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Kingslayer

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“Excuse me?”

Sansa purposefully arched her eyebrows as she stepped into the yard, turning away from her conversation with Lord Royce, who cleared his throat and stood still as Sansa approached the three northern guards joking by the armoury. One of them, the smallest, stood straight as soon as he saw her. The other two took longer to straighten up as they took her in.

“I’m waiting for an explanation,” Sansa snapped as the three of them gawped at her. The tallest, a guard Sansa knew as Cherry, opened his mouth and closed it again. “Cherry?” she prompted.

The ginger man scratched his neck, looking away. “We were just joking, my lady.”

“About your Lady Commander?” Cherry flushed. “Would that be because she is a woman? Do you have an issue with my command also?” Sansa asked, crossing her arms. All three men shuffled uncomfortably. Sansa felt the thrill of power course through her veins.

“No, my lady,” the small one said, ruffling his long brown locks. He looked at the middling guard and Cherry before opening his mouth again. “It’s because she’s the Kingslayer’s whore.”

XXX

Kingslayer’s Whore.

Sansa had docked each of the guards half a day’s wages with the promise of more if they disrespected their commander again. Sansa would have made the punishment more severe if she weren’t so sure that Brienne would win them around herself, with her skill and diligence when it came to training. Perhaps she should have had them whipped, though, to ensure they would stop telling lies.

Kingslayer’s Whore.

Sansa knew that Brienne had received her sword from Jaime Lannister when she had successfully returned him to King’s Landing on Sansa’s mother’s orders. Perhaps that was where the rumour had come about. A sword, and a very fine sword according to Arya, was an odd present for someone you had slept with, but Brienne was no ordinary woman and Jaime Lannister had spent months in her company and surely knew her well.

Jaime Lannister had spent months in her company. Sansa’s hands shook as she sat down at her desk, trying to focus on the reports Lord Royce had provided her with. Brienne never spoke about Lannister. She rarely spoke about anything at all, in fact. Only when Arya or Sansa asked her a question about her personal life did she share.

Sansa smiled and turned back to her report. It was a long time until dinner and she really ought to get some work done before.

XXX

The silence in Sansa’s chambers was comfortable. She, Brienne and Arya were huddled around Sansa’s table, cutting into their meat pie that the kitchens had delivered for their dinner. Two nights a week, Sansa liked to eat with her sister and Brienne rather than in the great hall. It gave her some peace. She always found herself looking forward to these dinners.

And she had been looking forward to this dinner in particular.

Arya and Brienne had spent a few moments discussing their training that morning and Sansa had listened with interest, although without much knowledge on the subject. Then the conversation died down as they had tucked into the hearty meal. Sansa considered carefully when to ask the question that had been playing on her mind for hours, since her confrontation with the guards that morning. Finally, she had been waiting too long. It burst from her in the most controlled manner Sansa could muster.

“Brienne, why do they call you the Kingslayer’s Whore?”

Brienne dropped her fork. Arya froze. Sansa didn’t move her eyes from the top of Brienne’s head as she cleared her throat, her own eyes studying the pewter plates their food had been served on. When Brienne looked up, it was to what Sansa hoped was a look free from judgement. “My lady?” she said weakly. Sansa felt dread begin to burn in her stomach. Perhaps the situation was worse than she feared.

“I overheard some guards speaking about you this morning. They called you the Kingslayer’s Whore.”

“I am not,” Brienne said unnecessarily. Sansa nodded.

“But why do they call you it?”

Brienne hesitated, lining her knife and fork up carefully on her plate. Arya’s eyes were darting between the two women with interest. “Sansa,” she said and Sansa was glad. At least she felt comfortable enough to call her by her name. “I do not know how to answer.” Sansa didn’t say anything and nor did Arya. “I- You know that Ser Jaime gave me my sword and sent me to find you after I returned him to King’s Landing on your mother’s orders.” Sansa and Arya both gave a stiff nod. Brienne swallowed obviously. “The journey to King’s Landing from Riverrun was not a smooth one. I was Ser Jaime’s captor and then we were captured together.”

Brienne’s tone was wary. Sansa didn’t want that. She reached across the table to clasp Brienne’s hand. Arya gave Sansa a look. “I’m not asking you this because I don’t trust you, Brienne,” Sansa said softly. “I just want to know.”

Brienne cleared her throat. “They were going to rape me. They had essentially said so. Ser Jaime didn’t let them. He lied about my island’s wealth to make sure I remained untouched. After that, they decided he was too mouthy and cut his hand off.” Sansa inhaled sharply. Brienne’s eyes followed the engravings on her knife and fork. Sansa glanced at Arya, who widened her eyes to convey her shock. Sansa nodded ever so slightly.

“Then, we were taken to Harrenhal and Roose Bolton was there,” Brienne said reluctantly, glancing at Sansa. Something inside her squirmed but she ignored it, inclining her head for Brienne to continue. “He ordered that Ser Jaime be taken to King’s Landing where his father was and that the Bloody Mummers, the men who had captured us, wait for my ransom. When my ransom came, Ser Jaime was gone and the ransom was much lower than they expected, because Ser Jaime had talked up my island’s wealth to save my maidenhead,” Brienne said with a little snort. Sansa suddenly wondered if Brienne had been raped too. Surely she would have mentioned it. Sansa lay her hand on her stomach to settle it, breathing in slowly.

“They made me into their entertainment. The head of the Bloody Mummers had a bear and they needed someone to fight it.” Arya inhaled sharply, glancing at Sansa. “They gave me a training sword, a wooden sword,” Brienne clarified when Sansa’s eyes darted to Arya for clarity. “It had already torn a chunk out of me when Ser Jaime returned.”

Sansa’s eyes widened. “He returned?”

Brienne nodded, her neck flushing. “I didn’t notice until he jumped into the bear pit in front of me and ordered me to climb out of the pit. He didn’t have a weapon on him. We both got out alive. I suppose such an act of stupidity from him could only be explained away as an act of love, so, since then, people have called me the Kingslayer’s Whore.”

“He is in love with you,” Arya stated and Sansa bit her lip at Brienne’s wide eyes and gaping jaw. Sansa reached for some wine.

“Arya,” Brienne said and her whole face was red. “He is not in love with me. You don’t know him.” Brienne said it defensively. It was enough to convince Sansa that Brienne was in love with Jaime Lannister, even if she believed it was unrequited.

“What sort of man jumps into a fucking bear pit?” Arya commented, drinking some ale. Sansa had to give her that. “I’m not judging you. We don’t choose who we love-”

“I don’t love him,” Brienne burst. Sansa narrowed her eyes and glanced at Arya. They shared an amused look. Brienne pursed her lips. “It might seem that way, I understand that. That is why they call me that after all, but, truly, I do not love him,” she lied. Sansa nodded.

“If you say so,” she said, lips twitching. Jaime Lannister, Cersei’s love, was in love with someone else. Sansa could have laughed out loud.

Chapter Text

She’d demanded to see him the moment he had arrived. There had only been moments between this demand and him being brought before her, ostensibly because Sansa was the lady of Winterfell, but most likely because Bran had been the one to see Jaime Lannister arrive first and Bran would have known immediately that Sansa would want to see him. Because he was Bran.

Sansa prepared herself. She received him in her solar, her sister by her side, Needle by hers. The sun shone through the window, low in the sky. The blue sky was beginning to crumble towards orange, and that towards red, when Jaime Lannister stood before her, winter-worn and eyes shining. “My lady,” he greeted with half a bow. Sansa gestured for him to be seated, folding her hands together on the table.

"Why are you here, Ser Jaime?" Sansa asked, arching one of her expertly sculpted eyebrows. He opened his mouth and then closed it.

“I’m here to fight for the living, Lady Sansa,” he said simply. Sansa narrowed her eyes, glancing at Arya whose face was a mask.

“You know, Ser Jaime, a few months ago, my sister and I had a very interesting conversation with Lady Brienne.” Sansa kept Ser Jaime’s eye contact and watched his eyes flash at her name. “I had overheard some of my guards disrespecting her and discussing how they did not want her to lead them because she was the Kingslayer’s Whore.” Ser Jaime’s jaw clenched and he looked away. Sansa could not tell if he was embarrassed or angry. “When I asked Lady Brienne about it, she said that the guards were mistaken, that she was not your whore.” Jaime nodded once, sharply. “Then, she told us about you saving her virtue at the cost of your hand and returning for her when you could have been well away and then jumping into a bear pit with no weapon and a barely healed stump.”

Ser Jaime’s lips were parted and he looked between Sansa and Arya. “She told you that,” he said, his tone seemingly nervous. “I suppose you think she is a sentimental fool.” Sansa chuckled and Ser Jaime looked at her with alarm in his eyes. Sansa shook her head.

“I trust Lady Brienne with my life, with my family’s lives. If she trusts you, so do I.”

Ser Jaime stared at her, his mouth agape. “You- what?”

“Brienne protects the people I love,” Sansa stated firmly. “It is only fair that I do the same.” It took Ser Jaime a second to realise what Sansa was saying, but she saw the confusion clear in his green eyes, so similar to Cersei’s.

“She doesn’t love me,” Jaime protested. Arya snorted from behind Sansa, making Sansa’s lips twitch.

“She said the same,” Arya said, amusement lacing her tone. Sansa observed Jaime’s face as it fell slightly and then picked itself back up.

“Now that you are here and pardoned for your past mistakes, Ser Jaime, would you like some dinner?”

Jaime was surprised to be asked to dinner, Sansa realised as the food was laid out in front of them ten or so minutes later. He had not said much, except to thank Sansa for the invitation and to accept it, just listened as Sansa explained to him how Winterfell worked, including explaining that she had received a missive from Jon to explain his bending the knee to Queen Daenerys.

“Thank you,” Jaime murmured to the servant as the stew was put in front of him. He reached for his fork with his left hand, leaving Sansa to be grateful the kitchens had made stew and not something that required cutting. He dug in with a gusto similar to Arya, while Sansa ate like a lady, amused at the sight.

“When did you last have a proper meal, Ser Jaime?” Sansa asked. He swallowed and set his fork down, reaching for his goblet of wine.

He snorted. “I’ve been living on very little while I made my way here, Lady Sansa. I was conscious that Cersei may have guards on my tail to drag me back.”

“At least you have an excuse,” Sansa said, glancing at Arya devouring her food like a wolf. She looked up, angry.

“What?” she said, showing Sansa the food in her mouth. Sansa grimaced. “Stop being a priss.”

“We have a guest,” Sansa said, amused more than irritated by her sister’s antics. Arya shrugged.

“He’s just another Brienne, isn’t he?” she said after swallowing. “You don’t have a go at me when Brienne’s here.”

“I am not just another Brienne,” Jaime interjected, leaving Arya to smirk and turn back to Sansa.

“When Brienne is back, can we have both of them to dinner? I would love to see how much I can make them both blush and stutter about their lack of love for each other,” Arya said with a wicked grin. Jaime choked on his wine. Sansa pressed her lips together to contain her smile.

“She’ll be back any day,” Sansa said in agreement and then turned to Jaime. “Was Cersei very angry when you left?”

Jaime nodded, swallowing the stew in his mouth. “I thought she would kill me,” he said honestly and then laughed bitterly. “She still might.” Sansa did not doubt it. She gave him a tight smile.

“You’re safe here,” she promised.

“And I’m sure Brienne will ensure your safety personally when she returns,” Arya said, sipping her ale. Sansa laughed through her nose, meeting Jaime’s amused eyes. “She might even be willing to stay in your bed to make doubly sure.”

Though amused, Sansa said, “that’s enough, Arya. Ser Jaime is our guest.”

“He’s still a prick,” she grunted. Jaime snorted.

“I rather wish I had left King’s Landing to find you with Brienne. I imagine I missed out on a lot of fun,” he said, looking between the two of them. Sansa wondered how many times Jaime had wished that before.

“Missed out on a lot of other stuff too,” Arya said into her goblet of ale. Jaime’s neck flushed at Arya’s implication.

“Arya!” Sansa reprimanded and the three of them sat in silence for a few moments as they enjoyed the stew while it was still warm. Sansa was surprised to find that she did not feel particularly awkward despite her rather antagonistic feelings towards Jaime outside of the way Brienne felt about him.

“What would you have me do while I am here, Lady Sansa?” Ser Jaime asked, a few minutes later. Sansa furrowed her brow enough that Jaime would elaborate. “I plan on sticking around for a while,” he confessed, “and while my lack of a right hand isn’t ideal, it doesn’t render me entirely useless. I am sure there are things I could do, to earn your trust truly and not just through Lady Brienne.”

Sansa found herself impressed by his words. Her inclination was to doubt him, to mistrust his intentions, but she trusted Brienne. And clearly he had come here to see Brienne, despite his assertions that he didn’t love her. “You may help Brienne train the soldiers,” Sansa started, “and take part in guard duty, although, admittedly, the northern soldiers may be slightly averse to the idea.” Jaime chuckled in agreement. “I will talk to Lady Brienne when she returns. I promise we will not have you be idle. There is much work to do to prepare for the Long Night.” Jaime inclined his head.

“What does Lady Brienne do?” the Lannister asked curiously.

Arya rolled her eyes and Sansa fought the smile from her face. “She guards me, principally. She is my sworn sword.”

Jaime nodded slowly. “She made vows to you.” Sansa nodded. “My lady, I would do the same.” Sansa watched as Arya’s shot up her face. Sansa was able to control her own face, though just barely.

“You would swear vows to me,” Sansa repeated. Jaime nodded, his expression severe and his eyes not leaving hers.

“I made a vow to your mother that I would protect you, both of you,” he said, glancing at Arya. “I have spent my life making mistakes, doing awful things in the name of love. Now that I am free of - free of that constriction, I would spend my life pursuing honour.”

Again, the Kingslayer impressed Sansa with his honesty. His past was riddled with mistakes, from what Sansa had heard. But she had heard many terrible things about Lord Tyrion before she married him and found that he was kind and intelligent. So far, Ser Jaime was going up in her estimations too, proving Brienne’s assessment of him fair. Perhaps the Starks and Lannisters could break the habit of lifetimes and be friends. The thought put a smile onto Sansa’s face. What would Cersei make of this?

“I accept,” Sansa said, regarding Jaime. His lips twitched slightly upwards. “You may swear your vows to me.”

“A Kingslayer’s vows,” Arya said, raising her goblet to Jaime. “Welcome to the family, Ser Jaime.” Sansa saw Jaime’s eye twitch at the name Kingslayer, but he did nothing to refute Arya. He stood, reminding Sansa just how tall the man was. He neared Brienne in height, but Sansa reckoned Brienne had the edge on him slightly. He pulled his sword from its holster.

Arya eyed it eagerly. “It is twin to Brienne’s,” she breathed. Jaime nodded once. Sansa knew that Jaime had given Brienne hers, but Brienne had not mentioned that their swords matched. It was rather romantic, something from a book. Two knights with matching swords, in love, but denying it, swearing vows to the same liege. It stirred something in Sansa’s chest.

Jaime Lannister knelt before her, laying the red and gold sword at her feet. Sansa saw Brienne doing the same in the back of her mind. “I swear to you, Lady Sansa,” he started, looking up at her intensely, “that I will shield your back and keep your counsel and give my life for yours if need be. I will protect your family and serve your house for as long as you require it. I swear it by the old gods and the new.”

“And I vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth and meat and mead at my table. I pledge to ask no service of you that might bring you dishonour and to release you when I know that you are needed elsewhere. This I swear by the old gods and the new.” Sansa glanced at Arya, who was still drinking from her goblet, but her lips were spread about it in a smile. “Arise,” Sansa said and Ser Jaime stood, his golden hair glistening in the candlelight.

“Would you have me swear to you too, Lady Arya?” Jaime said and Sansa appreciated the amusement in his voice. Arya snorted, just as she had when Brienne offered.

“I don’t need anyone to follow me around all day. I don’t need attention like Sansa.”

Sansa threw a hunk of bread at her sister, who dodged it with ease. “Sit, Ser Jaime. I will send for some sweetmeats to commemorate your vows.”

A Kingslayer’s vows. How far their families had come.

Chapter Text

“Are you ready, Ser Jaime?” Sansa asked Jaime as he stood by her side in the yard of Winterfell, waiting for the queen’s party they had been told was approaching. Jaime scowled at her and her lips twitched. Over the past few days, Jaime had taken that to mean that if she were not the Lady of Winterfell, she would have laughed aloud. But she was the Lady of Winterfell and she had her mask bolted to her face in a way that Cersei had never managed. As Jaime spent more time with her, he became increasingly impressed by her.

 

“I am eager to see my brother, my lady.”

 

“Your brother,” Sansa repeated with a tone that had Jaime pursing his lips. Sansa and Arya had not been able to help themselves from teasing Jaime about Brienne for the past few days. “Admittedly, I am intrigued to see your brother after so many years.”

 

“I assure you he hasn’t grown a bit,” Jaime replied. Sansa thinned her lips to keep away her laughter. “I’m sure he will be glad to see you doing so well.”

 

Sansa smiled softly. “He was always very kind to me.”

 

“When he wasn’t shagging your handmaid, yes,” Jaime said and Sansa snorted.

 

“Well, one of us had to shag someone.” Jaime barked a laugh, earning himself a look from one of Sansa’s high up soldiers who did not like him and did not like the fact that he had enamoured himself to Sansa. “What are you going to say to Lady Brienne when you see her?”

 

Jaime gave her a side-eyed glance, barely containing his groan. “I do not need to plan anything to say. I saw her just over a month ago.”

 

“How unromantic,” Sansa commented idly, looking from side to side to inspect her northerners. “What about telling her that you rode all the way north, hardly stopping to eat or sleep, so that you could fight alongside her?” Jaime closed his eyes briefly. Sansa read him very easily. “Or you could tell her that you swore vows to me so that you could spend the rest of your life with her.” Jaime cleared his throat, wishing for Daenerys to hurry the bloody hell up. “Or you could tell her that you’re in love with her, and then perhaps follow it up with the other bits, just to clear things up.”

 

Jaime turned slightly towards Sansa, looking down at her twinkling eyes. “We have been over this-”

 

“Oh, they’re here!” Sansa cried as the sound of hooves approached. Jaime glared at her head. He felt nerves bubble in his stomach. No matter what he said to Sansa, he had been planning out what he should say to Brienne. He did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. He did not want Sansa and Arya to make her feel uncomfortable.

 

“Lady Sansa,” Jaime said hurriedly. Sansa turned to him curiously. “Please do not embarrass Brienne.” Sansa pursed her lips.

 

“Please tell Brienne you are in love with her,” Sansa hissed back at him. 

 

“I won’t do anything to dishonour her,” Jaime shot back just as the dragon queen turned the corner, on a beautiful white horse, to the side of Jon Snow. Sansa looked away from Jaime to see her half-brother and Daenerys Targaryen. Her smile tightened. Jaime knew that she was not happy that her brother had bent the knee and relinquished the North to the dragons.

 

Jon Snow swung down from his horse, adjusting his furs and then heading over to give Daenerys a hand down from her horse. Stable boys rushed over immediately to take away the stallions. More of the queen’s party spilled into the courtyard, but Jaime did not see Brienne. He peered over the heads of the approaching queen and her party to look for her. She was nowhere to be seen. Jaime’s brother, however, was easy to find, as he stepped out of a carriage with Lord Varys, a smile on his face. The smile dropped upon seeing Jaime, a look of astonishment replacing it. Jaime gave Tyrion half a smile as he approached.

 

Daenerys reached them first, with Jon Snow, who looked at her as though she had hung the moon and stars. Jaime gave Sansa a side-eyed look. “Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen,” Jon Snow said officially, shooting Jaime a suspicious and confused look. “My sister, Sansa Stark, the Lady of Winterfell.”

 

“Thank you for inviting us into your home, Lady Stark,” Daenerys said, folding her hands in front of her. “The North is as beautiful as your brother claimed.” Jaime watched as Sansa’s smile spread. Jaime thought it was genuine, but Sansa was so good at hiding what she felt. “As are you,” the dragon queen said and, again, the look on her face, the little smile, seemed so genuine. But Jaime was the stupidest Lannister and she was a queen, like Cersei, a bit like Sansa, and queens had masks. Jaime would have to watch Daenerys carefully to figure out whether hers was as successful as Cersei or Sansa’s. 

 

Sansa simply looked Daenerys up and down and said, controlled, “Winterfell is yours, your grace.” Any tone of amusement that she had had before, when she was speaking with Jaime, was gone, to be replaced by Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell. Daenerys’ smile faded.

 

Tyrion’s arrival into their conversation was announced by his cry of “Jaime!”, which finally brought Jon Snow and Queen Daenerys’ attention to Jaime. The dragon queen turned her body towards Jaime. “How are you here, Ser Jaime?” Daenerys said, her tone seething with anger. Burn them all.

 

“I rode hard, the day you left, your grace,” Jaime said respectfully.

 

Before Daenerys could say anything else, Tyrion interrupted, “and Cersei let you go? Are you here to prepare for her army?” Jaime shook his head, grateful that Cersei had not only convinced him.

 

“No army is coming,” he said quietly. “That is why I left.”

 

Daenerys inhaled sharply, turning her ferocious glare upon Tyrion. Jaime glanced at Sansa. “No one is coming?” Jon said, glancing at Sansa and then at Daenerys. Jaime shook his head.

 

“She tricked me too.” Tyrion closed his eyes. “So, I left her and came here to swear vows to Lady Sansa.” Tyrion’s eyes snapped open comically. Jaime fought to control his smile as Tyrion looked between the two of them.

 

Sansa gave Daenerys a look that Jaime caught, her chin raised and defiant. Jaime wondered whether being Sansa’s vassal would save him from execution by dragons. He truly hoped so. “I have to say, brother, I cannot imagine Father’s face right now, if he knew that you were working for the Starks,” Tyrion said, barely sparing a glance for Sansa.

 

Jaime chuckled. “I don’t know, Tyrion. He did marry you to one, after all.” Daenerys snapped her head to look at Tyrion, her glare intensifying, and Jaime furrowed his brow. If he wasn’t careful, he would be watching his brother’s execution, rather than experiencing his own. Tyrion either ignored Daenerys’ glare or wasn’t aware of it as he finally looked at his wife.

 

“Ah, yes,” he said in that amused Tyrion tone, “my lady wife. I had heard that you married again, Lady Sansa. Bigomy is very immoral of you.” Sansa genuinely smiled, Jaime was sure this time.

 

“More or less immoral than kingslaying, my lord?” she said. The teasing tone was back in her voice. Tyrion chuckled.

 

“Far less immoral than leaving your husband to the dogs, I would judge,” Tyrion said and Sansa looked down at him with a look that showed she could see through his bullshit.

 

“I am glad to see you have retained your humour, Lord Tyrion,” Sansa said. Jaime smiled.

 

“And I am pleased to see you have learned to smile, Lady Sansa,” Tyrion returned.

 

Sansa quirked an eyebrow. “I hardly had much to smile about whilst sharing a bed with the son of the man who ordered the murders of my mother, brother and goodsister, now, did I?” Jaime bit his lip to contain his laughter and the look on Tyrion’s face as Sansa transitioned from gentle teasing to bare facts. “Welcome back to Winterfell, Lord Tyrion,” Sansa said to finish their conversation. She turned to Jon. “Where is Lady Brienne?” she asked. Jaime’s stomach flipped at the sound of her name.

 

Jon furrowed his brow. “I saw her earlier with her squire. She’ll be here soon, I imagine. Where is Arya?”

 

Jaime nearly snorted. When Sansa had asked Arya to be there the day before, Arya had told her there was no chance and Sansa had not argued any more. She gave Jon a look and he chuckled, looking away at the castle. If Jon Snow was no longer King in the North, was the Lord of Winterfell? “Your grace,” Sansa said demurely, “let me show you to your rooms.”

 

Sansa ordered Jaime to stay and oversee the arrival. Jaime only inclined his head, though he had been eager to roll his eyes. He knew that all she wanted was for he and Brienne to be reunited.

 

“What are you really doing here, Jaime?” Tyrion said when they had gone. Jaime shot a look at his little brother. “Come on, surely…” Tyrion stopped talking. Or, rather, Jaime stopped listening. Brienne walked through the gates, guiding her horse, the horse Jaime had given her, and discussing something with her squire, the squire Jaime had given her. She wore Jaime’s sword at the hip of the armour he had had made for her. Her cheeks were flushed from the cold. Her hair was longer. It curled at her neck.

 

Jaime took a step forward, ignoring his brother and whatever he was saying about Cersei. She saw him a few instants later, stopping in her tracks completely. Jaime met her eyes and the world stopped. He was vaguely aware of Podrick taking away the horses and leaving them alone, though surrounded by soldiers.

 

“Hi,” Jaime breathed.

 

“What are you doing here?” she demanded, drawing close to him. She was taller than him, as she always was. Jaime smiled.

 

“I came to fight,” he said with what he hoped was a winning smile. She furrowed her brow, looking about herself.

 

“How did your army get past ours?” she said, distracted. When she focussed on him again, Jaime shook his head. “Oh.”

 

“Cersei, she,” Jaime started and then sighed. “She lied.” Brienne closed her eyes for a moment.

 

“I’m sorry, Jaime,” she said quietly when she opened them, genuine feeling in her eyes. Jaime creased his brow. He wondered what exactly she felt sorry for but decided it was probably best not to ask. “I’m glad you came.” Jaime nearly made a joke but held himself back.

 

“And I’m staying,” he told her. It was her turn to bring her brow down towards her eyes. Jaime couldn’t help the smile that spread across his lips. “I arrived and Lady Sansa pardoned me. Somebody had told her that I had been going around saving some damsels in distress.”

 

Brienne scowled. Jaime grinned. “I was hardly a damsel in distress.”

 

“I don’t know,” Jaime said at length, enjoying the way she was looking at him, angry and yet happy. “The pink dress made you rather a damsel and the bear covers the distress. Anyhow, Lady Sansa agreed to allow me to stay in Winterfell because of your words, so thank you,” he said earnestly. She gave him a wary look, as though worried he was mocking her. “And after she allowed me to stay, I offered to swear vows to her.”

 

“What?” Brienne’s lips had parted. “No, Jaime, you shouldn’t have.”

 

Jaime felt slightly stricken. “What do you mean? Is she a bad liege? Is she going to whip me?” he teased. Brienne scowled.

 

“You’ve got a whole life to live. You shouldn’t be-”

 

“Be what?” Jaime demanded. “Living a life of honour? Why do you get to and I don’t? I’ve lived my whole wretched life following Cersei around, being led by the cock. I’m not going to do it anymore. I came here- I came here so that I could fight alongside you. You are the most honourable person I know and I wanted to finally feel as though I had some honour too.” Jaime looked at her. She’d set her jaw, clearly not wanting to show him any emotions. Maybe Sansa was teaching her the art.

 

“So you’re just going to copy me now simply because I have honour?”

 

Jaime shook his head. “No. I just- I wanted to pursue honour and I thought of my vow to Lady Catelyn and thought, you know, that fulfilling that, protecting Arya and Sansa, should be my priority.” Brienne’s face softened. She unclenched her jaw.

 

“Okay,” she said, an intense look in her eyes when she met his. “I have to go and-” Jaime nodded, stepping away.

 

“Of course,” he said, palming the back of his neck. “Go, go, you should go-”

 

“Okay,” she said again. “I’ll see you later.” Jaime nodded eagerly and, with one last look at him, she wandered away.

 

“Later,” Jaime muttered, his lips stretching back into a smile. 

Chapter Text

Brienne stood on one side of the doorframe, Jaime on the other, both rigidly facing Sansa as she addressed the Northern commanders, about the Long Night, about Daenerys and her dragons, about Cersei’s army that was not coming. She had written a speech, had practised it on Brienne the night before. Brienne thought it was very well done, but most things Sansa did were well done.

 

“What’s after this?” Jaime whispered across the door, glancing ever so slightly at Brienne. Brienne darted her eyes to the ceiling and then to Jaime. She could remind him that they should be focussing on the security of the room, rather than chatting, but it would do nothing. Brienne had learned a long time ago that nothing she said would ever make Jaime shut up.

 

“Lunch,” Brienne murmured back, hoping neither Sansa or Arya saw them chatting. Brienne didn’t need any more teasing from the girls. “Sansa is eating with her siblings. I was going to grab a bite to eat and then go and observe the squires’ training.”

 

Jaime raised his eyebrows at her. “Is that an invitation?” Brienne flushed, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks. She looked away from him and back to Sansa, who had finished her speech and was fielding questions from her senior commanders, most of whom were lords. Brienne almost rolled her eyes at the idiocy of some of the questions. To think, if she were not there, one of them would be in charge of the Northern army. 

 

“You may join me,” Brienne allowed. She thought she heard the muscles in Jaime’s face as he smiled, but it was likely she was imagining things. “Now, hush before Sansa sees us talking.”

 

“Because she’ll think we’re distracting each other, or because she thinks you’re in love with me?” Jaime asked quietly. Brienne closed her eyes and opened them again, darting them over to him. He had that casual amused look on his face. It made Brienne want to hit him. She ignored his question, willing the blush on her face to diminish. “They think I’m in love with you too, don’t worry.”

 

“I know,” Brienne muttered. “They are fond of bringing it up.” Jaime snorted softly. He opened his mouth to speak but they were interrupted by one of the Northern lords mentioning Jaime’s name, in disgust as Brienne and Jaime had predicted.

 

“Ser Jaime is my sworn sword,” Sansa said coolly, commanding the attention of every man and woman in the room. “He is not a commander in the army though he will fight as part of it. He does not answer to any of you, only to me and to Lady Commander Brienne. I assure you, if anyone can keep Ser Jaime in check, it is she.”

 

Jaime coughed and Brienne turned glaring eyes on him, suspecting he was covering up a laugh. Sansa was quite mistaken. Brienne had never been able to keep Ser Jaime in check. She was still blushing when Sansa dismissed the commanders. Jaime took hold of one door and Brienne the other, swinging them open to let the commanders leave.

 

Arya slinked over silently, from her position behind Sansa, who was being monopolised by Lord Glover. “So, Ser Jaime, can Lady Brienne keep you in check?” Arya asked. Jaime cleared his throat and Brienne swallowed. “I’d love to know the methods she uses.”

 

“Lady Arya!” Brienne admonished. Arya made a face at Brienne for using her title, which Brienne knew that Arya disliked as much as Brienne disliked her own, but protocol called for Brienne to use it when they were in public. “Where are you eating with your brothers?” Brienne asked, hoping to change the subject. Arya simply smirked at her.

 

“In Sansa’s solar. I’m sure I can protect Sansa well enough from here to there. You’re welcome to go and get your lunch,” Arya offered. “I think Sansa wanted you to be there for her meeting with Lord Royce later on.” Brienne inclined her head.

 

“And you, my lady? What are you doing this afternoon?” Brienne asked. Arya grinned wickedly and a bit of dread burned in Brienne’s stomach.

 

“I have someone to see.”

 

With that, Arya darted away again, quick as silver, leaving Brienne with Jaime. “So, what do you think?” Jaime said, gesturing for her to step out of the room first, using his foot to keep the door open. A few Northern lords still congregated in the corridor outside of Sansa’s meeting room. They glared viciously at Jaime but clearly respected their liege lady’s word too highly to do anything about it.

 

“What do I think about what?” Brienne asked, distracted by identifying each of the lords who had glared at Jaime and burning their names into her memory. She would keep an eye on them to see if they did anything wrong in the next few weeks. She did not want Sansa to be surrounded by any lords who did not trust her judgement, nor did she want Jaime to be targeted. If anything did happen to Jaime, Brienne wanted to know where she would find the guilty party.

 

“Do you think you can keep me in check?” he said, opening the door out onto the ramparts that led to the yard. Brienne glared at the back of his head. “I wonder which methods Arya thinks you use.” Brienne flushed at Jaime’s teasing. “I have some suggestions of what might work,” he said, turning his face back to her with a wink. Brienne’s stomach burned at the implication of his words and her eyes widened as he snickered.

 

They arrived in the great hall and took the closest seats available. “Who do you suppose Arya is going to see this afternoon?” Jaime asked, serving himself some bread and cheese.

 

Lady Arya,” Brienne insisted, “likes to be on her own. It is entirely possible she gave us an excuse so that she could go and practise her sparring or complete drills on her own. She’s fond of her own company.” Jaime shrugged.

 

“She grinned as though she knows something we don’t.”

 

Brienne quirked half of her mouth into a smile. “She usually does.”

 

XXX

 

Jaime leaned against the wooden ramparts, watching as Brienne adjusted one of the squires’ stances, her own squire being his opponent. Jaime sipped at his ale. She was a very good teacher. The squire Jaime had given her had improved no end, truly a credit to her. And he looked at her as though she hung the moon and stars. An inevitable effect of spending prolonged time with Brienne.

 

“Useless, the lot of them,” Jaime commented when Brienne returned to the wall. They had come out with the intention of observing and nothing more, but Brienne could not help herself, of course. She scowled at him.

 

“They are not useless. They have a lot to learn,” she said diplomatically. Jaime gave her a look and she pursed her lips. “Podrick is not too bad.”

 

“He is the best of the lot, of course,” Jaime said, shooting her a winning smile that made her roll her eyes. “Wasn’t I good giving you him?”

 

“Very good, yes,” Brienne said, her lips twitching. “Admittedly, having a squire was not as awful as I anticipated.”

 

“Did I hear a thank you there?” Brienne turned to glare at him and Jaime snickered, glancing back over at Podrick’s bout with the younger squire. “He really is too old to be a squire now,” Jaime noted. Brienne nodded with a reluctance that Jaime put down to her fondness of the boy.

 

“Well, I can’t exactly knight him, can I?” Brienne said, rolling her shoulders back in her armour. She always did something physical when she spoke of things she was uncomfortable with. Jaime was stricken by her words. It truly was ridiculous that she was his commander, higher up in the pecking order than him, and she couldn’t knight her own squire.

 

Jaime shrugged. “I’ll do it at some point. When he survives the dead.”

 

“If he survives the dead,” Brienne corrected. Jaime shot her an incredulous look.

 

“Has anyone ever told you that you are the picture of positivity?”

 

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re the most irritating man in the Seven Kingdoms?”

 

“Yes, you, I think, multiple times,” Jaime shot back, enjoying the banter that they shared. He loved it when she responded to his teasing, loved the way her neck flushed and her lips wobbled as she fought to say something clearly. Jaime was still watching her face when he saw her eyes narrow. He followed her sight of vision and spotted what had captured her focus. “Is that Arya?”

 

“Yes,” Brienne said simply, unnecessarily. Arya was entering the forge, where the dragon glass weapons were being created. “I suppose she truly was going to see someone.”

 

“Who do you think it is? Is it a boy ?” Jaime said, intrigued by the idea that secretive Arya Stark had a paramour. Brienne glared at Jaime.

 

“You are not to bring this up with her.”

 

Jaime groaned. “Is that a jape, wench? She has not stopped making lewd comments about you and I since I arrived.” Brienne flushed. Jaime wondered if Brienne was receiving the same treatment. He hoped she was. Perhaps then she would start seeing him as more than just her friend, as a man who could one day be honourable enough to deserve her. Jaime shut down that train of thought before it truly developed.

 

Jaime and Brienne watched the forge attentively, ignoring the squires’ fighting that they had truly come to watch. Five minutes after she had entered, Arya slipped back out of the forge, a little smile on her face. Jaime shared a look with Brienne. “Well, if she went for a shag, I feel sorry for her. Even virgins last longer than that.” Brienne didn’t respond to that. Jaime supposed she didn’t have the experience to comment. “Shall we go and see who she was talking to?” he asked eagerly.

 

Brienne looked marginally uncomfortable. “Okay,” she agreed reluctantly, surprising Jaime who assumed she would refuse. “But only because I want to ensure her safety.” Jaime grinned and pushed off from the wall. They skirted the yard, avoiding the bouts that were ongoing and reached the entrance to the forge.

 

Brienne leaned her head in. “Who is it?” Jaime hissed in her ear, coming up behind her and trying to lean around her. She really was much too tall for that to work. She elbowed him in the stomach for coming too close to her, making him step around her and peer in himself. Inside was a boy who could only be described as a young Renly Baratheon. Brienne’s eyes were wide. Jaime’s stomach squirmed.

 

“He looks like…” Brienne trailed off. Jaime nodded and strode into the forge, no doubt in his mind as to who this boy was. “Jaime!” Brienne hissed after him. Jaime ignored her.

 

Jaime approached the Renly-lookalike, picking up one of the exquisite dragonglass daggers from his workbench. The boy gave him an irritated glance but didn’t comment. Jaime wondered if he recognised him. Brienne sidled up to Jaime’s side. “Tell me,” Jaime started, admiring the weapon, “if you are my brother-in-law’s son, does that make you my nephew?” Brienne inhaled sharply. The boy widened his eyes.

 

“Ser, I am not-”

 

Jaime rolled his eyes. “I assume you’ve been told you look exactly like Renly Baratheon, who looked rather similar to Robert.”

 

“I know who my father was, Ser, but I am merely his bastard, no need for anyone to know the truth.” The boy was honest and Jaime admired that. He also understood that he did not want the dragon queen to know. That was smart of him.

 

“Well, then,” Jaime said, stepping away from the weapons, tossing the dagger back down. “I will keep your secret. I did think my nephew had ordered the murder of all of Robert’s bastards, but clearly he missed one. What is your name, boy?”

 

“Gendry, Ser,” the boy said, inclining his head.

 

“It was good to meet you, Gendry.”

 

Brienne and Jaime left as quickly as they entered. “You think that was who Arya was seeing?” Brienne asked quietly. Jaime snorted.

 

“No, I think it was the big burly one in the back. Of course it was that one. He’s got a pretty face, just like Renly had.” That earned him a true glare from Brienne. Jaime gave her half a smile and she opened her mouth to speak. Before she could, however, they were interrupted. “Come on, wench, let’s go and whip these squires into shape.

 

About an hour later, Sansa came to interrupt them, Arya by her side. “Has your meeting started, my lady?” Brienne said, her eyes wide in horror that she could have done something to offend her lady. Jaime sheathed his sword.

 

“No, Lady Brienne,” Sansa replied, a twinkle in her eye. Jaime knew that Sansa knew Brienne perhaps as well as he did. “I wanted to briefly discuss what I said to the men this morning. They are not happy about you being here, Ser Jaime, but I don’t much care. You are my sworn sword and they will get used to you. I did just want to make clear that Lady Brienne is commander, however.”

 

Jaime did not need this little chat. He wondered what had prompted it, whether the Northern lords had got into her head about him being an arrogant twat. “I’m sure he doesn’t need reminding that Brienne is above him, Sansa,” Arya said, tongue between her teeth as she looked at Jaime. Jaime laughed, drawing yet another glare from Brienne. “Ooh, don’t anger her, Ser Jaime,” Arya teased. “She could put you on night shifts for the foreseeable.” Jaime barked out a laugh.

 

“She wouldn’t do that to me,” Jaime replied with a sideways glance to a beautifully blushing Brienne.

 

“No, perhaps she’ll just make you sleep alone,” Arya said and Jaime dropped his smile. Sansa immediately reprimanded her sister but Jaime noticed that Brienne was studying the floor.

 

“He sleeps alone anyway,” she said sharply, before nodding at Arya and Sansa and walking away. Jaime’s jaw dropped slightly and he looked between the Stark girls and Brienne. He chuckled.

 

“For now,” he whispered to them, winking as he turned to hurry and catch up with Brienne.

Chapter Text

“Cheers,” Brienne repeated, lifting her glass to Sansa. Brienne was flushed already, although Sansa did not think it had much to do with the wine she had only sipped. More likely, it was due to Arya’s crude comments and knowing looks and Sansa’s lack of discouraging them. She was eager for Brienne and Jaime to realise how they felt about each other, even if that meant having Arya annoy them until they gave in.

 

“How have you enjoyed your first week of following my sister around, Jaime?” Arya asked, making Sansa tut at the lack of respect. Jaime and Brienne were very important to Sansa, ensuring she felt safe in the castle where she had endured abuse and rape. They also entertained her on a daily basis with their antics. Or, rather, Jaime’s antics and Brienne’s amusing reactions to them.

 

“It has been very enjoyable, Arya,” Jaime replied. Sansa could guarantee that it had. He’d spent the whole week mooning after Brienne, making her laugh as much as he could. There was no doubt in her mind that he was loving every moment of his new role.

 

“Have you done anything to warrant being put on a night shift yet?” Arya asked, a teasing little smile playing at her lips, glancing at Brienne, who scowled. Jaime snorted dismissively.

 

“Probably but she wouldn’t truly do that to me,” he said confidently. Brienne turned to him, eyebrows raised. Sansa picked up her drink and drank to hide her smile.

 

“Do you not check the schedule? You’re on a night shift next week.” Jaime’s face fell, his lips parting.

 

Why ?” Jaime practically whined. Sansa glanced at Arya and they shared an amused look.  Brienne did not show her amusement at his antics. She frowned.

 

“You’re a soldier. You have duties to fulfil.”

 

“I thought I just had to protect Sansa. I do not remember being deprived of sleep being part of my vows,” Jaime said, looking at Sansa, who simply arched her brow at him, her lips twitching towards a smile. “Do you have to do night shifts?” Jaime demanded of Brienne.

 

Brienne’s lips stretched into a guilty little smile, a rare look to be found on her commander’s face. “No, I’m the Lady Commander.” Jaime groaned dramatically. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll cope, Jaime,” she snapped. Arya opened her mouth to say something, probably something lewd, but was interrupted by the food arriving with a knock on the door from the guard stationed outside Sansa’s solar door.

 

Two kitchen maids served them. Sansa’s mouth salivated. She’d not eaten since lunch which seemed like ages ago. She had picked up her cutlery before the maids had even left, a sharp knife stabbing into the meat the second the door closed again. Sansa would not have looked up from the meal had she not heard the clinking of two pewter plates. She found Brienne cutting up Jaime’s food, no words needed, a soft expression on her face. Jaime was leaning back on his chair, watching her with an expressionless face. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Sansa felt a pang in her stomach. Glancing at Arya, she saw her watching them with an odd expression in her eyes too. Briefly, Sansa wondered if Arya felt the same longing for a partner as Sansa did, before turning back to her food. She didn’t want to make Jaime or Brienne feel uncomfortable when they finally looked away from one another.

 

Sansa caught the wink that Jaime gave Brienne when she slid the plate back across the table to him and the little smile that Brienne gave him back. They couldn’t have spent so much time together that they understood each other so well. Sansa knew that they had spent months travelling down to King’s Landing but they had hardly been sitting at dinner parties on those nights. She was awe in how in tune they were as a couple. It reminded her of the way her parents were together.

 

“What will you do after the war, Arya?” Jaime asked Sansa’s sister. Sansa looked at her sister with interest.

 

Arya swallowed her food and began to cut some more up. “I don’t know,” she said with a shrug. “Provided I survive, I suppose I’d like to go travelling.”

 

“Where?” Sansa asked. The thought of her sister on the other side of the world was not a pleasant one. She glanced quickly at Brienne and Jaime. At least she would not be completely abandoned. Though, perhaps they would be married by then, with children. And Brienne would have to return to Tarth one day and Jaime was technically the Lord of Casterly Rock-

 

“I’ve always wanted to know what is west of Westeros.” Sansa chuckled. She remembered her sister asking their septa that question when they had lessons together as children. “But we have to survive the Long Night first,” Arya reminded them. That brought a somber mood to the table. Brienne and Jaime shared an intense look. Sansa looked away. Perhaps they would all be dead within a week and none of this would matter.

 

“Where is your hand, Jaime?” Arya asked a few moments later, spraying food everywhere. Sansa gave her a distasteful look and Arya wrinkled her nose at her, making Sansa purse her lips and look at Jaime.

 

“Well, it got cut off, Arya,” he commented dryly, shaking his stump at her. Arya rolled her eyes. Sansa noticed the corners of Brienne’s mouth twitch.

 

“Your golden hand, you dick,” Arya said uncouthly. Sansa didn’t bother to reprimand her. Jaime looked more amused than insulted.

 

Jaime looked down at his stump and quirked his mouth into half a smile, not quite happy but not quite sad. “I hate that thing,” he said and his voice took on a confessional tone. Sansa cocked an eyebrow. “Cersei had it made for me to hide my - you know,” he said, gesturing with his good hand to his stump, clearly uncomfortable at mentioning his sister. “But I don’t have to deal with that anymore. I should really have something better made.”

 

“A hook,” Brienne said immediately. “I’ve said it all along. A golden hand makes no sense. If you had a hook, you might actually be of some use in fights.” Jaime glared at her but Sansa could tell there was no malice in it.

 

“Perhaps I’ll go and speak to that lovely smith we were talking to today, Brienne. Perhaps he could make me one in dragonglass,” Jaime said and his lips morphed into a wicked grin. “What was his name again?” he said, playing up his thought process for dramatic address. Sansa narrowed her eyes. Brienne pursed her lips and glanced at Arya. Sansa followed her eyeline and found Arya looking coldly at Jaime. “Gendry, is it?”

 

“Are you spying on me?” Arya asked coolly.

 

“Is it truly spying if you come out of the forge in clear sight of us?” Jaime asked, quirking his eyebrow. Sansa furrowed her brow and looked at Arya. Gendry, from the forge. Sansa had seen him around. He was quite clearly one of Robert Baratheon’s bastards but Sansa did not trust Daenerys Targaryen enough to bring attention to the boy and she had noticed that he seemed to be friends with Jon, so she figured he knew. 

 

Arya was quite flushed, Sansa noticed with wicked glee. Her little sister, usually so unflappable, blushing over a boy. “Who is this?” Sansa asked.

 

“No one,” Arya growled. “He’s just a boy I knew once, when I first left King’s Landing. He chose to leave me and got kidnapped because of it. He’s unimportant.”

 

“Sure,” Jaime said shortly. Sansa was inclined to agree with Jaime’s tone. Her sister did not get flustered over anybody. This was new territory. New territory meant change and change meant something worth changing for. Gendry from the forge. “Anyhow, I will go and visit him tomorrow to see about getting a hook.” And just because Brienne had suggested it. Sansa struggled to contain a smile. A man who respected your opinion so highly that, as soon as you suggested something, he ran with the idea. 

 

Brienne nodded. “Then you’ll be able to-”

 

“Defend with my left and attack with my right, yeah,” Jaime said, bobbing his head up and down. “I’ll have to practise. I doubt I’ll be any good before the wights are upon us,” he said with a confidence that Sansa saw right through. He clearly did not have much hope that there would be time afterwards to practise.

 

“Then we’ll practise afterwards,” Brienne said, giving him a hard look. Sansa felt her stomach squirm uncomfortably. For a few moments, the only sounds to be heard were cutlery against plates and the irritating sound of Arya chewing. Sansa wished there were a way that she could ensure all three of these people survived what was to come. “How far do we think they are off?” Brienne asked suddenly, as though she had been suppressing the question for a while. 

 

Sansa swallowed and picked up her goblet of wine to take a sip. “Jon says it’s likely to be no more than a week. He hasn’t heard from Tormund or from the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, so we believe that they have been overrun.” Brienne inhaled sharply. Sansa nodded gravely. She had felt the same when they had heard that the undefeatable Tormund Giantsbane had been likely killed.

 

“Well, this is grim conversation,” Jaime said, putting his cutlery down. “How about we discuss something other than our impending deaths?”

 

“Yes, will you tell us the bear pit story?” Arya asked eagerly. Jaime snorted, looking at Brienne who flushed.

 

“I wasn’t there for most of it,” Jaime said, gesturing for Brienne to begin. She nodded ever so slightly.

 

Sansa watched Brienne take a gulp from her goblet and then set it down. She could feel the emotions that this story would stir up. “It’s really not that exciting,” Brienne began. Jaime snorted and Brienne turned to him, eyebrows raised.

 

“Only you would say that being in a bear pit was not an exciting event in your life.”

 

Brienne rolled her eyes at him. “Our captors sent to Tarth for my ransom, thinking they were going to be overrun by sapphires for some reason,” she said, glancing at Jaime, whose lips twitched. “My father sent the details of his ransom. They did not think 300 dragons was sufficient, so they decided I could make money as entertainment, fighting a bear.” She was blushing. Sansa wasn’t sure if it was because they were all looking at her or because of the events of the story. “They put me into the bear pit, wearing a frankly ridiculous and cumbersome dress, with a wooden sword. I don’t know how much they were planning on letting the bear do to me. I’m not sure how much money that first bout would have made, whether it would have been more than my ransom, enough that they could let the bear maul me to death.”

 

Sansa found it remarkable how Brienne could discuss something so traumatic with very little emotion shown on her face or in her voice. “I tried to avoid the bear, tried to dodge its attacks. It did land a few blows, but then Jaime jumped into the bear pit,” Brienne said and her emotionless face morphed into one of affection for the man sitting next to her.

 

Jaime ducked his head slightly. “I arrived and saw what they were doing. Hoat, the man in charge of the thing, refused to let me pay her ransom so that she could get out of there and I figured they would not let the bear attack me and have to explain to my father what had happened, so I jumped in.”

 

“Without a weapon and only one hand,” Brienne asked, pursing her lips. Jaime nodded, his smile twitching into a grin. Sansa loved to see that he did not regret his actions whatsoever.

 

“Do you still have the scars?” Arya said, her eyes alight with the idea of violence. Sansa gave her an uneasy glance. Brienne nodded and drew a line from her left shoulder to the centre of her chest where the scars must have been. “Cool.”

 

And with that, they focussed on their food again. Sansa glanced up to look at Brienne and Jaime every so often. She couldn’t imagine the way Brienne had felt when Jaime jumped into the bear pit, nor the desperation Jaime must have felt to do it. She knew that Jaime knew that he had feelings for Brienne and she was fairly certain that Brienne was aware of the way she felt about Jaime, if not the depth of her feelings, but Sansa also knew that neither of them were ever going to act on it. They each thought they were not good enough for the other. Jaime was obviously not good enough for Brienne but Sansa was willing to let him try to be, given that he would make Brienne inexplicably happy.

 

“Have you spoken to your father recently, Brienne?” Sansa asked. Brienne looked up from her food and blinked.

 

“I write to him once a moonturn, Sansa,” she replied. Sansa knew that Brienne and her father were close. It was a sweet relationship. Sansa hoped that, if her father had lived, they would have shared a similar bond.

 

“What does he think of you serving me?” Sansa said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever asked.” There were lots of things Sansa wanted to know about her friend that she had never asked. It was quite difficult. Brienne wasn’t an eager sharer so Sansa had to ask a question to find out about her life.

 

Brienne cleared her throat. “He was pleased that you are a kind lady, Sansa, but I believe he had hoped that I would return after serving Renly, and then after ensuring the safety of you and Arya, and now he feels he may not see me again before he dies.”

 

Sansa blinked in surprise at Brienne’s candor. She knew that she would have to return Brienne one day but she had never truly considered it from Brienne’s side. “You must go back, then. You could even just go and visit,” Sansa suggested. Brienne looked hesitant. “One day, you will be the Evenstar, Brienne. You should spend some time with your people.”

 

“My father wants me to go home so that he can arrange another match for me,” Brienne said, a grumble in her tone. Sansa’s eyebrows flew up and she glanced as subtly as she could at Jaime. His jaw was set but nothing else on his face betrayed his love for Sansa’s friend. Sansa had assumed that Brienne and her father were so close that he would never propose a marriage for her without her will. “I am his only heir. If I do not provide an heir, Tarth will pass to someone else and the people of Tarth will likely revolt.”

 

“Who will he have you marry?” Arya asked. Brienne shrugged helplessly.

 

“I don’t know. I once told him I would not marry a man who could not best me in a fight, but I doubt he will keep to that.” Jaime turned eyes on Brienne, his eyebrows raised.

 

“You will not marry a man who cannot best you in a fight?” he asked incredulously. Sansa thought he sounded a bit defensive too. Perhaps he was worried that he would not make the cut. Sansa had a feeling Brienne would make an exception for Jaime.

 

Brienne let out an irritated sigh. “It was a way to get out of my last betrothal. My father tried to make me marry a 70-year-old castellan because he thought he would care for Tarth. I refused and gave my father this condition. The castellan fought me and lost. I broke his collarbone.”

 

“You didn’t ,” Jaime said, utterly in awe. Brienne looked annoyed.

 

“I did.” Sansa hid her smile with her wine goblet. Brienne had missed Jaime’s marvelling over her. “But that was six years ago. I imagine my father thought I would cool down and realise what I needed to do, which, unfortunately, I have.”

 

“You’re going to marry?” Jaime said. Sansa glanced at Arya, who rolled her eyes but half-grinned. Jaime sounded utterly revolted by the idea.

 

“I will have to, though I suppose I will have to fight to find someone and they will likely be below my station, but all that matters is I have an heir and then my duty will be fulfilled.”

 

Jaime , Sansa thought. Jaime will marry you .

 

But Jaime said nothing, only looked back down at his face, his lips pouting slightly. They were silent for a few more moments. The door opened again and the maids came to serve them, taking away their empty plates and replacing them with lemon cakes. Sansa smiled at her sister, remembering a childhood of lemon cakes and family.

 

Jaime cleared his throat. Sansa looked up from her beloved lemon cake to find him looking at Brienne, who was looking at him oddly. Sansa felt as though she may have missed some sort of nonverbal exchange. Sansa opened her mouth to speak but Jaime cut her off, “I want to tell you something.”

 

Sansa shared a concerned look with Arya. She noticed that Brienne’s hand was stretched across Jaime’s lap, where Sansa assumed it was holding his hand. “What’s going on?” Sansa asked slowly. Brienne was biting her lip and staring at Jaime.

 

“I- you’ve probably wondered, in the past, about Aerys.” Sansa fought to keep her face under control while Arya’s eyes bugged. Sansa had frequently wondered about Jaime’s kingslaying past but had not asked for fear of not liking the answer. Sometimes it was better not to know. She watched Jaime’s throat bob and truly feared she would not like the answer. From the expression on Brienne’s face, it was clear she already knew and was encouraging the telling of the story. Sansa clasped her hands together on her lap, leaning away from her lemon cake.

 

“Go on,” she said and then was silent as he began to talk.

 

XXX

 

“That could have been worse,” Brienne commented as they walked through the quiet corridors from Sansa’s solar to their room. Jaime nodded though he was tracing the floor. Brienne reached for his hand silently, as she had before Jaime had told his story. Jaime squeezed her hand.

 

“Thank you for telling me to tell them,” Jaime said, though his voice was dull. Brienne brushed her thumb across the back of his hand. She knew that he misliked telling the story, that he had never thought to tell her , never mind anyone else. “Do you think Sansa is right that I should tell Daenerys?”

 

Brienne bit her lip. “I don’t know. There’s parts that I think she should know, of course, that show that you didn’t murder her father but committed self-defence on behalf of an entire city.” Jaime gave her a roll of his eyes in response to her defence of him. “But I don’t think anyone knows her well enough to judge how she would react to knowing her father was an evil man.” Jaime nodded.

 

“I agree.” Jaime adjusted their hands to lace their fingers together. Brienne glanced at their hands and then away again, feeling heat rush to her face. “Have you truly put me on a night shift?”

 

Brienne couldn’t contain the small laugh that left her, despite the somber mood Jaime’s story had put her in. “ Yes , Jaime.”

 

Jaime groaned as he had earlier. “I hate night shifts.”

 

“You’ll cope.”

 

“How do I get out of it?” Jaime asked. Brienne shook her head. “Come on,” he said, squeezing her hand. “Surely there’s something I could do for you, my lady,” he said in low tones that sent a flood of heat between Brienne’s legs. She snapped her head towards him and gave him an incredulous look which had him smirking. “I only meant paperwork.”

 

“Sure you did,” Brienne muttered, flushing. Because why would he think of doing anything else with her? Brienne swallowed. “You have to do night shifts,” she insisted. “Otherwise the Northern soldiers will call me up on favoritism.”

 

“But I am your favourite,” Jaime teased. Brienne scoffed. “Who else would be your favourite? You hardly like anyone aside from me.”

 

“That is simply untrue,” Brienne said. “I like plenty of people, most of them far more than you. You are a nuisance .”

 

Jaime chortled. “But I am your favourite nuisance.” Brienne did not refute him. “Okay, so I’ll do one night shift and then do no more.”

 

“Keep this up and I’ll put you on all night shifts.” Jaime gasped dramatically.

 

“You wouldn’t .”

 

Brienne rolled her eyes as they turned the corner to where her room was. “We’re here.” Brienne did not want to let go of Jaime’s hand.

 

“Okay,” Jaime said softly, squeezing her hand. They stood still for a few seconds, Brienne’s focus on her hand being caressed by Jaime’s. Why must he do this to her? She wrenched her hand from his and turned into her chambers.

 

She didn’t look behind her as she said, “Goodnight, Ser Jaime.”

Chapter Text

Sansa grinned as she observed the loving reunion from the ramparts of Winterfell. Jon embraced Tormund Giantsbane and then the men from the Night’s Watch, most particularly the one Sansa identified as Edd, the Lord Commander. There was love between all of the men, joy at their survival, and Sansa was glad to see it. It reminded her somewhat of the friendship Jon and Robb had shared when they had been children. She was about to turn to go back inside to attend her meeting when she heard Tormund speak.

 

“The big woman still here?”

 

Sansa felt the corners of her mouth twitch. Though she would likely not appreciate the description, it could only be to Brienne that Tormund referred. As she strode away, Sansa felt herself smirk as a plan began to form.

 

XXX

 

“Ser Jaime, I have someone I’d like you to meet,” Sansa said as they left the meeting that he had stood guard outside of for the past three hours, thinking about the fact that he had not had a proper conversation with Brienne since she had stormed into her room after their dinner with Sansa and Arya two days ago. The thought made Jaime’s stomach squirm. He’d thought they were so close to what he wanted, what he in no way deserved, what he hoped for every hour of every day.

 

“Who is it, my lady?” Jaime asked, matching her formal title with his own and keeping steady stride with her.

 

“His name is Tormund Giantsbane and he leads the wildlings.” Jaime wrinkled his nose at the idea of wildlings. He'd heard the stories about the fearsome northern warriors who lived above the wall, tales of their lack of cleanliness or propriety, their propensity to rape a woman into love. He regaled a few of these stories to Sansa as she led them to the gates of Winterfell keep. Sansa laughed. “It's called stealing. Their spearwives, the women who fight alongside the men, expect to their prospective partner to come into their room at night and fight them. If the man wins, he has the right to claim the woman.”

 

Jaime snorted. It sounded like a less formal version of Brienne’s battle with her third betrothed. Briefly, he wondered if she would marry him even if he were not to beat her in battle. Unless she let him win, it was unlikely that Jaime would ever be able to marry her. “Quite an odd tradition.”

 

“I'm not sure. I suppose it helps ensure that the woman, as well as her friends and family know that the man is worthy of her.” Jaime narrowed his eyes to Sansa.

 

“There is more to a man than his ability to fight,” Jaime protested. Sansa’s lips twitched in amusement.

 

“Quite.” Jaime realised he had been played. He scowled at Sansa. “Even so, it's always nice to know that a man is willing to fight for what he wants.” With a pointed look, she strode away, leaving Jaime to increase his pace to catch up with her.

 

The man she wanted him to meet was gigantic, half a giant. Perhaps three quarters. He had an admirable ginger beard and hair to match his nature, which was evident from the moment Jaime observed him. He was wild, wild in laughter, in the sparring he was partaking in when Sansa and Jaime first saw him. They watched until he beat his opponent, one of the northern commanders that had spat at Jaime a few days prior, a Karstark if Jaime was not mistaken.

 

“My lady,” Tormund Giantsbane greeted Sansa merrily, a huge wild grin stretching across his pale face. His eyes, blue and wide, darted from Sansa to Jaime.

 

Sansa look far too amused for Jaime’s liking. He was confused already by this meeting. Her look made dread build some in Jaime's stomach. “Tormund, this is Ser Jaime Lannister, my sworn sword and a friend of the lady Brienne.” Friend. Jaime dreamed wistfully for the moment he would be able to call her more than that. Or that at all, if truth be told. He wasn't sure if Brienne would call him her friend.

 

“Brienne?” The man said with enthusiasm. “How did you become friends with the lady, Ser?” Jaime leached his jaw, realising exactly why Sansa had set up this meeting. This giant ginger man fancied Brienne. Jaime supposed he could see why. Big people thing. But Jaime was only about an inch shorter than Brienne and that was a very respectable height anyway. Brienne was just giantess tall. Which was why she fit very well with this giant man.

 

“I jumped into a bear pit,” Jaime said dryly. Tormund nodded eagerly.

 

“Yes, yes, anything else?”

 

Jaime shared an amused, disbelieving look with Sansa, who simply smiled sweetly at him. “I gave her a sword and armour. I gave her a squire, although he is quite useless so I’m not sure that really counts. I let her go free when I really should have kept her hostage or put her to the sword. I saved her from getting raped. I could go on.”

 

Jaime had hoped that would discourage the giant man. Alas, it did not. “A sword . I could buy her a sword,” he muttered and wandered off, effectively ending the conversation. Jaime gaped after him for an instant and then turned to Sansa, who, predictably, had a stoic face.

 

“How well does Brienne know this man?” Jaime demanded immediately. Sansa met his eyes and then they began to walk back inside out of the frigid cold.

 

“You sound rather jealous,” Sansa commented lightly. Jaime went cold inside. He hated the word jealous; it reminded him of the way he had felt all his life, watching men fawn over Cersei, watching her take Robert to her bed, take others after Jaime returned with only one hand. He hated the word - and he hated the feeling. And, even more than that, he hated that Sansa was right and the only way to describe the burning sensation inside of him as he considered the thought of Brienne being with the giant was jealousy.

 

Jaime found Sansa’s disappointed eyes on him and he felt a twinge in his stomach that he couldn’t define. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know what she wanted to say. He wished he could explain to her properly what he felt without sounding like a cock. “You wouldn’t have to worry about Brienne having any sort of relationship with another man if you would only tell her that you love her.”

 

Jaime growled and turned his head away from her. “It is not so simple.”

 

“How so?” Sansa demanded. Jaime felt his throat beginning to constrict from tears. He did not want to cry in front of Sansa but he knew that he needed to explain to her his reasoning behind not allowing himself and Brienne the brief happiness that love would provide.

 

Inhaling deeply, Jaime said, “I do not deserve her. She does not deserve a man like me, a one-handed sister-fucking oathbreaker. You cannot mean to tell me that she deserves that life, the mockery that would come with that. People would say awful things and it is not fair that she receives the mockery she does now, never mind the disgusting remarks that would come with being with me. And she would realise, eventually, that they were right, that their remarks and snideness and lack of respect for her were dug deep in the truth that she is far too good for me.”

 

Sansa met his eyes and Jaime hated the pity he saw there. “Don’t you think she deserves the chance to decide that for herself?”

 

Jaime clenched his jaw. “She would say yes to it all. I- I think, if she loves me as I love her, which I believe she does, she would say yes to all of it without a care for the repercussions but I can’t let her do that.”

 

Sansa nodded once. “Then you are right,” she said simply and Jaime furrowed his brow. “You aren’t good enough for her.”

 

Though it was true, Jaime still felt the impact in his chest of this woman he respected telling him that he was not good enough for the woman he loved. She spun on her heel and began to stride away from him. Jaime couldn’t find it within himself to move. He felt as though the last chance he had with Brienne was gone. 

 

After quite a few strides away from him, Sansa looked over her shoulder. What she saw was likely a piteous lion, staring at her like she had taken away his will to live. She tutted and was back by him with a few steps. She grabbed his elbow and looked at him intensely. “I love Brienne. I believe you love Brienne. Brienne deserves someone who is willing to fight tooth and nail for her, to be with her, to make her happy. You don’t deserve her if you are willing to sit by her for the rest of your lives while you both descend into unhappiness. Who do you think you are to deprive her of the very thing that would make her so happy?”

 

And, with that, she left him stock still again. Jaime’s shoulders felt heavy and his eyes were burning. Clearing his throat, he turned in the opposite direction to Sansa, feeling slightly guilty at not accompanying her to Jon’s meeting room where she was headed. What he had to do was far more important.

 

He skipped down the steps from the ramparts in his haste, nearly slipping on freshly fallen snow. Momentum was building in his chest. He could practically see Brienne ahead of him. She would be surprised, likely annoyed, but wasn’t that the marker of their entire friendship? Jaime felt a happy weight settle on his heart. She was a friend, such a good friend, and yet so much more. He would sort that first, the friendship part, and then the more. 

 

So focussed on considering precisely what he should say, Jaime did not notice the enormous ginger man in front of him until he had crashed into him without ceremony. He reverberated off his chest, hitting his head against his stupid ginger chin. “Fuck,” he swore, rubbing his forehead.

 

“Watch where you’re going, Kingslayer,” Tormund spat and Jaime blinked in surprise. Less than ten minutes ago, this man had been begging him for advice with Brienne. Jaime had been sarcastic and likely rude but the wildling hadn’t seemed to pick up on it. Perhaps someone had educated him in human beings in the time Jaime had been indoors.

 

“That’s rather rude of you, wildling,” Jaime said, keeping his tone light while he tried to make his face look like thunder. He wondered if it worked. He tried to channel his father but imagined he came out looking more constipated than threatening.

 

“I’ve had words with some of the soldiers,” Tormund said. Jaime tutted, glancing about to see some northern soldiers looking at him with barely contained disgust. Jaime inhaled tersely. Before he had his hand cut off, nobody would have dared look at him that way. Although, this was the north, so who knew. “They say you killed a king and fucked your sister.”

 

Jaime nodded slowly. “Yes,” he confirmed. “Do we have a problem?”

 

“I don’t want you to be friends with my woman any longer.”

 

Jaime could not contain the strangled laugh that flew from his throat. “ Your woman?” Jaime would love it if Brienne arrived at precisely that moment and he could watch her destroy this wildling.

 

Tormund’s face was thunder. Far more impressive than Jaime’s, though the lack of self-grooming probably helped. Jaime was not so desperate to look threatening. “She will be my woman. I am going to steal her.”

 

Jaime’s lips parted. “You’re going to steal her?” he said with amusement.

 

“Yes,” Tormund growled. Jaime shook his head, chuckling.

 

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with.”

 

“I do. She’ll be my spearwife.”

 

Jaime assumed that word meant woman you were fucking who could kill you while you slept, which would be a fairly good description of Jaime’s relationship with Brienne in about three hours, all being well. Although, saying that, Brienne was unlikely to be the sort of woman who would fuck him in the middle of the afternoon, even if he had just declared his love for her.

 

“She’ll be your nothing, I assure you, wildling. You see, she is my woman.”

 

Jaime didn’t really know why he said it. He did know why he thought it. That treacherous bitch jealousy. But saying it was foolish. If it got back to Brienne, she would quite literally gut him with his own sword.

 

The look on the wildling’s face was almost like a painting, so distraught that Jaime genuinely feared he may cry. Perhaps saying that Brienne was his was worth it. Reaching to pat him on the shoulder, Jaime grinned. “Sorry, pal.”

 

“What did you just say, Jaime Lannister?”

 

Jaime winced at Brienne’s tone, his jolly mood at devastating the arrogant wildling decimated. He spun on his heel to find her with a face of thunder. He really ought to start practising his face of thunder so he could scare people in the same way Brienne and Tormund did. If Jaime hadn’t just ensured they would not be together, they would make quite a power couple, scaring everyone with their thunder eyes and ridiculous height.

 

Jaime gave Brienne as easy a smile as he could. “Bit of a delayed reaction there, Lady Brienne.” Her eyes widened. “You see, the thing is, I was just speaking to Sansa and she made me realise what a fool I have been.”

 

“Mustn’t have taken long,” Brienne commented, arching her blonde eyebrows at him. Jaime’s mouth parted. He was going to have to separate Brienne from Arya Stark if she was going to start making these rude comments towards him. He preferred her cute and flustered and trying and failing to come up with a response to his taunts. If this was how things were going to proceed, he would have to brush up on his reflexes.

 

“I have been a fool,” Jaime allowed. “When I arrived in Winterfell, Brienne, I told Sansa I wanted to fight for the living. I came here expecting to die but to die honourably fighting by your side. Now, I want to live.” Brienne was making the face she made when he was confusing her, moving out of their general interactions of taunting and blushes and laughing. She wasn’t very comfortable with emotions, Brienne. “I came here to fight by your side and die after. Now I realise that I want to fight by your side for the rest of our lives.”

 

Briefly, Jaime wondered if Tormund was still standing in the yard. He was sure that Brienne did not want anyone else overhearing this conversation. From the look on her face, Jaime wasn’t sure she wanted to be hearing it herself. Nevertheless, he ploughed on. “When you arrived back from King’s Landing, Sansa told me to say to you that I rode all the way north, hardly stopping to eat or sleep, to fight alongside you. She told me to say that I swore vows to her so that I could spend the rest of my life by your side. And she told me to say that I am in love with you.” Brienne stumbled backwards, her beautiful blue eyes widening further. “Actually, she said I should say that last bit first but I think you get the point anyway.” Jaime reached for her hand. She didn’t flinch away, Jaime noticed triumphantly. “Do you get the point?”

 

“Are you teasing me?” she asked so softly that Jaime had to strain his ears to hear.

 

Jaime’s eyes widened and he stepped closer to her. “No- Gods, Brienne, no, for once in my life, I am not teasing you. I love you. I want to be with you. If you will not be my woman, I wish to be your man. Sansa said that I do not deserve you if I am willing to sit aside while we spend our days in unhappiness. I know that I am an oathbreaker, kingslayer, all sorts of things, and I know that you deserve an honourable man, but I want to make you happy. I believe I can make you happy.” He looked up at her in a way that he imagined dogs looking up at their owners. She was biting the inside of her mouth. Jaime wanted to kiss her.

 

“You are an honourable man,” she said. Jaime’s lips twitched. “I- Jaime, I wish you had said this somewhere we were alone.”

 

“That was what I was going to do but then I ran into Tormund and you were looking at me like you were going to cut my intestines out and feed them to a direwolf.” The corners of her lips quirked upwards. “I don’t want to pressure you, though. I will sit by the rest of my life for your answer, if that’s what you need. I will wait for you until I am grey and old, greyer and older than I am now, if that is what it takes.”

 

“Stop being dramatic,” she snapped. Jaime smiled. “I do- I do love you,” she stuttered. Jaime grinned.

 

“I’m going to kiss you now,” Jaime said hopefully, lifting his hand to cup her cheek. She placed her hand on his chest forcefully.

 

“You bloody well are not. You can wait- until later,” she said, flushing wildly. Jaime chanced his luck with a kiss to her cheek.

 

“Later sounds fabulous,” Jaime said, smirking.

 

“Jaime,” she said a bit suddenly a few seconds later, as though she could not contain what she wanted to say. “I truly do love you. When you- when I saw you in King’s Landing, with Cersei, I thought my heart would break.” Jaime swallowed. “When I saw you here, I was so- so happy. Thank you,” she said earnestly. Jaime brushed his thumb against her cheek.

 

“I love you,” he said and then grinned. “ My woman.”

 

“Jaime!” Brienne squawked, leaving Jaime chuckling and happy. 

Chapter Text

“It makes absolutely no sense for you to send me away now,” Jaime whined. Brienne rolled her eyes. “I’ve given you three orgasms in an hour. Why would you want me to go onto the night shift? I could give you another three!”

 

Brienne’s lips twitched at his eagerness. “No, Jaime,” she said forcefully as she had before. “If I said you did not have to do the shift, what would all the other soldiers say?”

 

“I don’t care,” he said with a pout. Brienne reached from her comfortable position at the head of the bed, still naked, to brush her thumb across his bottom lip. “Please,” Jaime moaned, reaching to rub his thumb across her nipple that was exposed by the falling duvet.

 

“I will not have favourites,” Brienne declared, “and you are on the rota. There is no one to cover you. Do this and you will endear yourself to the soldiers.”

 

Jaime dismissed the second part of her statement to focus on the first. “You should have favourites! I’ve just fucked you with my tongue into two orgasms!” Brienne blushed fiercely and Jaime grinned, reaching to kiss her. “And then I gave you another with my cock. You’d think that would be payment enough.”

 

Brienne cleared her throat. “I do not think you did too badly out of it yourself,” she said, standing and walking past Jaime, where he was sitting at the end of the bed, fully armoured and ready to leave for his night shift that started in twenty minutes. He stroked her hip as she passed.

 

“I did not,” Jaime said, standing. His tone was mischievous. Brienne bent down to pick up the shift she slept in and Jaime came up behind her, holding her flush against him. Brienne wiggled against his cock. “I’d quite like to do well out of it again,” he teased her. Brienne pushed him away with a laugh and threw her shift on over her head. “Come on, Brienne,” he whined.

 

“No - I said no Jaime!”

 

XXX

 

Sansa walked absent-mindedly. Arya had left her chambers ten minutes ago, to return to her own. The halls were warm and Sansa had not been ready to sleep, anxiety burning under her fingers. The Long Night was over and, thus, her army would leave, Brienne and Jaime would leave, Arya and Jon would leave. How many of them would return?

 

Her feet had brought her to her childhood bedroom, where Brienne now lived and Jaime spent most of his nights. Contentedness sprouted under Sansa’s anxious feelings. Getting Brienne and Jaime together had been a work of art and seeing them together now was a joy to behold. Jaime teased Brienne and Brienne blushed. She was getting better at getting back at him and Arya was helping her improve too. It was lovely to watch.

 

Sansa smiled at the door of Brienne’s (and Jaime’s) chambers and turned to leave when she heard “no - I said no Jaime!”

 

Panic flooded into Sansa’s chest. Memories expanded in her mind, overtaking any of the techniques she had taught herself to calm down. Her fingers shook. She curled them into their palm, pressing crescent shaped lines there. Her breathing was unsteady. Brienne, Brienne, Brienne.

 

Ramsay’s eyes were above her as she reached for the handle to Brienne’s room. His fingers were on her hip as she stepped inside. His words overtook any other sound as she burst into Brienne’s chambers to protect her.

 

“Brienne,” she rasped. They stared at her intensely. Sansa could feel their eyes on her skin. She reached her hands to scratch the feeling off and then she rubbed her hands together. Shivers ran down her spine. “Stop, stop,” she cried.

 

“Sansa!” Brienne said, lurching forward. Sansa watched as Jaime grabbed her arm to stop her.

 

“Let go of her!” Sansa panted. Jaime did but he shared a look with Brienne.

 

“Sansa, you’re having a panic attack,” Jaime said softly, stepping forward slowly. Sansa’s insides curled up. “What happened?”

 

“Brienne-” Sansa said, her chest rising and falling quickly with her rasping breaths. “She said no. She said no!”

 

Tears rose in her throat as Jaime finally reached her. “I know, Sansa. I will never rape Brienne. We were discussing the night shift. Come and sit down.”

 

Sansa wished that that information made the panic and anxiety in her mind stop. It felt like her brain was expanding and contracting rapidly. Jaime led her to the side of the bed, where Sansa sank against the floor, leaning against the mahogany wood. Sansa could feel Brienne watching her. She scratched her fingernails hard against her upper arm, near her shoulder. Her skin was tingling with Brienne’s look on her. Jaime settled down beside her, a few inches away.

 

“Brienne,” Jaime said softly. “Get Sansa some water.”

 

Brienne moved but the tingles in Sansa’s skin did not stop. The room span. Her heart raced. She rubbed her knuckles against the valley between her breast, begging her heart to slow, begging everything to slow. A sob escaped her throat. “Sansa, pull your knees towards your chest,” Jaime said. Sansa did it, letting out another sob. No - I said no-

 

Theon’s stutters, Ramsay’s whip, Sansa’s scream.

 

Sansa felt a breeze tickle her face. She had not realised she was so warm. She pressed the backs of her hands against her face and Jaime handed her the goblet of water. It shook against her lips, dry and cracked. Even with the water, her mouth felt like wool. Her throat did not appreciate the water. Trying to press the goblet back to Jaime, he shook his head, saying, “little sips, Sansa.”

 

Her name grounded her. His voice grounded her. Her fingers still shook, her throat still burned and her eyes still wept. But she knew where she was. Her heart was slowing with every sip of water. Sipping the water meant she was controlling her breathing. Jaime was sitting next to her, not Ramsay.

 

No one was touching her.

 

No one would ever have to touch her again.

 

When she finished the goblet of water and placed it carefully on the floor beside her, Sansa pressed her head back against the duvet, closing her eyes and ignoring the tears that slipped down her face. How long had it been since she had felt Ramsay’s dead hands on her? Since she had heard Theon’s stutters and the crack of a whip? It would never be long enough.

 

“When I was your age,” Jaime started, “I had just killed the Mad King and my sister had become the queen. I was not even twenty and I knew the smell of burning flesh, the sound of a man’s screams as his father was burned alive, the sight of a man’s arousal at doing those things. And then somehow everything was alright again. My sister was back with me. She had married the new king and everything should have been fine.”

 

Jaime’s voice was comforting. Sansa let herself fall into it. “But there were times when it wasn’t fine, when I heard Aerys screaming to burn them all, when I heard his wife screaming as he raped her, when I woke to the smell of burning flesh and the feel of flames licking my ankles. I would be back there and would do anything to make it stop, make the feeling against my skin stop.”

 

Sansa opened her eyes and looked at him. “What did you do?”

 

Jaime chuckled. “Dealt with it on my own. Figured out some techniques to calm myself down. But sometimes it was too much.” Sansa nodded. “And that was when I should have gone to my brother or my friends to help me. Instead, I went to my sister.”

 

Sansa heard Brienne inhale sharply. “What did she do?”

 

Jaime gave her a sad smile. “Sent me away. Told me I was a freak. Didn’t understand why I was panicking over a man who was long dead.”

 

“But he feels alive,” Sansa said, her voice thick with tears. Jaime nodded at her. “It’s like he’s alive. I can feel him touching my skin, can hear him hissing in my ear.”

 

“I know,” Jaime murmured.

 

Sansa let out a sob, less of panic and more of sadness. “I can hear his whip. I can feel him grabbing my hip and forcing me down onto the bed. I hate him.”

 

“I know,” Jaime said, nodding. “I know, Sansa.”

 

Brienne came to sit on Sansa’s other side. Their surrounding her would have made her feel scared and overwhelmed a moment ago. Now, it reminded her that she was protected. “If you need to talk - when you get like this, Sansa -” Brienne stuttered. Sansa nodded. “You can come to us.”

 

“Thank you,” Sansa said, trying to control her sob. She turned to Jaime and grappled for his hand. She squeezed it. “I’m sorry that I thought you were-”

 

Jaime shook his head and squeezed her hand back. “Not your fault, Sansa.”

 

“I know that you would never-” she continued. He shook his head again and Sansa gave him a teary smile. Sansa did not let go of his hand for a few moments.

 

“I need to go,” Jaime said sadly, glancing at Brienne. Sansa let go of his hand and reached for Brienne’s instead. The feeling was grounding her.

 

“Oh, of course, your night shift,” Sansa said with a wet chuckle. “Didn’t manage to convince Brienne to let you off?”

 

Jaime rolled his eyes with a little smirk. “You have no idea what I tried, Lady Sansa.” Brienne snorted next to Sansa and Jaime shot her a look. Jaime pulled himself upwards and then took two steps to bob down besides Brienne and give her a lingering kiss.

 

“Jaime,” she muttered, blushing. He pulled himself up and smiled. Sansa smiled at them. “I love you,” Brienne said honestly, reaching for his hand with the one that wasn’t holding Sansa’s.

 

“I know,” Jaime said with a wink, stepping towards the door. Sansa let out a laugh in surprise at Jaime’s response. He left and closed the door behind him. Brienne rolled her eyes fondly at Sansa. There was hardly a beat before they heard “I love you too!” shouted through the door. Sansa chuckled, smiling with her teeth.

 

Sansa leaned her head onto Brienne’s shoulder. Brienne stroked her hair. “Can I stay here?” Sansa whispered. Brienne nodded, her chin knocking against Sansa’s head.

 

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

Brienne stood between Jaime’s legs, fiddling with the laces on his shirt. His hand was on her arse, pulling her closer and more intimately to him. “We should just stay here,” Jaime muttered, rubbing his face against her left breast. Brienne reached for his head and forcefully pulled it away from her.

“We are going to have dinner with Arya and Sansa so that we can meet Gendry and spend some time with your brother,” Brienne said, finishing his laces. When she tried to pull away, he squeezed her arse and pulled her back to him. “Jaime,” she sighed. He brushed between her legs with his stump.

“Come on, we can be late,” he tried to entice. Brienne was nearly won over by his clumsy ministrations and the heat in his eyes. She dipped her head to kiss him quickly. When she pulled away, Jaime was grinning triumphantly.

“No, sweetling,” Brienne said with her own grin, covering his hand on her arse with her own and intertwining their fingers. “You’ve been wanting the opportunity to tease Arya for months. She is bringing her lover to dinner. If we get there late, we will lose any upper hand we may have.”

Jaime snorted at that and allowed her to pull him to his feet, away from their bed. “Okay. Only because you called me sweetling.” Brienne gave Jaime a mocking look and he smiled, kissing her briefly. “I love when you call me sweetling.”

Brienne knew this. It was the only reason she ever did it. She was not used to using a nickname for a lover, because Jaime was her first. She knew that he was not used to anyone calling him anything sweet either, which was why he enjoyed it and why Brienne continued, despite feeling rather silly.

XXX

“Why do we have to go to a fancy dinner with your sister?” Gendry said, leaning on the bedroom door in amusement. Arya rolled her eyes from her position on the bed. She was fully dressed and polishing her sword, lying back with her legs crossed in front of her.

“Because Sansa wants to meet you.”

“And Lady Sansa could not just come to the forge?” Gendry asked. Arya shifted so she was sitting upwards, waving her sword at him. Gendry cocked an eyebrow at her.

“Sansa wants to meet you because you’re my lover, not because you’re a smith here.”

Gendry grinned and stalked over to the bed, his eyes full of heat. Arya swallowed and moved so that her legs were dangling off the edge of the bed. They were so short that they did not reach the floor.

“What did you call me?” Gendry asked, his eyes flashing. Arya rolled her eyes, falling back against the bed. “Did you call me your lover, Arya Stark? Do you loooove me?” he teased, stepping in between her legs.

Arya wrapped her legs under his arse and pulled herself up with little effort, draping her arms over his shoulders. He picked her up easily and Arya looked him in the eyes before covering his lips with her own. They kissed almost lazily until Arya pulled away. “Does that answer your question?”

“No,” Gendry replied, smirking.

Arya pursed her lips and leaned forward so their lips were barely touching. “I love you,” she whispered.

Gendry grinned and span around, Arya’s legs still attached to him. Arya let go of his shoulders and leaned backwards, enjoying the sensation of nearly falling but trusting him to keep her safe. “I love you too, my lady.”

Arya grinned and began to feel her body complain at the way she was using her muscles. Perhaps this would be a good drill to keep her abs strong. She may have to do it more often. “Call me my lady again and I’ll tell my sister what you did to me last night,” she teased, pulling herself back up to push her admittedly small breasts against his chest. Gendry raised his eyebrows at her.

“You wouldn’t dare,” he said, walking her back over to the bed.

“Wouldn’t I?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him. Gendry chuckled and grabbed by her arse, pulling her closer. Arya grinned as he pressed his lips to her neck. “Come on, lover,” she said with emphasis, unlacing her legs and falling back to the bed with a soft thump.

“I dare you to call me that in front of Sansa,” Gendry said with his eyebrows raised. Arya let out a shocked laugh and weighed up the possibility. Sansa would be mortified, especially in company. Arya grinned.

“Done.”

XXX

When she heard the door knock for the first time that evening, Sansa glanced around her solar. The servants had set the room up very well, a place setting for each of the six of them, a chair that was more comfortable for Lord Tyrion because Sansa knew he got bad leg cramps in the evening. There were candles at the table and by the windows. Sansa stretched her fingers against her thighs and then exhaled, striding over to the door.

The relief she felt at seeing Tyrion was rather unnecessary, in Sansa’s opinion. Who was she expecting that she was dreading seeing so much? Brienne and Jaime were amusing, easy company and, though she did not know Gendry, Arya would make any conversation they shared far easier. Sansa put a smile on her face and welcomed Tyrion in.

“Very nice, Lady Sansa,” Tyrion commented, nodding at the table. Sansa did not know whether or not he was being sarcastic so she only smiled and offered him a goblet of wine, which he accepted eagerly. Little had changed there, then, Sansa thought sardonically. “How have you been?” Tyrion asked, gesturing vaguely with one hand.

Sansa thought Tyrion might be feeling slightly awkward. She chuckled and invited him to take a seat next to her on the chaise longue by the fireplace. “Since I left you, you mean, Tyrion?” she said.

Tyrion barked a laugh. “You never called me Tyrion back then, not even when I requested it. It was always my lord this and my lord that.”

Sansa’s lips twitched in amusement. “I’ve grown up since then, my lord,” she said to see him smile. He did.

“Alas, I have not,” Tyrion said, gesturing to his body. Sansa laughed. She had always found his self-mocking amusing, though it likely belied a lack of confidence beneath. Tyrion hesitated before he spoke. Sansa watched him curiously. “Your brother told me-”

Sansa cut him off, “let’s not.” She could guess at what Jon had told Tyrion and she did not want to ruin this evening with it. Tyrion inclined his head, respecting her wishes. “How did you come to work for the dragon queen?”

Tyrion could hear Sansa’s mocking tone, Sansa was sure, but she trusted him. He gave her a disapproving look before replying, “after you left, they arrested me for Joffrey’s murder. Jaime helped me to escape before I could be executed. Varys and I headed out for Essos to meet Daenerys. The journey was long and included a drunken kidnapping and a brief bout of slavery before we finally reached Daenerys.”

Sansa was not surprised to hear that Tyrion’s story was as tumultuous as her own. “And how did she convince you to follow her?” Sansa asked.

Tyrion smiled wryly. “She wears no mask.”

The words seemed a little bit like a kick to the stomach but Sansa plastered a smile back on her face and said, “We will be outnumbered by couples this evening.”

Tyrion nodded. “Though we are truly the only ones who are married.”

Sansa sniffed out her laughter. It had not been long after marrying Ramsay that she had realised that she was truly still married to Tyrion, that Littlefinger had no authority with which to obtain her an annulment and that Tyrion had disappeared and, thus, not consented. She’d decided to ignore it when she was free to make choices of her own again. They could get an annulment at any point, given that they had yet to consummate their marriage, and Sansa was in no rush. She refused to be sold off again.

“Yes, Brienne and Jaime and Gendry and Arya are living in sin.”

Tyrion laughed easily, his eyes sparkling with humour. Sansa smiled truthfully. “My brother knows nothing but living in sin, I’m afraid.” Sansa snorted and met Tyrion’s eyes. Tyrion grinned at her. There was a knock at the door. Sansa didn’t bother getting up. If it was Arya and Gendry, Arya would barge in anyway, and Jaime would do the same if it was him and Brienne.

It was Arya and Gendry, to nobody’s surprise. Arya surveyed the room, dragging her smith in behind her. “I suppose Brienne and Jaime are fucking,” she said uncouthly. Sansa’s lips twitched and Tyrion snorted.

“I’m Gendry, by the way,” the smith said, elbowing Arya in the side. Arya glared up at him. Sansa glanced at Tyrion and found his lips twitching.

“Very nice to meet you properly, Gendry,” Sansa said politely, standing from the chaise longue. 

“Shall we sit at the table?” Tyrion suggested. Sansa nodded and stepped over to the table. She pulled out Tyrion’s chair for him and he rolled his eyes at her with what Sansa thought was fondness. He winked at her as she took her own seat, which she took as thanks for the comfortable seat. “We may be waiting for my brother for some time.”

As Tyrion said that and Arya opened her mouth to make some sort of bawdy comment, the door opened without so much as a knock. “Alas, that is not the case, brother,” Jaime said upon entry. Brienne followed, scowling at his comment. They took the two empty seats, next to one another. “I did try to be later but my sweetling here was more concerned by putting our clothes on than taking them off.”

Brienne wrinkled her nose at Jaime, presumably at being called his sweetling. Sansa tried to keep her laughter in. “The food should be here soon,” she said, meeting Brienne’s eyes with a twitch of her lips. “There should be enough wine to serve us all night, though.”

“Excellent,” Arya declared, reaching for the jug in the centre of the table and pouring herself a glass. She passed the jug to Gendry who also partook.

Sansa watched as Jaime and Brienne met each other’s eye. “So, Gendry,” Jaime started boldly, drawing the young smith’s attention. Arya glared at Jaime, fingering her knife menacingly. Sansa’s eyes flicked between the two couples. She found Brienne looking far less disapproving of Jaime than usual, likely due to all the comments Arya had made about Brienne and Jaime since they had returned to Winterfell. “How did you meet Arya?”

Gendry sipped his wine, placed it down carefully on the table and cleared his throat. “I was sold to the Night’s Watch by the man who trained me as a smith and Arya was fleeing King’s Landing with the same troupe. She was pretending to be a boy called Arry but I figured her out.” Sansa watched as Arya’s lips twitched. It was very pleasant to see her sister content. Sansa felt a slight pang in her chest and the thought of not having anybody herself.

Gendry continued his story, with some add-ins from Arya, until they reached Harrenhal. “And then they picked me to be tortured with this rat contraption they had and then Tywin Lannister rides in with his army.” Sansa watched with great amusement as Tyrion and Jaime shared a wide-eyed look which they then turned on Gendry and Arya. Sansa met Brienne’s eye and suppressed a smile. 

“So, then I was less scared of being eaten alive by rats than I was petrified that Tywin Lannister was going to figure out that the girl he’d picked to be his cupbearer was Arya bleeding Stark.”

“No way,” Jaime said, his jaw dropping open. He turned on Arya. “Why didn’t you tell us this?”

Arya shrugged. “Don’t see why you needed to know. He never figured me out and I never killed him, so it didn’t really affect anything, did it?”

“No, but it’s bloody funny,” Tyrion said with a snort, drinking from his goblet. “All that time my father wanted the second Stark girl and she was right under his nose.” Sansa watched as Arya smiled, clearly pleased with herself.

Sansa cleared her throat as she placed her goblet back down on the table. “How long was there between you being at Harrenhal and Jaime and Brienne arriving?” she asked, looking between the two couples. The door opened and the food arrived, on platters held by the servants. Sansa smiled at them but then turned back to her guests for an answer.

“Well, my father certainly wasn’t there when we arrived,” Jaime commented, glancing at Brienne. “When did you leave?”

Arya told this part of the story, of their escape as the servants left and they started to eat. Jaime shrugged, leaning back as Brienne cut up his food without any preamble. “Sounds like there was quite a while between it then. Maybe as much as six months, but I wasn’t keeping the time very well while I was being yanked across Westeros.” Jaime said this with a sly glance to Brienne. Sansa sipped her wine to hide her smile.

“Oh, I did not yank you across Westeros,” Brienne replied, pushing his plate back to Jaime and glaring at him. Jaime scoffed. “It was not my fault you were so slow.”

“I’d been kept in a cage for a year, if you remember!”

Brienne rolled her eyes. Sansa glanced at Tyrion and found him looking mildly amused by the banter happening around them. “And, to be honest, if you’d spent less energy coming up with witty remarks, you might’ve had more energy to keep up with me.”

Sansa very much enjoyed seeing this side of Brienne, who was always so reserved with her words. Jaime brought out the best in her. He grinned at her then. “I assure you, love, it does not take much energy to come up with remarks to piss you off, as you well know.” Brienne huffed and folded her arms across her chest. Jaime reached across to stroke her arm. Her gaze softened.

“When would you say you fell in love with Brienne, Jaime?” Arya asked bluntly. Sansa had to cover her mouth to hide her amusement at the looks on Jaime and Brienne’s faces. Jaime was wide-eyed and Brienne was simply gaping at Arya. “Come on, you must have thought about it.”

“I am very sorry to have not attended one of these dinners before,” Tyrion commented, sipping at his wine. Sansa grinned at him, raising her eyebrows. “Come on, Jaime, when would you say you fell in love with Brienne?”

“Piss off, Tyrion,” Jaime said, glancing at Brienne. Brienne was redder than Sansa had ever seen her, even after all the comments Arya had made over the past few months. “I don’t know when I fell in love with her.”

“It must have been before you jumped into the bear pit,” Arya said, grinning at Gendry. “Do you remember that big pit at Harrenhal? They put a bear in it and Brienne with only a training sword,” she told her lover with far too much excitement and far too little horror. It was when Gendry looked back at Arya, sharing her excitement, that Sansa decided the smith was probably Arya’s perfect match.

Jaime shrugged. “I’m not sure I was in love with her then. I’d just seen her naked.”

“Jaime!” Brienne practically shrieked. Sansa could hardly keep her giggles in and Tyrion wasn’t even trying. Arya was falling to pieces on Gendry’s shoulder. If there was anyone who could match Arya for bluntness, it was Jaime. Sansa was glad there was no one else there to witness the utter lack of propriety at their dinners. 

“Oh, please, please, tell that story,” Arya pleaded. Sansa noted that Brienne looked at Jaime very softly and he looked suddenly slightly more serious. There was clearly more to that story than they were going to let on. Jaime shook his head.

“No, I truly do not know when I fell in love with her,” Jaime said and he looked at Brienne with a smile.

Arya groaned. “Brienne, then, when did you fall in love with him?” Sansa wondered if her sister was a secret romantic at heart with all these questions. Or perhaps she wanted more material with which to torture Jaime and Brienne. Brienne shrugged helplessly, glancing at Jaime. “Come on, when did he stop being such a nuisance and you thought oh yeah he’ll do?”

Brienne snorted aloud. Jaime looked affronted by Arya’s description. “I assure you, Arya, he is still a nuisance.” Jaime squawked but Brienne simply patted his cheek lovingly. Sansa smiled at the interaction.

Gendry cleared his throat. “How did you and Lord Tyrion meet, Lady Sansa?” the smith asked. Sansa felt heat rush to her cheeks. She looked to her side and found Tyrion looking very amused to have been mistaken as a couple. He opened his mouth to speak but Sansa wanted to outwit him.

“His nephew had stripped me naked to have me beaten and he rode in on a white horse to save me,” Sansa said with a false smile at her husband. Tyrion snorted.

“A white horse in the Red Keep would have been a feat. I think that’s your imagination, Sansa, dear.” Sansa chuckled. “Though I do think that was the only time I got close to seeing you naked during our entire marriage.”

Sansa did not know why she even tried to outwit him. He was just so well-practised. She did not look at the others’ reactions to his words. “Oh, I don’t know. I think I tried to undress on our wedding night. What was it you said?” she said, remembering a drunken Tyrion’s words as she prepared for the painful and humiliating experience that she expected. She wondered if it would be quite as bad now.

“If my father wants someone to get fucked I know where he can start,” Tyrion filled in for her. Sansa laughed in a way that she had not been able to at the time. Tyrion grinned at her. “I thought that was quite good at the time, though you didn’t laugh. You never laughed back then.”

Sansa smiled at him. She was tempted to reach for his hand. “I didn’t have much to laugh about.”

Sansa felt her flush come back as she realised they were being watched by the other four, by Jaime and Arya most particularly. “Anyway,” Sansa said with a smile, “enough about forced marriages.”

“Yes,” Arya said with a grin, turning to Jaime and Brienne. “When are you going to have a child?”

Jaime choked on his wine. Brienne flushed from her neck to her ears. Sansa took the opportunity to give Tyrion an apologetic look for that discussion. He only winked at her. “I thought you were done teasing us now that we are together, Arya,” Jaime complained.

Arya snorted. “I would like a child to pass my abilities onto, so I’m going to tease you until you provide me with one. My teasing seemed to work well enough to get you together.”

Jaime and Brienne shared a long-suffering look that had Sansa’s lips twitching behind her wine goblet. The idea of them having a child was a very pleasant one. Sansa would love a child to dote on. She had so loved ‘looking after’ Rickon when he was little. Sansa took a large gulp of wine to swallow thoughts of her littlest brother who would never grow to be big.

“Have your own child, Arya,” Jaime instructed. Brienne inclined her head next to him.

Arya wrinkled her face and Sansa watched Gendry watching her closely. “I don’t fancy the whole nine-month long process with excruciating pain at the end.”

“Oh and I do?” Brienne scoffed.

Sansa watched as Jaime stared at Brienne. She could see the look in his eyes, the speculative look on his face and the smile that had started playing about his lips. Sansa could imagine that Jaime thought pregnancy would look very well on Brienne.

“I do not think so, Lannister,” Brienne said, glaring at him. “You can get that idea right out of your head, for now.” The addition at the end gave Sansa hope and she was sure that it gave Jaime the same feeling.

“You will have to marry her first, Jaime,” Sansa weighed in with a smile. She watched as Jaime considered her statement more seriously than Sansa had intended him to.

He shrugged and turned to Brienne. “What do you reckon?” he asked.

Brienne blinked at him. “What?”

Jaime grinned and turned in his seat so that his knees were facing her. He took a hand in his own and brought it to his mouth. “Marry me.”

“What?” Brienne laughed, glancing around the room. “Jaime, you can’t just-”

Jaime nodded and Sansa could see that despite Brienne’s blustering Jaime was entirely confident in her answer. “Marry me,” he repeated, kissing her knuckles again. Sansa watched Brienne, biting her bottom lip into her mouth. She could practically hear Arya’s brain working, Tyrion’s too, desperate to make comments. Sansa was glad they stayed quiet.

“Okay then,” Brienne agreed with a nod. Jaime snorted.

“Enthusiastic,” he said with a purse of his lips. Brienne scoffed.

“Ask me properly and I’ll be more enthusiastic.”

Jaime narrowed his eyes and pushed his chair backwards. Brienne watched him carefully. Sansa glanced at Tyrion and found him watching with great interest. This would technically make Brienne Sansa’s goodsister and that was a very pleasant thought indeed. Jaime stood and then kneeled in front of Brienne, on one knee.

“Brienne of Tarth, will you marry me?”

Sansa almost wanted to cry. Brienne was blushing to her ears but she was beaming as well. Sansa wondered if her own eyes were filled with tears too.

“Yes,” Brienne agreed and Jaime practically leapt up to kiss her, only lightly before pulling away and grinning. He took his seat again at the table and took Brienne’s hand in his, despite having to reach over his lap to do so. Sansa’s stomach ached at the romance of it.

“I might change my name to Jaime Lannister of Tarth,” Jaime said speculatively. Brienne snorted. “And you can be Brienne Lannister of Tarth. That way you’ll have a proper surname. Calling yourself Brienne of Tarth is like me walking around calling myself Jaime of Casterly Rock.”

“Better than calling yourself Lannister,” Arya grunted. Jaime and Tyrion both levelled glares on her and she winked. “But obviously Brienne, that’s your choice.”

Brienne pursed her lips. “I’ll think about it,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. Jaime grinned at her and brought their joint hands to his mouth to kiss.

“Does this mean I can get that baby?” Arya asked.

Sansa smirked. “You can’t have anything until you stop living in sin,” she said, emphasising the ‘you’ in reference to Brienne and Jaime’s efforts to move out of that. Arya rolled her eyes.

“Gendry, if you propose to me, I’ll leave you,” Arya said snappishly. Gendry only grinned.

“I wouldn’t dare.”

Oh, yes, Sansa thought. This was the man for Arya.

Arya turned to Brienne and Jaime with a smirk on her face that Sansa thought was a bit proud and arrogant at her circumstances, as though she had beat Brienne because she was not having to get married. Sansa followed Arya’s eyeline and found Brienne and Jaime utterly wrapped up in one another, though the only place they were touching was their intertwined fingers. Sansa glanced back to Arya and found that her face had fallen.

Perhaps she would end up getting married after all. Sansa took a sip of her wine and found Tyrion doing the same, watching his brother with a look Sansa couldn’t place. Sansa felt her stomach squirm uncomfortably.

XXX

“So, was that what you expected?” Arya teased Gendry as they walked back to Arya’s quarters which they shared. Gendry grinned at her.

“Not at all. Your sister isn’t the priss you told me she was.”

Arya pursed her lips. “Then why did you call her Lady Sansa all night?”

Gendry scoffed. “What else was I supposed to call her?”

“Erm, Sansa?”

“Well, I realise that is very easy for you, my lady, but your sister is still the Lady of Winterfell and I am still just a bastard from Fleabottom.”

Arya rolled her eyes. “You’ll have to get used to calling her Sansa.”

“Why?” Gendry said with a teasing tone. “Are you going to keep me around, Arya?”

“Piss off,” Arya said with a grin before reaching up to kiss him, having to go on her tiptoes to do so.

XXX

Brienne linked arms with her betrothed as they wandered back to their chambers at an idle pace. They had long since been sharing one chamber. Brienne did not like spending nights away from him. She never slept as well as she did when he was breathing heavily in her ear and twitching randomly next to her.

“You do truly want to marry me, don’t you?” Jaime asked and Brienne thought he might have been a little bit nervous, which was very cute.

Brienne squeezed his arm. “Yes, love.”

Jaime grinned. “I can’t wait to marry you.” He leaned across and kissed her sloppily on her cheek, making Brienne wrinkle her nose. “And now I have the rest of our lives to annoy you.”

Brienne only pursed her lips and leaned into his warmth as they passed an open door. “What did you think about Tyrion and Sansa?” she asked, raising her eyebrows at him.

“Very flirty, weren’t they?” Jaime said with a grin as they reached their chambers. Jaime opened the door and let Brienne go in first, making Brienne roll her eyes. “Perhaps we should set them up.”

“I think Sansa has had enough set ups for a lifetime, don’t you?”

Jaime scoffed. “Don’t take away from my fun, wench.” Brienne kicked the door shut when Jaime had stepped through and gave him what she hoped was a heated glance.

“Oh, I have no intentions of taking away any fun whatsoever, betrothed,” she said, emphasising his new status. Jaime grinned and approached, placing hand and stump on her hips.

“Aren’t we very proper?” he said, nuzzling his face against his neck. Brienne scoffed in laughter.

“Jaime, sweetling, we are anything but proper.”

Jaime hummed and looked into her eyes. Brienne smiled. “I love you,” Jaime said. The smile slipped from Brienne’s face as she looked at him very seriously.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t understand it,” Podrick said. Tyrion tutted impatiently, making Sansa’s lips twitch. Upon hearing the news of a contingent approaching their gates, Brienne had not been in easy access so Sansa had asked Podrick Payne to be her protector as they greeted the soldiers, who were riding under a friendly banner, which was comforting. Winterfell did not need another large battle, not when its soldiers were about to march on King’s Landing.

The army was growing closer. Its banner was blue, its men in gold-plated armour. “Is that a moon on the banner?” Tyrion asked. Podrick gaped between Tyrion and Sansa. He had made his confusion at everything that had happened in the last twenty minutes or so very apparent: he did not understand why there was an army approaching, who the army belonged to, why he was greeting them, why they could not go and find Ser Lady Brienne. It was quite amusing. Sansa was beginning to see why Brienne kept him around.

The banner became clearer, the closer it got. It was indeed a moon on it. Behind it was a reddish-pink banner with a sunburst. Sansa’s heart leapt and she smiled at Podrick. “You were probably right when you said we should find Lady Brienne,” she said.

“I’ll go and get her,” Podrick said in a hurry. Sansa chuckled and told him to stay.

“It’s too late now. Tyr- Lord Tyrion and I need a guard at our side. We’ll find her in a while.”

Sansa met Tyrion’s eye and he smiled at her. This was going to be very amusing.

Brienne’s father was as tall as she was, Sansa thought when he reached the gates of Winterfell and swung down from his horse. It was only when he approached that Sansa realised that he was even taller. She greeted him by his title, “Lord Tarth,” with a bow of her head. Podrick bowed at the waist. “We were not expecting you.”

Lord Selwyn Tarth shook his head. “No,” he said simply. “I decided enough was enough. If my daughter can fight in the realm’s battles, then so can I and so can my people.” There was a general cheer from the soldiers behind him at Lord Selwyn’s words.

“Your daughter is my closest friend and confidante,” Sansa said with a genuine smile. “She is the most wonderful woman I know and I am very blessed by your allowing her to leave your side, my lord.” Lord Selwyn smiled, his blue eyes dancing with love for his daughter. Sansa liked to think her father would look at her the same way if he still lived.

“My daughter, Lady Sansa, where can I find her?” Lord Selwyn asked eagerly. Sansa smiled and gestured for them to enter the walls of the keep.

“I can send someone to fetch her, my lord. We must find lodgings for your men,” Sansa said, making eye contact with Podrick. She was about to dismiss him to find his lady when Lord Selwyn interrupted.

“If you don’t mind, my lady, I would very much like to surprise her.” Sansa arched an eye but the Lord of Tarth simply smiled. Sansa nodded. There was no real reason to say no. Sansa’s only worry was where they would find Brienne, or, rather, who they would find with her.

“Of course, my lord.”

Sansa organised some of her men to help the Tarth contingent and offered to escort Lord Selwyn himself. With a smirk on his face, Tyrion refused to leave. Podrick also accompanied them, though Sansa was not sure if he had considered what they were going to find.

Upon finding Brienne’s chambers, Sansa suggested that Podrick knock. He did so, with an uneasy look at Sansa. “Piss off!” emerged from the room. Sansa’s face burned at the sound of Jaime’s voice. Brienne was going to be furious that they had allowed this to occur. Sansa’s eyes found Tyrion’s and she found only amusement at his brother’s predicament there.

Sansa finally looked at Lord Selwyn, whose eyes were painted with confusion. He began to speak, “who-”when Podrick knocked again to distract him. Sansa’s lips twitched.

“What is it?” This time it was Brienne’s voice from within. Sansa wasn’t sure if that made the situation better or worse. Brienne sounded very shirty. Sansa covered her mouth to hide her amusement. She wondered what situation they had found her sworn swords in.

Podrick glanced at the three of them and, when none of them said anything, Podrick said, “Your father is here, my lady.”

There was a loud crash within and an immediate shout of pain. “Shut up,” they heard Brienne say impatiently. Sansa could not longer hide her mirth and a giggle fell from her lips. That set Tyrion off, who snorted. Only Lord Selwyn and Podrick did not share in their laughter, for Lord Selwyn was quietly furious and Podrick looked entirely uncomfortable.

“You just threw me off the bed!” Jaime complained from within. Sansa felt tears come to her eyes as her laughter took over. Tyrion was practically howling at her side. It was only when the door finally opened that Sansa and Tyrion pulled themselves together, eyes leaking with tears, and looked at Brienne.

Brienne was flushed a furious red and her clothing had clearly been put on in a rush. She was not wearing any shoes. None of that mattered to her father, nor did what he had just heard. He pulled her into a hug that made Sansa fully sober up. Father and daughter held each other tightly. Sansa wondered how long it had been since they had seen each other. She thought it might have been a similar amount of time since she had last seen her father.

Swallowing that thought, Sansa peeked her head past Brienne and her father to see Jaime floundering in Brienne’s chambers, looking between the people outside their door and the room itself, clearly unsure on what to do with himself. Sansa smirked at him and he scowled at her, widening his eyes. Sansa shrugged and then found Tyrion watching their silent exchange. Her husband opened his mouth to speak but was cut off as Brienne and her father pulled apart.

“It’s wonderful to see you, Brienne,” Lord Selwyn said reverently. Brienne only smiled. Sansa could see that she had cried, tear tracks still visible on her blotchy cheeks. Brienne turned to look at Jaime and Sansa watched Jaime’s panicky face soften upon looking at his partner. Sansa smiled.

“Father, I want you to meet someone.”

They all walked into the chambers, despite Jaime’s glare. Sansa understood that he did not want them to watch this exchange but Sansa was far too curious to leave and, as long as Tyrion was there, Sansa figured that she could get away with staying too.

Biting her lip to stifle her amusement at the unkempt state of the bed, Sansa turned so that she could see the conversation fully. “Jaime is my betrothed, Father,” Brienne said nervously. Sansa smiled reassuringly, even though Brienne could not see her.

“Are you already married?” Lord Selwyn asked a bit stiffly, glancing at the bed. Sansa struggled not to laugh even as Tyrion snorted.

“We will be married soon,” Jaime jumped in, nodding his head. Lord Selwyn was a full head taller than Jaime. Sansa wondered briefly if Jaime was intimidated by Brienne’s father.

“And how did you become involved with Jaime Lannister, Brienne?” Lord Selwyn said. Sansa watched uncomfortably as Jaime’s face blanched. The tone that Lord Selwyn had used to describe Jaime was nothing short of disgusted. A feeling akin to pride surged inside Sansa when she saw Brienne draw her whole body up in protest. She did not get to speak, though, before Lord Selwyn continued to speak to Jaime, “My daughter is honourable and good and-”

“I know that,” Jaime snapped. Sansa inhaled softly. She was angry on Jaime’s behalf but it would do no good to piss off his goodfather. “That is why I am in love with her.”

Sansa watched as Lord Selwyn drew back. His face did not soften, though Jaime’s words had clearly surprised him. Brienne grasped at Jaime’s handless wrist, wrapping both her hands around it. Whether it was a comforting or a calming gesture, Sansa did not know but she did know that they looked like the picture of a couple. Since she had first seen them together, Sansa had known that they were the very image of love.

Lord Selwyn only nodded once. “Brienne, come and have luncheon with me,” he said softly. Sansa watched as Brienne smiled and nodded, releasing Jaime’s hand slowly. With a final unreadable (to Sansa, at any rate) look at Jaime, Brienne left, clinging to her father’s arm. Sansa watched them leave with a pang of sorrow and a prayer to the warrior for her father.

“So,” Tyrion started, grinning as he looked at Jaime. Sansa gave Tyrion a warning look, seeing that Jaime looked like a lost puppy. “That’s your goodfather.”

“Yep,” Jaime said with a clipped tone. Tyrion hummed.

“Not a fan of you, is he?” Tyrion said, his grin still affixed. Sansa cringed as Jaime turned a fierce glare upon his brother. Podrick cleared his throat awkwardly. Tyrion rolled his eyes. “Calm down, Jaime. I’m sure your charming tongue will talk him around. It usually does.”

Jaime did not seem confident in that prospect. “I think this time might be a bit different.” Tyrion snorted. Sansa gave Jaime what she hoped was a pitying look but she could feel her amusement pulling her lips upwards. “Oh fuck you both,” Jaime snapped. “Come on, Podrick. Let’s go to luncheon.”

With that, Jaime stormed out, grabbing Podrick’s arm and dragging him out of the chambers with his good hand. Sansa and Tyrion shared a raised-eyebrow look and fell apart with laughter again, grinning at each other before following a dramatic, grumpy Jaime Lannister to luncheon.

Chapter Text

“Why are you here?” Brienne demanded as soon as they were sitting down, at the end of the top table in the Winterfell dining hall. Her father gave her a withering look which made Brienne smile and duck her head. “I’m sorry, Father. It is wonderful to see you. I am only surprised.”

Her father smiled at her and reached across the table to squeeze her hand. “I know, my dear. I wanted it to be a bit of a surprise, which was why I did not write. I also thought you might convince me to stay home.”

Brienne smiled. “I have missed you.”

“I have missed you too, daughter,” her father said fondly. “The halls are positively silent without you stomping about.” Brienne barked in laughter. She had missed her father’s company dearly, the sparkle in his eyes. “Now-”

“Father,” Brienne cut him off with a sigh, predicting that he was about to speak of Jaime.

“I only want to know about him,” her father defended, holding his hands up slightly. “He is going to be my goodson and I clearly have him pegged wrong because I know that you are no fool, daughter.”

Brienne smiled at that, though she had been a fool over Renly. “I don’t know what to say,” she said, squirming in her seat. How to describe Jaime? She couldn’t describe the way he made her feel inside, the way his smile lit her up inside, the way his smirk made her want to hit him and then kiss him. She blushed.

“He is good to you?” her father asked, his eyes narrowed shrewdly. Brienne nodded hurriedly.

“Very good, Father,” Brienne assured him.

Her father harrumphed. “Not good enough not to dishonour you.”

Brienne’s lips twitched. “I did have something to do with that myself, you know, Father,” she said. Her father gave her a calculating look and then inclined his head.

“Fine. I’ll ignore that.”

“I do wish Lady Sansa had not brought you to my chambers,” Brienne said awkwardly. “I could have been sent for.” Her father smiled.

“Oh, don’t blame her, darling. She looked as though she needed a laugh.” Brienne smiled. She would have thought that Jaime provided enough laughs but perhaps not. “And I did rather demand.”

“You are very difficult to say no to.”

“You’ve managed it a few times,” her father said with amusement. Brienne laughed and took a sip from her goblet. “I truly never believed I would see the day you were betrothed, so I am sure you are in love with him.”

Brienne’s eyes widened. She bit into her food to cover her embarrassment and then she considered that she had no reason to be embarrassed. She swallowed. “Yes, Father.”

“And he with you?”

Brienne smiled. “I’m fairly certain.”

Her father scowled at that. “Has he told you that he is?”

Brienne nodded, trying to stifle her chuckle. Jaime told that he loved her all the time. Two mornings ago, she had been using the chamber pot when he had told her, sleepily, that he loved her. Brienne had been mortified, having believed that he was still asleep. “He has. He told me before I told him.” Her father smiled and then looked up.

“Here he is,” he said. He did not smile but he did not scowl either. Brienne turned and saw Jaime approaching them slowly. She nodded encouragingly for him to join. Brienne looked her father in his eyes and was about to tell him to be nice when she remembered that it was Jaime and he could survive it. Brienne smiled when he sat down next to her, his thigh pressing almost immediately against hers. Glancing down, Brienne saw that he was sitting on the edge of his seat so that he could have his skin touching hers.

Jaime extended his hand across Brienne to her father and his father took it. Brienne watched with a wince as her father squeezed Jaime’s hand. Jaime did not let it affect him and only said, “it is a pleasure to meet you, Lord Selwyn.”

“Please, Jaime, you are going to be my goodson. You may call me Selwyn.” Brienne’s father was a good man, Brienne thought, giving him a beaming smile. He did not like Jaime yet but he was willing to be good about this. Brienne squeezed Jaime’s knee under the table and gave him a fond look.

“Thank you, Selwyn,” Jaime said earnestly. Brienne looked between the two, a surge of joy that this was happening at all. “Brienne would like to get married on Tarth,” he said with that easy smile. Brienne pursed her lips to hide her smile. This was Jaime telling her father why they were living in sin. She did want to get married on Tarth and that was one of a few reasons that they had not been wed yet.

“Would she?” Lord Selwyn said, turning his raised eyebrows on Brienne, who nodded eagerly.

“I wanted you to walk me down the aisle father, where you and Mother were married,” she said hopefully. Her father smiled though Brienne could see a tinge of pain behind his eyes. One of Brienne’s clearest memories of her mother - and there were not many - was her telling her the story of where they were married, in Tarth, by Duncan’s Fall, the great waterfall in Tarth. It was where Brienne had always imagined that she would get married. When she had told Jaime, he had been very fond of the idea - and of the idea of fucking her in the pools beside it.

“Then that is what you shall have, daughter. I assume you are going to wait until the war is won,” her father said with an assessing look at Jaime. Brienne felt Jaime’s thigh muscles tighten beside her. She stroked his leg. Jaime only nodded. “Well then, I only hope you do not have to get married already with child, starlight,” her father said, raising his goblet to her. Jaime’s lips twitched.

Brienne’s face flamed, both at the insinuation and at the childhood nickname. “Father,” she hissed. Jaime snorted, nudging her shoulder with his. She turned to him but he just smiled at her. His eyes twinkled and Brienne saw once again how beautiful her betrothed was. She wanted to kiss him.

“Will your family becoming to the wedding, Jaime?”

And that ruined her brief surge of palpable joy.

Brienne stifled a sigh as she turned her face to her father, feeling her neck crick as she did. Jaime answered before she could speak, though. “Just my brother, Selwyn. You met him earlier.”

“Yes. He gets along with Lady Sansa very well.”

Jaime inclined his head. “Yes. Lady Sansa is my goodsister as well as my liege lady.”

Brienne watched shock enter her father’s features. “Your liege lady?” he repeated.

Again Jaime nodded. “I swore vows to Lady Sansa a few months ago. Generally, the things Brienne does are honourable. I suppose I came with the hope that I could scrape together what was left of my honour.”

Her father’s face did not change. Brienne supposed he was considering the ways that Jaime had lost his honour, Cersei and Aerys and whatever else. “You followed Brienne here, then?” he asked and his tone was unreadable.

“Father, he-”

“Yes,” Jaime cut her off. “Since I met Brienne, I have found it spectacularly difficult to leave her.”

“When did you meet, if I may ask?” Brienne’s eyes closed. She heard Jaime’s quiet snicker beside her.

“Brienne was my captor,” Jaime said and Brienne wondered if she wanted Jaime to tell this story. He had a way with words that she was not sure her father would appreciate. “She served Lady Catelyn, who released me from captivity and wanted Brienne to exchange me for Lady Sansa and Lady Arya.” Brienne’s father’s face was amused, his moustached lips twitching.

“Anyhow, I ended up becoming fond of him,” Brienne said with a tone of finality.

Jaime practically squawked and Brienne turned her head to scowl at him. “You didn’t let me say the bit about the bear pit!”

“My father does not need to hear all the details.”

“I wasn’t going to mention all of the details,” Jaime said and the look on his face made Brienne think of a bath and the bed that they shared, not too far away. She flushed, intensifying Jaime’s smirk. Jaime moved his eyes from hers to her father’s. “I jumped into a bear pit to save her life with no weapon and only one hand.”

He said it with such cockiness that Brienne rolled her eyes at her father. “Sorry, Father, my betrothed has a self-inflated arrogance not known to most men.” Jaime barked out a laugh behind her. When she felt his lips press a kiss to her shoulder, she turned to hiss “Jaime!” and swat his arm. He only grinned at her. She could not stay angry at him, ever.

“He also saved me from getting raped and sent me from King’s Landing to keep me safe,” Brienne said fondly, looking her father in the eyes. “He has saved my life far more than I have saved his. There is no other man on the planet like him.”

Her father appraised her and Brienne kept her eyes on his, stubborn with pride of her betrothed. She didn’t look at Jaime. She knew he would be ducking his head at her praise, though he would easily say the same of himself. “He is worthy of your hand?”

Brienne smiled. “Without a doubt.”

“I would never have had a say anyway,” her father said with a sigh, “but I do give you my blessing, dearheart.” Brienne smiled, the words meaning more to her than she thought they would. She turned to Jaime and saw that he was genuinely moved. So happy with him and her father’s words, she leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips, despite the fact that they were in full view of most of Winterfell.

“I love you,” she said softly to him. Jaime grinned.

“I love you too, starlight.”

Brienne scowled. “I will leave you if you ever call me that again.”

“Does that mean you’ll stop objecting to wench?” he asked cheekily. Brienne scowled and poked him in his stomach. He only laughed and wormed his arm around her waist, his fingers tickling her hip. Brienne turned and found her father watching them with fondness.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you would not rather be with your father?” Jaime asked Brienne, drawing patterns on her bare stomach. She batted his hand away but Jaime kept it up.

“Why would I prefer to be with my father, Jaime?” she asked impatiently, propping herself up on one shoulder. Jaime shrugged. “I love my father and I’m glad to have seen him but there is no one else I am going into this war with but you.” Jaime grinned and leaned down to take her nipple into his mouth, becoming slightly disoriented when she shoved his head away.

“Oi,” he protested and then noticed her slightly sheepish smile. He narrowed his eyes. “What?”

“You stink,” she said bluntly. A surprised sort of scoff jumped from Jaime’s throat. “I love you and I would love for you to carry on doing what you were doing but genuinely you stink.”

“Well, you don’t exactly smell peachy yourself,” Jaime said defensively, shuffling away from her. Brienne grinned at him and stroked his face.

“Why don’t we go and wash in that river?” Brienne asked, biting her lip. Jaime grinned.

“If you wanted me to fuck you in public, you only needed to ask.” Jaime leered at her, drawing close to her and not really caring that she thought he stank, if they were going to wash imminently.

Brienne shoved him away. “If you touch me in public, I’ll cut your cock off.” Jaime snorted and rolled off the bed, standing smoothly. She watched him assessingly.

“You like it too much to do that,” he said, enjoying the way her eyes dropped to between his legs. “Eyes back in your sockets, wench. Come on, let’s go wash.”

XXX

The next night, smelling much fresher though not completely clean due to a day of camp life, Brienne and Jaime lay in bed, Jaime in front of Brienne with an arm folded over him. Ever so often, Jaime would snuggle back against her and lay his head against her neck and murmur something he was thinking about but they were generally lying in silence.

Jaime chuckled and leaned back against her. Brienne hummed her readiness to listen to whatever he was about to say. “Have you noticed how all the Dothraki fancy you?”

Brienne scoffed instantly. “They do not,” she protested. “There was one and I am fairly certain he was insane.”

Jaime turned around fully, surprising Brienne. When he was looking her in the eyes, he said, “all the Dothraki fancy you,” with such a serious tone and straight face that Brienne burst out laughing.

“Jaime Lannister, you are insane.”

“No, I am not!” Jaime said, propping himself up on an elbow. “I have to listen to it. They don’t say it in front of you ‘cause they’re all bloody irreverent of you but they say it to me. They come up to me and ask what you’re like to fuck and then make comments-”

Brienne’s eyes widened and she burst, “you better not tell them anything, Jaime!”

Jaime shook his head but he was too into his tirade to be put off by her comment. “And the way they bloody stare at you it’s ridiculous-”

“Are you jealous?” Brienne asked, amusement at her lips. She’d not seen him jealous since Tormund Giantsbane and that whole debacle. He didn’t have a lot of cause to be. It had not amused her with Tormund, because he was acting as though she did not have a right to choose who she would sleep with and he was making her decisions for her but this - this was funny.

“Of course I’m not jealous,” Jaime scoffed. “It’s just frustrating!”

Brienne grinned. “You are so jealous, Jaime.”

“I am not jealous,” he protested. Brienne ran her fingers down his chest. He glanced down. “You wouldn’t like it if you had to listen to this either. They’re all imagining fucking you!” Brienne burst with laughter, much to Jaime’s discontent. “They are!”

“It’s not that,” Brienne said as she calmed down and took in Jaime’s sweet scowl and jealous features. “You truly believe that I don’t deal with the same thing?” Jaime nodded definitively and Brienne snorted. “Jaime, every woman at Winterfell wants to fuck you. In fact, I’d guess that most women who have ever met you want to fuck you. Every day, I hear them daydreaming about what they’d do to you.”

“And are you jealous?” Jaime asked eagerly, his smirk belying his arrogance about how good he looked. Brienne pursed her lips and poked him in her stomach where she had been stroking him.

“No, you fool, because I know you’re with me.”

There was a pause and Jaime studied her contemplatively. “What do they say they want to do with me? Is this where you get your ideas from?”

Brienne slapped him hard on his stomach and he pouted. Rolling her eyes, Brienne said, “you are the most arrogant man alive.”

Jaime shook his head, his silly pout fading into a scowl. “Those bloody Dothraki are the most arrogant men alive.”

Brienne groaned. “Jaime, I assure you I don’t want to fuck any bloody Dothraki!”

“What about the Unsullied? They all respect you too.”

“How am I going to fuck a man without a cock, hmm?” Brienne demanded before groaning. “Jaime, I swear to the Seven I’ll cut your cock off in a minute if you don’t give this up.”

Jaime shrugged. “I just don’t like hearing it.”

“Well, I’m sure you won’t have to for very much longer. Once we’ve won the war, you won’t hear them anymore.”

“Bet they’ll still be talking about you,” he grumbled. Brienne shot him what she hoped was a fearsome glare and his face softened. “You’re right. After the war, while they’re all wanking over your fantastic legs, I’ll be the one with them wrapped around my waist.” Brienne chuckled with a grin, shaking her head.

“Where did I find you?”

Jaime shrugged. “In a cage. You really should’ve been warned off then.”

Caressing his face with her hand, she hummed and said, “I was. I think I must have gone insane since.”

Jaime practically squawked and Brienne squealed as he suddenly had her pinned to the bed. She was aware that she could have turned him over without any effort, given that he only had one hand to keep her down, but she was not entirely opposed to the position, particularly not when he let go of her wrist and moved his hand down between her thighs.

XXX

The Lannister camp was quite noisy anyway, Tyrion considered, sitting on the log around the campfire that he had had Pod and a few Northerners put together. Pod sat next to him, chewing on the rabbit that he had caught himself, very proudly, and some Dothraki sat on the other side of the circle, grumbling. The Northerners on Podrick’s other side were also whispering. And Tyrion knew exactly why.

He had watched his brother and almost-goodsister go into their tent over an hour ago. When noises had not emerged immediately, as they usually did, Tyrion had been pleased and figured that they were too tired from sparring and organising and commanding and wouldn’t be giving the whole camp a sex show that night.

Unfortunately, about half an hour later, Tyrion had been proven wrong by a squawk, a squeal and then a series of moans. This was nothing new, truthfully. Since they had left, anybody close to Jaime and Brienne’s tent was treated to these sounds every night. Most men understood. Tyrion himself understood. If he had a betrothed and she was there, he’d be fucking her too. There was a reason that camp followers did so well: men on campaign wanted to fuck more than anything else.

This night, the noises did seem to be a bit louder. Tyrion had organised that his campfire and tent were far enough away from Jaime and Brienne that his mind was not filled with the imagery of exactly what his brother had learned to do with one hand to elicit those noises from his betrothed.

They were definitely louder. Tyrion could hear them very clearly. Of course, they only had a tent to muffle them which was nothing in truth, not compared to the thick walls of Winterfell. And Tyrion had heard from his brother’s neighbours that even those walls were not enough. Tyrion had a very clear picture of Lord Selwyn Tarth’s face when, at breakfast, there had been frank and loud muttering discussions about the noises that were coming from his daughter’s chambers.

“Jaime!” they heard. Tyrion only sipped down more of his wine. He heard Podrick clear his throat beside him. Podrick did not enjoy this, having too much respect for his lady to enjoy the discussions of her body that the noises elicited from the soldiers, especially the perpetually horny Dothraki.

With a sigh, Tyrion stood. He would never deny his brother the wonderful happiness he had found at Winterfell with Sansa’s sworn sword but it did do very well to remind Tyrion that despite his general contentment at being Daenerys’ hand, he was alone and unloved, as always. Clapping his hand on Podrick’s shoulder, Tyrion snuck away into his tent.

Chapter Text

Brienne woke suddenly a week after King’s Landing was taken, feeling the loss of warmth and the rising in the mattress. By the time that she had turned over and blinked away sleep, all that was left of Jaime in the room was his retreating shadow and the soft knock as the door was closed.

They weren’t staying in the Red Keep. Queen Daenerys had suggested that they should, for their acts of bravery and leadership as the city was taken and the Golden Company destroyed, but Brienne knew without asking that it would have been too difficult for Jaime to live and sleep in the castle where he had lived and slept with his sister - and where his sister had died.

When Arya had come to Brienne after the battle, her hands covered in blood and her eyes wide, Brienne had known immediately. Arya had stumbled over her words but had eventually asked if Jaime would ever forgive her. Brienne truly had not known so she simply told Arya that she had done the right thing. Arya had understood and had left the city the next day, with Gendry, to return to Winterfell and her brother.

Sansa had arrived south only a day after the battle, likely on the advice of Bran’s all-seeing powers. She had found Brienne immediately and hugged her. Brienne had been well-rested. They discussed the entire battle before Sansa asked after Jaime. When Brienne had begun to cry, Sansa had only nodded, kissed her on the forehead and disappeared.

When Brienne arrived back at their room that night, Jaime was asleep but there and Brienne held him while she slept too.

That hadn’t been the end of things, though. Despite their betrothal and their trust, Jaime had not even mentioned how he was feeling after Cersei’s execution at Arya’s hands. They had barely had a conversation in which Brienne could have asked. And she hadn’t wanted to bring it up when they were talking, for fear that he would stop talking to her altogether.

But she knew that he was trying to cope alone. She knew that he wasn’t entirely alright and she guessed that he thought that she would not be able to cope with the idea that he was mourning his sister.

Sighing, Brienne stepped out of bed herself and quickly dressed. Unlike Jaime, she could not slip downstairs in her nightclothes, not while they were staying at an inn at any rate. Once she was dressed appropriately, she left and tiptoed down the corridor and down the treacherous spiral staircase, finding the inn empty.

Worrying her lip, Brienne shivered. Though the Long Night had come and gone, Winter had not and its icy fingers still encroached upon the entirety of Westeros, especially at night. And especially when there was a door open.

Brienne crept outside and found Jaime immediately. She didn’t think he noticed her, though he had called her a stomper in the past, so she wasn’t entirely sure if he was just ignoring her. He was leaning his head against the wall, his messy golden curls splaying against the dark wood, eyes closed and mouth in a grim line.

“Jaime,” Brienne whispered as she approached. His eyes opened slowly enough that she thought he had known she was there, no surprise in his expression. He met her eyes and she saw his apology there. She took his hand and brushed her thumb across his palm. “Tell me how to help.”

“I’m sorry,” he said and his voice was hollow. “I couldn’t- I had a dream.”

Brienne nodded into Jaime’s shoulder. “You know you can talk to me, Jaime,” she murmured. He nodded, his throat bobbing.

“I know.”

“Even about her,” Brienne pressed. Jaime turned to her and he didn’t looked shocked or alarmed, only sad. Brienne swallowed. “I mean it.”

“I know you do,” Jaime said, nodding. “I just don’t want you to hear it.” Brienne shook her head.

“Jaime, I’m marrying all of you,” she said, reaching for his stump and bringing it to her lips softly. He watched her, meeting her eyes. “I’m marrying this and I’m marrying the man who jumped into a bearpit for me and I’m marrying the man who loved Cersei first. And I am marrying a man who is willing to talk to me.”

“Brienne, I don’t know what to say,” Jaime said. His throat was filled with tears; Brienne could hear them in every word. Brienne smiled as much as she could.

“Anything,” she prompted him.

XXX

They arrived on Tarth two moons later, happier and talking. It had taken a few conversations, a few days alone, a few long walks and more than a lot of sex and laughter to make themselves start feeling as though they were themselves again. And Jaime truly believed he was beginning to move on from Cersei, from her death but more importantly from the way they had lived together.

Jaime had received more than one stern chat from Brienne's father and Sansa and Tyrion. Sansa had been the most frequent. They had spoken at length at least once a week. Jaime could never have believed that the friendship he had made with Sansa would have been possible when he had first left Cersei to ride north. And yet it was.

The thought of Sansa made excitement tingle in Jaime as he watched Brienne's arse. She was ahead of him on their trek up the mountain and it really gave Jaime the opportunity to appreciate the wonders that all her exercise did. Peering over his shoulder, Jaime briefly wondered if his arse was quite as well-formed. Shaking himself, he turned back to Brienne and the rugged landscape around them, wondering if they would bring the Stark sisters here when they arrived.

It had been over a month since they'd last seen Sansa, on their departure from King's Landing. She had waved them off alongside Tyrion, laughing at something Jaime's brother was saying, likely something crude and inappropriate.

Arya would probably find these places herself, Jaime considered as they finally reached the peak of Brienne's favourite mountain on Tarth - and there were many to choose from on the small and yet infinitely mountainous rock. Jaime could well imagine Gendry being forced to the top of all these peaks by Arya, much like Jaime was being by Brienne.

One look at her reminded Jaime why he followed her around, though. It was not often that Jaime saw a soft look on Brienne's face. Even in bed, she was rather intense. But, here, looking out at all of Tarth, the turquoise oceans and verdured fields, her face lacked all anger, passion and worry. Here, she was home. Every time Jaime saw her so, he remembered why walking up the mountain or swimming in the rock pools or whatever she wanted to do that day was worth it: it made her happy. And in less than a week, Jaime was going to promise to do that for the rest of his life.

The prospect of marriage was not daunting whatsoever. He was not sure why the people with whom he spoke to about it suggested it should be. Perhaps they wanted him to end it and not marry their future Evenstar, or perhaps they had not been so lucky as to find someone they wanted to spend all their time with. Either way, all Jaime could see was the happy times ahead and the arguments and the rowing and all of it made him smile.

Jaime shuffled closer to Brienne, moving his arm around her waist, curling his fingers at her hip and brushing his thumb against the bone he found there. "Do you think we will bring Sansa here when she arrives?" Jaime asked.

Brienne snorted, her ocean eyes lighting with amusement at the suggestion. "I hardly think so. I'm not sure she would like the idea, especially since your brother would certainly not agree to accompany her."

Jaime pursed his lips. "You know I am sure you aren't right about Sansa and Tyrion. If they were going to have some passionate love affair, surely they would have done it when they were sharing a bed in King's Landing. There is either lust or not. It can't just start midway through life."

Brienne gave him a disapproving look that somehow made his pants stir. "Firstly, I most certainly never suggested they were having a passionate love affair and, if you tell Sansa I did, I will ride north and marry Tormund Giantsbane." Jaime laughed aloud at the empty threat that she enjoyed employing with frequency. "And of course lust can develop after meeting. Look at us. You hardly lusted for me when we first met and I certainly did not want you."

Jamie's lips twitched. Perhaps he had not wanted her the second they had met but he had wanted her since he had first seen her naked, or at least his body had. He shook his head and leaned his head on Brienne's shoulder. "It is beautiful here," he said and she hummed lightly, leaning her head against his.

"I have something to tell you," she said quietly. Jaime turned his head as much as he could without dislodging hers, looking into her beautiful eyes with a furrowed brow. She smiled and her fingers brushed against Jaime's at her waist, picking them up and curling his arm even further around her, until Jaime's muscles protested and his hand was lying flat against Brienne's stomach.

It took a moment to decipher her meaning but, when Jaime realised where his hand was, realised what her putting it there meant, a sort of strangled gasp escaped from his mouth. Pregnant, he thought. Brienne was pregnant. Jaime laughed, a sound of pure happiness. His whole mind lit up, playing scenes of joy and family.

Pulling away, Jaime turned his whole body so that he had a hand and a stump on Brienne's hips and his eyes on hers. "We're having a baby," he said reverently. Brienne nodded though she did not smile. "We're having a baby!" he repeated, nodding at her and bringing his hand up to her cheek, brushing his thumb across her big lips. He kissed her once and then pulled away. She started to smile.

"You are happy, then?" she asked.

"Of course I'm happy," Jaime laughed. "Are you?"

Brienne nodded. "Scared but happy." Jaime gave her a smile. He could understand her fear and would probably feel it too when he had calmed down from the rush of excitement.

"It's a good thing we're getting married," Jaime commented and Brienne nodded with a quirk of her lips. "People might think I've dishonoured you."

Brienne snorted. "I think it's a bit late on that one, Jaime."

XXX

Their wedding day came around before either of them knew it. They kept the news of their baby to themselves, sharing excited little smiles whenever their busy paths crossed and discussing all of the exciting things they wanted to do with their child when they lay in bed together at night. But not last night.

Brienne's father had come to Jaime and said that this one night, the night before their wedding, they would do things properly. He said that he had let them live in impropriety while they had been on the island but the night before Brienne's wedding she would at least pretend to be a pure bride. Jaime had agreed with ease. He quite agreed that they should at least try to do some things properly.

Brienne had been less eager and had, in fact, tried to seduce Jaime into staying into bed, a thoroughly enjoyable experience that had resulted in a fantastic blow job and a very satisfying and quick fuck before Jaime had left Brienne in their chamber, alone, and gone to find the chambers that Lord Selwyn had provided for him, much to his bride's discontent. Her father had not specifically said not to fuck her the night before their wedding, only that they should not spend the night in the same bed.

As Jaime had left, he had seen Arya and Sansa turn the corridor towards their chambers, likely to spend the night with her. The act had made Jaime smile. He had then found his little brother waiting for him, to have a few drinks and discuss things. Any mention of Sansa had been swiftly disregarded by Tyrion, to Jaime's general discontent, quite eager to know if his friend would truly become one of the family.

Jamie's reverie was interrupted by the door opening, without a knock, and Arya revealing herself. Unsurprised by her lack of propriety, Jaime turned an amused glance upon her. She was wearing her classic style of tunic, though it was more blue than grey, and Sansa had quite clearly spent a while braiding her hair. "You look very pretty," Jaime teased, happy at the sight of her.

Arya's lips twitched. "I know," she replied, making Jaime chuckle. "So do you."

Rolling his eyes, Jaime turned back to the mirror, eyeing his outfit. He looked half-Lannister, with the gold, but he had chosen blue over red, far more eager to look like he was becoming a Tarth. "I know," Jaime said over his shoulder, a grin at his lips. "What can I help you with, Arya?"

Arya shrugged, leaning against the post of his four-poster bed, tugging on the blue curtains. The room itself was more blue than Jaime had anticipated. Upon entry the previous night, Jaime had briefly wondered if Lord Selwyn had wanted him to sleep under a canopy of Tarth the night before he married into the island, to remind him what house he was of now.

"How are you feeling?" Arya asked. Jaime narrowed his eyes at her.

"How am I feeling? How are you feeling? Why are you being nice?"

"I am always nice," Arya said but that innocent little grin that came onto her face crept in, bringing a small chuckle with it, as if to remind the world that, although she was mightily scary at times, Arya Stark was still only eight-and-ten. "Brienne wanted to know if you were okay." Jaime smiled at the thought. He bet she was nervous. "And I wanted to make sure you had got yourself together properly, given that your main witness can hardly reach to straighten your clothes."

Jaime gave Arya an amused glance at the dig at Tyrion. It was not the first she had made since she had arrived in Tarth and, every time she did make them, she looked at Sansa for a reaction. Unfortunately, it was looking more and more likely that Brienne was going to be right and Sansa and Tyrion were engaged in a passionate love affair. Jaime had only not believed it because Tyrion had not mentioned anything, which was unlike him. Perhaps Jaime would ask for answers today. It was his wedding day, after all, and he deserved a present.

"And so?" Jaime said, holding his arms out for Arya to inspect his clothing. Arya smiled at him, a genuine smile that made Jaime's teasing grin soften to his own genuine smile. Arya approached to straighten his jacket.

"When you arrived and made vows to Sansa, all I could see was my father as your son chopped his head off. I could not see why Brienne cared for you, nor could I see where softness had grown in you to come to care for her. Thank you for proving me wrong. And thank you for being my friend."

Jaime genuinely felt tears in his throat at Arya's short speech, said with her eyes on her feet. She looked up at him and smiled, before rolling her eyes and stepping away, loosening her hold on his jacket. "I rehearsed that twice before coming in here and it's all the niceness you're going to get from me, so I hope you appreciated it."

Jaime cleared his throat. "I did."

Arya groaned dramatically, practically bouncing towards the door. "Stop crying, you big girl. It's your wedding day!"

And, with that, she opened the door, winked at him and flounced out with as much propriety as she had entered. Jaime chuckled and sat down on the edge of his bed, brushing his hand over his face. The day Arya had arrived in Tarth she had come to find him, explaining that she left King's Landing because she couldn't face him after killing Cersei. Jaime had said nothing, only hugged her. Since then, things had gone back to normal: taking the piss out of each other as thoroughly as possible.

He'd hardly been sitting there for ten moments, looking out of the window opposite and thinking on how his life had changed since he'd ridden north, when there was a knock on the door. Jaime stood and called for them to enter, curious as to who would knock. Tyrion would not.

And it was not Tyrion. It was his wife. Sansa Stark entered, looking splendid in a moss green gown with her hair piled elegantly on top of her head. Jaime smiled at the sight of her. "You look wonderful," he said honestly. Sansa smiled and ducked her head.

"As do you, goodbrother," Sansa said. Jaime narrowed his eyes. "How are you feeling?"

"Well. How is my bride?"

"Beautiful and blushing. Her father is with her now. She's anxious to get the public part over with," Sansa said and Jaime inclined his head. He understood that his wife was not excited about riding in a carriage to the sept on the cliff, through the city where the people of Tarth would be waiting to cheer them along. "Jaime, I am so glad you came to Winterfell."

"Oh, by the Seven," Jaime said, exasperated. "Not you too. I've had Arya in here making me cry and now you. This is rather unfair - it's my wedding day."

Sansa chuckled and summoned Jaime to sit by her side on the edge of his bed. She grasped his hand and looked at him. "All I wanted to say was that I am glad you are my friend and I know that you will always protect me, even when you are on Tarth or at Casterly Rock, and that you are more deserving of happiness than most, despite what the world thinks of you. Your love with Brienne truly-" Sansa cleared her throat "-it truly makes me long for more."

Jaime squeezed Sansa's hand. He had not known that she had felt such. "You know that it is waiting for you," Jaime murmured. "You deserve love, Sansa, and it is waiting for you, perhaps not where you expect it." Sansa chuckled and gave him a knowing look, as though she understood what he was saying and knew something he didn't. Which was likely true.

Sansa stood and brushed down the front of her dress. "I expect news of a baby within the year," she said as though she was explaining a report on food. Jaime chuckled, grinning at her and nodding his acquiescence. "And I expect to be named her godsmother."

"Her?" Jaime repeated, amused.

"Yes, her. A godsdaughter who I can spoil with dresses and horses."

Jaime chuckled. "Yes, my lady," he said, winking at her. Sansa smiled and nodded at him once, before turning to the door that she had left open, and heading out to leave. She stopped abruptly, causing Jaime to look up in surprise.

"Sorry, my lady," Tyrion's voice said, too much teasing in his voice for Jaime to be comfortably sure that there was nothing between his brother and friend. Jaime saw Sansa try and suppress a smile and nearly groaned. He was going to lose this argument with Brienne.

"Not at all, my lord," Sansa replied demurely. Jaime scowled at the pair of them. Sansa left and Tyrion closed the door behind him, glancing back at her.

"Happy Wedding Day, brother!" Tyrion said jovially. Jaime couldn't help but smile back. "How are you feeling?"

"I am rather fed up of that question, you know," Jaime said with a chuckle. "It's my wedding day, I'm marrying the best person in Westeros and tonight I get to have as much sex as I want. I am feeling incredible!"

Tyrion laughed aloud and approached the table where a jug of wine had been placed by the maid that morning, pouring himself a goblet. "Well, I am most pleased."

"Yes, I am sure you are," Jaime grumbled, helping himself to a goblet too. Tyrion only glanced at him and then looked away. Jaime was about to ask about Sansa when Tyrion spoke himself.

"And when are you going to provide us with a baby?"

"Us?" Jaime repeated, raising his eyebrows.

"Your family," Tyrion said with a look of impatience. Pursing his lips, Jaime sipped from his wine. He wasn't sure if Brienne had told anyone about the baby yet. She'd clearly not told Sansa. They were going to announce it to the family in a few weeks, when it was slightly more acceptable, not that any of them would believe that the baby was conceived before they were married.

Jaime wanted to share his joy, though, and what was wrong with his brother knowing that he would have a niece or nephew? Jaime raised his goblet to his brother. "Less than nine moons, Tyrion."

Tyrion's eyes widened in surprise for a moment but then he let out a chuckle. "I'm happy for you, brother. A few months and we'll have another Lannister."

"A Lannister of Tarth," Jaime corrected. "If you want any full-blooded Lannisters, you'll have to make them yourself. Although, having said that, they'd be half-Starks wouldn't they?"

Tyrion didn't even blink, only quirked his lips momentaneously. He did not confirm nor deny the suspicion. Jaime rolled his eyes, putting it all out of his mind. "Drink up, Tyrion," Jaime said with a grin. "We've a wedding to get to."

XXX

"Are you ready to go?" Sansa asked when she returned to Brienne's chambers, where her father was staring at her with tears in her eyes. Sansa was quite glad she had not been there to witness that conversation. She had been dangerously close to tears speaking with Jaime, especially when he himself had been too.

Brienne smiled at Sansa and pure joy radiated from her homely face. Sansa's heart warmed. "I'm ready."

"Okay, little girl," Lord Selwyn said, his eyes sparkling. From the exasperated look on Brienne's face, Sansa assumed that the endearment was something of an inside joke between the two. "I'll see you at the sept."

Sansa took Brienne's hand as her father left, with one final wink and smile. "Let's go to your wedding," Sansa whispered, squeezing Brienne's calloused hand. Brienne squeezed back, her eyes filling with tears and her smile spreading.

Sansa wrapped the cloak around her friend's shoulders, thankful for the height the Gods had gifted her with. The cloak was blue and pink, the Tarth colours. Soon, she would be wrapped in Jamie's colours, despite the obvious lack of need for protection. Sansa knew that Brienne appreciated the sentiment behind the tradition even so.

"I could never have imagined what was going to happen when I heard those men calling you the Kingslayer's Whore, or even when Jaime arrived at Winterfell," Sansa said as she tied the front of the cloak. "But I couldn't have imagined anything better."

Brienne smiled. "Nor could I."

Sansa held Brienne's hand all the way to the open-roofed carriage, watched her face light up at the sight of Jaime waiting with the door open to help her in. And then she watched her kiss Jaime before the carriage left, her hands clasped tightly in his as they made the trip from Evenfall Hall to the cliffside sept where Brienne's parents had been married and where she would marry the love of her life. Hands clasped over her heart, Sansa watched until they were out of sight before turning to find her own white carriage waiting.

At the sight of Tyrion, Jaime's main witness, sitting inside the carriage, looking at her expectantly, Sansa smiled, ducked her head and tried to suppress her blush. They closed the door of their closed-roofed carriage, Tyrion tapped the front to signal to the driver to go on and then he reached for her hand and brought it to his lips in a soft kiss that made Sansa bite her lip to contain her pleasure.

XXX

The ceremony wasn't long, to Brienne's contentment. She was not fussed about the hymns nor the prayer. All she wanted was to say her vows to Jaime and for him to cloak her. And then they would kiss and they would be married, done and dusted. Their commitment formalised and their child not a bastard.

Jaime took her cloak and gave it to Sansa, who accepted it with tears in her eyes. To replace it was a cloak of red and gold, as Brienne had instructed the seamstresses. She had been worried that Jaime would think that she would not want to be cloaked in Lannister colours, but she was proud of her husband and she was proud to be the third member of an honourable Lannister family.

Jaime had kissed her for an indecent amount of time after they had said they vows to one another. Brienne had only noticed because of the shouts of the audience - and the wolfwhistle coming from Jaime's brother. Even Sansa had looked at her with a surprised smirk. Flushed and happy, Brienne had taken Jaime's hand and they had walked out of the sept, man and bride.

Rather than take the carriage straight away, Jaime had asked the driver to return in half an hour, while he took Brienne's hand and led her away quickly, glancing at the sept hastily to ensure no one had left yet. Brienne was surprised, laughing at Jaime's surreption. They reached an alcove, not far from the cliff, a spot that Brienne had brought Jaime on one of their first days in Tarth, a place where she had run from her septa many times, with one of the most splendid views of the sea in Tarth.

"This better not be some complicated ploy for a fuck, Jaime Lannister," Brienne said, scowling as she sat down and breathed in the fresh sea air. This was precisely the reason that she had wanted to be married on Tarth.

Jaime snorted and shook his head. "Hardly, Brienne Lannister of Tarth," he said, placing emphasis on her name, "and you missed the of Tarth bit from my name. Jaime Lannister of Tarth."

"Don't be ridiculous, Jaime," Brienne breathed. She sought his eyes with hers and though they were sparkling she found no dishonesty there. He shook his head. "Jaime Lannister of Tarth. Every man and woman across Westeros is going to say that I have you on your knees."

Jaime laughed out loud, a joyous sound that made Brienne flush with pleasure. "I believe every man and woman in Westeros already knows that, sweetling. This will just confirm that truth." Brienne smiled. There was truly no man like Jaime Lannister - of Tarth - in the Seven Kingdoms. "And our children will be Lannisters of Tarth and their children will be Lannisters of Tarth and theirs and theirs and theirs. That fertile womb of yours will bring a dynasty of knights and happiness," Jaime said and his eyes danced so merrily that Brienne believed him, giving him a kiss.

"I love you, Jaime," Brienne whispered. Jaime grinned and leaned his forehead against hers, his eyes looking out at their sea.

"I love you too, my wife."