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love, war, and a few things in between

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“You’ve no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this,” Gendry said, hitching Arya’s leg up by his side and pressing her back into the shelves of dusty old books. For once, Arya opted not to bother contradicting him. Instead she smiled against his kiss and pulled him closer. They kissed slowly and urgently at once, his lips both soft and strong as they moved over hers. She liked the way his tongue felt against hers, the way his hand would grip her thigh slightly tighter when she rocked her hips towards his, the way he would occasionally pull away to look at her and grin, as if he couldn’t believe what he was doing.

“Stop that,” Arya said, her cheeks reddening rapidly. He bent to kiss underneath her jaw, and she closed her eyes contentedly.

“As you wish, princess,” he breathed, and she involuntarily let out a quiet moan. He paused, letting out a short breath of laughter against her neck. “Wait, do you like it when I call you that?” Arya nodded and bit her lip, a little embarrassed. Gendry shifted so that he was looking at her face. “I thought it pissed you off,” he laughed.

“It does,” she said. “You do. But I guess I like that.” She grinned as he brought his lips to hers again. Gendry kissed her hungrily, a hand in her hair and the other on her thigh. He nipped at her bottom lip and she gasped.

“You like that too, princess?” He looked smug - the princess thing had definitely gone to his head.

Arya pushed him and his cocky grin away and pulled her sweater over her head, leaving her in only her little black bralette from the waist up. She smiled when she saw that Gendry’s smug look had been replaced by a one of surprise. He stared at her, drinking in the view, his breath rather heavy now. Gendry had seen her in a bra countless times before and after practices, but this felt different. He was looking at her now, not turning away politely, not avoiding her gaze. He wanted to touch her and the thought made her feel warm from head to toe.

“Fuck,” he breathed, his gaze leaving her chest briefly so that their eyes met, “Finally.” He brought his hands to her breasts and she sighed with pleasure as he ran his thumbs over her nipples, separated from his touch by only the thin layer of lacy material. He kissed his way down her neck to her collarbone.

“Finally?” she asked, her eyes fluttering shut as he bent lower to kiss her between her breasts. He chuckled, his breath tickling her chest.

“Think about how many times I’ve had to watch you take your top off, Stark.” He brought his lips back to her skin softly. She opened her eyes and frowned, pushing him back and leaning against the bookshelves.

“I thought you didn’t look,” she said coyly, her hands on his shoulders. “You know, I heard you talking to Anguy and Tom about me last year. You said you didn’t want to look at me in the changing room.” Gendry blinked at her, confused. “They said I looked good that night and you basically scoffed.” She wasn’t angry - he had clearly changed his stance on her looks at some point and she was happy for it. But she figured it might be fun to tease him about his previous opinions of her. Gendry continued to stare at her until he let out a bark of laughter.

“You thought I didn’t want to look at you?” He said incredulously. She blanched, not expecting this response. “Arya, your brother was the captain, I wasn’t going to check out his little sister in front of him!” He laughed again, shaking his head. “I have no memory of scoffing at you, but I can promise that it would have been due to the fact that you’re so far out of my league that speaking to someone as pretty as you seemed like a fool’s errand.” Arya furrowed her brow and paused. He thought her out of his league?

“You thought I was pretty?” She asked after a moment, hating how the very thought filled her with happiness, “This entire time?” Gendry gave her a look of bewilderment.

“Of course I did, Stark,” he said, shaking his head and looking at her like she was speaking a foreign language, “You’re the prettiest girl I know.” Her lips parted in surprise at his words. He had said it as if it were the most obvious statement in the world. His fingers briefly grazed the pendant she wore around her neck as she stared at him.

“I thought you thought I was a stuck-up bitch,” she breathed. Gendry laughed again and touched his thumb to her bottom lip.

“Oh, I did,” he smiled, running his hand along her jaw now and bringing his face close, so close that his lips were almost on hers, “Doesn’t mean I was blind, though.” He kissed her and she melted into him, her body tingling with every touch of his hand against her bare skin.

She tugged at his quidditch jersey, pushing it upwards and breaking away from his lips to pull it over his head. “Fuck,” she said, biting her lip as her eyes roamed his torso hungrily and she ran a hand delicately down from his shoulder to his pec. “Finally.”

-

It was odd, Arya thought, how ready she felt to have sex with Gendry. It wasn’t so much an “if” as it was a “when” and she hoped that the “when” would be very, very soon. Sure, they had only gotten together that morning, and yes, they were making out against a bookshelf that was very much accessible to anyone looking for information on Ancient Magical Literature, but... Arya wanted him. And he wanted her.

She could see it in the way his bright blue eyes seemed to darken as he moved to kiss her. She could hear it in the little noises he made when she ran her hand through his hair. She knew he wanted her because of the way he couldn’t seem to decide where he wanted his hands to go - on her hips, up to her breasts, cupping her face, tangled into her hair, everywhere. She could tell he wanted her because she could feel him hard against her hip.

Arya grinned and looked down, biting her lip as she glanced back up at him. Gendry blushed, though his eyes didn’t look all that embarrassed. “Not the first time you’ve caused this,” he shrugged, and it was Arya’s turn to blush.

“First time I’m around to give you a hand with it, though,” she smiled, and Gendry nodded slowly, as if he was having sudden trouble processing what was happening. Arya brought a hand to the front of his quidditch pants and he let out a low breath. She tugged at his laces, pulling her elbow back and accidentally bumping into the books behind her, pushing a few of them back far enough to knock into the ones in the neighbouring aisle. There was a series of dull thuds.

“Who’s there?” Came Mister Pycelle’s wizened voice. Gendry and Arya froze, eyes wide, both biting their lips to keep from laughing.

“Catch,” Gendry hissed, tossing Arya her sweater as he went to go pick up his own. She couldn’t help but giggle as she pulled it over her head. Her flower crown was on the floor, too - she picked it up and placed it on Gendry’s head with a smile.

“Hello?” Pycelle called, and Gendry grabbed a book from the shelves, holding it casually in front of his midsection. The librarian rounded the corner and blinked in surprise. “What are you doing here?” He accused. They must have looked suspicious. Arya grabbed a book off the shelves.

“We’re doing some extra-credit work on, um,” she glanced at the title, “Magic in Muggle Mythology.” She smiled at Pycelle, who looked confused for a moment before smiling back.

“I’m pleased to hear it,” he croaked, “Every other student seems to be all worked up about some quidditch match today. I’m glad the two of you have more sense.” He glanced at Gendry. “Are you interested in taking that book out on loan, young man?”

“Uh… yes?”

-

“I can’t believe I had to check out a book on Notable Fictional Trolls,” Gendry grumbled as they wandered the deserted corridors on their way back to Gryffindor tower. Arya laughed. “Probably for the best that he interrupted us, though...” Gendry said with a glance sideways at Arya, who looked at him sharply. He rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean, Stark. We can’t… It’s not… I mean, in the library?” She smiled as he fumbled over his words.

“I suppose you’re right,” she sighed, “We’ll just have to think up a better spot for it.”

-

Between breaking Ramsay Bolton’s nose and very publicly kissing Gendry after the match, Arya couldn’t seem to go anywhere in the school without being on the receiving end of high fives, jealous glares, or intrigued whispers. She sported her battered and bruised knuckles proudly, offering Joffrey a rather purple two fingered salute when he suggested that Gendry needed his girlfriend to throw his punches for him. Gendry hadn’t been bothered by the comment, opting instead to grin at Arya’s stony face as she flipped the Slytherin seeker off.

Arya felt a little uncomfortable with the stares that she and Gendry received, the little smirks from passers-by in the hallways - she supposed that this is what she got for making out with him in front of the entire school. She liked kissing Gendry - a lot - but she preferred to do so when they were alone, with nothing holding her back from him.

The exception to this came when Arya found herself walking into the great hall for lunch behind the same seventh year girls who had wanted to snog Gendry after he won the quidditch cup.

“She’s alright, but she’s not Gendry Waters hot,” one said, annoyed. Another nodded in commiseration.

“He’ll get bored of her,” said the tallest one confidently, “Apparently she’s a total freeze, and I saw him smiling as he chatted up Arianne Martell in Potions this week.” The girls tittered excitedly.

“Well, she certainly isn’t a freeze,” the first girl offered with a snigger. Arya frowned.

“I just hope he’s unattached before term ends,” The tall one carried on, tossing her hair over her shoulder, “I’m hoping to give him a nice send-off before we graduate.” Arya spotted Gendry at the lunch table and hurried past the giggling girls to slide in beside him.

“Hey!” he started, “I -,” But Arya had pulled him into a deep kiss, her hands clutching the front of his school sweater as she did so. He brought a hand to her face and kissed her back with enthusiasm, smiling as she pulled away. “What was that for?”

“I like you,” she shrugged nonchalantly, reaching for a sandwich. He blinked at her, a little dazed, before remembering himself.

“I gave that book back to Arianne, by the way. She says thanks.”

-

“So,” Professor Seaworth said, “all things considered, I think you two have been landed with a fairly light punishment, taking into account the damage done to Mr. Bolton.”

“What’s his punishment?” Arya asked, “For breaking Gendry’s arm when the game had already ended.” Seaworth smiled.

“He’s cleaning out the dungeon toilets. Now, I’ll take your wands, you can come and get them in my office this afternoon. You’ll need to scrub the showers, sort out the lost and found, clear out every locker, and give those floors a good mop.” Arya and Gendry both nodded, handing over their wands. Seaworth turned to leave but hesitated before he did so, looking a little awkward. “Now I’m aware that you two are, well, an item. But I hope you know better than to busy yourselves with anything other than the tasks at hand. Understood?” Gendry flushed a deep red and Arya nodded, picking at the hem of her school skirt.

-

“I still can’t believe that worked,” Arya breathed as she tilted her head back against the lockers, exposing more of her neck to Gendry and smiling to herself as his lips moved slowly towards her collarbone. Both of their school shirts lay discarded on the benches and Gendry’s hand was gripping Arya’s bare thigh.

“Anguy loses his wand all the time,” Gendry murmured. “He’ll only realize it’s gone when I give it back to him.” Gendry had ‘borrowed’ his friends wand from their dormitory and given it to Professor Seaworth, keeping his own tucked into his sock. It had taken them about fifteen minutes to complete their assigned tasks, allowing them to spend time on more pressing matters.

“Seaworth would be so disappointed in us,” she mused, “I almost feel bad.” He brought his head up, looking at her.

“I do feel bad,” he said, “but not enough to stop.” He kissed her, drawing his hand further up her skirt. Arya ran her fingers through the hair at the back of his head and kissed him hungrily, letting herself melt into him. This was easily the best detention she would ever serve.

-

When Arya pushed Gendry away and reached back to unclasp her bra, the look of sheer awe and anticipation on his face was enough to make her pause. She chuckled when his lips parted in disappointment at her delay and his eyes met hers.

“Ned and I dated for over a month before I let him touch these,” she smiled, enjoying the look of mild confusion on Gendry’s face. “And I’ve only been with you for a week.” He swallowed and took a step back.

“If it’s too fast -,” he started, and Arya rolled her eyes, unhooking her bra and letting it fall to the freshly mopped floor. Gendry’s train of thought seemed to have come to an abrupt halt. His mouth fell open slightly.

“I was making a point, stupid,” she said, stepping towards him, rather liking the absolute awe that filled his eyes as he stared at her tits. “About how badly I want you.” She took his hands in hers, guiding them up her torso slowly. “How badly I want you to touch me,” she breathed as his hands reached her breasts and he exhaled, his eyes returning to hers briefly as he traced a circle around her nipples with his thumbs. Arya let out a soft gasp and her eyes fluttered shut, certain that nothing could ever feel as good as this.

She was proven wrong immediately, though, when Gendry decided to use his mouth. He caught her nipple in a delicate kiss before running the tip of his tongue over it. Arya whimpered, her hands digging into his hair. He paused, letting out a light laugh that tickled pleasantly against her skin. “Don’t really know what I’m doing,” he admitted.

“Well do more of it,” she demanded, her voice a little husky. She opened her eyes and looked at him. “Please.”

“If you insist, princess,” he smiled, bringing his mouth to her other side. Arya bit her lip and looked skywards, wondering - not for the first time - why they had waited so long to do this.

-

Her bare back was against the lockers and his lips were on hers when he put his hand up her skirt, sliding it up the inside of her thigh to her centre. Gendry paused at the noise of satisfaction she made against his lips. “That alright?” He whispered, and she nodded eagerly. “Just tell me what feels good.” Gendry sounded nervous - he had also never done this before. He began to stroke her gently and Arya whimpered.

His name, as well as a few ‘fuck’s and ‘please’s were the only words she managed, but he seemed to understand that her response was thoroughly positive.

-

“That was… wow,” Arya said, leaning against the lockers and breathing heavily as she recovered from the wave of pleasure that has overwhelmed her moments earlier. Her underwear was at her feet, her skirt hitched up high on her hips. Gendry looked pleased and Arya chuckled at him. “Proud of yourself, captain?” He shrugged and gave her a cocky grin, moving to kiss her.

“Call me that again,” he breathed against her lips. She smiled.

“Aye aye, captain.”

-

She started working on his belt buckle and Gendry paused, swallowing hard as he put his hands on hers. “Arya, I don’t want you to lose your virginity against the lockers of a quidditch changing room.” She stuck her bottom lip out and he rolled his eyes at her. “I mean it, it’s - neither of us have done this and I want it to be comfortable for you. And not in a room that constantly smells like sweat.” His cheeks were pink and she nodded as she leaned up to kiss one of them.

“We can save that for another day,” she agreed, her hands returning to his belt. He looked down at her fingers pulling his belt out of its loops and then at her, his brow furrowed. “Alys suggested something a little while ago and I’ve been wanting to try it out,” Arya shrugged. His pants dropped and she tugged his hand towards the boys’ showers.

-

“All cleaned up?” Seaworth asked. Arya and Gendry nodded, not looking at each other. They had spent over half an hour doing their best to look presentable. Arya had pulled her hair in front of her shoulders to cover up any evidence of Gendry’s mouth on her neck. Gendry’s hair was significantly messier than usual, which was saying something. The head of house handed them back their wands. “Good. In honesty, I didn’t think you two deserved any major punishment, considering Bolton’s threats before the match.”

“Thanks, Professor,” Arya said, “We worked together and even the hard stuff got taken care of without much issue, really.” Seaworth smiled and dismissed them.

-

“So, how was detention?” Wylla asked as the girls got ready for bed. Arya shrugged and pulled her hair aside to braid it.

“Not bad,” she said casually. “Did everything Seaworth told us to do pretty quickly.”

“Did Seaworth tell Gendry to give you a hickey?” Meera asked, a smile playing on her lips. Alys and Wylla giggled and Arya flushed, touching the place where Gendry had left a mark.

“Oh,” she said, her face heating up, “We had a little time to kill.”

“I think you’re gonna have to tell us everything,” Alys said, perching herself on the end of Arya’s bed. Meera and Wylla were listening attentively. Arya felt her blush deepen as she searched for words.

-

Dating Gendry was similar to being friends with Gendry. Arya still teased him about his scowl - though it seemed to appear on his face less and less these days - and he continued to roll his eyes anytime she was being difficult without reason.

They would still sit in the library together with a pack of gummy worms, though only Arya had exams left to write. Gendry would quiz her or doodle absent-mindedly. Arya occasionally caught him watching her take notes, which made her blush and earned him a light kick under the table.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said one day, as the late afternoon sun lit the library up pink and golden. Arya nodded. Things wouldn’t be the same next year without him around.

“Me too,” she said. “I can’t believe I wasted the whole year arguing with you when I could have been kissing you.” She laughed, but Gendry looked mildly devastated.

“You’ll write me, though, won’t you?” He asked. “And I’ll see if I can visit on Hogsmeade weekends. And maybe if I have a match over Christmas, you could come and watch.” He said all of this sort of quickly, as if it had been in his head for a while, itching to be spoken aloud. Arya grinned at him.

“This is assuming you don’t find some ultra-hot Magpies groupie to -,”

“Stop it,” he snapped, and she was surprised by how angry he sounded. He looked at her, a little hurt and rather annoyed. “That’s not going to happen and you know it.” She swallowed under his gaze and nodded.

“I do,” Arya said quietly, and then she reached out to hold his hand across the table.

“Sorry,” he said, “I just… I hope you know how much I like you, Stark.”

“At least half as much as I like you, Waters.”

Dating Gendry was similar to being friends with Gendry, only now when they bickered, the make-up was always punctuated by a good half hour of kissing each other senseless.

-

“By the way, I’m not waiting until Christmas to see one of your matches,” Arya said, taking his hand in hers as they left the library and headed to dinner. “The league starts in August, Gendry. There’s no way I’m missing your first game.”

Gendry looked down at their hands and then at Arya. Looking at his smile was a bit like looking directly at the sun.

-

“I think I know everything I could possibly know about Transfiguration and the exam is still two weeks away,” Arya whined. “Can we please take a break from studying?” Gendry was propped up against the trunk of a large beech tree by the lake and Arya sat in the grass nearby. It was early on a Sunday - much of the school hadn’t woken up yet. Gendry closed her textbook.

“Alright, princess. What did you have in mind?” She smiled at the nickname and moved to sit beside him.

“A few things, captain,” she said, lightly tracing the skin just above the collar of his shirt.

“When did you decide you liked that name, by the way?” He asked. A couple of strands of her hair had come loose from her braid and he tucked them out of her face. “I really did think it annoyed you.”

“It did,” she said, looking down. She couldn’t believe she was about to admit this to him. “I realized how much I liked it when we fought about the necklace Ned gave me. The time you called me shallow and easy and -,”

“I remember,” Gendry winced. “Not my proudest moment.”

“Well, it wasn’t mine either,” Arya carried on. “I had been going to meet Ned to break up with him but then you got me all frustrated and worked up and…” She bit her lip.

“And?” Gendry asked, an eyebrow raised.

“And I basically stuck my tongue down his throat. Kissed him as if there was no tomorrow. It was like -,”

“I get it,” Gendry grumbled, “No need for further details.” Arya rolled her eyes.

“The point,” she said, “is that he kept calling me ‘babe’ and I hated it so I told him to call me ‘princess’ instead. And I didn’t hate that as much.” Gendry’s lips parted in mild surprise. “When I kissed him all I could think about was you and how angry you had made me and how much I couldn’t stand you and how much I would prefer your voice calling me princess in my ear instead of Ned’s.” She blushed at the admission.

“You thought of me when you kissed him?” Gendry asked, as if he might not have heard her correctly.

“I mean, I didn’t admit it to myself right away,” she laughed, “but yeah, I did.” Gendry swallowed.

“And I’ve been fantasizing about you since the fall,” he said, almost to himself. “We’re idiots, Stark.” She laughed and nodded in agreement.

“I guess we’ll just have to make up for all of that wasted time,” she said, throwing a leg over his body so that she was straddling him.

“Whatever you say, princess,” he said as she brought her lips to his.

-

“What?” He asked as Arya giggled at him. She reached over and plucked a buttercup out of his hair before laying him back down in the grass and kissing him again.

-

Sansa sat at the Gryffindor table during breakfast on the last Hogsmeade weekend of the term. She serve Pod some porridge as he poured them tea.

“I was thinking that Gendry should try to plan his visit for the same week that Pod will be there in July,” she said. Gendry choked on his toast.

“I’m not - what?” He turned to Arya, “I’m visiting?” Arya frowned at Gendry, who was red in the face and spluttering.

“Well I was going to invite you, but if the notion offends you so much -,”

“No!” Gendry said, horrified, “no I… I would love to, I just…,” he glanced at Sansa. “Do your parents know that we’re dating? Do your brothers?” He suddenly looked rather concerned. Arya shrugged.

“Suppose I should tell them,” she said, “since I’ll have to introduce you all at graduation.” Gendry froze with his cup of pumpkin juice halfway to his lips. Pod and Sansa both looked as though they wanted to laugh but they refrained. Gendry fumbled around for words.

“Arya, if you don’t want to tell them we can always-,”

“Why wouldn’t I tell them?” Arya snapped, “They might already know, considering how many people watched the quidditch final and everything that came after.” Gendry’s eyes went wide.

“Jon’s going to kill me,” he said. “He wrote me that letter, thanking me for helping you, talking about how he was glad you and I were friends, asking me to keep an eye on Pod -,”

“Pardon me?” Sansa interjected.

“Because it’s his job as a big brother to be wary of anyone dating his little sisters.” Arya and Sansa both made noises of indignation but Gendry’s face remained wrought with dread. “Your brothers are going to hate me.”

“They won’t,” she said, rolling her eyes, “and even if they do, it wouldn’t matter to me.” But Gendry only looked more concerned.

“Your parents are basically wizarding royalty, Arya. I know you don’t care about me being muggleborn or not coming from much but -,”

“Gendry,” Arya said sharply, not caring that Sansa and Pod were watching them, listening intently, “do you really think I would give a shit if my parents didn’t approve of us?”

“Well, yeah,” he said with a frown, “they’re your family, Arya. Aren’t families, like, important to each other?” And his words broke her heart a little, because he had only ever had his mother and now he had no one. He had no family to fight with, no family to write home to, no family to piss off by dating someone they might not approve of. He wouldn’t have any family to introduce her to at his graduation.

“They are,” she said, taking the edge out of her voice, “but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t tell them to fuck off if they told me who I should or shouldn’t be with.” She put her hand on his shoulder and kissed his cheek. “For the record, though, my parents will love you.”

“It’s true,” Sansa said, “I’ve dated enough arseholes that by now, they’ll only really care that you’re nice. Plus, Dad was a beater, too, so you’ll have loads to chat about.”

-

As they made their way out of the great hall and towards the doors, they ran into Alys and Meera, who were planning on stopping by Honeydukes to stock up on chocolate frogs.

“We’ll meet you lot at the Three Broomsticks later, yeah?” Alys said.

“Yeah, Quentyn owes everyone a round since he lost the bet,” Pod beamed.

“What bet?” Arya asked, and everyone save Gendry exchanged a look. Alys laughed.

“The team placed bets on when you two would hook up,” she said. “Back in September. Sansa was in on it, too. Quentyn’s prediction was the furthest off the mark. He said you’d have snogged each other before Halloween.” Arya and Gendry looked at each other and then at the group.

“Well, who won?” Gendry asked.

“Lyanna,” Pod said, shaking his head, “She figured you’d only make a move if we won it all. Whole team said she was crazy for thinking it wouldn’t happen sooner, all those evenings spent alone together at your training sessions.”

“I had bet that you’d get together by Valentine’s Day,” Sansa said, sighing.

“Mid-November,” grumbled Pod.

“I was sure about Christmas until you hooked up with Ned,” Alys said. “Knew I was screwed when that started.”

“Did anyone think that maybe we wouldn’t get together at all?” Arya demanded, shocked at how confident they all had been.

“Wylla initially said you’d part as enemies, leaving your sexual tension unresolved until you meet up by chance five years from now and have the most mind-blowing one-night-stand of all time,” Alys laughed, “But then she changed her guess to March.”

-

Gendry held Arya back as the rest of the group departed for Hogsmeade. The entrance hall was emptying rapidly. “Listen, about earlier,” he said, “I just want to sat that I’d love to come visit you this summer.” Arya beamed.

“Good, ‘cause we’ve got a quidditch pitch to train on and I think you and I might stand a chance at beating Robb and Jon in a scrimmage.”

“You’ve got a quidditch pitch at your house?” Gendry said weakly. Arya nodded. “I was right about you,” he laughed. “You are a princess.”

“And I was right about you,” she said, folding her arms. “You’re a dick.” He only grinned.

“A handsome one, though?”

“Passable,” she shrugged.

“Fair,” he said, “I’m certainly punching above my weight on multiple fronts.”

“Oh, shut up,” she said, and she kissed him. He laughed against her lips and she chuckled with him before tugging him down to deepen their kiss. She had just opened her mouth to his when there was a loud whistle and a yell.

“Atta boy, Waters! Get in, mate!” Anguy hollered as Tom sent another wolf whistle in their direction. Gendry pulled away from Arya and scowled, holding two fingers up to his friends.

“Suppose we should go meet them all at the pub,” Gendry said glumly, and Arya smiled, watching Tom and Anguy head out the door and towards the village.

“I’ve actually got a far better idea.”

-

“I don’t think this is allowed, Arya,” Gendry said as she skipped ahead of him into the seventh year boys’ dormitory.

“Girls are allowed in the boys’ dorms,” she shrugged, “If I wasn’t supposed to be here, the castle would have some magic preventing it, surely.” He sighed and she knew she had won. “Which one’s yours?” She asked, and he nodded to the bed furthest from the door. The rest of the boy were in Hogsmeade for the day, leaving them with a few hours of privacy. Arya was hoping to making the most of this.

She walked over and sat on his bed, smiling at him as she patted the spot beside her. He walked over cautiously.

“Arya, are you sure that you -,”

“You kept it,” Arya breathed, picking up a sprig of baby’s breath from his bedside table. Gendry smiled.

“Of course I did,” he said quietly as he sat down beside her, taking the flowers from her hand and tucking them behind her ear. She felt her breath catch as Gendry ran his hand along her jaw. There was no way she wasn’t doing this now. Arya kissed him the way you kiss a boy who keeps the flowers you put in his hair.

-

Arya wondered if Gendry’s reaction to the removal of her bra would ever change. She hoped not. He smiled at her half naked form, his eyes roaming her body shamelessly. Arya wished he would use his hands for that.

“Stop drooling like an idiot and touch me, Gendry,” she said when the anticipation got to be too much for her. He grinned and appeased her, bringing his hands to her tits. He began to kiss her along her jaw as he did so, pausing when his lips were on her ear.

“Whatever you say, princess.”

-

She undid her jeans and slid them off, kicking them onto the floor. “Do what you did in the changing rooms,” Arya instructed as she guided his hand downwards, embarrassingly affected by the sharp intake of breath he made as he felt how wet her knickers were. He nodded wordlessly and moved to position himself atop Arya as he brought his hand to her, catching her first gasp of delight with his lips.

-

“I hear it’s better for you when the guy uses his mouth,” Gendry said. Arya stared at the ceiling, grinning as she recovered from his touch. “We could try that sometime, if you want.” Arya shut her eyes, imagining Gendry’s head between her thighs and nodded.

“We should,” she breathed. She turned and looked at him, propping herself up on her elbow. “But first...” she said, and she reached to unbuckle his belt. Arya’s heart fluttered at the desire evident in his eyes as he watched her unzip his trousers.

“Fuck,” he said as she took him in her hands. The word sounded like both a plea and a prayer.

“Tell me what feels good,” she said, but he only let out a little moan and chuckled.

“Everything,” he said after a moment, “Everything your hands do feels good.”

“I hear it’s nice if I use my mouth, too,” she said, feeling him grow harder in her hands. Arya kissed his tip and giggled, feeling rather silly. Gendry had his eyes shut, his breath coming out ragged as she touched him. “I’d like to try that sometime, if you’ll let me.” He let out a funny breath, somewhere between a groan and a laugh. She got the sense that he would happily let her try that one day. But not right now - right now she wanted him inside her, and soon. She told him as much as she moved to sit astride him.

Gendry looked up at her as if he couldn’t quite believe she was real, his hands running up her thighs and along her torso. He cupped her breasts briefly, smiling at the way she reacted to his fingers grazing her nipples. He then brought his hands back down to her hips.

“You sure?” He asked, though the answer was clear in her eyes. She nodded.

-

“I thought it was supposed to suck the first time,” Arya said after a little while, her head on Gendry’s bare chest. Gendry still looked sort of dazed as he shook his head absent-mindedly.

“That definitely didn’t suck,” he breathed.

“Maybe we did it wrong,” Arya said. “Maybe the first time only sucks if the boy’s on top.” Gendry considered this.

“That doesn’t sound as if it would suck,” he admitted. Arya shook her head in agreement.

“Maybe we should try it,” she said, biting her lip and looking up at him. “Just in case.” Gendry grinned and flipped himself on top of her.

“Just in case,” he repeated, leaning down to kiss her.

-

“Well, that did not suck either,” he said, flopping back so that they were both looking upwards now, breathing heavily. “I only wish it had lasted longer,” he added, turning to her sheepishly.

“Shush,” Arya said. She had heard about so many horrible first times, so much awkwardness and pain and disappointment. It had been awkward, sure, positioning herself atop Gendry at first. They had laughed a lot, and their limbs didn’t always seem to know where to go. There had definitely been some pain, but it had been vastly outweighed by pleasure. None of it had felt disappointing. “That was perfect,” she said, enjoying the way his face seemed to light up at these words.

“You’re perfect,” was all he offered in response. She glanced between them and saw that the sprig of baby’s breath had fallen out of her hair in all of their moving about. Arya picked it up and tucked the flowers behind Gendry’s ear.

-

They made it to the Three Broomsticks in the mid-afternoon, finding their friends huddled around a couple of tables pushed together. Arya squeezed in between Alys and Wylla, and Gendry pulled up a chair by Pod.

“Where have you two been?” Wylla asked with a raised eyebrow. They both shrugged.

“Zonko’s,” Arya said, as Gendry said “Scrivenshaft’s.”

“And the post office,” Arya added hurriedly. “And we walked over to the Shrieking Shack. We did everything.”

-

For once, Arya was dreading the final day of exams. It was usually a happy occasion, being finished with school for the summer. But this year it meant that she only had a couple of days left with Gendry. She wished that she was graduating with him.

She left her final exam - Herbology - and found Gendry playing a game of exploding snap with Lyanna in the Gryffindor common room. The young girl squealed in triumph as Gendry picked up a card that immediately erupted into a small and smoky explosion, dusting his face with soot and singing the ends of the hair that fell in this face. He looked up to see Arya laughing at him and he scowled as Lyanna gathered up her cards and skipped away to find another opponent.

“How was it?” Gendry asked as Arya sat in the spot vacated by Lyanna.

“Fine,” Arya shrugged, tapping his nose with her wand and clearing his face of the scorch marks. “You excited for Saturday?” Gendry looked unsure.

“I’m nervous to meet your parents,” he admitted, “And I’m not looking forward to saying good-bye to you.”

“It’s only for a couple of weeks,” she said, “You’re visiting in July and I’ll see you at your match in August and…,” she bit her lip. “And then you’ll write me horribly romantic love letters to tide me over until Christmas.”

“I wonder if the Magpies will be in need of a seeker anytime soon,” Gendry mused. “I sort of like having you around.”

“Oh, no,” Arya said with a frown. “Val Wilde has said that she’s retiring after next season because of her wrist issues, which means that Holyhead will be looking for a seeker as soon as I graduate,” she grinned. “Enjoy your one season of peace, Waters.”

-

The graduation itself was rather boring. The ceremony was held outside by the lake, and the sun was shining. Arya clapped politely for each student as they were given a ceremonial scroll and shook hands with the staff members. She sat with the rest of the students, though she waved at her brothers over where the families sat. Bran and Rickon waved back and Jon smiled before joining Robb in squinting towards the group of Gryffindor seventh years. Arya rolled her eyes and clapped for Margaery Tyrell.

-

Her father and mother both pulled her into a hug when she found them at the reception. Catelyn smiled at her. “I like the flowers in your hair, Arya,” she smiled, “You look lovely.” Arya hugged Jon and Robb and Rickon, but Bran was busy looking over her shoulder at Meera. He had fostered a crush on Arya’s friend since the summer Meera had come to visit.

Sansa arrived, looking as though she had just been crying. She beamed at them all as Catelyn pulled her into an embrace and Rickon handed her the flowers they had brought for her. Arya saw Pod hugging his own family nearby and surveyed the grounds until she spotted a tall, solitary figure by the refreshments table.

-

She dragged him over to where her family stood. “You’ll be fine,” she hissed, before pulling him forward.

“Everyone, this is Gendry,” she said, “my boyfriend.” Her father looked him up and down, and there was a brief flash of confusion in his eyes before he smiled and reached out a hand. Gendry shook it, not looking nearly as nervous as Arya knew him to be.

“Nice to meet you, lad,” Ned said, “What was your surname again?”

“Waters,” Gendry said, now looking a little unsure.

“And with an accent like that, I’d say you’re from the city, yes?” Gendry nodded. Ned looked him over again, looking as if he had a few more questions to ask, but he clapped Gendry on the shoulder instead. “Well you’ve got the beater’s build, son. Far more than I ever did. Arya mentioned in a letter that the Magpies are hoping to sign you. Great organization over there, I know the owner well, lovely man.” Gendry looked relieved to be talking quidditch and Catelyn sidled in between Sansa and Arya.

“He’s very handsome, isn’t he?” she whispered. Sansa nodded and Arya rolled her eyes. She couldn’t disagree, though. He looked like a man grown, enthusiastically telling her father about the catch she had made to win the quidditch cup. She would miss seeing his face every day.

-

Robb shook Gendry’s hand and gave him a hard look. “And to think, I always thought rather highly of you, Waters.” Arya narrowed her eyes.

“Not highly enough to let him try out for the team before his fifth year,” she spat, and both boys looked at her in surprise.

“I was only kidding, Arya,” Robb laughed. “Sheesh.” He turned back to Gendry. “If it helps, as soon as I saw you play I knew we’d been missing out. Not a surprise you’ve been picked up by a pro squad.”

“He’ll be the youngest beater in the league,” Arya said proudly. Gendry stared at her.

“Will I?” He asked. She nodded.

“Puddlemere has picked up one from Durmstrang, but he’s a few months older than you,” she explained. Robb raised his eyebrows, impressed.

“We’ll all have to come out for your first match,” he said, and Gendry nodded, looking sort of taken aback. “I’m sure even Sansa could be convinced to sit through that match.” Robb laughed and Arya and Gendry exchanged a look.

“Sansa has taken quite an interest in quidditch of late, actually,” Arya said, looking over her shoulder at her sister introducing Pod to her parents.

-

“You got my letter?” Jon asked as he shook Gendry’s hand. Gendry nodded. “Well, I appreciate you helping her out with the bludger stuff. As for the bit about keeping an eye on Pod…,”

“If it makes you feel better, I did look out for Arya when she was dating that Dayne prick,” Gendry said earnestly. Arya scoffed.

“Because you were jealous,” she said with derision. “You weren’t being some noble, brotherly figure. Besides, I don’t see how it’s any of either of your business who I go out with.” She folded her arms and frowned at both of them. Jon laughed at her and Gendry gave her a funny look.

“I think it sort of is my business who you go out with, actually,” he smiled, and Jon laughed harder.

“For now,” she scowled.

-

“So you can see the future?” Gendry asked Bran, who spared him a patient, tired look.

“You opted not to take divination in your third year, didn’t you?” Bran said, and Gendry’s eyebrows shot up.

“Yeah!” he said, “Whoa, how’d you know that?” Bran gave Arya a look of amusement.

“Intuition,” he said dryly. Then he looked Gendry up and down and smiled. “We’ll have a lot to talk about by Christmas after next, though.” Gendry blinked at him and then gave Arya a wary look. Bran winked at his sister, though she thought he might have meant what he said.

-

Arya hardly got a second alone with Gendry that day, though he did pull her aside for a moment to give her a quick hug. “Your parents are nice,” he said. “Your dad seemed quite interested in my parents, which got sort of awkward. Asked me what my father did for a living, though he didn’t seem weirded out when I told him I didn’t know my dad.” Arya frowned, not sure why her father would care about Gendry’s parents. She looked up to ask more, but Gendry was busy looking at the hellebores in her hair and the words died in her throat. She smiled at him and he smiled back before leaning down to give her a quick kiss on her cheek.

-

She kissed him properly when they stepped off the Hogwarts Express, before they passed through Platform Nine and Three Quarters and back into the muggle world. She heard a few sniggers and some pointed coughs, but she didn’t mind. They had already done this in front of the entire school, anyway, and she wanted to give him something to remember her by. They broke apart and he grinned at her.

“I’m gonna miss doing that,” she breathed, her lips still tingling pleasantly. He nodded.

“I’m gonna miss you, princess,” Gendry said.

“I’ll miss you too, captain,” Arya replied. He laughed.

“I’m not the captain anymore. I think that might be your title now, captain,” Gendry smiled. Arya decided that she liked it when he called her that.

-

Gendry was named the British and Irish Quidditch League’s First Year Player of the Year after helping the Montrose Magpies go from third-from-bottom to second in the league. They made the playoffs for the first time in four seasons and sweaters with 'Waters' stitched on the back became best-sellers in Montrose. He was equally popular among the male fans and the female ones, and frankly he wasn’t particularly comfortable with any of the attention he received.

When asked by a reporter from the Daily Prophet what it felt like to make such an impact as a teenager, he only laughed and told them to wait until they saw what his girlfriend did the next season.

-

Gendry’s Magpies made it to the league finals in his second season, only to be beaten by the ever-dominant Holyhead Harpies. His coach had pulled him aside halfway through the game to chastise his beating. “I know she’s your girlfriend, Waters, but you’re going to take her head off! Back off a bit, alright? You’re going to get called for a foul if you don’t let up.”

“With respect, coach, the last thing we want to give Arya Stark is an ounce of space,” Gendry had insisted. He had been right, and as soon as he had trusted his fellow beater to cover her for a moment, she was pulling out of a dive, the snitch in hand.

She gripped his hand tightly during the post-match handshakes. “Thought you were about to pull a Bolton on me,” she said, annoyed. “You were ruthless out there. I thought you liked me, Waters.”

“As if you would ever want me to go easy on you, Stark,” he said, matching her glare with one of his own. They stood like that for a few minutes before Arya smiled. She always liked making up with him after their little spats and silly arguments. Making up with him after this would be, if possible, even better.