A/N Hey guys, I'm really sorry this took so long, this last month has been crazy busy.
I also lost a bit of motivation to write this after watching the Red Wedding T-T Sorry
Hope you enjoy!
Arya was tense for the rest of the evening. Had it not been for her closing her eyes and sitting back in her chair periodically, Gendry would have thought she was keeping watch for any more attackers. As it was, Arya was not keeping track of the conversation.
"Arya? Aryaaa?" Sansa said in a sing-song voice, a step away from waving a hand in front of her sister's face. It was Gendry's hand on her elbow that brought her out of her trance however.
"Hm?" Arya looked around. Sansa, Shae, their husbands, and a bunch of Stark children were looking at her expectantly, "Sorry?"
"Lord Tyrion was just telling the story of his marriage to your sister. She asked where you were when you first heard word of it," Gendry explained. Cate, Eddrick and Brandon had particularly wide eyes as they awaited their Aunt's response, Arya noted. It was more than likely they had never heard about this particular chapter of their mother's life before; they all avoided talking about that time.
"Ah," She gathered her thoughts then began, "Well, I was with Robb and our Mother when the raven came. It was the very same day we'd been reunited. Robb's army was on its way to the Twins. It was to be our Uncle Edmure's wedding that night. I shouldn't have been in the tent really, but Mother wouldn't let me out of her sight." Before her audiences' eyes she seemed to slip into another reverie, her eyes glazing over as she spoke. "It had been so long since I had seen any of my family. The last time was when my Fa- well it was months beforehand. I had begun to think I would never see any of them alive again… and then we got the letter." She paused, then said softly "It was a warning."
Arya looked up and around then, directly at her older brother who was sitting with his wife a few tables away. He looked up and caught her eye and they shared a smile before she continued her narrative.
"The letter was a warning. That Walder Frey had formed an alliance with Tywin Lannister. The wedding was a ruse, to lure in my brother and his men. They were going to hold the wedding and serve them all as much ale as they could drink before slitting their throats in the night and murdering every last Stark soldier."
"Arya!" Sansa warned quietly with a pointed look to the young children.
"Right, but the letter," Arya started off again more briskly, "also brought news from Kings Landing! It informed us of the wedding. It told us that Sansa was safe and well. It was all very confusing from then on. The letter was unsigned and the wax bore no seal. We didn't know who sent it or whether they were trust-"
"Mother was so worried about Sansa she almost forgot of her brother's own wedding," a deep voice above Arya cut in. She twisted around to see Robb standing behind her chair, a faint twinkle of humour in his eyes. "While I prepared my men for the possibility of an attack, Arya tried to calm her down."
"She was terrified for you," Arya said directly to Sansa across the table, before turning her gaze on Tyrion, "but I always had an inkling about who sent that raven."
Tyrion chuckled as the audience's attention switched to him. "Ah, Stark women indeed continue to prove they are as smart as they are beautiful," he smiled and inclined his head at Arya. Shae smacked his arm in mock outrage but she could not keep the smile off of her face.
"It was I who sent the raven," Tyrion addressed Robb, before turning towards Sansa and taking her hand. "I had heard a whisper of what my father was planning and I made the decision, perhaps foolishly, to send warning. But Lady Sansa had been hurt enough." Sansa and Tyrion shared a smile; even after their marriage was officially dissolved, even after all these years and after they both remarried, they were still very close friends, and now it was apparent why.
Suddenly a few of the children spoke at once. "What happened at Uncle Edmure's wedding?" Thea asked her father at the same time Brandon asked his mother how she and Tyrion 'un-married'. The adults laughed and Sansa informed the boy that it was a story for another time.
"I think it is about time for bed, children." Maerys spoke up and Sansa nodded in agreement with her husband.
"Most definitely. It's far too late."
Many moans and groans were heard from the children but Maerys and Robb assured them there would be plenty of time for stories another night; their guests were staying awhile.
As the children rose so did Arya with the offer to accompany the children to their rooms. Gendry stood alongside her and asked quietly if someone else could not do it.
"Stay," he implored her "the night has barely begun, the dancing not yet started."
"There will be plenty of time for dancing another night," was her only reply before walking off with the group of children around her, Brandon's hand in her own.
I was made to keep your body warm
But I'm cold as, the wind blows
So hold me in your arms
It was little over an hour later when Arya, having finally gotten all the children to bed and ensuring they were safe, returned to her chambers. She was not expecting to find anyone in the corridor, let alone a shadowy figure leaning up against her door. She approached with caution.
As she crept forward silently she slipped out her knife in preparation, but at the last minute realised who her visitor was. Sliding the knife away before Gendry could see it, she continued to approach the man with special care to make some noise with her footsteps.
"What happened to dancing?"
Gendry looked up at her. "Arya," he smiled, pushing off the door with his elbows to stand up straight. "Might we talk?" he asked her.
Arya took a moment, scrutinising the man before her, before responding with a simple nod. She reached around the man to open the door then gestured for him to enter. She closed the door behind them and walked farther into the room. Lanterns had been lit around the room, as had the fire, to take the chill off the night. They illuminated the room casting a warm orange glow on everything they touched.
Arya walked past the fire and over to the window, standing with her back to the King and staring sightlessly out into the night.
"What did you wish to talk about?" She asked her guest blankly.
"Arya," Gendry stepped towards her, "please look at me?"
The hesitancy in his voice was all it took for Arya to obey his request; he had seemed nothing but confident since he had arrived but insecurity seeped through in his tone now. So she looked at him. It was not her trademark analytical glare this time though, but a look of pure and honest curiosity.
"Why are you here, Gendry?"
"Well it was about time I made the trip here to see Robb, rather than him making another trip to King's Landing. We have many things to dis-"
"No. No, not that," she interrupted, "why are you here?" She pointed at the ground emphatically trying to convey her point. The truth was that she was confused. Who was he, a man she had not seen nor heard from in over a decade, to come barging back into her life now? Why was he here in front of her in the middle of the night?
"Arya… I know it has been a long time. It's been too long." His forehead creased into a frown and he looked pained but he retained eye contact. "To be honest I… I thought about you a lot. But in all of the time that has passed, in all those years, I never once met anyone else quite like you. I missed you," Gendry said softly to the woman before him. He reached a hand out towards her, but withdrew it at the look suddenly on her face.
"Missed me? You never even wrote! Not a single raven. Until it was all almost over? I thought you were dead! I thought that fire-haired witch had killed you. And then after the battle, still you did not write," Arya accused, with a defiant, almost petulant tone seeping into her voice that had not been there for half a decade.
"Nor did you if I am not mistaken," was Gendry's equally defiant reply as he took a step back from the abruptly hostile Lady before him.
"I had a city to rebuild!"
"As did I," he held his ground.
In a swift movement Arya turned back around to face the window. She leant her body on the window sill and listened to the wind outside howl past. Gendry stood silently behind her, ill at ease, awaiting a reply. Despite the fire, Arya began to shiver where she stood.
It was a few minutes more before either spoke again.
"I missed you too." Arya spoke quietly but with sincerity, turning back to face Gendry. She began shivering more violently and this time did not reject Gendry's touch when he reached for her.
She felt like an ice sculpture in Gendry's arms; as cold as the snow north of the wall and unbelievably fragile, like one gust of wind would be all it took to push her over.
Gendry tried to reconcile the two versions of Arya in his mind – the woman warrior, fearless, strong and indestructible and the lonely, delicate girl before him - Held securely in his arms Arya felt a comfort she had not experienced in years.
After a minute or two, Gendry led Arya by her hand over to her bed. Like a child he sat her down and proceeded to remove her shoes then wrap her up in the blankets and furs from the end of the bed. With a gentle pressure on her shoulders he encouraged her to lie down, then covered her with more blankets, tucking them in, ensuring she'd be warm enough. With a stroke to her hair – her eyes were closed and her breathing steady, she seemed to have fallen asleep - he turned to leave.
Just before he could however, Arya's slender arm slid free of its cocoon of blankets and her hand gripped him around the wrist.
"Stay," she whispered. It was not a question or a plea, but nor was it a demand. It was a request; she did not need someone there with her – certainly not, she'd slept alone every night for over a decade - but in her tired, half-asleep state she knew one thing clearly: she wanted Gendry there.
"Okay," Gendry murmured, "okay." He took off his own boots and slipped into the bed beside her. Arya rolled closer to him and without a word he drew her back into his arms. She fell asleep within seconds in his embrace.
Oho! What's gonna happen? Any theories? :)I really don't know how I'm gonna survive this break between seasons tbh. Sure Teen Wolf is on atm but it'll finish soon enough and who knows when S3 of Sherlock is really coming... gah TV withdrawal :(
Recommendations for shows I should watch?
Anywho, thanks for reading, love y'all lots!