Strikhedonia please! For the characters of your choice ;)
Happy Birthday, Jeeno!
Her eyes are hard as she turns to him. There’s a pause where she waits for him to say something, to atone for the things he said before, but he stands by what he said. They can dress him up in silks and wash him with scented oils and give him as many titles as they like, but no amount of money and titles can wash the stink of Flea Bottom from him. He’s a bastard, whelped on a tavern wench by a drunken fool who bought a crown. Hot Pie used to think that any man who wore armor was a knight, but that wasn’t true, just as not every man who wears a crown is a king. Robert was not a real king, and even if he was, Gendry was not his trueborn son. He is a bastard, has always been a bastard, will always be a bastard.
Arya thinks he’s being stupid. She told him so that night, and her eyes say as much now. “Well,” she says after a long moment. “I suppose this is goodbye.”
“It is,” he confirms, shifting from one foot to another. He looked white walkers and their army of wights in the face, he ran alone and unarmed through a frozen expanse to reach Eastwatch. He saw the Wall fall, was nearly killed himself. And all of those things pale in comparison to this angry, scowling woman before him.
She stiffens. “Goodbye.”
If this title offends her, she doesn’t show it, just turns her back to him and makes for where a groom is holding her horse. Jon—King Jon, now—stands beside Gendry, watches as his cousins ride out of the city.
“Why didn’t you go with her?”
Gendry shrugs. “Why should I? She’s highborn. A Stark. And I’m…well. A bastard.”
“Exactly.” When Gendry glances at the king, there’s a look there he can’t quite place. “You aren’t bound by loyalty to your house. You don’t have some standard of nobility to meet. You can do whatever you want.”
Gendry shifts again. “I don’t—“
“Arya loves you,” Jon says firmly. “What people think isn’t going to change that. But if it changes the way you feel about her…well maybe she’s right.”
“That you’re being stupid.”
Gendry smiles then. It’s the shadow of one anyway. But it’s enough.
“Go on, then.” Jon gives him a small shove.
Gendry hesitates—and then runs into the stable. He saddles a horse, any horse, and spurs the beast after the Northern train. He gallops alongside them, past the servants and soldiers, until he’s level with Arya and Sansa. Sansa looks between them, smirks, and urges her horse ahead. Gendry reins in his mount beside Arya.
“I changed my mind.”
She snorts, and she may know how to play the game of faces now, but he can still read the smile there. “Maybe you’re not as stupid as I thought.”
“Maybe not,” he cedes.
“But you’re still stupid, to wait this long.”
She looks over at him. “Hope you like the cold.”
“You’ll be there to keep me warm…m’lady.”