Summary: "You wouldn't be my family. You'd be m'lady." Gendry remembers Arya when she was just m'lady. Their reunion in the future full of angst, betrayal, and everything that happened in between.
Notes: Clearly I had to write a response to last episode. This is about 3x05 and when they meet again. It was greatly inspired by The Bravery song by the same name. The title isn't very period, but I couldn't resist. The concept is kind of cliche and overdone but it was just something that I had to write
He watches Arry slip into the woods again. For a moment he just stands there, trying to count the times that boy with the sword has gone alone. After a few moments Arry returns, fastening the belt.
Gendry busies himself with gathering wood, but discreetly watching. Yes, he can see it now. The small lupine face. The cheek bones. The flaring eyes. There's no doubt. Arry could pass as a boy easily with the lithe body and chopped off hair.
But there's no doubt. Arry's a girl.
He returns to gathering wood as she turns towards the cart with the rapers. She's a strong little thing, he's sure. She's cleverer and twice as brave as any boy there.
When they arrived at the inn, she still hadn't spoken to him. But he could hear her death prayer in the darkness and wished he could reach out to her. Even though he knew that he couldn't.
He felt her steely gaze on him whenever the tavern girls approached him. But he never took one to bed. He just kept feeling her eyes penetrate him. He had never seen her cry. She looked more angry than anything. But at night he heard her death prayer and wished what he always wished for. He wished that he wasn't too lowborn for m'lady high. He wished he could be a knight or be able to hold lands. He didn't just have to be a bastard blacksmith.
Arya was taken in the dead of night. Her screams weren't of fear, but of rage. He didn't have a sword but just a stupid little hammer he had been using to mend Thoros' armor.
He had never been enough. He couldn't be enough to stay with her and he couldn't be enough to save her.
In that moment, he felt his blood boil and his heart turn to stone. He knew it couldn't go back. She had been torn all away and he couldn't remember a time where he didn't follow the little she-wolf. And he'd never go back again.
All The Hound wanted was gold but that didn't stop the images of Arya being raped. As much as she tried to hide it, she was a girl and a highborn lady.
When he took the tavern girl to bed that night, all he felt was the lust for The Hound's blood.
She grinned when she scrubbed the pans in the river. Gendry could see over Lommy and Hot Pie's heads. He didn't smile back. But this girl smiled at him. It was the only time he could remember it.
She smiled at him and no one else.
"I should be calling you m'lady."
"Do not call me m'lady!"
He smiled then. He laughed.
He wished it could always be that easy.
She was shoved into his arms. The flaming sword slashed through the air and Thoros grabbed her, shoving her into Gendry's protection. He didn't have time to dwell on the fact that someone had entrusted him with the safety of another person.
Not just a person. Arya Stark. A highborn lady.
A highborn lady who stole knives as easily as breathing.
The words escaped his throat before he could stop them. Sparks were still flying and The Hound was a man ground and she was so small.
She was a feral she-wolf but Gendry couldn't let her. His body flew at hers while the rest just stood back as Beric lay on the ground, dead.
She struggled in his arms. But he held strong, holding onto her as she calmed.
He didn't let go of her.
Her hand clutched at his in the darkness.
He doesn't believe it at first. There were Arya Stark pretenders on every corner of the realm. But he sees the resemblance in her baseborn brother's face.
Grey eyes. Wolfish. Hot blooded.
When he looks at her, he knows she is no pretender. She's taller but not much. She's dressed in leather and breeches, her shoulder length hair braided back.
Jon looks from him to his younger sister. He looks at her but she says nothing. She just looks with her steel eyes, barely able to restrain fury. He can see it.
Just as quickly she turns around from where she came.
He feels faint.
"I could be your family."
"You wouldn't be your family. You'd be m'lady."
He can't look at the tears in her eyes. She wasn't supposed to be impassioned by this.
He sleeps by her that night. But she doesn't look at him.
He's a bastard. Hot blooded like they all say. And his blood does boil at the sight of her. But when he looks at her, her recognizes something familiar in her. Something about her is frozen, like he became when she disappeared.
When he thought her dead.
She doesn't kill him the first night. Jon argues that they need knights to align themselves with. Arya doesn't speak to Gendry.
"He's not even a real knight."
But she speaks of him. But she speaks at all when years past she shouldn't have been saying anything.
His blood still boils.
"He's still a knight, Arya. We need him."
"I don't need him."
Her voice is sharp and he can't help himself. She refuses to look at him but he can do nothing but gaze at her, drinking in the living breathing girl.
Not just a girl anymore. A warrior maiden like in the songs.
He's more handsome than she remembers. Or maybe that was because when she last saw him she was just a scared little girl who had lost the only family she could ever have.
She had hated that smile for years. That stupid smile like she was too young to understand his noble attempt at serving Lord Beric.
She was a woman grown now and she didn't understand it any more. All she felt was the hate at him. Hate so strong that she couldn't even bear to look at him.
He was stronger. She could see that. Taller, if that were possible while she was still the stunted runt of the litter. She should kill him. She wants to. She wants to tear him apart.
So she doesn't look at him.
She remembers the last time he called her by her true name. Not Arry. Not Weasel. But the name that her mother called her.
He isn't her brother.
He's Gendry. But he's too stubborn to call her anything but m'lady. She understands this when he falls to his knees in front of her. She can't help but stiffen, poised for an attack. But he isn't attacking her.
He's still so tall compared to her that even kneeling, he's only a head shorter than her. But his arms surround her, pushing his head to her torso, breathing her in.
His fingers dig into her tunic and she can't think a way of getting him off.
She punches him.
When he looks at her, her sword is already in her hand and she brings it down on him with fury.
Gendry brings his up with a ring of steel and their swords crash. His hands reverberate from the force but hers are steady.
She was always the strong one. She's breathing hard and he wonders if he could have changed as much as she has. Though still small, there's a hardness to her that he can't help but recognize.
He couldn't remember a time where he didn't feel it – where he didn't know her.
"You want to kill me, m'lady?" His voice is sour and her eyes flare with even more anger.
It's the first thing she's said directly to him in years and despite the foulness towards her he feels, his heart jumps. Foulness that even though he had thought it better to find a family where he could be an equal, she had went and died. There had been a possibility that he could see her again. But only if she was ransomed.
Instead, she went and got herself killed.
And him in the process.
"You did kill me," he says.
"I killed you?" Arya seethes. She's even more feral than when she left.
"You got stolen away."
"You're the one that left," Arya says. She says what they've both been thinking. "You left me for your precious brotherhood. Was it worth it, ser knight? Are you noble and fulfilled?"
"Yes," Gendry growls. "I left. I left before you could. It would have happened sooner or later."
"You were my family."
She says it. He feels years younger. In a cave, attempting to do the right thing.
She thrusts at him again with her steel, but he blocks it. He knows he's improved his swordplay in the past years, but she's still better than him. She's just impeded by her rage.
"You were my family," Arya repeats, her voice deathly quiet. "I always saw you as an equal, even when you didn't. I wanted you to be with me always. And you ruined it. Did it help? All of that honor? Honor killed my father and I don't have room for it."
"I could never be your equal."
"But you were," Arya says. "You were my only friend. You were my pack. And I loved you."
The blue eyes she remembers pierce her. But it isn't stubbornness and it isn't the affection she's used to.
One day a stupid bull headed bastard had broken her heart so she hardened it over to never be touched again.
"I would have done anything to bring you back," Gendry snarls. "I would have gutted The Hound."
Her eyes narrow.
"You're different," she says darkly. There's a fury in him that she can't recall and she suddenly recalls the Stag's words.
He is one of them, even if he doesn't know it.
"The war changed us all."
But that isn't what changed. She knows that. She can smell the blood on him and she walks him lurk between the trees, away from the camp.
"I hated you for dying," he says.
"You have no right," she replies scathingly. "You would have just been serving me. Isn't that right? Servants have no right to mourn ladies."
His lips are powerful, just like his arms, just like every part of him. His large hand crushes the back of her head as he kisses her hatefully.
She's lost for a moment, only until she's able to pull away, breathless. Without thinking, she slams her closed palm across his cheek.
"My lady," he says.
She hears it. And she hears what he said years ago in the cave. It was different, but the same. And that's all she knows.
She can't see if she's broken the skin on his face because she's pushed him up against a tree, kissing him blindly.
There's a fire in her that she won't extinguish. She pulls at the straps and ties of her clothing, feeling him doing the same without question.
They mirror each other easily and hotly until they're grinding and thrusting against each other.
The only way she can have him again is through this hateful coupling. She digs her nails into his back and he growls. She hopes there's skin caught underneath her nails.
It's the only proof that he's hers.