46. (Nanny/single parent au in case you forgot the prompts)
Oh my gosh, I know it’s been forever, but I finally did it! For everyone else, this is an arya x gendry story based off one of those lists of prompts! Thanks for the Ask, Anonymous! Hope this fulfills the prompt well enough!
(Just for context, Arya is about 20/21 and Gendry is about 25.)
Nanny/Single Parent AU (with a twist)
Arya huffed in disappointment as she perused the classifieds. She’d already given the bakery a go, and she’d been more trouble than it was worth. At least that’s what they’d told her after she’d allowed another tray of croissants to burn. Dog walker was out because Nymeria went barmy when Arya arrived home and smelled other dogs on her; then Nymeria would ignore Arya for a day or two after.
Sansa looked up from her desk where she was studying for a fifth hour straight from a heavy law casebook.
“Nothing at all?” She murmured sympathetically, though Arya noticed her eyes keep wandering back to the book.
From where she was draped across Sansa’s bed, Arya shook her head vehemently, biting her lip. Lady, noticing the movement lifted her head, her ears perked.
“Nothing I haven’t been fired from before.” Despite her frustration, Arya, joined by Sansa, laughed amiably.
“Why don’t you just take Robb up on his offer?” Sansa asked, shifting the weight of her heavy book from one arm to the other. “It’d pay better by half than any of those odd jobs you always take.”
Arya folded the classifieds roughly and tossed them to the side before rolling onto her side and eyeing Sansa carefully.
The latter only rolled her eyes. “Boring is better than broke.” She sang at her sister.
Now Arya rolled her eyes as she pulled her phone from her back pocket. “If you’ve got the patience. Which you do, and I don’t.”
“True.” Sansa muttered under her breath, going back to studying.
“I heard that,” Arya murmured but with little annoyance. They all knew it was true after all.
Suddenly, Arya’s features brightened. “Oi, hold on.” She sat up excitedly “Hot Pie knows a guy who knows a guy who needs a nanny and-.” She paused, her eyebrows furrowing before shooting upward. “He’s paying bloody well.” She was smiling toothily now as she texted rapidly back to her friend.
Arya had Sansa’s attention though. She was staring intently at her sister.
When Arya finally noticed moments later, she gave her sister a blank look. “What?!”
“I mean, not to be a downer, Arya, but-.”
Arya threw the classifieds towards Sansa. “If you say I basically need a nanny myself, you’re going on my list, San.”
Sansa, who’d been half joking, burst out laughing while Arya only half-heartedly glared her way. Then a ping on Arya’s phone went off, and she was back at the texting.
“Well?” Sansa inquired. “What’s he saying?”
Arya grinned wolfishly toward her sister. “I’ve got an interview.”
Then with hardly any effort, Arya leapt off her sister’s bed and into the hallway. Her heavy footsteps echoed loudly after her, quickly followed by the lighter galloping of Nymeria who’d been sleeping in the hallway waiting for Arya.
Arya whistled as she trundled down the cobbled street toward the address Hot Pie had texted her. She’d been peeved to find out Hot Pie wasn’t going to be there after all as he’d promised, but it was all the same to her really. Her eyes swept from her phone to the numbers on the houses and back.
It should be the next house, she realized. When her eyes met the large iron wrought gate and elegant trees that lined the curved drive that hid the house, of which she could see actual turrets, her whistle ended in a high pitch. No wonder the pay was good. Arya only hoped the pay would turn out to be worth it. Rich brats tended to be the absolute worst.
Not that she had anything against rich people or rich kids. She technically was one, but she’d turned out alright. At least she thought so.
She let out a sigh and pressed the button on the intercom outside the gate that should alert her prospective employer she’d arrived. She glanced at her watch. Early actually. For once.
She waited almost impatiently for a few minutes before buzzing the intercom again. It was another moment before a deep but hassled voice finally responded.
“Yes? Sorry. Is that the pizza?”
The man seemed hurried and out of breath. Arya stifled a grin, in case the camera on the gate pointed her way was functioning.
She held the button down. “No, but that sounds delicious. I’m starving. I’m your future nanny.” She responded good-humoredly. Sansa told her she never gauged situations right and was always responding to people with the wrong emotion. Arya couldn’t help wondering if this was yet another one of those times.
There was a pause on the other end, then the crackling of the intercom again. Arya was relieved to hear he sounded amused. “Well, it’s pepperoni and pineapple, in case you were wondering. And I thought our interview was at noon.”
Arya groaned inwardly and cursed Hot Pie aloud. When the man released the button on his end, she pressed the one in front of her. “Hot Pie doesn’t know his numbers from his arse.” She said this in an apologetic tone.
When the man came on again, though, he seemed to be half laughing. “Well, it’s not like I’m doing anything special. Usually when the security camera’s not working, I’m supposed to let one of my father’s guards come open the gate but since you don’t sound much like a serial murderer, I’m going to go on faith on this one.”
Arya couldn’t stifle her grin this time. He had buzzed her in, so she lifted the bar on the gate and started to step forward then pause. She leaned over and pressed the intercom again. “I may not sound like one, but you’d be surprised.” She laughed out loud to herself as she started up the drive, not even worrying if something like that could upset her potential employer. He seemed to have a sense of humor at least.
Gendry swung the door open, still grinning lightly at the nanny’s last comment. Despite his predicament, he was suddenly in a better mood.
A sound like falling items clattered from behind. Gendry looked over his shoulder, but he didn’t see the little girl in sight. He skimmed the grand staircase again and glanced back toward the kitchen but there was no sign of her. He swung his gaze back toward the front door and started to see a girl framed in the doorway grinning at him.
It took him a moment to speak. She’d had a nice voice, but when he’d asked around for a nanny, he never imagined he’d get someone his age to apply. He figured he’d get a nice plump motherly type. This girl was all hard lines and sharp edges. If he looked a little bit closer, she even looked like trouble. But Gendry had been taken at first glance.
He realized he was being rude or, worse, weird, when she raised her eyebrows at him questioningly.
“Right, sorry.” His voice sounded strange even to his own ears, but he stepped back to let her in. “Come on in.”
She placed one foot, covered in a heavy boot over the threshold. Gendry admired her carefully as she closed the door behind her. Skinny jeans and a sweatshirt tied around her waist. Not exactly what he would have considered interview material, but he wasn’t picky.
She turned, untying the sweatshirt as she did so. “What was your name? Hot Pie never said.”
He gestured to the sweatshirt, offering to put it aside for her. “Gendry.” He told her. “And you?”
The girl handed him the sweater almost questioningly, her eyebrows arching quizzically when he hung her sweatshirt on the coat rack as carefully as if it had been an expensive coat. “Arya.” She finally said decisively with a smile.
“Right, well, Arya, could I get you something to drink before we get started?”
Arya peered around curiously. “Was kind of hoping to meet the little one.” She murmured.
“Right,” Gendry drew out the syllable. “See, the thing about that is, I can’t currently find her.”
A beat passed. Then- Almost laughing, Arya, spoke. “You lost your kid?”
Gendry grinned back sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. “Sort of. She gets into these moods and then she hides somewhere impossible, and it usually takes me days to find her.”
Arya blinked up at him. Even though she seemed to be slightly judging him, he couldn’t help but admire the sharpness of her dark gray eyes. “Days?”
“No,” Gendry let out something between a breath and a chuckle. “Not literally, but a while yeah. I’ve already checked all her regular spots, but she must have found somewhere new.” He couldn’t help but shrug. These were the kinds of things he dealt with on a daily basis. He figured the new nanny might as well know from the get go.
Suddenly, this brilliant girl was grinning brightly up at him. “I’ll take down here, you take upstairs?” There was no better way to describe her grin than as wolfish.
Gendry couldn’t stop the bright smile that came to his own face in response. He hadn’t even planned on asking for the help, and she was just offering. Unless she did turn out to be some sort of axe murderer, he knew she was hired.
“You help me find her, and the job is yours,” he found himself saying.
“So pretty much I’m on the clock?” She grinned facetiously.
“And there’s bonus for you if you actually find her.” Gendry beamed back.
“I’ve got this,” she said confidently. “Shouldn’t take long, even if it is a big house.”
“Don’t forget there’s the third story and the attic.” He added mischievously.
Arya’s eyebrows rose up her face again, but the grin remained. “Fancy are we?”
Gendry rubbed his bright red neck again. “My dad mainly.” He said as a response.
A quarter of an hour later, they met at the foot of the staircase, both empty-handed.
“No luck?” Arya asked him.
He watched her, liking the way her shoulder-length hair was disheveled now. “None.” He liked the way her eyes looked at him too, all mischievous like. “Should we try the cellar?” He asked her good humoredly.
She rolled her eyes. “Of course there’d be a cellar.”
Gendry grinned. “What can I say? My dad’s big on big.”
“You didn’t just lure me here under the pretenses of a good job only to kill me off, did you? You’re not some serial murderer yourself, are you?” She asked suddenly as they strode toward the cellar door.
Gendry laughed heartily, then realized such a reaction might not be taken well by a young woman purportedly alone in a large house with a man. “No.” He sputtered. He pulled out his phone to show Arya his phone’s background which was a picture of him and Weasel.
But when his eyes found her face, she appeared to just have been having a go at him. She took the phone from him anyway and peered at the picture. She was standing close to him, and a wisp of her hair brushed his nose. She smelled like pine leaves and some sort of flower; it was lovely.
Arya’s brow was furrowed as she glanced at the picture. “She looks like a troublemaker,” she joked, “but that could just be the whole hiding in the house thing. Is that the mother?” Arya asked almost nonchalantly as she handed the phone back to Gendry.
Gendry started and glanced down at the picture. “No, no, that’s Mya, our half sister.”
Arya nodded, then seemed to realize what he’d said. “Our?”
Gendry shook his head as he put the phone away. “Sorry, I forgot to explain. For some stupid reason, I thought Lommy or Hot Pie might have told you. She’s my half-sister, but my father. He’s-.” Gendry stopped. He knew he shouldn’t speak ill of his father, especially to a stranger, but there was something about this girl that made him want to divulge all his secrets to her. “He’s not around much, so Mya and I have pretty much been raising her ourselves.”
Arya nodded in understanding. “That’s good of you.” This was the first time since she’d come into his home that her eyes were devoid of humor, replaced instead with a deep intensity.
It made him swallow, hard. “She’s worth it. She’s the best. You’ll see.”
Arya grinned again as she followed him into the cellar. “Will I? Seems like she knows this house better than you.”
They both stopped in their tracks at the foot of the stairs and stared at the sight in front of them.
A small girl, about seven years old, was sitting in the very middle of the large shag carpet, cradling a small black and white creature in her arms.
“Gendry.” Arya spoke first, cautiously. Despite the situation, his stomach couldn’t help but flutter at the way she said his name.
“Yes?” He tried for casual. Weasel’s eyes had found his, and she had the audacity to not look guilty.
“She’s got a skunk.” Arya tried the casual tone as well.
“Yes.” Gendry confirmed. Then he clarified, “A baby skunk.”
Arya side-eyed him then. “Is this an everyday thing then?” She didn’t seem perturbed as much as amused.
Gendry grinned in spite of himself. “It’s not a pet, if that’s what you mean. But, yes, Weasel’s good at finding little furry friends.”
“Weasel?” Arya repeated, but it warmed Gendry’s heart to see that instead of crinkling her nose at the name like some others tended to, she smiled sweetly.
Gendry approached Weasel slowly. “Where did you find this one then, little one?”
He crouched next to the girl who didn’t respond, as he knew she wouldn’t. Instead she lifted the baby animal towards him.
“I see.” He said affectionately, petting the snoozing creature with two fingers. “What shall we name this one?” He asked softly.
Arya watched this interaction from behind, unexplainably finding herself warming at it. For such a large man, he was impossibly gentle.
The little girl gestured toward posters on the wall behind her.
“Rabbit is it, then?” Gendry asked, and the girl nodded vehemently.
Gendry glanced behind him now at Arya. He was only a little worried. He should have told Arya the girl didn’t speak, but he was always cautious to do so outright. He caught the sweet grin on Arya’s face though as she watched them. Now she approached them carefully.
Then she was dropping to sit on the shag carpet in front of Weasel.
“Hello, Weasel, I’m Arya. Can I meet Rabbit, do you think?”
Weasel, usually slow to smile, studied Arya carefully, then grinned brightly, her two bottom missing teeth adding even more charm to her cherubic face. The girl then offered the sleeping baby animal to Arya who took it gently and cradled it against her chest. Weasel moved closer to Arya, petting the animal’s little head.
Gendry’s heart soared. Hot Pie and Lommy had done the impossible. They’d found someone who could actually bond with Weasel, despite her inability to speak.
Not long after, as Weasel napped on the sitting room couch, Gendry and Arya stood in the entry way again.
“So what are the hours like then?” Arya asked nonchalantly, ignoring the fact he hadn’t officially offered her the job yet.
Gendry grinned. “Well I can be flexible with that depending on your schedule. I just got work with the Stark Foundation, and they’re great at working around child care needs.”
Arya blinked up at him three times before she spoke. “Bloody hell. You’re working for my brother?”
It was Gendry’s turn to blink back at her. “Robb Stark is your brother?” He paused. “You’re a Stark?”
She cursed inwardly for letting the fact be known. She knew what was coming next.
“What are you doing looking for a job like this?” He seemed incredulous.
She couldn’t help rolling her eyes. “I’m not good with people” was all she provided as explanation.
Gendry stared at her, glanced behind his shoulder at Weasel, then back at Arya.
Arya smiled in spite of herself. “I’m not good with adult people.” She clarified.
“You’re good with me.” Gendry found the words spilling out because they were so true, though his face reddened at his boldness. He wasn’t good with people either, but from the moment he’d met her, there’d been something so familiar about Arya, as if they’d been friends forever already.
Arya’s own face pinkened, but she grinned again. “Or you’re just good with me.” She responded cheekily.
Gendry cleared his throat, slightly embarrassed. “Well, I’m not sure this job pays as well as one at your brother’s company.”
Arya’s face was amused but also unreadable. “I need the experience anyway,” she quipped.
“Alright then,” he smiled happily. “She’s in school between 10 and 2, but you can start earlier or end later. Up to you.”
“Just let me know your ideal work schedule,” she responded, “and I’ll work around it.”
Gendry nodded. “Alright, that doesn’t sound bad.” He paused, wondering if he dare say what came to his mind next. He dared. “Would your schedule happen to have an opening over the weekend for dinner or coffee?”
Arya’s cheeks pinkened again, and he found he liked the effect. But then she responded, “Well I have dinner and coffee everyday.” It took Gendry a moment to realize she was messing with him.
Suddenly the intercom behind them buzzed. “Giuseppe’s Pizza.” A distorted voice said over the intercom.
They looked at each other, then Arya grinned. “I’ve got an opening for pizza right now, if you do.”
Gendry felt slightly tipsy as he grinned back and hung Arya’s sweatshirt back up on the coat rack.
“I’ll see if I can find the time, but I’m pretty sure we can work something out.”
Arya was busy pressing the button that let the pizza man into the gate, but he saw her smirk from the side. Already making herself at home. Gendry liked the thought. In fact, he loved it. “Let’s hope this one’s not a serial murderer either,” Arya murmured, grinning slyly his way.
“Well,” Gendry found himself saying. “You turned out alright.”
“So did you,” and Arya did that wolfish smile Gendry realized he’d already come to like so much.