The light chill in the air was one of the top reasons why Arya loved living in the north. Accompanied by her favorite pullover and the radiant warmth of the bonfire, she was living in her perfect atmosphere.
It was the end of autumn, which meant the annual Stark Family Bonfire. Traditions came easy in her family, and this was no different. Every year the siblings looked forward to inviting all of their close friends over to feast on her father's grilling and sit around the large flame. But even though Ned Stark had passed, and their mother moved further south, Arya, Sansa, and the boys just couldn't let go of what was arguably their favorite gathering.
Except for this year.
Shireen snorted as she took a drink of her beer. "Good luck doing that!”
Arya rolled her eyes before turning to Meera. “Are you serious about this?”
“Dead serious.” Meera deadpanned, words slurring ever so slightly with the beer in her system. “20 dragons if you and Gendry are a couple by Christmas.”
“But I don’t want to be mean to the guy! I won’t date him just for some stupid bet.”
“Look,” Meera leaned closer. “ if you guys end up working out then great, if not then you give it some time and then tell him that it just isn’t for you.”
“I’m telling you, it won’t work!” Shireen continued her weak defense of her cousin. “He went out with this girl I know last week and according to her he said barely five words the entire evening.”
“Yeah, but if anyone can make this happen, it’s Arya.” Alys jumped in, reaching over to playfully punch Arya’s shoulder.
Arya bit at her lip in thought, looking over at where Rickon and Ygritte were engaged in some yard game, and then at where Robb and Jeyne were looking very cozy together on their blanket closer to the fire.
“Make it 50 dragons and you’ve got a deal.” she finally said, looking over to Meera who grinned and held out her hand for a firm shake.
Taking another sip of her beer, Arya cocked her head and glanced over at where he stood talking with Jon on the other side of the fire. He really wasn't hard to look at, she agreed in her mind, especially like this in the flickering glow of the fire.
Arya hummed in happiness as she opened the pizza box. Pepperoni, ham, and extra cheese, just like every time they did this.
With it sat on the counter top, she then cracked open the freezer to make sure that it had adequate ice, just like every time.
Then there came the cursory glance around her flat to ensure that everything was straightened up and presentable, like she always tried to do before he arrived.
When the light chime came from her phone she immediately pulled it from her pocket, knowing it was him. Sure enough, she could already feel her body racing with endorphins when she read:
Bull-Man: On my way up
She-Wolf: It's all ready!
She-Wolf: And so am I...
Not five seconds later and the knock came at her door. She couldn't help the goofy grin that came at knowing that he had probably been waiting on the stairs for the go-ahead from her. Composure came so naturally to her though, so she schooled herself into a calmer expression before pulling the latch and cracking the door.
"Hullo." greeted the bright blue eyes that looked back from the other side.
"Hello, friend." she smiled back, opening the door fully and stepping back to let him in. "What did you bring this time?" Arya nodded to the brown paper sack in his hand.
With a triumphant flair, a bottle of Castle Black whiskey was pulled out and presented to her.
"Oh my!" she exclaimed, chuckling as she took the bottle and moved to take it to the kitchen. "Bringing out the good stuff tonight."
"Yeah, well, it's been a long day." he sighed. She heard him kick off his shoes and follow her.
"Mott still have you out on the site?"
He hummed in affirmation, and when she looked over her shoulder she found him casually leaning against the counter. "We were supposed to finish this weekend, but one of the new hires decided to go and wreck his back at the gym. I've been working over to cover for him."
"Ah, so that's why it's been a while." A small part inside of her felt...relieved?
With the whiskey sat next to the pizza, she turned around just in time to see his head snap up towards her, a devilish look in his eye. "What? Worried I lost interest?"
Arya smiled, but was only able to get out a "Of course no-" before he was stalking over towards her.
"Because you don't know how many times I wanted to call." he said in that low voice that she couldn't get enough of. Even when he reached her, he still kept walking until she was backed up against the pantry door.
"You could have, you know that." It was true, it was one of their rules. As she spoke her eyes slipped closed and her head instinctively tilted upwards to find his lips.
He met her halfway and kissed her hard enough that she was already grasping at his shirt by the time he pulled back. "Yeah...but I wouldn't have had enough time to do all the things I want." Arya opened her mouth to inquire of his intentions, but he seemed set on telling her. "Wanna throw you down on your bed...bury my face in your perfect pussy...make you scream my name when you come."
He didn't have to wait, though. His name was already on her lips. "Fuck….yes, Gendry."
They had honestly only been doing this for around two months now, but right from the start it had taken off like an inferno. When Arya had lost her sister at a concert the search eventually led her to a mop of black hair that looked all too familiar.
"Hey, are you related to Jon Snow by any chance?"
"Yeah! I'm his sister! You're that guy he used to bring around!"
"Yeah! I'm Gendry."
But then one thing led to another, which lead to a bar...which led to Gendry's house, which led to the best sex that either had ever had. They were compatible, there was no other way to put it. He hit off all of her check-marks for a good sexual partner, and according to him she did the same. Going from there, it had been an easy decision to agree on their current arrangement: secret friends with very good benefits.
They had rules, though. First, they had to only use Arya's flat because Gendry rented his house with his mates and both had agreed that not a single soul could ever know about this. Gendry and Jon still talked regularly and Arya would have hated to be the reason for Jon's subsequent heart-failure if he ever found out. Second, he would never stay the night. Third, either one could request a fuck whenever they wanted, but the other party was never obligated to accept. Fourth, Arya would provide food while Gendry provided alcohol.
The whiskey buzzed through her system, making her droop her head down ontop of his as he sucked and nipped at her breasts. If she was entirely honest, this was her favorite point in the evenings that they would spend together: the second round(usually on her couch) when they're both lazy from alcohol and intent on drawing every ounce of pleasure from each other.
"You know, the girls were talking about you at the bonfire." she spoke slowly into his ear.
"Hmm?" he hummed with a mouth full of her nipple, making her sigh and roll her hips from where she sat straddling him.
"Yeah, they...mmmm yeah suck on it harder? Oh fuck that's good. They said I should talk to you more."
"Then talk to me, sexy." she felt him smile while he gripped her ass and pressed harder against her, their combined slickness making her glide along his length.
"Not like that." Arya chuckled, even as she moved her own hands from his shoulders to the back of the couch. With the new leverage, she began a slow rhythm that had each movement rubbing her clit in just the right ways. "They wanted me to flirt with you. Said we would make a cute couple if you weren't so reserved."
Gendry only made a small noise of acknowledgement in between his groans.
"They even wanted to bet me 50 dragons that I couldn't get with you by Christmas."
Immediately he went silent, his hands loosening their grip on her backside. And when she pulled back to see why, Gendry looked up at her with the biggest grin on his face.
"Are you fucking serious?" he asked, and when Arya nodded he laughed in the way that always made her feel warm. "The guys were wanting to make a bet with me too."
"No way." Arya grinned back.
"I'm serious!" He chuckled and Arya loved the vibrations it sent into her chest. "But they said that since you're such a bombshell there's no way that I could hold off sleeping with you for a month. Same here, 50 dragons."
She took a moment of down at him, face turned up to her with eyes that looked so comfortable and domestic. Maybe it was just the booze talking, though, when she said: "We should do it."
His smile disappeared for an almost confused look. "Really?"
"Really." she leaned down and kissed his bottom lip before sucking it briefly into her mouth. "Think about it, we just put this thing on pause while I pretend to flirt with you for a month and you play hard to get. Then, at Christmas we can come out as a brand new couple."
He hummed in thought as she adjusted her hips.
"We go for a week or so and then tell everyone that it didn't work out. That way we both win the money."
"Let's do it." he announced, as if the last part was the only convincing he needed.
But before anymore could be said, Gendry suddenly hoisted her up in those strong arms that made her drool and threw her down on the couch.
Despite the intensity on his face when he rolled the condom on, and despite the way that he slung her leg over his shoulder when he moved over her, Arya found herself laughing.
"And what's this about." she teased, even as her hands gripped his back when he slotted himself against her.
"You've got me spoiled, Stark. Want to get my fill of this before I go a month without it."
She had no time to reply before he was driving into her, and no space was left in her mind for words that weren't "yes" or "harder, you bull".
It was the next afternoon during Sunday family lunch when Ygritte rolled her eyes. "Oh just give her the number."
Jon huffed, but still pulled out his phone and tapped on it a few times. A second later and Arya's phone was buzzing against the dining room table. Unlocking her phone, she opened the message containing Gendry's number and went through the motions of saving it...but quickly closed out the notification that said the number was already saved.
"This is stupid." Jon grumbled.
"Is not!" Meera piped up from two seats down. "You said it yourself, Gendry needs to get out more and see people!"
"Yeah, but I didn't mean my sister!" he shot back before digging back into his lasagna. "Besides, he does see someone. Whoever it is that he's running around with."
Arya hid her smirk through a bite of garlic bread. "Oh yeah?"
"Isn't serious, though." Jon shook his head. "Don't think so at least. He goes out with her once a week or so, but never brings her around. We don't even know her name."
"How do you know it's a girl?" Bran joked, only to have Meera elbow him.
"Gods…" Jon grumbled yet again before turning back to Arya. "He's a great guy, I promise. A heart of gold and an amazing friend. Just...don't be too let down if you lose the bet. He's a tough nut to crack."
She-Wolf: Jon gave me your number so we need to delete everything and start over.
Bull-Man: Do I have to?
Bull-Man: I like re reading your dirty texts…
She-Wolf: I'll send more later. We need to make this believable if they look at our phones.
Arya: Is this Gendry?
Gendry: Yeah. Who's this?
Arya: Jon's sister
Gendry: Oh hey!
Arya: Just wanted to thank you for coming to the bonfire the other night!
Gendry: Wouldn't have missed it
"Are you wearing your good jeans?" Alys' voice asked from the phone's speaker a week later.
"Yep." Arya replied, putting the finishing touches on her makeup.
"And that top that makes your eyes pop?" Arya heard a soft pop, telling her that Alys was chewing the gum that she always carried.
She rubbed her lips together "No, I got a stain on it, remember? But I'm wearing the green one."
"Ah good! It goes well with your figure." There was a brief pause, filled with another soft bubble pop while Arya tousled her hair. "Where are you two going?"
"Just to see a movie. Starting off with something simple."
"Well you've got less than a month, so don't make it too simple!"
Arya laughed and was just leaning over to grab her earrings when her phone chimed with a message. A look at the screen showed Gendry's name followed by his signature On my way up .
"Oh hey gotta go, he's almost here." Arya said, and before Alys could say any more she tapped the red circle.
Walking from the bedroom to the living room she could feel her heart starting to race, and instinctively she glanced around to make sure things were tidy.
'No.' she told herself, though with a smile. 'Not this time. He isn't here for that.'
But she still found herself feeling that same excitement when his knock came at the door. And it certainly didn't help that she found him standing on the other side of the door looking like he didn't know what to do with himself.
"This feels weird." he said as she let him in. "I almost went by the liquor store out of habit on my way over."
"I know what you mean." she sighed, looking down at her socked feet. "Feels so different not ordering food...or making sure I'm all shaved."
Gendry let out a deep moan, and when she looked up she found him stepping towards her in his usual hungry way. "You didn't shave down there? Can I see?"
"No, you can't!" she laughed, even as she let him wrap his arms around her waist. A sigh slipped its way out when his stubble scrapped at her neck, and when he bit down gently she could feel the telltale signs of arousal.
"You sure?" he asked and nuzzled beneath her ear. "I could bend you over that couch really quick. Give us both something to think about while we're out."
It was so tempting to say yes, especially with the way Gendry's arms closed in tighter. Just one word from her and he would grab her up without any effort at all. No one would have to know, even though they already didn't know about them. But even though she was Arya, she was also a Stark, as honorable as she was strong-headed. And she was gonna win this thing fair and square.
"No..." The word made Gendry sag against her and groan in a very exaggerated way. Then, he immediately removed himself from her and moved to straighten his clothes. "Fine." he grumbled, though she could see the playfulness in his face. "But I'll think about you tonight when I jack off."
Arya winked. "I hope you do. Just a second, I'll go get my shoes."
It was as she went back to her bedroom that it dawned on her: that was the first time she had ever turned him down for sex. Sure, they had their standing rule that either one could turn down the offer no matter what, but it was the first time that it had ever happened; and not once did she feel as though he was actually guilting her for it. The thought brought a warmth to her chest as she slipped on her shoes, took a final inventory that she had everything in her purse, and then went back out to the front door.
Gendry wasn't there, though. Instead, she found him across the living room with his eyes scanning the few picture frames that lined the bookshelf.
"I forgot you used to have a wolf like Jon." he mumbled as she approached, reaching out to straighten the frame.
"Yeah." she sighed, but said no more. It had been over a year since she had to put Nymeria down, but she still didn't like to think about it for too long, especially with other people around. Something deep inside told her that Gendry wouldn't mind it if she started crying, but…
"Guess I never really paid much attention to stuff in here." he shrugged. "There's more interesting things to look at…"
Arya gave him a playful shove when he shot her the same sly wink that she had given him. "Come on, we'd better get on with this."
Arya grumbled under her breath. The theater was out of the little Sour Snakes she loved so much. "I'll take ...uh…" she scanned her eyes over the selection while the poor little cashier waited on. "Oh just give me popcorn with cheese powder."
But as the guy reached into the case to retrieve her snack, she realized something. "Hey, Gendry, what do you want?" she yelled over to the ticket counter.
"Black licorice!" he yelled back.
Surely the workers there were ready to be rid of them, especially when they walked in having a playful but very intense argument on who should be paying. Then, once it was agreed that Gendry would buy the tickets while Arya would pay for the snacks(since she always bought their food in the past), they had another lively discussion on what movie they should watch.
It was right as the worker sat the popcorn bucket on the counter that Gendry stepped over beside her, handing her the small stub of paper showing that he had picked the newest Lannister flick. It was supposed to be something about a dwarf who finds out that he's really an elf, and then there was something to do with Santa's bitch wife? Should be a good laugh.
"Drink?" she asked.
"Just water for me. Don't really care for sodas."
Arya nodded, brow scrunching in thought. "Never knew that."
Now that she thought about it, there was a lot she didn't know about him. She knew everything there was to know about his body: how sensitive his nipples were, how the hair at the nape of his neck formed a perfect spiral, how his shoulders hunched up right as he was about to come.
But that was the extent of it. Arya didn't know him .
Snacks in hand, they headed down the hallway of theater doors until they located the right one. Even though there was only a small handful of people who would be joining them for the show, they still scurried up the stairs and into the very back row. It felt so...fun, Arya thought as they settled into the back corner, almost like being on a real date.
Gendry made a little noise of excitement beside her, followed by the noise of packaging being opened. When she looked over he was already stuffing a piece of licorice into his mouth.
"Oh man...habnt had dis in so lonnng." he mushed out in between bites.
Arya couldn't help but to laugh. He looked like a little kid who had been given a special treat.
"My mum used to like it too."
His casual mention of his mother made Arya's ears perk up. She had never heard anything about any of his family before. But from what he just said…
He nodded, swallowing before he spoke. "When I was a kid. It's alright, though. My aunt and uncle took me in after that."
Arya just nodded. It felt odd to say that she was sorry, given how casually he explained it all. But still, she wanted to show some form of sympathy. She knew what it felt like to lose a parent so young. Without giving it too much thought, she reached over and took his hand from where it rested on his leg.
A moment passed, and then two, before Gendry turned his hand over to lace their fingers.
"Awww you held hands?" Alys swooned as they sat in their favorite pub two days later.
"Yeah." Arya smiled, putting on a show of seeming giddy over it. 'If only they knew what else I've held on him...'
Meera made a small noise as she swallowed her food. "What about when he drove you home?"
Arya just shrugged. "He said he had a great time and that we should definitely do it again."
But then she was forced to take a long drink to hide the possible blush on her face as she recalled what had happened after he said that.
His hand rubbing up and down her thigh...leaning over to kiss her earlobe… "As soon as I get home, I'm going to take my time getting myself off while I think about your perfect mouth on me."
"So you are doing it again, right?" Meera's voice pulled her mind back on track.
"Yeah we talked about doing something Christmasy. Like going to see Christmas lights or something."
She had barely finished speaking, though, when Alys' face perked up as she looked at something behind Arya.
"Oh good, they're here!"
"Who?" Arya asked as she whipped around.
Just who it was turned out to be a smug looking Shireen and Theon, waltzing over with an unamused Jon behind them. And Behind Jon was Gendry. He looked even less happy to be there than Jon did, but when his eyes met Arya's it was unmistakable to her how his face seemed to light up.
He looked….he looked good, Arya noted. It wasn't often that she got to see him outside of their little trysts, but in his band t-shirt and leather jacket that clashed so interestingly with his quiet demeanor Arya could definitely see how girls would go for him.
"What a pleasant surprise!" Shireen exclaimed loudly, plopping down across from Arya.
It was by no means a coincidence. Arya knew that full well. But she still went along with it and created Theon and Jon as they took seats as well...until the only seat left for Gendry was the one right beside Arya.
"Hey." he said softly with a nod.
Arya returned the cordial greeting, even though under the table their ankles were pressed firmly against each other.
"Gosh, don't you just love Christmas time?" Theon sighed, turning his head to look around them at the lights and garland decorations on the walls. "So comforting. So...intimate…"
"Yeah, Arya was just telling us about how you two were planning a Christmas date to see the lights!" Alys jumped in. "So adorable."
"Oh, yeah." Gendry said softly, ducking his head. "Thought it would be nice. I've always liked the lights."
Again, another thing that Arya never knew about him. Taking a bite from her plate, she filed the fact away in her mind.
Arya: Gods I'm so horny
Arya: You can come over right now
Arya: Just for a quickie
Arya: Just the tip...
Gendry: lol sorry can't. Gotta be up early. Closing the job site tomorrow until after Christmas.
Arya: Ah man. Ok.
Gendry: You looked good tonight by the way
Arya: Thanks! They're really making an effort to get us together
Gendry: Yeah it's ridiculous. One second we were watching the game, and the next thing I know they're shoving me out the door to go to the pub.
Arya: Right lol
Arya: It was a nice surprise though
"Maroon or teal?" Sansa asked, holding up two scarves.
Arya squinted at them. "Teal. Jeyne wears a lot of bright stuff."
Nodding in approval, Sansa draped the scarf over her arm before meandering over to another rack of clothing.
Arya, on the other hand, let out a deep breath and looked around for a place to sit. They had been Christmas shopping since early that morning and her feet were surely about to fall clean off. "Sansa, can't we take a break." she groaned.
Looking around her, Sansa reluctantly said, "Alright. I think we're done in this store anyways. We can go down to the shoe store; Theon needs new dress shoes anyways."
"Thank the gods." Arya sighed. At least that place would have chairs…
The few clothing items that Sansa had selected were paid for and the two sisters stepped out into the chill of the evening. Snow wasn't on the forecast, but it definitely felt as though the sky was about to start dropping white specks at any second. Tucking her hands into her pockets, Arya moved to follow Sansa down the shopping strip.
The familiar voice stopped her immediately, and a warm anticipation filled her when she whipped around to find Gendry walking towards them. His glowing smile stretched across his face as he lifted his free hand to wave, the other arm holding a couple of paper shopping bags.
"I assume your Christmas shopping too?" Arya asked when he was close enough.
Gendry nodded. "Yeah, haven't made as much progress though."
"Hey, why don't you go with Gendry!" Sansa beamed, gently nudging Arya towards him. "I'm nearly done with my list, so you can help him out!"
Arya found herself laughing nervously along with Gendry. "I mean...I guess if it's ok?"
"Yeah! Yeah sure!" he nodded, and before they knew it Sansa was hurrying back down the sidewalk and leaving them alone.
"You know," Gendry began as they stepped out of the way of another group of shoppers. "You're really good at this."
"Good at what?"
"This!" he smirked, gesturing between them. "Pretending that we're starting a relationship!"
"Oh, thanks." Arya nodded proudly. "I was in a theater group for a few years."
"I didn't know that." Gendry stated as they moved to start walking along the row of shops. "That's so cool."
They walked close, arms occasionally rubbing against each other. Without thinking, Arya gravitated into him until she was pressing against his side. His body really did feel nice, she acknowledged in her head, not just nice in the bedroom, but out of it too. And his scent was so comforting too. It took a moment for him to move, but when he finally did he was wrapping his arms around her shoulders for a tight side-hug before they separated.
"I'm kinda glad I ran into you." she heard him say, voice almost quiet enough that she missed it.
"Same here." Arya returned. "Sansa was about to make me jump into traffic."
"Works for both of us then." he smirked. "I get a shopping buddy, and you get to keep your sanity."
Arya laughed and leaned back into him. It all felt so easy between the two of them. The sex had always came without effort...but she never would have guessed that something as simple as talking about nothing would be so pleasant.
"Oh hey, I need to go in here." he suddenly said, stopping quick in front of a large toy store.
It was crowded, obviously with the current season, but Arya followed right behind him through the large door and into the noisy madness.
"I need something for my niece…" he said, looking around him at the various aisles and shelves. "I always try to send her something."
"Aw you have a niece?" Arya smiled. "How old is she?"
"Five." he said. "Her and my sister live down in The Vale."
"What have you gotten for her before?"
"That's the problem! When she was younger, I could just get a stuffed animal or a new doll and she'd be happy! But now she's older…"
"Well, let's look around. I'm sure we can find something." She grabbed his hand and pulled him in amongst the other shoppers.
Nearly an hour later, their hands found each other's again as they walked back outside, a wrapped package under Gendry's arm that contained a toy horse that you could actually bathe and wash in real water.
Gendry's last stop ended up being a book and media store. While he poured over the shelves of war novels, looking for a gift for his uncle, Arya flipped through the large selection of used Christmas movies.
There were all of the usual ones, and then ones that she had on her list of movies to watch eventually, but her eyes grew when she came upon a character from her childhood.
"Gendry!" she shrieked. "Look!"
He really didn't have a choice but to look, seeing as she was shoving the DVD case directly into his retina.
"Did you ever watch this as a kid?" she asked, nearly vibrating with excitement. "It's Vinny: The Christmas Dragon!"
"I remember that...I think?" Gendry was smiling as well as he took the case from her. "Didn't it have the weird old wizard who fell off the cliff?"
"Yeah! That scene scared Bran so bad when he was little!"
"Are you getting it?" he asked, turning it over to see the price.
"It's only 5 dragons! For that price is be stupid not to." She went to take it from him, but Gendry snatched it away.
"I'll get it for you." he announced. "As your Christmas present."
Arya gave a little chuckle as he turned to walk over to the register. "Really?"
"Really." he shot back, placing his items on the check-out counter before turning around to smirk at her. "We are dating after all."
Arya bit the inside of her cheek when he turned to pay the lady. She really wanted to kiss him, and there was this nagging feeling deep down that didn't want to part with him. Their only physical contact in the past two weeks, apart from his attempts at temptation, had been the hand holding and their brief hugs, but their times out together had been nothing less than amazing.
"Well," she began, stepping closer. "If that's the case, would you like to come over to my house for some take-awake? We can watch that movie."
Arya had almost expected for Gendry to try convincing her for sex again, but aside from a few knowing looks on the walk over he had been nothing less than a gentleman from the moment they stepped through her door. The food was ordered, and the couple made themselves comfortable on her couch while she turned on the claymation classic. It was so dated and cheesy and the musical numbers were sure to stick in her head for weeks afterwards, but nostalgia filled them both as they made occasional comments on the film.
"This was always Sansa's favorite part." Arya grinned as they watched the small blue dragon use his last bit of magic to grant the little girl's Christmas wish and regrow her hair. "She would always cry."
"I can see her doing that." Gendry nodded, his voice rumbling through her ear. Near the middle of the film, Arya had found her eyes starting to droop...and Gendry's shoulder had looked so comfortable...and he had rested his own head on top of hers in the sweetest way when she finally gave in and put her head on him.
They sat in silence as the movie ended. The last jaunty song was completed as the little girl rode on Vinny while he flew off into the sunset. But as the credits rolled, neither Arya or Gendry made any movement. In all honesty, Arya really didn't want to move from that spot. In a way she had missed this level of closeness between them, just being near to Gendry and sharing the same space.
It was finally he who moved first, but only as much as to grab his phone and look at the clock.
"Damn, it's late." he sighed. "I should go. My car needs to warm up…"
Arya closed her eyes. "You...you could stay?" Gendry sat silent, so she asked, "Do you have anywhere to be tomorrow?"
She felt him shake his head.
"Well, you're welcome to stay here tonight. This way you aren't out in the cold late at night."
"Well, thanks for caring." he finally asked in a soft voice. "Are you sure? We had the rules..."
"Absolutely." Inwardly she was doing flips. She would have offered anything to keep him there, safe and beside her.
"Ok...great." She felt him move his head, so she moved hers as well and found him looking over with a very indecisive expression. "I can take the couch?" he then asked, even as she shifted closer.
"Or, you can sleep in my bed?" Arya half whispered, the last two words brushing on his lips as they joined in a gentle kiss.
And Arya knew then that this was the first time that she had ever truly kissed Gendry.
It was such a different kiss from the thousands that they had shared before, most of them on that very couch. Slow and simple, that was how their lips moved against each other's. It wasn't a kiss born out of wild lust, but of closeness, of true mutual affection.
She let out a gentle sigh, and Gendry's hand came up to cup her face. Had he ever done that before? She couldn't recall, only thinking of how his hand used to grab the back of her head as he licked into her mouth. That had always felt amazing, but this was just as good. And his lips were so supple as they slotted with hers, so pleasant to explore as their kisses continued.
Moving her own hand up to thread her fingers in his hair was the last thing that she did before his arms circled her and she was hoisted into the air.
"Can I?" Gendry panted as his hand moved from her breast to the waistband of his boxers, the last item of clothing left on either of them.
"Yeah." she replied surging up to kiss his neck as he made quick work of removing the garment.
The second that it hit the floor beside the bed was the same moment that he moved between her legs and pressed against her. Both of them let out moans at the contact. This was what they had been missing, what they had needed. He was so warm and firm...and he was Gendry; the same Gendry who liked black licorice, who dresses like a badass but is a complete introvert, who bought her a random movie for no other reason but that it made her happy. Arya breathed in his scent as she pressed her face into his neck, the same scent that he held when they walked together in the town, the same Gendry…
Gendry leaned down against her as he reached between them, positioning himself to slowly move into her. Arya gasped, and immediately Gendry's face was in front of hers.
"Slow…." she whispered, watching him nod at the word. "I want to take you in."
He continued to move gently into her, pausing once their hips connected to share another soft kiss before he began to pull back.
They had never done it like that before, so intimate and close. He had always taken her hard and fast, and she had always rode him with enough fervor that made her sore the following day. But now...this wasn't fucking, this wasn't scratching an itch, it was almost making love…
An easy pace was taken, hips rolling like gentle waves in a pool. They kissed all the while, as though this new kind of kiss was more addicting than the other. She took the time to explore him, to savor him and the way his body complimented her own, to really feel him inside of her.
Arya lay limp under the blankets. She couldn't have moved if she wanted to, and she didn't want to, because Gendry felt so good where he was pressed up behind her. She could tell that he was drifting off, possibly even asleep, by his slow steady breathing and heavy arm that draped motionless around her.
Suddenly Arya wanted this. She wanted this again, and more. Not even just the slow intimate sex. She wanted sex with Gendry that wasn't just a fuck, but sex with Gendry that she knew and cared for.
"Fuck." she whispered.
The subsequent jerk of Gendry's body told her that he hadn't been entirely asleep yet.
"Hmm?" he hummed, lifting his head slightly.
"Nothing." she said, reaching to her stomach to pat his hand. "Go back to sleep."
"No, what is it?" he asked, a little more awake now, and pressed a kiss to the back of her shoulder.
Arya closed her eyes, turning her head into the pillow. "I...think I actually like you….as more than a friend."
"Oh?" he asked after a few seconds.
"Yeah." she sighed. "Yeah, I do."
"Well," Gendry started, his arm tightening around her. "I'm glad it's mutual."
"Arya! Shireen and Gendry are here!" Sansa yelled from the kitchen. "Can you go get the door?"
Arya really wasn't sure why one of the eleven other people in the house couldn't get the door instead, but she still sat down her drink and walked into the short entryway. It turned out that she didn't even need to be there in the first place, because before she could even reach the door Shireen was barging in with a loud "Merry Christmas, hoes!"
"Merry Christmas, bitch." Arya returned with a smile, giving the other girl a hug before Shireen hurried off to join the others.
Turning back around, Arya met Gendry's eyes as he cocked an eyebrow. "Do I get a nickname?"
With a laugh, she stepped closer and raised up on tiptoes to kiss him lightly. "Merry Christmas, boyfriend."
"It happened! It happened!" Meera's voice shrieked behind them, and Arya whipped around just in time to see her flying into the living room.
And when the couple followed suit, it was just in time to see Theon standing on a chair and holding several bills above his head, all while Meera struggled to pull him down.
"I won! I won fair and square, you guppy!" she shrieked.
"We don't know yet!" Theon yelled before pointing at Gendry. "Have you two slept together yet?"
Arya's head spun up to look, and Gendry's mouth fell open as the words audibly caught in his throat.
"You did!" Meera whooped. "Hand it over!"
"Wait!" Arya yelled, joining in the collective noise that was filling the room. "Did you guys pin us against each other?!"
"Yeah, and I won 50 whole dragons!" Meera announced, managing to elbow Theon's knee hard enough to get the money from his hand. "Here you go, Arya. Here's your half of the bet."
"But!" Gendry surprisingly stepped in, taking the other 50 from Meera's hand before she could respond. "If you count, the bet was made 31 days ago. And we only slept together last night. Which means that I won also."
"What?!" was the collective reaction as he proudly stuck the money into his pocket.