Alright this particular fic is set in Chapter 22 of A Storm of Swords, I'm dog tired and really can't give you much back story, all you need to know is that Arya and Gendry are traveling with the Brotherhood without Banners at this point and they have stopped at an inn, the brotherhood knows she is a highborn lady and have decided to use her for ransom from her brother Robb, THEY ARE NOT MEAN TO HER THOUGH, Harwin is from Winterfell yadda yadda. ONLY THAT THIS ONE HAPPENS BEFORE THE OTHER FIC I WROTE. So Gendry hasn't yet gotten to the point where he is in the other one. (The last part of this fic involves a song that is, in fact, in the chapter, it is not mine, it is GRRMs)
Also i'm sorry about any and all run on sentences, misplaced commas, misspelled words etc etc etc, i'm half awake.
Gendry hung the tongs back up and took down the heavy hammer. "Master Mott said it was time I made my first longsword. He gave me a sweet piece of steel, and I knew just how I wanted to shape the blade. Only Yoren came, and took me away for the Night's Watch."
"You can still make swords if you want," said Arya. "You can make them for my brother Robb when we get to Riverrun."
"Riverrun." Gendry put the hammer down and looked at her. "You look different now. Like a proper little girl."
"I look like an oak tree, with all these stupid acorns."
"Nice, though. A nice oak tree." He stepped closer, and sniffed at her. "you even smell nice for a change."
"You don't. You stink." Arya shoved him back against the anvil and made to run, but Gendry caught her arm. She stuck a foot between his legs and tripped him, but he yanked her down with him, and they rolled across the floor of the smithy. He was very strong, but she was quicker. Every time he tried to hold her still she wriggled free and punched him. Gendry only laughed at the blows, which made her mad. He finally caught both her wrists in one hand and started to tickle her with the other, so Arya slammed her knee between his legs, and wrenched free. Both of them were covered in dirt, and one sleeve was torn on her stupid acorn dress. "I bet I don't look so nice now," she shouted.
Begin Gendry POV
Gendry feigned at trying to catch Arya as she rolled away from him and sat up, he could see that her dress was in fact ruined. A funny sensation hit him in the stomach at the sight of the torn sleeve. Regret? He shook his head, propping himself up on one elbow. Arya was still breathing heavily, the dress hanging sadly off her left shoulder. He wondered why she hated the dress so much, it wasn't that ugly, and she wasn't ugly at all. He studied her face for a moment, no she definitely wasn't ugly.
"Well?" Arya was glaring at him now. She crossed her arms. That smug defiance on her face that he had become so accustomed to. It made him smile.
Gendry shrugged "Well, what?" If there was one thing he loved to do, it was try her patience. Sure, Arya was quick witted but her temper matched the pace. Which was something he liked about her, even enjoyed it a bit. He'd been around quick tempered women most of his life, but none of them had ever had this fire that he saw in little Arry. And fire was something he was used to. Something he understood well. She was strong, this little girl-boy. Her voice pulled him out of his thoughts. "What's that?" he asked.
Arya fumed. Slowly she uncrossed her arms. He watched as she clenched and unclenched her small hands, first into a fist and then relaxing, methodically. It was odd...watching someone of her stature perform the act with such meaning. It was doubly odd to watch her do it in a dress. "Well, what? That's it? That's all you have to say? You stupid boy! You ruined my dress!" He cocked an eyebrow at her. "Now i'll have to go back to that damned inn and have that woman rewash me and reclothe me in some other dumb girlish thing" she took a step towards him "and i'll probably have to hear how I shouldn't act like some little boy when i'm such a highborn little lady, and I hate that Gendry! I hate that do you hear me? I hate that and I hate -"
A silence fell between them. A deafening one. Had he just heard what he thought? The final words of her sentence had nearly become hysterical and she had cut herself off. It had sounded as if she were going to cry. His eyes caught hers. She was breathing heavily again but he could tell it wasn't the same as before. He could see it wasn't the same. Arya? The sight of her in such a state confused him. Gendry knew she cried, seven hells all children cried, and Arya was no different. But normally she'd run off and hide so she could do so in peace. So she could do so believing that no one knew. Yet, here she was. Feet planted in place and every second he watched her, she became smaller and smaller. Fragile.
Gendry shifted his weight from one foot to another, he was uncomfortable. No, he was downright terrified. What was he supposed to do? Help her somehow? She was looking away from him now her shoulders slumped forward. He had this strange feeling that she was caving in upon herself and he didn't like it. His little fire was burning out. He cleared his throat awkwardly trying to make her aware of him again. For a fleeting moment she looked at him, and something in his being snapped. Her eyes shimmered in the dim light cast off from the inn. She was going to cry. Oh gods... He wished he had a place to run to now. " Hey, you ok?" She didn't answer. Gendry made a step towards her. "You're not gonna cry are you?" he tried to sound as concerned as he could without stepping into belittlement.
"Just shut up" Arya rubbed her arm across her eyes. She looked so much like the child she claimed not to be in that moment.
Gendry moved forward until he was in front of her, he leaned down "Arry, really...I mean it's ok...if you want to cry...I guess" Was it ok? What was he even saying? He didn't know how to treat anyone in this kind of situation. All he wanted to do was leave...but he couldn't quite bring himself to. And that was the most jarring of it all. And the more he looked at her the more Gendry had the strangest urge to do the exact opposite. To wrap her up against him and let her cry until she was incapable of doing so ever again. He blinked. That was a foolish thought, a bull cradling a little girl? He would snap her in two. Wouldn't he? He didn't know how to be gentle, he knew how to forge steel. And Arya wasn't steel, she was a highborn lady. She was a child.
His thoughts were broken when he felt Arya shoving him "I told you to shutup!" She was definitely crying now, her voice cracking. Without thinking Gendry grabbed ahold of her hands as he lost his balance. They both went tumbling back to the dirt floor of the smithy. As soon as they hit, Arya wriggled free of his grasp, but her vision was blurred by tears and she wasn't as quick as she normally was. Gendry grabbed her left hand with his right, and she came about with her other arm to punch him "Let go!"
He was getting agitated now. Before she could land the punch Gendry pulled the arm he had captured with all of his strength and sent her falling, back first, over his torso and onto the floor. He quickly rolled over and pinned both of her arms down being sure to lock her legs as well with his own. He'd made that mistake once today, and he didn't want to feel that particular consequence a second time. She was still struggling. Of course she was. Gendry squeezed her wrists, putting his face close to hers "Calm down Arya." his voice was even and hard. He didn't know why he was getting angry, but he was. She ignored him, fighting harder now.
"No" she was saying over and over again "No, let me go, let me go, let me go! Get off you stupid boy! Let me go!" Gendry grunted at the headache she was giving him. She tried to get one of her legs free but he thwarted her efforts. Still she persisted. She kept on and kept on until he finally relinquished all of his weight on top of her placing his head down beside hers. See her fight me now he thought. He waited for her reaction, expecting another barrage of angry commands. But instead, and to his horror, Arya began to openly sob. The tension in her small body had left and was replaced with something pitiful. She just laid there, crying. He could feel every wave of it rack through her, again and again.
Gendry squeezed his eyes shut... just a child. He found his arms moving on there own accord, his hands going to cradle her head. She was just a child. Gods be damned, Arya Stark was just a child.His heart felt something he didn't quite understand in that moment. The feel of her breaking down...it was tearing him apart as well. The Bull. The stubborn, strong, bull. And her tears were killing him. It was like she was leading him by the horns. Why didn't that surprise him?
Gendry sat up, pulling her with him. Arya just latched onto him, sobbing into his chest. Her cries were rather loud and he tried to calm her a bit smoothing her hair down and rubbing her back. He looked around the smithy helplessly. He had never been in a more confusing situation in his life. This wasn't just any child he was trying to comfort...this was Arya...Arry...the little girl with the backbone of a grown man at some points. And she was utterly falling apart in his arms. And he just didn't know what to do.
He could feel her hands clutching the front of his shirt holding herself there. She was using him for support and oddly enough, that comforted him. It was a selfish sort of comfort and like everything else...he didn't understand it yet.
He looked down and noticed her torn sleeve, he sort of felt bad about that now. The dress hadn't been so horrible on her. He wondered why she fought so hard against her looks. She wasn't a beauty by any means, but she wasn't ugly. Seven Hells Gendry, what am I even thinking about. He rolled his eyes at himself and turned his thoughts something else. Like why she was crying in the first place. Had he missed that completely? Surely it wasn't over the dress. She had been yelling at him which was nothing new...she had been complaining about telling the innkeeper about the dress. Complaining about being treated as her rank asked... and then he knew. A pain washed over his face. She was going to say she hated him. She had stopped herself at the last moment. That stung. His chest tightened. He pressed her closer listening to her cry, the sobs had become more even, not shaking her entire body any longer.
"Arya..." he breathed. He felt her inhale deeply.
They sat in silence for some time as he listened to her tears. Trying to understand. "Everybody leaves me..." he could barely make out the words she spoke them so softly.
"Not everyone, i'm still here" he pulled away to look at her, placing his face close to hers. "That what got you all teary eyed?" He wasn't sure he wanted to know what did. He wasn't even sure he wanted to be there.
She ignored him, anger flickering in her eyes "but you will leave me, you'll leave me just like he did, you'll just rush off and be gone and you'll be happy about it!" Arya shoved him back again. Which confused Gendry more. "Just go away, leave me alone...I..I hate you." Her gaze didn't falter as she said the words. "You're just a stupid boy and I don't need you" she hit his chest "I don't need you" again "I don't need..." the last one sliding off pitifully as she bent over and put her face in her hands.
Gendry swallowed hard. He? Who was he? They sat there in silence a long while. The little wolf with her ripped coat and the bull with his reluctant retreat. He placed a hand on her shoulder only to have it abruptly smacked away "I said I don't need you!" Arya screamed at him, jumping up and running out of the smithy into the night.
He fought the urge to follow. Slowly standing, he brushed off his clothes as best he could. Gendry looked down at his hands, they were strong hands, a smith's hands. 'you'll leave me just like he did' He had no idea who she was talking about. One of her brothers more than likely. That made him scowl. So she chooses the one she likes the least to compare me to? He didn't like that. He didn't like that at all. If anything Gendry only wanted to be Arya's friend. Well, maybe he wanted more to just be around her. There was something about that little brat that set him at ease, and he always had this feeling that he wouldn't mind protecting her. Being her family that she seemed so much to want back. He wouldn't even mind going with her to Riverrun...but now. He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed something back into himself. He didn't like the way he felt right now. He...what? He hurt? Did she really hate him?
It was an hour later when Gendry finally decided to head back towards the inn. But he was stopped in his tracks only a few feet from the smithy, it was Arya. She was just standing there, her usual defiant self back. They looked at each other for a long while until she shifted uneasily and said "We should probably go back together..." Gendry put his hands on his hips stubbornly. Arya matched his stance.
Gendry cocked his head to one side and regarded her skeptically "Forgive me m'lady, but I thought you hated me now?" That stuck her good. She flinched a bit.
"I.." she was having difficulty forming her sentence opening and closing her mouth between little bursts of thoughts. The sight of it made Gendry smirk. The sight of that made her angry, "Would you just come on you stupid bull-headed boy" she yelled, exasperated.
For some reason her words made him happy. And he understood. If anything he understood what she meant. That was about as much of an apology he would get from her, and he was ok with that. Content. He laughed. "There's the little she-wolf i'm so used to. Not that crying baby back at the smithy."
Arya bent down and grabbed a rock "Shut up!" She chunked it at his head.
He dodged it, laughing still. But he quickly put his hands up in surrender when he saw her reach for another. "Whoa, whoa! I was only joking, come on let's go back inside" he walked up to her "I am sorry about your dress-"
Gendry threw his hands up again as if to say 'Alright then'. She glared and for a moment he thought she was going to pounce on him. But she merely turned around and walked back to the inn with a scoff and roll of her eyes. This time he followed.
When they entered the Inn Tom was singing:
"My featherbed is deep and soft, and there I'll lay you down,
I'll dress you all in yellow silk, and on your head a crown.
For you shall be my lady love, and I shall be your lord.
I'll always keep you warm and safe, and guard you with my sword."
Gendry heard Harwin laughing at the sight of him and Arya, as well as Anguy. He looked over at Arya, who looked as if she could spit fire and began to laugh himself when white light streaked across his vision. Something hurt, it was his head. He heard someone say "You want to fight, fight with me! She's a girl, and half your age! You keep your hands off o'her, you hear me?" it was Lem Lemoncloak, he had stuck Gendry across the head with one of the wooden bowls from the tables. He turned in time to see Lem raise the bowl to hit him again when he noticed something come between them, it was Arya.
"I started it!" She said "Gendry was just talking."
Gendry blinked back the pain, he couldn't decide if he was happy with her or angry that she had put herself in the line of fire. However, there is one thing he was sure of, her coming to his rescue made him swell with pride. Thankfully, Lem hadn't drunk any that night and easily stopped himself from smacking her across the face. Which would surely have knocked her out cold. He heard Harwin tell Lem to leave him be agreeing that Arya probably did start the wrestling match. Smiling to himself he sat down at the long table where Harwin was. Arya was a few feet away, he caught Tom winking at her as he began the next set of verses:
"And how she smiled and how she laughed, the maiden of the tree.
She spun away and said to him, no featherbed for me.
I'll wear a gown of golden leaves, and bind my hair with grass,
But you can be my forest love, and me your forest lass."
Something in those lyrics disturbed Gendry. He looked at Arya again who was being led away by Lady Smallwood to be redressed and bathed no doubt. He felt bad right then. Like he had let her down somehow. Gendry rubbed his head. Maybe he would go with Arya to Riverrun...he took a deep breath. Is that what he wanted? He couldn't think of a better alternative at this point. One of the bar wenches came up and offered him a drink, he took it gladly holding it carefully in both hands between his knees. 'She spun away and said to him, no featherbed for me' No...something in those lyrics didn't sit right with him at all. He couldn't put his finger on it though. He took a drink of the ale. It was dark and bitter. The color of it reminded him of Arya's hair. He smiled. The acorn princess, that's what she looked like tonight. A little forest nymph.
By now, Tom was finishing the song.
"But you can be my forest love, and me your forest lass.
Yes you can be my forest love, and me your forest lass..."
Gendry took another drink and sat back in his chair. Yes, he was content for the moment, but he couldn't help but feel this sense of despair...like he was missing something.
The Bull decided he'd think about it tomorrow.