A/N: Normally I would never write anything this explicit about a 12 year old. It makes me feel like Gendry is a creep. In fact, I have a strong desire to age up Arya just to abate my own feelings of creeper-ness. I ship Arya/Gendry as an OTP but would prefer them to be bit older when they get together. I had intended this just to set up the actually story of when Gendry and Arya meet again post her time in Braavos. It got a bit out of hand, obviously. I would like some opinions on that. When I saw where I was going I wrote her up to14 and kept Gendry at 16 but it felt too forced away from canon. Eventually I settled her at 12 and aged Gendry down to 15. I'm not sure it helps. Please let me know what you guys think. Also, that is not an invitation to flame. It is an invitation to some discourse on this particular issue and nothing more than that and proper reviews with praise OR well-explained and thought-out criticism.

The Peach

She hadn't meant to forget about him or about anybody. It had been as natural for her to forget about him just as readily as she had abandoned herself when she left Westeros and so she had. And it was just as natural to now, as she stood back on the banks of the Trident, for Arya to remember. She remembered as she examined the fires they must have used to keep warm in the bitter chill of early winter in the Riverlands, as she walked through the maze of muddy squares on the ground left over in the snow when they packed up their tents to move on. As she kicked up the remnants of the meager cook fire they used in the center of camp and surveyed the discarded helms, dirty snow and charred cinders she remembered very clearly the Brotherhood without Banners. The lives of Weasel and Arry, Nan and Squab, Arya Stark and most of all she remembered Gendry.

Even though Arya was no longer the little girl who ran from him at the thought of being abandoned herself, she had a hard time picturing Gendry as anything but her stubborn, bull-headed boy. A boy who she had wished desperately would never leave her. She pictured his thick mop of coal black hair and his strong, dark hands. She lingered on the look in his deep blue eyes as he held her down and tickled her waist on the floor of the smithy at Acorn Hall. The fierce and husky timber of his voice as he sent off that old man who had, she now realized, propositioned her in the Peach thinking she was some lowborn whore.

She was struck with some measure of amusement at that and allowed a little giggle to escape her lips. Gendry, who'd been so indignant that she had been propositioned at all, had mounted the stairs almost directly after her.

They had been in the habit of sleeping with each other since they had left Hot Pie at the inn. He would wrap his large arms around her and she would bury her small frame against his chest and relax into sleep with the steady breath of her companion ghosting over her head. He had, several times before that night, moved her from her own bedroll to his even after she'd gone to sleep. She berated him as stupid several times and Anguy, Tom and Lem often made vulgar references but she felt happier and safer for it. That night at The Peach had been the only exception. Arya released a sigh of frustration at her memories. No matter what she did she could never forget that night.

He had been angry when she'd gone to bed and when she heard his movement in the room she had turned to apologize since he was a stupid, stubborn, bull of a boy and she didn't like the thought of sleeping alone. She was surprised to seen him undressing irritably beside the bed and spun over again as he began to tug his breeches off. He'd never undressed completely before, especially not after he found out he'd been traveling with a highborn lady. This night though he'd undressed fully and as he slid into bed beside her he didn't curve himself around her body as she wanted him to, as he was supposed to. He only lay stiffly beside her. She could still remember her childish confusion at his resistance. She hadn't realized, couldn't have realized, how difficult it must have been for him. Even now she can't blame him; all men at that age are slaves to their cocks.

She growled, frustrated, and sighed loudly. He still lay there, stiff as a board. Then she whispered.


Not so much as a stir beside her. At a loss Arya did the only thing she could think of doing. With a mumbled curse she turned around and flung her small body over his, moving to hold him as he had so often held her. If he had been angry before she couldn't tell at that moment for how silent he was. He drew in a deep, ragged breath. Taking his silence for assent she tucked her head beneath his chin, her bare legs pressed tighter to his waist and her arms she draped carelessly over his shoulders. He moaned then, a soft, breathless sound. She can remember very clearly she had thought it was odd that he sounded as though he was struggling with some great force, as small as she was. She doubted the weight of her on his chest could cause him distress.

"M'lady," he'd said in his most measured voice, "move."

"Gendry," she'd answered, "are you still mad?" There was nothing for a moment. She lifted her head and squinted at him through the dark. His eyes were tightly shut and his mouth a thin line. "Gendry?" She questioned, whispering closer to his ear. She watched his expression as he groaned.

"M'lady. Get. Off." She squinted at him again, more of glare this time but it hadn't mattered since his eyes were still screwed shut.

"No." She had to be firm. She had not wanted him to refer to her that way, for she was no lady. He sighed and she almost laughed at his frustration at the time. She had only wanted to know what was bothering him and she hadn't anticipated being quite so much the cause.

"L-lady Arya," was all he managed to choke out when she wiggled back on his waist to get a better look at his face.

"What's wrong with you stupid?" She leaned back again and pushed roughly at his chest. In a flash he sat bolt up right and opened his eyes with a frustrated growl. He took in hand each of her wrists and leaned closer to her, his hair falling forward to brush against his forehead as he tried to pull her up to his chest and out of his lap.

"You," was his reply. His voice was quiet and dark. She still shivered to think of that tone. His hips were shuddering beneath her and his hands gripped her small wrists tightly, too tightly. She felt the bulge beneath her too late to move easily away. She had no idea what to do or what it meant but she had a suspicion. She'd spent too much time in the company of men and seen a good deal of them in their small clothes. Gendry, though, had never been so close to her while out of his breeches and the heat of his lap pressed into her through her tunic. He threw his head back and groaned again as she slid back in an attempt to break away and he rocked forward, his body's attempt at maintaining contact.

She could smell the ale on his breath when he lifted his head back up and looked her in the face. His pupils were dilated (which she had been taught later meant he was aroused) and his face was red from the tops of his ears to the middle of his chest. In his euphoria he had wrapped an arm around her back and was pressing her firmly down even as he struggled to pull her away from himself with the other sweaty hand still holding one of her wrists. His hooded eyes shot widely open in that instant and he shoved her from him in fit, as though she were aflame.

"Gods," she shouted as she tumbled back onto the room-sized bed and out of his lap, "you stupid!" She sat up indignantly and stared at him from her position at his feet, wide-eyed. The moonlight caused strange shadows to fall across his strong arms and chest. She'd never seen his "staff" so close or so long and hard as it had been then either. She was surprised that a boy of five and ten, only three years her senior could look so differently than any of the other boys she had seen. She knew he was much stronger than Hot Pie or Lomy but he even looked more muscled than Robb or Jon. She reached out as if to touch him, to touch it.

"S-stop," he said just as she began to move forward, all childish curiosity and no concept of his very adult needs which, now that she thought about it, he probably had little concept of as well considering his upbringing. "Turn around." He managed to get out before his hand wrapped around his shaft. "Please." He begged as his palm began to move along his length and his head dipped back into the pillows. Arya had not turned but watched curiously and innocently as he moaned and begged her to look away. Soon the only noise in their room above the Peach was the rhythmic pumping of his fist and his slow chant of "Arya, Arya, Arya, Arya, Arya," begging her. She thought to look away from his shame but couldn't, wouldn't. As his hand sped up she reached out to touch him. Her small fingers just barely scratched against his head, which was a deep purplish red and glistening with a substance that was leaking from a small hole at the tip. He cried out a wordless shout. She managed to drag her fingers across only a few times more before he released another strangled cry and his seed burst forward to cover his fingers and the ends of hers. She leapt back, startled by his savage ferocity and unfamiliar with the action.

He was breathing heavily and his "staff" was small again and lying against his body placidly. He head was still craned back but the redness was gone from his chest and cheeks. He let out a pathetic whimper. "Gods," he muttered.

She could laugh now, at six and ten (almost seven), at her own ignorance and the way she stared so fixedly at him. She had hardly any idea what had just happened, she hadn't yet known sexual desire. She would not even flower for another year from then. She had also not known how shamed Gendry would feel. She had been younger than him and higher born and he had, she was sure in his eyes, taken advantage. Not in her eyes though, she considered herself a woman grown at one and ten, which she had been a year since by that night.

When he moved to get dressed and leave she had begged him not to go downstairs and leave her. Apologizing for the mess she made and cursing him. He in turn had sworn and cursed and stomped about the room muttering about lowborn smiths and highborn ladies but in the end he came back and sat down. She mentioned Lem would be back soon so he pulled on a pair of breeches before curling around her like he used to. He still lay with her every night after that. It was different though. From then on she would press herself tighter against him hoping to feel the tell-tale signs of arousal because she was chiefly fascinated by the whole thing. She would wiggle against the bulge in his breeches every morning eliciting groans from him as he slept and glorying in the mornings when against his will he would drag her to him and press himself against her back. Inevitably he would wake up and, blushing, leave to bathe or feed and water the horses, etc.

He never again gave in and allowed her to witness his relief, no matter how sneaky she would endeavor to be. This was a paramount disappointment to her at the time but soon enough she was gone, kidnapped by the Hound. She thought of Gendry every day during her captivity but once she was in Braavos it seemed as though Gendry had been another little girl's friend. Her Bull had been a dream. Just a childhood fantasy that had belonged to Arya and Arya hadn't been in Braavos much.

Now though she was home and her bull, her knight, was waiting. She longed to show him the woman she had become. The small but shapely breasts beneath her tunic, the now womanly swell of her hips and she has been told she has very comely eyes. All those things she will give to Gendry if he'll have her. She just needs to find him.

She examined the game trail to the left of the camp and decided from the prints and horse droppings in the snow that was the direction they had led their horses in. She hoped this was in fact her Brotherhood and that her friend, Ser Waters of the Hollow Hill if she remembered his knighting accurately, would be in attendance. She mounted her courser and nudged him in that direction, they were no more than a day ahead of her, and moving slowly she'd wager. She kicked off with her heart full to bursting and savage smile on her lips. First Gendry, then she had others to track down. It was good to be home.