy who understood Jon's pain of not knowing a parent all too well. Except Ned knew who Gendry's father was. One look had been all he needed. Yet, he thought, the boy seemed much better off not knowing.
He felt Catelyn at his shoulder, and Gendry dipped his head awkwardly. "Mrs. Stark, it's good to meet you."
Catelyn smiled. "You too." Her gaze drifted to Arya. "How is she?"
Gendry followed her gaze, unable to stop brushing his hand over Arya's shoulder slightly before replying. "She's been a bit worn out from exams this week, but otherwise keeping well. I try to make sure she eats," he grinned.
"Gendry cooks quite well," Jon piped up from near the doorway.
"Aye," Gendry agreed, blue eyes gleaming, and Ned knew Jon was in trouble. "But not nearly as well as Ygritte. She bests anyone in that area."
"Ygritte?" Catelyn asked innocently, turning to Jon. As Jon stammered out a response, Ned caught Gendry's grin as he turned back to Arya.
Suddenly Jon's phone went off quite loudly, and Arya shifted, causing Gendry to curse under his breath, but Ned heard it. He'd been thinking quite the same thing. He felt Catelyn's hand on his arm, pulling him back as Arya began to wake up.
She turned so she was on her back, staring straight up at Gendry, and a sweet, sleepy smile crossed her face. Catelyn looked at Ned knowingly.
"Hello," Arya said softly, her voice thick with sleep.
"Hey." Gendry bent over to whisper to her quietly, flicking his eyes in her parents' direction. Ned saw her eyes widen, and in the next second she was sitting up and facing them - still holding Gendry's hoodie, he noted. Then her eyes brightened and she launched herself across the room at Ned, hitting him with the force of a bowling ball. He chuckled and hugged her back, then let her go to Catelyn.
Gendry unfolded himself from the couch, and Ned realized they were nearly eye to eye. He waited, hands shoved in his pockets, as Arya greeted her mother and then stepped back.
"We'd like to take you all out for dinner, if that's alright," Ned looked at Arya apologetically. "To make up for dropping in like this."
Arya waved her hand, but he didn't miss her quick glance at Gendry, who was quietly packing up his books. Ned turned to him. "You're invited too, Gendry. If you'd like to come, that is."
Gendry looked up in surprise, then briefly to Arya before answering. "Thank you, sir. That would be nice."
Ned nodded at him, then turned to Jon. "If you'd like to invite your young lady? I'm assuming that's who called." Jon could only nod, red-faced, and Arya mouthed, "thank you" when the others had their backs turned. He smiled at his youngest, then started to usher Catelyn and Jon out.
He turned once to see Arya pull on Gendry's hoodie and laugh at something he said to her. Then his voice lowered even more, and her laugh turned into a yelp of indignation and she punched his arm, but now he was laughing and she couldn't seem to stop smiling either.
Ned chuckled to himself as he walked out the door. He needn't have worried. Arya was in good hands.
Chapter 28: Tipsy
Arya gets tipsy and Gendry only encourages it when he finds out it loosens her tongue.
Arya was tipsy.
Looking back, he should have known better than to challenge her, but he hadn't been able to resist. She was sitting there all pretty with her tight jeans and fiery grey eyes, insisting she most definitely could match him drink for drink, and all he'd wanted to do was grab her face and kiss her silly, so he went ahead and ordered more drinks instead.
At first, she'd been fine, even if she did seem to keep finding new reasons to touch his arm, his shoulder, his leg now and then. Ygritte had knowingly smirked from across the table, all the while successfully distracting Jon.
Gendry was no lightweight, but he'd also been drinking longer than Arya, and knew how to manage himself, for the most part. Arya, on the other hand, had no intention of taking a break. They were having fun, though. The drinks took the edge off, and Gendry could pretend she wasn't his best friend's younger sister and (he hoped) she could stop putting up her wall.
Now they were sitting on the docks, legs hanging off the edge of the pier. Arya was swaying side to side slightly, bumping Gendry's shoulder now and then.
A gaggle of young girls passed them, a couple looking at Gendry and whispering to each other and laughing as they continued on. Gendry shook his head, ears slightly red, hoping Arya hadn't noticed. But of course, she had.
"They like you," she whispered it like a secret.
"They don't even know me."
"Doesn't matter. You're very handsome."
Gendry felt a smile forming on his face. "Is that what they think or what you think?"
"It's what everyone thinks. I just happen to agree." Gendry smirked, but then she continued matter-of-factly, "But I also know you're smart and kind and loyal, and that matters more."
He stared at her, mouth slightly agape. "You really think all those things about me?"
"Of course I think about you." Gendry opened his mouth to correct her, then decided to keep going. He was going to hell anyways.
"What else do you think about?"
"My dad and his job, and how much I wish Sansa and Willas would just snog already and get it over with, and how nice you are to Nymeria."
"She scares me. Not unlike you, sometimes."
Arya smiled freely, then her face turned pensive again. "You are handsome, though."
She sounded so unsettled by the thought, Gendry had to laugh.
"How come you've never said all those things before?" he asked quietly.
"I guess...I guess I thought it would go away, and when it didn't, I wasn't sure what to do," she admitted quietly, staring at her feet. "Plus, I didn't know how you would respond."
Gendry wasn't sure how tipsy she was anymore, but he decided to take a chance anyways. He curled a finger under her chin, making her look at him.
"I think you're beautiful." When she scoffed and tried to turn away, he cupped her cheek completely. "You are. You might not see it, but I do. Every day. You're fierce and warm and so alive . And you won't remember this in the morning, but I'll tell you again and again, every day."
She stared at him wide-eyed, and before he could blink, her lips were on his. He was frozen for a moment, and then his body was responding as fast as it could. Their lips came together briefly, then pulled apart, then back together, until he tilted his head slightly and slanted his lips over hers, slowly, not wanting to break away. She made a small noise and gripped his shirt collar, and he smiled into the kiss. She tasted like the mint schnapps they'd been drinking, and it made his head swim.
Arya broke away after a few minutes, leaning her head on his shoulder, face turned into the crook of his neck. He wrapped his arm around her contentedly, pressing his lips into her hair.
"You were wrong about one thing," she said eventually, her voice muffled by his shirt.
"I won't ever forget what you said."
"Good. I'll still tell you every day anyways."
He felt lips curve into a smile against his neck, and her arms reached around his waist to pull him closer.
Chapter 29: Reunion
After the war, Hot Pie makes it to Winterfell. Post ADwD, Queen Sansa, A/G established.
Last night's goodbye to Hot Pie did me in, even though I knew it was coming. Joe and Maisie just wanted to hug Ben. and the last shot of Hot Pie just standing in the doorway....AGH. nope. can't just leave it there.
Arya was practicing with her students in the training yard, relishing the clang of sword on sword, when she heard Gendry yelling her name. She held her hands up for a break, and hid a grin as the girl and boy sighed in relief.
Gendry burst into the yard, moving faster than she ever knew he could, but it was his face that captivated her. His blue eyes were shining, and he was grinning from ear to ear. His arms were still covered in soot from the smithy, and she could tell he'd barely stopped to remove his apron before leaving the forge.
"You are never going to guess who I just found." He was practically bouncing on the balls of his feet in front of her. His glee was infectious, and she found herself smiling with him, all the while raising one eyebrow.
He turned, and then his face fell, realizing nobody was with him. "Seven hells, where'd he-?" He spotted a shadow by the corner of the practice yard about the same time Arya did. "Oh come on, then!" he called, then sighed, seeing no movement. His long legs carried him over fast, and soon he was reaching to pull the shorter fellow forward by his shirt collar.
Arya's eyes widened at the sight of Gendry leading Hot Pie into the practice yard. Everything around her fell away, and for a moment she was traveling with her two friends again, Gendry yanking Hot Pie along. She felt a lump in her throat and swallowed, watching Gendry march him straight up to her, his grin back in place.
Hot Pie looked like he'd seen a ghost, which was how Arya suspected she looked as well. He was a little taller, but just as wide, and there was flour on his trousers, making her smile.
When they got close enough, she did what she'd been unable to do when they'd last parted - she hugged him tightly.
She felt Hot Pie awkwardly pat her back as Gendry said,"Told you she'd remember you."
Arya pulled back abruptly. "Remember! Who said I'd forgotten?" She looked accusingly at Hot Pie.
"Well, seeing as you're a lady and all-"
"Call me a lady again and I'll skewer you." Gendry muffled a laugh as Arya narrowed her eyes at Hot Pie, daring him.
He surprised her by grinning at Gendry. "It's her, all right." Gendry couldn't hold back his chuckle this time, patting the younger boy on the back.
Arya stood watching her two old friends grin back at her, and fought to keep her own lips from twitching. She lost that one.
Chapter 30: Sick
Arya is sick and Gendry takes care of her. Modern AU, while they're at uni, just like the past few. established dating.
Me sick and without a Joe/Gendry = this.
Arya felt like shit. Her nose was stuffy, and her head ached much like the rest of her limbs.
She pulled on her sweatshirt and grabbed the box of tissues, which she would no doubt go through quickly, before heading into the living room. Her phone blinked with texts from Kel letting her know she'd bring by her work the next day. She'd missed her two afternoon classes, having slept most of the day after mistakenly making things worse by trying to go to her morning class.
Disgruntled, she blew her nose loudly, and began looking around the kitchen for something to make into dinner. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of edible food.
I should have known better. She sighed.
As she stood in the middle of the kitchen, contemplating going back to bed or ordering something, there was a knock at the door. She waited a moment, unsure of whether she wanted to answer it.
"Arya?" Gendry's voice came through the door. "Arya, it's me."
She sighed, looking down at her sorry state, then opened the door.
"You look like hell."
"Thanks," she replied dryly.
His blue eyes were full of concern, though, and when he stepped forward to brush her hair back softly, she couldn't help but lean against him. Then she noticed the bag in his other hand.
"Hmm?" He looked down. "Oh! I brought you food." He held the bag out to her.
Arya took it and set it on the table. "How'd you know?"
"What, that you were sick? I didn't hear from you all day, and then I ran into Kel and she told me you'd missed class," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I was worried."
Arya smiled softly, then looked up at him. "I meant, how'd you know to bring me food? I'm starving."
He shrugged and grinned at her. "I figured you have to eat sooner or later, and I know there's nothing in your fridge."
She stuck her tongue out at him and turned back to the bag, pulling out cups of noodle soup and some grilled cheese sandwiches. "You can refrigerate the rest," he said from behind her. "Looks like you'll need it for a while."
She nodded, about to thank him, when she was struck by another thought.
"Gendry?" He looked at her, waiting. "Jon didn't ask you to check up on me, did he?"
"What?" Surprise and a little hurt flashed across Gendry's face. "No, of course not. He mentioned you hadn't been feeling well, but I just... I didn't like not seeing you for so long. I just wanted to see how you were."
His mouth turned up slightly. "Besides, that's what boyfriends do, right? Take care of their girls when they're not feeling well?"
Arya raised her eyebrow. "So you're my boyfriend now?"
Gendry raised an eyebrow right back. "Got that right. You're stuck with me, Stark." He tweaked her nose gently and went to get bowls from the cupboard.
Arya couldn't keep the smile from her face as she set about taking out the soup. When he sat down next to her on the couch, she warned, "Might not want to get too close or you'll catch...whatever this is."
He smiled then kissed her on the mouth anyways. She hugged him tightly for a moment, whispering "thank you" into his shirt before letting go and starting to eat. He didn't comment when she fell asleep on his shoulder later, just pulled the blanket close around them both.
Chapter 31: Stay
Arya capped her pen, satisfied with the concluding point for her essay outline. She put aside her papers on a stack of tires next to her chair and stretched, yawning. She was at Mott's Garage, surrounded by her schoolbooks while Gendry worked nearby.
She looked over to where his legs were stretched out from under the car. He'd been at Mott's all day, that she was sure of. Whether he was supposed to be there was a different story, but his manager Yoren had taken one look at him and let him in the back and left him to it. When she'd shown up a few hours later, Yoren had pointed wordlessly to the back corner of the garage, and she'd been there ever since.
Gendry's mum had been sick for days with some type of flu. The doctors kept doing their tests but hadn't been able to pinpoint exactly what she had, so she'd remained in the hospital. Arya had been to visit, with Gendry, several times. Then this morning she went to the hospital and waited for almost an hour before realizing he wasn't going to show. So she'd run to class, then straight to Mott's.
Gendry hadn't spoken a word to her all day, but she didn't mind. He needed to distract himself, to let his mind focus on something other than problems no twenty-year-old should have to worry about. So she did schoolwork, even took a brief nap on her books, while he worked.
Yoren appeared in the doorway just then, his shadow blocking out the evening light. "You got a moment? Could use an extra body up here, if you're willing."
It took Arya a moment to realize he was talking to her, but before she could reply, Gendry slid out from under the car.
"Yoren, leave her be," he said wearily. "You know she doesn't work here."
"No, it's alright. I could use a break from all the reading." Arya jumped down from her chair and smiled at Gendry before turning to Yoren. "What've you got for me?"
Yoren chuckled and clapped her on the back, nearly sending her sprawling, and led her out the door. After helping him move some stuff around and organizing the day's receipts, she headed back to Gendry, who was putting his stuff aside.
As she got near the car, a familiar smell reached her nose.
"Is that...pizza?" She asked incredulously. "How long was I gone?"
A corner of his mouth turned up. "You didn't eat all day." His voice was apologetic.
She sighed, and wrapped her arms around his waist, touching her forehead to his back. His hands covered hers briefly, and they stood there for a moment, content. Then he let go and turned, wrapping an arm around her shoulder.
Arya looked up at him. "For what?"
"You've been here all day and I've barely spoken a word to you 'til now."
" So, most people would be pissed if their boyfriend didn't speak a word to them all day."
"I'm not most people."
"So I'm realizing," he said softly, and kissed her.
"I can give you a ride back after, if you want."
She eyed him carefully. "Are you done here?"
He shook his head. "I'll probably stay a while longer."
"Thought so. Then I will too."
She covered his mouth with her hand as he tried to protest. "Not a discussion." She paused. "I would have stayed without the food, you know."
He pried her hand off his mouth and smiled, a true smile, and kissed her palm lightly. "I know."
Chapter 32: Afraid
The consequences of 3x05's "family" conversation...years later, after Arya returns to Winterfell and finds Gendry smithing there.
Last night nearly killed me. So this happened.
Arya had been back at Winterfell for nearly a week. She'd left the Faceless Men long ago but stayed in Braavos, not thinking there was anything left to return to. Then rumors started coming, stories from sailors of a new wolf queen and her soldier who'd taken back Winterfell as their own, and suddenly Arya couldn't move fast enough.
Sansa and Jon had been overjoyed to see her, and she them. Rickon surprised her - something not easily done, these days - and she couldn't believe they'd all found their way back.
Then she'd seen him.
He stood at the edge of the crowd, behind the villagers who had come to welcome her. Dark hair, blue-eyed, taller than ever, and staring at her as if into her very soul. So she turned her back on him, as he'd done to her so many years before.
All week, she and Sansa and Jon made plans for rebuilding Winterfell, but she talked very little of her past. The others didn't seem to want to share, either. But they weren't shy to bring up Gendry, a topic she refused to broach. She ignored him completely, not venturing near the forge and finding reasons to busy herself with tasks others could have easily done.
She couldn't - no, she wouldn't - feel bad for it.
Jon came to find her in her room this day, a week later, and one look at his face told her the game was up. They sat on the bed she'd shared as a child, and she couldn't stop her anger - and hurt - from pouring out.
He listened silently, letting her speak. When she was done, he wrapped her in a hug and they sat there for some time like that, just holding each other. Finally, he let go of her and let out a breath. He spied Needle sitting against the wall and eyed her warily.
"Can I speak my mind without you turning your Needle on me?"
She rolled her eyes, but held up her hands in appeasement.
"I am in no way saying what he did was right, but I do understand why he did it." He held up a hand as she opened her mouth to interrupt, and waited until she closed it again, glowering at him. "Arya, try to think about this from his perspective for a moment. Bastards...we don't lead the same lives as others do. I'm a bastard, same as he. Just because I knew my father doesn't mean I didn't know hate, or ridicule."
He paused. "Gendry's never been given a reason to trust anyone. His master sold him, his new master could've killed him ... and then there's you. You trusted him, and for that he trusted you. But in his mind, your being a lady comes first. Bastards never forget their position, that I know. And for that reason, he's convinced you'd eventually leave."
Arya couldn't hold back any longer. "I wouldn't leave him! I offered to be his family!"
"I know that, and I think maybe he does, too," Jon replied patiently. "But all those other people he doesn't trust - he thinks they'll find a way to take you away. And that scares him. Because you're all he has. Had."
Arya was silent as Jon's words sank in.
"So then ... there's no point? I can't change his mind?" she asked quietly, looking down at her lap.
"No, Arya. You're the only one who can."
She looked at Jon then, and he was smiling softly. She leaned against him, tired and full of too many feelings at once. She woke up on her bed, Jon nowhere to be found, but she knew what she had to do.
She walked down to the forge slowly, hearing the melodic ring of his hammer as she got near. It ached, how familiar this felt already. She pushed open the door and closed it behind her, walking over to sit on the bench across from the anvil. Gendry paused only slightly before continuing his work. Again, the familiarity coursed through her.
When he was done, he laid the hammer down slowly, but his head remained bowed.
"M'lady." His voice was gruff, just as she remembered, but now she also recognized the resignation.
"Why do you always say that?"
His eyebrows knitted together and he finally looked at her. "Because ... that's who you are."
"No." She hopped down from the bench, moving closer to him. "I've told you a thousand times, I am no lady . I'm Arya. Just Arya. And you're Gendry."
He stared at her, seemingly unable to move from behind the anvil.
"What are you doing here, Gendry?"
"I'm smithing for your sister."
"I can see that. Why?"
"That's not an answer."
"You really need me to spell it out for you?" When Arya only raised an eyebrow, he sighed. "I was waiting for you. I needed to know you were okay."
"What else is there?"
"Well, you can see I'm fine. So why are you still here?"
Hurt flashed across his face. "Arya, I-"
She didn't let him finish. "Better question - you were just going to make sure I'm okay and be alright with me never speaking to you again?"
He stiffened. "If that's what m'lady wants."
"Stop it!" She was unaware she'd been moving until she found herself standing in front of him.
"What do you want from me?" He was frustrated, but he was still holding back.
"I want you to be my friend again, stupid!"
" You weren't talking to me ," he shot back. "M'lady."
"Because you won't let me in!" Arya fought to keep her voice steady. "You did it four years ago and you're doing it again now, and I'm done with it."
His eyes were wide with surprise, and he opened and closed his mouth a few times before finding his voice again. "So what, you want me gone, then?" He finally asked.
Now Arya's eyes were wide, and she grabbed his hands, locking her fingers with his. " Stupid . I'm asking you to stay. Stay, and let me be your family."
His eyes closed, but she caught the deep longing there. He shook his head. "That can't be."
"Then why are you here? " Her voice softened. "It can be, if you just let it." She was pleading now, but for her sake or his, she wasn't sure anymore. "Please, let it."
He didn't respond, but he made no move to leave. Arya carefully let go of his hands and put her arms around his shoulders instead, resting her head against his tunic. His heart was beating fast, although he didn't move for several moments.
She was starting to think she'd made the wrong decision when suddenly he let out a long sigh, like a burden being let down, and then his arms were around her so tight she could barely breathe. She felt him murmur her name into her neck over and over, and then an even quieter "m'lady," but she could hear the smile in it now and her slap to his head was half-hearted as he lifted her off the ground.
Chapter 33: Dancing
Pure and utter fluff.
Amidst all of the seriousness and sadness surrounding these two currently, I needed something happy.
Sansa was walking through the woods in the early morning light when she heard the voices.
She stopped, uncertain, then her mouth turned up in a smile as she heard "stupid" several times in one sentence. It could only be Arya. And where there was Arya, Gendry was not far behind.
Sansa made her way quietly towards the voices, stopping only when she reached a clearing, and realized she was a ways behind the house Arya and her blacksmith now shared in the village, near his forge. She peeked around a tree to see Arya and Gendry in stance, swords out.
"Higher. Higher!" Arya scolded, strands of hair escaping her braid. The smith obediently raised his sword higher, a slight smile playing on his face.
"Yes, m'lady." Arya lunged and he met her with equal force, laughing outright, and Arya was fighting to stop her smile, too. Now Sansa realized why they practiced back here - the clanging would wake up all of Winterfell otherwise.
Arya was fast, definitely faster than Gendry, thanks to her small size. But he more than made up for that in sheer strength, years of smithing having built up his own stamina and force.
It was a game, Sansa realized as she watched them. They both knew all the steps already, teasing each other at every turn. They were dancing, in their own bizarre way.
Arya had never looked so free, so uncaring, as she did here. She still joked with Jon and Rickon, and with Sansa too, but no longer was she eager to meet new visitors who walked through the doors of Winterfell. She was at her happiest when training with her students, or so Sansa had thought until now.
She was smiling more easily, and no longer moving in her unnervingly quiet manner. She was loud and fierce and so, so alive.
Gendry, for his part, was as open as Sansa had ever seen him. Around her, he was almost always quiet and courteous - it still tickled her that he was so conscious of his courtesies when Arya cared so little for them.
He was joking and smiling, his eyes alight as he and Arya dueled. Finally, she managed to knock his sword out of his hand and back him into a tree, her expression smug. He put his hands up in mock surrender and she smiled, putting her sword down.
"Better. But you're still not getting your arm up fast enough. You've got to move your feet-" she let out an ungainly shriek as Gendry picked her up and threw her over his shoulder, strolling around the field jauntily with no care. She'd dropped her sword on the ground in surprise, so she pummeled his back with her fists.
"You lumbering oaf! Put me down!" But even Sansa could hear the breathless laughter in her voice, and she knew Gendry wasn't fooled either.
"How's that? Was that fast enough for you? Maybe I should run back to the castle with you like this, hmm?"
Gendry laughed and put her down gently, kissing the top of her nose before letting go. She stuck her tongue out at him and pushed him, hard, to the ground. He chuckled, uncaring, and grabbed her wrist, pulling her down on top of him.
Sansa turned away, smiling, knowing their dance was done for the morning.
Chapter 34: Fine
Follow up to Chapter 32, Afraid. Sansa's POV of the next day.
Neither Arya nor her smith had made it to dinner the previous night. Arya hadn't returned to her room, either. Sansa hoped that meant things had gone well. She knew Jon had intended to talk to her, but neither had seen Arya since.
So she waited in her room until Arya came in, still in yesterday's clothes. She looked exhausted, but ... happy. Her hair was loose around her shoulders, and her face was content in a way Sansa hadn't seen in years.
She didn't seem surprised to see Sansa, waving hello and taking off her cloak as a yawn overtook her.
"How are you this morning?" Sansa asked, amused.
"Fine. I'm sorry if I worried you." She did seem genuinely apologetic, a slight miracle in itself.
"And how are things with your blacksmith?" Sansa ventured. Arya looked away, and Sansa swore she saw pink on her cheeks.
"He's fine too."
"Mmm." Arya's eyes narrowed at her, and Sansa had to bite back a laugh. "So you're both fine."
"Yes." Arya crossed her arms defiantly, eyebrow raised, daring Sansa to keep going. But she didn't rise to the bait, instead nodding and changing the subject.
"I think Jon wants to help with training the young ones today."
Arya's eyes flashed in surprise at the change in topic, before her mask slipped back into place, and she nodded. "I'll catch him up over breakfast."
Sansa stood up to leave, but couldn't resist hugging Arya briefly before heading out the door. Her sister was glowing, and she had no idea.
Sansa's suspicions were confirmed at the practice yard. She had come to watch the students train with Jon and Arya and some of the older soldiers, surprising herself by having so much fun watching Jon and Arya as teachers. The younger girls were all enamored with Jon, and it amused her to no end. Arya was in a noticeably better mood, teasing her students - and Jon - often.
Sansa was surprised when Gendry showed up, leaning against the rail to watch. Occasionally, he'd be met by a villager or two about a job or repair, but otherwise he was paying attention to Arya.
When they took a break, Arya saw him and her face softened considerably as she walked over. He grinned and produced a lemon cake from his bag, and this time Arya definitely blushed. They chatted quietly, Arya occasionally swatting his shoulder at something he said.
When Jon readied the students once more, Sansa watched as Arya gripped her smith's hand briefly for a moment, mouthing "thank you." He smiled, and leaned in close, bringing her hand to his lips briefly. She pushed him away, smiling softly, and went back to her students.
Sansa smiled to herself. Fine, indeed.
Chapter 35: Away
Modern AU - Gendry's been gone for a while and Arya realizes she misses him more than she thought.
yup. more fluff.
The clock read 7:55. Arya put aside her book and stretched. Gendry would be calling soon, as he had every day this week. He was currently miles away at some conference his professor had arranged for his tiny class of six to attend for 10 days.
Arya hadn’t thought 10 days could feel this long. She felt like a silly girl when her stomach jumped every time the phone rang at night, but then his voice would come on the other end and as usual, she’d forget her worries.
She was rattled to admit that she missed him. A lot. She’d gotten quite used to seeing him after class or at the end of the day – and sometimes at the beginning, too, when she’d stay over.
Her phone rang, and she glanced at the clock again as she picked it up. 8:00. Always right on time, he was.
“Hey you. Finish that paper yet?” She could practically hear him grinning.
“I’m working on it,” she replied tartly. “How was your day?”
“Pretty cool, actually. They had some workshops so we got to do some hands on stuff finally.”
“That’s good.” There was a strange hum in the background. “Where are you?”
“Heading back to the hotel. Why?”
“Nothing, your voice just sounded odd.”
“My signal’s been acting up around here, that could be it.”
She was silent for a moment.
“I miss you, you know.”
“Yeah?” He was smiling again, she was sure of it.
“Miss you too, love.” His voice was soft, and she couldn’t help but smile at the endearment.
“So.” She cleared her throat. “What’s the schedule for the next few days?”
“Well, the rest of the conference isn’t all that relevant to my area of study, so it’ll be a bit odd.”
She frowned. “That makes no sense. Why do you even have to stay then?”
“That’s exactly what I asked Professor Hammond.”
“And?” Arya pressed after he was silent, and he chuckled.
“And, he agreed. Which is why," he dragged out the words, "I’m currently standing outside waiting for you to let me in.”
“What?!” Arya nearly tumbled off her bed in her haste to get to her window. Sure enough, Gendry was standing outside, phone to his ear, while Jon leaned against the car behind him, both wearing identical grins.
“I’m going to kill you. And you,” Arya breathed, pointing a finger at Jon before tossing her phone on the bed and all but flying out the door.
She could hear their laughter as she opened the door, so she stood there, hands on hips, refusing to rush to Gendry like she so wanted to. He didn’t move, one eyebrow cocked at her but still grinning. Jon clapped him on the back and ruffled Arya’s hair as he passed her, only smiling in response to her glare.
Gendry walked up the steps toward her, stopping on the second step so that they were eye-to-eye.
“Hi, you,” he said again, softly, cupping her chin.
She gave in, throwing her arms around his shoulders and tucking her face in his neck, as his arms moved to her waist and he lifted her off her feet for a moment before setting her back down gently. She didn’t let go, only murmuring into his ear, “I would have come to pick you up, stupid.”
“I know,” he replied. “But this was better.”
Chapter 36: Vacation
Modern AU. Gendry's winter break at uni.
I just can't stop with the fluff.
Gendry hit the snooze button for the third time, still half-asleep. He’d come back late last night after working at Mott’s for longer than usual.
It was winter break, and campus was nearly deserted. Gendry quite preferred it this way, if he was being honest. Although it would have been more fun if Arya and Jon had been here too. Especially Arya.
They were on vacation with their family. Arya had resisted after finding out Gendry would be staying alone at his apartment, but he'd convinced her to go. He didn’t want her to take her family for granted. She’d relented, albeit grudgingly.
The Motts lived near enough that he’d been there for dinner a few times already. He was thinking about repairing their leaky roof next week when his phone buzzed.
He nearly smacked it before realizing it wasn’t his alarm, and smiled when he saw the number.
“You’re up early.”
“Hello to you too,” Arya responded, clearly amused.
“Hi. What’s got you up at this hour?”
She didn't answer, only asked her own question in turn. “How are you still asleep? Don’t you usually wake up at the crack of dawn?”
“It’s winter break.” He grinned, even though she couldn’t see him.
“Mmm. How’s that going?”
“Good,” Gendry yawned, and he heard Arya chuckle on the other end. “Been to visit the Motts a bit, might fix their roof next week.”
“That’s very nice of you.”
“I’m a nice guy.”
“Right,” Arya replied dryly, and he laughed.
“I miss you.”
“Good. Then let me in.”
Gendry was wide awake suddenly. “Come again?”
“Let me in, stupid.” She was laughing now.
He tumbled out of bed, nearly tripping on his sheets as he pulled on a shirt over his sweats and opened the door.
And there she was, like the best dream he’d ever had, except better because she was real and standing there in front of him grinning.
She picked up her duffel and came over to him, clearly enjoying his gobsmacked expression.
“Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation?” He finally asked when he’d found his voice.
“ Family vacation.” She looped her arms around his waist. “You’re my family too, silly.”
Chapter 37: Mine
Arya was waiting for Gendry in the forge with Nymeria when he finally walked in, long after dinner had ended.
He stopped slightly when he saw her, then smiled and shook his head.
"Nothing." He was still smiling.
"Liar." He didn't reply. "Gendry," she said pointedly.
"Arya," he replied. When she raised her eyebrows, waiting, he smirked and walked over to her, leaning down until the tip of his nose brushed hers.
"Hi. What were you thinking about?"
He smiled again. "You never quit, do you?" When she only stared at him, waiting, he gave in. "I was thinking, I could get used to this."
Her face scrunched in confusion. "To what?"
"You, being here. At the end of every day."
"Oh," was all she could think to say to that. She could feel herself smiling like a fool, but as he leaned in to kiss her, she couldn't bring herself to care.
Then Nymeria butted her head against Gendry and he pulled away to greet her.
"I went to see Lady Sansa," he said as he patted Nymeria.
"I figured." She'd warned Sansa earlier about Gendry asking to be legitimized. "Did she pass on my message?"
Gendry chuckled. "Very clearly." It was his turn to raise an eyebrow. "So you'll only take me if I'm a bastard, then?"
He hugged her tightly then, picking her up off from the bench entirely, and she laughed. "So are you finally done worrying about this?"
He sighed against her collarbone. "I think so. Although..." His voice trailed off and she pulled back.
"Your sister mentioned another thing, too. Something about a small house nearby?"
"Oh." Arya flushed again, cursing Sansa. "She...might have said something the other day. She just...wasn't sure if the cot in the back would be enough space...if I...if we..." Gods, she was not ready for this conversation.
"Do you want to see it?" His voice was soft.
She did. She really did. "Do you?"
His ears were red, but he nodded, locking his fingers with hers. She smiled, realizing they were both nervous, and gripped his hand tighter.
She led him out of the forge and to the house close by. They stood in front, looking it over, until Arya couldn't take it and opened the front door, wanting to move around. It clearly hadn't been used, though it was one of the first fixed up during rebuilding. It wasn't large by any means, but Arya liked it that way. Only room for what she - they - needed.
It looked cozy, she thought. She turned to see Gendry looking around wonderingly, unaware of her watching.
"What do you think?" She asked after a while.
He shoved his hands into his pockets. "It's nice. I think I could fix up the roof a bit more."
"Not too small?"
"Gods, no. What would we do with more space?" She grinned at that, and he grinned back.
His face became serious after a moment, and he asked softly, "So ... this would really be ours?"
Arya nodded. "All ours. If we want it."
"I've never had anything to call anything mine before," he murmured, almost to himself, and Arya couldn't help but put her arms around him.
"Well now you have two," she whispered to him. "Three, if you include the forge." He smiled at that, really smiled, and she made a note to thank Sansa after all.
Chapter 38: Travel
Modern AU. Nighttime conversation between Arya and Gendry.
I have so many finals this week but today is Sunday so really nothing else matters. My priorities...
Arya was walking around the room in nothing but his shirt, her hair loose about her shoulders. It was the middle of the night, but neither of them could sleep. So they'd been talking, about anything and everything (among other things, Gendry thought with a small grin). Arya looked at his walls, bare besides the few pictures he had of the Motts, and now, Jon and herself.
“I have a map on my wall.” She turned to him where he watched her from the bed.
“I remember.” It was huge, right above her desk, with blue and red pins all over it.
“I’ve been marking the places I want to go.”
“So…everywhere?” He grinned when her eyes narrowed at him and she stuck out her tongue.
“No, not everywhere,.” She paused. “I do want to travel, though. I want to see things, learn things that aren't in books.”
She was silent for a while, lingering at a picture of him with his foster parents. “What about you?” She finally asked.
Gendry gave it some thought before answering. “I suppose I’ve never felt at home anywhere, until …” he trailed off when he realized what he’d been about to say. Until now. Until I met you. “Until I came to uni and met you and Jon. But I’d like to think there’s more out there to be found.”
“Mmm.” She eyed him, trying to figure out what he’d left out, but let it be for the moment.
He stretched and got up from the bed, clad in sweats and a T-shirt. “Where’d you want to go first?”
She bit her lip before responding. “The Free Cities, I think. I want to see something different.”
“I’ve never seen the sea.” Gendry watched her, trying to gauge her reply.
“I saw it once, when I was younger.” She stepped closer, tangling her hands with his, but keeping her eyes on her feet. “I think you’d like it," she said softly.
His heart soared, and he bent down to touch his forehead to hers, brushing his nose against hers once, twice, before letting go of her hands and picking her up gently. Her hands clutched his shoulders immediately, and her legs wrapped around his waist as she met his eyes. He leaned into to kiss her, making her sigh as he sucked on her lower lip. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders more securely and she rocked against him, making him groan. She grinned, eyes alight.
He thought, taking in her curved lips and dancing eyes, that sleeping was definitely overrated.
Chapter 39: Lost
Spoilers through Storm of Swords.
urgh. my response to last night 3x06. part two is coming next chapter, probably tonight.
Gendry heard heavy footsteps nearby but didn’t move from his spot by the fire. Why bother. He was as good as dead anyways.
The steps got closer, then stopped again, and he heard a hushed voice.
“If you’re going to kill me, please get it over with now,” he called out. “I’m in no mood for games.”
The voices stopped, and then a man wrapped heavily in furs stepped into view.
“We have no reason to kill you. We’re just surprised to see a fire this far north.” His voice was low, but Gendry thought he spoke genuinely.
“It’s a good place to not be found," he replied, looking at the fire. “You’re welcome to sit, you and your men.”
The stranger nodded his thanks and made what sounded like a bird call, and his men emerged from the woods, wrapped similarly in furs. They were of varying ages, though most seemed young, closer to his age. There was no question as to who was their leader.
He took a seat next to Gendry and pushed back his hood, revealing curly, thick black hair and a young face. But his eyes – they told a different story, of a life plagued by burdens and hard decisions. He looked as weary as Gendry felt.
Gendry held out his hand. “Gendry Waters.” That’s who I am now. Who I always was.
“Waters?” The stranger looked at him, and his mouth slowly curled into a smile, as if remembering how to do so after a long time. He shook his hand. “Jon Snow.”
Now Gendry felt his mouth twitch also. “Snow?”
Jon laughed outright, then. “What are the chances,” he murmured, still shaking his head.
Then Gendry remembered something else, and his smile faltered. “Are you … are you from the Night’s Watch?”
Jon eyed him cautiously, and Gendry could tell he was deciding how much to tell him. “We were.” He sighed heavily. “No longer.”
“Are you … was Lord Stark your father?”
This time Jon’s eyes snapped to his and his hand went to the dagger by his belt. Gendry held up his hands. “I only ask because I knew a girl once, who talked of a brother at The Wall and a father … accused, in King’s Landing.”
Jon’s face softened immediately. “You met Arya? When? How long ago?”
“A few years ago. We were part of the Night’s Watch recruits before-“ Before everything went to hell.
“The Night’s Watch doesn’t take girls,” Jon said, confused. Gendry had to bite back a laugh, remembering his first real conversation with Arya.
“Yoren disguised her as a boy. He was going to bring her to Winterfell…” Gendry shook his head, saddened by the memory, but made himself continue. “He was killed by Gold Cloaks. We were taken to Harrenhal, but escaped. Then the Brotherhood Without Banners found us. That was when we got separated.”
“The Red Priestess happened.”
Jon’s eyes widened. “Melisandre?”
Now it was Gendry’s turn to be surprised. “You know her?”
“Aye, I know her.” His voice had a dark edge to it. “She’s something.”
“She took Arya?”
“No…she came for me.”
Gendry shook his head, not wanting to go into it.
“You’re in safe company here," Jon said quietly. "I swear it. I swear it on Arya.”
Gendry sighed and rubbed his face. “It appears ... that I am one of King Robert’s last living bastards.”
Jon was quiet for a moment. “Let me guess – she wanted you to fight for the throne.”
“Among other things, yeah.”
“Not at first. Then … then we heard about the Red Wedding, and I went mad. I took the men she gave me and we wiped out the Freys.”
“That was you?”
“So what are you doing here?”
Gendry smiled bitterly. “Waiting, running, hiding. Take your pick.”
“Believe it or not, I know the feeling.” Gendry looked at him then, and saw that he did. He continued quietly, “I’m not so proud of my past either.”
They sat in silence for some time, until Jon finally turned to Gendry. “Will you travel with us? Fight with me.”
“I’m no warrior. I was always meant to be a smith.”
“Then be our smith . I can teach you basic moves so that you can defend yourself.” Gendry hesitated, wondering if he was an idiot for trusting yet another person. But this wasn’t just some other person. This was Arya’s brother.
Jon waited, letting him decide.
“Where are you going?” Gendry finally asked.
“Winterfell. We’re taking it back.” He sounded so like Arya in that moment that Gendry had to grin, and he knew his decision was made.
Chapter 40: Found
Companion to chapter 39. Spoilers through ADwD
because I couldn't wait until tonight. these is seriously cathartic for me, and hopefully for you readers too!
Gendry swung his hammer, deflecting Jon’s sword once again. They’d been at it for almost an hour, but his arm was strong, even stronger than he’d thought he could be. He was starting to see why Arya had seemed to like practicing so much.
She was all he thought of nowadays, being around her brother so much. Jon would share stories from when they were little and Gendry tried to respond in kind, searching for the good memories. It ached to remember, sometimes. It hurt even more to wonder what might have happened to her.
He never really knew, after all. Someone had seen her at the Twins around the time of the Red Wedding, but nobody, not even the red witch, could tell him if she’d made it out alive. So he burned them all. Burned everything to the ground until all he could see was ashes, dark as the soot from his forge. And then he was lost, again.
He had no desire for the bloody throne. Them that wanted to play their game could leave him out of it. He’d packed up in the night and left, never looking back. In the north, he’d met Jon Snow and his band of Night’s Watch outcasts. They’d been traveling together since.
Jon was about to strike again when he paused. “Don’t move.”
Gendry froze. “What-“
Jon held up a hand for silence, then, quietly: “She’s back."
Gendry lowered his arm slowly, gently setting the hammer on the ground before turning. The grey wolf was there again, standing by a tree at the edge of the clearing.
“Nymeria,” he heard Jon breathe behind him.
Arya’s direwolf. It had to be. She was enormous, but he knew one quick movement from him and she’d either bound off or go for his throat.
Not quite unlike Arya. The thought sprang unbidden to his mind, making him smile, and Nymeria stepped forward. Gendry held out his hand, palm up, and waited. After an eternity, Nymeria took another step forward, and another, until she was butting up against his hand.
Jon relaxed, and Gendry allowed himself to marvel at what was happening. He’d been seeing her for days now, but mostly as a shadow. He’d glimpse her running during the day, or watching silently at night before he fell asleep, and he’d been certain it was his mind playing tricks on him. But she was here and very real, and he couldn’t help but see it as a good sign.
In the days that followed, Nymeria stayed close to camp. She disappeared now and then, but almost always returned. One night, she reappeared, whining, and latched onto Gendry’s sleeve.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” He tried to disengage himself, but it was no use, so he shrugged at Jon and let himself be led outside the camp, Jon following at a close distance.
Suddenly Nymeria stopped and let out a howl, making the hair on Gendry’s arms stand up.
Nymeria howled again, and then he saw her.
She stepped out from behind a massive oak tree, nearly blending in with the night. Nymeria trotted up to her and pulled her forward by her cloak. She was taller than he remembered, but still much shorter than him. But now she moved with a quiet, deadly grace, her hair long again and tied loosely behind her. She was still in a ratty tunic and leggings, though, and he latched onto the familiarity.
He remained frozen in place, only able to stare at her as she neared. She was looking him over as well, slight astonishment in her eyes. He reached out a hand, barely grazing her jaw, when he heard Jon behind him.
Gendry moved out of the way swiftly, letting Jon see her. And then Jon was running towards them, laughing and crying all at once, picking up Arya like she was a child again. Her shock turned into sheer joy, and Gendry could see the tears on her face as Jon swung her around.
He was sitting by the fire late into the night when he felt her drop into place next to him. They sat staring at the flames in silence for some time, the rest of the men asleep around them.
“I thought you were dead.” His voice came out hoarse.
“I thought she’d never let you go alive,” Arya replied. He didn’t have to ask who she was.
“She didn’t. Not entirely, anyways.” He looked down. “A part of me died out there, I think. Not that I want it back.”
“What happened, Gendry?”
He savored his name on her lips before answering. “Remember when you asked me who my father was? What did I say?”
“It could have been one of the Gold Cloaks, for all you knew,” she replied almost instantly, and he tried not to smile.
“Yeah. Well turns out my guess was pretty close.” He sighed, rubbing his face. “She wanted me to reclaim the throne in my … father’s name.” He kept his eyes on the fire.
“Your father … King Robert?” She whispered.
He nodded, his throat too tight to speak.
“Gods. And that’s why my father came to see you in King’s Landing?”
He nodded again, and she was silent for some time.
“So how did you get away from her?”
“She kept me with her at first. Wanted to show me off to … my uncle, as it were. Appears I’ve got a cousin, too,” he said bitterly. “I refused most of what she told me to do, until … until we heard about The Twins.”
Arya kept silent, and the words poured out of him. “There was word you’d been seen nearby, but nobody knew whether you’d come out. Even her precious visions couldn’t tell me that. I didn’t know what to do …” he sighed, pulling himself from the memory. “So I finally took the men she was offering me and we killed the Freys. All of them.
“Then Ramsay Bolton ,” he spat the name out, “went around announcing he was marrying Arya Stark and I knew, I knew then and there you were dead because no way would you agree to that. So I left. Came north, and your brother found me one day and insisted I stay with him. And now here you are,” he finished wonderingly, looking at her.
Arya stared back at him, grey eyes full of wonder and sadness, but thankfully, he noted, not pity.
“Where were you, Arya?”
She took a deep breath, looking away. “I was learning to kill.”
“The Hound snatched me from the Brotherhood after you … after she took you away. He wanted to ransom me off at The Twins, but when we got there things were already going to hell and we got attacked. I escaped and made off on a boat to Braavos.”
“What made you come back?”
“I kept trying to forget myself, forget everything, and I nearly succeeded,” she said. “Until I heard stories of a new wolf prince fighting for Winterfell , with his wolf-shaped helm.” She paused and eyed Gendry sidelong. “You made that, didn’t you?”
He had. In the early days he’d traveled with the men and there was little work, he’d begun work on a new helm to replace his bull. Until he realized he wasn’t making it for himself after all.
“It’s beautiful,” she smiled at him, and he nodded his thanks.
They were quiet then, as the flames burned their embers into the night sky.
Gendry said quietly, “I’m very glad you aren’t dead, m'lady.”
She shoved him, albeit half-heartedly. "Stupid." Then she surprised both of them by laying her head on his shoulder. “I’m glad to see you too.”
Chapter 41: Solace
Modern AU fluff. Set somewhere around the time after Gendry's fight with Joffrey (Chapters 25 and 26), but before the Stark parents visit (Chapter 27)
fluff fluff fluff! FLUFF! okay that's all.
Gendry was sitting at his desk doing research for his term paper when he heard the knock at his door. He glanced at the clock as he got up - 3:00 in the afternoon. Who could possibly need him right now?
He swung the door open to find Arya standing outside his room, books in hand and backpack over her shoulder. Her hair was twisted into a messy braid, and her grey eyes were dull and tired, absent of the mischief that so often filled them. She looked exhausted.
“Hey.” He was unable to keep the surprise out of his voice.
“Hi. Are you busy?”
“Not really, just working on a paper,” he replied, still looking her over in concern. “Arya, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she replied almost reflexively. “I just-“ She paused, biting her lip. “Could I stay here for a while? Just to study. I just need some quiet. I can’t think at our place.”
Gendry opened his door wider, stepping back to let her in, and she smiled tiredly at him.
“You can sit on the bed or take the desk. There’s not much more room I’m afraid, other than the floor,” he grinned sheepishly, rubbing his neck nervously.
She took a look at his papers all over the desk next to his laptop and dropped her bag on the bed. “This is fine. Thanks, Gendry.”
“Of course. If you, uh, want anything to eat or drink,” he gestured to the fridge. “Help yourself.”
He sat down at his desk, feeling oddly like he should offer to do something else, but he wasn’t sure what that was. “I might not be such great company right now, with this paper and all.”
She waved a hand. “If I wanted you chatting my head off I’d have stayed at home.” Already she was sitting cross-legged on his bed, pulling a pen out from her bag and opening her textbook.
He smiled and turned back to his work, aware that he was far too happy at how the day was turning out.
He and Arya had been spending more time together since the whole Joffrey incident, but neither had admitted to why. He wasn’t even sure he knew himself. All he knew was that he was definitely not looking at her like his best friend’s baby sister anymore, and he was hoping that maybe, just maybe she might be seeing him differently also.
An hour passed in comfortable silence as they both focused on their work. Gendry was used to working alone, preferring quiet over constant conversation. People had a need to fill every empty space with incessant chatter and it drove him mad.
But Arya was different. She was fine with silence. If anything, she seemed to welcome it these days. He knew things were tough at home, with Bran’s accident and Sansa’s troubles with Joffrey. Not to mention now Jon’s troubles with Joffrey. Gendry had his own issues with the little prick. The kid was good at making enemies.
Gendry yawned, standing up to stretch when he realized things were a little too quiet behind him. He turned to see Arya fast asleep on his bed, her pen still in her hand. He smiled softly – something he seemed to do a lot around her lately. She looked so at peace he was hesitant to move at first. He gently moved her bookbag onto the floor, setting her books beside it and taking the pen out of her hand. She shifted softly and grasped his hand as he was about to pull away.
“Gendry?” Her voice was thick with sleep.
“Sshh, it’s just me,” he replied softly. “Go back to sleep, love.” Love? Where had that come from? Arya’s grip on his hand tightened slightly.
“I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere, alright? I’m here.” He stroked his thumb over her hand soothingly until he felt her grip slacken and she was fast asleep again. Since she had fallen asleep on top of the covers, he grabbed his hoodie and put it over her, grinning when it covered most of her petite frame.
He texted Jon to let him know Arya was with him and not to worry. He didn’t need angry Starks coming after him tonight.
After settling back in at his desk, he worked on his paper for another hour before his stomach grumbled. Realizing Arya probably hadn’t eaten most of the day either, he decided to put something together. After quietly scoping out the contents of his cupboard, he decided on pasta. Pasta was simple. Less chance for error.
He set the pasta to boil and chopped some mushrooms and peppers, warming the sauce on the side. Frying the veggies would definitely wake her, but he figured if there was food awaiting her it might be alright. As the veggies sizzled in the pan, he heard Arya shift slowly on the bed and put the gas on low before turning around.
She was sitting up groggily, rubbing the sleep from her eyes while still clutching his hoodie with one hand, and it made him smile.
“Sorry about that. How long was I out?”
“God." She ran her fingers through her hair, making a face when she realized most of it had escaped her braid. “Jon must be-“
“I texted him. It’s alright.”
“Oh. Thanks.” She sniffed and shifted, trying to see past his broad form. “That smells great.”
He turned back to the pasta, mixing the sauce and veggies together. “There’s more than enough, if you’d like some.” Say yes.
She paused for a moment, then relented. “That would be nice, actually. I’ll just wash up.”
Gendry smiled to himself and finished up, ready with two plates of food when Arya came out, her braid undone and hair loose over her shoulders. He nodded at the folding dinner trays he had stacked in the corner.
“Could you …?”
She pulled out one and set it up by the bed. When she went to grab another, he shook his head, setting both their plates on the tray and pulling his desk chair up. She sat cross-legged on his bed again, his hoodie folded neatly next to her, and began to eat.
“This is delicious,” she mumbled after a minute. His nervousness settled and he grinned at her, pleased.
“I haven’t had a real meal in ages,” she said quietly. He was about to tease her when she continued. “We haven’t been grocery shopping in weeks. Jon’s been at Ygritte’s most nights. Sansa…when she’s not with Marg, she’s busy with her club or graduate applications. Mum’s been with Bran at the hospital.”
“How is he?” Gendry asked softly.
She shrugged. “Same as ever. I don’t think much is going to change now. Just a matter of getting used to it. They’re installing ramps in the house next week. For the wheelchair.”
Gendry nodded in understanding. “I know it’s not a lot,” he finally said, “but I can take you for groceries sometime, if you want. I usually go every other weekend anyways.” He plowed on, not looking at her. “And you know, you’re welcome to stay here whenever you like, too. If you need a break from … everything else.”
“Thank you.” She smiled at him softly before raising an eyebrow. “That better not be what you say to all the girls you cook dinner for, Waters.”
He shook his head. "I've never made dinner for a girl before.” It slipped out before he had time to think about what it meant.
Arya’s lips parted slightly in surprise, and he took advantage of the silence to take his dish to the sink and begin cleaning up. When he went back to take her empty plate, she asked, “Why me, then?”
“What?” He stood in front of her, hand still outstretched to take her plate.
“Why did you make dinner for me?” She was watching him, her face unreadable.
He shrugged shyly. “Because I wanted to.”
She smiled up at him, her cheeks pink, and rose so she was kneeling on his bed, closer to eye level with him. Before he could ask what she was doing, she reached out and pulled him closer, her lips brushing his cheek softly.
“Thank you,” she whispered, before pulling back. Gendry didn’t move, both shocked and elated at once. He was delighted at the brilliant flush spreading through her cheeks (which he guessed might match his quite well), and he decided he wanted to make it happen again, very soon.
Chapter 42: Mutual
Modern AU. Slightly kind-of a follow-up to Chapter 41 but not necessary to read that one, unless you want to :)
Aaaaaand, the fluff continues.
Gendry knocked on the door, surprised when Sansa answered. “Oh, hello.”
“Hi Gendry.” She grinned knowingly. “Looking for Arya?”
“Uh, yeah. Is she around?”
“She got held up in tutoring but should be back soon. You’re welcome to wait here if you like.”
He nodded in thanks, stepping through the doorway and following the red-headed girl into the kitchen.
“How are things?” Sansa asked.
“Better now, just finished a round of exams. You?”
She nodding knowingly. “Same. It’s a good feeling.” She stopped in the middle of packing her bag. “I should have asked, would you like anything to eat?”
“There’s food here?” When her mouth twitched, he smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I’m actually taking Arya for groceries, so I just assumed there was nothing much left.”
Sansa chuckled. “You might be right. I haven’t been here in a while, so I’m not sure.” She paused. “Thanks for helping out. Especially with Arya.”
He waved a hand dismissively. “No problem.”
“She’s not always easy to get along with.”
He shrugged. “Neither am I, I suppose.”
She nodded, watching him carefully for a moment. Then she added casually, “She likes you, you know. A lot.”
He felt his mouth turn up in a foolish smile. “It’s mutual,” he responded honestly.
“I know,” Sansa laughed.
She hesitated for a moment, then said, “I’m glad you punched Joffrey.”
“Honestly? Me too.”
At that moment, the front door creaked open again, and Gendry heard a heavy bag thump on the floor.
“We’re in here,” Sansa called out.
“We? Who-?” Arya entered the kitchen, stopping when she saw him. “Gendry. Hi.”
“What are you doing here?”
“You two are getting groceries,” Sansa informed her – a little too gleefully, he thought.
“We are?” Arya looked at him questioningly.
“Yeah, I figured today might be good for it, being the end of the week and all," he explained. "And it's good weather for once … maybe we can grab a bite or something after. If you’re busy, though-“
“I’m not busy,” she replied at the same time that Sansa piped up, “She’s not busy.”
Arya narrowed her eyes at her sister, but the pink tinge was back in her cheeks, and Gendry was enjoying himself immensely.
“Take your time. I think Jon and Ygritte might be back here later anyways.” She and Arya made nearly identical faces and Gendry bit back a laugh. “Also, Mum’s been calling. Just to check in and such.”
“I know,” Arya replied, waving her phone. “I’ve had three missed calls already this afternoon.”
“I’ll talk to her,” Sansa grinned. “You guys go. Have fun.”
“We’re getting groceries, Sansa,” Arya reminded her, looking slightly embarrassed. She turned to Gendry. “Ready to go?”
“Yeah.” He hesitated, then took her hand, linking his fingers with hers. She looked at him, her expression surprised yet pleased.
“See you later,” he told Sansa, as Arya waved to her.
“I’m sure I will,” she replied in a sing-song voice.
Arya rolled her eyes at him as they left, but didn’t let go of his hand the whole way.
Chapter 43: Groceries
Because I just can't stop. Followup to Chapter 42.
FLUFF FLUFF FLUFF. Seriously, I can't stop it.
Arya didn’t know what had gotten into her lately, but she knew it was all Gendry’s fault. Although he made her blush constantly – which he thoroughly enjoyed – she always seemed to find her way to him. He seemed to be the only constant in her life, with Bran’s accident and Sansa’s (hell, everyone’s) troubles with Joffrey. She just wanted out all the time, and he was more than willing to take her in.
He’d always been a good friend, but lately she didn’t feel like just an extension of Jon anymore. It was almost like they’d forged their own new friendship, learning each other again.
She’d always thought she was only comfortable hanging around Gendry with Jon around, but that had become less and less true. Instead she found herself seeking out his company on her own. She could barely admit to herself that her feelings had become more than friendly as of late, but they had.
Somehow, though, he had returned her affection. She’d realized it through his small gestures, but then that was why she liked Gendry. He was never one for a show. He was simple and good and that was more than enough for her.
She had been worried back at the house that Sansa’s teasing remarks would run him off. Instead, he’d taken her hand as if nothing had changed, and here they were getting groceries. She huffed as she saw the bottle of dish soap on the top shelf.
“Why must people make this harder?” She muttered as she set down her basket. She was used to this, but some days it got old fast. She propped her foot on the lower shelf, testing her weight, then pushed herself up, jumping up but only managing to push the bottle back further on the shelf before gravity pulled her back down.
She was about to try again when she felt him right behind her, his chest nearly brushing her back.
“I got it,” he whispered, his lips close to her ear. His arm reached up far past hers to pluck the bottle from the shelf and into her basket. She turned, acutely aware of how close they were, and looked up at him.
His blue eyes were amused. “You gave it a good try,” he teased. She stuck her tongue out at him and waited for him to move.
Only, he didn’t.
Instead he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers for a moment before pulling away. She froze in delighted shock for a moment before realizing he might take it the wrong way, and curled her fingers in his shirt to pull him back down.
When his lips touched hers again, she returned the kiss, pressing against him and feeling his arms go around her. Only when her back pressed against the metal shelf did she remember where she was, and pulled her mouth from his. They stood there, grinning like idiots in the middle of the grocery store, and Arya had to laugh.
“This is your idea of grocery shopping?” Her traitorous voice came out breathless.
“You seem to like it well enough,” he responded smugly, the bastard. He was grinning full-on now, and leaned down to kiss her again.
Arya pushed him away, still smiling, and grabbed her basket, heading to the next aisle. He caught up easily and looped his arm around her shoulder, pressing a kiss to her hair, and she thought if this part of her life could feel so right, it might be enough to face everything else.
Chapter 44: Observations
Future-fic. Far and beyond ADwD. A visiting lord has an interesting experience at Winterfell.
For Irenka, whose comment about "baby drabbles" simply would not leave my head ;) so this happened.
Silas was walking through the corridors of Winterfell, conversing with Queen Sansa and her brother - and guard - Jon, when a curious thing happened.
There was a commotion in the neighboring hall and suddenly a small child barreled through the door, nearly crashing into the trio.
The people passing them grinned knowingly as the young boy’s face lit up at the sight of Jon and Sansa, before his face clouded upon seeing they weren’t alone. He held up his makeshift sword and shield of scrap metal, pointing it at him.
“Who are you?” He demanded.
Jon muffled a laugh and the queen herself couldn’t contain her smile, but before they could answer, a tall, dark-haired man entered the hall, eyes widening upon seeing the scene before him. He scooped up the boy, tickling his stomach and eliciting squeals from him. “Gotcha, little man. Who are you terrorizing now?”
He looked at the queen and her companions. “Sorry about this, Your Grace.” He nodded at Silas. “M’lord.”
He looked familiar, but before Silas could place him, a woman skidded into the hall, nearly colliding with him. Brown hair escaped her long braid wildly as she put her hands on her hips, trying – and failing – not to smile.
“Micah, you rascal,” she scolded him, even while smiling. The boy burst into laughter and reached for her. She noticed they had company and shook her head.
“Is this how you greet your aunt and uncle?” She demanded, quite as he had earlier.
Her husband – he had to be, the way he was looking at her – patted Micah on the back and set him down gently, turning him towards the trio once more. Now Silas could see he had thick black hair, just like his dad, but his eyes were as grey as the rainclouds.
Jon stepped forward to pull the boy off the floor once more in a hug before handing him to his sister.
“Lord Silas, you’ve met my nephew Micah,” she grinned at him. “This is my sister Arya, and her husband Gendry.”
They both nodded at him, Arya laying her head on her husband’s shoulder for a moment.
“Sister?" Silas looked between them. "Then … are you Lady St-“
“None of that,” she cut him off, waving a hand tiredly. “Just Arya and Gendry.”
Silas nodded, amused. The queen smiled when she got a sloppy kiss from her nephew before setting him back down, when he ran immediately to his father.
As he watched the man adjust the makeshift shield, recognition finally hit him. “You’re fixing my horse’s shoes.”
Gendry chuckled. “Aye, they’ll be ready this evening and should last you a good while.”
He looked up at his wife, who arched an eyebrow and grinned at him as if to say “your turn.” He laughed a little. “Up you go, scoundrel,” he said, and swung the boy up on his shoulders, wincing as Micah grabbed his ears for balance. They waved and took their leave, Micah still waving his little sword from his perch on his father’s shoulders.
Silas raised an eyebrow. “He’s a lively one.”
Jon laughed. “Aye, he takes after his mother.”
“Not that his father discourages it at all,” the queen added. “In fact, I think he rather prefers it that way.”
Winterfell was proving to be a most unusual place, but Silas thought he quite liked it.
Chapter 45: Fight
Post ADwD, future-fic. Braavos seems full of street fights these days, always near Arya.
The shouts pulled Arya back into the shadows.
She had been about to take to the streets, satisfied that people had finally taken themselves in for the night. As her foot stepped out of the alley, though, footsteps on the cobblestone and nearby yells caused her to pull back inside. Barely a few moments later, two men came running by, heading for the alley to the docks.
She stayed in the dark for a moment, debating her next move. Heading the other way would be the reasonable thing to do.
Arya had never been reasonable.
She took off after the two men, staying close to the walls and silent as a shadow. This was the third fight she’d heard this evening, after two the previous night. She didn’t know what people were on about, but she wanted no part. Braavos was big enough, but trouble kept finding her.
Her hand went up, subconsciously checking her cap, held in place by several pins. Her hair was braided and coiled into a bun under it, where nobody need look.
She’d been away from the Faceless Men for some time now, after a botched assignment. She’d had her arrow up, ready to take out her mark, when from nowhere, a little girl bounded into view. The man had swung his daughter into his arms, laughing and unaware of Arya’s bow pointing straight at him. Suddenly, her vision blurred and all she could see was her own father, kneeling on the steps of the sept before Ilyn Payne’s sword came down.
In that moment, she knew she would never be anyone but Arya Stark, no matter how hard she tried.
She blinked, and watched the man walk away with his daughter, aware that her target would soon slip into the crowded street, but she didn’t let the arrow fly. She stood there watching long after they was gone, feeling lost once more. She’d been on the streets ever since, pinching pockets and catching sleep where she could.
Now she was – somewhat foolishly – following the sounds of the fight. It’d been happening near her once too often for it to be coincidence, and she meant to find out what was going on.
As the docks came into view, she stopped, staying close to the corner, and watched the scene before her. A tall, broad-shouldered man was standing with his back to her, facing four men.
“That it?” She could hear the amusement in his deep voice, and it struck her, pulling at memories she thought were long gone. “Just four to one? That doesn’t seem quite fair – to you lot, I mean.”
They came at him, snarling, and she could practically feel the grin on his face as the fight began. He swung his weapon – which she saw now was a large hammer - to meet their swords. He wasn’t fast, but he was strong.
Then she saw the movement, at the wall opposite her. The tip of the arrow gleamed in the light from the streetlamp as it its owner aimed.
Before she knew it, her dagger was embedded in his neck, the bow clattering to the ground. The man with the hammer turned, thinking someone was behind him, and Arya froze as his blue eyes found her. (Which was impossible, since she was still crouched in the corner, but she knew that somehow, he was aware of her). Strangely, his eyes were gleaming, almost with something akin to triumph. Then the other men took advantage of his distraction. Arya cursed when she saw the blood dripping from his arm as he turned back to the fight.
So she grabbed the dead man’s bow and fired, hearing a howl of pain as the arrow found its mark. She retrieved her dagger and headed towards the scuffle. She kicked one man from behind, sending him sprawling, and gave another a swift kick to the groin before knocking him out with the hilt of her dagger.
She turned, breathing hard, to see the young man finish off the last of the four with his hammer. Her blood was warm and her heart was racing – entirely from the battle, of course. It had nothing to do with him, who was getting closer to her by the second. She hoped the darkness would give her enough cover as she stooped to retrieve her knives.
“You should go,” she said sharply. “There’ll be more coming, with the racket you just made.”
He grinned at her, the idiot. “Took you long enough.”
“What?” She gaped at him.
“Thought I’d have to wake up the whole bloody city before you showed,” he remarked casually. “You were never too far from the ruckus.”
She swallowed. There was no way he could know. “I don’t know what you’re on about, but you’ve got the wrong person.” She turned to go, and he chuckled behind her.
“Did you think I’d forget you that easily, m’lady?”
She whirled on him furiously. “ Don’t- ” Her voice caught, realizing she’d walked right into his trap. He knew it, too, and stepped even closer. He reached for her cap slowly, pulling it off with a tug (some help those pins were) so he could see her face properly.
“Arya,” he breathed.
She closed her eyes, realizing it had been years since she'd heard her name – her real name – spoken by another person. It filled her up from head to toe, whispers of Arya sighing throughout her body as if reclaiming her name, finally.
She felt a hand brush back her hair, fingers lightly trailing down her jaw and briefly over her lips, and she opened her eyes. He was bleeding from scratches on his head and arms, but he was here.
“Gendry,” she whispered.
Their trance was broken as they heard footsteps on the pavement, nearing them by the second.
“We have to go.” Gendry held out his hand. “Do you trust me?” He tried to keep his voice light, teasing, but Arya heard it falter with uncertainty. She looked up at him, realizing she'd never really stopped trusting him, despite her anger. He was still her bull-headed old friend. He was still her Gendry.
She took his hand, and they ran.
Chapter 46: Birthday
Modern AU - same universe as the previous modern chapters. It's Sansa's birthday.
So - yay, Mel kept her clothes on! Also, this went in a completely different direction than planned.
but you know what's coming. (clue: fluff)
Gendry walked up the steps, adjusting his shirt nervously before entering the house, the door already wide open to guests.
It was Sansa’s birthday, and he’d come at her – and Arya’s – requests. She’d insisted on something small, just some friends and food and a movie or two, but he still felt odd. Jon had assured him it wouldn’t be very formal, thankfully. He was wearing a black button-up shirt and jeans, hoping that his face wasn’t showing any of the grease from the garage.
The sounds of laughter and conversation hit him as he walked through the door, and he set Sansa’s present (a book, that Arya had helped him pick out )down on the table alongside other gifts. He lingered by the stairwell, not wanting to mingle just yet. He didn’t know any of these people, really, except for the Starks.
When he wandered into the kitchen, he was grateful to see it empty. He was about to take out his phone to text Arya when he felt her arms slide around his waist, and he grinned, turning.
“Hi. Thanks for coming.” She pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. “You clean up well,” she grinned.
“Thanks. You look lovely,” he said honestly, pleased at the flush that spread across her cheeks. She really did look great, he thought. She was wearing a flowing, navy blue shirt and jeans, her hair partly pulled back with a clip. Her eyes were lined in grey, making her eyes stand out even more.
She hugged him closer. “This is awful. I don’t know anyone here.”
“That makes two of us.” He nuzzled her neck, knowing she was ticklish. “What do you say we escape?”
She laughed, pressing her face into his shirt. “Sansa would kill me.”
At that moment, he heard voices approach the kitchen. “Ask me again in an hour,” Arya mumbled.
The party wasn’t so bad, with Arya around. He stayed close to her most of the time, and she did the same. He had never been so grateful that neither of them was very socially gifted. It was nice to have someone to lean on.
Especially when Sansa’s friend Margaery kept refilling her own wine cup, throwing suggestive glances and numerous thumbs-ups at Arya when she thought Gendry wasn’t looking. Arya started out the evening okay, but when the food turned out to be just finger sandwiches and fruit, she grumbled. Even he had to admit, the food did kind of suck, especially since there was alcohol freely flowing.
Sansa seemed to be enjoying herself, though, and he was glad for that. She and Arya had been stressed enough lately. It was nice that she could relax on her birthday.
Then her brothers showed up as a surprise, and Gendry knew he was in for it.
“Shit,” Arya whispered beside him when the oldest brother – he had to be the oldest, with the look he was giving Gendry – walked in.
“I think they’re deciding which part of me to eat first,” Gendry whispered back, mouth twitching when she smacked his side almost reflexively.
“Screw this. I’ll protect you,” she grinned at him and he couldn’t help but pull her closer to kiss her lightly, before he heard someone clear their throat expectantly.
Arya rolled her eyes and went to hug her brother, and then – to Gendry’s delight – returned to Gendry’s side, taking his hand.
“Robb, this is my…ah, Gendry. Gendry, this is my older brother Robb.”
Gendry held out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you from Arya.”
Robb took his hand, squeezing slightly harder than necessary before letting go. “I haven’t heard much about you.”
“That’s because I haven’t talked to you in nearly a month,” Arya protested.
Then out of nowhere, Jon was next to him. “Really, be glad you weren’t around here. She won’t shut up about him.”
Gendry’s mouth twitched. I will not smile, I will not smile, he willed himself. He knew it wasn’t true, what Jon had said, but it was still funny. Arya was looking anywhere but him, though, and he felt so bad he spoke up again.
“It’s alright,” he said, squeezing her shoulder. “My mum hears about Arya so much she reckons she could pick her out from a crowd, even though they haven’t met yet."
Robb’s face relaxed, if only slightly so. Then Sansa came over and tugged Robb away to meet her friends, and Arya relaxed next to him. Jon clapped him on the shoulder, grinning, and went to find Ygritte.
“So.” Gendry looked down at Arya. “About escaping…”
“Meet me out back in a few minutes.” She grinned and went after Sansa.
He made his way to the back, sitting on the steps until he felt her hand on his shoulder. “Ready to go?”
He stood up. “Where to?”
“Somewhere with real food,” she replied. “I’m starving.”
“That still doesn’t narrow it down.” He laughed as she shoved him.
“Fine. I want pancakes.”
“Pancakes. At 8 o’clock at night.”
She crossed her arms. “Yes.”
So they ended up at a diner, drinking hot chocolates with their plates full of pancakes (and bacon, and eggs).
“Sorry about Robb,” Arya pushed her food around in the plate. “He’s usually not so bad. He’s just protective, I guess. Especially since he’s not really around much now.”
Gendry nodded. “It’s alright, I get it.”
She was silent for a moment, biting her lip, and he waited until she was ready to tell him what was on her mind.
“Robb wasn’t lying when he said he hadn’t heard about you.” She sighed. “I don’t … I don’t talk about you much, but it’s only because I don’t see the need to broadcast my life to everyone.” She looked down. “It’s not because I don’t like you, though. Because I do. A lot. I just … didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.”
He couldn’t help but smile. Arya was always surprising him.
He reached across the table and curled a finger under her chin until her eyes met his. “Don’t ever feel like you have to explain yourself to me. I know who you are, and I like you for it. A lot,” he added, repeating her words back. “Whatever this is, it’s between us. I prefer to keep it that way, too.”
Then he grinned. “Although, I wasn’t lying. Mum does know far too much about you.”
Arya raised an eyebrow, and he shrugged. “She’s persistent. Not quite unlike some else I know.” He shook his fork at her and she smiled.
“This was a good idea,” he mumbled in between bites.
“Told you so.”
“You know, I think this is the first time we’ve actually gone out to dinner together,” he said wonderingly.
“Not my fault you’re so fond of grocery stores,” she replied.
“I didn’t hear you complaining.” He waggled his eyebrows at her.
She kicked him under the table, and he could only laugh harder.
Chapter 47: Headache
me plus headache minus Joe/Gendry = this
Gendry shoved his door open, not bothering to turn on the lights. He dropped his backpack and coat on the floor and collapsed face-first onto the bed, the coolness of the sheets providing some much-needed relief to his overheated and aching head.
He’d woken up with the headache, but had hoped to push through it with enough coffee and distraction. Instead, it got worse throughout the day and now he was skipping mechanics class and work at the garage.
He had nearly drifted off to sleep when he heard his door open. In his dazed state, he wondered why the hell Jon was coming in – he was the only one with a spare key. The door shut quietly as another bag joined his on the floor with a soft sound, and he realized it wasn't Jon at all.
The bed shifted slightly as she crawled in next to him, and cool fingers ran through his hair. He turned his face to the side slightly, blinking one eye open groggily to see a curtain of brown hair and worried grey eyes.
“Arya,” he sighed.
“Shh. Go to sleep,” she whispered back. Her nails continued raking through his hair, creating the perfect pressure points and making him sigh contentedly. He shifted closer to her, and she pulled his head into her lap, sitting back against the wall.
His arms encircled her waist and he was asleep within minutes, finally content.
When Gendry awoke, his room was still dark. Arya’s hand was still resting on the base of his neck, playing absently with his short hair. He lifted his head to look up at her, eyes closed and earphones in. His movement caused her to look down, her mouth turning up in a smile when she saw he was awake.
“You’re here,” he said wonderingly, as she pulled the earbuds out.
“Of course I am. How are you feeling?”
He pressed his lips to her hand. “Better, I think. What time is it?”
“A little past six.”
She nodded. “You were out cold.”
“It’s usually the only way to make it go away.”
“You should take it easy for a while,” she said softly. “You do too much.”
“Lucky I have you to look after me.” He knew she could see his grin, even in the dark. He pulled himself up to sit next to her. “How did you get in here, anyway?”
“I took Jon’s spare key.”
“Ah.” He paused. “You know, you can probably just keep it now.”
“Is that so?” Her voice was teasing.
“Yeah. If that’s okay with you.” He nudged her slightly.
“Okay.” She rested her chin on his shoulder, and despite the darkness he could make out all her features. “Seriously, please take a break.”
“You sound like my mum.”
“She’s a smart woman.”
He laughed. “She is.”
“So will you listen to us?”
He turned his head toward her so their noses were touching. “I’m taking a break now, aren’t I?
“Oh yes,” Arya replied dryly. “Because passing out for three hours is such a break.”
He grinned, reaching for her hand in the dark and bringing it to his lips. “I’ll take it easy. Promise.” He nuzzled her neck, feeling her giggle as his stubble tickled her. He placed kisses behind her ear, pausing to ask cheekily, “Does this count as a break?”
“It does if you don’t stop.” Her voice was steady, but her hands were already curling into his shirt.
He chuckled and trailed kisses down her jaw until he met her lips. Her arms wound around his neck and pulled him on top of her again, sinking down into the pillows.
Chapter 48: Frustrated
Modern AU. Jon keeps interrupting Gendry and Arya.
oohhh god, the fluff.
Gendry’s hand wandered along her leg, making her squirm. She shot him what she hoped was a reprimanding look before trying to concentrate on the page in front of her. She’d read the same line nearly four times now.
He was over at her place for once, and she was happy to have him. What she wasn’t happy about was Jon’s constant excuses to come into her room. Even Sansa had popped in at one point, though Arya thought her reason might have actually been feasible.
They were supposed to be studying, but Gendry was feeling playful today, and she couldn’t help but give in to him. They’d both been so busy lately it had been hard to find time together where they weren’t constantly worried about something else.
She loved his playful moods. She’d only gotten glimpses of them before they started going out, and now that she had she felt very lucky to see him this way. It was a side most people never saw.
His hand trailed up her arm again and then poked her in the side, and she swatted him, trying and failing to hold in her laughter.
He grinned and tossed his book aside (the liar, as if he was actually reading), placing soft kisses along her jaw. She gave up and put her arms around his neck, turning her face to kiss him properly and pulling him on top of her. His tongue sought entrance immediately and she opened up to him, pressing closer, entirely aware of how much she liked the feeling of his body on top of hers.
She was about to hitch her leg around his and flip them when she heard the doorknob. She sat up, and he pulled off her so fast he rolled off the bed, hitting the floor with a thump. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as Jon peeked in.
“What now?” She nearly growled at him.
“I’m ordering food. Would you guys like anything?” He asked, all too innocent.
“Pizza. Extra mushrooms,” she muttered.
“And peppers,” Gendry called from the floor.
“Comfortable down there, are we?” Jon looked over amusedly.
“Oh yes,” Gendry drawled. “Don’t you know? This is where I get my best work done.”
“Is that all?” Arya asked impatiently, hearing Gendry’s barely concealed laugh.
Jon nodded and pulled the door shut again.
She threw herself back onto the pillows with a huff. “Are you okay?” She asked Gendry.
“A bit bruised, but I’ll live. He’s determined, that one.”
“I don’t know what’s gotten into him. He’s acting like Robb.”
Gendry pulled himself back on the bed, lying next to her. “Maybe he’s just not sure what to do. This might be the first time we’ve been in here when he’s not in class.”
“Not my fault,” Arya answered sullenly, aware that she sounded like a child who didn’t get candy.
“Does the door lock?”
She sighed. “Yeah, but we don’t have the money to pay for the repairs we’ll need after he breaks it down. Idiot.”
Gendry laughed, putting an arm around her and pulling her close again. “You’re cute when you’re angry.” He received a half-hearted hit to his torso in response. “Hey, at least we’re getting food out of it.”
“I guess. Your cooking’s still better,”she mumbled into his chest.
“Wow, did Arya Stark just compliment me?”
She pushed him flat on the bed, straddling him and kissing him soundly. His hands wound into her hair, kissing her back just as eagerly, and she was glad she wasn’t the only one frustrated. When one hand wandered to the strip of skin between her shirt and jeans, she bit down on his lip. He pushed up, sitting with her in his lap as his hand traced patterns on her skin.
A knock sounded at her door and she reluctantly pulled her lips from his. “I’m going to kill him.”
Gendry pressed a kiss to her shoulder and gently lifted her off him.
“What, Jon?” she yelled.
She groaned and laid her head against Gendry’s shoulder. “Sorry.”
He hugged her. “Don’t be silly. You don’t need to apologize.” He winked at her as they climbed off the bed. “There’s plenty of time after dinner.”
She grinned and reached for his hand as they went downstairs.
As they went for the pizza, she noticed Sansa’s craft scissors laying nearby and got an idea. She held them up carefully, asking, “Sansa, how sharp are these?”
“Quite sharp. They cut through my fabric real well.” Sansa looked at her curiously. “Why?”
She shrugged casually. “Just curious if they’d go through hair easily, too.”
Jon’s head snapped up, his gaze drifting between Arya and the scissors. She arched an eyebrow, daring him to comment. He gulped but didn’t say a word, going back to his pizza, and Ygritte howled on the couch next to him.
Arya smiled, satisfied, and was grabbing her own slice of pizza when she felt Gendry’s arms go around her.
“You are officially my favorite person ever,” he whispered into her ear.
Chapter 49: Mistake
Modern AU. Arya finds a stranger in Gendry's apartment.
This idea came from the CW tv series One Tree Hill, episode 1x11. It's a slightly different take on it.
Arya frowned, seeing Gendry’s door slightly ajar. He never left his door open. She paused outside, trying to peer through the small crack, then pulling back quickly when someone who was most definitely not Gendry stepped into view.
She looked around for something , anything to use. All she had on her was her umbrella and backpack.
Great. That’ll strike fear into his heart, Arya thought.
Peeking in again, she saw the man still at the counter. He was middle-aged, judging by the lack of hair on his head. Then she spied something else.
Just next to the doorframe rested Gendry’s massive umbrella, the one she always teased him about. (He hated the rain). It was nearly the same height as her, but large enough to cause some damage.
She shoved the door open, grabbing the umbrella and holding it in front of her, just like she did in fencing. Granted, the thing was heavier than expected.
The man turned, raising an eyebrow in amusement.
“Who are you?” She demanded.
“Well, I’m not the one breaking and entering,” he replied.
“The door was open. Where’s Gendry?”
At that moment, she heard the water run in the bathroom. Her heart sank. He’s not alone? Before she could think what to do, the sink turned off and the door opened. Gendry emerged, wiping his face with a towel.
“Arya?” He stopped and tossed the towel on the counter, taking in the scene before him. “What’s going on?”
“Your young lady here was ready to beat me before you showed up,” the older man answered him, grinning.
Arya got a sinking feeling in her stomach as she saw Gendry’s mouth twitch, and she lowered the umbrella in embarrassment.
“I didn’t see you and your door was open…you never leave your door open, so I just thought…” she trailed off.
He nodded in understanding, still fighting back a grin. “Arya, this is my foster dad Tobho Mott.”
Gendry looked at her, laughter in his blue eyes. “Tobho, this is Arya.”
Tobho reached out a hand and Arya shook it, knowing her face was red. “It’s very nice to finally meet you,” he said kindly.
“Now that’s not true,” she mumbled, and he chuckled. “I’m sorry about this.”
“Please don’t apologize. It’s nice to see someone looking after him, for a change.” She could see he meant it, and she nodded.
“We were about to get some food,” Gendry told her. “Want to join?”
She started to shake her head, ready to beg off, when Tobho interjected. “The only acceptable answer is yes.”
She nearly narrowed her eyes at him before realizing it hadn’t been Gendry who spoke. She couldn’t help but grin, despite her embarrassment. “Now I see the resemblance.”
Tobho let out a hearty laugh and grinned at Gendry. “I like her.”
Gendry smiled at her adoringly. “Me too.”
Chapter 50: Touch
Future-fic, post ADwD. TV show spoilers through 3x07 (and 3x08 promos).
1. I hit 50 chapters! What! So awesome, and a big thank-you to everyone who's reading these.
2. This is based on some icky promos for this week. Ugh. SPOILERS in case you didn’t see the promos or haven’t been on the Tumblr tags (as I have, clearly). And um, it's not fluff. *cue gasp* okay, well not entirely.
3. I thought I was prepared for this week and then came across one particular Tumblr screencap/gif that made my stomach roll, so this happened in response. UGH.
Seriously, there aren't enough words for my Melisandre hate (I refuse to use a ship name). Okay that's it.
She hadn’t noticed it at first, so occupied was she with her own mixed up feelings. But in the moments she wasn’t constantly arguing with herself, she began to realize she wasn’t the only one who had changed.
Gendry was different now, too.
He was still quiet and strong and undeniably reliable. But under that he now seemed to carry a quiet rage. He also did his absolute best to avoid contact with everyone, including her. If she brushed against him when they walked, he’d slowly but surely put some distance between them. Their hands never touched. His movements were all very careful, but purposefully separating.
She didn’t like it.
Whenever she thought about bringing it up, though, the words would stick in her throat and she’d find a distraction. They shared meals and a fire every night, and he’d even given her his cloak on the chillier nights, but their conversation was stilted. Neither was ready to talk about the past.
But one night, she couldn’t leave it alone any longer.
They’d been finishing dinner in silence, wrapped in their own thoughts, when she noticed the soot on his neck. She inched closer and reached up to brush at it, intending to tease him for taking the forge everywhere he went.
The moment her hand touched his skin, he flinched and pulled away quicker than she’d known he could move. He continued to move back, eyes clouded over, until he was pressed up against a tree. Then his face cleared, realizing it was only her, and he cleared his throat in embarrassment.
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
Her hand was still hanging in the hair, where he’d been not a moment before, in astonishment. She could see him closing up and pressed forward, sitting directly in front of him, but careful not to touch.
“Gendry.” She waited until his blue eyes were on her. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing,” he replied gruffly, looking away.
His eyes snapped back to hers. “What do you care?”
Her mouth dropped open. “Stupid. I’m your friend, that’s why I bloody care,” she snapped at him.
His face softened. “You were always my friend, weren’t you? The only one who didn’t want to use me.” He said the last part quietly, almost to himself.
She wanted to reach out, to take his hand, something, but she remained where she was, not wanting to spook him again.
He let out a ragged sigh, his head leaning back against the tree with a thunk, eyes upon the night sky.
“The Red Priestess,” he began, and oh, Arya didn’t like where this was headed, not one bit. “She informed me ‘there is great power in a king’s blood.’” Now his eyes were back on her, saddened. “I finally know why the Gold Cloaks were after me.”
Arya stared back at him, unbelieving.
“I know,” he laughed bitterly. “I couldn’t believe it either. Wouldn’t have mattered anyways, though. She really was just after the blood, though she had a funny way of showing it.” His voice said it was anything but funny.
“She…” he hesitated, unsure of whether to go on, and this time Arya did reach out, taking his hand in hers tightly. He gazed at their joined hands for a moment and then squeezed back slightly. “She made me believe she wanted me, for a few moments. Got me right where she wanted and then carved into me. Then came the leeches.” He stopped abruptly, closing his eyes.
Arya sat frozen, horrified at what she was hearing. After a minute, he continued slowly, not opening his eyes. “I wanted answers, and she had them, and for a moment I believed someone was on my side.” Finally, his gaze settled on her again, blue eyes clear with understanding. “I couldn’t see what was right in front of me,” he said, and Arya didn’t know if he meant her or the witch or both.
“Let me see,” she said instead.
His brows knitted in confusion for a moment before his eyes widened, and he shook his head. “Leave it alone.”
“No,” she insisted, leaning forward. “Gendry, let me see .”
Blue eyes met grey for a long moment; blue looked away first. Gendry unlaced his coat and yanked up his shirt, revealing the jagged scar that ran down his torso and disappeared under his waistline. Arya couldn’t help the breath that escaped her.
“Where was the maester?”
He let his shirt drop and shook his head again. “He was there…after. But I didn’t let him heal it properly. To remind myself what happens when you trust the wrong people.”
He let out a breath. “I’m sorry, Arya.”
She swallowed thickly. “For what?”
“If I’d listened to you, we would’ve been long gone before she found the Brotherhood. And you don’t end up alone or with The Hound.”
“Don’t do that,” she said sternly. "What happened, happened. It’s no use to live in the past.”
He looked at her strangely. “When did you get to be so wise?”
“I’ve always been smarter than you, stupid,” she replied, but her voice caught. She crawled next to him, shifting closer until he had to lift his arm, and she rested her head on his chest.
“I’m not alone anymore,” she whispered. “And neither are you.”
His arm encircled her waist, squeezing her closer, as he rested his head atop hers.
Silently, she added another name to her list. She was done with others using her friends and family as they pleased. One day soon, they’d learn.
Chapter 51: Knight
Modern AU. (mentions of Gendry being afraid of storms, kind of a reference to Chapter 14, Storm, where that was first pointed out).
more cavity-inducing fluff.
A bolt of lightning lit up the sky again, and Arya braced for the boom of thunder that was sure to follow. The rain had been pouring steadily all day, but within the past hour it had turned into a full-on storm. Their power had gone out twenty minutes ago, so she, Jon, and Sansa were currently huddled in the living room with flashlights and a few candles that Sansa had found and lit.
As the thunder sounded outside, Arya winced, thinking of Gendry. Her phone had lost signal a while ago, and she hadn't been able to reach him since.
“Maybe I should just go check on him. I can stay there until it’s over,” she tried reasoning once more with her sister.
“Are you mad? There’s no way I’m letting you go out in that.” Sansa crossed her arms. “He’s a big boy, Arya. He’ll be fine.”
Gendry hates storms. Arya nearly spoke the words, then thought better of it. She glanced at Jon and saw the same unspoken worry in his face.
He turned to Sansa. “Why don’t we go upstairs and try to find that board game again? I’m sure I saw it somewhere just the other day.”
Sansa eyed them both warily, but Jon continued. “Come on, you said it yourself. Where is she going to go?” He turned to Arya. “You know the closet under the stairs? I think I saw some games stacked in there. You check there and we’ll take the upstairs.”
Sansa nodded and rose from the couch, turning towards the stairs. As soon as her back was turned, Jon looked at Arya.
Keys, he mouthed.
Where? she mouthed back.
He jerked his head towards the closet. She looked at him for a moment, puzzled, and then it hit her – the coats! The keys would be in his jacket pocket. She smiled at him gratefully.
He grinned and went to find Sansa. Arya pulled on her coat and grabbed her umbrella, digging into Jon’s coat pocket and fishing out his car keys.
She slipped out the back door quietly, hoping Sansa wouldn’t kill her for this. She got her umbrella out in time to avoid being fully drenched, though her jeans were already soaked from the bottom. Then she was starting the car and headed to Gendry’s, and she didn’t care.
A little while later, she parked down the block and sprinted to his building door. Some blessed soul was entering as well, and let her in. She took the stairs to his apartment and knocked.
There was no answer.
“Gendry?” She called through the door.
“Arya?” She heard shuffling, and then the door swung open to reveal a dark apartment, lit by a single flashlight on the dresser.
“Hey.” She smiled at him.
“Gods, you’re soaked. Are you alright?” He pulled her inside, disappearing into the bathroom for a moment before reappearing with a towel.
“You lost power too?” She asked as he tossed her his hoodie as well.
“Yeah, a while back.” He shoved his hands into his pockets. “What are you doing here?”
“I…” She paused in the middle of toweling her hair off. “You don’t like storms.” He looked at her strangely, his eyes unreadable in the dark, and she shifted nervously. “I would have called, but my phone had no signal and-” She squeaked as he swept her up in a hug, her feet leaving the ground. She hung on to him, one hand buried in his thick black hair.
He put her down gently, pulling back to cup her face and kiss her warmly. “Thank you.”
The thunder sounded again, and he closed his eyes, dropping his forehead to hers. She hugged him close, her fingers tracing up and down his spine, willing his muscles to relax. After a minute, she pulled back to see his face, her fingers trailing along his jaw to his lips until his eyes finally opened, and his hand came up to grasp hers.
He let out a shaky laugh. “I thought I was supposed to be your knight in shining armor,” he said weakly.
“Shut up,” Arya ordered. “Who says I need a knight?”
“You’re right.” His voice still shook slightly. “You’d be a knight yourself. My own lady night.”
“You’re an idiot. I’m no lady.”
He laughed, stronger this time, pulling her onto the bed with him. “You’re my lady,” he said softly, and gods, she liked the sound of that. Not that she'd ever tell him.
Chapter 52: Rage
Future-fic. Arya vs. the Red Bitch.
RAGE. Just pure rage. my response to 3x08 because I can't go to sleep otherwise. I have no idea how this woman can actually die but I can pretend this is true somewhere, right?
Also, I guess I should put a warning that this has some violent (well, for me) and mildly sexual content (but if you watch GoT at all this is fodder by comparison).
Arya fumed alone in the tent. She was here. Of course she was. She couldn’t fucking leave well enough alone. After everything she’d done, she was still alive and breathing and smiling, the bitch. Well, Arya meant to change that.
They’d been with Jon’s camp for nearly a week now, marching closer to Winterfell each day. She and Gendry had traveled from Braavos back across the Narrow Sea, spending endless days and nights on the road simply going North, until they found Jon and his men.
In her joy, Arya had let her guard down. She knew better than to do that, but this was Jon, and for a moment nothing else mattered.
Then she felt it, as the group’s attention suddenly shifted, and those that weren’t busy staring quickly found something else to do. The Red Priestess emerged from her tent, coming to stand quietly behind Jon. Arya’s hair stood up and she moved back, her hand finding Gendry’s immediately. His grip was so tight it would have hurt if Arya hadn’t been squeezing back with the same force.
He’d told her what had happened. Not at first, of course. But nights on the road by a shared fire had slowly pulled out each of their secrets. Reluctantly, they had bared themselves to one another, each expecting the other to turn away.
Instead, both were met with surprising acceptance and willingness to move on, so they had. Arya couldn’t point to a moment when they’d changed from friends to lovers. It had just felt right, like a natural extension of their bond, and each had known it to be true.
As she gripped Gendry’s hand, she stared at the woman, the witch, who had caused him so much pain, and she knew her list would be short one name very soon.
She’d yelled and pleaded with Jon to send her off, but he had refused, insisting he needed her help, her precious visions, to take Winterfell. Arya hated that argument. Her visions were horseshit, as was her god. Jon needed good men, like Gendry.
As if called by her thoughts, he stepped into the tent they shared. She nearly smiled at the sight of his large form having to duck every time he exited or entered. He came and sat next to her wearily, simply holding her hand in his as she tucked her head against his shoulder.
After a while, she felt his hand under her chin, turning her face up to his. He kissed her softly at first, then becoming urgent, desperate. She returned his kiss with the same fervor, pulling him down on top of her and leaving marks on his skin anywhere, everywhere, to remind them both that he was hers, hers, hers. Only hers.
Their coupling wasn’t sweet or slow. His hands dug into her waist hard, leaving impressions of his fingers, and she bit his shoulder, his ear, his lip. Their hips came together in barely controlled rhythm, each keeping the other from crashing out of control until they couldn’t hold on any longer and let go.
That night, as always, they ate supper together with some of the other men who also disliked the priestess. They all went out of their way to avoid her, and through that had formed a strange but unified front.
Jon surprised them by showing up without the witch in tow, informing them they would be attacking Winterfell at dawn. Arya nodded. She’d expected as much, being as close as they were. And it fit right with the plan she’d been forming all week.
As they headed out the next morning, Gendry took her arm and pulled her back from the others.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, squinting up at him.
“Please be careful,” he said softly.
“Right back at you,” she grinned, but he shook his head.
“I know you’re up to something.” He put a hand over her mouth as she tried to reply. “Whatever it is, just promise me you’ll be careful.”
She pulled her hand from his mouth, placing a kiss to his palm. “Promise.”
The battle raged on, both sides fighting furiously. Jon was winning, though. Arya could tell that much amongst all the blood and yelling. There were far more strangers than friends lying dead on the ground.
The Red Priestess wasn’t hard to spot either, cloaked in her crimson gown, her ruby glowing at her throat as she chanted.
Arya’s eyes narrowed and she slipped further away from Jon and Gendry, earning a few extra bruises on her way to the witch. She snagged a dagger from a dead man and drew up behind her, silent as a shadow, checking quickly that the others were still occupied. She saw Gendry’s broad form turning more frantically with each swing, looking for her, and made her move.
The tip of her dagger sliced through the witch’s necklace, the ruby falling deep into the snow. As the priestess turned in surprise, Arya smashed the hilt of her dagger against her face. She dropped to the ground in pain, and Arya dragged her out of sight behind a tree.
“I knew there was a darkness in you.” The woman had the audacity to sound smug, and Arya lost her temper. She flung aside the dagger, settling for punches with her bare hands until her knuckles were as red as the witch’s coat.
She picked up her stolen dagger, breathing heavily. “This is what I think of your precious god of light,” she snarled, and drove the dagger into her chest, watching until the life left her eyes.
Footsteps nearby launched her to her feet, and she dove back into the battle without a glance back.
When the day was done, hundreds of soldiers lay dead on the field in front of Winterfell. Arya stood amongst the wounded, doing her best to direct the healers where needed. One healer had stopped to examine Arya herself when a hush spread over the field.
Soldiers carried the witch’s body on a cot, Jon walking alongside silently. Arya’s eyes found Gendry standing stiffly nearby, arms bandaged. As they passed, his eyes lingered on her beaten face.
Jon glanced at him. “It wasn’t one of ours. The dagger,” he clarified. “One of Baelish’s men must have got to her.”
Gendry only nodded, but his blue eyes were on Arya as soon as Jon’s back was turned. He came over slowly, a slight limp in his left leg.
“I can take over,” he assured the healer quietly, and took her spot on the tree stump. Neither of them spoke a word as he gently cleaned her bloody knuckles. Quietly, he bandaged her hands, careful to cover the open wounds.
When he was done, he brushed his lips over her knuckles softly, each touch full of thanks he couldn’t voice.
Chapter 53: Leftovers
Modern AU FLUFFINESS :D
seriously, so much fluff. back to the land of denial I flee :D
Arya knocked on his door, balancing the tray against her hip with her other hand. The door opened and Gendry smiled down at her, blue eyes warm.
Then his nose twitched and she bit back a laugh. “Do I smell pasta?”
“Leftovers,” she nodded at the tray in her hand. He reached out and took it from her, pulling her inside.
“This smells great,” he grinned at her, pulling back the lid. “Wow. That’s a lot of leftovers.”
“Jon and Sansa may have overestimated a bit." The lie flew out easily.
He chuckled. “Thanks for thinking of me.”
She nodded and placed the bag of soda on the counter, dropping her backpack by his bed. She stepped on a chair to reach his cupboard, handing him bowls as he grinned at her perch.
She twisted her fingers nervously as he warmed up the food, trying to figure out if the pasta looked overcooked or if the sauce smelled weird.
I have got to get a grip .
She pulled out his dinner tray and they sat down to eat in their usual spot, her on his bed and him in his desk chair.
Gendry took a bite and closed his eyes. “This is delicious,” he mumbled.
She smiled, absurdly pleased, before realizing she shouldn’t look so happy about something “Jon” had cooked. Still, she couldn’t help the small smile that lingered on her face throughout dinner.
A few days later, she was studying on her bed when a knock sounded at her door.
“It’s me,” Gendry called back.
“Oh. Come in.” She scrambled to make room, pushing her papers to one side as he entered her room, shutting the door behind him again.
He grinned at the mess. “Research?”
“I hate term papers,” she muttered, and he chuckled, coming over to kiss her softly before settling next to her.
“This is a surprise.” She bumped his shoulder to let him know she didn’t mind.
“Yeah, I was out with Jon earlier and he mentioned you were stuck here by yourself.” He shrugged. “I thought maybe you might want some company.” He grinned. “Or a distraction.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “Behave.”
He held up his hands mischievously. “As you wish.”
She shook her head and returned to her papers as he reached in his bag for his laptop.
“Jon mentioned something else,” he said casually, and she paused for a second.
“I was thanking him for the leftovers that you brought me the other day. You know, the pasta,” he said pointedly. She could feel his eyes on her but didn’t look up. “And he was so confused, he looked at me like I was mad."
Arya bit her lip but didn't reply.
"Then he informed me that apparently,” he drawled, “neither he nor Sansa were even home Tuesday.”
Arya kept looking at her paper, her cheeks burning. She knew he was smiling, and she wished the bed would open up and swallow her whole until she could pull herself together.
“I think I hear someone downstairs.” She made to get off the bed.
Strong arms pulled her back against him, and he rested his head on her shoulder, his breath warm on her neck as he laughed.
“You made me dinner,” he whispered.
“But you don’t cook,” he teased. She stuck out her tongue even though she wasn’t looking at him and felt him grin.
He pressed a soft kiss behind her ear. “Thank you,” he said even more quietly, and she heard the genuine gratitude in his voice. She could tell then that he knew her far too well.
She willed her voice to be steady. “Don’t get too used to it.”
“I wouldn’t dare.”
Chapter 54: Questions
Modern AU. Arya and Gendry learn more about each other.
“Brown,” he stated.
“Brown?” She wrinkled her nose.
“Yes, brown,” he replied, poking her gently. “It’s warm and comforting. Reminds me of home.” Her eyes softened in understanding, and he asked, “What about you?”
“Blue.” The answer surprised her at first, too, and she did her best not to stare into his very blue eyes as she scrambled for a reason. “Reminds me of the sea.”
“Mhmm.” His voice said he didn’t believe her one bit.
“Shut up,” she said, and he laughed, pulling her head down for a kiss.
It was a beautiful day, one of the nicest days they’d had in some time. Gendry had convinced her to come outside and take a break from homework. She had to admit it felt good. They’d found a spot under a large oak tree, Arya sitting back against the trunk with Gendry’s head in her lap, his long body stretched out in the shade.
“Biggest turn on?” He grinned at her.
“A challenge.” She raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t like pushovers. You?”
“Honesty.” He paused. “I don’t like games.” She smiled softly, remembering having said those very words to him in one of their first meetings.
“Biggest pet peeve,” she decided, her hands playing with his hair absently.
“Condescension.” He didn’t even need to think about it. “Yours?”
“Bullies.” He took her other hand, intertwining his fingers with hers.
She bit her lip. “Losing my family,” she said softly, and he knew she was thinking of her parents. Her eyes met his. “Yours?”
“Losing myself. Not being me anymore.” She nodded. That was a very Gendry answer. He was loyal and true, and to lose the things he stood for would mean losing his way.
“Favorite season?” She asked.
“Fall. Not early, when it’s still summer-like, but when its cooler and you can just be outside without your fingers freezing off or melting … What?” He asked at her look.
“Nothing, I just always guessed you’d like summer. It’s always so bloody hot in the garage.”
He grinned. “True. But it’s work, so I guess I don’t notice as much. I’m just used to it, like you are with the cold.”
She smiled. “Have you ever seen a snowfall?”
“Not that I can remember,” he replied wistfully. “Mum always says there was one big snow the year I was born and after that we didn’t have a white Christmas again.”
“I can’t imagine Christmas without snow.”
“Well maybe all you Starks here will bring us some of that winter luck.” He kissed her hand lightly.
“I hope so,” she replied. “Best trip?”
“Storm’s End,” he replied almost instantly. “Tobho took mum and me there one summer and it was the most fun I’d had in ages. I still remember the massive waves crashing onto the shore.” He grinned up at her. “Tobho threw me in several times.”
She laughed. It was all too easy to imagine a young, happy Gendry before his mum’s accident. “Your best trip?” He asked her.
“We went to this ski resort further North,” she remembered fondly. “The slopes were huge. Jon and I took so many turns just so we could ride the lifts all the way up for the view.”
“Can you still ski?”
“God no,” she laughed again. “We only went the one time, and mum freaked because I was so bruised by the end.”
Gendry’s mouth curved up at the thought of a young, wild Arya causing chaos on the mountain.
He thought for a minute before deciding on his next question. “What do you notice first in a person?”
She was silent for a little while. “Their eyes,” she said finally. “It’s really hard to hide the truth there.”
She seemed lost in thought, so he let her be. “What about you?” She eventually asked.
“Their posture, and how they carry themselves.”
“What did you think of me?” She tried to keep her voice teasing, but found she really wanted to know.
“You were strong, quietly so,” he said thoughtfully. “You weren’t looking for anyone to save you. Whatever problems you had, you’d deal with them on your terms.”
She studied him, taken off guard by how much he’d noticed on their first meeting. He came out of the memory and smiled up at her. “What?”
“Nothing.” When he raised an eyebrow, she sighed exaggeratedly. “It’s just, that was scarily accurate.”
His smile grew, and she knew he was pleased. Then his face got serious and he asked, “What did you think of me?”
She chewed at her lip. “You were tired. Not physically…” she searched for the words. “It was more like you were weary. Of everyone and everything.”
She glanced down to see him now studying her, and she grinned. “I’m guessing I was right?”
“Spot on.” He paused. “I wasn’t in the best shape when we met.”
“That makes two of us.”
They sat in silence for some time, content with their own thoughts.
Then Gendry grinned wickedly at her. “Most ticklish spot?”
“Hell if I’m telling you,” she replied archly, and he ran his hands over the soles of her bare feet in response, eliciting a squeal from her. He laughed and pulled her down suddenly, twisting so his body pressed warmly down on hers.
“Guess I’ll just have to find out on my own then,” he smirked, running his fingers along her sides. Her breathless laughter echoed in the air as she squirmed helplessly, and he went home with a bruise forming over his hip where she kneed him, but it was worth it.
Chapter 55: Follow
Post ADwD, future-fic. Another reunion scenario.
Someone was following her. She’d been wandering all over Braavos for two days now, trying to shake them and failing. The stupid thing was, she knew exactly who was there.
He stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd, with his black hair and broad shoulders towering over most. And yet, she hadn’t confronted him, just kept running.
Every time she thought she’d lost him, he’d turn up somewhere else. He wasn’t there to hurt her, of that she was certain. He made no move to get closer, just stayed within reach.
It was infuriating.
That evening, she lost all patience when she saw him in a shop window and turned sharply, taking corners quickly in this city she’d come to know so well. She waited around one bend, hearing him before she saw him. The oaf. How did he expect to tail someone, moving so loudly?
The thought occurred to her then, that he might want her to know he was following.
But she didn’t have time to dwell on what that meant, because he rounded the corner at that moment and her body sprung into action. Her arm shot out, catching him in the jaw, and she rammed an elbow into his side while he was still bent over, using her momentum to propel them both to the ground.
Her dagger was out and resting on his throat as she pinned him to the ground, and he held his hands up carefully, palms out and free of any weapon.
“What are you doing?” He glared up at her, and she fought the urge to laugh at his irritation.
“I’m the one with the knife, so I’ll ask the questions,” she hissed back at him. “Why were you following me?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“Would I be asking if it were?” She pressed the dagger into his neck. “Why?”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“You had several chances. Why wait two whole days?”
“I needed to make sure it was you.”
She tilted her head, examining him. “Exactly who do you think I am?”
His brows knitted in confusion, blue eyes concerned. “What’s your name?” He asked quietly.
“There you go again with the questions.” She tapped her knife against his throat. “Didn’t I warn you already? I’ll be the one doing the asking.”
His gaze turned hard. “Very well, then. Ask away.”
“Who do you think I am?”
Her blood ran cold, and she stared down at him. His face was set in a challenge, daring her to prove him wrong. She shifted against him, needing to separate herself from the feelings he was creating in her.
He swallowed, eyes darting down her body briefly, and suddenly she knew what to do. Feeling his length hard against her, she grinned wickedly. “Ever been tied up by a woman before?”
“Yes,” he spit out.
She raised an eyebrow. “Did you like it?”
“Really?” She laughed. “That’s not the answer most men would give.”
He raised his head up so his mouth was inches from hers. “I’m not most men,” he retorted, his blue eyes wandering her face before adding, “M’lady.”
She started back, and he took advantage of her momentary surprise to twist her arm, making her release the knife, and flipped them easily, reversing their positions. Now he was using his full strength, and Arya realized belatedly that she hadn’t really pinned him earlier. He’d just let her.
Now she was lying under him, and he had her arms pinned above her head (with just one hand, annoyingly). He braced himself on his other hand, hovering over her.
“Still don’t remember me? I’m disappointed, m’lady.”
“Stop calling me that,” she gritted out.
“That’s not my name.”
“What is your name, then?”
She struggled, trying to get a knee up, but he only pressed down harder, and the weight of his body on hers was oddly distracting.
“Arya.” Her eyes snapped to his without her permission. “It’s me.”
She knew who he was. But acknowledging it would mean taking back her name and facing her ghosts, and she wasn’t ready yet.
He studied her face, and she saw the moment he realized he wouldn’t win this argument. Not today , she tried to tell him silently.
“Don’t stab me,” he warned, and pulled off her, releasing her arms.
She sat up slowly, rubbing her wrists. He handed back her dagger hilt first, and she took it, slipping it back up her sleeve into its sheath.
“I work at the forge now. Down by the docks.” His blue eyes were trained steadily on her. “I won’t be following you now. Not until you want me to.”
He reached out as if to touch her face, then thought better of it and stood up abruptly, walking away without a glance back.
She stood there for some time, collecting herself before slipping back out into the city. He was true to his word – she didn’t see him the rest of the day or the days after.
When she did finally head to the docks, she saw the forge he had mentioned, the one she passed nearly every day. She heard the steady ring of hammer on steel and nearly smiled before catching herself.
Another day, she crouched in the back, peering in through the window and seeing his unmistakably large form bent over the anvil, beating away at the steel.
He had been telling the truth.
One evening, she did stop inside, hovering in the back doorway with her package. He was the only one there, hammering away at the steel. She watched the muscles in his shoulders, noting he’d gotten even stronger than she’d thought.
He was wiping his brow and reaching for the pail of water behind him when he noticed her.
She held up the bundle in her arms. “Can you fix this?”
“What is it?”
“Needle.” She didn’t go into it further.
He motioned to the crate next to him, and she laid down the bundle, opening the cloth to reveal her sword, snapped clean in two. He took a long look at it, then disappeared in the back.
Just as she was thinking he’d left, he was back, his face unreadable. “When do you need it by?”
She shook her head.
“I need better steel. I should be able to get some in a day or so, when the ships come in. I can fix it then.”
She nodded, the thanks stuck in her throat, so she stuck out her hand.
He looked at her, an amused look on his face, before reaching out his hand to clasp hers briefly. Then she left without a word.
She stopped back a few nights later, the cakes warm in her bag. She didn’t know what had possessed her to buy them, but she had. When she came in the back, nobody was in sight, although the fire was still going. She saw Needle laid out on the anvil, still broken, and walked over.
“Careful.” His voice sounded out in warning behind her as she reached out to the sword. “It’s hot,” he said, coming over to her. “We got the steel today. I was just about to start working on it.”
She nodded and sat cross-legged on the bench across from him. Surprise crossed his face before he turned to the anvil, but she didn’t miss the glimmer of hope in his eyes.
She stayed as he got to work. He was careful, but just as stubborn as the steel in front of him. It would bend before he did, she thought.
Sometime later, she remembered the lemon cakes in her bag. She grimaced, realizing they were probably cold by now. Still, she took one out, placing it near him and then returning to her perch. When he stopped to take a break, he saw the cake and raised an eyebrow at her.
“It’s not fresh,” she said, taking a bite of hers. “Still good, though.”
His mouth turned up in a half-smile. “Thanks.”
He finished her sword that night. When she lifted it, testing the weight, she found it even more to her liking than before. He wrapped it carefully in the same cloth and returned it to her.
“Thank you,” she told him gratefully.
She turned to go, and was out the front door before she realized he hadn’t moved. She turned to see him watching her.
“Well?” She put a hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow expectantly. “Are you coming or not, stupid?”
His blue eyes lit up and his face split into a smile. He held up a hand, motioning for her to wait a moment. He returned from the back with his own bag, grabbing his hammer and coat and coming to stand in front of her, grin firmly in place.
This time when she turned to go, Gendry followed.