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We Lit The Fire And It's Burning Bright

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Arya knows Lyanna Stark. She knows because whether she wants it or not people always remind her that she looks like her, acts like her, talks like her, rides like her, she does everything like her according to them and Arya hates it. She has nothing that belongs only to her, it scares her.

Arya was 6 when she heard that she looked like Lyanna. Arya didn't know who Lyanna was then, it was just a name, now she knows and she curses that man who said it aloud.

Arya knows everyone thought she looked like Lyanna before he said it but no one said anything till that man, afraid they will upset Ned Stark.

After he said it, it was like a door opened and everyone started to talk about how she looked like her. They told Arya stories of her aunt. Dead before her time.

-----

The first time she heard Lyanna's complete story, how she died, Arya was 8. Up until that time everyone talked about how she resembled her, they talked about how she was when she was younger but no one said what happened to her.

It was Jon, always her savior, who told her. She had asked him because she wanted an end to that story. She knew how it started in Winterfell and she knew it ended in tower of joy but she didn't know what happened in between.

Jon told her what kind of a person Lyanna was, she was just like Arya, she had the wolf blood too.

Arya knew it was silly but she felt a rush of warmth with the words Jon chose to use. Lyanna was like Arya, Lyanna resembled Arya, not the other way around.

'Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon. Everyone says they loved each other more than anything.' Jon said and Arya was confused.

She had never considered that someone could love her with the wolf blood in her but Robert had loved Lyanna. 'And Jon loves me.' she thought looking at her brother's serious face as he continued with the story.

When Jon was finished with the tourney at Harrenhal Arya didn't want to listen anymore. How could Rhaegar do that to his wife, Elia Martell? How could he disgrace her aunt like that?

She hated Rhaegar more and more as Jon kept talking.

Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna, raped her, his father had killed Brandon and Rickard Stark.

Jon told her how Robert's rebellion started, the way Rickard Stark cooked inside his armor, how Brandon Stark choked himself trying to reach a longsword to save his father.

Jon told her how Robert killed Rhaegar, how rubies scattered, how soldiers of both armies scrabbled in the water to search for the rubies while Rhaegar lay dead in the stream.

'Serves him right, for the things he had done. Selfish arse.' Jon laughed when she cursed 'You know i'm right! He had a wife and children. I bet Elia was amazing, no one can be from Dorne and not be amazing.' she said and it only made Jon laugh harder 'I don't know how you reached that conclusion but i'm not gonna object to that'

Jon then told her how Lyanna died at the tower of joy, how their father found her in a bed of blood, she had died in a room that smelled of blood and roses. 'Father was still holding her long after she died. They say it was Howland Reed who separated father from her corpse.'

Jon told her how Rhaegar died with Lyanna's name on his lips.

By that point Arya's face was as red as blood from anger. She expected the same from Jon but there was only sadness on his face, so she asked why ' I don't know Arya, there are too many blanks in this story they tell. Everyone says something different, this story i told you is their common truths but there are still people who said completely different things. I feel like i'm disrespecting her, repeating a story about her that could be all lies.' 'What different things?' 'Like...Lyanna never loved Robert, Robert never loved her, Robert had a bastard in Vale, Lyanna wasn't kidnapped at all, she went willingly or it was all a play so Tywin Lannister could marry her daughter to the next king but Rhaegar was married so he needed a new king...' and that had Arya laughing, soon Jon joined her.

-----

Arya was 12 when she talked with the king about Lyanna. She was 12 when she met Robert Baratheon. Her father had introduced his family to the king and Arya still remembered how Robert's and Cercei's looks lingered.

There was a feast she was late because of her horse threwing a shoe. Cercei had found her covered in mud and she insisted she attended the feast without changing because her mother was worried.

Her parents had made her apologize and Robert had only laughed with a fond face.

It was later that night when she ran into a drunk Robert while she was trying to steal a pie from the kitchens. He laughed and waited for her to steal the pie and eat it 'Walk with me girl.'

They walked to the crypts of Winterfell.

Robert stopped when they were in front of Lyanna's statue. He smiled and touched the cold cheek of the statue. Arya shivered with fear. There was something about the way Robert looked at her that made her uneasy.

'Did anyone told you that you look like her?'

'Yes, your grace.' he laughed 'You even talk like her, those titles, all those sweet words leaving your mouth forcefully.'

Arya wanted to say something but she didn't say it in case she embarrassed her mother.

'Did you talked with Ned about her, what happened to her?'

'I didn't your grace, my father never talks about her but i know what happened.'

'I'm sure you do. I'm sure you know how much i loved her.' he took a deep breath and turned to her 'So when i say tame that wolfblood of yours i'm sure you will understand i say it because i want the best for you.'

Arya shivered again but this time it was from anger. She was about to open her mouth when he talked 'Don't give me that look girl. I'm still your king. I can order you out of these breeches and into a dress in seconds. I can marry you to a lord in minutes. But i won't, out of my love for your father and aunt. You are young, you will learn just like Lyanna that your wilderness is only trouble for a lady.'

This time Arya didn't keep quiet, her mother's embarrassment be damned, 'Is this the way you loved her, your grace? Because this is no love.'

'You don't know what you're talking about girl, i loved her and i still love her to this day.' his eyes were burning with fury 'When we were betrothed she was so happy, then she came to south and realized she couldn't keep playing like when she was in Winterfell, she had to grow up and became a lady like she was supposed to. She was miserable at first but she had finally started acting like a lady and started smiling again when that cunt took her away from me. I'm just warning you so you don't have to learn it the hard way, as she did'

'No, i know what i'm saying. You didn't love her like you think you did. It's not love if you only love her when she acts a certain way. You should've loved her when she was 'playing in Winterfell'' 'I did lov-' 'With all my respect your grace, you didn't. If you did you wouldn't have wanted her to change.'

'What a mouth you have on you. You are 12 aren't you? What can you know about love?'

'I know how my father loves my mother. How patient he is with her, even if she is making him angry, how he respects her. He doesn't ask her to act like how he wants. I know Jon loves me, just the way i am. He never asks me to act like a lady. Even when i annoy him to death, he loves me. And Robb, i know he agrees with mother and Sansa about how i should behave but he still loves me even when i don't behave.' he turned back to her statue 'They are your brothers girl, it's not the same thing.' 'How is it any different? The only difference i can see between them is lust and lust has nothing to do with love.' -now Arya knows she was wrong but at that time it had made complete sense to her-

Arya waited for minutes for him to talk but he didn't say anything 'It's late your grace, i should've headed to bed hours ago.'

As Arya left him, he once again had his hand on the cheek of the statue.

When they were leaving, Arya could finally breathe again. Since that night at the crypts she had done everything she could to avoid the king and she was mostly successful. He had never caught her alone after that night and Arya could see he was trying. It made her insides twist uncomfortably.

Everything had been going smoothly as everyone said their farewells and Arya was finally relaxed when he addressed her 'Lady Arya come walk with me a little before we leave. I want to continue that talk we had.' Cercei's looks felt like a knife to her gut.

She looked at her father's confused face 'Robert what-' 'Just a minute Ned.'

They walked far enough so they couldn't be heard when he said 'I thought about what you said and you were wrong. Just as no two people are alike, neither the way they love. I loved her the way i knew how to. It may not be the same way as your or even her way of love but i did love her, so you were wrong.' he seemed oddly satisfied with himself.

When Arya had said those things she had hoped the king was way too drunk to remember what she said when he woke up. Gods were never in her side anyway.

But he didn't only remember, he even thought about it.

Arya was too shocked to say anything 'I was serious when i said i want the best for you girl. Westeros is not a kind place, especially for women and it is harder for girls like you and Lyanna. You want to be free in a world where everyone wants to see you in a pretty cage, singing for their amusement. I can see your sister living her life in that cage and never complaining, but you, you would do everything to get out of that cage.' he looked at her with such sadness Arya wanted to comfort him 'Try to break it, scream as loud as you can, no one will care. In the end, it will be you who is destroyed girl, not the cage. So do yourself and your family a favor and tame the wolf inside. Before it tears you apart.'

He looked and sounded so old, for a second Arya didn't know who this man was, it was not the hero who avenged his love, the one all the books Bran read talked about, it was not the whoring king Theon mocked, it was not the one people talked about when they told her Lyanna's youth. It was only a sad tired old man, she knew Robert was only one year older from her father but unlike his father, years were not kind to Robert Baratheon.

She pitied him.

'I will think about what you said your grace, you might be right about how you loved her but you are wrong about the wolf inside. I don't have a wolf inside me, i am a wolf and i'm afraid there is no way to tame me.'

He looked at her with a small sad smile and she could see he pitied her just like she pitied him 'Then i have nothing else to say to you girl, just when the inevitable happens don't say no one warned you.' he looked at her one last time and started walking back to where everyone waited 'It's getting late, we should've headed to King's Landing hours ago.'

For a second she watched him leave and wondered whether Lyanna was lucky or not, that a man like Robert had loved her.

-----

Arya was 15 when she learned how old Lyanna was when she was betrothed.

It was her mother who said it. She was in the middle of scolding Arya for spending too much time with Gendry in the forge alone. It had been 3 years since Gendry came to Winterfell and Arya loved his company, he was smart, funny and she loved watching him when he worked.
Watching him forge was magical.

'-re you listening Arya? You can't be alone with him this much, you can't vanish and come back with him hours later. People already started talking, you have to be careful Arya or you won't be able to make a good marriage, no one will want to marry you if they think you are not a-'

'Good, let them talk, let them think what they want to think. I don't want to marry anyway.'

'Arya we talked about this. You have to marry.' her mother sat down to her bed 'Oh my gods, you will bleed soon, you are older than your aunt when she was betrothed and you still can't see-'

'What?'

'What are you asking Arya?'

'My aunt, Lyanna, how old was she when she was betrothed?'

'13? Why?' instead of answering her Arya ran out of the room. Tuning out her mother's screams.

When she was finally in the forge, Gendry was already there, he was sitting there, looking at the fire when he realized he was not alone.

He smiled at Arya as she sat down beside him 'Finally free of your mother's clutches, it was quicker than i thought this time.' when she didn't say anything his smile slowly died in his face 'Arry are you okay? Did something happen?'

'You know who Lyanna Stark is, don't you?' he laughed bitterly.

'It would be weird if i didn't know the woman my father is in love with, don't you think?'

'Do you know how old she was when she was betrothed to your father?'

'I don't remember but she was 15 or something i think.'

'She was 13.'

'Oh.'

'She was younger than me Gendry. I can't even listen to the word marriage without grimacing and she was betrothed.' they sat there silently watching the fire.

'I heard you look like her, even act like her.' he laughed again. 'Someone even said that they thought you were Lyanna reborn.'

'And i heard you look just like your father when he was younger, that you even act like him. Tell me Gendry, do you have a little bastard girl in the Vale too?' she knew she gone too far if the look on his face was anything to go by.

So she didn't let him talk 'Fuck. I'm sorry. I've been hearing i'm a copy of her for years and it's getting on my nerves.' she watched as his tense body slowly relaxed 'Shouldn't have said that, sorry.'

'At least you're compared to someone who was loved by everyone and not a drunk, whoring clown of a king.' Arya watched as he tensed again. 'I don't know how he managed to get betrothed to your aunt but he didn't deserve her. She definitely didn't deserve a curse like him.' Arya snorted.

'Calm down Gendry, we don't know what kind of people they were. We just know what others think of them.' she rested her head on his shoulder 'I wonder what would've happened if Rhaegar didn't kidnap her. People say they really loved each other.'

'Do you want to know what i really think?'

'Of course.'

'I don't believe he kidnapped her.' she raised her head 'What?' he took a long breath as he laid her head back to his shoulder again.

'You know some people believe that she ran away with Rhaegar don't you?'

'I do and i have my own doubts but i never thought you would think it this way.'

'I had my doubts in King's Landing and here in Winterfell they are all confirmed.'

'What do you mean they are all confirmed, how?'

'I met you.' 'What?' he laughed again.

'Everyone keeps saying that you are as wild as Lyanna. Think about it, what would you do? She was betrothed to my father when she was 13. Think, you are 13 and right know your father comes to you and says that you will be betrothed to a friend of Robb what would you do?'

'I would kill that friend.'

'See, that's what i'm talking about. There is no way you would accept that. If she is just like you she probably didn't want to marry Robert and when she saw a chance, she run.'

'It makes sense, but i don't know Gendry, maybe she loved him later on. Mother says she was not in love with father at first but later she fall for him. She says love comes after.'

'Your father might be the best man in Westeros. Your mother was lucky. It's not the same for every woman, look at my mother. Unlike your mother she loved Robert from the start and she started hating him along the way. At least this is what i heard.' she took a deep breath.

'You might be right but still, i don't understand Lyanna.'

'You don't have to understand her, just respect her memory. I know it bothers you when they compare you to her but think about your father if you really look like her that much your father has a chance to see his sister grow up. Isn't that a blessing, even a little bit?'

'But i hate it.' she felt like Rickon, remembering how he used to stomp his feet and screamed bloody when things didn't go the way he wanted when he was younger, now he just whines 'The way people look at me and they don't see me. They are looking for a girl in me i have never met. And father, i am constantly wondering if i'm doing something wrong. I think 'Is he seeing Lyanna?' whenever father looks at me, i'm in constant fear of disappointing him.' she hated how her voice wavered. She knew she was rambling but she couldn't stop.

'I wonder if he loves me because i look like her, act like her or maybe he hates me because of it, if we're right and Lyanna ran away then maybe he is blaming her for what happened. That means i'm a constant reminder of the death of his loved ones.' she took a deep breath and wished the tears would go away 'Maybe he loves me because i look like her but act nothing like her or maybe he hates me for it. The possibilities are driving me crazy and he never talks about her.' Arya was really close to just let go and cry her eyes out when he finally talked.

'I don't know what he feels Arya but i know Ned Stark would never blame a child and that is what Lyanna was, just a child. 14 is not that little to you right now, you were 14 a year ago but it feels like a lifetime ago to me. Older you get you realize how young they were and how different we are from them, the world is changing so are the people, we didn't and hopefully won't see a mad, cruel king, we won't be as harsh as them, as they had to be. I don't like the way my father rules but he is better than Aerys that's for sure, i plan to be better than my father and i hope one day my child will be better than me. We can't change what others did before us but we can try to fix it for a better future.' he took a deep breath and shook his head as he started again.

'I'm 20 Arya and i can't even imagine myself starting a rebellion like my father as you can't imagine being betrothed. And 14 is literally a lifetime ago. I was in King's Landing at 14. I didn't know who you were. Look at how different my life is, how different i am. I didn't care for my people, i was fixated on the idea of becoming a blacksmith. I would gladly put their lives to Joffrey's hands if it meant i could be free. Now i'm 20 and i know things i never wanted to know and i've seen things i never wanted to see. Now i know it's my responsibility because there is no one to take the job if i don't and my choices are not blacksmith or king, my choices are trying to fix what a terrible king broke or run away and watch as another terrible king makes people suffer more than ever.'

'It's not your fault they are shit at ruling.'

'No, but it will be mine if i put Joffrey to the throne.'

'Gend-'

'Arya even you don't believe what's coming out of your mouth so stop.' he raised her head and looked into her eyes, cradling her face with his hands.

'We can't change the way people think about us right now, what we can do is to be better than those we resemble. If you hate it so much, see what she did wrong, learn from her mistakes and don't make the same mistakes.'

'I'm just afraid that they will never see the real me, that all i'll ever be is a shadow of a woman they knew.'

'I know. I feel the same Arya.'

'Gendry don't. Look at your competition, Robert? Mine is Lyanna fucking Stark. Woman the seven kingdoms bled for.'

'You might be right but the solution is still the same, be greater than they ever were. Fight harder than they ever fought and burn brighter than they ever burned. Burn so bright there is not even an ounce of their shadow. Then one day people will have no choice but to know you as you are, not someone's child or lookalike.'

'That's what you're trying to do?'

'Yeah. What else there is i can do?'

'You're right i guess.' she sighed as she took his hands from her face and held them as tight as she can 'Then let's burn. Together.'

'Does that mean you reconsidered-'

'Gendry don't ask that from me. I can't. I don't even know what i'm feeling is love or not. I might not be as young as Lyanna was but i'm still 15 and i know this is a normal age for a girl to get betrothed but i don't feel ready at all. I'm still a child.'

'I don't want anything you're not ready to give me Arya, i might be 20 but i'm hardly an adult. I just want you to stop resisting what is already there between us. Just let it grow or shrink but let it be naturally not forcefully. In the end if you don't love me i will accept it but please if you ever love me, don't try to make it go away and even if you love me know that i won't take it as consent to any other thing. You can love someone and don't want to marry at the same time and i promise you if that happens, knowing that you love me will be more than enough.'

'It won't Gendry. At least not for your family. You need an heir and fuck, you will be king. I'm really sorry but there is no way that i could ever be queen. I won't ever accept that.' they sat there in silence for minutes till she found the courage to talk 'I just wish you were a little more selfish, that you would give up the crown.' her words sounded so small she wanted to stab herself.

'I can't Arya. You don't know Joffrey like i do. He is a sadistic little bastard. He may be my brother but he is a monster. There is no way i can leave my people to his hands.' he sounded so miserable.

'Then there is nothing else to say.' she released his hands.

'Yeah.' he looked like he could cry if he said anything more.

-----

Arya was 17 when her father talked with her about Lyanna.

Her father was sitting under the heart three when Arya came to him. Her mother said that father had something important to talk with her and Arya had been terrified as she looked at that little smile her mother had.

Now finally with her father, as always she was filled with warmth and peace.

'Mother said you had something important to talk with me?'

'I do, come sit.' Arya slowly walked to his father.

'Do you know-'

'Is this about that fire? Because we put it out before..' her father looked confused so she decided it was not it 'It is not about the fire, right?'

'It's not and i never heard anything about that fire if your mother ever founds out okay?' he asked with a tired face 'Okay.'

'As i was saying, do you remember Edric, Edric Dayne?'

'Lord of Starfall right? Blond, dark blue eyes?'

'Yeah he is that one.' her father looked at her for a second before he continued 'He asked for your hand.' Arya felt her heart skip a beat.

'What..What did you say?'

'Nothing, i wanted to talk with you first.' with that Arya relaxed a little.

'You won't accept it will you?'

'Father you know i don t want to mary.'

'Oh i know but this time i had thought it was because of another blue-eyed boy who has black hair.' Arya's face was as red as the leaves of the heart tree.

'I don't kno-'

'Arya do you take me for a fool?' Arya didn't know what to say, burning with shame. Her father sighed.

'It's not a crime you love someone Arya.'

'I know that faher, i just feel so stupid. I feel like Sansa.'

'Why is that?'

'It was Sansa's dream to fall in love, marry, became a lady, became queen. I just wanted to see the world, to have adventures, i wanted to be a warrior. Now i fell for a boy and not just a boy, i fell for the prince. I want him and i can't have him without giving up my dreams. I don't know what to do father.' her father watched her for some time, thinking, before he answered.

'You know, i was worried the first time i saw how the boy looked at you, i was afraid that he would want you and i would have to choose between my best friend and my daughter.' he added as he saw the look on her face 'I would choose you of course but Robert would be outraged, he would've taken it as an insult.' Arya looked at his weary face and thought 'He is getting old.' she had never thought about it but at that moment her father seemed too old to her, too exhausted.

'But he is a good lad, nowadays i'm more worried about you Arya.'

'Is it because of my aunt?'

'What about her?'

'Everyone says i'm just like her, are you worried that i will be 'dead before my time' too? Because father i'm not her-'

'Gods Arya, of course not. I admit that i like to think you are the kind of person Lyanna would be if she never went south, if father had been more understanding, if she lived but i know you're not her.' Arya was ashamed then, looking at her father's pained face 'Do you know why everyone thinks you're my favorite child?' 'Because i am?' he laughed.

'Because i let you do things i shouldn't. I let you train with Jon and turn a blind eye. I let you ditch Septa Mordane's lessons. Cat and i've been arguing about you since you were born.' they smiled as he continued 'I saw what my father did to Lyanna and i wanted to do the right thing with you. Father never understood her, never tried to. They thought she would grow out of it. They never saw the real Lyanna. Even Robert, i once told him that he never knew Lyanna, that he saw her beauty, but not the iron underneath. I was right. No one saw it. Not really.' he sighed.

'They like to talk about her but the truth is Lyanna was only a child then. Even i don't know what would've happened if things went differently, what kind of a woman she would've become. Maybe she would've been Robert's lady if she didn't run with Rhaegar or maybe she would run some other time. Maybe she would've been Rhaegar's queen if Rhaegar won or maybe, in the end, she would've run from Rhaegar too. I don't know. She was only 16 when she died. You are 17 Arya, you will be 18 soon, you already outlived her.' he laughed bitterly this time.

'I'm worried about you because you refuse to feel what you feel, it's not a bad thing to love someone, marriage is not a cage waiting to trap you. Do you love him? Answer me honestly.'

'I do.'

'Then stop running Arya. I don't think i can hold back your mother anymore. If she had her way you would've already had 3 children of your own.' he laughed at the face she made 'Don't look at me like that, you know it's true.'

'I know. It's just... I love him so much, i would've accepted marriage long time ago, but queen? You know i can't father. If i accept it i will truly be trapped.'

'Do you not trust Gendry?'

'I do but-'

'No buts Arya, if you trust him, trust that he will not put you in any position you will be uncomfortable. Trust that he won't force you to leave your dreams behind. Trust that he knows who you are and loves you still.' she didn't know what to say so she said something different.

'It's true then, she really ran away.'

'Yes she did.'

'Do you blame her for what happened?'

'I used to at first but then i realized it was my father's fault mostly, for ignoring what she had to say, who she was. She never wanted to marry. I know she loved Robert once, he was not the man he is now, but the first night father betrothed her to Robert she came to my chambers and she said that she believed Robert would never be able to keep to one bed. She had heard that Robert had an illegitimate daughter in the Vale, which i could not deny. I tried to persuade her that what Robert had done before their betrothal was insignificant and that he would love her, Lyanna said that love is sweet but it cannot change a man's nature, she was right. She was only 13 then. I know that everyone else says you are just like her but she was not half as wild as you were at that age Arya. I know you would've run before i finished saying betrothed.' he had laughed again 'Father didn't give her an option, he didn't ask what she wanted so she ran away when she saw a chance. I wanted to give you all the options you wanted. I didn't want you to be like her. I like to think i did a pretty good job.'

'You did father.'

'I'm glad to hear it. I will be by your side whatever you chose to do but please consider that i'm not getting any younger neither your mother. We want to see you happy and we want to make sure that you will be happy after we're gone. Don't refuse the happiness that's in front of you Arya, you might regret it later.'

'I won't father. I won't regret anything in my life ever if it was my own choices that lead me there.'

'I hope you won't Arya. I really do.' he took a deep breath 'I will tell Edric you refused. Your mother won't be pleased, she was really hopeful this time.' she laughed 'She should've learned by now not to get her hopes high.' he nodded with a smile 'She should've.'

-----

Arya was 20 when a Targaryen named her the queen of love and beauty.

It was Aegon Targaryen.

Arya was still shocked at the boldness of the Targaryen. She could see the way Robert still trembled with anger from the table she sat. He was drinking and arguing with her father.

Arya knew the reasons Aegon was alive and here were her answer, her father and probably Gendry.

'How could someone look so smug when their life's in the hands of others?' she wondered as she looked at Aegon. He was smiling at a servant as he took the drink from her.

Arya hated feasts but loved to watch people get drunk and act stupid. So she took her drink, found a spot where she can see everyone but no one can see her if they don't pay enough attention and watched.

She watched as people danced and drank, some of them leaving with their lovers or servants on their arms. She watched as Theon took a servant girl in his arms and carried her to the doors. She watched as Jon and Robb drank with their father's men and laughed loudly. She watched as Bran, Jojen and Meera slowly, secretly, left the hall. She watched as Sansa blushed looking at the Hound with awe. She watched as Rickon, his face was as red as the wine Sansa liked, talked with a girl, half of her left cheek and most of her neck covered in cracked and flaking, gray and black skin, 'Shireen Baratheon' she noticed. She watched as a girl barely 15 danced with Gendry, throwing herself at him.

It amused her that everyone in the seven kingdoms knew they were betrothed but some of them still acted like they had a chance.

'It was rude of you to reject me like that my lady.'

'It is rude of you to think you can talk to me my lord.' Aegon laughed as she drank from her cup.

'I just wanted to honor our future queen. What's wrong with that?'

'Do you take me for a fool Aegon?'

'Of course not my lady. Why would you think so?' she looked at his face and didn't say anything until he caved 'I just thought it would be funny.'

'It was not.'

'I meant no harm-'

'You did.'

'It depends on how you define harm. Where is the harm in naming the woman i love the queen of love and beauty?'

'I am betrothed.'

'So? that doesn't mean i can't love you.'

'You don't even know me.'

'I know you don't belong here. You don't want to settle down. You don't want to be queen.'

'That's common knowledge.'

He continued as if she never talked.

'It's been 2 years since you got betrothed and you still didn't marry him. You already passed the age of marriage. There is only one reason i can think for that and that is you don't want to marry him.' he laughed as he looked at Gendry who was now in the hands of a new girl 'I thought maybe you are waiting for your Targaryen prince too, like your aunt.'

She slapped him. Hard.

'What did i do?! I wanted to give you an escape route just in case.'

She slapped him again.

'Okay, okay. I will stop.'

They stood like that for minutes before he talked again, this time more serious 'I could take you to Braavos with me. You'd be happy there.' he sounded so small and hopeful she couldn't find it in herself to get mad at him again.

'Aegon...'

'Don't Arya. You are not happy here, look at you brooding her while your betrothed mingles with other women.' he was pointing at Gendry with his cup.

Gendry was red in the face 'Probably from the drink in his hand.' she thought.

He was talking to a man older than her father and two girls who looked younger than Rickon.

Maybe it wasn't the drink that got him all red in the face.

Arya knew what they were talking about.

Usually when she saw him being cornered she would save him, remind them that he was already betrothed and she could see he was searching the crowd for her with a panicked face. This time though, he had to save himself.

She laughed, shaking her head at his panicked face and turned to Aegon's confused one.

'I am happy, i really am. I never liked feasts and i hate how people have more than one face here in south but he is worth it. I asked him to marry me, you know that right?'

'I didn't. So you are walking into a cage willingly.'

'Being with Gendry is as far from a cage as it can be. He makes me feel freer than ever. He understands the fire within, he has it too. Different, yet similar enough. He makes me bolder, wilder than ever, less scared because i know if i fall, he will fall with me gladly and he will love me still.' Arya took a deep breath as she looked at his now blank face.

'He is not a choice i made lightly Aegon. I loved him even before i knew what love was. I love him, more than i thought i was capable of. It took me too long to have this happiness with him and i won't give him up no matter what.'

She looked at Gendry who was now talking with Jon, who somehow always knew where she was. Jon looked at her as if to ask 'Should i tell him?' so she nodded. She looked at Gendry as Jon pointed at her. Finally Gendry's eyes found hers and he smiled so brightly her heart skipped a beat. She smiled back as he started to walk towards her but he stopped halfway looking at Aegon.

'What are you going to say to him? I can already see the fight that's gonna happen. Accusations of adultery. Are you sure you don't wanna run?' he whispered in her ear as they both looked at Gendry, who looked more confused than ever.

'You really don't know us at all Aegon.' she turned so their faces were as close as it can be without touching 'He won't even ask.' she whispered.

She turned to leave and took several steps before she turned to him again 'Don't think too much Aegon. Stop comparing us to them. I'm not Lyanna, he is not Robert and you are not Rhaegar. You've got your own life to worry about, stop worrying about theirs, they already lived it, 2 of them are dead and the other one's there trying to drink himself to death. Watch and learn from their mistakes, i did, Gendry did. Look where we are now.'

She didn't give him a chance to say anything as she turned and walked to Gendry.

'May i have this dance, my prince?' she held out her hand and he took it laughing, without any hesitation. 'Don't call me that.'

'Why, aren't you my prince?'

'Then why i can't call you my lady? Aren't you my lady?'

'I am not a lady but you are a prince.'

'Can i call you my future queen then?'

'No. Your mother already wants me dead, don't give her one more reason.' he laughed as he spun her around. She laughed with him, louder than necessary but she felt ecstatic, like a weight she had carried her whole life was lifted from her shoulders. Finally she could have this happiness with Gendry.

Arya remembered a time when she couldn't read him and it felt like it was a lifetime ago as she looked at his blue eyes shining with so much love and bliss, she had to kiss him.

So naturally, she kissed him.

She knew it was not proper to kiss him in front of their parents but when did she care what's proper or not?

She heard people gasping but she didn't stop, even when one of those people sounded exactly like Sansa.

When she stopped, Gendry was looking at her with a dazed expression and a stupid grin.

'What?'

'Nothing.' he laughed as he slowly started to move with the music again. He looked at somewhere above her head and stiffened a little.

'What?'

'Your brother looks like he is about to throw his cup at me.' she laughed.

'Which one? Is it Jon or Robb?'

'No it's Rickon. Other two looks like they're about to cut my guts open. Even Sansa. She looks like i messed up her embroidery or something.' this time Arya laughed even louder.

Gendry watched her till she stopped laughing with that stupid grin again 'I'd let them.' he muttered.

'What?'

'I'd let them.' he said it louder.

'Why would you?'

'I think this is the peak of my life. This moment. It can't get better than this. I can die happy now that i lived this.' it was her turn to smirk stupidly.

'We didn't marry yet, are you sure you want to die now?'

'Is that another proposal or am i imagining things again?'

'You're not. I want to marry you.'

'I know you want to. Question is when?'

'I would say now but i don't think anyone would appreciate it.'

'Don't tempt me Arya.' she laughed again.

'Let's tell them tomorrow, as soon as we can.' Gendry wasn't responding 'What?'

'I'm having a hard time believing it's real, give me a second. Fuck, am i drunk?'

'You are but that doesn't make anything i said less real.' she rested her head against his 'I want to marry you Gendry, i never thought i would, ever, but i want it with you.'

This time it was Gendry who kissed her. His hands on her face kissing her like his life depended on it.

They only parted when a cup landed on his head.