.

.

Death is the one true god.

It's the only thing that's certain no matter where we go, or so a frowning Arya has muttered with her feet in a creek-bed, picking idly at her teeth. Death is real, and Death comes for us all. He believes it.

Maybe it's his time.

Gendry hasn't the faintest if this is the Red Priestess's bedchambers he enters, but they're encompassed by red draperies and satin and finery, with darkness peeking at every corner. He winces visibly when she touches his arm, squeezing down reassuringly and walking around him for iron-wrought cresset.

She beacons him forward, with one pale, slender hand. The ornate, gold-laced rings upon Lady Melisandre's fingers as massive as stones and glimmering as lifeblood that has been newly shed.

Gendry hesitates, before obeying, joining her near the small, dancing fire.

"Look into the flames… allow them to fill you with their light and warmth…" He does, feeling uncomfortable as another hand sweeps across Gendry's back, tightening his muscles. Lady Melisandre's voice drifts in and out, in, as his chest rises and falls in, out. "You are safe here. You are at peace."

The pinched expression on Gendry's face softens, as he gazes into the flames, easing… him …

He feels

"What do you desire most in this world?" Lady Melisandre asks, staring intently into his face.

Gendry's lips shift apart.

"Family," he mumbles.

"Not wealth? Power?" Her fingertips smooth over the tip of Gendry's sunburned ear, combing through his dark, sweaty hair and massaging her long nails against his scalp. "You have a king's blood. You could be King of the Seven Realms if you desired it enough. If you asked me for it…"

Gendry remains at a standstill, his ice blue eyes vacantly on the spiked, gilded cresset.

"… No, I don't want that," he mumbles again. "I want Arry to make it home to Winterfell." Lady Melisandre drops her hand, smiling thinly. "Her father and my father championed together. Everyone knew they were friends. King Robert and Ned Stark fought and bled together." Gendry's nostrils flare suddenly as he takes a breath, his own voice deepening with fondness and longing. "I would die for her."

"And she is your family?"

"… … I want to be hers." Gendry squints his eyes, appearing dizzy and astonished. He shakes his head, reacting with a groan as the Red Priestess strokes his cheek lightly. "What are you doing…?"

"Seeking your true intentions," she explains, as pensive as before, disrobing herself completely. "And they are true, dear boy. You carry a love inside your heart for this girl that cannot be turned to smolders. It will light your way in the coming darkness, guiding you home to her… if you allow it."

Lady Melisandre grabs onto Gendry's hand, flattening his palm to the curve of her bare breast. He flushes at the sensation of her nipple hardening and protests, yanking away from her.

"… You want me, but not your heart…"

She reaches for her, shielding his eyes. The gemstone to her throat brightening a glow-dull ember.

"… then allow yourself to see what your heart desires."

Gendry's head throbs and aches. He falters a step backwards, rubbing and blinking his eyes.

A young, naked woman stands alone in front of him, her brown hair undone in long, soft coils. Firelight kisses against her thin, pointed features smudged with dirt and ash, against her grass-stained, bruised knees.

"No," he whispers, struck by awe and dismay, feeling the woman's arms round his neck.

"Stupid bullheaded boy…"

It's Arya's words and it's Arya's grey eyes on him, her mouth fuller and widening into a smile. She kisses like a mid-spring's rainfall, gentle and sure, and he kisses her like a man drowning of thirst.

Gendry moans to her lips, his hands cupping her little, pink teats, her arse.

Stupid… …!

Arya's voice shouts within his mind — full of anger and indignity — and he breaks away, gasping and holding a sleeve against his mouth. Gendry's skin tingles as if held too-close to a burning taper.

"You're not her," he says hoarsely, too shaken to yell. "She's a little girl."

Lady Melisandre chuckles, the illusion vanishing to red hair, red eyes, red, red, red. Gendry considers bolting into a run for the door, until he discovers his knees sinking, dragging him onto a cot's edge.

She closes the distance between them, tugging her robe back on.

There's nothing to do.

But wait.

(If gods are merciful, they'll deliver Arya's one true god to him.)

.

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GoT isn't mine. Prompt from asoiafkinkmeme: "Arya/Gendry. The red priestess asks Gendry what he'd like." as a reimagining of that scene in 3x08.