Written for: Mockyrfears's Game of Thrones Kink Meme.
Prompt Which I Didn't Actually Fill: Arya/Gendry, in Braavos, knifeplay.
I REALLY tried to write for kink, but this evolved into something else entirely and refused to be porny. Alas. Maybe next time.

Credit for Arya's colorful insults go to the ever-creative William Shakespeare.

Something was wrong. The man before him smiled benignly as he poured the wine, but something about him raised Gendry's hackles. There was an itch between his shoulder blades, a twitch in his jaw – something he couldn't put his finger on.

The last dregs of sunlight dripped wearily through the small, sludgy windows, and Gendry was sliding his hand to his sword belt when he felt the blade pressed lightly against his throat. The small man set the bottle down beside the brimming cup, his thrice-cursed smile even wider. "Ah, all's well then. Good eve, ser," he said, bobbing his head and turning to slip away into the shadows.

The blade turned, and the cool solid flat slid slowly around to the back of his neck. He felt the point scrape through his disheveled hair and catch on the leather of his jerkin as it scratched slowly down the line of his spine. "Put out your hands," a woman's voice said softly, "and then hold still."

Gendry's finger twitched, and in a quick, smooth motion he grasped at the pommel of his sword. And then he was on his knees, ears ringing from the swift blow to the side of his head and breath choked by strong fingers pressing into his throat. A tearing sound - metal slicing through leather - made him wince, and the sagging weight of the sword at his waist began to slide. When his severed sword belt fell to the floor, he lunged to the side and made to stand, grunting in anger and exertion.

By the gods, she was fast. The heel of her hand connected with his chest before he had turned all the way, and he stumbled backward, catching himself on the rough wooden frame of the door. She was on him in an instant in a frenzy of dark hair and glinting steel. Her knee was at his groin and her left hand was buried in the tangles of his hair, and she used it to jerk his head back and expose his throat. This time, the point of the blade at his throat drew blood; he could feel the warmth slithering down his neck in a slow, tickly trickle. He felt naked out of armor, stupid and reckless for coming here, and his chagrin and disbelief at being disabled so handily ruled over any other emotion.

The woman jerked harder on his hair and his head followed where she pulled, thumping hard against the splintered wood. He could see half of her face from the corner of his eyes as she leaned in close: the long slope of her cheek and the dark smudge of her eyebrow, the slight quirk at the corner of her mouth. Her breath tickled his ear as she spoke: "You ask a lot of questions, Ser. Now maybe you'd like to answer a few."

Gendry cut his eyes at her. "Bugger that, hell-bat," he retorted, and reflected briefly that if he was fed up with boredom, provoking this woman was a sure way to keep his life interesting. "You ruined my belt! I'm not in any kind of mood to answer your questions." The tip of the dagger twisted, and his jaw tightened. "Though'm starting to doubt it's answers you want anyway, since you're so keen on poking a hole through my throat. I need that to talk, you know."

She smiled. "Logic. That's new." She patted his cheek with the flat of the blade, and tilted her head back into his line of vision. "You've been asking after a certain woman. Why?"

"I like women," Gendry said. He felt downright saucy. "Balls of R'hllor, is it against some law to ask questions in this shit city?"

"Mmm." She shook her head, cool grey eyes narrowing at him. He swallowed hard. The pressure of the knife on his cheek increased. "You were asking after Arya Stark. Names like that one can get a person killed. Who sent you, and what do you want?"

"Sent myself, and I mean to find a girl. For gods' sake, I don't mean her any ill! Don't see what I did to get you and your blade all riled up. Nor what my sword belt did, neither." The smooth steel was slowly warming to the temperature of his skin. Any other time and he might have wondered who made it.

"If I were you, I would worry a bit less about my belt and a fair sight more about the lies you're telling me."

"I liked that belt! It was good leather, too, and latched in just the right spot!"

She made a sound that was almost a laugh. Her wrist relaxed just for a moment, and the blade drooped away from his face.

Gendry snatched the opportunity like a gift. His hands closed around her wrists and he twisted her arm hard as he spun her. Her body slammed back against the wall with an oomph, and she growled through bared teeth as he wrenched at her wrist. The dagger landed on the packed dirt floor with a dull thud. They stared at each other for a long moment, heavy breathing the only sound. A slight smile crept across her face, and he waited. She stood on tiptoe and whispered hot in his ear, "I'm sure your belt isn't the only thing that latches in the right spot."

A jolt of unexpected heat lanced through his stomach and then down (or up, he supposed) and she slipped his grasp and dove to retrieve the blade while his head still spiraled in surprise. Gendry belatedly tried to kick the knife away, only to tangle his leg with hers as she scuttled along the floor. Both of them landed in a heap, Gendry face first on the ground with a mouthful of dirt and blood for his troubles.

He reached out blindly and grabbed for a handhold of anything, settling for half a handful of hair and an ear. "Clay-brained, rump-fed flap-dragon!" she spat at him, her hands still scrabbling for purchase on the hard ground.

He sputtered at her. "What?"

"Would you let go of me?"

He flipped her over instead and put a knee on her chest to hold her still. His heart was pounding in his chest, blood throbbing in his neck, and he liked the feel of this strange hellcat beneath him far more than he should. "What are you playing at? Answer me, woman!"

Even with his blood on her hands and smeared across her cheek, she had the audacity to look annoyed at him. "Playing at? Dead of course, you great lumbering idiot. Did you sacrifice your eyes as well as your wits when you signed on with the Lordling? Let me up, stupid!"

Playing dead? But...

Before he could make sense of her words, her reaching fingers had closed over the blade of the dagger and she flashed it back up to his throat. Gendry went still, kneeling over her precarious and panting. He wasn't quite sure how in the seven hells this had happened, but he hoped rather fervently that she couldn't feel quite how much he liked it. He suspected she might kill him for that alone.

Her eyes were locked on to his as he struggled to even his breathing, and something in the back of his mind likened him absurdly to a fish, caught on a line and being pulled steadily in. Her hand was stable and the press of the blade was unrelenting and doubtless wickedly sharp, but her expression was almost contemplative as she stared up at him. "You still don't recognize me," she said, her voice strangely subdued. It wasn't a question.

But in that moment, he did, and everything in his world shifted and slowly clicked into place.

There was a weariness about her that made her look older than she should, and she had more scars than he wanted to think about, but the long straight lines of her face were unmistakable, and those eyes (that mouth) were just the same. How? How had he not known at once?

Something flashed in her eyes when she saw his expression shift: triumph, satisfaction, knowing. She didn't move when he slowly place a hand over hers and moved the dagger from his throat, nor resist when he pulled her up on her knees beside him. He knew he was staring, and she let him look his fill before finally speaking again.

"How did you find me?" she asked at last.

He had to swallow twice before the words would come. "For years I've been asking questions. I never believed you died, not for a minute. After the business with Bolton, there was just… nothing for so long. And when sailors coming in to Saltpans started talking about the Shewolf of Braavos turning the city upside down, I just – it wasn't much of a hope, but it was the best I'd had in..."

The fingers of her empty hand wandered over his lips and his words trailed off. "I never thought you'd look for me," Arya said. Her fingers were cold but her eyes were like smoking steel, burning into him. She was so, so close. The smell of dirt and blood and spice hovered around her, and he felt drunk, at once heavier and lighter than he had felt in years.

"I thought you would forget," she added after a long moment, and drew her hand away.

Something caught between a sob and a laugh shook Gendry's chest. He lifted his hand and his own fingers traced smudge lines in the dirt on her face and down her neck. She bit her lip, and his stomach flipped. "You never did make any sense. Are you going to stab me or kiss me?" he asked, and then tacked on a "M'lady," just to see the anger flare in her eyes.

"I might yet do both," she warned, but when she twisted a handful of his shirt into her fist and yanked his face down to hers, he knew she was lying.