The volume of Arya's voice heightens, all the way up to the canopy of the oak trees. She resists stomping her foot on the muddy bank, and instead drops her full, sloshing water bucket.
Gendry's face twists into a faint, annoyed scowl.
"Why do you think?" he yells back, dunking his own bucket with a little too much force into the creek. "You're a highborn and I'm lowborn, and I'm not teaching you how to kiss! Why would you even want to know how to do something like that anyway?"
He barely even spares her a look, and that infuriates her more. Arya crosses her arms fiercely, lifting her chin with dignity. "Fine," she says insolently. "Then I'll go ask Anguy."
Shock and uncertainty drains Gendry's expression. He blinks, shaking his head.
"No, you won't."
"Yes, I will," Arya tells him, baring her teeth in an aggressive, derisive grin.
Her heart pounds faster when Gendry frowns and slams down his bucket, marching over to her. He may be taller than her, and covered with incredible, bulging muscle, but she stares him down with a frightening amount of surety and determination too-big for her stature.
"No, you won't," Gendry repeats, nearly in disbelief this time. "He's lowborn."
"At least he doesn't have a stick up his arse. He probably likes kissing girls too."
"I like kissing girls. You're not a girl." Arya watches him fumble for an explanation, squinting up his eyes and rubbing his neck. "You're… you're a lady."
Her foot jams into Gendry's calf harshly, kicking at his right leg. He leaps out of her path, tripping over Arya's bucket, shouting and groaning. "Seven bleedin' hells—Arry! Stop! Alright!" he curses loudly, wiping his forehead. "Can't believe this…"
Before she can ask what to do first, or even argue, Gendry shoves on both of her shoulders.
Arya's bum lands with a thump! on a mossy, gray-green log. "What are you doing?" she demands, getting shoved back down again. A brooding Gendry appears in front of her, having swung a leg over the log as well and resting himself into a tensing, hunched sit.
"Making you sit still for once in your damned life," he grumbles, adjusting her to straighten.
Arya only exhales, deeply skeptical by this. Why does it matter how you sit if you're kissing someone? She's seen people kissing each other while sitting up or lying down. They don't care how they do it. Gendry is just being fussy — as usual.
Then again, she wouldn't ask anyone who isn't Gendry to kiss her. She doesn't want anyone who isn't Gendry to kiss her. Not even skinny-as-a-branch and flame-haired Anguy.
Arya's eyes glance over Gendry's features. Has… he ever been this close to her? Close enough to notice the lightest speckles of dirt along his nose, how long and dark Gendry's lashes were. The blue of his eyes like steel in deep, wintry waters.
She misses Gendry's further complaining, too enthralled with downright staring as he gazes her over. "You smell like Dennett's underarms," Arya murmurs, leaning in, going for blunt honesty.
Gendry opens his mouth, beginning to laugh, turning uproarious and smiling.
She's never seen anything more beautiful than this. More kissable than Gendry's mouth.
Commotion fractures apart this reverie, scattering birds high above the greenery. Smoke billows from the Brotherhood's camp. "Stay here," he orders, all traces of happiness disappearing.
Arya waits until Gendry's ahead of her, before she races after him, following their little path.
Men wearing poorly-sewn leather armour, dark garments and scarves covering their mouths — they invade the grounds, swinging their weapons and shedding blood. Raiders?
Arya feels her waist grabbed onto, and a palm being roughly held to her lips.
"Keep quiet," Beardless Dick mutters, keeping them out of the fray. In the midst of battle, Gendry clenches his jaw and snatches up an abandoned sword, cutting down one of their enemies. His stance is wrong, Arya realizes, fear worming up into her belly. He's not holding the sword like—
A flash of glinting, bloody steel. She couldn't hear Gendry's pained cry over the sounds of the other men fighting, but she witnesses him clutching onto his side, bowing himself in.
With a biting scream, Arya digs her teeth into Beardless Dick's hand, escaping him and running forward. She dodges the hazing smoke and footsteps, panting, her eyes leaking with warm tears.
Men die. All around her.
"Gendry—Gendry!" Arya shouts, helping him kneel down. She touches over his exposed wound on his ribs. It's malleable and abnormally hot on contact, weeping red with his blood.
He nods, breathing hard and looking down at it.
Beric wipes off his own sword, joining Arya with some haste. "You fought bravely, now let us help you," he says softly, helping lift Gendry onto his feet.
A few, shaky steps, and Gendry's eyes roll backwards.
"What's happened to him?" Arya says, panicking and getting nudged out of the way when Thoros catches Gendry's other arm, helping Beric settle the injured, fainting lad back onto the grass.
Thoros cradles the now vanished raider's blade, narrowing his eyes and sniffing it.
"Nightshade," he mutters, eyeing Beric who grimaces. "Rotten luck."
"It may be on the rest of the steel. Tell our brothers to be weary of handling the swords."
Arya's emotions and her rage overflows. She pushes against Beric's courser, hard enough to gain his attention. "Do SOMETHING!" Arya screams out, "WHY are you all standing there!?" She pushes him again, this time feeling Beric's hand suddenly holding the back of her head, drawing her in and pressing her sweat-sticky forehead to his tunic.
"Forgive us, my lady," he says consolingly, kindly. "We will do what we can for him."
Arya's breathing harshens. Her tears spill faster down her cheeks, streaking them.
Gendry wakes for the boiling wine poured into his rib-wound, violently shuddering back to life. He doesn't cry — he doesn't do anything but lose himself to the pain, vomiting out spittle.
Thoros advises him to chew on willow-bark, and a helping of sourleaf.
Arya hates the film of red on Gendry's teeth and paling gums. "… guess you… shouldn't kiss me," he whispers, visibly shaking under a blanket, trying to feign humor. She hates the blue dulling its colour from Gendry's eyes, as his life gradually slips away.
"You're an idiot," Arya says lowly, stubbornly curling her legs to herself.
She remains there beside him, refusing to eat or drink, or fall asleep. Praying for Gendry to open his eyes again in the morning. Praying for the Stranger to leave them be.
"For the white winds they blew, they blew… o'er the shadows and night... and those who live to see day, the day… they cried for the warmth of a lover's light …"
Arya startles a little, planting her hands to the dirt as if to spring up when Thoros approaches and smiles at her. "The Night That Ended?" he asks, waiting for her to nod slowly. "A not so lovely song, I'm afraid… though it's much lovelier sung by a young girl."
"I wasn't singing," she lies, moving away for the priest to check over Gendry's bandages.
"Aye, and you don't love this boy," Thoros speaks up, winking. Her cheeks redden for a moment. "You mustn't feel shame in that. We do not chose whom we love… it is fated."
He glances away, peeking to a stern-faced Beric instructing another member of the Brotherhood to patrol the wooded grounds. Arya furrows her brow, recognizing the admiration in Thoro's stare. She looks away purposely when he chooses to glance at her instead, chuckling.
"Does it frighten you… a man lying with another man?"
Arya doesn't hesitate to shake her head. "Is it like lying with a woman?" she asks curiously.
Her response earns another grinning, lighthearted chuckle out of Thoros.
"My father heard a man call my Uncle Benjen a filthy name once and he knocked his tooth out." Arya's eyes soften with memories. "My father…" she hesitates, lips flattening together. "He said he didn't do it because he thought Uncle Benjen was lying with other man… it was because… no one should be treated poorly for loving someone a different way than you."
Thoros nods, brushing his fingertips over Gendry's neck to locate his heartbeat.
"I would have liked to have met Eddard Stark properly," he murmurs. "The Good God gave me light and love and I obey. I love whom I love because the One True God does not waste his time on hatred of love."
She doesn't know anything about Red Gods or fire magic, but Arya can guess what the shallowness of Gendry's breathing means. Her fists bunch up, ripping onto the grass beneath her.
The words hang heavy. "If R'hllor wills it, he'll see first light before passing…" Thoros says, frowning contemplatively when Arya shoots to her feet, walking further into the camp.
He doesn't follow her.
Lem Lemoncloak reports the poisoned blade as missing, hours before dawn. Arya Stark goes missing as well from their ever-watchful eye, and Thoros informs his suspicions to Beric.
Despite the calls for sending one or two men after her, it's unanswered.
She returns, as soon as the morning songbirds gently twitter, and dewdrops form on the leaves. There's large, dried splatters of blood across her face and tunic-collar. Arya returns with no blade in hand, but a cylindrical vial of transparent, glittering liquid grasped in her right hand.
It empties into her mouth. Without ceremony, she goes to her knees and leans over Gendry, her lips and tongue prying open Gendry's slackened, grey mouth, enough to slip the liquid into him.
Thoros encourages the lad's throat to swallow, massaging on the swell of Gendry's neck, until he can physically feel the sensation of Gendry weakly obeying. There's no immediate change, and Arya resumes her sitting position, curling up into herself, staring listlessly ahead.
There's no denying the faint, knowing smirk to her bloodied expression.
Gendry's voice doesn't heighten, or soar up to the rustling, breezy canopy of the oak trees. He touches over his bandages, raising an eyebrow doubtfully when Arya's fingers skim her own lips.
"Why do you think…?" she replies, flushing warmly, as pleasantly as Gendry's cheeks.
GOT/ASOIAF isn't mine. I really really need Gendrya to happen in the last season of Game of Thrones/in the final books of A Song Of Ice And Fire. Badly. I love them so much. I saw "Arya/Gendry. Kissing lessons." on the asoiaf kink meme and my brain decided to go this way! Any thoughts/comments are so appreciated! :)