AN: Thanks to all those who have reviewed. I'm so glad you are all enjoying this. Let me know what you think about this chapter.
"What do you see?"
Gendry was tempted to say 'nothing', but he thought twice on it. I might offend the girl if I say it. So he didn't say anything at all.
"Don't say nothing." Beth cried out besides him. Gendry smiled.
His first smile since the incident at Dragonstone. The realization made him uncomfortable and the smile faded instantly. He shouldn't let himself feel anything. Even temporary emotions were dangerous. He should have learned his lesson by now.
Upon seeing the blind girl for the very first time, he had actually allowed himself to hope, for a moment, that it would be his friend, Arya Stark. For a brief second, that girl had looked just like Arya from behind, and the hope he had worked so hard on keeping at bay deep inside of him had nearly consumed him at that moment. But this was not Arya Stark.
Arya Stark is probably dead somewhere back in Westeros.
The memory of his old friend stirred more feelings in him than he liked, so he pushed the thoughts of her aside, and focused on the task the blind girl had assigned him. To close his eyes and see with his ears. With his nose. With his skin. With his tongue.
The air smelled and tasted the same as it always did though, and he could hear too much, and nothing that "painted pictures in his mind's eye " like the girl had said it should. He tried to focus on just one sound alone. He could hear Beth smacking her lips as she finished the last of the meat on the pit of the plum he'd bought her.
He had made it to the docks just in time to see a ship arriving. It was carrying crates full of plums. Beth was sitting on the pier, her bare feet dangling towards the water. When Gendry had asked what she was doing, she answered, "hoping something accidentally falls out of one of the crates."
So Gendry walked to a man and bought two plums off him. When Beth ravenously devoured the one he place in her hand, he decided to give her his too.
"I can hear you. You enjoying the fruit." he told her. He heard the tiny ploop as she dropped the pit of the plum into the water.
"That's a start." he heard the clank of wood against wood as she lifted her walking stick from behind them. Then repeated splashes as she began to smack the surface of the water with the stick. "What else?"
"I'm tired of this." Gendry opened his eyes, blinking against the ray of sunlight that bled through a crack on a dark cloud in the sky. It was heavy with water.
"Because you're terrible at it?" Beth asked.
So they sat in silence a long while. Gendry had always enjoyed watching the ships come and go in Kings Landing as a child. He remembered how he had wondered many times , what was beyond the stretch of water. Now I know. He wondered which part of Westeros Beth was from. The few times he'd spent with her walking by the canals, or by the taverns and inns where she did most of her begging, had been spent mostly like this; in a comfortable silence. He didn't know much about her, and she hadn't asked anything about him. Gendry liked that about her. It still made him very uneasy when people asked him too many questions. The fact that he had a thick Westeros accent and that Lord Ollie, a respected nut merchant, had taken in a foreign ward, had arisen questions on more than one occasion during Gendry's runs.
He glanced over to Beth.
He still didn't trust her. Even when she didn't ask him a million question like Tam did. Not that she needed to, either. Her blindness was a misfortune, but it sharpened her other senses, and he didn't doubt that she had already figured out more things about him than he liked.
"Have you been blind all your life?" he cocked his head to one side curiously.
"I was born blind." she told him.
Gendry found himself feeling oddly tempted to peep under the dirty blindfold, just to see what her eyes looked like, so he turned away from her.
"Would you like me to describe something for you?" he offered.
She shook her head. "I like the pictures I paint in my mind better." she told him. "But thank you."
Gendry shifted his weight awkwardly, feeling stupid for asking. She must have sensed it, because she turned to him with what looked like a smile.
"You could describe yourself to me, if you like. What do you look like?"
Gendry's gaze fell.
He though about it. Really though about. He could tell her the truth. But the truth was painful. Ever since the red priestess told him he was the bastard son of King Robert of House Baratheon, that is who Gendry saw reflected every time he looked into a mirror. He'd only seen the drunk king a few times from afar, but he'd seen enough to know that it was him he got his looks from.
Perhaps he could be someone else; look like someone else, just this once. Just for one person. He could be Edric, and not Gendry, bastard son of Robert Baratheon. Edric could look like anyone he wanted. and Gendry could be anyone he wanted. Just this once.
Just for Beth.
"Just. Tall." he sighed. "Just very tall."
"And not fat."
There was that smile again, creeping in the corners of his lips. "Yes. Very tall, and not fat."
He saw her hand reaching up to his face before he realized what she was doing. And even though she said, "may I feel your face?", he still couldn't help the startled flinch of his entire body, which in turn startled her. She tried to jerk back, but something stopped her. That's when he noticed he was gripping her wrist to keep her hand from touching him.
He released her quickly, "I'm sorry." he muttered out. "I don't like being touched."
She nodded in understanding and thankfully, she didn't seem offended or too shaken up.
Suddenly, Gendry felt too exposed sitting on the pier for anyone to see. He had to get away from here.
"It's getting late." he stood, eyeing their surrounding warily. "I should leave."
He stormed off the pier before she could say anything in reply, and hurried to Lord Ollie's home. He would skip smithing today. For some reasons his mood had been dampened.
That night, he dreamed of fire. Fire and Melisandre.
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