“I can’t believe the girls’ team is going to be cut!” Arya cried.
It wasn’t fair. The soccer team was the only place Arya could escape from. All summer she was waiting for September so she could go back to playing. But now her sophomore year was ruined.
“I’m sorry girls. The school has decided to lower funding for sports so we had to cut some of our sports clubs, and soccer isn’t as popular as our other sports like basketball or football,” coach Jaqen said.
“But the boys’ soccer team hasn’t been cut!” Lyanna Mormont said. Lyanna was one of the more outspoken girls on the team. She was never afraid to voice her opinions, she wasn’t too different from Arya in that regard.
“Why can’t we try out for the boys team?” Arya asked.
Jaqen responded with a chuckle, followed by a silent stare from the girls. “Wait, you can’t be serious?”
“Well, first of all, our first match is in two weeks against our biggest rivals, King’s Landing. Girls aren’t as fast or as athletic as guys, and we need to win.” Jaqen said.
“Coach, just give us a chance! We can help you win!” Meera said. Meera was a good friend of her brother Bran. She and Arya got along well on the team.
“I’m sorry girls, this game is just too important.” coach Jaqen shook his head. Arya wanted to punch him in frustration.
The boys’ team was practicing a few feet away from them on the field. Arya’s boyfriend Elmar was captain of the boys’ team. Elmar would support her joining the boys’ team, she knew it.
He was practicing in goal. Standing six foot four, Elmar was an exceptional goalkeeper.
Dareon was practicing shooting goals, but Elmar managed to block all of them. Arya practiced with Elmar countless times, and she knew she could’ve managed a few past him. If Dareon could make the boys’ team, she should have no problem.
Arya waved at Elmar to call him over and help the situation. The boys slowly stopped practicing and ran over to see what the issue was.
“Hey babe.” Elmar pecked Arya on the lips and slid his arm around her shoulders. “What’s going on coach?”
Coach Jaqen turned to Elmar, his arms crossed against his chest. “The girls here,” he smiled, “want to try out for the boys’ team.”
This statement was met with several laughs by the boys, and even Elmar snorted. Arya scowled, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She scrunched her face at Elmar in confusion.
“Alright, alright.” Jaqen tried to silence the boys. “Girls, you’re all excellent players. But girls aren’t as good as boys. I’m sorry but I don’t think you girls would be able to play on the boys’ team.”
“Well Elmar,” Arya turned to him, “you’re the captain of the team. What do you say?”
Elmar lifted his eyebrows and shrugged. “Coach is right.”
“You can’t mean that! Yesterday you said I was better than half the guys on your team!” Arya bit her lip, she was so angry!
The boys erupted in laughter and Elmar’s face went blank.
“I never said that!”
“Why are you lying?” She was mortified, she couldn’t believe he was humiliating her like this in front of everybody.
“Arya, I don’t think you girls could make the boys’ team. I’m sorry! End of discussion.” Elmar insisted.
“Fine. End of relationship!” Arya shouted.
The boys roared in laughter and Elmar looked like he got hit by a car.
“Arya! Don’t be like that! I just don’t want to see you hurt.”
“Eat shit!” Arya turned around and walked away, while giving him the finger.
Arya was too angry to stand around waiting for the bus. She stormed all the way home, and finally reached the gate of Winterfell Manor 30 minutes later. Jory Cassel was watching the front gate. He opened the gate to let her in.
“Hello my lady, I thought soccer practice ended in an hour? How did you get here?” he asked.
“No more soccer practice, Jory. The girls’ team has been cut.” Arya frowned, and Jory pulled her into a hug to comfort her.
“Don’t worry, you could always try out for a local team.”
“I would, but there are no local teams in Winter Town. The only team I could play on is the school team.”
Jory shook his head. “Well that’s a shame. That school is making a big mistake, cutting your team.”
Arya sulked and walked to her house. As soon as she opened the door, her mother called her name.
“Hello mother, I’m home.”
“Arya, I have a surprise for you!” Catelyn called her from the living room, not noticing a difference in her daughter’s mood. She ran to the living room to see her daughter.
“Come upstairs.” She pulled her arm and dragged her up the stairs to her room. There was a long tight-waisted white dress on her bed, covered in acorns.
“Mom, what is this?” she asked in disgust.
“I bought this for you, I thought you could wear this to the debutante ball!” She picked up the dress and brought it towards her, trying to get her to try it on.
“Mom, how many times do I have to tell you, I’m not going to that ball. It’s totally sexist and archaic!” she screwed up her face in displeasure.
“Arya, why can’t you be more like your sister Sansa? She is absolutely delighted about this ball, she can’t stop talking about it. But you would rather kick a ball around a muddy field all day.” She frowned.
“Well, I won’t be doing that anymore mom. They cut my team.”
“Oh you won’t?” Catelyn tried to show concern, but she couldn’t fake it. She ran a hand through her daughter’s hair. “Oh Arya, now you’ll have more time to prepare for the debutante ball. Have you asked Elmar to go with you yet?”
“I won’t be asking him to come to anything. We kind of broke up..” she bit her lip. She knew how much her mother liked Elmar. She sort of encourage their relationship, him coming from a prominent family like the Freys.
“What?” Catelyn frowned again. “What did you do Arya? Elmar’s a good boy, I thought you were really good together!”
“What makes you think it’s my fault?”
“Mom, I really don’t want to talk about it. Can you leave me alone, please?”
Catelyn hesitated. “Fine, but we will talk about this later, okay?”
“Okay mom.” she groaned.
Catelyn left the room. As soon as she closed the door, she heard knocking on her window. There was Bran standing on the weirwood tree trying to get in. Her brother was a great climber, he could’ve just taken the front door but he enjoyed taking the hard way. Show-off.
Arya walked over and opened it. “What are you doing, stupid. The front door is unlocked, you know that.”
“But it’s not so fun going that way, is it?” Bran smiled. Arya pulled his hands and he jumped in her room.
“You could fall and break your neck stupid. Won’t be so fun then, would it?”
“I would love to stay and chat, but I don’t have time, I have to leave soon.” He paced towards his own room, and Arya followed him.
“Where are you going? You just got in.”
Bran reached up to get his suitcase from the closet. He threw it on his bed and opened his drawers, tossing whatever clothes he could find into his bag.
“What are you doing?”
“My band has a gig in Sunspear, I have to head to the airport in two hours.”
“Have you lost your mind? What about school? You’re starting King’s Landing in a few days!”
“Yea, I was hoping maybe you could help me with that? Maybe call the school, pretend to be mom? Tell them I’m out with bronchitis, or make something up, I don’t care. Something that’ll cover me for two weeks.”
“What about mom and dad? You aren’t supposed to leave for school until tomorrow.”
Bran sighed. “I’ll just say I’m leaving with Jojen today. He’s coming to pick me up right now.”
“Bran, are you sure this is a good idea? Do you know how many bands actually make it to the big time?”
“Uh, I don’t know, probably more than the amount of successful female soccer players?”
Arya gave him a clout against the head, but Bran just laughed.
“Sorry, Meera told me about the team getting cut.” Arya looked down at the floor. “Too bad you weren’t going to King’s Landing in my place. I heard they have a really good soccer team there.”
Arya’s face shot up. King’s Landing was supposed to compete against the Winter Town’s men team. Maybe she could show those boys she could play better than them. Maybe Arya could just go to King’s Landing in Bran’s place...
I'm pretty confident about this fic so far. I wanted to finish it before I started publishing it but I was too excited to wait till I was finished to post. Well here's the next chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
In order to set her plan in motion, Arya headed to her friend Lommy’s house. Lommy Greenhands was one of the most popular hairdressers in Winter Town. He was known for his more eccentric styles, in a region that was more accustomed to simplicity.
Arya was outside his door, and before she could even ring the doorbell Lommy was already opening the door.
“Hello Arya!” Lommy sang. “What are you doing here at this hour?
“I need your help.”
Lommy raised his eyebrows. “Go on.” Arya pushed passed him and went inside.
“I need you to turn me into a boy.” She fell onto his couch.
“I’m going to disguise myself as a boy, go to King’s Landing Academy in Bran’s place, and then I’ll beat Winter Town’s soccer team to prove that girls can play just as good as boys.”
“Arya, this is ridiculous. You won’t last a day pretending to be a boy!” Lommy said.
“Please, how hard can it be. I have four brothers, I’m around boys all day. I know how to act like one.”
Lommy chuckled. “There’s no way you could pass as a boy. Your boobs are way too big!”
“They are not!” Arya said defensively, covering her chest with her arms.
“Then you’re gonna have to chop all your hair off.” Lommy tilted his head at her.
“I don’t know about that. Mom wants me to go to that stupid debutante ball and I told her I was going to King’s Landing to prepare for it with Sansa.”
Sansa was a freshman in college, studying at a liberal arts school in King’s Landing. When she told her mom she was going to stay with Sansa to learn how to be more refined for the ball, she was jumping with joy. I’m glad to see you’re taking this seriously! You’re going to learn how to be a proper lady!
“Mom would go totally apeshit. I’m not cutting it off. Don’t you have any short-haired wigs? Preferably something auburn-colored, so I could pass as Bran with his ID.”
Before Bran left Arya nicked his school ID from his satchel. He already got his school ID issued weeks ago but this was his first year at King’s Landing so nobody knew who he was. He was transferring as a junior. Bran was over a year younger than her but he had skipped a grade, back when he was more serious about school.
“Arya, this is gonna be crazy.”
Arya bit her lip, but before she could say anything, he answered her, “I’m in.” Lommy gave her a smirk.
Arya smiled. She knew Lommy was going to be down with it. “Does anybody else know about this?” he asked.
“Well I was gonna tell some of the girls on the team, but I wanted to make sure you would help me first.”
Lommy took Arya to the salon he worked at to help her find a few things. The salon was still open so he took Arya to the back out of everyone’s view.
He found her a shaggy auburn wig, and even some stick on eyebrows.
“People actually come in and use these? Who would even want eyebrows this bushy?” Arya grabbed the eyebrows, and held the wig up with her other hand. The wig was shaggy. The hair was short enough and a little curly.
“I do the theater group’s makeup sometimes, that’s from last year’s play”
Arya paused and looked at her chest. “I still need a breast binder.”
Lommy beamed at her and went to the back of his shop. He returned, carrying a nude breast binder in his hands.
“You really have everything. Why do you even have this?”
“The play was Peter Pan. The lead was actually played by a girl actress.”
Arya went to the bathroom to try it on. She wasn’t sure how well this was gonna work. Arya’s boobs were a size C, and she didn’t think even a breast binder would be able to flatten that. She took off her shirt and tried to squeeze the binder on. The binder was too tight and it wouldn’t go down. She decided to step into it instead. She wrestled with the binder and after minutes of uncomfortableness, she finally got it on. She put her shirt back on and looked at herself in the mirror.
She was wearing a loose-fitting Braavos jersey. With the loose jersey on, Arya’s chest was unnoticeable. She made a note to herself to only wear baggy clothes in her disguise. She still probably needed to wear layers of clothing to hide it.
She stepped out of the bathroom with her wig on and the tape on eyebrows and stood in front of Lommy to get his final judgement.
Lommy clapped. “Arya Stark who? More like Arry Stark, amiright?”
“I can’t be Arry Stark. I have to pretend to be Bran, remember.” She looked at herself and beamed in delight. She definitely didn’t look like Bran, but nobody looks like their ID, do they?
We'll finally see Gendry next chapter :)
After Bran left, Arya packed a few of his clothes in her black suitcase.. Bran’s clothes were a little baggy on her, which was perfect; she did need baggy clothes to hide her curves. She already had her suitcase packed and zipped when her mom came into her room.
“So what will you be taking with you when you stay with Sansa at King’s Landing?” Catelyn reached for her suitcase, but Arya pulled it away in time.
“Nothing special, I only plan on visiting for two and a half weeks,” she shrugged. “Until school starts.”
“Arya, you’ll be in the south. The styles there are different from here in the north. Don’t be afraid to delve into brighter colors.” Cat gave her a smile.
Arya groaned. “Mom I don’t care about what’s in style in King’s Landing.” Catelyn frowned and fell on her bed. Arya realized her mistake and tried to do damage control. “Most of my clothes aren’t bright enough then. Maybe I’ll borrow some of Sansa’s” Arya said with a smile.
“Make sure you call me when you land, I’ll be calling Sansa too when you arrive.”
“Sansa told me she has class until four so she won’t be able to pick me up. I’ll see her later.”
“Arya, please spend time with your sister. I hope you aren’t using Sansa as an excuse to do something else in King’s Landing. I know you and your sister aren’t dying to see each other. I only bought you this ticket so you can repair your relationship.”
Arya bit her lip and looked down. Of course she was not looking forward to spending time with Sansa. Her brothers Jon and Robb studied at their local university, but Sansa went all the way south to study. And Arya couldn’t pretend that she missed her.
“Yes mother, I’ll make sure to spend time with her when she’s not in class, or at some party.”
“Well if she wants to go to a party I don’t see any reason why you can’t go with her.”
“Mom, I’m barely sixteen. I can’t go to college parties!”
Catelyn scoffed. “Arya, please. Don’t pretend you’re too innocent for parties. Your father told me he caught you sneaking out to go to Meera Reed’s house party a week ago.” She narrowed her eyes at her.
Arya laughed awkwardly. “Ok mother, whatever you say.”
Vayon Poole, the family’s butler, knocked on the door. “Lady Arya, your friend Lommy is here to take you to the airport.” Arya wanted Lommy to take her to the airport instead of her mother because she needed the extra morale.
“I guess I’ll be going then,” she said. Catelyn pulled her daughter in for a hug, and Arya squeezed back. She was already getting nervous about this scheme she was pulling and needed all the comfort she could get.
Vayon Poole picked up Arya’s suitcase, and she carried her own backpack downstairs.
“Come on Arry, you ready?” Lommy asked cheerfully.
Arya grinned mischievously, “More than ever.”
She didn’t know what she was nervous about earlier. She was going to be in a different city where she could actually play soccer, like one of the guys! She couldn't wait!
Arya made it to check in at her dorm room at 4:30pm. She was disguised and ready. Luckily for her, there wasn’t a line when she got in. There was a tall blonde woman with short hair sitting at the desk, her name tag reading ‘Brienne’.
“Hi, how may I help you today?” she asked.
“My name is.. Bran Stark. I’m here to check into my dorm room.” Her heart was racing, and she could feel her hands trembling.
“Can I have your ID?”
Arya had Bran’s ID ready in her hand; she handed it over. Brienne glanced at her ID, and looked at her face to see the resemblance. She narrowed her eyes.
Brienne typed a few things into the computer and Arya swallowed a lump of air. She then gave back Bran’s school ID. “Your room is on the third floor, room number 307. Your ID works as your door key, just swipe it through the card reader.”
“Thank you! Have a nice day!” Arya was giddy with excitement. Her plan was actually working!
She paced to the elevator down the hall, but Brienne called out for her. “Wait!”
Arya stopped in her tracks.
“I’m so sorry, you also need to sign these papers to ensure that you checked in.”
She breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to sign the papers. After she was done she want back to the elevator to go upstairs. Now Arya was wondering who she would have to share a room with for the next couple of days.
Arya has never shared a room with another person. Her family’s mansion had enough bedrooms for her and all five of her siblings, plus extra bedrooms for any guests. And she definitely never shared a room with a boy, while also pretending to be a boy.
Arya reached the third floor and looked for her room. There were a bunch of boys in the hallway already. Arya tried not to make eye contact but a lot of them were already looking at her curiously, probably because of her small size.
She finally found her door and slid the key to open it.
There were two beds, one by the windows and one by the door. There was a boy facing the closet, already unpacking his things. He looked tall, definitely over six feet tall. She noticed the muscles in his shoulders and could tell he worked out.
“Hi there. You must be my roommate!” she called out.
He turned around to look at her, and she caught her breath in her throat. He had dark hair and deep blue eyes. “Hi, my name’s Gendry.”
“I’m Bran.” Gendry walked over and shook her hand.
Arya prepared for several different scenarios before coming to King’s Landing. One scenario she didn’t prepare for was having to share her room with him.