If, a year ago, you’d have told Jaime Lannister that he’d find himself in a position in which his Most Pressing Problem would be figuring out How To Woo Your Best And Pretty Much Only One You Friend You Have For Yourself without making her hate him or assume he’s making fun of her, he’d have laughed in your face.
Right now, he wouldn’t find anything hilarious in it.
“I don’t see what’s the problem,” Tyrion tells him when he exposes The Problem three days after having figured out that he actually isn’t feeling many friendly things for her — not at all whatsoever. “You’ve known her since you were fourteen, if she’s your only friend then — well, it’s not like she has that many either, but you know her and she knows you. Just ask her out.”
Well, the fact that Jaime is hashing this with his nine year old brother says all to how desperate he is when it comes to this one issue. “I can’t because she’d assume I’m making fun of her, that’s the damned problem.”
Tyrion doesn’t say that it wouldn’t be an issue — Jaime figures he gets it — but he still doesn’t seem too convinced. “But if she knows you why would she?”
Jaime shakes his head. “Listen, she — a couple of years ago some assholes in her class were all, well, romancing her at the same time and then it turned out it was for a bet, and she’s had at least three other people humiliate her in public when it came to that issue, and we argued for three months before we realized we were being idiots and would be better off as friends instead because she assumed I was making fun of her same as everyone else, if I go up to her and tell her that I’m into her she’s going to never speak to me again on principle.”
“Then buy her roses or something,” Tyrion says. “Girls like them, don’t they?”
“Except that roses were included in one of those public humiliations referred above, so I can’t get her roses. And anyway, she’d just assume that I made fun of her all this time, too. I can’t risk it. I mean, if she doesn’t even want to be friends —” He stops, panic taking him at once at the thought of losing her as a friend, especially how they actually did become friends in the first place.
They had been in class together since their first year of secondary school and they always somehow ended up bickering because she had taken his usual approach to meeting anyone — as in, dishing sarcasm on them — as him making fun of her, while he had thought she was too straight-laced and no fun, and she also thought that it was unfair that he only got passing marks because of his father’s donations to their school. That is, until they ended up paired together for an assignment, she realized that he was fucking it up because he’s seen letters moving around the page since he could read but no one ever took him seriously on that subject, she straight-up apologized for having assumed and actually helped him out with it, since it’s not like he’s ever going to get professional help for it until his father has a say in the matter. Then they found out they actually liked the same things — mostly —, that they were both in the swim team and that they had literally no reason to be assholes to each other the moment they got to know each other even a bit.
And they’ve been friends ever since and he’s glad of it every damned other day because if they weren’t he wouldn’t even have anyone to talk to beside Tyrion or his few friends that are all somehow older than him, and he wouldn’t have no one to call at eleven in the evening after the umpteenth family row in which he feels useless, and he likes to think that she appreciated the fact that he spent a week sleeping at her place that time Ronnet Connington told her she was too ugly for words in front of the half of the student population during their first year’s end-of-school-party. They’ve been there for each other for a few years at this point, and as much as he has realized that as… not conventionally attractive as she is he really, really likes her and more than he should like a friend, he can’t afford to lose what they have for now.
No, he can’t —
“Right,” Tyrion says, slowly, “maybe I’ve got an idea for you, but… it seems unnecessarily complicated.”
“Shoot, I’m desperate as it is.”
“Just… do the secret admirer thing? Leave her some flowers or gifts or things around and don’t sign them so she won’t know but she’ll tell you and you can… see if it’s working or not until she’s convinced and then you tell her.”
Suddenly, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Jaime grins to himself as he ponders it. “You know what,” he says, “there’s a reason why you got the smarts in the family.”
“Jaime, don’t —”
“Come on, don’t deny the truth and help me instead. What do you think I should start with?” He grins, ignoring how his brother is most likely this close to informing him that he needs to stop putting himself down.
Tyrion eventually doesn’t inform him and agrees to help him out with at least a few starter points, since he’s read way more romance books than Jaime has (it’s not his genre for sure) and he should know.
After some half hour of brainstorming, Jaime looks down at his list, compiled in his horrid handwriting in all caps, of course, it’s not like he’s ever going to get much better if he wants people to understand what he writes, but it’s readable.
Flowers (NOT ROSES!!)
Cute gift??? Might work, to consider
Chocolate of the good kind
Nice notes for at least a few days
According to Tyrion, it should be more than enough to figure out how she’d feel about it.
Jaime thinks it’s not much, knowing her, but he figures that to start, it can work. Now he just has to see about being stealthy, but he doesn’t think that might be a problem.
He just hopes it won’t backfire. But it’s all proper, nice things, and so what if for once he goes for it when sure as hell no one ever tried to do it seriously with her. It can’t hurt, right?
After a long consideration, he buys a small bouquet of forget-me-nots in the shop his father usually goes to, which means they cost a lot, but it’s not like he can’t afford it and anyone will ever see the difference. When they ask if he wants a card to go with them, he says sure and, figuring it should be better to play it safe, he tells them it should read to the nicest eyes I’ve ever seen. Then he hides it carefully in his backpack and since he’s always in school before she is, he uses the time to leave it under her side of their shared desk before slipping out of their classroom, go out in the yard and wait until more people get in before he does as well.
He pretends to be checking his history notes when she arrives at the usual time, five minutes before the first class — she greets him, sits down, reaches for the lower part of the desk —
“What is —” She starts, and takes out the bouquet.
Jaime glances her way. She looks extremely suspicious, as he had pictured.
“No idea,” he feigns. “It was under there when I arrived. Hey,” he grins, moving closer, “you’ve got a secret admirer now?”
“Oh, shut the fuck up,” she stammers. “Of course I don’t.” She turns the flowers in between her large, rough hands, and then sees the note.
She reads it.
Those blue, pretty eyes of hers go wide.
“What the hell”, she says. “This doesn’t add up.”
She hands him the note. He clears his throat. “Well, I guess someone likes you.”
“Come on,” she says, “people don’t like me that way.”
If only you knew, he thinks and doesn’t say. “Maybe it’s the first time someone does. I mean, not to play devil’s advocate, but given what happened with that asshole Connington and the likes, if someone did maybe they’d rather not approach directly.”
“Hilarious,” she says, even if she’s not disagreeing. “Still, it has a card but it’s not signed? And — at least they aren’t roses,” she sighs. “Still, I’ll bring them home because they’re pretty, but no way this isn’t a joke.”
“You know, your self-esteem might need a boost in that sense —”
“Jaime, we’ve been discussing it for years and you know that’s not how it works, but thanks,” she closes the conversation, and a moment later the teacher is inside the class, the flowers are in the backpack and the card is in the trash.
Well, Jaime decides, it could have gone worse. But it also could have gone a whole fucking lot better.
Still, he thinks, the list coming back to mind, there are three more points to try.
Maybe he’ll be luckier with the rest of them.
Now: it’s not that he has no idea of what Brienne would like as a gift in general, but if he wants to make it romantic then the entire thing is a problem because she’s hardly the person you can buy pink hearts cards for. Or better, he could but she’d take it as a joke.
One day, he decides, he’s going to punch in the face every single idiot who came before him who made her assume that if anyone actually tried to convince her that they’re interested in regular ways then of course they’re joking again, because he did it once already with some of them but he hadn’t realized how much exactly their complete lack of decency would end up making sure he couldn’t ask her out regularly later, but this is not that day and he has to come up with something.
After two a couple of days of thinking about it, he’s completely without ideas… until he walks in front of this toy shop and sees a bear plushie exposed in the window.
Admittedly, in every single romance movie he’s seen — not many, but it’s happened occasionally — girls seemed to love that kinda thing. He knows for sure that no one else tried it before, she never mentioned such a thing and she did tell him about the aforementioned assholes. Maybe if he goes for one that’s not too obvious —
He walks inside the store. He eventually chooses one that has no pink clothing or anything of the kind even if it’s holding a blue heart in between its hands, doesn’t bother to have it gift-wrapped and when he’s home he prints a small card (his handwriting would give him away) reading in advance for next year’s Valentine’s, since this year’s has passed, sadly, sticks it behind the heart, carefully deletes the document — it’s a common computer because his father has decided that one for each of them would be spoiling (Jaime has stopped asking himself why that would be spoiling out of everything) so he has to share with Tyrion and Cersei and he’s one hundred percent sure that even if his folders are password-protected there’s no way they’re safe, so he’s going to not risk anyone finding out —, and then carefully puts the bear in his backpack.
The next morning, he also takes care to arrive in class long before anyone else. He leaves the bear in the same place as the flowers, then runs back out and pretends he just got there when Brienne arrives as well.
His heart is beating tenfold when she notices the bear under the desk. She takes it out, looking even more perplexed than before, turns it over in her hands and makes a face when opening the card that Jaime absolutely doesn’t like.
“What,” she says, “is this even?”
“I don’t know,” he says, trying to not let it show how much he’s on edge here, “maybe your secret admirer who left the flowers is back?”
“Yeah, and gives me an advance Valentine’s present on April first, and it’s a plushie? I mean, does Hyle Hunt think I’m an idiot?”
Oh, fuck, he hadn’t thought of the day.
Of course she decided it was a joke.
The bear ends up in the trash along with the card five minutes later, and even if he should leave it there he kind of can’t bring himself to, so he secretly retrieves it and stashes it in his backpack, figuring that maybe he’ll recycle it another time.
Damn it. Damn it, he really was a complete idiot — he fucked up this one through and through, and now he has burned out the cute gifts category, because like hell she’ll accept another one given how this went.
Time to move on to the third part of the list.
Chocolate, he decides, can’t be hard to pull off. Honestly, the flowers maybe were risky and the bear was a fairly bad idea and he timed it wrong, but you can’t really fuck it up with chocolate now, can you?
Thing is, in all the time they’ve known each other she’s never organized a birthday party and she has eaten sweet stuff in front of him, but… it was never chocolate. He could ask around, but then he’d give himself away, and… really, it’s chocolate. Who doesn’t like it? He waits a few days to let things cool down, then instead of going straight home after swimming practice he drops by at the first nice sweets shop he sees. He ponders — dark chocolate sounds too bitter, maybe, but would white be too much? He does like it himself but Tyrion doesn’t and most people he knows don’t, either, so maybe that is not a good idea.
Eventually, he figures that the middle way might be the one to go and ends up buying a few bars of good milk chocolate, has them wrapped in a nice blue bow and hides it at the bottom of his backpack, then that evening he prints out another small message that he folds and puts behind the ribbon.
The last time wasn’t a joke, he wrote on it, and this isn’t either. Short and to the point — maybe it’s going to work better? Fuck, he hopes it does.
The next morning, Jaime follows the exact same routine as the previous two times, waiting for her outside class after slipping the chocolate under the desk. She does ask him if something’s wrong as they go inside, which means he is giving himself out, which is not a good thing whatsoever. He assures her he’s just tired as they walk inside the room —
“Tarth,” Taena Merryweather says, bringing a piece of chocolate to her mouth — wait, what?? —, “you could have warned us you had a secret admirer.” Then she bursts out laughing as Brienne turns beet red.
“What the hell —” She starts, moving closer to her desk.
“Oh, me and the other girls found some food under your desk and figured you forgot it.” The wrappings of the chocolate are lying on top of it. Damn it, Jaime thinks, and this one is a bust, too. “Then we found the message, and really, do you have a secret admirer who wants you to put on fat you don’t need?”
Then she hands Brienne the already opened message, fuck, along with the last bit of the third bar, which at this point he realizes was split in between all of Taena’s clique.
Brienne glares at her, then glances down at the piece of paper as she sits down. He follows suit.
“Huh,” she says, “I guess it wasn’t Hyle, then.” She sounds a bit sorry that she did assume he was behind the bear. Maybe that is not so bad. She shrugs, then hands him the bar. “Here, you can have it.”
“What — but it’s yours. Well, I guess it was supposed to be.”
She smiles sadly. “Well, whoever my secret admirer is, supposing that they’re for real, they probably didn’t know I’m allergic to chocolate anyway.”
Oh, fuck. “Really?” Jaime asks. “I had no idea.”
“I don’t usually tell people,” she shrugs. “Unless they invited me to their birthday party and the likes, but that never happens, so it’s really not a thing that comes up too often. Anyway, really, you can have it. It was nice of them, I guess, but — yeah. Whatever. I couldn’t have eaten it anyway.”
Jaime takes it, figuring that at least it wasn’t… a complete bust. Even if now he has to cross that out of the list, too. He eats the last piece — at least he had picked good chocolate, damn it. Small consolation.
From tomorrow, he’s moving on to part four. He has an entire list to go through, after all. He will manage to get it right, at some point.
Now, for part four, he had thought about leaving her notes he had written, but… from what he’s seen, if he does it, it doesn’t work or she doesn’t take them seriously. Not that he’s surprised, since he is not the one with a knack for writing well in between him and Tyrion. And — he wants to impress her, not to make her assume he’s doing it for a practical joke.
Which is why he spends an entire afternoon online looking up for the best possible arrangement of lyrics, quotes and so on that he thinks might work in this case — surely she will get the point like this, won’t she?
He prints everything neatly, cuts two sheets into ten different notes, then takes a good look at the entire plan in front of him. He thinks it’s a good enough choice — he picked a few bits of poetry, a few bits of songs, a few bits of random quotes that he remembered from movies and the likes — it should work, shouldn’t it?
He breathes in, puts everything in an envelope and gets mentally ready for tomorrow.
The next morning, he attaches the first note with a bit of tape to her desk during recess while she’s off to the bathroom making sure no one’s watching, then he goes to the bathroom as well so she won’t assume he had anything to do with it when she’s back.
When he is back, though, he finds her staring at it with a very, very perplexed face.
“Hey,” he asks, “what happened?”
“I guess our mysterious guy is back,” she says, cautiously. “He left me a note.”
“Really? What’s it about now?”
Jaime is forever going to be thankful that they last year he was cast in that school play version they did of Hamlet because it did teach him a trick or two about acting, even if it was a bitch to learn the entire part just by memorizing it when Brienne or Tyrion would read it to him.
She shrugs. “Your eyes are the sweetest stars I’ve ever seen. What the hell is that even?”
“Seriously?” Margaery Tyrell asks from behind them. “It’s from Moulin Rouge.”
“Thanks for the input,” Brienne sighs, “not my genre.”
Fuck, she likes romcoms, he had figured she’d have seen this one, but — ah. Right, she’s not much into musicals. Fuck.
“Well,” he says, sitting down next to her, “at least it’s a nice compliment?”
“I guess,” she shrugs. “But it’s just weird.”
He nods, figuring that pressing will give him out.
Instead, he leaves the next note in the middle of her math book the day after, but when she finds it, she doesn’t look convinced either.
“What has he come up with this time?” Jaime asks, hoping against hope that his acting skills are working and she’s not realizing how much his hands are sweating.
“Wise men say, only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you? Now it’s Elvis?”
“Seems to me like this guy is kind of whipped,” he says cautiously.
“For me?” She scoffs. “Please. People don’t get whipped for me. And what’s with the quotes anyway? I mean, can’t he just tell me himself without all this hassle?”
… I tried, he about manages to stop himself from saying.
He tries a few more in the next days, but none of them works and so he decides to call it a day before she starts to find it annoying and not confusing.
He had thought that since she assumes anyone hitting on her would be a joke, I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more might work, but no, it hasn’t, same as I swear I couldn't love you more than I do right now, and yet I know I will tomorrow, and he’s never ever asking his cousin Joy again because she assured him that Pride and Prejudice was always a hit, but apparently Brienne really doesn’t like that book and You have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you was received badly enough that he stopped there.
He’s at the end of the list now, isn’t he? Damn it.
But he has to come up with something else. He can’t give up this easily, not when he’s tried for this long and when she is worth the damned effort, if only she’d get it.
“Well, I don’t know anymore,” he tells Tyrion later that afternoon, and if maybe he sounds more than a tiny bit dramatic… well, he thinks he earned it.
“Come on,” Tyrion says, sympathetically, “don’t be like that. You know, you could just… tell her straight.”
“We already established I can’t,” Jaime groans. “And especially if now she assumed that the other things I tried were a joke… I can’t go tell her it was me all along. Fuck, I was thinking maybe a more serious gift than the bear, but if this is how it’s shaping up to be —”
“Okay, wait, come on, let’s just… go through this in order, all right? Maybe we can figure something out by how she reacted. So, just go over it again. What was wrong with the flowers?”
“She agreed they were pretty but the card was about how nice her eyes were and she thought it was a joke, so that went in the trash.”
“Right. What went wrong with the bear?”
“I timed it wrong and she found it on April’s Fools, and considering it was… pretty cutesy, I guess, she figured it was pure making fun of her.”
“Okay. With the chocolate?”
“Other people ate it, but she was allergic anyway so she wouldn’t have eaten it.”
“Right. And the quotes?”
“She thought it was weird and then she goes like, why is this guy recycling other people’s words and not just tell me himself, but — well. She wouldn’t take it seriously!”
“Hm,” Tyrion ponders for a moment, before looking back up at him from his mismatched eyes. “Listen, I still think that you should just tell her and own up to it, but if you’re really that bent on it… she did have a point, though. Why do you recycle other people’s words?”
“… Because I know that when I try to say meaningful things I fuck it up?”
Tyrion glares at him, then shakes his head. “And who says she wouldn’t rather have the genuine thing instead of quotes from Moulin Rouge? I mean, write her a nice letter that’s not just about her eyes. Or, I don’t know, if you don’t want to sign it or something maybe not the letter, but something else nice that doesn’t look like you searched for it online. I mean, sounds to me like she’d want something genuine rather than whatever it is you’re trying.”
He thinks about it. It’s not… wrong. “Fine,” he agrees fondly, “she is like that. But letters wouldn’t really work, it’s — wait,” he says, an idea finally coming to him. “Guys write girls poems all the time in movies and stuff, don’t they?”
Tyrion gives him a tentative nod. “Well, yes, that happens. It could be a good idea, I guess —”
“You could help — no, wait, if I have to do it myself it really wouldn’t work.”
“I don’t mind —”
“No, no,” Jaime shakes his head, “she has a point and you have a point. How hard can it be?”
“If you want some pointers I can show you a few types —”
“Wait,” he interrupts, a grin coming to his face. “I think I’ve got it.”
“Totally. Uh, do you need the internet?”
“Great. I need to look up a few things,” he grins, and then locks himself inside the computer room.
Now, thing is: poetry never was his favorite thing and English lit never was his favorite subject for obvious reasons, but he really had a blast with that school play last year, which in turn meant that not only his English lit grade for that year was higher than usual but he had kind of spent a while being really into Shakespeare, and — he remembers enough sonnets of his to know that if the point was describing your feelings to a girl you like then the format is perfect, and they weren’t too hard to memorize, and of course now he doesn’t remember the specifics, but really, how hard can it be to come up with one?
He grins as he turns on the internet, looks up for instruction on how to write a Shakespearean sonnet, prints them neatly, deletes the chronology from the browser and heads off to his room.
Then he realizes that maybe given his shit ear with sounds he might have to ask Tyrion for minimal help. He knocks on his door and asks if he still has that rhyming dictionary Aunt Genna gave him for Christmas and if he could lend it to him for the day. Tyrion says of course and hands it to him, and Jaime runs back to his room, locks himself in and starts working on the damned thing.
It’s five PM. Surely he’ll be done in time for dinner, won’t he?
Seven hours and some thirty trashed pieces of paper later, he thinks he has it. Fourteen lines, three quatrains, a couplet, sure as hell the rhymes are correct because he checked all of them, he’s pretty sure it’s as good as it can ever get. He’s never going to assume writing poetry can be easy, fuck’s sake.
That said — he could go back downstairs and print it. But… she didn’t seem to appreciate the printed stuff, he did notice, and if it has to come from him — maybe he should really write it longhand. Sure, his handwriting usually sucks and she knows it, but if he sits down and avoids just scrawling as usual, maybe she wouldn’t guess.
Fair enough. It’s midnight anyway, he might as well finish it now. He’ll write it properly and put it in her backpack as soon as he can find an opening, and maybe if she finds it at home she’ll have time to think about it since it's the week-end, and he won’t have to see it happen, because until it was about chocolate, flowers and things he bought, fine, but he doesn’t know if he can stomach seeing it happen if she reads it and hates it, so… yeah. Sounds like a better option. He spends another half hour carefully transcribing it and taking care to actually write it as decently as possible, then envelopes it and goes to bed with his heart beating so fast he has to spend some five minutes taking very, very deep breaths to get it back under control.
He really hopes she likes it. Or that she gets it, at least. He has no idea of what he’s going to do if she doesn’t, so he’ll just… not even consider the option.
And if it goes badly, well. He can be stubborn when he wants to. He’ll find another way to make sure she knows and that she doesn’t take it for a joke. For as long as it might take.
Brienne doesn’t notice the envelope inside her backpack until she’s back home the following day and she gets it ready for Monday — it might be a week-end, but since she’s done with homework already she might as well do it now.
Fuck, she thinks as she takes it out, is this that secret admirer nonsense again? Honestly, for being a joke she supposed that this is the most elaborate one anyone has played on her yet, no one has ever put this much effort into making her fall for it to the point that she doubted for half of the time that she might be wrong, but it’s just nonsense that someone would spend a month and more wooing her out of everyone. She’s this tempted to trash the letter, but there isn’t anything written on the outside, and it didn’t come with anything else.
She sighs, tearing it open. She figures she’ll humor whoever this guy is before trashing it, again.
She takes the piece of paper out, opens it —
Is that a poem?
What the hell, she thinks, the prospect of trashing it momentarily forgotten. Huh. It’s a sonnet? Has this person copied down some Shakespeare or what —
Wait, she thinks as she reads on. This isn’t copied.
Sometimes I stop and wonder how blidn
Can people turn out being when it's about you
When they say you're not part of womankind
And I see you hurting for it anew
It takes a special kind of foolishness
To stop at ones face and not look further
And find the deepest, softest kindness
Anyone should be so lucky to feel, after.
When one looks into the sky of your eyes
His breath catches and his heart loses beats
As his entire chest fills up wiht butterflies
Wondering if you could be the one he completes
There are no worthy words to describe thee
For that's how your beauty has floored me.
She almost drops the sheet, but then re-reads it, because wait, it couldn’t be anyone else, could it?
She reads it thrice, because she can’t wrap her head around the fact that Jaime must be behind it, but — but it can’t be anyone else. It’s not just that she had recognized the handwriting at once, because he didn’t write in caps as he usually tends to when he wants to make sure it’s readable, so she could have been wrong about that. But, there is that couple of letters he always tends to write inverted, so that would have been a dead giveaway, and there’s also the fact that he’s never had an ear for accents or counting syllables so half of it is technically wrong — it couldn’t be anyone else.
And the moment she accepts it, because she has to, there’s no other explanation —
Suddenly, the entire charade from the past month seems to make a lot more sense, because of course he wouldn’t go and tell Brienne to her face because he might assume she’d take it as a joke, and she thought he seemed disappointed whenever she decided all the previous attempts were indeed making fun of her, but — she assumed she was seeing things. Instead — of course he wouldn’t know that she was allergic to chocolate, she never told him, of course he’d buy her stuff that you see girls liking in movies because what other experience has he had with putting a move on people, of course he’d get her flowers that weren’t roses and of course he’d use quotes because he thinks he can’t say nice things on his own for shit, but — she looks back down at that poem, feeling like her heart has just grown four sizes.
Holy shit, is this what he really thinks — but of course it is, he wouldn’t go as far as writing damned poems if he didn’t mean it —, then all the rest was actually to be taken at face value, and oh shit, does it mean he likes her that way, obviously it does —
She sits down on the bed, feeling like she’s going to hyperventilate.
She’s just found out that her best friend is into her. Incidentally, she’s been into him since the one time he punched in the face every single person involved in that bet concerning asking her out outside school grounds without telling her first. Incidentally, she also took care to never let it show because she had figured there was no way he’d like her back that way.
And now —
Now he’s writing poetry about her eyes for which he obviously used a dictionary when he hates writing, he’s always said creativity was not his best skill and after he’s spent a good month or so trying to give her gifts and the likes without giving himself out, and why the fuck wouldn’t he just say —
Because you’d have thought he was making fun of you, a part of her says, and she has to admit it’s right. Of course she would have. Of course he didn’t approach her outright because of course he’d know.
She looks back down at the poem, and —
She could tell him tomorrow. Or she could call.
Or she could just not wait, and suddenly she can’t.
She stands up, grabs her jacket, puts it on, stuffs the poem inside the inner pocket, tells her dad that she’ll be back later and runs out of the main door.
That ridiculous villa the Lannisters live in is twenty minutes from here, if she hurries.
Well, she’s always been a very good runner, she thinks as she smiles slightly to herself.
“Fuck,” Jaime says for the tenth time since they sat down for dinner, “she’s going to hate it.”
Tyrion, who is uttermost glad that both their father and Cersei are not around the premises until next week, he brought her to Paris on a business trip and he’s only too glad to not have either of them around for this long, puts a hand on his arm for the fifth time.
“Come on, I’m sure she won’t.”
“It was so lame,” he sighs. “It’s really not my thing. Maybe I should have just asked you —”
“Please,” Tyrion answers, “she wanted you to say it, right? If I had done it, it wouldn’t have been the same thing.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure it was half-wrong anyway. Fuck, this is pathetic, isn’t —”
A moment later, the intercom buzzes. Hard.
“Who the hell is here at this hour,” Jaime groans. “They can’t have come back early, right?”
“Please, they’d have warned. Just go check.”
Jaime sighs and stands up, his shoulders slumped. He goes to the intercom in their living room, and Tyrion notices immediately the moment his face goes from annoyed to panicked as he immediately opens the door and says to come up on the first floor.
“What —” Tyrion starts.
“It’s her,” Jaime replies, sounding so panicked it’d be almost cute if Tyrion didn’t know how serious is this situation. “Fuck, I had no clue —”
“Cheer up,” Tyrion says, “if she’s here at nine PM she probably didn’t hate it.”
Jaime is about to reply, but he doesn’t because a moment later Brienne has barged inside the room, her face flushed like someone who ran the entire way here.
She probably did, given how hard she’s breathing.
She’s also — wow. Tyrion has known her for years, obviously, but he doesn’t think he’s ever seen her grinning that widely.
“This is yours, isn’t it?” She breathes, barely audible, as she takes a piece of paper from her jacket and lets it dangle open in front of Jaime.
“How did you figure it out?” He asks, sounding resigned.
She breathes a bit slower as she moves slightly closer. “Well, you forgot a few contractions and switched the usual three letters around,” she says, but she sounds fond.
“What — oh, fuck, I was sure I had triple-checked —”
“And,” she interrupts, “maybe the accents were a bit all over the place and you counted more syllables than necessary, but you really should stop looking like that, because unless I’m colossally wrong, I think I’m getting this framed.”
Wait, it worked? Jaime’s mouth falls open, like he is the first one to be surprised of it.
“You’re doing what?”
“Please,” she says, “I realized it and then I figured it was you behind… everything else, wasn’t it?”
“And what if it’s the case? Sorry about the bear, I completely forgot it was —”
“Jaime, for — you actually spent a month trying to do nice things for me because you knew I wouldn’t have taken it seriously if you just told me, now you show up with the damned sonnet and you’re here apologizing?” She shakes her head, moving closer.
He’s looking like he hadn’t actually readied a plan for the eventuality that she would get it at once. Also, Tyrion wishes he would stop looking like he fucked this one try up, too, when he obviously didn’t. “I mean,” he says, “if it’s wrong or whatever then I also gave you a shitty poem, I don’t know how successful I’m being at —”
“Hey,” she says, putting her hands on his shoulders, delicately, “don’t. I mean, it might not be perfect technically, but — it was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, and I’m just — I know you hate doing that kind of thing and you still did it, and maybe you’ve missed it, but my entire chest has been filling up with butterflies since you did that stint of punching in the face Hyle and the others, so if you think I’m going to tell you to fuck off, you can forget it. And it wasn’t shitty. It was beautiful.”
“Please tell him as long as you might want,” Tyrion says, figuring she should be aware, “since he was saying that he should have asked me to do it before, and I have a feeling you’d have appreciated it less.”
Jaime curses under his breath as Brienne turns at him, eyebrow raised, but then she nods. “Thanks,” she says, “duly noted.”
Then she turns to look at his brother, again. “He’s right,” she says, her voice dropping down slightly.
“Maybe he’d have managed the metric better,” she says, grinning again, “but I think I appreciate the feeling behind it more than the metric.” One of her hands moves tentatively to Jaime’s face. “Anyway, just so you know, I’m amenable to flowers if they aren’t roses as long as I know where they come from, I can do without plushies but if I could take back throwing that one away I would, I’m partial to fruit desserts and I’ll take any poetry you’ll throw at me over stuff other people wrote. Is that in any way helpful?”
“I — I think so,” Jaime replies, finally grinning back at her, his hands moving to her neck as well — “By the way, I still have that bear somewhere, but — never mind. So, uh, does that mean —”
“Yes,” she interrupts, and then she’s leaned forward and they’re kissing each other tentatively for about three seconds before it turns way more savage than that.
Tyrion slides off the chair and leaves the room without even bothering to wipe the smirk off his face — good for them.
Also, good to know he had been right since second number one about how this entire courtship deal would pay off. And if he was kind of curious about what was in the infamous poem… well, since he’s sure that Brienne is not going back home tonight, he supposes he can always ask them in the morning.
For now, he’ll let them make out. With all the work his brother put into asking her out, he won’t be the person spoiling it for him.