A/N: Okay, so here it is. The first chapter is kinda short - I wanted you to be able to get somewhat of a grip on Alma and her relationships, and a bit of how Theon views her. If you guys like it, I'll continue. Also, title is subject to change. :)
I don't own GOT or ASOIAF.
Steady, now. Be still and focus, just like Uncle Rodrik showed you, and … release.
Once she released the arrow, it made a dull thunking sound as it completely missed the bullseye. It wavered in its position, lodged into the wooden fence behind the targets, as if taunting her.
"A blind man would have better aim than you!"
Embarrassed, Alma Snow felt heat rise to her cheeks. Turning around, her hands tightened their grip on the bow as she tried to glare at her spectator – but it must not have been threatening, because Theon Greyjoy only laughed harder at the expression on her face.
"Stop laughing!" She pouted, resisting the urge to stomp her feet in frustration. She hadn't even known anyone had been watching, since she'd been busy concentrating; there hadn't even been anyone in the yard only a minute ago, but Theon always did have a way of sneaking up on her.
"How can I not laugh? Bran has more skill in his little finger than you've got in your entire body." He smirked, that all familiar grin that made him look like the cat who got the cream. "Keep in mind that Bran is quite young and is terrible at it, too."
Huffing, she ignored his snickers and went to retrieve the arrow. Stupid Theon, she thought. Thinks he's so high and mighty because he can hit the bloody bullseye! She trudged back and held the bow up again, notching her arrow. Too busy mentally cursing him and trying to focus at the same time, she didn't know he was behind her until she felt his hands cover hers on the bow, steadying them.
Alma's face got even hotter as Theon positioned himself snug against her. "You need to keep still," He said, whispering into her ear.
"I'm t-trying," She replied, feeling even more embarrassed at her stuttering and his close proximity.
"I'd hate to see what would happen if you weren't," He chuckled, so close that she could feel him grinning against her ear. His grip on her hands grew tighter as he drew back the arrow a bit more. "One, two … let go."
The arrow whistled through the air before it landed directly in the middle of the bullseye, and so pleased that it managed to finally hit the target, Alma forgot who it was that had helped her and cheered. Only when she realized he hadn't moved away was when she remembered it was Theon who had helped her, and she tried to compose herself, sniffing as she turned her head to look at him.
"You can move away now." She said, hazel eyes looking at him suspiciously. Theon had a reputation of being a womanizer, and this wouldn't be the first time he'd tried to charm her. Not even the glares of her father, the Captain of the Guard, seemed to make him stay away.
"I rather like being this close, wouldn't you agree?" Theon lilted, but she shrugged him off and moved to a safe distance away. He crossed his arms. "I don't even get any thanks for helping you? Are all bastards this ungrateful?"
As much as she hated when her circumstance of birth was brought up, it wasn't as if she could deny it. "... Thank you," She mumbled out grudgingly, looking away. "See? I'm not ungrateful at all."
Theon took a step closer, further diminishing their distance. "If you're nice enough, perhaps I could teach you." Another step was taken, and Alma had to lean back to avoid being nose to nose with him. "There's many a thing I could teach you-"
"Leave the poor girl alone, Theon," Came a chuckling voice. Alma stepped away from Theon, blushing again at his implications before she turned to see who it was. It was Robb Stark, accompanied by his half brother, the bastard Jon Snow.
"I was just having some fun, is all," Theon replied nonchalantly.
"I'm sure you were," Robb said, clearly unconvinced, though he was still smiling.
Alma had never known any other home than Winterfell. Her mother had been a whore from the brothel in Winter Town nearby, outside of Winterfell's walls – but she had died giving birth to her. When her father came to see her for the first time, she'd been less than a week old and did not yet even have a name. At that point in the tale, Jory would muss her hair and tell her he knew he wouldn't be able to part with her as soon as he had held her.
Thankfully, Lord Stark was a kind man, though stern at times, and he had let Jory take his daughter to live in Winterfell. She had grown up with the Stark children; Robb and Jon were both like brothers to her. Though she and Robb were the same age, he always took the role of older brother towards her.
And as for Jon Snow, the same went for him. He treated her like a sister, and as two bastards in Winterfell, they were close. Alma had never approved of the way Lady Stark treated Jon, though Catelyn was never rude to her. She supposed it had something to do with the fact she wasn't Ned Stark's bastard like he was. When he'd been younger, he'd often come to her to vent, and she would comfort him as best she could.
Sansa was sweet as well, though she was quite prim and proper; many a time had Sansa wrinkled her nose at Alma's attempts to learn how to fight and her appearance, since she usually favored male clothing and her hair seemed to be perpetually messy. It was for those reasons, though, that Arya looked up to her. The youngest girl didn't care about whether she was a bastard or not, and was always excited and willing to tell her stories about what pranks she'd pulled on whatever poor soul that day.
Alma loved Bran and Rickon, too, though Bran always disobeyed his lady mother's orders to stop climbing – and though Rickon was still young, he would often manage to get Alma to play with him. Rodrik Cassel, both her uncle and master at arms of Winterfell, had a soft spot for her as well – though it was a very small soft spot, since Rodrik was not a soft man. He didn't even like music, which Alma thought to be ludicrous.
But with Theon Greyjoy, there was never any sort of familial pretense. He was always teasing her, making fun of her birth, or flirting with her. The latter didn't come until she had started filling out as a girl should, though. She could still remember the Ironborn ward making fun of her flat chest when she was younger, and she'd run to Robb and cry to him about it. At that point, Robb would scold Theon, and that usually incensed him.
Theon was older, after all, and though he was treated with respect and schooled along with the Starks, he had never truly been one of them. Alma had the same respect and lessons, though there was no need for her to be a Stark; she at least had her father. Theon had no one – and even though he sometimes made her want to rip out his hair in her frustration, she would remember that and be as kind as she could manage.
At times like these, she tried to exactly that, and so she sighed and reluctantly said, "It's alright. He … he did help me, after all."
She hated thinking about that; it saddened her, though she would never dare show any pity towards him – though sometimes she couldn't help it. It wasn't that she didn't feel sympathy for him, but Theon was not without his pride despite being a glorified hostage. Alma had been raised to be polite and respectful, though he usually never acted that way back towards her.
Theon opened his mouth, most likely for some smart remark, but there was a yell that interrupted him. "Alma!"
Arya came barrelling into the yard, tugging on her sleeve excitedly. "Alma, come see!" Pulling her down a bit, she whispered into her ear, "I'm going to teach those stable boys a lesson once and for all!"' Arya released her toeing the dirt. "Though... I think I'll need your help, so..."
"What mischief are you planning now?" Jon laughed, and Arya frowned and crossed her arms, playfully glaring at him. The three Starks began to banter, but Alma found herself looking at Theon.
He was watching them with some sort of forlorn look in his eyes, without a smile for once. Alma didn't realize how long she'd been staring until Theon began staring at her, now, and his face had an indescribable look to it before it twisted into a sneer.
"... Alma!" Arya's exclamation snapped her out of it. "Quickly, before they get back from their chores!"
"R-right," Alma swallowed. "Let's go then, shall we?"
Theon watched Jory Cassel's bastard leave with the youngest Stark girl, a bitter taste in his mouth. Jon and Robb had already grabbed their training swords and were starting to spar – but no invitation had been extended to the ward. It wasn't as if he wasn't used to it, though, so he muttered out unnintelligible farewells and began to stride to his destination.
The annoying way she had been looking at him while she excused him – yes, she had excused him, which he thought to be ridiculous – had boiled his blood. The damn girl was always giving him some sort of sympathetic look, though he figured she thought she was doing a grand job of hiding it. And she's always been more part of the Starks than you ever have been, his mind whispered scornfully.
Still, he wouldn't mind bedding her, ignorant bastard or not. She certainly was not the fairest girl he'd ever seen, but she had thick, wavy dark brown hair that hung down to her waist that he would just love to pull on. Theon sometimes liked to imagine how those big hazel eyes of hers might look with fear in them – fear at him, once he showed her she was beneath him ...
Unfortunately, his many attempts were usually interrupted by someone, whether it was Maester Luwin or one of the older Stark boys. Theon had a feeling if it wasn't for their interruptions, he might've been able to break through and get what he wanted – but there would be time for that. He would be here at Winterfell until he was released, anyways.
So until then, he thought as he started riding towards the town outside Winterfell, he'd just pay Ros a visit and try to forget all about the Starks and that insufferable, piteous look in her eyes.
A/N: Hopefully you guys liked that! So if you did, please be a sweetiepie and review and tell me what you thought. :D If people want me to continue this, then I'd be glad to, so let me know! Thanks for reading.