Story Title: A Talking To
Story Summary: Sansa talks to Arya and Stannis talks to Gendry, and even in different worlds, their conversations are startlingly similar.
Pairing/characters: Arya/Gendry, Sansa, Stannis
Word Count: 1481
Spoilers: A little spoilerly for A Clash of Kings
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Story Notes: I wanted to work on my Sansa/Willas fic, but when I was reading someone else’s story where Sansa confronts Arya about Gendry, it made me think of a scene from The Simpsons. And then I couldn’t decide who I wanted to see act out this conversation more. Oh, keep in mind that the two halves of this story are not really connected. It’s more like a parallel moment in two different universes. So, voila.
Marge: Are you having an affair with this woman?
Marge: Have you kissed her?
Marge: Has she kissed you?
Homer: A couple of times!
”A Talking To”
Sansa approached her sister hesitantly. It had been five years since King’s Landing, and only a few months since the reclaiming of Winterfell. In many ways, this sister was a stranger to her. She was taller, stronger, and, a small part of Sansa was loath to admit, more beautiful, perhaps even more beautiful than she. Of course, they were beautiful in different ways. Sansa knew she was lovely and alluring, a maiden that bards could write songs about. But Arya, Arya was so striking, so arresting, so captivating that men could start wars for her.
That wasn’t to say that she was unrecognizable. Arya still preferred breeches to dresses, and could always be found sparring in the training yard whenever there was a visiting lord to be entertained. She still had that freckle on the lobe of her left ear and she still fought Sansa for the last lemon cake. But where a younger Arya, Arya Underfoot or Arya Horseface, seemed always filled with a restless energy, this grown Arya seemed in possession of limitless patience and unwavering focus. It was a little discomfiting to be around this new Arya, to say the least.
Sansa sat near her in the godswood, and watched as her sister sharpened her sword in exactly the spot their father had always sat to sharpen Ice. Arya hadn’t looked up to acknowledge her, but Sansa didn’t doubt Arya was aware of her presence even before she had entered the clearing. Either way, Sansa wasn’t offended. There existed a tranquility between the sisters that never had before.
Of course, Sansa knew her questions would soon disrupt their calm. She wasn’t sure what had possessed her to want to pursue the conversation she had in mind, only that in the absence of their dear mother, there was no one else who could broach such a subject with Arya.
“Arya?” Sansa asked.
Arya kept her eyes on her sword and the steady motion of the oilstone, but answered with a small “hmm.”
“Are you having an affair with the blacksmith?”
Arya’s eyes flew to her sister’s. Her mouth hung open in shock and Needle fell into her lap. “What?”
Sansa met her Arya’s gaze steadily, her expression schooled and neutral. “Are you having an affair with the blacksmith?”
Arya flushed hotly, her ears burning red, and Sansa suppressed a smile. It was a comfort to know that a little of the childish Arya still remained.
“No,” Arya said vehemently.
“Have you kissed him?” Sansa pressed.
“No,” Arya answered, her voice certain.
“Has he kissed you?”
Arya broke Sansa’s stare and looked to the heart-tree, the toe of her boot digging into the dirt uneasily.
“A couple of times,” the younger Stark said, uncertainty creeping into her voice. She still did not look at her sister.
Sansa was well aware that among the many changes their years apart had wrought, one of them was that both sisters had become quite adept at deception, artifice, subterfuge. She was quite touched that Arya did not attempt to lie to her.
“He seems very nice,” Sansa said, extending the olive branch. And she spoke truly. The blacksmith, while rather rough seeming, knew his courtesies and looked as if he cared about Arya a great deal.
Arya met her sister’s gaze and smiled widely in delighted surprise, and Sansa answered with one of her own. This was why she had sought out her sister, Sansa realized, this was why she had wanted to talk about this. Because the thing had she missed most about the Arya from before, when they had never yet left Winterfell, was her smile, always broad and laughing and freely given. This new Arya who had come back to Westeros from the free cities didn’t smile in the same way. Her smiles were sometimes tender, occasionally cold, always small, and altogether rare. When Sansa had seen Arya laughing with the handsome blacksmith, she had decided to approach her sister.
Now both sister’s smiled in the godswood as if they were girls again, and Sansa stayed for hours as Arya shyly revealed that hers was not the passionate affair Sansa had imagined, and that theirs was a bond of friendship and trust, and that the kisses he had given her were on the crown of her head or her temple or cheek, and that they were brotherly and kind, but that, yes, she did feel a queer flutter in her chest at times when he was near, and, yes, she did notice the warm look in his eyes that he could never seem to hide, and, yes, she liked him very much indeed.
Stannis coolly evaluated the young man standing before him. He was tall, broad shouldered, and very clearly strong. Deep blue eyes shined through a fringe of inky black hair. He reminded Stannis so much of both his brothers that it had been almost a fortnight in the camps before Stannis could look upon him without wincing. And it wasn’t merely his appearance. The boy had Renly’s easy laugh and Robert’s single minded determination. Though he would feel his insides wrench, Stannis often found he could not stop watching the boy.
He could tell the young man was fighting the instinct to look away and fidget under his commanding gaze. “Please, sit,” Stannis said, waving a hand towards a chair at the table.
The boy hesitated a beat before responding, “If it pleases your grace, I prefer to stand.” If the boy’s tone had been in the slightest insubordinate or haughty, Stannis would have felt bound to demand his head. But his voice was solemn and his manner grave. Stannis could respect a man who would rather stand, a man who wouldn’t dare sit next to a king.
“Are you having an affair with Lady Arya Stark?” Stannis asked without preamble.
Gendry’s decorum escaped him and he gaped at the king for a moment before staring fixedly at the ground.
“No,” Gendry said through gritted teeth.
“Look at me, boy,” Stannis instructed. “Have you kissed Lady Stark?”
Gendry met his stare resolutely. “No,” he bit out.
Stannis was no fool. He had seen the way the two had carried on about the camps, and he was privy to the whispers of his men and their unseemly drunken japes. But the boy’s steady voice and honest gaze gave him cause for pause. Renly had been a gifted liar, though the youngest Baratheon had always called it charm. And Robert, though honored, had had very little honor to actually speak of. But Stannis could see that the boy had no talent for Renly’s guile, and no taste for Robert’s shameful proclivities. He was inclined to believe the boy’s claim, and took a different tack.
“Has Lady Stark ever kissed you?”
Gendry’s face flamed instantly and his eyes again fell to his feet. “A couple of times,” he mumbled, plainly mortified.
Stannis felt an uncharacteristic twinge of sympathy for the poor boy, but needed to sternly ask, “And that is all? You have not dishonored her or caused her ruin?”
Earnest eyes met his and Gendry rushed to explain. “Of course not, your grace. I would never do anything untoward to a lady. Only, Arya, I mean, I beg your grace’s pardon, Lady Arya and I are friends. We traveled together and she saved my life many times. And I her. But, and I think your grace is aware, Lady Arya doesn’t care much for being proper. And she forgets sometimes that she is a lord’s daughter and I am a baseborn bastard. And I don’t think she means nothing by her kisses, your grace. But your grace is right. I should never have allowed them.” Gendry concluded his rambling ashamedly.
Stannis didn’t smile, but his expression softened infinitesimally. The boy’s birth was no secret in the camps, and Stannis himself had affirmed who the boy’s natural father was. But it was not Robert or even Renly that the men compared Gendry to. Stannis had heard the talk. More than one soldier had said Gendry had Stannis’ unflinching morals, his steady character, and that they shared a righteous sense of honor and duty. The comparison was a flattering one, even to Stannis.
If he had ever had a son, Stannis thought, he would have hoped the boy would be like Gendry. And for a moment, he found it terribly unjust, that he should be denied a son when the gods had gifted an ingrate like Robert with such a stalwart, hearty lad as a son, only to let him be born an unacknowledged bastard.
“Lady Stark has already made it abundantly clear to me that her decisions are her own. And, in truth, she could do worse than to choose a legitimized Baratheon,” Stannis said, his tone revealing nothing.
Gendry’s mouth fell open. The king had clearly flummoxed the poor lad. Stannis almost smiled.
A.N.: Thanks for reading! As always, feedback and questions are adored and appreciated.
I promise that I will work on my other stories. I plan for my Sansa/Willas fic to be a series, and I’m working on getting the next chapter of “Step by Step” out. But sometimes a plot bunny just won’t leave you alone.
I always get such warm and fuzzy feelings writing about sisters, so I loved doing the Sansa and Arya interaction.
Also, I can’t tell you guys how happy I was to write Stannis. I kinda love him a ton, and it wasn’t a horribly difficult experience to write in his POV. So, yay!
Til next time!
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