but it’s light outside
future!Arya/Gendry drabble for bealen :)
The halls are silent and dark, and she moves through them unnoticed.
She should say something to Willas about that.
Her sister deserves to be better protected from assassins. According to the guards outside Highgarden, he isn’t at the castle, not for another fortnight, so Arya will have to look after Sansa herself until he returns and she can teach Willas how to do it properly.
The room is warm, somewhere tantalizing close to lit from the moonlight, yet still cast in shadows, and Arya smiles as she makes out the shape of her sister. The sheets are soft under her hands, and she thinks that might be rosewater she smells. After all these years, her sister is as silly as a child.
Arya curls against her sister.
“What’s the matter, Robb?” Sansa murmurs.
Arya pinches Sansa. “Do you really think a four-year-old is as stealthy as I am?” she asks.
And she can hear the smile that she can’t see when her sister whispers her name. She shifts, and Arya smirks as they come face to face. Her breath is sour with sleep, and a pillow crease imprints her cheek. “It’s impossible for you to arrive somewhere like a normal person, isn’t it?” she says.
“I’m not a normal person,” Arya replies.
“No, sweetling, you’re not.” The words are warm and loved. “Are you well?”
“I am. I brought you salt cakes from Mermaid’s Palace. It was beautiful, Sansa.”
“Did you visit the Iron Islands, too?” Sansa asks.
Arya nods, and she describes the islands, the way her back is sprinkled in freckles from the sun, the way slimy oysters taste, the way that Queen Asha shoots wine from her nose when she laughs.
“But the summer is too hot,” Arya says. “I’m on my way to visit Jon at the wall.”
Sansa strokes her hair. “Jon will be happy to see you. Is Gendry with you?”
“Where else would he be?” Arya says.
Her sister smiles, eyes bright. “Nowhere, darling. Nowhere.”
“How is my nephew?” Arya asks. “Still fat?”
Sansa shakes her head a little. “He isn’t fat, Arya.”
“He looked fat to me,” Arya replies. “Growing strong. Ha. More like Growing wide.”
“Arya!” Sansa exclaims, but Arya can feel her sister smile. “It isn’t wrong for a little boy to be chubby,” she says. “And you haven’t seen him in months! He isn’t as chubby as he was. Another year, and he will be as handsome as his father.” She speaks with such pride, and Arya loves it.
“I’m sure,” she says.
Sansa laughs. “Oh, stop it.” And her face softens. “I’ve missed you, Arya,” she admits. “It seems your visits to your family are fewer and fewer. I’m afraid someday you’ll simply forget about us.”
“Never,” Arya promises.
“Shireen is pregnant,” Sansa says, and Arya knows what her sister is about to suggest. “I’m sure she would be delighted to have you at Winterfell to help with the baby. And I talked to Bran —”
“I can’t stay at Winterfell,” Arya says, trying to be gentle with her sister.
“Why not?” Sansa asks. “Don’t you miss Rickon and Bran? They would love to have you at Winterfell, Arya. They would love it. And I could see you more often. Don’t you miss me, Arya?”
Arya shakes her head. “I’m not meant for a settled life,” she says.
“It’s not as though we want you to act like a lady or to marry a lord,” Sansa argues, “but you’ve travelled the world for almost ten years, Arya, and haven’t you seen everything there is to see yet?”
Arya snorts. “No, I’m afraid I haven’t.”
Sansa sighs. “Aren’t you lonely? Don’t you miss your family?”
“I miss you, Sansa, I do, but I visit you, don’t I?” She loves her family, and she can’t believe that Sansa would ever doubt that. “And I’m not lonely,” she adds. “Don’t forget about my stupid bull.”
“No, I haven’t forgotten your beloved bull,” Sansa says. She strokes Arya’s cheek. “Marry him.”
Arya frowns. “What?”
“Gendry. Marry him.”
“I can’t marry Gendry,” Arya says. “It’s Gendry.”
“Don’t you love him?” Sansa asks. “Don’t you lay with him?”
“I fail to see how that is relevant,” Arya replies, annoyed. “He is Gendry. My — mine. I travel the world because I like to travel the world, and I lay with him because I like to lay with him. That’s it.”
“And he would never ask more from you,” Sansa says, “but don’t you ever want more, Arya? He could be your husband. He could swear an oath to you. And you could have his children, strong little boys with black hair and tough little girls with blue eyes. He hasn’t ever had a family, Arya, but you could make him a family, and you could build a home with him. It wouldn’t be so terrible.”
“This is a stupid conversation,” Arya says.
Sansa rolls her eyes. “The fact that you don’t like something doesn’t make it stupid.”
“It isn’t my fault that the things I don’t like tend to be stupid. It means I don’t like stupid things.”
Sansa stares at her. “Oh, Arya,” she whispers, “my sweet, precious Arya.” She smiles, tired. “I won’t bother you about it,” she says, “but promise me that you refuse to stay at Winterfell or to be married or to have children because you truly don’t want any of it, not because you’re scared.”
“I’m not scared,” Arya says.
Sansa closes her eyes. “I hope not, sweetling.”
Arya stares at her sister for a moment, but Sansa is finished. Arya shifts to press closer to Sansa, and she waits until her sister drifts to sleep. She isn’t scared, she repeats to herself, as she slips from the warm, soft featherbed. The halls are dark and quiet, and Arya moves on light feet.
Sansa keeps a bedchamber forever ready for Arya at the castle, and Arya slips into it.
The soft snores are familiar, which means Gendry must be on his stomach. He snores when he sleeps on his stomach. She crawls onto the bed, and she pushes his shoulder. He rolls onto his side, his arm finds her with ease, and she ends up tucked against him. She closes her eyes.
And she opens them.
It isn’t that she is scared. She doesn’t want to stay at Winterfell, not yet, at least, not until she sees the entire world, and she hasn’t seen half of it. And she doesn’t want to marry Gendry, because —
He doesn’t need to swear an oath to her. Oaths are stupid.
But it would make Sansa happy, wouldn’t it? Her father would’ve wanted it, too. She isn’t scared.
She elbows Gendry. He grunts, his mouth wet against her shoulder. “Let’s get married,” she says.
“What?” His voice is thick with sleep. “Are you drunk?”
“Don’t be stupid,” she snaps. “We can do it at Winterfell.”
“Do what?” he asks, hand slipping under her shift to stroke her stomach.
“Get married. Pay attention, Stupid.”
His breath tickles her neck. “Maybe I don’t want to marry you,” he says.
“I didn’t ask if you wanted to marry me, did I?”
His chest shakes with his laughter, and he kisses the back of her head.
She closes her eyes, satisfied. She wonders how Sansa will react when Arya says her name will be Arya Waters. She’ll turn purple. Arya smiles. And she opens her eyes. She almost forgot. “Don’t tell Sansa, though,” she says, “not for a few days, at least. I don’t want her to think it was her idea.”
Gendry smiles into her hair.
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