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then let’s try our very best to fake it

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Bran was all for adventure. He used to be an avid rock climber and all-around daredevil and adrenaline junkie. His siblings, of course, helped foster this nature, much to their mother’s dismay. He and his siblings had been whitewater rafting, backpacking, skydiving, bungee jumping, and rock climbing together. So, yes. Bran loved adventure.

However, he did not love opening and email from an old college roommate and accidentally viewing government secrets that were now embedded in his brain. The NSA quickly traced the email to him and was at his doorstep in a matter of hours. Some would maybe consider this an adventure, Bran would kindly tell them to go screw themselves.

•••

“Mr. Stark, do you know why you’re here?” The man before Bran leaned back in his chair, looking relaxed. It made Bran uneasy.

“Because I opened an email?”

“You opened and viewed all of the government’s top secret information,” the man nodded. “Unfortunately the computer that used to store that information has been destroyed.”

“Surely you have backups?” Bran tried.

“I’m afraid you’re our only backup,” the man looked almost sympathetic.

“What does that mean?”

The man reached in front of him and pulled a piece of paper from the envelope on the table. He turned the paper around and Bran got a good look at it. It was his sister Arya.

“What does she-“ images flashed before his eyes before he could finish. A badge, a gun, an evaluation. He opened his eyes again and the man smiled.

“I was right.”

“What the hell was that?” Bran gaped at the man.

“I was proving a theory. I showed you a picture of your sister because it wouldn’t reveal any secrets if I was wrong. Fortunately for us, I wasn’t.” The man out the picture back inside the envelope.

“What did I just see? Why did my sister’s picture trigger all those images in my brain?” Bran was stunned...and royally confused.

“Your sister works for the FBI,” the man explained calmly.

Bran shook his head. “My sister works at a gym. She’s a fitness instructor. I’ve even visited her at work before!”

“I’m afraid not. The FBI recruited her right out of college.”

“Then she’s been doing this for years...” Bran was at a loss for words. He didn’t even know what to think.

The door to the small interrogation room clicked open and Arya stepped in, followed by two men.
Bran’s eyes widened as she stood next to the man in front of him.

“Waters,” she sad in the way of a greeting.

“Stark,” the man returned just as cheerfully, which wasn’t saying much.

Arya turned to Bran and gave him a small smile. “Hello, Bran.”

Bran just nodded, still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that this was real.

“Hello, Mr. Stark. My name is Davos Seaworth. I work for the NSA.” One of the men who came in with Arya greeted him. He was an older gentleman and he seemed to be cheerful.

“And my name is Syrio Forel. I work with your sister for the FBI,” the other man introduced himself.

“We found record of an email being sent just before our computer, the Intersect, was destroyed. That email was sent by one of our agents to you. Do you want to tell us why?” Davos asked, firm but not unkind.

“We were roommates in college but I haven’t heard from him since then. I don’t know why he would’ve sent the email to me,” Bran answered him honestly.

Davos nodded, taking the information in. “I’m afraid this is t the last we’ll be seeing each other, Mr. Stark,” he started. “As our only Intersect, we’ll be needing you quite often until our new one is built.”

“You need me to work for you?” Bran questioned.

Davos nodded. “For now. We need that intel and you’re the only one who has all of it. You may go about your daily life but we will need assistance from time to time. You will also have two armed guards with you at all times.”

“Who?”

“Arya and my boy Gendry here,” Davos smiled.

•••

“One black coffee,” Arya announced as she set a paper cup in front of Gendry.

“What is this?” Gendry looked up from his desk and turned to face her. They worked for different agencies so they almost never saw each other, but when they did, it wasn’t as if they were good friends. Needless to say, Gendry was confused.

“I literally just said what it was. Were you not listening?” Arya rolled her eyes. “Consider it our first date,” a phony smile crossed her face.

“Excuse me?” Gendry was still confused.

“Haven’t you heard? You, Agent Gendry Waters, get the absolute honor of being my boyfriend,” Arya leaned back in the chair she pulled over to his desk and grinned.

Gendry narrowed his eyes, trying to figure her out. “Flattered, but no thank you.”

Arya rolled her eyes again. “Our covers, Stupid. We both have to guard my brother without making it obvious that we’re guarding him. I’m obvious because I’m his sister, there’s a plausible reason for me to be around him. There’s no reason for you to be hanging around him unless you’re with me, so...boyfriend.”

Gendry nodded slowly and took a sip of his coffee. “And remind me why you have to be here? The NSA found him and it’s the NSA’s Intersect in his head. Bran could easily tell your family that I’m a friend or coworker.”

Arya looked down at her hands before returning her gaze to his face. “You know as well as I do that the FBI was also a part of the Intersect Project, and I’m his sister, it was just convenient.”

“Isn’t that a conflict of interest?”

“Not if my job is to keep him safe. He’s not a target, Waters, he’s my little brother. Obviously I’m going to do my damn job.”

Gendry could sense that he’d touched a nerve so he let it go. He grinned into his coffee cup as he steered the conversation back to their covers. “So how long did it take me to convince you to go out with me?”

Arya let the corners of her mouth turn up ever so slightly. “Two years. At least.”

•••

“I am going to need so many drinks,” Bran stated instead of greeting Arya when she turned up at his apartment later that night. He stepped aside to let her enter and she made her way to his couch. Bran grabbed them each a beer from the fridge before joining her.

Arya took the beer gratefully and held it up. “Cheers.” She took a big swig before she started talking. “Sorry you had to find out this way.”

“I imagine that this is just about the only way I ever would’ve found out. It’s not like you can broadcast your job title.” Bran shrugged, taking a sip from his bottle.

“True,” Arya paused, “how are you holding up?”

“My college roommate worked for the NSA but is now dead because he died sending me a government computer that’s now in my head, my sister is an FBI agent, and I’m apparently in danger since I have both you and Agent Waters keeping tabs on me. I’m great,” Bran smiled at his sister sarcastically.

Arya rolled her eyes. She repositioned herself on the couch and tucked her legs under her. She played with the label on her bottle. “If it’s any consolation, I’m not really happy about it earthier. I don’t like that this happened to you. I don’t like that my baby brother might be in danger,” she smirked when he scoffed at being called a baby. “I’m at least glad that it’s me who gets to protect you, it gives me a little peace of mind. Even if I do have to do it with Gendry.”

“What’s your deal with him anyway?” Bran laughed.

Arya shrugged. “I don’t know. We were recruited to our separate agencies in the same year but we had to do basic training together. We were rivals. It’s no surprise that I’m competitive.” She mock-glared at her brother when he let out a laugh. “It started there I guess. We both wanted to be the top of the class and we kind of just held on to that mentality once we started working. I don’t actually hate the guy, though.”

“So having both of you around me all the time should be entertaining for me, then?” Bran smirked at the thought.

“Obviously,” she teased. “His cover is my boyfriend, you know.”

Bran cackled.

•••

Arya rested her chin on Gendry’s shoulder as he lifted a phone up to take a picture of the two of them. She smiled brightly at him and he smirked. He took a couple of shots, both of them pulling various faces, before he handed the phone back to Arya. Her smile dropped immediately.

She flipped through all the pictures until she found a favorite. Or, one that would convince Sansa at least. As Arya, she was completely indifferent to the pictures. As an agent trying to convince people that her cover relationship was real, she had a favorite.

She quickly put a filter on it and uploaded it to her Instagram, full of carefully chosen photos that made it look like she really was a fitness instructor at a gym.

Arya_Snark posted: my human ❤️
Sansaaa commented: !!!!!!!WHAT

Arya smirked and pocketed the phone, turning on her heel to face Gendry. “That got Sansa’s attention. I’m expecting a phone call any minute now.”

“How excited is she?”

“Given that I probably haven’t said anything about my love life to her since high school? Probably very excited.” Arya shrugged as she shoved her hands into her pockets.

“Oh, well I’m flattered.”

“Don’t be. Davos and Syrio chose this, not me.”

Gendry rolled his eyes. “Are you going to be like this the whole time? Wouldn’t it be better to at least try to get along?”

“And lose our reputation as rivals?” Arya teased, sounding scandalized.

•••

“Who is he?”

“Well hello to you to, Sansa.” Arya chuckled at her sister, “his name is Gendry.”

“And?” Her sister groaned over the phone. “You never tell me anything. How did you meet? How long have you been dating?”

“At the gym. Six months.”

Her sister sighed. “You are so annoying sometimes. You’re going to have to give me way more detail than that if you want me to forgive you for hiding this for the past six months.”

Arya took a deep breath as she remembered their cover story that they agreed upon. “He started working out at my gym a while ago. We started dating after we ran into each other at a bar though. Nothing all that dramatic, Sans.”

“Fine,” her sister relented. “I’m happy for you. Really, Arya.”

Arya smiled a genuine smile, even if she did feel bad about lying. “Thanks.”

“He’s quite easy on the eyes too,” Sansa teased.

“Hmm, I guess,” Arya teased back.

•••

The next few weeks passed by pretty uneventfully for the trio. Bran was, of course, brought in to sign an NDA for both the NSA and FBI, but that was about it. Gendry and Arya had begun to settle into their covers and Bran was handling having a computer in his brain pretty well, all things considered. There had been no major mission, only small ones where Bran was needed to identify some people. Life, strangely, went on as usual.

“Hello, Love,” Gendry smiles at Arya.

Except for maybe that.

Arya set down the weights she was working with and made her way over to Gendry. She smiled and leaned up on her tiptoes, placing a hand on his shoulder for balance, and kissed him on the cheek. “Hello,” she grinned.

Gendry handed her on of the two coffees he was holding and she accepted it gratefully. “Fancy a walk?”

She looked over at the clock and then back to her partner. “I can take my break now.”

Gendry held out his hand and Arya grabbed hold of it. He led her out of the gym and down the street.

When they rounded the corner, Arya let go of his hand. “What’s up?”

“Can’t a guy just drop in to surprise his fake girlfriend with some coffee?”

Arya raised a disbelieving eyebrow as she took a long, slow sip.

“We actually have a mission, believe it or not,” he informed her.

“Finally.”

“Davis wants you to come in since this is Bran’s first bigger mission.”

“Yeah, no duh.” She tosses her empty coffee cup into the trash can next to her and started to walk towards her car. “Do you need a ride?”

“If you don’t mind,” he offered a small smile.

“Obviously I don’t, Stupid. Otherwise I wouldn’t have offered,” she rolled her eyes playfully.

“I’m confused, aren’t we supposed to hate each other?” Gendry teased.

“We’ve been seeing each other every day for weeks, I’d like to think we’re mature enough to get over a rivalry we had years ago,” she smiled and buckled her seatbelt. She turned on the car and the radio started playing quietly.

“Backstreet Boys?” Gendry snorted.

“Shut up. Jon was the last one to pick the music in this car.”

•••

“I don’t like it,” Bran shook his head when Davos explained the mission.

They were going to send Arya in alone and basically blind. She was going to the target’s charity auction and flirt a little to get close to him while Bran watched on a hidden camera. If Bran flashed, Gendry would go in guns blazing and help Arya get out of there. If Bran didn’t flash, Arya would be able to safely extract herself after getting the necessary information. Easy in, easy out.

“I have to admit, I’m with Bran on this one,” Gendry agreed. “Wouldn’t it be better for Arya and I to go in together so we can have each other’s backs instead of waiting until it’s maybe too late?”

Arya whipped her head back to give Gendry an incredulous look. “What the hell? I can take care of myself, it’s not like I’m a rookie.”

“Obviously I know that, Arya.” Gendry rolled his eyes. “You’re perfectly capable of defending yourself. I just think, logistically, it works better for us to go in together.”

“How am I supposed to get close to him if I have my fake boyfriend hovering around me during the whole event?” She crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t have to go in as your boyfriend, I can go in as your brother or something.”

“No one would believe that.”

“Heiress’ bodyguard?” He offered.

Arya gritted her teeth. “Drop it, I don’t need a bodyguard.”

Davos finally decided to chime in. “I have complete faith that Agent Stark will be able to complete her mission,” he directed at Bran and Gendry. He turned to Arya, “there’s an outfit in your locker for you. Go get ready.”

Arya nodded and made her way towards the lockers.

“She’s a good agent, she’ll be okay,” Davos put a hand on Bran’s shoulder before exiting the room.

“I still don’t like this,” Bran grumbled quietly.

Arya returned around twenty minutes later, having done her hair, makeup, and gotten dressed. Her hair was in a stylish ponytail and she was in a loose black dress that hung to just above her knees. Stylish, dressy, yet casual for the occasion, and easy enough to fight in if the occasion arose. She wore flats, not wanting to bother with trying to fight in heels.

“You’re a knockout, Stark,” Gendry, Who was how dressed in his own suit in case he needed to be there quickly, teased.

“Keep teasing and I’ll knock you out, Waters,” she smirked back.

Bran and Davos, who had returned a few minutes ago, rolled their eyes at the pair.

Davos placed an object in each person’s hand. “Here are your earpieces. Keep the lines open at all times.”

Bran adjusted his in his ear. “Where should I go while they’re out in the field?”

“You’ll stay here in the bunker with me. Let me get you set up with the computers,” Davos led Bran down the hallway to the computer room. He turned on the monitors and the feed from Arya’s camera popped up on the screens.

“Alright, it works,” Bran said through the earpiece.

“I’ll be off, then,” Arya nodded and made her way outside so she could drive to the event.

“How long do these missions usually take?” Bran asked.

Davos pulled up a chair next to him and sat down. “Never too long. It’s not an overnight and it’s local. Absolute max should be about two hours.”

Gendry walked into the room and sat beside Davos. “I still hate this. I should be there at least. If I have to go in guns blazing at some point, I should be onsite.”

“You need to let it go, Agent Waters,” Davis responded. “The event is just downtown. I’d be surprised if it took you even ten minutes to get there. Agent Stark says she can do this and I’m inclined to believe her.”

“Can you all shut up now?” Arya’s voice sounded through the earpieces. She stepped out of the car and walked into the banquet hall that the charity auction was being held at.

“Champagne?” A waitress asked, holding a tray full of champagne.

“Thank you,” Arya smiles at her as she took a glass.

She walked around and looked at all the tables, seeing what was being auctioned and if Bran would pick up on anything.

“Rather lovely isn’t it?” A voice appeared from over her shoulder.

Arya turned away from the diamond necklace she was feigning interest in to look at the man behind her. “It’s beautiful,” she smiled.

“Yet it’s still not the most beautiful thing in the room.” The man took her hand and lifted it to his mouth, pressing a gentle kiss to her knuckles.

Arya suppressed a smile when she heard Bran snort through her earpiece. “You’re quite the charmer, Mister...”

“Dover,” the man supplied all too willingly, “Richard Dover.”

“Ah, the man of the hour,” recognition flooded her features. “I must admit, it’s quite a wonderful event you’ve put together, Mr. Dover.”

“Richard, please.”

“Richard,” she amended with a small smile.

“That’s our guy,” Bran’s voice spoke in her ear. “I just flashed on him. I’m not exactly sure who he works for yet, but he has some pretty powerful people in his pockets. Watch out for him, Arya.”

“I’m on my way,” Gendry chimed in. “I’ll be there in seven minutes, Arya, I’m a fast driver when I need to be.”

Arya tried not to roll her eyes, she had just gotten here and no one had even pulled a gun on her yet. They were already sending in backup?

“I have to say, Richard, I’m far more interested in what’s on the back table,” Arya announced.

Richard’s eyes followed her hand as she pointed. “Ah, now that is quite the interesting piece of technology, is it not? It has enough power to blackout an entire city.”

“It would be chaos if it got into the wrong hands,” Arya nodded along as they walked over to it.

“That’s why it’s not for sale, I’m afraid. I’m simply debuting it tonight.”

“Probably a wise decision,” she nodded as she sipped her champagne.

“I’d be happy to discuss it more in my office,” he raised a suggestive eyebrow.

“Alright,” she agreed with a sly smile on her face.

He led her away from the crowd and to a secluded corridor. He opened one of the doors and ushered her in. He slammed the door behind them.

“Why so much interest in the chip, Miss... oh wait, I don’t think I ever got your name,” he accused.

“I don’t think I ever gave it,” she shrugged.

“Who do you work for?” He inquired as he pulled a gun from his belt. At her silence, he continued. “You obviously have someone in your ear, you reached for your hip where I assume you usually keep a gun when you recognized me, and you’re interested in the chip. I’m not an idiot so I’ll ask again, who do you work for?”

Arya slowly put her hands in the air. “An interested third party. They’re willing to offer you lots of money for it,” she lied.

She quickly knocked the gun out of his hands. He grabbed her arm and held it behind her back, trapping her. She lifted her leg to kick him in the groin and he doubled over, though he wouldn’t let go of her hand. She awkwardly fell to the ground, landing on her back. She let out a grunt of pain.

Richard pulled a knife from his pocket and held it to her throat. “The truth this time. Who do you work for?”

She maneuvered away from the knife and leaned up to head-butt him. The knife clattered to the ground as he held his head. He quickly recovered and lunged for the gun that had previously been discarded. He got one shot off before Arya was able to take it away from him. It hit her in the leg. She collapsed on the ground and tried to kick at him with her good leg.

The door behind them flew open and Gendry stood there, holding his own gun. He fired a shot and hit Dover in the shoulder, not killing him, but injuring him enough to take him out of the fight.
He rushed over to Arya. “You good?”

“Better now, thanks,” she admitted as he helped her stop the bleeding.

“I don’t think you should walk on that,” Gendry said as he looked at the wound.

She sighed dramatically. “Do what you must.”

He lifted her bridal-style as she held a piece of cloth to her leg to stop the bleeding.

“Davos, you good with him?” Gendry asked over the earpiece.

“I’ll be there to pick Dover up in two minutes, I’m almost there. He’s not dead, is he?”

“Not yet, he’ll be fine.”

“Good. Get Arya back to the bunker to get her injury looked at.”

“10-4,” Gendry replied.

•••

“Ouch,” Arya gasped as Gendry removed a bullet from her leg.

“Stop squirming,” he insisted as he held a piece of cloth over the wound to slow the bleeding.

Bran handed Arya a bottle of vodka. She raised it slightly as if in thanks and took a large sip. She grimaced as it went down her throat.

“How does it feel?” Bran asked, somewhere in between horrified and in awe.

“Like I got shot,” she deadpanned, taking another swig.

“If it makes you feel better, you’re my most badass sibling now.”

“As if I wasn’t already,” she rolled her eyes.

Bran gave her the finger in response as he exited the room.

Gendry gently wrapped bandages around her injured leg. “I would probably advise against walking on it. For a while, at least.”

“You offering to carry me everywhere?” She teased.

He sat next to her on the table and smiled. “It probably is what a loving boyfriend would do.”

Arya laughed before turning serious. “Thank you though. Seriously. The fight was kind of going south for me, it wasn’t my best work.”

He knocked his shoulder against hers and his voice turned soft. “Of course. That’s what partners do, right?”

“Right,” a soft smile graced her face. “You’re not so bad, you know. Sorry about being an idiot all those years ago. I think we wasted too much time being rivals, we make a good team.”

Gendry smiles back at her. “Not so bad? Agent Stark, you’re making me blush.” She rolled her eyes so he stopped teasing. “For what it’s worth, I was an idiot too. I’m glad we figured it out eventually, though.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Gross,” Bran’s voice carried over from down the hall.

Arya groaned.

•••

“It’s Girls Night,” Sansa proclaimed two weeks later.

“Hello to you too,” Arya smirked as she held the phone up to her ear. “What’s the occasion?”

“It’s been too long. I already called Margaery and Ygritte, so now you have to come.”

“There needs to be alcohol involved if you expect me to put up with all your questions and over sharing.” Arya turned on the kitchen sink to rinse out her cereal bowl. She placed it in the dishwasher.

“Obviously there will be. We can meet at Theon’s bar,” Sansa stated matter-of-factly. Sansa replied to Arya’s scoff. “Something to say?”

“Nothing that can’t wait until Girls Night,” Arya teased. “I’ve got to go. See you soon, I guess.”

She pressed start on her dishwasher and dried her hands off on her kitchen towel. She made her way into her bathroom to look at her leg.

The bandages had come off about a week ago, now she was just sporting a lovely scar. It wasn’t too noticeable though, so she supposed she should be thankful for small miracles. She dabbed some hydrogen peroxide on it before putting some ointment on it.

Satisfied with her work, she left to go check in with Bran, Gendry, and Davos.

There was a knock at her front door.

“You have amazing timing,” she remarked when she saw Gendry on the other side of the door. “I was just getting ready to leave to go check in with you guys.”

“I brought coffee,” he offered as she joined him outside of her apartment. “How’s your leg?”

“Better,” she took a sip from her coffee.

“You should at least have crutches or something.”

“Eh, I’m fine. Besides, Girls Night tonight. How am I supposed to explain crutches?”

Gendry rolled his eyes as he opened the passenger side door for her. “You’re crazy.”

“Yet you’re still dating me,” she smiled sweetly at him as she stepped inside his car.

“Yeah, I guess I am,” he shut the door behind her and walked around the car to climb into the driver’s seat.

“You know, my neighbor, the old lady, stopped me yesterday to tell me just what a nice young fella you were,” she laughed, draining the contents of her coffee cup.

“Aw shucks,” he smirked.

“Dating you is a lot easier now that we’re friends,” she remarked offhandedly.

“I might just have to agree with you on that.”

•••

“Arya, you look hot,” Margaery grinned.

Arya looked down at her outfit. She had decided to forego a dress tonight on account of her recent leg wound. She wasn’t exactly keen on showing off her new battle scar to her sister and sisters-in-law. She was wearing tight black pants and a blue top with ankle boots. “Thanks, I guess.” She sat down in the booth with the girls. “So, Sansa. Theon’s bar?”

“Wow, not even a hello?” Her sister remarked, dodging the question.

Arya shrugged innocently.

“I get a discount here,” Sansa defended.

“Yeah, I’ll bet you do,” Margaery smirked as she took a sip of her drink. At Sansa’s look of confusion, she continued. “He’s into you. Obviously.”

Sansa sputtered. “He is not! We’re just friends, that’s why he gives me the discount.”

“Awfully defensive, Sans,” Ygritte laughed.

“Fine,” Sansa sighed. “But he doesn’t feel the same way about me.”

Arya choked on her drink, laughing. “Are you kidding me? He’s been in love with you since you guys were in high school together!”

“Arya, drop it,” her sister warned, sounding like she didn’t want to talk about it right now. “Anyways, we’re not here to talk about me. We’re here to talk about you.”

“Me? What could I possibly have to talk about?”

“A certain boyfriend you’ve been hiding for six months maybe?” Margaery questioned coyly.

“Eight actually,” Arya shrugged when she realized she wouldn’t be able to get out of this conversation.

“I want details. And pictures,” she demanded.

Arya unlocked her phone with a sigh and handed it to Margaery.

Ygritte looked over her shoulder as Margaery scrolled through Arya’s camera roll. “Damn, Stark,” she whistled when she found a picture of Gendry.

“Oh my gosh,” Margaery’s jaw dropped at what was secretly Arya’s favorite picture. It was a photo of a shirtless Gendry, abs on full display, just coming back from a run with her dog Nymeria. He had been taking her out while Arya’s leg was healing. In the photo, he was playing with Nymeria and the two looked to be having the time of their lives.

“Yeah,” Arya chuckled, “they both might actually leave me for each other.”

“That is so adorable,” Sansa cooed as she snatched the phone.

“Put a ring on it now,” Ygritte teased.

“We’ve only been dating for eight months,” Arya rolled her eyes.

•••

“How was last night?” Gendry sat on her couch eating Chinese food from the carton.

They were supposed to be going on dates once a week but since the two had become friends, they decided to just stay in most nights. It had become sort of a tradition. Every Saturday for the past few weeks, Gendry would come over with beer while Arya ordered takeout and then they would watch TV or a movie together.

“All three of them told me to marry you right now. Apparently I need to ‘lock that down’,” she giggled.

“We haven’t even been dating that long,” he laughed.

“That’s what I said!” She finished putting together her plate in the kitchen and joined him on the couch. “Though, I’m pretty sure they were mostly suggesting it because they saw how much you and Nymeria love each other. And because they saw your abs,” she teased, grinning at the faint pink that appeared on his cheeks.

He cleared his throat, “ignoring that one.” He looked down at the dog lying on his feet and smiled. “I’ll be heartbroken when I have to leave her.”

“You could always visit,” Arya suggested, trying to sound casual. She flicked through the channels trying to find something interesting to watch. She noticed he hadn’t replied, just stared at her with a curious look on her face. “What?”

“You want that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” She shrugged, forcing herself not to feel self-consciously she was a trained spy, dammit. She could handle talking to her friend, partner, ex-enemy, who she was maybe slightly attracted to. Not that she would ever admit that, obviously.

“Wait a minute, why do you have a picture of my abs?”

•••

“So, Mom may or may not be planning a family dinner and Sansa may or may not have let it slip that you have a secret boyfriend.” Bran explained. “Basically Gendry better be at dinner tonight.”

“Wh-tonight?” Arya was slightly taken aback. “That’s pretty soon if she only just heard about him.”

“Well for them you’ve been keeping him a secret for what, nine months now?”

“Fair enough,” Arya shrugged. She turned to face Gendry, who had been cleaning the guns in their bunker. “Think you can handle dinner with our family?”

Gendry scoffed. “Believe me, I’ve handled much worse than your family.”

•••

He was wrong.

Well.

Not one-hundred percent. He might have been in worse situations in missions but this was near the top of his list.

Arya’s two older brothers and father sat on the other side of the table and stared him down.
Logically, he knew it was just a mission and that this didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What mattered was staying with Bran and the Intersect in his head and wait until he was needed again.

Yet.

There was a small part of him that really, really wanted Arya’s family to like him. He didn’t have an explanation for it. Well, he did. It just wasn’t one that he wanted to admit out loud.

“Wait, you’ve already met him?” Sansa questioned Bran when she sensed familiarity between the two.

“We live in the same apartment complex,” Bran supplied.

“You’ve known this whole time and you never said anything?”

“I know everything always, how dare you, and it wasn’t my place to say anything.”

“Gendry and I just started dating when Bran met him, Sansa,” Arya chimed in. “We were still figuring everything out. Besides, I didn’t want to subject him to all this until at least the six month mark.”

Arya waved her fork as she gestured to the scene around them. Ned and Catelyn day with their six actual children; Theon, who was practically another one of Arya’s older brothers; and Robb and Jon’s families. Robb and Margaery’s two little boys had long since run away from the table to chase the dogs around the house with Jon and Ygritte’s little girl waddling after them. There were a lot of people and it was a lot of noise.

“How did you meet?” Margaery smiles at the pair, ready for details.

“At the gym, actually,” Gendry chuckled.

“Kind of,” Arya smirked. “He never actually got the courage up to talk to me in the gym. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I ran into him at the bar that I finally got him to talk to me.”

“You’re intimidating, Stark,” he defended. “And she means literally running into me, by the way. Spilled her drink all over me.”

“And somehow I still got him to date me,” she grinned proudly, taking his hand in hers.

“Well I’m happy for you,” Catelyn smiled. “You deserve it.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Now, would you girls come help me in the kitchen?” Her mom directed towards the ladies. “We can take dessert into the living room,” she added.

Arya leaned over to Gendry and whispered, “don’t be too intimidated by my brothers and Theon. They’re actually really big softies. I’d prefer it if it didn’t happen, but you can totally beat them in a fight too.” She winked and kissed him on the cheek as she stood up, collecting the dirty dishes to take to the kitchen.

“I hate to be the overprotective father,” Ned finally spoke up once the girls left the room, “but I’m pretty sure it’s my job to give the shovel talk.”

Gendry let a small smile appear on his face when he saw that Ned wasn’t trying to be nearly as intimidating as he was at dinner. “I expected nothing less, Sir.”

“She’s fully capable of handling herself, but she’s still my little girl. Just remember, if you hurt her, she’s got three older brothers,” he included Theon in the threat, “and me to bail her out of jail.”

“Her younger brothers can also do some damage,” Bran fixed a stern expression on his face as he crossed his arms over his chest. He was enjoying getting to pretend to intimidate his handler.

Gendry held in a laugh as he made eye contact with Bran and quickly turned back to Ned. “Yes Sir, understood.”

“Good.” Ned stood up and patted Gendry on the shoulder before heading to the living room. Robb and Jon followed suit.

“I got the same talk, except they said they would send their dogs after me,” Theon offered with a grin. “I’m not even dating one of his daughters.”

Bran mumbled, “yet.”

“Oh sorry, I couldn’t hear you. I’m too far away,” Theon shouted playfully as he walked down the hallway.

Bran and Gendry quickly caught up with everyone else and Gendry sat himself down on the couch.

Arya grabbed a cookie from the coffee table and handed it to him before nestling herself into his side. “How did it go?”

Gendry’s arm easily fell around her shoulders of its own accord and he was struck with how right it felt to have her there in his arms. “I actually think it went well.”

“Did they threaten to send the dogs after you?” Arya grinned as her head rolled onto his shoulder. She was comfortable there, she didn’t want to move. She almost found herself wishing this was real and not just a cover, but she quickly forced herself to get rid of those thoughts. That was completely ridiculous.

“They didn’t actually,” he laughed.

“Oh then that means they like you,” she smiled and squeezed his hand.

He pressed a kiss to her hair without thinking and he smiled.

The grin didn’t leave his face for almost the entire night.

•••

It was about two months later when another high stakes mission popped up. Mostly, Bran had gotten used to staying in the bunker and watching monitors, waiting to flash on someone or something that Arya or Gendry bumped into.

He and Gendry and Arya had settled into a routine. Nine o’clock, get to the bunker to check in on everything. Ten to twelve o’clock, play poker or Uno or some other game that will inevitably end in shouting. Lunch time, loser of the game has to get the food. One until five o’clock, Bran will do various assignments that the NSA or FBI call in for him to do while Gendry and Arya go off and workout or something. Bran isn’t quite sure what they do while he’s working safely in the bunker. Whatever it is he assumes it involves a fair amount of flirting.

However, the almost mundane routine of having no missions was finally interrupted by a Mr. Antonio Ferrero. He was a relatively well known leader of the mob but the police had never been able to get enough evidence against him to arrest him.

He owned a small Italian restaurant as an easy way to write off the obscene amounts of cash he was receiving from various payoffs.

Recently, Bran flashed on one of the diners exiting the restaurant. He was an ex-FBI agent, long thought to have been dead. After doing a little more research, Bran found that he had defected from the FBI and moved to the other side. He was now working against the government instead of for it. Fortunately for Gendry and Arya, he had Mr. Ferrero in his pocket and visited quite often to collect his catch. All they had to do was visit the restaurant at the same time and take him in. Which is what they were doing now.

“You ready to go?” Arya questioned as she unbuttoned the top button of her blouse. She smoothed down the sides of her pencil skirt.

Gendry paused for a moment, taking in her appearance. He swallowed. “Yeah. I’m all set.”

She tossed him the keys and climbed into the car waiting for them outside the bunker. Gendry walked around to the driver’s seat and hopped in, inserting the keys into the ignition.

“Earpieces all good, Bran?” Arya tested on the drive over.

“Yep, I hear you loud and clear,” Bran’s voice announced in her ear.

“Think we’ll actually be able to catch him tonight?” Gendry asked as he slowed the car down to enter the parking lot of the restaurant.

“Of course. Dream team, remember?” She winked as she unlocked her door and stepped out of the car.

Gendry held out his arm to her and she easily took it with both of her arms, practically hugging it. “Table for two, please.”

“Of course, right this way,” the hostess smiled warmly at the pair and led them towards a table.

Gendry pulled out Arya’s chair for her and she smiled, “thank you, Dear.”

He smirked and took off his sports coat, draping it over the back of his chair. He rolled up the sleeves on his dress shirt to his elbows and sat down.

Arya lifted her menu up and subtly tried to look at him over the top of it while he was distracted with his own menu. She was normally more focused on missions but she also didn’t normally have to deal with arms like those right across from her the whole night.

She cleared her throat when she noticed where her thoughts were heading and set her menu down.

Gendry noticed and raised an eyebrow. “You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she smiled, taking a sip from the glass of water that had been set in front of her. “What are you getting?”

“Is it really lame if I say that I want tonight’s special?”

“Nope, I’m getting that too so it’s automatically not lame,” she held out her hand to high-five him.

He chuckled and high-fived her back. He was taken aback at how the dim lighting in the restaurant made her eyes sparkle and gave her face a soft, warm glow. She looked positively radiant. It didn’t really help him all that much that she looked so happy right there in that moment, he never wanted that smile to leave her face.

“Here you are,” the waitress smiled as she brought them both their plates of spaghetti a few moments later. “Is there anything else I can get you?”

“No, I think we’re good. Thank you,” Arya smiled back at her.

“Of course,” she stopped to refill their wine glasses and then moved on to the next table.

“Not to ruin your date or anything,” Bran’s voice sounded out, “but security cam footage shows our guy walking into the kitchens right now.”

“I didn’t even get to eat my dinner yet,” Arya pouted as she started to stand up.

Gendry chuckled and held out his hand, which she quickly took. He led them towards the back, making it look as if they just wanted a quiet minute alone. They stood near the entrance to the kitchens to see if they could find their guy in there. Gendry peeked through the small window on the door and their target immediately spotted him. His eyes widened and he jumped back from the door. Frantically, he searched for something to do so he wouldn’t figure them out.

Figuring it would do the trick, he reached out and pulled Arya towards him. “Sorry,” he whispered softly before gently pressing his mouth against hers.

Her hands reached for the collar of his shirt as she tugged him closer. He kissed her harder, hands holding her back and waist firmly, and she almost forgot that they were on a mission.

Gendry pushed her forward slightly until her back was up against the wall. He continued to kiss her deeply as the door to the kitchen opened behind them.

Arya pulled away from him to look at who interrupted them and Gendry shook his head to get himself back in the game. The man standing in front of them was their target.

“Sorry,” Arya smiled sheepishly, “we just got engaged. We were looking for a private place to celebrate.”

The man rolled his eyes and walked past them without saying a word.

“Rude, not even a ‘congratulations’?” Arya scoffed.

She and Gendry subtly followed the man out of the restaurant.

“Bran, tell Davos to be here for pickup. We’re about to corner him,” Gendry held his finger to his earpiece as he and Arya split up.

Gendry went around the back of the restaurant while Arya went out the front so that they could trap him in the alleyway next to the building.

“Freeze,” Arya ordered as she pulled her gun on the guy.

The man immediately started to run but Gendry popped out in front of him. “I’d do as she says if I were you.”

The man tried to fight Gendry but Arya quickly pulled out her tranq gun and shot him. He fell to the ground easily.

“Nice work, partner,” Gendry stated as they moved the man into the van that Davos had waiting for them.

“Thanks,” she gave him a small smile, though it didn’t reach her eyes.

•••

“Did anything else happen while you were at the restaurant?” Davos asked as he looked between the pair.

Arya played with a loose thread on the arm of her blouse. “Nope! It was just a standard mission. We’re all good.”

Davos raised an eyebrow and turned to Gendry, silently asking for his own answer.

Gendry smiled. “Just a normal mission, Boss.”

“Alright, if that’s all then I’ll be taking my leave now. I’ve got to transport this young man you’ve brought in and take him to headquarters with me while we figure out what to do with him. I should be back in about a week.”

“Have a fun trip,” Bran smiled sarcastically. He turned back to the other two occupants in the room and looked between them. “I’m also going to head out,” he said slowly. “You two can lock up, right?”

“Yeah, I got it, Bran. Goodnight,” Arya smiled at her brother.

“See ya,” he waved at his sister. When she turned around he widened his eyes at Gendry as if to say ‘what happened?’.

Gendry acted like he didn’t see it. “Goodnight, Bran.”

Once they were alone, Gendry turned to Arya. “Look, about back there...”

“It’s okay, I get it,” she interrupted.

“No, I just meant I wanted to apologize. We agreed in the beginning that we would keep PDA to a minimum and not... that,” he stumbled over his words ever so slightly. Arya found it ridiculously endearing.

“It’s okay, Gendry,” she chuckled. “It wasn’t a chore, I didn’t mind,” she smirked at him.

“Still, I kind of crossed a line so I wanted to apologize,” he finished.

“I was clearly not complaining in the moment,” she pointed out to him as she stepped closer. The faintest bit of pink made its way on to his cheeks and she grinned. “I’m not complaining now either.”

“Wh-now?”

She raised an eyebrow as she settled a hand on his chest.

“Oh,” he said when realization finally struck him. A smile erupted on his face.

“There it is,” she grinned again. She leaned up and reconnected her lips with his.

His hands went immediately to her hair and she grabbed his collar, pulling him closer.

He lifted her up onto the table so that she was sitting and the height difference wouldn’t be as obvious. He continued to kiss her like he’d been wanting to kiss her for months.

She expected him to kiss her rough and hard, considering how long the two had been dancing around each other. She was surprised however, when he kissed her firmly yet held her like she was fragile, like she was precious.

Her hands met his and she wrapped them around herself tighter, letting him know that he didn’t need to be so gentle. He took his time building up the kisses until finally they reached the level of passion and wanting that Arya had been expecting.

Arya smiled into the kiss. She couldn’t help herself, she was finally kissing the man she’d been fantasizing about for the past few months.

“How long do you think until Bran and Davos find out about this?” she teased after he finally pulled away.

“I thought Bran knew everything already,” he smirked.