Author's Note: Sorry to all those confused. This is a little different. The other story can be found under For Want of a Better King. Thanks for sticking with it.

Chapter 2: Coming to Terms


He barely acknowledged them clearing his plates and goblet. He excused himself and got to his feet less gracefully than he would have liked. Ser Davos looked concerned, and Gendry excused himself. The Queen agreed readily with a small amount of pity. He retreated to his quarters, not even remembering the journey. Mostly, he was in shock. He still needed to talk to Hot Pie, Lommy and the others. But he was too exhausted, too stunned. He took a quick piss in the chamber pot, stripped off his shirt, and fell on the bed. He wiggled his boots off, and fell asleep.

A hand covering his mouth wakes him immediately in the dead of night, and he gasps as he sits up abruptly. When his eyes open, it takes a few moments for the dark blurry surroundings to solidify. The first thing he sees is a petite girl, dark hair and grey eyes.

"For fucksakes!" He exclaims. She shushes him.

"You want everyone to hear?" She questions him in a whispered tone.

"What are you doing?! You can't be here." He says quieter. She rolls her eyes and stands up giving him the chance to steady himself. He can see she's wearing tight black leather pants and a fitted black tunic, her hair is hanging free and her feet are bare. He wonders if he's actually awake.

"You need to tell them you changed your mind."

He rubs the sleep out of his eyes and messes with his black hair.

"I can't."

"Yes you can. Just tell them I'm unacceptable. That your sanity is more important than some title. The Queen won't mind."

"Well you ran out so quickly, you missed the part where Stannis threatened to disown me if I refuse. No name, no title, nothing. So, no, M'lady, I can't." He's still tired and a bit cranky.

"Oh." Her face falls.

"Why don't you do it? Since you're so insistent." She crosses her arms in front of her chest at this.

"I can't." He just raises an eyebrow at her.


"I'm afraid it might start another war. And your stubborn uncle has a point. My family's position would be stronger with a political marriage. Even I know that."

"Why aren't you already married then?" She's lovely, if challenging. Surely there must have been plenty of men interested in her, or at least in Winterfell.

"Well, there have been a few offers, the Queen set up four in particular, but I turned them all down. She made me swear, the next one she picked, I'd say yes." She looks particularly annoyed, and Gendry finds it adorable. He has enough sense not to say it though.

"But surely she would reconsider, she doesn't really want the last Stark married to a bastard." He argues amiably.

"I don't care that you're a bastard. My favorite brother was a bastard. That has nothing to do with it. I don't want to marry anyone, period." He is truly surprised to hear her say such a thing, and it makes him feel vulnerable in a way he hasn't in a long while, he doesn't say anything.

"Better than Stannis, I guess." She concedes. He starts to feel nervous.

"Uh, M'lady, perhaps you should leave. You really shouldn't be here. People will talk."

She rolls her eyes again and sits on his bed. "Are you kidding? We're betrothed, they'll be thrilled." Wait, has she accepted their betrothal? "Besides…" And she pulls out a little knife, one he recognizes from the dining table downstairs.

"Uh." He backs up with his hands in the air and looks around guiltily, at what he isn't sure. She gets up again and puts the knife away.

"Okay. As long as we're stuck with each other, we might as well come to terms."


"Yes. As in a treaty, an agreement." She explains with a hint of exasperation.

"I know what terms are. I'm just not sure what the hell you're talking about." She grins at this.

"Compromise. I'll tell you right here and now what life with me will be like, and then you can tell me if it's still not worth Stannis' wrath." She crosses near the window, and the moon illuminates the side of her face, making her look delicately beautiful, only a trick of the night, he knows.

She takes a long time to say anything further, considering carefully no doubt. He believes in that instant she'd had no more plan than sneaking in.

"I don't cook and sew." She admits.


"In fact, I don't do any of that girly stuff, I hate it. And I'm not any good at it."

"Me neither." He responds, amused despite himself.

"And I wear pants." He looks her up and down.

"I see that."

"And if I want to ride my horse, roll in the mud, go run with the dogs, or read battle histories, I will. Understand?" He is honestly baffled, this was honestly the last conversation he ever expected to be having in his life. Right after, you have King's blood.

"Uh, okay." She grunts in approval and pushes a strand of hair behind her ear. She also looks surprised at his agreement.

"Really?" She's skeptical. He nods.

"And what about you?" She asks.

"Actually, I quite like the pants, they suit you." He remarks. It's too dark, but he can almost picture her blushing.

"I meant, what do you want? It kind of goes both ways."

"Well I'm sure my uncle and the Queen are drawing up the papers…"

"Obviously, but that's between them. This is between us. If it's a real deal, we both have to get something we want, or it doesn't work." He's a little touched she's concerned with his needs.

"This has to be a fair trade or else you won't be obligated to keep your end. Common sense really." Okay, not concern. Still…

"Help, I need help." She seems confused, and he smoothes the hair out of his eyes. "I'm supposed to be a lord. But I have no idea what I'm doing. I keep forgetting people's names and titles, sigils and courtesies. I know they're all laughing at me, but I don't want them to think me a fool. I need someone to help me." He didn't look at her eyes at first, but cautiously turned back towards her to see her reaction. She was considering once more before a small smile came across her face.

"I can do that." And he feels a large smile cross his face. She rolls her eyes again and then makes for the door.

"Thank you." He says too loudly. And then softer. "M'Lady."

"My Lady."

"I, yeah."

"No, you said M'Lady. Highborns say My Lady."

"Oh." He'd never even noticed before, it was so natural. "My Lady, then."

"Good. But don't call me that either."

"What? But you just said…"

"Call me Arya, we are going to be sharing a bed starting tomorrow." He is left speechless at that, his jaw hanging open as she leaves as quietly as she entered.

He was getting married tomorrow.

Author's Note: Next Chapter- The Wedding. Arya's perspective, I think. And no one will die, I don't think. There will be drunkenness. Any comments are helpful.