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All at once it was bad again. It was as if Arya had just barely escaped a burning city only the blood and ash that once coated her cheeks was replaced entirely by tears - a similar mask to the one she wore in all the weeks that followed when she refused to open her door. She was alone then and that had been a choice but now as she slowly trudged out of Jon’s solar, taking each step like punishment, Arya collapsed into willing arms. This was a choice too, both Gendry being here and her allowing him to stay. She needed him and she was unsure of how she’d ever managed much else in her life without him by her side. 

 

There was stone beneath Arya’s feet but the rest of her was so warm. Each time a sob wracked her body she felt her skin pull and press into Gendry’s. He was unyielding, just a presence for her to unload upon. He carried her weight so easily, as if the way his hands curled around her hip and neck were a promise that he’d remain forever, if that was what it took to get her to stop crying. 

 

“Shhhh,” Gendry soothed, or attempted to. 

 

If he had been any other man, perhaps one she was instructed to marry (one she’d never fully love) he would have been raised to care about the possibility of servants and advisors walking by and witnessing a princess in distress. Nobles didn’t have emotions. The last time a woman of power had shared her feelings half a city had died and she had died with it. Vulnerability was the one thing the rich could not afford. 

 

“Arya, love...”

 

She sniffled but kept her head buried in the crook of his neck. Her fingertips dug into his skin, clutching for proof of him as if the way her lungs were calming down was not enough to convince her. 

 

Arya wanted more. 

 

“Let’s go,” she murmured now with palms pressed flat to his cheeks. Her skin was pink too and when she talked Gendry saw more evidence of her crying. Her nose had begun to run and every tear she was holding back was stuck in her throat, coating her teeth and tongue as she tried to speak. 

 

“To bed?”

 

“To Storm’s End. Let’s leave now. I’ve nothing left here. I—”

 

“Arya Stark does not run away.”

 

She dropped her forehead to his. “Maybe Arya Baratheon does,” she offered. 

 

Gendry’s eyes fluttered shut at the sound but his senses mollified what his heart could not. Without warning he moved to stand, bringing all of Arya with him. In an instant she was in his arms and he was carrying her down the steps away from Jon’s solar. He didn’t bother correcting her. He didn’t bother telling her how unfair her declaration had been, even if it had such a lovely melody falling from her lips. His silence was enough. 

 

At her door, Gendry pushed inside with the nudge of his shoulder. Arya was so still in his arms he almost thought she had fallen asleep but when he looked down he saw her eyes blink open. She nodded, as if to understand, and he let her down. Somehow the action had the tears returning and Gendry wrapped an arm around her to help her toward the bed. Arya allowed all her weight to push her down and when she reached forward to remove her shoes he stopped her. Through her tears Arya watched Gendry kneel before her. He started with her boots. Her socks came next. Then he gently pulled her tunic from her breeches and untied the laces at her hips. Arya wiggled upon their featherbed, helping him remove the article even though she could barely see. 

 

“Stand,” he urged, his voice stern and unapologetic. 

 

She did. Her frame fell into the space between him and the bed, forcing her to nearly brush her nose along his sternum. It took everything in Arya not to wrap her hands around his waist and surrender to her sadness again. She didn’t know why she was even still crying. She barely thought of Jon now, only of the life she was officially leaving behind, almost as if saying goodbye to him was the very same thing. 

 

Arya bent to Gendry’s will, her hips rolling and her arms raised above her head as he dragged her tunic upward.  The braid she wore fell back down upon her spine, a crown amongst her nakedness, her sorrow like a cape for her to hide behind. 

 

Gendry vanished for only a breath. When he returned, he brought with him a freshly laundered night shift. It smelled of lavender, a scent which wafted through the air around them even as he unfolded the garment and drowned her in it. Arya didn’t allow his touch to leave her skin even when she was clothed. Her fingertips dragged along his forearm, over his shoulder and up to his chin. She held his gaze softly but with intense eyes. 

 

“You’ll stay with me, won’t you?”

 

Gendry nodded. With a hand to the back of her neck he brought her face toward him and before his lips even made contact with her forehead Arya had her eyes shut, waiting for the reprieve his lips granted. She left him then, trudging back toward the bed and getting inside where she held her legs close to her chest and rested her chin upon her knees as she watched Gendry disrobe. 

 

When it was time for him to join her, Arya moved to blow out the candles surrounding their bed. She needed the darkness more than he did, and it was welcomed now with him offering to envelope her once more. Arya nuzzled into the crook of his arm. She was still so warm but it was a different heat now. This was safety and comfort. What had once felt unfamiliar and uncomfortable now felt like home. If she closed her eyes she wondered if she could picture it: their bed at Storm’s End and how it’d keep her just as calm knowing that Gendry would spend most of his nights asleep at her side. 

 

A silence settled around them. Arya’s chest failed to heave and the way she had gripped his rib cage diminished to soft circles upon his chest. If it weren’t for the delicate way she moved her fingernail upon him, Gendry would have assumed she was fast asleep. If it weren’t for the way she shifted her leg over his to keep him close, he would have joined her. 

 

“You knew.”

 

Gendry looked down to her but saw only the crown of her head. He leaned back but already Arya was speaking again. 

 

“You knew. About Jon leaving.”

 

“I...” He closed his mouth. “He told me. He told me the way everyone tells me things. Only when they need something from me.”

 

Arya narrowed her eyes and looked up to him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“Because he wanted me to help but I didn’t agree. There was nothing I could do, Arya. You needed to hear it from him.”

 

“What did he want you to do?”

 

“Be present, apparently. Sit with you while he told you.”

 

“Warm my bed after?”

 

Her humor was a comfort and Gendry smiled in appreciation. “He’s lost. I think he’s given up on stopping this.”

 

Arya leaned up to press a kiss to Gendry’s pulse point. “I can’t believe...”

 

Gendry waited. No sound followed, not even another tear, so he tried instead. “Are you angry with me?”

 

“No.” Then: “No,” she said, with more conviction. She pressed a hand to his cheek and breathed him in. “You didn’t break my heart. He did.”

 

Gendry sighed. “I wish I had the answers, Arya. Jon...”

 

“He’s been through a lot. I know.”

 

“Maybe it’s not forever, you know?”

 

She looked up to him again, the smirk she wore telling. “It’s just right now?” she inquired innocently, clearly poking fun at her own promises. 

 

In response Gendry pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “He’ll always be welcome at Storm’s End.”

 

“I told him that. Though...” Arya inhaled for strength. “We need to start thinking about us.”

 

“Us?”

 

“What benefits us. And only us.”

 

“And the smallfolk? We said—”

 

“Yes, and the small folk. But us. Because those are our people, so if we are thriving, so are they.”

 

Gendry looked up to the ceiling. “Right.”

 

“The game’s never over. You’ve agreed to take the Stormlands. We make our own rules. Because if we don’t, someone else will.”

 

Gendry grinned. “Spoken like a lady.”

 

“A warden,” Arya corrected. Though, the smile she wore told him she didn’t mind the former title. 

 

Finally, she sighed. “You’re my family, Gendry. Not because I have no other family. I do. I always have. I always will. Those who have left me...willingly or otherwise. But you’re my family. My forever family. We’re going to be alright, I think.”

 

“You think?”

 

Arya shook her head. Then, she kissed his lips: passionately, slowly, urgently. “We’re going to be alright.”

 

~!~

 

The following morning saw Arya fighting the sunshine to stay in bed and for once Gendry remained beside her. He did not greet the morning with the immediate intention of heading out to the forge. Instead he only focused on the still-sleeping woman in his arms and how peaceful she looked still clutching on to him as if the previous night was one that would never truly end. 

 

When Gendry finally stirred it was only because Arya had moved first. He saw the curve of her spine bending over the side of the bed, picking up the linen shift he’d helped her discard in the middle of the night. Standing up she smiled when she saw him staring, eyeing her as she usually eyed him, drinking in the muscles on his back and legs and everywhere in between. 

 

With his head still pressed firmly to his pillow, Gendry made a face before turning over then he too moved to stand. He stretched, groaned, and when he opened his eyes Arya was already in her tunic standing before him. She pressed a hand to his chest and stood up on her toes as if to ask for a kiss. Gendry was already meeting here there, one hand cupping her neck so he could angle her mouth right where he wanted it. It was Arya’s moan that sent a jolt toward Gendry’s groin, the same sound encouraging him to cup her ass as he then did, keeping her close. She only responded with a grin, one that broke them out of their kiss, before pushing him away.

 

“You’re almost done, aren’t you?”

 

Gendry had fallen back atop the featherbed, his back hunched as he rubbed at his face. It seemed he too was having difficulty leaving the prior night behind. “Huh?”

 

“What else has Bran asked you to do? What other obligations do you have?”

 

“M’done, mostly. Just a few things. Little things. Why?”

 

“I want to leave before Jon does.”

 

Gendry straightened his spine. “You’ll say goodbye, won’t you?”

 

“We’ll say goodbye, sure.”

 

He stood once more. “What do you have planned, Arry?”

 

Arya giggled. “Nothing. Yet,” she added, in a much lower tone. “I’m just done with this place. It’s time to leave. I’m ready.”

 

She quickly changed and made it out the door before Gendry had even finished washing up. The woman he watched go would have laughed at the girl she was yesterday.

 

~!~

 

It was nearly supper when Arya found Gendry again. She’d made her way through the castle, saying goodbye to those who had been particularly helpful during her time at Dragonstone. Each farewell felt more comfortable than the last until finally Arya was enjoying them, littering goodbyes around the Keep and the bailey as carelessly as flower petals on a windy day.

 

Seeing Gendry, Arya was reminded of their brief time at Winterfell, then of their adolescent years prior. She’d seen Gendry stand before a forge so many times and she never tired of it. Sure, his body was something to gawk at and she did so unapologetically, but she also adored the way he excelled at his craft and how, despite what he’d say, he really loved it too. It was for this reason that she was content with leaning against one of the smithy’s beams, her head pressed to the softened wood as she admired him working. 

 

When Gendry turned to see her he chuckled and shook his head. He was never one for an audience and things had felt almost too surreal lately. Dragonstone was nearly deserted and the pair was allotted times like these where in the in-between, before they arrived to Storm’s End, they could remember what it was like to be children again: to be silly and loud and carefree. Gendry was ready to leave too, but he’d miss this. He wondered if Arya knew how much he owed to this island, how it was this place that healed them. Gendry didn’t bother bringing it up. Arya would tell him he was wrong. Their healing could have happened anywhere. The single requirement still seemed to be that they were together — a single unit, a pair. 

 

“Wha’s that face?” Gendry asked as he used the bottom of his tunic to wipe at his face.

 

With her arms crossed over her chest, Arya sauntered toward him. “I have something to show you.”

 

“I’m working.”

 

Arya rolled her eyes. “I see that. When will you be done?”

 

Gendry took a step back, his hammer falling to his side. “An hour?”

 

“Well—”

 

“Where are we going? I’d like a wash—”

 

“Our ship’s complete, you know.”

 

Gendry snickered. “I built part of it so yeah, I’m aware.” 

 

Arya tossed her hands down to her sides in protest. “Will you just humor me please?” 

 

It was well over an hour later when Gendry finally left the forge to be with Arya. She even dragged him away from his washing up, her impatience tangible as she gripped his hand and pulled him off toward the stairs leading down to the harbor. An angry sea greeted them as the staircase crested and without the ramparts surrounding them the wind picked up and began to push and tug their hair and clothing this way and that. When they finally made it down to the sandy shore, Arya’s hair was nearly out of its plait and their skin was painted pink as the weather continued its riot. 

 

Above them, clouds moved until faint water droplets began to fall down, coating their starched tunics in uneven dots. Before the wind could dry them, there were more until finally it didn’t matter anymore. Arya was bringing Gendry into the ocean toward their ship, forgoing the recommended rowboat that remained beached on shore. There was no question or hesitation. When Arya ran into the ocean Gendry followed until both were swimming, breathless and laughing as they reached the ship’s hull. 

 

Arya swam on her back as if in invitation, then when Gendry was nearly to her, she dove beneath the water and surfaced only when she was at the base of the ship’s rope ladder. Arya pulled herself up onto the bottom rung, causing the entire length of rope to go taut against the side of the ship. As she reached up, ready to begin her climb, she felt the ladder slip out from beneath her. Arya felt the ocean surround her before she realized she had become submerged in it again. When she came up for air she saw Gendry was already halfway up the ladder, a few steps away from mounting the ship. He waited, laughing, but with a hand extended as if offering her assistance — as if he wasn’t the one to toss her back into the sea. 

 

Arya spit out the saltwater she had inhaled and made it quickly up the ladder toward him. At the top she contemplated throwing him back overboard but was distracted by a loud clap of thunder overhead. As if on cue, Gendry picked her up and brought her toward the ship’s cabin. Even as he set Arya down, he found himself crouching beneath the wooden awning, their bodies barely fitting in the dry space afforded to them.

 

“This,” he emphasized, “is why I hate ships. I’m too bloody big—”

 

Arya had thrown her arms around Gendry’s neck and without warning or apology or thought she kissed him with everything she had. His eyes snapped shut, shock and warmth pumping through his veins as he instinctively shifted to hold her just as she clutched at him. She was laughing, carefree and stupid, causing their teeth to knock. The mixture of rain and immature antics had both breathless, eventually holding on to one another to keep from slipping upon the deck, even when their lips were too swollen to meet.

 

“What...did...you...want to show me?” Gendry sputtered.

 

He heard a click then Arya separated from him, an action allowed by the space she created in opening the door they apparently had been nestled against. She stepped down and Gendry followed, nearly tripping as he underestimated the distance. 

 

“This is ours, y’know,” she said simply and with wide eyes that looked around the room then back to Gendry, almost terrified of his reaction. 

 

Gendry shut the door. The rain, now flying sideways, and the relentless wind were cast out, leaving them in a barely lit captain’s cabin. The woodwork was lighter here and everything looked and smelled as if it had been freshly upholstered. Grey curtains with gold tassels hung from the large window flanking the ship’s stern. Books and maps scattered upon shelves and beside them an entire chest open to reveal select weapons inside. 

 

“What is…” Gendry’s voice caught in his throat at the sight of Arya, nearly naked and with hair that stuck to her face and neck, walking toward him. He swallowed, incapable of adoring her with his eyes as he’d done so many times before. If possible, her skin seemed more milky in complexion without the help of a glow from sunbeam or flame.

 

Arya untied the ribbon keeping her hair in a plait and disregarding it quickly, clearly not caring where it landed. She raked her fingers through her hair, unwinding each tress, dismissing each wave and all of the ocean water that accompanied them. She placed her hands to Gendry’s shoulders, her fingertips delicate and her hands willowy as she gripped at him. He still wore his own shirt but she allowed her touch to dip beneath the collar, separating it so she could explore underneath. Arya pressed the most tender of kisses to his chin, then his cheek, before ultimately claiming his lips. 

 

“I love you,” she whispered, as they pulled away. The most gorgeous and serene of grins spread across her face. “Did you know?”

 

Gendry nodded, awestruck, and nipped at her mouth again. “Yeah,” he chuckled. “Was hoping…”

 

The rain and ocean weighed them down, making Arya’s pathway toward Gendry’s trousers a rather treacherous one. She was finding it difficult to grip his tunic as she usually did and he was so distracted by her cool skin he was little help in her pursuit. Eventually though, she did untie his breeches and with them loosened she was able to tug his tunic upward and out. The sudden give had Arya nearly punching Gendry in the face but they laughed just as they always did, somehow finding one another through mouth or touch, a task that was all the easier the more skin was exposed.

 

Impatiently, Gendry assisted Arya in removing his shirt. It fell to the floorboards below with a rather loud smack, one that was drowned out by the growl Gendry gave in picking Arya up, his lips assaulting her neck while she too tried to remove her own shirt. It was like this sometimes, both spinning headfirst toward the same objective they often forgot the steps required to get there. The very same thing they wanted — each other — was somehow hindering their progress. 

 

It would have been much easier to separate and disrobe before ultimately continuing their rendezvous but neither saw that as an option. They preferred the messy, clumsy way their hands pawed at cold, sticky skin, sometimes seeking leverage, other times just needing the contact. The afternoon storm was the perfect soundtrack as the two stumbled backward, knocking into the neatly placed table and chairs, their hips and shins undoubtedly bruised by their carelessness. The nakedness that eventually followed almost invited more marking, some deliberate, some not. Each time Gendry’s wild kisses had Arya feeling delirious, she’d bite at his lips or nip at the tender skin of his neck. When his mouth would open, the rest of him nearly keening, Arya would insist on his lips back upon hers, her tongue pressed past them to dance with his own. If she hadn’t felt the way his hardened cock continued to poke and dig into her belly, Arya would have allowed him to kiss her like that forever. 

 

“Where do you want me?” Arya managed. She fought the urge to jump up in his arms again and sink down on his cock. Both were clearly attempting to establish a rhythm that would prolong all of this, their bodies drawn to one another as if for the first time, as if the things they’d worked for in life hadn’t afforded them a lifetime of afternoons like this one.

 

“Don’t care,” Gendry shook his head and seized her lips once more. “Don’t want you feeling like cattle,” he teased, biting at her mouth. 

 

She growled, then laughed, nearly calling out as his hand ghosted down past her belly, toward the apex of her thighs. In granting him entrance she was even shorter, her eyes heavy as the rest of her stilled, watching him, waiting for reprieve. She didn’t need to nod, a good thing considering she was barely capable of much thought or action when Gendry held her in this way. He ran one finger then three back and forth, back and forth, his knuckles only barely grazing the nub hidden just beneath her soft curls.

 

“What do you want?” he husked, breathing her in. Two fingers slipped inside of her and Arya found herself speechless, her legs like jelly.

 

“You…”

 

“How? Tell me…” He pumped his fingers in, then out, before dragging that same touch up her folds and back again. He was ready to pull away but he stopped, causing Arya’s breath to hitch. “Tell me…” The warning had a newfound heat surging to Arya’s center, one that pulsed and swelled as she watched Gendry take his fingers in his mouth and lick her taste off.

 

“Fuck, Gendry…”

 

He smiled and kissed her lips. Arya smiled too. She thought she was quick enough but as she reached out to return the favor, Gendry stopped her, shaking his head. “Later.”

 

“You’re not being fair.”

 

“I’m being plenty fair,” he laughed off. “Tell me what you want, Arya.”

 

“You. I told you I just want y—” 

 

Arya tasted Gendry, deft and forceful, all of him pressed into all of her. At once the pair was stumbling back again, their destination still unknown. Arya allowed it. She even encouraged it when she felt him grip her thighs and shift to pull her body up into his arms. But she stopped him, reminding herself not to wrap her legs around his waist in the way they both liked. One leg remained locked around his bare ass while the other pointed toward the floor, all of her pliable and there for his taking. Meanwhile, all Gendry wanted was everything Arya wanted.

 

Arya tried to reach for him again, to feel the velvety soft skin of his cock in her palms, but he took her wrists in his hands and slammed them back against the wall. Arya winced as she felt something else dig into her back and looking down she saw he had shuffled them into a short armoire. Gendry must have noticed too because he wrapped his arm around her back in an attempt to lift her up onto the dresser. It was also an apology, a silent one added to the pile with all the others: the hot kisses he pressed to her breasts and the promise of his tongue on her center if she’d only be patient. 

 

In clear frustration, Arya tossed Gendry’s hands away and turned around so her hands were gripping the top of the armoire. There was a pause, one that lasted far longer than she would have liked before Arya felt Gendry’s hardened length at her back. Finally, she was allowed to touch him, guiding his cock toward her waiting cunt until she could finally feel him, slick with precum, at her back. 

 

“Gendry Waters, if you don’t….” 

 

She cried out when he pushed inside, her body rocking with the waves and consuming him further. Gendry groaned, his thumb pressed to the base of her spine to keep her in place. The smile both wore was instant and when Arya sank back fully she was thankful for the strong hand Gendry had pressed to her tummy. His height had her body nearly off the ground  and as he began to thrust, she found herself incapable of nothing other than breathing. The dresser they moved against gave little reprieve, its empty drawers knocking with each meeting of their hips, skin dragging deliciously as both worked the other in search of a shared orgasm. 

 

“Fuhhhh,” Arya moaned.

 

 In response, Gendry let his palm slide down to apply pressure to her clit. She cried out again, his cockhead simultaneously hitting a pressure point they’d only ever been able to find at this angle. Once again her hair was matted to her skin, covering her back and forehead like string as Gendry pistoned in and out of her. He’d place a kiss to her pulsepoint or suck on her earlobe, slowing down his rhythm when he felt it was what they both needed. Then Arya would reach behind her and shift the grip she had on Gendry’s neck, keeping him close. They attempted a kiss then several more, but it ended with Arya grappling at the dresser, her body bent over and away from his while he kept a strong hand to her back, his eyes only capable of seeing the exact place where their bodies met.

 

“I...want...can’t…” She was winded and finding speech difficult the harder Gendry pounded into her. 

 

He stopped though, growing concerned when he didn’t hear a laugh follow her dwindling sentiment. “Arya?”

 

Her chest heaved, new oxygen filling her lungs like courage. “Bed. I want to see you.”

 

Gendry must have agreed because instantly she was in his arms, the two momentarily detached but just as blissful as he laid a smattering of kisses to her cheeks and chest. Arya flailed in his arms, the moment lost to play until she was finally deposited atop the bed again, her body bouncing with the ocean as Gendry covered her with his frame.

 

She giggled until he demanded her lips back, their mouths meeting just as he found himself sheathed inside her once again. Looking down to her, Gendry smoothed Arya’s hair back, enjoying the grin she wore as their hips met, their lips just barely touching each time he filled her fully. 

 

“You could have just said you wanted the bed,” Gendry chuckled into her skin between bated breaths.

 

“Didn’t want the bed. Just wanted you,” Arya returned in kind. Her eyes snapped shut as she felt a particular humming in her belly, one that caused her toes to curl. “Right there...fuhhhh,” she groaned, her fingernails like needles upon Gendry’s back.

 

Arya knew Gendry was close because he was quiet, his brow furrowed in concentration, even as they kissed. Gendry left her with a peck to her forehead, both hands cupping her face and his eyes demanding her attention when he finally let go, the coil in his own stomach snapping, sending light and heat to his extremities and beyond. 

 

Arya keened, her hips rising from the bed as she felt Gendry spill inside of her. She cried out, repositioning her arms around his neck for purchase as her legs gave out and he nearly collapsed atop her. Only then did she hear him let out a laugh, one that she couldn’t help but to follow. It was disbelief and relief, then wonderment and gratitude. Gendry rolled off of her, the action causing him to almost fall off the bed. Their lovemaking had their bodies at an unfortunate angle upon the featherbed and the motion of the sea did little to correct things.

 

“Fuck, Arya…” Gendry let out. He touched the back of his hand to his forehead, feeling the sweat there and with the other hand he reached down to lay a light slap to her stomach. She was on fire too, and the action elicited a giggle, one that had Arya turning over onto her belly to show him her bare ass. 

 

“I think that’s what you were looking for,” she wiggled, before pushing up off the bed to stand. 

 

Gendry’s abdomen burned from exertion, their coupling producing the same outcome as their many nights in Harrenhal when after everyone else had retired their exhaustion found both of them in a fit of perpetual laughter. 

 

He leaned forward anyway, resting back on his elbows as he watched Arya move from the bed back toward the window. She bent over, just as she had that morning, only when she stood back up she carried with her his own discarded shirt. She took the still damp tunic and wiped it between her legs, having to drag the linen from the inside of her knee upward. 

 

“Hope you didn’t need that,” she sassed.

 

“My seed or the shirt?”

 

Arya made a face and tossed the tunic back toward him. Gendry extended his hands like a shield, ultimately pushing it away before it could land. He repositioned himself atop the bed, moving so his back was upon the many feather pillows, reaching for the white silk sheets.

 

“We should grab some furs before we leave,” he commented, his eyes donated to the mattress. “I know you think it’s hot as shit in the South but it can be cold out to sea.”

 

A still naked Arya was almost back to the bed but she quickly turned on her heel. “Oh! That’s why I brought you here!”

 

Gendry blinked. “Which part?”

 

Arya disappeared into the alcove just beyond the armoire. When she reappeared she was completely covered in a blanket of gold and grey, stitching and tassels covering the trim of what Gendry soon realized was a coverlet for a bed much bigger than the one he laid upon.

 

“I had this made for you,” she said sweetly, all of her still drowning in the material. As she drew closer, Gendry saw it more clearly: direwolves and stags appeared atop the velvet in soft cashmere thread woven together to display the Stark and Baratheon house crests. “Don’t worry,” Arya said. “There’s a bull on the back,” she teased as she leaned down to pick up the hem and show him. The closer she became the more intricate Gendry realized it had been until finally Arya was just before him, presented like a gift ready for unwrapping. 

 

“C’mere,” he gruffed, as he took her in his arms and hoisted her up so she was beside him in bed. The duvet still pooled around her like a cape, exposing her shoulders and the tops of her breasts as she made an attempt to cover Gendry with the fabric too. She kissed him and the pair smiled, temporarily lost in a short-lived bliss as a flash of lightning illuminated the cabin around them.

 

“It’s actually for our bed in the castle…” The words were like molasses falling from Arya’s lips. She felt like a child lost in her own imagination. 

 

Our bed? In our castle?” he teased with a kiss to her clavicle. “I think it’ll do on the journey over.”

 

Arya beamed. “You like it then?”

 

“I do. It’s...expensive.”

 

“Oh yeah, put the Stormlands in debt with this one, I did,” Arya jested, causing a yelp when Gendry pinched her side. “I don’t think it’s the price that’ll cause issue. People will talk now, I’m sure.”

 

Gendry quirked a brow. “Talk?”

 

“I couldn’t exactly make it myself. You know I’m shit with sewing. So I had to put in a few requests...had it sent to a needleworker in Winterfell, then a needleworker in King’s Landing. This blanket has seen a lot of Westeros.” Arya looked up to him, her eyes like glass - calm and patient and waiting. “It had to be perfect.”

 

Gendry dropped his lips down to her forehead and left a kiss there. “All we need is for one person to hear of a Stark-Baratheon union…”

 

He then pulled Arya closer, and with her came the rest of the coverlet. She draped it over Gendry, both of them atop the silk bed sheets, naked but cloaked proudly in Arya’s present. It was the first gift of many that she’d give Gendry, somehow this one being a prerequisite for all the others: four, a seer in Braavos had once told her. 

 

“I think I have a name.”

 

Arya looked up to Gendry, unaware that she had even become lost in her own thoughts. “A what?”

 

“A name,” he reiterated. “For the ship. Our ship, as you say.”

 

Arya snuggled into him, joining him in his view of the moving lanterns above as the ship below them rocked with the waves. “Let’s hear it.” 

 

“The Rebellion,” Gendry stated simply. Arya giggled but he stopped her, twisting her nipple until the pain had her pushing his hand away. “Don’t laugh!”

 

“You mean like…” Laughter still coated her tongue. “Your father had his rebellion, so what? This is your rebellion?”

 

“No. It’s not.” Gendry’s words were a declaration. “It’s our rebellion.”

 

Arya laid her head back upon his chest. “I don’t know if we want to be reminding everyone of what happened the last time a Baratheon fell in love with a Stark.”

 

“It’s a different world now. I’m a bastard and I’m about to be lord.”

 

“You’re not a bastard,” Arya admonished with a sigh. 

 

“I’m a bastard , Arya, and I’m about to be a lord. That’s a rebellion.”

 

Arya breathed and looked up to the ceiling. “I’ll not marry you yet but I’ll spend my nights by your side.” 

 

Gendry shrugged, agreeing. “Another rebellion.” 

 

“This time though, the Stark girl loves the Baratheon boy back.” Arya smirked, her satisfaction akin to the relief of an exhale after holding your breath for far too long. "The ultimate rebellion."