G.R.R. Martin owns some of the characters, I just tweaked them.
She knew she shouldn't be there. She knew she was too young. It was dangerous, even for a guy. For a small, skinny girl like herself, alone, she could end up in a lot of trouble. She had heard about the fights by eavesdropping on her brother Jon, and his friend Gendry's, conversation. Arya had gone to visit her step brother one Tuesday afternoon when she had the day off school. She went around to the back of his house and found the door open. It was May and hot in Dublin. As she walked in, she heard Jon's friend Gendry say,
"I owe him five hundred for the weed and the coke I got for Tessa's party last weekend. I'm so fucking pissed off I bought that shit... I don't even enjoy doing it! I sold most of the weed, but I owe a couple of months rent. Garry is about to throw me out on my ass."
Arya stood in shock for a minute. Jon does drugs? That didn't seem right. He was such a fitness freak. Arya was curious so she kept listening.
Gendry continued to tell Jon that he was desperate for money after his hours were cut at the garage.
Shit... I can't walk in now. She thought, as she listened through the door.
"It's totally legal... and I'm pretty good, Jon. I mean... I have been doing Jiu jitsu for two years and boxing." Gendry continued, although something uneasy in his tone made Arya wonder if he was trying to convince Jon or himself.
"Don't do it Gendry... it's not worth it. You can't need money that badly."
"Ah... ya, I do. I got car payments and rent... you never understand stuff like that, cos' you're rich, but the banks and landlords chase the rest of us plebs, ya know."
"I'm not rich, my dad is." Jon said, obviously annoyed.
He hated when Gendry implied that he got things easy because his dad was a big shot in a top bank. It bothered him because he was the step- child, the runt of the litter. He was born after his father had a quick fling with his mother, who ran off when he was two. His father married another woman and had five more children. He had lived with them until he was sixteen, before insisting on quitting school and living on his own. His step- mother had never liked him so she was easily persuaded and convinced his father that it was okay for his sixteen year old son to drop out of school and move out of home. He worked in a gym where, in two years, he had become their top trainer.
"I have bills to pay just like you, Gen." He shot back.
"But the difference between you and me is, if you get stuck, your dad will help you out... I'm not saying that's a bad thing, Jon... it should be like that... it's just, I have no one to ask when I get stuck at the end of the month and can't make rent. The dept starts to build and I end up in the shit, like I am now. I wish I had dad to help." He said by way of explanation.
"Ya, okay, I get you're in some trouble... but cage fighting, legal or not... I mean... they fuckin' kill each other, Gen..."
Arya was intrigued. She had seen cage fighting on the TV and it looked brutal. She really wanted to see the live version. Arya never understood why she liked to watch violent things, she just did. It excited her. She could not stand watching rom-coms and the crappy teen movies that her older sister Sansa and the girls in her class liked. They bored her. She liked watching martial arts movies, and adored Bruce Lee.
One day, Sansa sat down and watched Fist of Fury with her. She complained throughout the whole movie.
"This is so stupid... why does he jump around like that? Is it supposed to be funny?" she had moaned.
"For god's sake, San... that's a martial arts style he developed... this is Bruce Lee. Do you not know anything?" Arya had little patience for people who did not appreciate the 'Dragon' and understand his influence.
She had begged her mother to let her take up a martial art, any kind, when she was ten.
"No... It's too... rough. You should try singing or dance classes." Her mother had said.
She tried asking again when she was twelve, thirteen and fourteen, but each time her mother would find some excuse to refuse. It usually involved how bad she was doing at school work. Arya tried to understand her school work. She preferred to read the books than talk to the idiots in her class, but the words seemed backwards somehow. She had told her mother, but Cat just said that she wasn't focusing hard enough and she should try to be more like her sister. Her father had intervened and got her a tutor who said she was dyslexic. He helped a bit, but she really did not have any interest in school. She wanted to be outdoors, not in an All Girl's private school, wearing a maroon uniform with a tie and tights... ugh...they were the worst!
After hearing Jon and Gendry's conversation, she went online and used every clue they had unintentionally given her to find an address for the fight. Dublin was a beautiful, leafy and clean place to live, at least in the area on the South side where Arya's family grew up. It also had some seriously deprived neighbourhoods, racked by drugs and violence. She never went to these parts of the city. Everyone in her school was from her area, so she never really met any poor people. Gendry was probably the poorest person she knew. He and Jon had met at the gym were Jon worked and Gendry took boxing. Arya usually only went to Jon's place at weekends, so it was then that she and Gendry spent time together. She would call around on a Saturday morning when both men would be hung over. Arya would cook them eggs and bacon, before making them laugh with tales of Sansa's stupidity or Robb's infatuation with his new girlfriend.
Jon and Gendry were both eighteen and Arya sixteen, but that did not seem to matter. They all had the same sense of humour and similar interests. Arya begged Gendry to teach her to box every weekend, but he always said no.
'You need to learn the basics from a proper instructor.' He would say.
'But my mom won't let me take classes... come on you stubborn fuck... teach me.'
Both Jon and Gendry had burst into laughter at this.
'Stubborn fuck, that's a new one... although I've been called worse, but not by a little lady like yourself.' Gendry had laughed.
'I'm not a lady, asshole... and I'm not that little. I'm sixteen, so fuck you!' But that just made them laugh harder. 'To hell with both of ye.' Arya spat back... but she could not stay mad at them for long. She liked being around them because she could be herself. Her mother always scolded her for cursing at home, but in Jon's apartment, she could curse like a sailor and no one cared.
She had noticed that Gendry was really attractive as soon as she met him. It was hard not to. He had the most amazing eyes she had ever seen, a piercing blue colour, and he was ripped... really ripped. One Saturday she called over and he was still asleep on the couch. He was just wearing his boxers when he got up, dazed and hung over. Arya was thirteen and it was the first time she had seen a guy like that who was not her brother. She nearly dropped the egg's when she turned around and seen him walking to the fridge in his underwear to fine something to drink. She went a deep shade of red and tried to hide her face. She was so relieved that he did not seem to notice her embarrassment. He was too groggy to see much of anything that morning. She decided, after that unexpected reaction to the sight of a man's chest, that she was not going to be one of those girls. She would never react like that again. So a few months later when Gendry woke up on the couch in his boxers, Arya just looked up and said,
'Can you put some clothes on, Waters... some of us are trying to eat.'
Jon and Gendry laughed, but Arya had to shovel food into her mouth fast to avoid leering at him. God, he looked good in his boxers, all messy hair and 'I don't give a fuck' attitude. She never entertained the feelings she had for him, except to acknowledge 'he's hot'. There was no point. Whenever she walked down town with him and Jon, they would get stares and giggles form virtually every girl, and woman, on the street. She assumed they both got with girls as much as they liked.
After Arya found the address of the fight, she devised a plan to sneak out. It was a Saturday night and she had been over to Jon's as usual that day. Gendry had taken a shift at the garage for the cash so she and Jon just relaxed with some Crouching Tiger. She had debated all week whether to tell Jon that she was going to the fight, but had decided against it. As cool as he was, she was still his little sister and he would never think it okay for her to go to something so dangerous. Also, he would probably figure out that she heard about it by listening in on his conversation with Gendry and be pissed off.
She faked her cramps at about four that afternoon when she got home. She curled up on the couch and her mother made her hot chocolate. At about eight she said,
'I'm just going to go to bed, mom.'
She knew Cat would check on her. She needed to be there when she came in and turned off the TV and fixed her blankets. This happened at about half ten. She pretended to be in a deep sleep. When her mother left, she put on an old pair of jeans, tee-shirt and hoodie with some battered red converse. Her hair was cut at her jaw line and she left it lose under the hood. She bungled a jacket from her closet under her blankets to look like someone was in the there if her father popped his head in the door before bed. She climbed out of the large window of her bedroom which was at the rear of the house. She had parked her banged up mini, which she insisted on buying rather than a new car, around the corner from her house, so her parents wouldn't hear her drive away.
She finally found the hall that was hosting the fight about an hour later. She had never been to this side of town, so she had problems finding the place and missed the first fight. There were people everywhere outside the hall. Groups of people drinking cans of beer and smoking splifs. There was no police anywhere. She kept her hood up and walked up to the door.
'You got id?' the bouncer asked.
'Ah, na, I left it at home, sorry... can I get in without it?' she asked in a strong confident voice, which surprised even herself.
The bouncer raised an eyebrow,
'What age are ya, kid?'
'Eighteen,' she lied easily.
The man snorted. 'I doubt that.'
Two guys came up behind her. One, with short length hair in kind of neo- punk clothes, put his arm around her and said,
'Hey Al... She's a friend of ours' He looked down at Arya and said, 'We were waiting for you... what took ya so long?'
'So can we head in, Al?' he asked casually.
'Go on', the bouncer said as he moved aside to let them through.
After they paid for their tickets and entered the main hall, Arya said,
'Thanks, there was no way he was going to let me in.'
'What age are you.' The boy asked with an amused look on his face.
'Sixteen', Arya said flatly.
He laughed. 'I'm Mick and this is Dillon.'
'Come on down to the front... the second fights about to start.'
Arya followed them and they got good seats near the front. Dillon went and bought them all a beer, which Arya happily accepted. She had only drunk alcohol a couple of times at family functions when her and Bran, her younger brother, would steal a glass of wine or a beer. She drank fast. Her adrenaline was up and she was losing what little restraint she had. It was going perfectly. She pulled a twenty out of her pocket and asked Dillon to buy them all more beer, which he did.
She took her hood down when the fight started in order to get a better view. The crowd went wild when the fighters were being introduced. They got to their feet, cheering their favourite and booing the other. It was just like on TV but the energy in the room was electric and with the alcohol on top, Arya was in her element. She loved every minute of it. The fight itself was brutal. The men punched, kicked, gouged, bit and threw each other around the ring. There were no rules, just ten thousand euro in prize money. Arya found herself roaring at the men in the cage, egging them on to brutalise each other some more. It was best entertainment she had ever seen. Mick kept looking at her and laughing.
'What the fuck are you laughing at?' she shouted at him, when her third beer was in full effect.
'You... you're a crazy little thing aren't ya?' And he laughed again.
Arya just shrugged her shoulders. When the second fight ended, the crowd calmed down slightly. She and Mick were sitting down talking about movies. They were leaning into each other so that they could hear better and laughing at each other's jokes. Dillon was on another beer run. They were so engrossed in their conversation that they did not notice the man looking at them until he walked over to their seats and cast a large shadow over them. Arya looked up with a confused expression, and then her face dropped.
'Gendry... what are you doing here?' she tried to sound innocent.
He looked angry... really angry. 'Does Jon know your here?' he said curtly, never acknowledging Mick.
'Shit!' Arya thought... 'I'm fucked now'.
'Ah... no he doesn't.' She tried to sound confident again, but there was something about the way Gendry was looking at her, he was so angry, and that it made her feel bad.
'Come on... I'm taking you home.' It was not a request.
Just as Arya was about to answer, Dillon came over and handed her a beer. He did not seem to notice the tension. 'Go easy on this one.' He said to Arya, smiling. 'You won't be able to walk out of here if you keep drinking like that.'
Gendry grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet, taking the beer out of her hand and slamming it into Mick's chest.
'Hey... what the fuck?... let her go.' Mick began to argue.
'Gendry... for fuck sake, you're going to break my arm.' Her words were frantic.
Gendry let go of her. He realised that she was pretty drunk and he did not want to hurt her.
'You can come with me or I can call Jon to come and get ya, your choice Stark.' He said looking her directly in the eye.
Arya had never seen him so angry... or serious. The Gendry she knew was carefree and ladish. He seemed like a real grown up tonight.
'Okay, okay... jeez Waters, keep your fucking hair on.' She said dismissively.
His eyes widened in anger.
'Are you sure you should go with this guy? He seems kind of crazy.' Mick said.
'I'll show you crazy if you try and get in my way.' Gendry threatened.
'Oh, for fuck sake.' Arya spat. 'Calm down, Waters.'
She turned to Mick and Dillon who were looking worried at the thought of getting into a fight with Gendry,
'He's my brothers best friend... he's just taking me home.'
Gendry had to hold her arm as they exited the hall. He was walking at a much faster pace than Arya, dragging her along.
'I can drive myself home, you know... if you want to stay.'
'You can't drive anywhere.' He shouted when they got outside. 'Your pissed!'
The fresh air hit her and with every breath she seemed to get a bit more unsteady. They didn't talk again till they got to Gendry's car.
'Get in.' He snapped as he opened the passenger door.
'What the fuck are you so angry about?' She asked, leaning into the car to steady herself.
'Just get in the damn car, Arya'. He snapped.