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Gendry was alone in the forge. He figured it was the only place he could go where people wouldn’t suspect him to be, since everyone flocked to him about being a lord now. His fellow smiths hadn’t recommenced production of weapons or tools since the long night, what with survivors being exhausted and needed for cleanup. Gendry craved to lose himself in the raging white noise of a forge in motion, but even tonight’s stillness and quiet were better than the constant prattle of lords and ladies who suddenly found him worth talking to. Their attention somehow worsened the ache in his chest; he remembered grey eyes and felt the pain radiate to his belly. For the thousandth time that day, Gendry attempted to shift his focus away from thoughts of her.

Gendry took in the forge’s disheveled state, mentally cataloguing the miscellaneous broken tools and materials strewn about. He would need help to move a lot of the heavier stuff, but it was late with most of Winterfell’s inhabitants asleep or deep in their cups. The chill began to overtake him, but the idea of returning to his room in the great keep gave him no joy. He felt called to the backroom of the forge where he’d slept every night until the last three. It was a humble accommodation, but where he’d felt most like himself.

As Gendry ducked into the back room, he was confused to find the embers of a dying fire in the small hearth. He shined his torch towards the corner cot and nearly doubled over when he discovered Arya lying there.

“Fucking hells,” the curse left his lips before he could think about it.

Her eyes popped open. She seemed to throw her blanket off, sit up, and draw her weapon in the time it would take a normal person to blink.

Their eyes met. He recognized how she quickly tried to guard her expression, but he spotted the uncertainty flare in her irises before she seemed to collect herself. She lowered her dagger. He waited for her to say something. She didn’t.

They hadn’t spoken since his botched proposal a few nights earlier. They had sat on the same councils and taken their meals at the high table, but she refused to look at him, much less speak to him. As she stared up at him now, he spotted the deep purple bruising at her throat. It looked worse than before and made his belly swoop.

“What’re you doing here?” he finally asked.

“I could ask you the same,” she paused before adding, “Lord Baratheon.”

His eyes narrowed at her tone. First, she rejects him, then she avoids him, and now she mocks him? All after breaking his heart?

“Well, I’m not just here being stupid like you,” he bit back. “What’re you thinking sleeping out here with hardly no fire? Lucky I didn’t find you froze to death in that cot.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “Like a little cold could kill me after everything.”

Gendry felt the familiar licks of fury in his belly at her dismissal of her own safety. He retreated to the front storage area where he gathered up some firewood. When he returned, she looked startled. He ignored her and went to pile the wood next to the hearth. He started adding logs to rebuild the fire. Her sudden grip on his arm halted his movements.

“I can build my own fires,” she told him in that controlled, neutral voice that he hated.

“You can,” Gendry replied slowly. “But you don’t.”

Grey eyes met blue as he tossed the log behind him. A winter storm rose up in her eyes.

“I will do it myself or not at all,” she told him.

He ignored the warning tone in her voice and bent to throw another log on the fire. Her nails dug into his arm as she whipped him back around to face her. He shrugged her off and stubbornly returned to his task. Quick as a cat, she weaved around him and managed to throw him off balance. With enviable precision, she used his momentum to shove him towards the wall a few feet away, then pinned him in place.

The vision she presented, eyes flashing and breath sped up in anger, combined with the sharp sensation of her nails on his arm, took his breath away. He wondered if she could feel his heart pounding underneath the hand she had fisted in his jerkin. He glanced down to her mouth before he could stop himself. Her lips parted, and he felt that familiar heat coil in his belly.

He briefly considered pulling away. It would be for the best; yet the scent of her was reaching his nostrils, making him dizzy. His hands found her waist to anchor himself. Her ribcage moved rapidly under his fingertips, and it dawned on him how close they were; how they hadn’t been this close since she last kissed him. Was she going to kiss him now? It was a stupid thought, but gods, he ached for it. He dared a glance back to her eyes.

She was stirred and fierce, her eyes brimming with the wildness she’d always had as a little girl. The girl he’d known and loved all those years ago. The one who repeated her kill list every night, wasn’t a lady, but wasn’t afraid to be his family either. Tenderness flooded him at the memory. This was the Arya she truly was underneath her icy mask and constant control and precision. He wanted this Arya.

Gendry couldn’t tell who moved first, but suddenly their lips crashed together. Arya wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close. His head was immediately spinning. When her tongue demanded entry to his mouth, he moaned and granted it. She was kissing him like they were everything. Could she truly not feel the same way he felt about them?

Although it was physically painful, Gendry tore his mouth away from hers and moved his hands to her shoulders.

“Why were you in here?” he panted.

Arya’s brows furrowed.

“What?” she asked.

“Why were you in here?” he repeated. “In my room. In the cot I slept in.”

Her face seemed to carefully withdraw and go blank. Gendry’s grip tightened on her shoulders.

“Quit that and just answer me, Arya!” he demanded. “Why were you in here?”

After a long pause, with her facial expression not moving a millimeter, she said, “I don’t know.”

“Bullshit,” Gendry huffed.

Arya crossed her arms, meeting his glare with her own cool expression.

“Don’t pretend to know me,” she rolled her eyes. “Or to know what I know and don’t know.”

“I’m not fucking pretending,” Gendry whispered back. “And you know it.”

Arya visibly startled. He’d never talked to her like that before. Like molten silver in the forge, her eyes swirled into darkness. Still, she did not move, so Gendry decided to call her bluff. He stepped forward to cup the back of her head in his hand. Slowly, giving her every opportunity to pull away, Gendry leaned his mouth towards hers. He licked his lips and watched as her breath hitched in her chest. He brushed her mouth briefly before bringing his face to the nape of her neck, inhaling the clean, woodsy smell she carried. He exhaled, feeling her tremble, before pressing his lips and tongue into her warmth. When he started sucking softly, he felt her snap. She moaned loudly and dragged him by the ears back to her mouth before kissing him soundly. She bit his lip in punishment. He felt it all the way to his core.

“Gods I want to fuck you,” she whispered in his ear.

“That’s why you were sleeping in the bed I no longer occupy?” Gendry replied drily.

Arya looked at him, but just said, “I don’t know,” before she brought her lips to his neck.

Gendry stiffened, but not in the way her action had intended. An ache he suspected was hurt nudged him in the chest. She could admit she wanted to fuck him but nothing else? Why would he never be good enough for her?

Her tongue below his ear made him dizzy. As a wave of heat coursed through him, he felt the hurt transforming into licks of fury. Fury at their situation. Fury at a world that would make him want her so bad he couldn’t see straight. Gods he had wanted Arya for as long as he could remember.

Her hands went down to his ass to pull him closer, grinding against his length. It felt good, hot and needy. But he didn’t want to soften to the pleasure. Didn’t want her to give him pleasure but not love. Yet his need to touch her was overwhelming. His need to prove to her that she needed him as desperately as he her.

Abruptly he pushed her back a few inches, which clearly startled her. He panted from the force of her desire. Glaring at him, she grasped his jerkin to pull him towards her, but he dug his heels in. When she tugged more insistently, he let go, allowing himself to slam into her frame. She looked startled, but then he quickly used her momentum against her to spin her to face the wall he’d just been pressed against. Her hands automatically reached out to steady herself. He filled his arms with her immediately, one hand going to her breast while the other pressed against her lower belly, holding her still so she could not turn around. She moaned at the weight of his palm against her breast, arching her back up against his arousal. He started working her jerkin undone while he kissed, nipped, and sucked hard at her neck. Before even finishing unbuttoning her clothes, he found an opening to touch her skin and snaked his hand in.

His hands against her bare nipples with his mouth, teeth, and tongue on her neck seemed to make her near wild with pleasure. She reached back to try to touch him, but he had positioned them exactly where she could not seem to reach any part of him. When she tried to reach down lower, he pushed her further into the wall. Her pleasure was furious with no outlet to give him pleasure back. She arched her ass back against him in an attempt for friction. He was hard as steel behind her.

“Gendry,” she protested.

He didn’t let up but brought one hand down the front of her breeches. He took her earlobe between his teeth while his fingers dipped lower into her small clothes. When he found her completely soaked with arousal, his guttural moan surged in her ear. She slammed her body into him, grinding desperately against him.

He tried to rub at her clit but she was so wet he could not build much friction. She tried to shift so he could get his fingers inside her, but the angle wasn’t right. She cried out in frustration. He dragged her breeches down her legs and the raw fibers of his pants scratched against her skin. He grabbed her breast in one hand and used his other to hold her hipbone tight against him.

“You want this?” he breathed into her ear.

She moaned out a yes and he released her hip to enter her with two fingers from behind. She soaked his hand immediately causing him to swear loudly against her. Her inner muscles gripped him as he explored her. She reminded him of the silk he’d touched one time when the brotherhood had raided a Lannister camp. She was impossibly smooth and hot. When he found one spot that was a little rougher and circled it, she cried out. He squeezed her breast and continued. He was working her hard and fast, spurred on by her moans and the lewd sounds of wetness where he entered her.

Suddenly needing to see her face, he pulled her closer to his chest and released her breast to turn her jaw. She blinked at him in surprise before her eyes rolled back in their sockets. He slowed his ministrations and began pounding into her more deliberately, harder. Her eyes flew back open. When she opened her mouth to speak, he covered it with his own. He thrust his tongue as deep as he could, demanding she take all of him. She moaned and sucked him frantically.

Still thrusting his fingers inside of her slow and hard, he brought his other hand down to play with her clit. He felt her eyebrows furrow against his forehead. He deepened his fingers on her clit as he found the rougher patch inside her walls and began making circles again. She yelped and shook her head as her hands flew to his, halting them. He stilled his fingers immediately. She was gasping for breath, almost panicky. Gendry slowly withdrew his hands completely and moved them up to rest firmly on her hips. He kissed her neck softly, giving her a moment to come down from the overstimulation.

She turned towards him and he let her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, needing to pull apart abruptly as she was still panting. She nearly tore his jerkin and tunic off, desperate to feel him. He had laughed their first time when she had frantically undressed him, but not today. He felt her hands trail all over his upper body, like she’d been starved from touching him. She breathed shakily, but seemed to get comforted and grounded again as she pressed her cool palms against the smooth skin of his chest and abdomen.

Gendry couldn’t keep his hands still for long. He used his softest touch to skim all over her skin, down her arms, around her ribs, and up her back. Eventually he landed both hands on her face to kiss her. He began kissing down her neck and collar bones. She held onto his head as he sunk to his knees. He took her overly sensitive nipples into his mouth and she gasped. He kissed her rib cage and dipped his tongue into her belly button. She startled when he continued lower, kissing the crease in her hip bones.

“Let me taste you?” he asked, his eyes dark with arousal.

“There?” she asked.

“Let me show you,” she looked doubtful. “We’ll stop if you don’t like it.””

She nodded slowly. He kept kissing her hip as he stared up at her. She looked embarrassed, but he held her gaze as he trailed his lips to her center. Mindful of how she had been panicky before, he kissed her lips gently and slowly, reveling in how incredible she smelled.

He reached to pull her leg over his shoulder. Holding her there, he opened her lips to look at her. He heard a protest fall from her lips and he sought her gaze. He could see desire and embarrassment burning in her cheeks, but she didn’t move to stop him. When he brought his mouth to gently kiss at the top of her clit, her eyes rolled back and shut. He pressed his face closer, his chin dipping into her. She moaned. He opened his mouth to suck at her. Holy fuck. Her taste flooded his tongue and left him lightheaded while a wave of tightness seized him. He groaned and his tongue lashed across her clit. Her hips shot away from him, eyes flying open.

“Too much?” he asked. She nodded. He took a deep breath. “Sorry. I’ve just wanted to do this for so long.”

He went back to kissing her slit gently, hands reaching up to cup her tits. Gods he loved their weight in his palms; how her nipples stiffened under his thumbs. He could feel how fast she was breathing. This time when he opened his mouth to taste her, he pressed his tongue flat against her clit and just gently dragged it, like how they would grind their hips together. She cried out and her hands fluttered to the back of his head, encouraging the motions. At the second drag of his tongue, she swore loudly. He moved one hand to the back of her thigh and the other to hold tightly at her hip bone. When she swore again, his fingers pressed so deep into her skin he knew there’d be bruises. Arya ran her fingers across his scalp, groaning at the lack of something to hold onto.

They found a rhythm. Her little sighs and hitched breaths were everything. As her pleasure built, she started grinding herself against his whole face. He could feel how desperation for release was lapping through her whole body. She gasped when Gendry shouldered her legs even farther apart: his hand left her hipbone to press his whole forearm across her pelvis. Her body fought against him but he ruthlessly held her still, demanding complete control of her cunt.

He felt her body slam still with tension. All was silent for a few moments until the sweetest, wildest noises came choking out of her throat. He kept his mouth on her the whole time, latched on tight to her pleasure as she writhed and moaned and eventually stilled. Her knees gave way and he felt her sinking down. He gathered her in his arms and lowered her to the floor. He shifted her to lie on his chest, his back against the cold floor. She curled in a ball and lay against his chest, panting.

 

After a while, her hand made a lazy trail between their bodies, going for his cock that was pressing so insistently against her belly. His breath faltered when she wrapped her hand around him. The combination of her lips on his chest and hand on his dick made Gendry moan. She moved to kiss the spot just under his jaw that they had discovered drove him crazy. Gendry felt himself losing control completely until she shifted to swing her hips over his. Shaking his head in a stupor, he pulled away from her.

“What wrong?” she asked.

“We can’t do that,” Gendry protested, breathing heavily.

“Oh I think we can,” Arya’s eyes sparkled at him.

“Can’t risk you getting with child,” he clarified. “You…you don’t want to marry me. It’s cruel to bring a bastard into the world.”

“You didn’t seem concerned the last 10 times we did it,” she replied.

“Well now I know there’s no hope,” he muttered.

“Gendry,” Arya brought her hands up to hold his face. He tried to move away from her but she stayed him in place. She caught his glance and gave him her sorriest eyes. He wanted none of them. He moved his lips away from her kiss, so instead she kissed his neck. It started slow and subtle, a dramatic deviation from how she had seduced and lain with him every other time. He inhaled sharply when she opened her mouth to suck gently at his pulse point. When she wrapped her arms around him and reveled in the drag of her nipples against his chest, his brain turned to absolute mush.

She trailed kisses all over his chest and torso until she dragged her lips down lower. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She made quick work of his pants and small clothes, throwing them into a corner. She met his stare with a mischievous look before bring her mouth down on him.

“Fuck,” Gendry stuttered, her tongue so wet and hot as she swirled around him.

This was unbelievable. Like a fucking dream, he watched her open her mouth wide and take him in fully. When she started sucking, he felt his eyes roll back and his head hit the wall behind him. He was panting now. Zings of pleasure jolted from his cock and made his spine tingle. He looked down to find her eyes watching him. Could eyes smirk? Hers were, like she knew she was the first to ever do this to him; the first to make him feel this fucking good.

He felt a familiar tingling in his balls as she doubled down on his dick, seemingly on a mission to make him come embarrassingly quickly. He wanted it, but a sinking feeling in his stomach nagged at him. When he tried to listen to the incredible sucking noises she was making, he couldn’t help but hear that dismissive, cold voice she used on him earlier; how she wouldn’t admit he meant shit to her, even though he knew she was lying. He knew her. And that voice of fury inside him wouldn’t accept it, couldn’t accept it. He would have her true or not at all.
Proving himself to be one of the strongest men in all of fucking Westeros, he withdrew from her mouth and pushed her off of him.

“What are you doing?” she protested. “I want to feel you come in my mouth.”

Gendry grimaced in physical pain and he didn’t respond right away. He sat up and looked around, trying to find his trousers. Arya put her hands on his shoulders, stilling him, and climbed into his lap. She laced her hands around her neck.

“I know you liked it,” she hissed.

“I don’t want our first time like that to be when I’m mad.”

“Well how do I get you to stop being mad?” Arya exclaimed. “I figured coming would make you lighten up a bit.”

“Is that all this is about?” Gendry asked. “You just want me to shut up and let you fuck me? That’s the only thing that matters to you?”

“No!” Arya argued, gripping his shoulders so he could not get up without her. “I want to make you feel good, like you how you just made me feel good!”

Gendry rolled his eyes and made a disgusted noise in his mouth. Arya gripped him so hard she shook, and he could sense something inside of her snapped.

“Gendry, stop it. I just want to make you feel good. I want to make you feel so good you forget about stupid shit with lords and ladies and remember how you felt about me before you tried to change me into some stupid lady!”

Gendry stared at her for a beat.

“I’m not trying to change you!” he whispered furiously. “I’m trying to be worthy of you! Worth more than a fuck on some grain sacks or on a dirty forge floor. I let myself hope for the first time in my life that we could actually be together. I’ll do all the changing. You don’t have to change at all!”

“I don’t want you to change!” Arya exclaimed. “Suddenly you’re a lord and you expect me to be a lady. Don’t you understand how much I would have to change to be your lady? Ladies don’t fight, Gendry. Ladies don’t kill night kings. Ladies don’t fuck stupid boys they’ve loved since they were children. Ladies don’t do anything I do! That is not me!”

Gendry stared at her…did she really just say she loved him? She looked madder than a hungry dragon. He felt the anger that sat like a pile of stones in his stomach lightening, dissipating, until it was replaced by a warm ache.

“I just want us to be together,” Gendry breathed, cupping her cheeks in his hands. “I…we’re good together. Always have been.”

Arya closed her eyes.

“I don’t know how to do that,” she whispered. “I…I’m not…I have a list to finish, Gendry. I’m going to cross every name off of it or die trying.”

She kept her eyes closed, and Gendry could tell she was waiting for him to argue with her; waiting for him to leave her. Instead, he leaned in and gentled pressed his lips first to her left eye, then her right.

“Why were you in here, Arya?” Gendry asked her softly. “Sleeping in my old cot. Why?”

It felt like an eternity before she finally spoke.

“I’m basically part wolf, you know,” she sighed. “Scent is comforting. And the cot…smells like you.”

She paused, bringing her forehead against his.

“And I…missed you.”

Gendry exhaled hard, knowing how difficult it was for her to admit that.

“What if we don’t change then,” Gendry murmured. “Neither of us. What if we just stay together. Like we used to.”

Arya smiled.

“Assassinations are more of a covert activity, Gendry. I can’t very well have the Lord Paramount of the South drawing attention next to me.”

“Yeah, fuck that guy,” Gendry replied. “But you would benefit from having a nameless bastard armorer guarding your back. I’m a fighter, Arya. And if you’re so determined to ‘die trying,’ someone’s got to be there to make sure you live.”

Arya seemed frozen, just staring at him for a few moments, until she brought her forehead to his.

“You’re so stupid,” she breathed.

“Aye,” Gendry agreed. “But when I said none of it would be worth anything if you’re not with me, I meant it. I…I’ve loved you since we were kids too.”

She inhaled sharply and said nothing, just brushed her nose against his a few times. Gendry smiled and brought his arms around her. They tucked their bodies together almost like they did as children on the road, but with longer limbs to contend with.

After a while, Arya lifted her head from his neck to ask, “You’d really give up a lordship for me?”

“Gladly,” Gendry replied. “Lord and Lady Baratheon? That’s not us.”

“What is us?” she asked, looking into his eyes.

Never the best with words, Gendry screwed up his face, thinking hard.

“Family,” he finally proclaimed. “We’re family. That’s us.”

“That’s us,” Arya whispered back.

And it was.