Five Times Gendry Reminds Arya of Home and One Time He Does Not
The First Time: Robb
A quick little series of drabbles I wrote to get a feel for these characters seeing as I've never written for them or even for this fandom. I wanted to explore a bit of their relationship before writing the epic story I am starting about them, so if you enjoy this fanfiction and their relationship, or my writing, or both check back in a few weeks to get the first chapter of the fic I'm working on. So without further adieu, I bring you: Five Times Gendry Reminds Arya of Home and One Time He Does Not.
I lied. One more thing: These drabbles are set in a random time frame where Arya and Gendry are traveling around by themselves/in Harrenhal/with Hot Pie/etc. just because I don't want to be specific because parts might appear in some form later in different stories.
When Arya wakes with a fright in the middle of a dark forest she is momentarily disoriented. Her eyes adjust slowly as the adrenaline leaves her veins, chased out as the cold night air comes in gasps to her lungs. Once her heart slows she realizes her skin is covered in a thin sheen of sweat and her body involuntarily shivers, causing her to pull the cloak up to her shoulders and hunch down into it against the cold. Her breath comes in small puffs that she can see float out and melt in to nothingness. Her whereabouts and circumstance come back to her slowly, beginning when she notices the fire in front of her, burning low. A piece of the wood breaks under the ash and the resulting thud makes her jump; a little gasp escapes her lips. At the same moment something moves to her left. She tenses, fear seizing her up. She looks down and notices two feet by her. Her eyes travel along the leg, up the side, and to the face of the man next to her. She relaxes with a shaky laugh when she realizes it is just Gendry, who had rolled in his sleep.
Rolled nearer to her, she noticed. Had she been lying down his arm, which had been flung across the ground, would have rested on her belly. Her stomach shuddered with a strange, squeamish feeling at the thought. Suddenly, she felt her self regretting the fact that she had woken up with her nightmare that had consisted of a sea of people with golden hair, all out to find her, to capture her, to kill her.
Another log shifted in the fire, causing Gendry to wake. He didn't move, but Arya could see the glassy whites of his eyes in the flicker of dying flame. It took him a moment to come to his senses, and Arya found herself staring unabashed as he slowly came around. He flexed his fingers over the dirt and then moved his legs under him, as if to make sure he was still there. Arya understood, she had felt the same way many times.
The haunting thoughts of being wanted by the king.
Gendry moved his hand to his face and rubbed it hard with the palm of his hand, probably wiping the sleep from his eyes. Scrunching his eyes up, he sighed, obviously trying to shake sleep's heavy hold on him, it had being a long while since either of them had gotten any true sleep. When he reopened them again he sat up immediately dagger in hand.
"Oi! Watch it." Arya said, moving her body away from his swinging.
He looked at her as if she were an apparition, and then slouched, dropping his dagger to the ground and hanging his head between his knees as he sat. "Sorry."
"What was that for? Afraid of a little dying fire?" She bumped his shoulder with her own, still heavily shrouded in cloak.
"Nay, afraid that the annoying little lady was gone," Gendry said, lifting his head and smiling a bit.
Arya looked around, seemingly confused. "Lady? I see no lady here, you should probably still be afraid she's gone. Though, I don't recall us ever traveling with one." Arya looked into the fire pit but Gendry could see the corner of her mouth pulled back in a smile.
"I meant you, m'lady. I thought you'd been taken by bandits."
"I would like to see a bandit try."
"And what's a lady going to do to a bandit?" Gendry taunted.
"I'm not a lady!" Arya snapped and launched herself at him, he fell backwards pretending to be surprised by the attack, but laughed as he managed to trap both her hands in one of his own rather easily. She squirmed in his grasp, trying to free herself and failing miserably, she may be quick, but he was strong.
Gendry continued chuckling as Arya made little "harrumphing" noises as she tried to wiggle away. He held her wrists lightly enough not to bruise but impossible to escape. Finally, worn out, Arya collapsed against his chest, panting. For a moment, as their bodies lay flushed together, Gendry could feel the beating of their hearts next to each other, both quickened from their scuffle. Her chin was on his chest, and she was looking at him with those big, seething, grey eyes. Her cheeks were flushed and her small nose was cold against the night air. He felt a shiver run down his body, an electric shock that ended in a place where it really didn't need to go.
Gendry sat up and tossed Arya unceremoniously to the ground, crossing his legs and drawing his knees up to his chest. He locked his elbows around his knees and drew them close to his body as Arya scrambled off the ground, very much undignified and completely ruffled at having lost.
She sat next to him again on the ground and pouted, and looked for all the world a small child who had been denied her favorite dessert. "What was that for?" she said after a sullen minute of silence.
"You're getting fat, m'lady. I couldn't breathe." Gendry sucked air through his nose in emphasis, focusing on the wisps that left his nostrils as he exhaled, ignoring the burn of her skin through her thin shirt on his bare arm as she sat beside him, unconsciously huddled for warmth.
She punched him in the shoulder with all the strength her tiny body could muster, which was actually quiet a lot, surprisingly. He rubbed the place on his bicep for a minute before smiling mischievously and pulling at her braid, which hung down her back.
"Ouch! Stop it!"
Something in her voice made him end immediately and withdraw, shrinking away from her as she curled in on herself. Her focus became solely engaged in the remaining ember of their fire from earlier and her eyes shimmered in the stale light, she sniffed and wiped her sleeve across her nose. Gendry stared, bewildered for a moment. He knew that hair was sensitive but he had barely touched it at all, he hardly thought it warranted tears by any means, and even though he wasn't always gentle when they wrestled or spared she had never told him to stop.
"Arya?" he cautioned, dropping his shoulders so that he was looking at her, eye to corner of the eye, for she stared resolutely into the flames as if she was trying to drown out his presence, pretend he wasn't there, escape to somewhere else.
She bit her lips between her teeth. They sat like that for a few minutes, while Gendry watched her worriedly, any inappropriate (that is definitely not a brotherly feeling, Gendry) thought was wiped from his mind as he needled himself about causing her pain.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you," something in his voice must of shook her from her memories for she turned to look at him, sitting up straight, her eyes flashing hard like steel being struck with a hammer on the anvil.
"You didn't hurt me," she all but snarled, her Stark wolfishness filling her up with such suddenness and severity that Gendry realized he was absurdly afraid of the little girl.
"Well, what was it then?" He asked a bit more harshly then he'd meant to. The combination of lack of sleep; unsatisfied, inappropriate, unintentional yearning, and sudden illogical fear made him a bit snappish. He regretted the bite to his words the moment Arya recoiled in on herself the shadow of the wolf had passed and she grasped at the ground until she found the cloak, his cloak, and wrapped it around her thin shoulders.
"I don't know how much you know about my family," she began.
"They are the Starks, Lords of Winterfell," he answered automatically, reciting what he had learned long ago when the master of the forge had made him learn the Houses. The House: Starks, the rumble of metal being drawn from coal, The Sigil: Direwolf, the sing of metal on metal, Their lands: Winterfell and the North, the slap of a blade on the anvil, Their words: winter is coming, the hiss of cooling metal in a bucket of water at his feet.
"But my family, specifically," she sounded strained.
"Well, I don't know much," he admitted, "just that your father was the Hand of the King, thought to be a traitor—"
She turned to him and gave him a sharp look, flashing steel.
He held up his hands and finished: "but unjustly so." He watched her shoulders relax under the heavy cloak and her eyes turned back to the embers.
"My mother is Catelyn, she was Tully. My father had brown hair and scars on his chest from battle. My brother Bran climbed every building in the land better than a squirrel, he fell and is a cripple now. My sister Sansa was always better at being a lady than me—"
As much as Gendry was enraptured by hearing about her family he couldn't help but cut in and remark upon how he couldn't believe that was ever true. She gave him a quick smile before continuing to recite her list.
"Rickon was little, but always the loudest in the house."
Gendry tried to imagine her in a great castle with stone walls, dressed in fine furs and smelling of flowers from oils. He failed.
"Jon had kind eyes and an even kinder heart," she smile wistfully. "I probably will never see him again," she added as an after thought and Gendry frowned. He couldn't understand why she wouldn't, he wasn't dead from what he could understand and he knew more than anything else she wanted to get back to her family. He filed it away to ask her later.
"And Robb," she sighed and looked at Gendry at last, held his gaze, her eyes melted now into moldable iron. "Robb used to tug at my braid whenever I did something very unladylike that he found amusing. He couldn't laugh about in front of mother, so he would walk by me and tug my braid as he went; it was like a secret code, I always knew he was there, supporting me, when he did it."
One of her thin hands appeared out of the cloak and grabbed at the back of her neck, she pulled the braid over her shoulder and broke her gaze with Gendry. Instead she looked at the end as she twiddled it between her fingers. She sighed and turned back to him, eyes flickering between hard and gentle. "We should get some sleep," she said with the random authority that she possessed, which always made Gendry want to obey. He always chalked it up to her nobility but he was starting to wonder if it was docked somewhere in the harbor of unacknowledged feelings.
"Yes, m'lady," he said with a bow of his head.
She fixed him with an icy glare.
He smiled at her in surrender.
Suddenly she looked down as if remembering something and swept the thick cloak from her shoulders. "Thank you," she said, holding it out and averting her gaze.
Gendry snorted and took her icy fingers between his warm hands and rolled her fingers back over the fabric, pushing it towards her chest. "Keep it; you need it more than I."
She seemed hesitant; finally she wrapped herself up again in its warmth. She turned away from him and lay on her side. Gendry leaned back and put his hands behind his head, cradling it off the hard ground. He looked up through the canopy of trees and saw the faint inkling of early morning sky. After a while when he was sure Arya was a sleep and he had finally closed his eyes he heard rustling beside him.
"Gendry?" Arya whispered her voice smaller and more fragile than he'd ever heard.
He opened his eyes and turned his head toward her, noticing how close she had come when rolling over. If he tried to focus on anything but the top of her head, her body became blurred beside him. He could feel her hair tickling the under part of his bicep, he breathed into her hair.
"Don't leave me," she placed a hand hesitantly on his chest.
He covered it with his. She lifted her head and locked her eyes with his; she gave him an imploring look as if willing his answer to be in her favor.
He moved his hand from behind his head and snaked down her back, tugging the end of her ponytail.