Brienne woke up with a startled gasp…and with a headache. Her first instincts were to take in her surroundings.
She was definitely sleeping in a bed, and surprisingly not in her tent at Renly’s camp. Gods, Brienne couldn’t remember the last time she had slept in a true bed. Probably the last night she spent on Tarth. She brushed the unbidden memory of the sadness in her father’s eyes as she took her leave from her mind.
Brienne scanned the room to see that she was not on Tarth, but she had no idea where she could be. The architecture of the building was none that she had seen before. There were the walls were made of stone. And it was cold, very cold.
For a person who grew up playing in the warm sun on the beach – Brienne was grateful for the extra furs that were piled on top of her.
What had happened? Had Renly and Stannis finally come to blows? Had there been a battle and she was injured? She had other aches and pains throughout her body besides the blow to her head.
Brienne heard stirrings in the room and looked up to see what seemed to be a maester, although he did not have any chains.
“What…where am I?” She asked. Her voice was sore from disuse, she assumed. Brienne wondered how long she had been asleep.
“Lady Brienne, you’re awake,” the man said excitedly, as if he knew her. Brienne, however scowled at him, because from that title he called her, he must not know her at all.
“I’m no lady,” she said angrily, but the man just smiled at her. She hated when people were patronizing to her.
“Wench is more like it,” said a voice from the doorway. Brienne looked up and gasped at the sight of one of the most handsome men she had ever seen in her life. He was a knight – she could tell that from the sword that hung from his side and the way he carried himself. His clothing bore no insignia though, so Brienne couldn’t tell what house he was from.
His hair was long and falling into his eyes, and a thick beard covered his chin, but didn’t disguise his chiseled jaw. And his eyes -they were so bright and piercing. And they appeared to be smiling at her.
His gaze made Brienne so uncomfortable, she dropped her eyes from his. To his shoulders. His very broad shoulders. The man chuckled.
“I’m glad that you are healthy enough to be admiring my fine form, wench, but I think we should let the maester confirm your healthbefore we take your thoughts any further,” the man said.
Brienne blushed at being caught ogling the man, but then his words registered.
“Did you just call me wench?”
The man crossed the room and gazed down at her in concern.
“Of course, like I always do,” he said, reaching out and grabbing her hand. He was holding her hand. Why was the handsome knight holding her hand? What was happening to her? Memories of those who had tried to woo her under false pretenses in order to win a bet flooded her mind. Brienne tried to pull her hand away from this stranger’s but he only held hers tighter. “Brienne, are you feeling okay?”
The maester in the room cleared his throat and smiled at the two of them. “Well, she always complains when you call her that, so I would say she’s feeling just fine, milord.”
The man smiled at that and squeezed her hand. “Well, since you are injured, I can call you by whatever moniker you would prefer. My love? Sweetling? Fiercest warrior in the kingdom? Wife?”
Wife? WHAT IN ALL THE HELLS WAS GOING ON HERE?
“I don’t understand,” she whispered. “What happened? Where is King Renly?”
The man dropped her hand with a look of surprise on his face. “Renly? What do you mean, wife?”
Despite her injuries, she did her best to scoot away from the man. “Why do you keep calling me that? Who are you? What have you done with my king? I need to be by his side. I’m in his rainbow guard. I need to protect him. Stannis is not to be trusted.”
The man closed his eyes for a moment as if trying to gather his emotions that were threatening to burst out of him. When he opened them, he gave her the saddest expression she had ever seen.
“Brienne, do you know where you are?”
She shrugged. “I have no idea, a nearby keep to King Renly’s encampment?”
The maester approached the bed.
“And do you know who this man is, milady?”
She studied the man, who was now looking at her pleadingly, tears in the corner of his eyes. She did not know him, but she really wished she did. Brienne didn’t know why, but the idea of him being sad broke her heart. She wanted nothing more than to make him feel better, but honor dictated that she should be truthful.
“No, I’m sorry, I do not.”
The man’s shoulders slumped and he sat down in the nearest chair. He looked as if his whole world had been shaken. Brienne couldn’t help but wonder again who he was and why he kept calling her wench and wife. It had to be some kind of joke, but for the life of her she could not understand the punch line.
“It will be alright, milord, such things are common with head injuries,” the maester reassured the man.
“Head injury? Was I wounded in battle? Was Renly hurt? Is he protected?”
The man who called her wife growled at Brienne’s words. “You are the one with injuries and you are worried about your precious Renly? You could have died today, Brienne.”
She scowled at the man for having the gall to berate her, though he was a stranger.
“It is my duty to protect him, my injuries do not matter,” Brienne argued.
The man threw up his hands in frustration. “Gods, I forgot how annoying you were back then. Always black and white in your duty, no room for grey in the world of the Maid of Tarth. I’m so glad you learned to bend a little.”
Again, Brienne was offended. “I have not.”
The man surprised her by chuckling. “Oh you have no idea how many compromises you’ve made, my love. Marrying me just being one of them.”
Brienne’s mind reeled, how could such a thing be possible. Now she knew he had to be japing. Why would such a man be wed to her, and wouldn’t she know if she was married at all? She knew head injuries could cause the brain to work in mysterious ways, but this was beyond ridiculous.
Brienne stared at him in shock. “I’m not married to you! I don’t even know who you are!”
The man leaned forward, a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Well you are in for the shock of your life, my love. I’m your husband, Jaime Lannister.”
Brienne gaped at the man. She had only seen the Kingslayer once from afar at a tournament. She supposed the man standing in front of her resembled him, but he was much more unkempt than what she knew the Kingsguard member and noble she knew him to be. Glancing over him, she finally noticed that he only had one hand as well. How had she not taken that detail in before?
Her heart saddened at him for the loss he must have felt for the limb, and the it was quickly replaced with anger for this…man…who was clearly lying to her.
“You are japing with me,” she said firmly. “You are not the Kingslayer.”
The light dimmed in the man’s eyes a little when she said that title, although she could not imagine why. Everyone knew Jaime Lannister to be the Kingslayer.
“Jaime, my name is Jaime,” the man said, his voice sad. Her heart sped up at the intensity in his eyes, and her head ached a bit. She felt a shiver run through her, as if she had heard those words before. The moment passed, and she remembered that she had no idea who this man was. So she decided to scoff at his declaration.
“Now I know you are in a lie, because if you were the Kingslayer, you would want to be called Ser Jaime, not just Jaime. It’s what’s right.”
The man had the audacity to roll his eyes at her. “You don’t think my own wife would call be by my first name? But you are right, that was a hard battle fought to get there. I thought you were going to be calling me ‘Ser Jaime’ from our marriage bed.”
Brienne blushed at the idea of sharing a bed with this man. She could not believe any more of these lies. Her head hurt and she just wanted to go back to sleep and forget any of this happened. “I think I would remember being married, ser,” she said, rubbing her temples.
The man just sighed and leaned back in his chair, staring at her with an intensity that made her stomach flutter.
“Milord, perhaps the lady should rest a bit. Maybe if she sleeps she will regain some of her memories by then,” the maester said, and Brienne could not be more grateful to him. Still, she had to set the man straight.
“I haven’t lost many memories, just those of how I got to be in this castle. I remember earning my place in the Rainbow Guard yesterday,” she said sternly.
The man who was pretending to be the Kingslayer leaned forward and grabbed her hand. “Brienne, that was years ago. You haven’t been in Renly’s camp in a very long time.”
Brienne gasped, not able to comprehend what he was saying. “Years?” she whispered. “No, it’s not true. It can’t be true. Where is Renly? WHERE IS MY KING?”
The two men tried to hold her down when she attempted to get out of her bed, and her shouting only got louder.
“Should I tell her?” The knight asked the maester, who looked like he was lost as to what to do in this situation. “I don’t know, milord. It may only agitate her further.”
“Tell me what? I demand to know what you are keeping from me!”
The knight sighed and the maester just nodded dejectedly. “Alright, I will tell you, wench, but you have to promise me that you still will try to sleep, regardless of what news you hear.”
Brienne nodded solemnly. “I will rest, I vow it.”
The knight smiled sadly at her. “Good, I know you will be true to your word.” Again, Brienne wondered how he knew her so well. She ignored the voice in her head that was whispering that he might be telling the truth about being her husband. That was preposterous.
The knight hesitated with his words, as if he did not know how to tell her his news. “Brienne…Renly is dead. He died many years ago, killed by Stannis.”
Brienne couldn’t contain the sound that came from her, the guttural wail that was half-cry, half-scream. Renly was dead. It couldn’t be, could it? Yet somehow, she knew it to be true. She failed to protect her king. She was a failure.
The knight did not hesitate to climb into the bed next to her. Any other time, Brienne would have pushed the stranger out of her bed, but she was so distraught that she let him hold her and whisper soothing words to her. She did not have to work too hard to keep her promise to the knight to get rest, because she felt the darkness overtake her not long after.
Jaime waited until Brienne’s breathing evened out before he laid his wife’s head back on her pillow. He stared lovingly down at her tear-stained face. “How long do you think it will last?” He whispered to the maester, not wanting to disturb her rest.
“I cannot say, milord. Head injuries are strange like that. It could be hours, it could be days, weeks or years. We will not know until it is gone, if it goes away.”
Jaime eased out of the bed and marched over to the young man. “If? What are you saying, Tarly, that my wife might never regain her memories?”
His heart broke a little at the scared expression on Sam’s face. He knew the young man did not want to voice the answer to that question.
“She has to remember Sam, she cannot go on living like it was years ago. Like none of this ever happened.”
Like we never happened, he thought to himself. Kingslayer. He never thought he would hear that name pass Brienne’s lips ever again. He had to admit it was a gut punch to hear it. What would happen when she found out the truth – that he was Jaime Lannister? The Jaime Lannister she knew of during that time was known by all as the Kingslayer. He didn’t know if he could bear to see the scorn in his wife’s eyes. Brienne back in the Renly days was so noble and all about keeping those precious vows.
She did not remember their time together in the Harrenhal baths. The bearpit. And Oathkeeper. Gods, she didn’t remember Oathkeeper.
Suddenly the stifling air in the sickroom was more than he could bear. “Let me know when she awakens,” he said to Sam. “And inform the Starks of what happened.”
He stormed out of the room and once he exited, he started running. He had to get outside, he couldn’t breathe. He bumped into Tyrion and Pod on the way out.
“Ser Jaime, I heard milady was awake, can I go see her?” Pod asked eagerly. He was one of the many who had a hard time staying away from Brienne’s side while she was injured.
Unable to form words, Jaime just shook his head.
“Jaime, are you alright?”
He shook his head again. “I can’t…I have to…” And with that, he turned and ran in the opposite direction. Jaime ran until he reached one of the highest ramparts of the keep. Once he was overlooking the snowy plains of the North, he forced himself to take slow and even breaths.
The vacant stare when Brienne looked at him was like a dagger in his heart, but the good news was that she was alive. His wife may have no idea who he is, and may see him as an honorless Kingslayer, but this memory loss may not last forever.
And if it did, well, he had made the honorable Maid of Tarth fall in love with him once, he could do it again.
Finally calm, Jaime started thinking of ways to woo his wife.
Brienne tries to process what has happened to her.
Wow, I posted the first chapter and went on vacation - then I came back to all your lovely comments! I'm overwhelmed by your love for this fic. I hope the rest of it lives up to expectations.
Here is chapter 2, I hope you enjoy it, and as always, thanks to my beloved Ashley for being my beta.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Brienne had many visitors that day, and not a familiar face among them, much to her dismay. She seemed well liked, at least that was a good thing. It was a new feeling for her. She wondered what she had done to earn such favor and respect. Her entire life, people had sneered at her, but now, now people spoke to her like she was a person to be valued.
She heard bits and pieces of her life and how she had gotten here from people throughout the day, but whenever she asked a question, most evaded and told her that the story would best be told by Jaime. Because apparently, he knew more of her story than anyone else.
Jaime Lannister, her supposed husband. It did not seem believable, but the sheer amount of people who would have to be in on the jape at this point seemed unlikely. And getting a visit from the knight for the rest of the day seemed equally as unlikely.
He had been her first visitor when she woke up again. But scared and confused by what was happening to her, she only reacted to him being the one who had broken the news about Renly to her. She had screamed at him to get out of her room and never return. He looked at her with those sad and soulful green eyes before turning and leaving, but not before leaning something up against the wall next to the door. From her position on the bed, she could not see what it was.
Brienne’s next visitor had been Lady Sansa Stark.
“You really don’t know who I am at all, do you?” she asked, to which Brienne apologized profusely. Sansa raised her hand to stop her. “It’s all right, Lady Brienne, you will heal with time. I’m just used to having the feeling of you always in my corner, so this is a little strange.”
While the lady assured Brienne that she had saved her life, her sad eyes and stiff back indicated that the young woman had not gone without suffering before that rescue.
Sansa told the tale of how Brienne had saved her from Ramsay’s men, and about her heroics in the war against the dead. And that Brienne had come to her because of a vow made to her mother, Catelyn Stark. Brienne had heard the name before, but she could not connect a face to it.
“But milady, how did I come to be in your mother’s service?” She asked, trying to piece together a timeline for her past.
The girl frowned at the question. “How peculiar, I never asked before. I don’t know. You should probably ask Ser Jaime, he would know the details, since he made the same vow to keep Arya and me safe to my mother.”
Brienne gaped at Sansa. “The Kingslayer…a Lannister…made a vow to protect two Starks?”
Sansa chuckled and patted Brienne’s hand. “I know, it took us all by surprise, the depths of Ser Jaime. Also, no one really calls him Kingslayer anymore.”
Brienne was confused, as this was the common nickname for the Lannister heir throughout Westeros. “And why not?”
Sansa laughed again. “Because the first person who called him that after he arrived in Winterfell was knocked flat on his back.”
“By Ser Jaime?” Brienne was surprised by this, because surely the man was used to his moniker by now.
Sansa shook her head. “No, by you. And you had my brother Jon make a proclamation that no one was allowed to call him thusly ever again.”
Brienne had no idea why she would do such a thing. “Was he my husband when I did this?”
“No, but you two were already very good friends. You were very relieved to see him riding through the gates when he arrived,” Sansa explained.
Brienne pondered Sansa’s words, unable to put the pieces together in her head. “I simply cannot imagine how I would become friends with a Lannister, let alone become married to him.”
“I’ve been there myself,” Sansa said wryly, but didn’t explain any further. She exited the room when Sam arrived to check on Brienne’s wounds. The young man said she was healing quickly, save for the lump on the back of her head.
“Any news on when I might get my memories back?” She asked, trying not to let the anxiety show in her voice.
“I’m so sorry, milady, I cannot give you an answer. The swelling on your head wound has gone down a bit, but I have no idea what is going on underneath the surface. I will continue to observe you for a couple of days,” Tarly said.
Brienne scowled at him. “I suppose that means you will not let me out of my bed for a while.”
Sam tried unsuccessfully to hide a smile. “He said you would be difficult to keep in bed, even without your memories.”
Brienne knew who Sam was talking about before he even had to say it. “Ser Jaime?” At Sam’s nod, she sat up. “Have you seen him? How is he doing?”
What had she become? Why did the mere mention of one man send her heart racing and turn her brain into that of a young girl?
“Last I saw him, he was in the yard training with Ser Bronn and young Podrick,” Sam said.
“Training? He fights despite having only one hand?” Brienne’s respect for the man increased a little.
Sam smiled at that. “Indeed, he does, milady, and he’s improved with the practice and training he’s had since arriving here.”
Glad that she could talk about something she was interested in – sword fighting – Brienne questioned Sam further. “Really? Who trained him?”
Sam looked at her in surprise, almost as if he had forgotten that she was not the version of Brienne that knew the answer to that question. “Why, you did, milady.”
Brienne reeled at this news. How had she, Brienne of Tarth, come to train Jaime Lannister, one of the best sword hands in Westeros? Well, best before he lost his hand. Surely there was nothing more that someone like her could teach him.
Sam smiled at her. “You should talk to Ser Jaime. I’m sure he will explain everything.”
This vexed Brienne because she knew she had ruined her chance to talk to Ser Jaime. She had questions, and he had answers. And she would be surprised if the man ever visited her again.
On Sam’s way out the door, he knocked over the item Ser Jaime had left next to it this morning. It fell to the ground with a clank. It looked and sounded like a sword. She wanted more than anything to get out of her bed and see what it was, but her head ached fiercely the moment she sat up. She slammed her fist on the bed in frustration.
Down in the training yard, Jaime was equally as frustrated, and taking out that feeling on Bronn as they sparred.
The sellsword wiped his brow after a particularly vicious round with Jaime. “For fook’s sake, can’t we just pretend you were the man who could barely swing a sword after you lost your hand? Just for five minutes? I can’t take much more of this.”
Jaime grinned – trouncing his friend who had always had the upper…hand… was the only thing that could cheer him up today. “What can I say, I’ve been training with someone much stronger and more skilled than you.”
The thought of Brienne wiped the smile from his face. He had come out to the training yard to take his mind off their encounter this morning. Jaime visited her in her sickroom, determined to start the wooing process. He had even taken Oathkeeper to show her as a way of starting conversation, but his wife had taken one look at him and screamed at him to leave her alone. Not wanting to be the cause of any of her agony, he quickly did as she bid, but the cost was heartache for him. He missed Brienne, even if she had no idea who he was. He just needed to be near her.
So he had come to the training field to spar with Pod and Bronn, hoping it would ease his stress and he could develop a new plan.
“Good show, brother. It’s always nice to see someone take Bronn down a notch,” Tyrion said, approaching the training yard. “How are things going with your wife?”
Jaime scowled at him. “Not well, as I’m sure you’ve heard.”
Tyrion nodded. “Yes, the whole castle heard her screaming at you this morning. I’m so sorry, Jaime, truly I am. What do you plan to do?”
“I was planning on wooing her, but my efforts were cut very short this morning. I’m at a loss,” Jaime explained.
Tyrion thought for a moment. “Well, when I woo a girl, I usually offer her flowers, and expensive wine.”
Jaime shook his head at his brother. “Brienne is not like normal women. The average wooing method will not work on her.”
“Well, how did you woo her the first time?” Bronn asked. “All I saw was you gazing at her longingly. And gazing and gazing. It never stopped.”
Jaime shoved his friend in the shoulder to get him to be quiet, but then shrugged his shoulders. “There were other things too. I did jump in front of a bear for her.”
“We’re fresh out of bears,” Tyrion pointed out. “So that one is off the table.”
“I lost my hand defending her honor,” Jaime said.
“But sir, you just got your skill back with only one hand. I’m not sure you could spare another,” Pod argued.
All the men nodded at this. Jaime could not afford to lose another hand for Brienne, though he would happily give it.
Jaime thought about other aspects of their strange courtship. “I confessed all my secrets to her. While naked. In the bath.”
Bronn grinned. “Now we’re talking. I like that idea. Should I have everyone clear out the Winterfell baths for you two?”
Jaime shook his head. “No, we don’t want to spook her.”
Bronn laughed. “Yes, the sight of your ass is likely to spook any lady, let alone the Maid of Tarth.”
“She’s not a maid anymore,” Jaime argued.
“Yes, you took care of that, but the only problem is that she doesn’t remember you taking away that maidenhood. Yes, the baths would definitely spook her,” Tyrion said.
He thought about his attempt to talk to her this morning, and Oathkeeper. “I gave her a sword, and armor,” Jaime said, and then turned to look at Pod. “And a squire.”
Podrick smiled at his words. “Yes, you did, and she cherished those gifts above all others.”
Tyrion rubbed his beard, now grown thicker to protect him from the winter’s cold. “Well, there you have it, you need to remind her of those gifts.”
“I tried to bring her Oathkeeper this morning, but I had to leave it when she banished me from the room. And her armor is with Gendry, being repaired,” Jaime explained.
Bronn slapped Podrick on the back. “That just leaves you, lad. You are going to have to go in there and warm her to the idea of being married to a Lannister.”
Pod’s eyes widened. “I wouldn’t know what to say! I haven’t visited because it wouldn’t feel right, her not remembering me and all.”
Jaime patted the young newly-named knight on the shoulder. “It’s alright Podrick, I will find another way.”
Pod looked dismayed at his words, and then set his shoulders determinedly. “No, milord. She’s my lady, she saw me knighted, and I need to visit her.”
Bronn and Tyrion cheered the lad on. “Well done, Podrick. And maybe I will pay the lady a visit to put in a good word for you too, Jaime,” Tyrion added.
Jaime groaned. “Please don’t. I feel your help would make things worse.”
Podrick laughed and left the three other men behind to go visit Brienne. Jaime watched him go, praying to any of the gods who would listen to him that something her former squire said would jog her memory.
Podrick finally knocked on the door and entered Lady Brienne’s room after pacing in the hall for a good 30 minutes. He was relieved to see her awake when he entered, though it was hard to see her looking so weak and in bed.
“Milady, I’m sorry it took me so long to visit you,” Pod said. His heart clenched when she looked at him with blank, but apologetic eyes.
“I’m sorry, I have no idea who you are, but I’m glad you’re here,” Brienne said.
She nodded and pointed to the door.
“Would you mind picking up whatever that is that fell to the floor there? I think it’s a sword,” Brienne asked.
Podrick turned and saw the sword Jaime said he had left in the room. “Aye, milady it is a sword. Your sword. Oathkeeper.”
He picked it and carried it to her. Lady Brienne’s eyes widened at his words. “Only important swords have names.”
Podrick nodded. “This is a very important sword, milady.”
He handed it to her and she studied it with awe. Pod held his breath, hoping the sword would inspire some of her memories to return. “Valyrian steel? How did I come to have a Valyrian steel sword?” And then her eyes took in the lion on the pommel. “Ah – Ser Jaime?”
Podrick nodded. “Yes, he gave it to you with some new armor and a squire, before we left King’s Landing to go find Lady Sansa.”
Brienne blinked at him for several moments. Podrick was about to fetch the maester to determine if her head injury was affecting her, but then she spoke. “He gave me a sword. And armor. And a squire?”
“Yes, milady. I was the squire he sent with you,” Podrick said. “Although I’m newly knighted now. You saw to that before our last battle. Had Ser Jaime do it in front of the king and all his advisors.”
Podrick beamed with pride as he told her about one of the proudest moments of his life. He thought fondly of how Jaime had turned to Lady Brienne immediately afterwards and shocked the crowd by knighting her as well.
“You became a knight that day, too, milady. The only lady knight in all of Westeros,” Podrick said excitedly.
“HE EVEN KNIGHTED ME?”
Podrick smiled, he guessed his plan to win the lady over for Ser Jaime might be working. “Yes, milady, but truth be told, you deserved it.”
Brienne processed his words for several minutes, and he didn’t know if he should leave her with the information.
“Podrick, how did Renly die – do you know? How did I come to be in the service of Lady Catelyn? I’ve asked others, but they all tell me to speak to Ser Jaime. I will talk to him, but I need to know how I came into the Stark’s service. Please.” Lady Brienne’s eyes were wide with tears, and it was difficult for Podrick to bear.
“I don’t know all of the details, but I do know that you said that Renly was killed by a shadow with Stannis Baratheon’s face on it,” Pod explained.
“A shadow? What does that mean? That sounds like madness!”
Pod shrugged. “I don’t know, milady, this is only what you told me. Only you and Lady Catelyn were there as witnesses. You fled with the lady because Renly’s men would have accused you of the crime.”
Brienne gasped. “I would never harm my king!”
Podrick put his hands up. “Of course not, milady. After that, you vowed to serve Lady Catelyn,” he explained.
“And what about the Kingslay…I mean Ser Jaime? How did we come to travel together?”
“I think it best that you ask him that, Milady,” Podrick said, causing Brienne to frown.
“I don’t think he will come back to see me again,” she said sadly. “I banished him rather angrily this morning.”
Podrick chuckled. “That won’t be a problem, milady. He’s spent the better part of the day trying to figure out a way to get back into your good graces.”
She brightened at that. “Really?”
He nodded. “Aye, would you like me to get him for you?”
Podrick couldn’t help but smile when she hugged Oathkeeper to her as a child would a favorite toy, just like she did all those years ago during their travels when she didn’t think he was noticing. “Yes, Ser Podrick, I believe it’s time that I spoke to my husband.”
Pod smiled and said his farewells as he hurried from the room to tell Ser Jaime the good news.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
Jaime and Brienne finally have a talk.
Hi all! Sorry it's so late in the day that I'm posting, but it's still Monday for me. :) Hope you enjoy this chapter, it's one of my favorites.
Trigger Warning: There is mention of the attempted rape of Brienne at the time Jaime lost his hands. I know we are familiar to the story, but Jaime is retelling it to her. So if you are triggered by that scene, here is your warning. It's not graphic, but sometimes just characters talking about it can be a tough read for survivors. <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After Podrick left the room, Brienne took the time to study Oathkeeper some more. A beautiful blade, it was. She wondered how many battles she had wielded it in. The light shone off of it, demonstrating the Valyrian steel in all its glory.
“It’s yours, it will always be yours,” she whispered, not knowing where the words came from, but that they were significant for some reason. A knock sounded at the door and she called for the person to enter, hoping that it was Jaime Lannister.
Brienne was relieved that it was indeed her husband walking into the room. He looked as if he had been running to get there.
“Ser Jaime, I apologize for this morning. I was still out of sorts,” she said right away, hoping she wouldn’t scare him away again.
“You have nothing to apologize for,” he said, walking across the room tentatively and sitting in the chair next to her bed. “I delivered terrible news to you the night before, and it makes perfect sense that I would be the last person you would want to see. In fact, I’m surprised you called for me at all.”
Brienne held up Oathkeeper, and his eyes lit with understanding.
“Ah, you have your sword back,” he said with a smile.
She nodded. “Yes, and I’m told you were the one who gave it to me, along with a new suit of armor and a squire.”
“Well, the suit is getting repaired and the squire has grown, but the sword remains,” Jaime said.
Brienne stared at him for a few moments, trying to figure the man out. “Why did you give them to me? Why didn’t you just tell me that I was a silly girl for wanting to fight and send me home to my father?”
Ser Jaime’s shoulders slumped at her words. “I’m not like the other men you have encountered in your life, Brienne. I would never say such things to you. You…are remarkable. Just as you are.”
Brienne didn’t know what to say in response. Jaime Lannister, one of the most skilled knights in the kingdom, had just called her remarkable.
“What happened to your hand?” she blurted out without thinking. She had been wondering what had taken the talented swordsman down.
Jaime gave her a sad smile. “That is part of a much longer tale. I will tell it to you if you want, but I’m sure you have other questions for me. Or so I’ve been told.”
Brienne nodded. “Renly. I’m sorry to keep on the subject, but a shadow? How is that possible?”
“Stannis Baratheon had a Red Priestess with him, who was capable of unspeakable magic. She created the shadow with the help of Stannis to kill Renly,” Jaime explained.
“And what happened to Stannis?” Brienne asked angrily. She grabbed the hilt of the sword, ready to avenge her king. Jaime surprised her by laying his hand over hers. Her heartbeat increasing dramatically over their connecting hands also surprised her.
“Relax, wench, he is dead. By your hand, in fact.”
“I killed Stannis Baratheon?” She was taken aback and relieved by this, that she had gotten justice for Renly.
Jaime nodded. “Yes, your precious Renly is avenged. You took off his head with that very sword.”
She looked down at Oathkeeper in awe. “Why do you keep calling me wench? Surely if we are married, I do not appreciate such a term.”
Jaime shrugged. “It’s what I’ve always called you. You finally call me Jaime, instead of Ser Jaime or worse, Kingslayer, but that took quite a while. You often call me ‘idiot’ as well.”
Brienne could help the giggle that slipped past her lips at that. Jaime grinned. “So how did we meet, when I was serving in Renly’s army and you were fighting for the Lannisters in the war?”
Jaime hung his head in embarrassment. “I was captured. By the Starks. I’m surprised you hadn’t heard about it in Renly’s camp. I was held for more than a year in my own filth.”
Brienne gave him a look of sympathy. “So we met after I pledged to Catelyn Stark?”
“Yes, I had just made an escape attempt and killed the son of one of the nobles in Robb Stark’s court and everyone was out for my head. Catelyn Stark knew I was the only way to bargain for her daughters’ lives in King’s Landing,” Jaime explained.
He nodded. “Yes, and Arya. Catelyn charged you with bringing me to King’s Landing to exchange for her daughters. Against the will of Robb Stark, so we had both friend and foe against us on our journey. It was rather fun.”
Brienne stared at him like he was insane. How could it be fun to have everyone out to get them? Just then, she realized their hands were still connected. She tried to pull away, but he held tight.
“Please,” he whispered. “I know you don’t me at all, but I miss my wife.”
The sadness in his eyes tore at something in Brienne, though she didn’t know what. She stopped trying to pull away.
“Alright, but you look rather uncomfortable,” she said. Jaime was sitting stiffly in the chair next to her, his arm stretched at an awkward angle, so he could reach her hand on Oathkeeper.
He smiled almost shyly at her. “Would you mind…if I sat on the bed next to you?” Brienne hesitated for a moment. She had never had a man in her bed, not that they were going to do anything scandalous, but it still seemed…strange. But then again, she supposed the man in question was her husband and had been in her bed many times.
She blushed just thinking about it, but she nodded. He took off his shoes, so he wouldn’t sully the bed, and the strange intimacy of it all had Brienne’s stomach fluttering. As he climbed in to sit next to her, she took the time to study him again. He was very handsome, but not the golden man she had heard the other young maidens gossiping about when she was a girl.
No, he looked like he had lived through quite a bit since those days. His face bore scars, and his eyes, soft while they looked at her, carried a heaviness to them, as if they had seen things they could never erase. And when he teased her and called her wench, he seemed more at ease, but the rest of the time there was a tightness to his shoulders that indicated he was carrying a lot of anxiety. Probably due to the war they had just fought, and her current condition.
She wondered how Jaime Lannister had come to be so far away from his family, and married to the likes of her.
“Do you want me to continue with our tale, wench, or are you getting tired?”
She frowned at his words. “I’ve been sleeping for days,” Brienne grumbled.
He chuckled. “Yes, but your brain needs plenty of rest to heal. But very well, I can tell from your dour expression you are not going to give in just yet. I will continue.”
Jaime told her about the Stark men they had encountered by the road on their first journey together and how she had taken care of them quickly.
“I started falling in love with you then, although I didn’t know it yet. I hadn’t seen anyone like you in my entire life. When we first met, I thought you were just playing at wanting to be a knight. Just trying to dress up like one, but when I saw you take down those men in such a glorious fashion, I was in awe of you.”
Brienne blushed at his words. Any other man would have been horrified to see a woman behave thusly, but not the knight next to her. Maybe Jaime Lannister really was different than other men.
“Did we get along better after that?” she asked timidly.
Jaime just threw his head back and laughed. “Absolutely not. You would not unchain me, and I made it my continuing mission to annoy you as much as possible. And then there was our sword fight.”
Brienne sat up a bit more at his words, wincing at the pain in her head that it caused. “We fought? How long? Did I win?”
Jaime shushed her and pushed her head gently back down on the pillow. “I’m not going to continue this story if you are going to get too excited and keep rising and giving yourself pain.”
She scowled at him, but nodded so he would continue the story.
“Our fight did not last long, and it is still up for debate as to who won, because we were interrupted,” he explained.
“I’m sure I beat you,” Brienne said matter-of-factly. “All of the rumors about your skills with the sword were probably embellished.”
Jaime scoffed. “Firstly, I had been in chains, sitting in my own filth for more than a year, so I was weak and out of practice. And I still gave you quite the challenge. Second, my hands were still bound and I was holding my own against you. Imagine what would have happened if I had been free.”
“Did we ever get a chance to find out?” Brienne had to know if she had bested him fairly.
“Find out what?”
“Which one of us would win before…” she looked meaningfully down at his false hand.
“Oh, you mean before I lost my sword hand? No, sadly, it happened shortly after. Although, you and I have gone several rounds in the training yard and I’ve almost beaten you with my other arm several times.”
She grinned. “Almost? Sounds like you cannot beat me at all.”
“Don’t get arrogant, wench. It’s unbecoming. There is still time,” Jaime practically growled at her. The gruffness in his voice made the butterflies return to Brienne’s belly. Not only was he fun to talk to, but he had already promised to spar with her again? No matter how her past self had felt about him, Brienne was starting to think that her husband was half a god.
“How did you lose it, your hand? If you don’t mind talking about it…” Brienne said, latching on to the fact that it had happened not long after their sword fight so she must have been with him. “Oh gods, it wasn’t me, was it? I didn’t cut it during the fight and it got infected and…”
Jaime surprised her by putting one of his fingers to her lips. The contact made her gasp. “No, you did not do this to me. I did this to myself. Well, my arrogance and my big mouth.”
She looked at him with sympathy. “I’m sorry. Sometimes we look back at thing and think about what we could have done differently.”
Jaime smiled sadly at her words. “Oh, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“What? You would not have kept your mouth shut or been more humble? Even if it meant keeping your hand?”
Jaime shook his head at her words. “No, the cost of the alternative was too steep.”
“More steep than the cost of your hand?” Brienne did not understand what he was trying to say. What could have been worth losing a hand over?
“Yes, I had to talk those men out of doing something…bad. And I did, but I paid for my interruption with my hand. Still, it was worth it,” Jaime explained, but he still wasn’t making sense to Brienne.
“What was the bad thing?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said angrily. She wondered what it could be that had turned his tone so quickly.
“I know that time was painful for you, but I need you to be honest with me so I can regain my memories. Ser Jaime, who were the men?”
He sighed. “They were men from House Bolton, pledged to the Starks.”
“And they captured us?”
Jaime nodded. “They were taking us back to their lord, Roose Bolton, at Harrenhal.”
She could probably already guess what the bad thing they were going to do. “They were going to rape me, weren’t they?”
His eyes widened. “You remember?”
She hated to dash his hopes, but she had to. “No, I’m familiar with how camps and traveling soldiers work,” Brienne explained.
Jaime gave her a small smile. “You said something similar to me at the time. You gave them a good fight, but they were going to win.”
She closed her eyes, not sure she wanted to hear the rest. “Did they…rape me?”
“NO!” Jaime practically shouted. “No, I…it…they stopped in time.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Why did they stop?”
“I told the leader, Locke, that Tarth was full of Sapphires.”
“Jaime…” she scolded him, forgetting to add the “ser” in front of his name. “That is not true.”
He shrugged. “Well it worked, and they brought you back and tied you to the tree again. I tried to bargain with Locke to return us to King’s Landing for a handsome reward from my father, and then he pretended to be in favor of the plan, but cut off my hand instead.”
Brienne stared up at him, not knowing what to say. “I’m so sorry, Ser Jaime. If I hadn’t been with you…”
He raised his good hand to silence her. “I still probably would have said something to get myself in trouble. It was what I did in the past. Frankly, I still sometimes do.”
“Still, what you did for me…” Brienne started, but the insufferable man would not let her continue with her gratitude.
“In truth, you did more for me. After I lost my sword hand, and was tossed around in the mud, and given piss to drink for days, I lost the will to live.” She grimaced at his words, but nodded for him to continue.
“I was refusing to eat, trying to will myself to die. I thought I had nothing left to live for,” Jaime explained.
Brienne scowled at him. “That’s ridiculous. You had revenge to live for, and besides, you are more than just one hand.”
Jaime chuckled. “You told me just about the exact same thing at the time. Yelled at me for being pathetic. As it happened, it was exactly what I needed to hear because I started eating again.”
Brienne nodded with satisfaction. Good, she had knocked some sense into his foolish head. She yawned, unable to hide it this time from him.
“Wench, you need sleep,” he said.
She raised her chin and set it stubbornly. “No, I need to hear more. Are you this bossy in our marriage? How do I tolerate it?”
Jaime laughed again. “You don’t, and usually take me to task on the training field when I get too arrogant.”
Brienne smiled sleepily. “That sounds lovely.”
To her surprise, Jaime leaned forward and kissed the top of her head. “It is. Very lovely. Now sleep, wife. I will return to tell you more in the morning.”
He started to get out of the bed, and Brienne did not know what led her to do it, but she grabbed his hand and asked if he could stay for a bit. “If you want to…I don’t mind.”
Jaime’s eyes widened before he nodded and laid himself down in the bed next to her. He was very careful not to touch Brienne, and she wondered if he thought she would break or he might scare her away. Neither, she thought. Something about his presence calmed her and she felt herself slipping slowly into sleep.
As she faded from consciousness, Brienne thought she might have heard him humming a song. It was one she had heard around Renly’s camp. “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” she thought might be the name of it. Something about the song bothered her, but the sound of it coming from Jaime was soothing.
Growls. Loud and angry growls.
A pink dress.
Why was she in a pink dress? And why did her shoulder hurt so much?
She looked down at it and saw blood pouring out of what appeared to be claw marks. What would make such marks on her?
Then Brienne heard it again. The growling. She looked behind her to see a bear approaching her.
A bear? How had that happened? Where was she?
She held up the sword in her hand and saw that it was made of wood. What good would a wood sword be against a bear? She heard laughing and singing above her and looked up to see men surrounding the…pit she seemed to be in and cheering. They were cheering for the bear.
What was happening?
The bear lunged at her and she thrust at it with her sword, which broke from a swipe of the bear’s arm. The animal stalked her, coming closer and closer, until something fell in front of her.
It was a man. It was Ser Jaime! “Get behind me,” he said, to which she immediately protested. When the bear was distracted by arrows from above, he pushed her up and out of the bear pit. She didn’t know how he managed it with one hand.
She quickly reached down to pull him up after her. The two of them lay panting on the ground above the bear pit.
Brienne awoke with a start. What a strange and vivid dream that was! A bear, and Ser Jaime jumping in to rescue her. She brushed it off as the culmination of his story from saving from rape and him humming that song about the bear and a maiden before she went to sleep.
She reached up and traced her fingers along scars that were in the same spot as her injuries in the dream. Was it really a dream? Or had Jaime jumped into a bear pit to save her?
Speaking of her husband, she looked over to see he had fallen asleep next to her. It seemed strange to have a man in her bed, but yet it felt strangely natural. Brienne laid her head back on the pillow and studied him. He looked so peaceful while he slept, as if all the cares he had in the world had faded away. Jaime Lannister, her own personal hero. She never thought she needed or wanted one. She prayed to all the seven gods that she would remember their marriage. But even if she didn’t, she was starting to have feelings for her husband that she did not understand.
On instinct, she reached out and brushed the hair off his forehead. Then she leaned over and planted a kiss on his forehead.
“I dreamed of you,” she whispered, before laying her head back down and drifting off to sleep again.
Dreamy dream dream. :) Hope you enjoyed it lovelies!
Brienne learns more about her past, and shocking news from Sam. Jaime considers a new tactic to help his wife regain her memories.
Oh my word, I'm so sorry that I didn't post this yesterday. My day got away from me and I totally forgot!
I hope you enjoy this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Jaime woke up to his wife in his arms, just like any other day. Except it hadn’t been like that in recent days, he remembered. Recalling everything that happened filled him with dread, but he decided to go on holding his wife for as long as he could.
Brienne was snoring, and that made him grin. She always insisted that she didn’t when he teased her about it.
Jaime missed his wife, so much. Yes, he still got to see her every day and was enjoying spending time with Brienne, but he missed HIS Brienne. The one who already knew all his past deeds and loved him in spite or because of them. His Brienne who knew what to do when he was sad. His Brienne that he could talk to and jape with and not worry about walking on eggshells.
The new Brienne seemed to be growing fond of him, but he was still terrified of terrifying her. Jaime sighed and rubbed his wife’s back. Regardless of how much he missed things the way they were, his wife was alive and he thanked all of the seven gods for that. He would find a way to make her fall in love with him again if it killed him.
The woman in question started to stir, and then froze when she realized what position she was in. “Ser Jaime?” She asked timidly. “Did I fall asleep on you?”
He smiled down at her. “Yes, you did wench, and you drooled on me too. Oh, and kept me awake with your snores.”
“I do not snore!” She all but shouted at him, and for one moment, it felt to Jaime like he had his wife back. But then the woman in front of him turned beet red.
“Um, Ser Jaime, would you mind leaving for a bit so I can take care of personal matters?”
He nodded and got up to put on his boots. “But…Ser Jaime…will you return in a few minutes?”
Jaime’s heart soared. Not only had she not screamed and kicked him out of the room when she had awoken in his arms, but she was asking him to come back. He thought their position in the bed would have set back their progress a few days, and he was relieved to find that it hadn’t.
“I will, Brienne. How about I go down and find us some breakfast and bring it back here?”
She agreed to his suggestion, and Jaime couldn’t help but feel lighthearted when he exited the room. On his way down to the kitchens, he ran into Bronn, who sized up his disheveled clothing.
“Where were you all night? I thought you were going to sleep on the floor in my room.”
Jaime blushed a little – why was he acting like a young boy? He was a happily married man, yet it felt like he was wooing a naïve maiden.
“No, I was with Brienne.”
“In her bed?”
“In her bed.”
Bronn’s grin lit up his face. “Oh, did you finally fook her sense back into her?”
“No! Bronn! We just slept together; there was no sex involved,” Jaime protested.
“Sounds boring to me,” Bronn said. “But you woo her in your own way, I suppose.”
“Didn’t we just talk yesterday about not scaring her away?”
Bronn thought for a moment. “So you haven’t had any physical intimacy yet, but she allowed you to sleep in her bed?”
Jaime nodded. “It was an accident of sorts. I was sitting next to her to tell her a story and we both fell asleep.”
“But did she react badly to it this morning? Did she act scared?”
“No, she didn’t. In fact, she asked me to come back after I found us some breakfast,” Jaime explained.
Bronn smiled. “I don’t think scaring her away is going to be a problem. Her body remembers being married to you, even if her mind doesn’t.”
Jaime pondered his friend’s words. Could it be possible? Is that why Brienne hadn’t shied away from him this morning? “Do you think so?”
“Makes sense to me. I think you shouldn’t worry about avoiding her, in fact you should do the opposite. You should be MORE physical with her and see how she reacts,” Bronn said, waggling his eyebrows.
“I don’t think that’s a great idea. What if I push her too far and she never wants to talk to me again? What if she suddenly regains her strength and knocks me on my ass? That is always a distinct possibility with Brienne.” Jaime couldn’t stop thinking of the endless possibilities of terrible things that could happen if he pushed too hard with Brienne.
“Your decision, milord. I’m just offering my humble advice as your best friend is all,” Bronn said. “You had better hurry down for breakfast if you want anything left for your lady. Podrick was headed that way and you know how the lad can eat.”
Jaime couldn’t help but agree. Pod could pack away a lot of food, especially with all the training the young knight had been doing lately. He was stopped along the way by several well-wishers, inquiring after Brienne. She was well-loved by the northern armies.
He found enough food to fill two plates, even grabbing some off of Pod’s plate. The lad could not complain because it was for Brienne.
“Ser Jaime, how fares your lady wife today?” Sansa Stark asked. The two of them had never been the best of friends, but they both had a fondness for Brienne that drew them together.
“She loathes being stuck in a bed, but is amenable to the idea of finding out who she is now,” Jaime explained.
“This must be difficult for you. I’m very sorry,” Sansa said softly.
“Thank you, milady. I’m sure she will be back defending you soon,” Jaime said with a smile.
“Please, do not make her hurry on my account. The war is over and we are safe.”
Jaime grinned at her. “Well, you know Brienne will still insist for a while that you need protection. It is going to be very hard to convince her that the threats are over.”
Sansa laughed. “I miss her.”
He nodded. “Me too, but she’s coming back. I know it.”
“If not, enjoy the wife that you have that’s alive, if not the one that you married,” she said with a sad smile.
Jaime thanked the Lady of Winterfell for her words and hurried back to Brienne’s room. He did enjoy spending time with her, but damn, he wanted the wife he married back.
He opened the door to see Brienne studying herself in the mirror. She didn’t turn when he entered the room, which Jaime found reassuring, but she met his eyes in the glass.
“I’m thinner,” she said.
“The war was hard on everyone. We had to ration quite a bit. Which is why this breakfast is so meager,” he said, plopping the tray down on a table.
“How did I get these?” she asked, pointing to the scars just below her shoulder.
“Bear?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes it was in a…”
“Bear pit,” Brienne finished for him. Jaime lifted his head to stare at her in surprise. He stood and rushed across the room to grab his wife by the arms.
“Brienne! You remember? You remember the bear pit?”
She shook her head at him and stepped out of his grasp. “No, I dreamed about it last night. Are you trying to tell me that it was all real?”
Jaime started pacing the room excitedly. “Tell me what you dreamed exactly and I will tell you if it was real.”
Brienne recounted exactly word-for-word everything that had happened in the bear pit. “That’s no dream, wench; that’s a memory.”
“It cannot be true. You did not jump one-handed into a bear bit to save me. That seems ludicrous,” she said.
Jaime gave her an offended look. “It is indeed true, wench. Are you doubting my brave and knightly deed?”
Brienne looked at him skeptically. “Why would you do such a thing for me? Other than me talking you into eating a bite of bread, it’s not like we were friends at that point.”
“We were friends! I told you things that I had not told anyone before, and you called me by my knightly title for the first time before I had to leave you there,” Jaime explained. “Then on my journey back to King’s Landing I had a dream about you and I forced the men to bring me back.”
Brienne studied him for a minute, processing his words. “What sort of things did you tell me that you told no one else? I’m sorry, but I cannot remember them.”
He was not in the mood to go through his whole Kingslayer confession again, so he evaded the question. “How are you feeling? How is your head? I think we should send for Sam. I wonder if this memory dream is a good sign.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, and he knew she would be bringing up the topic again in the future, but she allowed him to change the subject for now.
Jaime stuck his head out the door and told the guard to call for the maester.
“While we wait and eat, tell me something else,” Brienne asked. “Something more recent. Like what is this war we are fighting in?”
Jaime filled her in on Night King and how all the armies in the North and other parts of Westeros had become united against their common enemy.
“I’ve never fought in an actual battle,” Brienne said in awe. “Did I fight well?”
She looked so young and eager. For a moment Jaime wished she could stay that way and without the war memories that would take some of that spirit.
“Yes, you fought well, wife, and took far too many chances. Although you said the same thing about me often.” Full of breakfast, he leaned back in his chair, trying not to think about the terrible memories of war that were forcing themselves to the surface.
“There was this time I lost sight of you, and I thought…but then there you were, swinging Oathkeeper and killing wights like an avenging angel,” Jaime told her.
Brienne laughed at this. “I do not think I’ve ever been compared to an angel before. You must surely be in love with me, because I’ve heard it said love is blind.”
Jaime leaned forward and looked her straight in the eye. “You are right, wife, I am in love with you. We both know you are not the traditional definition of beauty. Some would even call you ugly. And yet I never want to stop looking at you.”
Most men, when she declared herself ugly, would make some sort of polite protest and heap her with dishonest platitudes. But Jaime Lannister was not most men. And while his wife was not the traditional form of beauty, she was magnificent in a way that no other woman on earth could be.
“You are amazing. And you are mine,” he said with a shrug.
She opened her mouth as if to say something, but was spared by a knocking on the door. Jaime opened it to allow Sam in. He did a thorough exam of her, and listened as she explained her dream.
“It is indeed a good sign, milady. I believe your mind is trying to heal itself. The bump on your head has reduced in swelling quite a bit,” the maester explained. “Hopefully more memories will come to you with time.”
Jaime sat up quickly t those words. “So you believe her memories will be fully restored?”
Sam nodded. “It’s still difficult to be certain with head wounds, milord, but this is indeed very positive indication that your wife will return to full health, including her memories.”
Jaime grabbed Brienne’s hand and squeezed it, and she returned the gesture. He was pleased that she still didn’t shy away from his touch. Bronn’s words from earlier in the morning echoed in his mind.
“So when can I get out of this bed?” Brienne asked.
“If you continue to heal, you can get up to take your meals in the dining hall by tomorrow. But no training for a very long time, milady.” Sam gave her a stern look when she scowled at him. “We wouldn’t want harm to come to you and the baby just yet.”
Jaime and Brienne blinked at the maester in shock. “Baby?”
Sam looked back and forth between the two of them. “Yes, you are with child, milady. Ser Jaime, are you telling me that you did not know about this?”
“Do you think if my wife were with child I would let her go into the battlefield?”
“Wait a moment, what do you mean let me? As if you could stop me!”
Jaime narrowed his eyes at her. “I know you can’t remember now, wench, but I wouldn’t put it past you to have this information but not tell me so that you could go into battle.”
Brienne scoffed. “Probably only because my husband seems pigheaded about such things.”
Jaime threw his hands up in frustration. He was fighting with his wife, and she didn’t remember half the things he was angry at her about. But soon that frustration turned to joy. A baby. Brienne was with child. He was going to be a father. His child would be his legitimately, publicly.
“Brienne, we’re going to have a baby,” he said, in awe. He took in his wife’s expression, which was filled with shock and fear. “It’s going to be alright, wench. We can handle this.”
“I don’t even remember having…um…intimate relations with my husband and now I am with child. Please forgive me if I need a moment to catch up with all of this information,” Brienne said in a small voice just above a whisper.
Jaime hurried over to the bed and pulled his wife into his arms. She didn’t pull out of it, rather she grabbed him as if she was drowning at sea and he was the only rope she could find.
“How do I do any of this?” she whispered. “I don’t even know how to be a wife. How am I going to be a mother?”
He hugged her tightly. His poor wench was so lost right now, and he wished he could fix it for her. “When you love someone, it doesn’t matter if you do everything perfectly.”
Jaime thought of all the times he had failed Brienne, many more times than she had ever failed him.“We will not be the world’s most perfect parents, just like we are not the perfect spouses. But our child will be loved. And will be a warrior. With blue eyes.”
Brienne pulled back from his embrace and raised an eyebrow at that. “Blue? How do you know these things, husband?”
“I just do. You can trust me wench.” Jaime grinned at her as she just rolled his eyes at him. Gods, he missed japing with his wife.
Jaime spent the rest of the day with Brienne. She tried to encourage him to leave the room to spar with their friends, but he wanted to be with her. They played a game of cyvasse, which she found she was better at him. All those games she played as a girl with her brother had paid off. Brienne teased Jaime about it, and he was glad that they were more on comfortable ground to be able to jape back and forth.
When he could, he told her stories of their times together, mostly leaving out the big stuff. She complained about it, but he said she could only handle so much in one day. And he also secretly hoped that she would remember some of it in her dreams again.
After dinner, they prepared for bed. Now, Jaime thought, he was going to put to the test Bronn’s theory about how part of Brienne, her body at least, remembered that he was her husband. He would not be returning to his other room tonight, but would be sleeping next to his wife as he did last night. They had fallen asleep by accident together the previous evening, but tonight it would be on purpose.
Brienne snuggled up into her bed, but her eyes widened in shock when Jaime started to pull off his shirt.
“What are you doing?” She yelled at him.
“I’m getting ready for bed, wench. I thought that would be obvious,” he explained, not stopping in his actions as he spoke. He crossed to the room to the water bucket to wash his face.
“But…but…you have another room.”
“That is my brother’s room, and he snores. Or Bronn’s room, and who knows what lady he has with him tonight. I want to sleep in MY room. With MY wife. Exactly as I did last night,” Jaime said. He sat on the end of the bed and started removing his boots. Brienne’s eyes followed every movement he made.
“But I’m not ready to…I mean I can’t…I don’t remember being your wife,” Brienne tried desperately to explain. The anxiety in her voice almost gave him pause, but he remembered that he was doing this to try to jar her memories.
“Don’t worry, wife. I’m not interested in sex. I mean, I am, but I’m honorable enough to not touch you until you are ready. I won’t so much as kiss you unless you ask me.”
“And if I never ask you?”
“Then I will never kiss you,” Jaime said. His heart broke a little at those words, but it revived when he noticed that Brienne seemed a little disappointed by them.
“Could you at least wear a shirt to bed?”
He shook his head. “No, this is how I sleep. I think you can refrain from touching my manly chest for a few hours while we sleep.”
Judging from the way his wife was looking at said chest, he didn’t know if those words were exactly true. Jaime suppressed a grin and climbed in bed with her. Brienne moved herself as close to the edge and away from him as possible. He stretched out on his back leisurely. “Goodnight, Brienne.”
“Goodnight, Jaime,” she whispered softly in return.
When Jaime woke up in the middle of the night, he was overjoyed to find that Brienne was curled up against him, her head on his chest. Maybe Bronn was right after all, and a part of her did remember. With this new information and the fact that she had dreamed of the bear pit, Jaime thought that maybe, just maybe, he would be getting his wife back soon.
Even if shirtless Jaime can't revive her memories, at least Brienne gets a good show. ;) What do you think? Will Jaime's proximity plan work?
Brienne finally gets to spar again, and she takes a very revealing bath.
Happy Monday! Hope you enjoy this chapter! Lot's of fun stuff happens. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Honor compels me to fight for Sansa’s kin.
Of course it does.
To fight you.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Brienne awoke from a dream, or maybe a memory, she really had no idea. She wished she knew how it ended. Did she and Jaime end up on opposing sides of the battle that day?
Jaime. It took Brienne a moment to realize that her husband was still next to her in the bed, and she was curled against him. For warmth. That was it. The North was very cold and snuggling with the closest body was a necessity.
Jaime didn’t seem cold, as he still wore no shirt. Brienne took a moment to study his bare back. She had never seen a half naked man this close before. Well, she probably had since they were married, but not that she remembered. His shoulders were broad. During the day they were tense, as if they carried a lot of weight on them, but now asleep in their bed, they were relaxed.
Their bed. It was a strange thing to think about. Brienne wondered what would happen if she never recovered her memories. She had been considering making a run for it back to what she knew – Tarth, but now that there was a babe on the way, she couldn’t do that to Jaime. He deserved to know his child and be its father.
After losing her mother at such an early age, there was no way she would willingly deprive her child of one of its parents.
Her child. Their child. It all seemed so strange still. Brienne felt so out of sorts in this new life of hers. And it didn’t help that she was confined in her bed.
“I know what you’re thinking, wench,” Jaime said hoarsely, surprising her. He turned so they were face to face in the bed. It took everything in Brienne’s power not to blush and cover her head in embarrassment. But something about Jaime’s eyes were mesmerizing. No wonder she had fallen for him in her other life.
“How can you possibly know what I’m thinking, husband?”
Jaime quirked his eyebrow because she was suddenly calling him that so freely.
“Because I know you so well. You are feeling out of place in the world and you want a sword in your hand and a sparring partner to help re-center yourself,” Jaime said.
Brienne gaped at him. “Do we have some sort of thought-sharing powers or something?”
Jaime laughed. “No, but your right hand is twitching, which it always does when you need to think, and you want to swing Oathkeeper around for a bit to clear your head.”
She just stared at him. It was so odd to have someone know her so well that she barely knew at all.
“What is your favorite color?” she blurted out. Jaime’s eyes widened in surprise.
“What a strange question, wench, but I will play. My favorite color is blue, the color of sapphires.”
“Like the waters of Tarth?”
“Exactly like the waters of Tarth, and the eyes of a certain wench that I fancy,” he said with a wink.
Brienne blushed, and he grinned at her as he got out of the bed to put on a shirt. “Why did you ask?”
She shrugged. “I just wanted to know something about you too.”
Unexpectedly, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead. It was not…unpleasant. In fact she would go so far as to say that she liked it quite a bit. Her stomach fluttered at the contact. Some of her internal thoughts must have reflected on her face because Jaime now wore a self-satisfied smile. “Don’t get arrogant, husband.”
He laughed at her words as he started to pull on his boots.
“You are actually going to be productive today rather than loitering in the sick room with me?” Although she teased him about his laziness in spending yesterday with him, she knew that she would be lonely for him if he was gone today.
“Well, I was thinking…the bump in your head is nearly gone completely and the rest of you seems in pretty good health. I’m going to talk to Sam about letting you out for a bit to spar.”
Brienne sat up in the bed.
“Spar? Really? Do you think he would go for it? Yesterday he wouldn’t even let me out of this room.”
“I can be very persuasive when I want to be, wench,” Jaime said with a wink as he excited to find the maester.
And so, an hour later, Brienne was finally holding Oathkeeper in her hands, and she realized that there were probably many reasons why she fell in love with this man.
“Don’t go easy on me just because I’m injured,” she warned. “Or pregnant.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it. You would murder me,” Jaime said. And then he gave a mocking grin. “Don’t go easy on me because I have only one hand.”
She smirked at him. “From what I’ve heard, I’ve trained you myself, so you should be more than capable.”
“Ever the humble wench,” Jaime said before charging at her. Their swords clashed back and forth for nearly an hour. Brienne was pleasantly surprised that they were well matched in the field despite the things that slowed them down.
By the time the hour ended, Brienne was ready to rest again.
“This is not the way to our room,” she said as she followed Jaime through the keep. She had called it their room, but he didn’t seem to notice.
“I thought you could probably use a proper bath,” Jaime explained. “Don’t worry, I made sure that it would be cleared out of people.”
Truth be told, she could use a bath. She was tired of just cleaning with a bowl and a cloth, and she was sweating after sparring with Jaime.
“Did you have any more dream memories last night?” Jaime asked to make conversion while they walked.
“Well, I had a dream, but I don’t know if it’s a memory or not. It included words I recalled when I was trying to give back Oathkeeper.”
Jaime stopped in his tracks at her words and spun to come face to face with Brienne.
Brienne gulped before repeating “It’s yours, it will always be yours.”
From the way Jaime’s eyes filled up with tears, she knew the words must have significance to their relationship. He was so very close to her face, one more inch and he could… ”Are you going to kiss me?” she asked, not knowing where her boldness came from.
Humor returned to Jaime’s eyes and he chuckled. “Are you asking me to? Because you know that I promised I would not until you asked.”
Brienne didn’t say anything, she merely stared at his lips.
“Wench…” Jaime groaned.
She wondered what it would feel like – kissing her husband.
“Brienne, please. Ask me to kiss you,” Jaime begged.
As if out of her control, her head nodded its own volition. Jaime’s eyes widened and he inched his face even closer.
Brienne closed her eyes to prepare herself, but the contact didn’t come. She did, however, feel Jaime’s breath against her cheeks.
“I need you to say the words, sweetling,” Jaime whispered.
“Please,” was all she could muster, but apparently it was all Jaime needed because in the next moment his lips captured hers. For her first kiss – it was many things: surprising, delightful, passionate and tender. Her body seemed to know what it was doing, however, because she returned Jaime’s kisses in kind.
Jaime pulled away, and Brienne immediately felt the loss. “Why did you stop? Was I bad at it?”
He just smiled at her and shook his head. “To the contrary, wife, you are as passionate as ever. So much so that if we don’t stop now, it will be very painful for me since I know you aren’t ready to take the relationship much further yet.”
Brienne blushed at his words, and the fact that she could feel the evidence of his excitement pressing against her legs.
“On to the baths then. Maybe it will help with your…problem.”
“Thinking about you naked in the bath is the last thing that will help with that particular problem. In fact, the first time I had such a problem over you was when we were in the bath together,” he explained.
“Was this on our wedding night?”
He laughed. “No, it was many years before.”
Brienne gave him a skeptical look. “I highly doubt I would get into a bath naked with a man I was not married to.”
Jaime grinned. “Well to be fair, you were taking a bath and minding your own business when I hopped in with you. You even suggested that there were other tubs I could get into, but I would not be swayed.”
She scowled at him.
“I thought you were an honorable man, but that doesn’t sound like something one would do.”
“I was very feverish at the time. Besides, it was because of our conversation in that bath that we became connected for life,” Jaime said.
Jaime looked uncomfortable. “The reason you no longer let anyone call me Kingslayer.”
He turned and started walking toward the baths.
“Why are you afraid to tell me that story?” she asked, hurriedly following him.
“Not afraid, it’s just…I don’t like telling it. It is not one of my favorite moments of my life and I’ve told the story approximately one time.”
He nodded grimly.
“And here I am trying to get you to tell me again, when it’s painful for you. I’m sorry, Jaime.”
He reached out and grabbed her hand. “I know, it’s not your fault. Why don’t you go ahead and get in the bath? I will be out here while you undress.”
Brienne took one last look at him before hurrying into the warm room. Her muscles were aching from their sparring, but she also wanted more time to talk to Jaime. She would take care of her body first, then she could spend more time figuring out her husband.
Jaime sat in the hallway outside the bath and lightly banged his head against the wall. He thought sleeping with Brienne and not being able to make love to her was torture. Now he had to add kissing to that. And knowing that his wife was on the other side of this door, totally naked.
He wondered if he gave her enough time to get in the bath. Jaime was definitely going in. He had done so when they barely knew each other, and he would do so now with his wife. He would stay on the opposite side of bath. He had to, it was his only way to guarantee he would refrain from kissing her again. And he didn’t think Brienne was ready for naked kissing yet.
Tentatively, he opened the door and walked in the room. He started undressing slowly, making a point not to look at Brienne.
“What are you doing?”
“Getting ready to take a bath, wench, isn’t it obvious?” He dropped his pants and tried not to smirk when Brienne’s eyes widened and she took several minutes to study him. “Are you still enjoying the view, or can I get in now?”
She nodded slowly, and he approached the bath she was sitting in.
“There are other tubs!” Brienne scrambled to the very far corner of the bath.
“I prefer this one,” Jaime said before sliding in. He sat in the opposite corner. “Don’t worry, I’m not interested in terrifying you any further, I just wanted to enjoy the bath.”
Still, Brienne sat with a terrified look on her face. Had he pushed her too far? “I’m sorry Brienne, this was not honorable of me, I’ll just leave…”
“Wildfire,” she whispered.
He stopped his ascent out of the tub and turned to her. Brienne wore a look of surprise after she said that word. Jaime was so taken aback, he almost couldn’t breathe. His heart was racing. Could this be the moment he had been waiting for since Brienne had been injured?
“What did you say?”
“You killed the mad king because of wildfire,” Brienne said.
Oh my! Did that bath give Brienne just the right amount of deja vu? And now we have sparring and kissing! Only two chapters left. :)