When Arya wakes up it's weirdly mostly because of the silence. Her neighbours are probably the noisiest people Arya can possibly imagine. Even Sansa had grudgingly agreed that Arya was right in that assessment when she had stayed over a couple of nights after the fallout with Joffrey and all the shit that had followed. So, the absence of that constant shouting and the falling things and slamming doors is more unsettling than Arya would have thought.
She can't remember much of last night, the last she knows are Sansa and Jon's matching worried faces and she groans. Those two are the most mother-hen-ly people Arya knows. Sometimes she thinks not even her own parents worry as much about her as Jon and Sansa.
(She knows that's not true but still.)
She can't open her eyes for a few seconds and feels for her phone she knows must be on the nightstand to her left. If she can rely on drunk Arya for one thing it's that she's never lost her phone somewhere. It always shows up on her nightstand or sometimes in the sheets, most of the time it has aquired a few scratches more but it's always there.
Instead of touching the cool sleek surface of her nightstand Arya's hand hits something warm that feels an awful lot like skin. She withdraws her hand so fast she nearly smacks herself in the face. Her eyes fly open. The ceiling has a water stain right above her and more cracks than the one in her bedroom.
"Shit", she whispers, mindful of whoever is sleeping next to her. All she can see when she carefully peeks over is dark tousled hair and broad shoulders. Those broad shoulders bring back memories of her clinging to them and Arya's eyes widen.
"Shit", she says again, louder than the first time but the guy next to her doesn't stir. Arya lifts the sheets around her body and curses her drunk self when she sees the lack of clothing. She closes her eyes and lies completely still for a second before she remembers that she should get out of here.
She slips out of bed and looks around for her clothes. Her dress and her bra she finds pretty quickly, tossed on the floor near the bed. Thankful for small mercies she dresses herself, then looks around the bedroom. It's very minimalistic, the bed takes up most of the room and otherwise there's only a dresser and a dead plant in one corner. Still it's nice, Arya supposes. There are huge windows that Sansa would probably kill for to have in her apartment and the black and white photographs on the wall are really pretty.
But she can't see her underwear anywhere, or her phone. She supposes it could be on the bed but she really doesn't want to crawl back in there and search for it. Instead she leaves the bedroom to look for the exit.
She nearly shouts when a dark cat appears and looks at her out of green eyes.
"Don't judge me", she tells the cat but it looks like the cat does anyways. Arya rolls her eyes. "I never knew animals could have such a judgemental expression", she murmurs and then spots her phone on the couch in the living room. She hurries over and takes it and her purse that sits next to it.
She lets out a relieved sigh when she stands right outside of the apartment door with the numer 204 (not that she notices), her strappy high heels in one hand and her phone in the other to scroll through a dozen nearly identical worried messages from Jon and Sansa. She thinks about replying but her phone is just a few seconds away from dying so she just shoves it into her purse and searches for the elevator.
The good thing about having a roommate that goes unironically by the name Hot Pie is that he would never judge her. So Arya's not really worried when she opens the door to her own apartment. She's not even sure Hot Pie's even here because his shifts at the bakery are possibly even more irregular than her own at the bar. What she certainly didn't expect is Jon sitting on their couch, eating cake that Hot Pie left in the fridge and looking at the newspaper.
Arya sets her shoes and purse carefully down. She had forgotten she gave him and Sansa both a key at their insistence. Sansa probably sent him. She slips into her room before he can notice her to change out of her dress into something comfier. She thinks about just letting him sit out there and hiding away in her room but it's Jon. If he thinks she still isn't back by afternoon he'll probably freak out. And she can't even be angry at him. He's her favourite and Sansa knows it, too.
Me: that's a low blow, sending jon to look after me like a babysitter
Lemon cakes: We were worried, Arya.
Lemon cakes: You could have at least sent one text that you're fine.
Lemon cakes: I thought you were lying dead in a ditch somewhere.
Me: i'm fine. aren't you supposed to be at work?
She doesn't get to see Sansa's reply because her phone gives off an ominous beeping sound and then turns itself off. Arya shrugs and chucks it onto the bed. She's resolutely not thinking about the dark haired stranger next to her in bed this morning and so she's kinda glad Jon's here to distract her from her thoughts about strong hands and his tongue on her skin. Bits after bits are coming back to her about how she spent her night and Arya could have done without those memories.
She plops down next to Jon unceremoniously and he nearly jumps two feet in the air. Then he glares at her.
"Glad to see you're okay", he says, squinting at her as if he can see where she's been all night.
"Ugh. I can look after myself, you know?" She hooks up the Playstation to the TV and hands Jon one of the controllers. He takes it and looks at her as if he doesn't quite believe her. But he doesn't say anything, only "Your sister was worried.".
"And we all know you're whipped." Arya snorts when he splutters. The tips of his ears are tinged red and Arya would find it endearing if it wasn't about her sister and her as-good-as-brother. He very carefully doesn't look at her.
"Shut up", he says without heat and Arya shrugs.
"Only stating the truth."
Arya honest to god forgets all about the incident in the following weeks. Sometimes she will wake up in the morning from dreams that all feature a dark haired, broad-shouldered man that knows how to use his hands and tongue but Arya usually just takes a cold shower like she does every morning and tries not to dwell on it.
Sansa manages to draw the whole story from her with her usual method of guilt tripping but Arya makes her promise to only tell Jon – and that only if he asks. She really should have known that the whole thing would come back to bite her in the ass but at first it seems like everything is fine and nobody even gives a damn about the reason for her disappearance.
Robb comes back from a business trip with their father to Europe and for a while everything is about him and the fact that he's somehow managed to keep his relationship with Myrcella Baratheon a secret from all of them. Rickon is the one to catch them kissing on the front porch of the family home when he comes home late one night and for a while that's all everyone talks about.
"I can't believe he would keep this a secret from us", Sansa says one night while sipping on the colourful drink Arya made for all of them.
"I mean, you did date her brother and it didn't end pretty. I can kinda understand why he wouldn't tell us. We all have our share of prejudice against Baratheons, especially the ones that are half Lannister", Bran says, not unreasonably, not looking up from where he's typing on his phone.
Sansa makes a face at that and Arya notes with interest that Jon is the one putting a comforting hand on her back before she can even think about doing the same thing. She thinks about teasing them about it but then concentrates on Bran instead.
"Are you texting Jojen again?"
He still doesn't look up but there is colour high on his cheekbones that wasn't there a second ago. He also doesn't bother answering her.
"I'll take that as a yes", she only says before slurping loudly on the last bit of her own drink. Sansa looks vaguely amused while Jon is trying – and failing – at keeping a stoic expression. "You should just ask him out already."
Bran doesn't deign this with a response either and Arya sticks her tongue out at him when he finally puts his phone away. He still keeps his neutral expression when he tells her "I'm not the one who disappeared and woke up in a stranger's bed, Arya."
Arya splutters and turns to Jon and Sansa who have at least the sense to look vaguely guilty. "You told him about that?", she asks indignantly. Jon is silent and Sansa gives him an exasperated look.
"We called to see if you had shown up at his apartment."
Arya huffs and crosses her arms over her chest. "I can't believe you would bring this up. It's been weeks. Even I haven't thought about it." Much, she adds silently to herself.
They don't look convinced. Sansa furrows her brow and Arya gets even more irritated. Jon looks like he wants to disappear between the couch cushions and Bran seems to thoroughly enjoy this whole thing. Sometimes Arya really dislikes her siblings.
"Don't you want to see him again?", Sansa asks with a sly smile that Arya wants to wipe right off her face. She doesn't have any right to look so smug, not when she herself has been dancing around her feelings for Jon for over a year now.
Arya glares at her sister. "No."
Sansa's grin only widens. "I don't believe you, little sister."
Arya's response is to glare harder.
After that she can't stop thinking about him. She doesn't even know his name but she can still hear his dark voice when she concentrates hard enough and she simply can't get his hands and eyes out of her mind. It's distracting, to say the least.
So it's only natural that she thinks he's a figment of her imagination when she spots him sitting on a bar stool ordering a drink. He looks like she remembers him, all tousled black hair and stubble. He's also wearing a leather jacket that does things to Arya. But then she hears him talking to Theon and the next thing she knows she is diving under the bar. Theon shoots her an irritated look from where he's pouring the drink for her one night stand but Arya is busy thinking. She's pretty sure he hasn't seen her yet but it's nearly impossible to get out without getting noticed.
"What's the matter with you, Stark?", Theon hisses on his way to another customer but Arya barely glances at him. He rolls his eyes, murmurs something about all Starks being such fucking drama queens – which, Arya resents that statement – and continues doing his job. Like a normal person. Which Arya obviously isn't. She glances at the clock and realizes with a thankful sigh that her shift's actually ending in five minutes.
After five minutes she flees out the back where she slumps against the brick wall. She barely aknowledges Gilly on her way in and fumbles in her pockets for one of the emergency cigarettes she keeps there even though Sansa always looks at her with her best judgemental Stark expression when she catches Arya smoking.
She didn't think seeing him again would throw her off so much but she's been proven wrong before. And she's gotten away without an awkward confrontation – maybe he doesn't even remember her. She doesn't think he had that much to drink but she could be wrong.
"Are you running away from me?"
Arya nearly lets her cigarette fall and she startles so badly that he actually looks a little bit guilty the next moment.
"For fuck's sake", she says and he arches one eyebrow.
"You are running away from me." He sounds amused and Arya takes a drag before blowing the smoke in his direction. He doesn't cough.
"No", she lies and she's glad her face is hidden by the smoke because she is fairly certain her ears are turning pink. "Are you stalking me?"
"No", he says in the same tone and lets his lips pull into a smirk. "But I'm glad I found you."
"Why?", she can't help asking. She can't stop looking at him and when his eyes deliberately drop to her lips she goes hot all over. He takes a step, now looming over her and Arya is dimly aware that she should maybe be afraid but instead there's even more heat. Her entire body tingles and her fingers itch to touch him. She remembers his hands all over her and she arches a little into him. Her cigarette falls forgotten from her fingers.
"Because I couldn't stop thinking about you and I didn't even get your name. Or your number." His voice is even huskier now and Arya shivers. He braces one hand against the wall behind Arya and ducks his head. "Will you tell me your name?"
"Arya", she says, breathless. She can't remember the last time a man caused such a strong reaction but she can tell that he isn't as unaffected by their closeness as he pretends. His pupils are blown wide and his breathing is shallow and uneven.
Arya licks her lips. His eyes track the movement. "Do you want to get out of here?"
Arya is glad that Hot Pie isn't there when they get to her apartment because Gendry slams her into the door the second it's closed. His mouth is hot on her neck and Arya's hands are pulling first on his hair then on his sweater. He slides one leg between hers and Arya presses even closer into him. She feels dizzy and his mouth is about to turn her crazy.
"I want –", the rest of her sentence gets lost in a gasp when he bites down on her shoulder and sucks.
"What do you want, love?", he asks with an infuriating grin and Arya shoves at his chest.
"Your clothes. Off."
"As m'lady commands." He takes a step back to evade her fist and takes off first his leather jacket and then the sweater he is wearing underneath. The first thing she thinks when she sees his upper body is that her memory doesn't do the real thing justice.
"Don't call me that", Arya commands as she pushes him against the wall next to her bedroom door. His grin only widens and Arya grinds against him deliberately slow. He groans, his hands falling to her ass while Arya slides her hands over his lower back up to his neck where she buries them in his hair. She kisses him, hard, while still moving her hips against his.
His hands have found their way under her shirt and he's caressing the skin right under her bra. Arya huffs impatiently, pulls back a little and pulls off her shirt and then her bra. He stares for a second before lifting her up. Arya's legs automatically go around his waist. He trails kisses up from her collarbone to her ear before he pulls back a little.
"Where is your room?"
Arya directs him to her bedroom and they nearly forget to close the door behind them, so Gendry has to get up again after depositing her on the bed. Arya stares unashamedly at his ass and he only cocks an eyebrow when he turns around and catches her looking.
"Like what you see?"
"Actually, yes." She considers. "But I'm fairly sure I would like it even more out of the pants."
"Is that so? Maybe you should help me with that."
He makes his way slowly to the bed. When Arya can finally reach him she goes straight for his belt buckle.
He's as good with his hands and his tongue as she remembers. Only this time when she wakes up with someone beside her she doesn't run, instead turns around and presses a soft kiss to his shoulder and shuffles closer to him. His arms go around her and pull her even closer, and Arya thinks she could get used to this.
He buries his nose in her hair and soon Arya's breathing evens out and she's asleep again.