Chapter 1: Blue
ROOMMATE WANTED (King’s Landing) – 800 Dragons
King’s Road & Silk Street – 3 months, possibly longer. SF seeks responsible roommate, M or F, no smoking, no drugs. Strictly platonic. You get your own room in a 2 bedroom apartment. Shared bathroom. Shared kitchen. Utilities included with rent.
Brienne took a deep breath and tapped the ‘post’ button on her iPhone, wondering if she’d just made a spectacularly bad move as the Petyrslist confirmation page loaded. Oh well, she thought. It’s not like she had to take a roommate, if she changed her mind. She shrugged into her blazer and headed out the door, down the street to the subway station. She spent the whole ride to work praying for a nice, quiet roommate, preferably one she didn’t have to see very often.
She spent her lunch hour replying to the four inquiries she received in her email, painstakingly typing out her responses while eating her chicken salad. ‘Jaime Lannister’ was the first to respond. Fair being fair, Brienne emailed her back to see when she was available to meet. The next three inquiries, she emailed to let them know it was pending.
She’d barely sent out her last email when her phone went ding!, a response from Jaime Lannister already waiting for her.
Anytime this evening or next. Would like to move soon. –J
Brienne took a moment to think. Well, at least she’d cleaned last night. No reason to put it off.
This evening is fine. Would 6:00 work? –Brienne
She took another bite of her salad, surprised by another ding! before she even finished her mouthful.
Yes. Address? –J
She sent the address and her phone number and prayed some more.
It was 6:17, and Jaime Lannister still hadn’t shown. Brienne had been checking her phone obsessively, but hadn’t heard anything back since she’d emailed her address. Petyrslist horror stories ran through her head, and she wondered if maybe Jaime was planning on robbing her, or worse, what if she was a serial killer? What if—
An abrasive bzzzzzz filled her apartment, and Brienne jumped, startled, before rushing to press the button on the call box. “Hello?”
“Jaime Lannister,” was all he said, his voice smooth and confident, the words sounding almost lazy. He. Not a woman at all. Brienne buzzed him up.
It seemed no time at all before he was knocking on the door of her second-story apartment. She undid the chain, slid the bolt to the side, and twisted the lock in the knob before opening the door. Her heart sank.
Jaime Lannister was easily the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on, soft gold hair hanging in his laughing green eyes, a devastating grin with even white teeth, and a tall, leanly muscled build. His sharply tailored suit and shiny patent leather shoes had to cost more than three months of Brienne’s salary, and she wondered why someone who looked as wealthy as he did would ever need a roommate. It took her a moment to register the crimson lipstick smeared on his collar and that his shirt buttons were uneven. No need to ask why he’s late, then.
Brienne didn’t realize she was staring until he cocked an eyebrow, his eyes running over her before rising to meet her gaze.
“I thought the ad said you were a woman?” he drawled with a smirk, and Brienne felt her face heat at his casually cruel words. Did he think she wasn’t already painfully aware of her messy hair, her broad nose, her thick lips?
“Aren’t you clever?” she finally said, finding her tongue. She knew immediately that this wasn’t going to work.
He shrugged and stepped over the threshold before she could ask him to leave—and that was when Brienne noticed the large suitcase rolling by his ankles. Shocked wouldn’t even begin to cover it.
“I’m sorry,” she spluttered, “what is that?”
Lannister stopped by the small table where her mail was piled, scratching his fingernails idly over the cheap faux-wood veneer. The gesture spoke volumes, and embarrassment washed over her as his gaze ran over the comfortably shabby furnishings in her living room and dining nook before finally landing on her. She felt as though she was being measured and found wanting.
“Jaime Lannister. Charmed.”His brows quirked. “This is a suitcase.” He spoke as though she was a particularly slow child, and Brienne knew her face was still burning.
“I know it’s a suitcase,” she hissed. “I believe we scheduled a meeting and a walk-through, Mr. Lannister.”
“Call me Jaime,” he said easily, as though completely unaware of how upset she was. “No point in delaying this. I’m not picky.” His gaze ran over her once more. “Clearly.”
Brienne gaped, sure she’d never met a more arrogant person in her whole life. “Well, Mr. Lannister, I do happen to be picky.” She barely stumbled over the words at all. “Please leave.”
She saw the moment he seemed to understand how badly this was going for him, his smile faltering, turning brittle at the edges, his eyes a little wild.
“Would you reconsider if I paid you three months up front?” he asked, trying for casual and missing the mark.
She finally noticed the shadows under his eyes, dark like bruises, the way his hands twitched at his sides, the quiet desperation masked by his entitled attitude. She set her jaw, refusing to be swayed by pity.
“I can pay in cash, right now.” He watched her carefully. “I’d also throw in an extra thousand. For the inconvenience,” he added.
Brienne’s eyes widened. Who even carried that kind of money? she wondered, agog. “That’s 3400 dragons.” She nearly choked on the words.
He merely raised an eyebrow at her, reaching inside his jacket and removing a thick envelope. He opened it, removed a few notes, and put them back in his pocket, then handed the rest of the envelope to her. She peeked inside to see a stack of 100 dragon notes. “Do we have an arrangement?” he asked coolly.
Brienne felt herself waver. She still had reservations about this working, but… She looked at the envelope in her hands, heavy with cash. At the rate she was going, it would be ages before she had enough savings. And an extra thousand dragons, she thought longingly.
It was against her better judgment, but she looked back up and gave a firm nod, leading him down the narrow hallway. “Let me show you your room.”
Chapter 2: Red
Jaime's still an entitled asshole. Brienne drinks. So does Jaime.
Breakfast that morning was a disaster. Trying to start off on a better foot, Brienne had made an extra bowl of yogurt with sliced peaches and granola. She’d already finished eating hers, but it was easy to make a second bowl. She heard the shower turn off, then a few moments later, Jaime walking down the hallway. A prickling sensation on the back of her neck told her she was being watched, but she was determined to make the best of this situation.
Until she turned around, the bowl of yogurt in her hand, and nearly dropped it at the sight in front of her. Jaime stood in the middle of the kitchen watching her, his hair curling in damp tendrils against his neck, drops of water clinging to his chest. He was scratching his bare stomach idly, naked except for a pair of green plaid boxers.
Brienne felt her face turn bright red, hurriedly placing the bowl on the counter of her breakfast nook before she dropped it. “What are you doing?” she shrieked, completely unable to hide her discomfort. Gods, but the man was gorgeous. “You have to wear clothes out here. Oh gods,” she muttered, palming her face and cursing her momentary weakness last night. One thousand dragons, she reminded herself. Brienne took a deep breath and did her best to look Jaime in the face…and he looked totally confused.
Then he was smirking at her. “I thought this was all strictly platonic?” he asked lazily, sitting on one of the stools and pulling the bowl towards himself. He peered at its contents with a skeptical eye. “What is this?” he asked, bringing a spoonful up for a closer look. “I’m really more of a bacon and eggs kind of guy.”
Brienne narrowed her eyes, her teeth grinding. “I was trying to be nice. It’s yogurt, peaches, and granola. Protein, fiber, low in sugar.” He made a face, put the spoon back in the bowl, and pushed it away, reminding her of a spoilt child. “If you want bacon, you’ll have to buy it yourself,” she muttered, putting the extra bowl in the fridge. A little fresh granola tomorrow for crunch, and it would still taste all right. “Please wear a shirt at the very least when we’re both here,” she said stiffly, his mocking laughter following her as she headed out the door.
“I’m pretty sure he’s a drug dealer,” Margaery said with finality as they ate at a little café near her office. Brienne groaned and hid her face in her hands, thinking of the past two weeks with her new roommate. “Either that, or a male escort.”
“I’m serious, Marg.” Brienne peeked at her through her fingers.
“So am I!” she exclaimed, beginning to count on her fingers. “Insanely gorgeous—”
“I didn’t say it quite like that!” Brienne protested, only slightly muffled by her palms, feeling her face grow hot.
Margaery smirked and continued as though she hadn’t heard her friend. “—Shows up late with lipstick on his collar and a rumpled shirt.” She raised another finger. “Somehow has an envelope with over 3500 dragons…you haven’t once seen him getting ready for work…and you think he could be anything else?” Margaery patted her arm sympathetically, though the gleam in her eye was anything but. I lost her when I mentioned how good-looking he was, Brienne thought mournfully.
It had only been two weeks of putting up with Jaime’s casual jabs and insults, and Brienne was seriously beginning to wonder whether a thousand dragons was worth all this, because the eye candy certainly wasn’t.
A week later, Brienne was leaving the bar and hailed a cab, taking in deep lungsful of the crisp autumn air. Come out for drinks after work, Margaery had all but demanded, so Brienne had reluctantly met her at a nearby pub, along with Renly and Loras. It had been…all right, she decided. She’d only had one guy—some hipster with a man-bun—feign interest in the hopes of getting Margaery’s number. At least she’d gotten a free drink out of it.
Brienne hoped she wouldn’t run into Jaime when she got home—maybe he’d be out, or already in his room? She leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the window and sighed, watching her breath fog the glass. Nine more weeks. She could do this for nine more weeks, and then it would all be over, and maybe—maybe—if she was crazy enough to do this whole thing again, her next roommate would be a little more bearable.
She blinked slowly as the taxi turned onto Silk Street, the warmth of the cab, the late hour, and the two ciders she’d had with Margaery combining to make her feel pleasantly drowsy. The street was deserted except for a lone figure in the distance, the streetlights casting pools of golden light, illuminating the red and orange leaves as they fell in lazy spirals. It was a beautiful scene, she thought as they drove over the bridge, almost picturesque. The taxi rumbled along the cobblestones covering the bridge, pulling even with the pedestrian. With a jolt, Brienne realized it was Jaime, wrapped in a thick wool pea coat, his hair shining gold in the lamplight. He was staring up at the sky, a pensive look on his face. She turned to watch him as the cab cruised along. He pulled something from his pocket and threw it into the river, seeming to watch its descent.
Brienne watched until he was a speck in the distance, then turned back around, deep in thought. She wondered what his story was, what he’d thrown into the river. Most of all, she wondered what he was doing living with her.
Brienne was sitting at the breakfast nook, just getting off the phone from a particularly frustrating conversation with her father, when she heard the front door open. She turned, unsurprised to see Jaime in the doorway, a haunted look in his eyes—also unsurprising, considering what she’d witnessed on the bridge less than an hour ago. Unbidden, sympathy welled within her.
“Cheap vodka?” she offered hesitantly, half-rising as though to walk to the kitchen. His lip curled in response, and she sighed. “Would it kill you to be nice every once in a while?” she muttered, heading for her bedroom. Jaime barked out a laugh behind her, and Brienne turned, anger rushing through her. But she saw that his laughter was anything but mirthful, and not really directed at her.
Jaime sat heavily in the chair she’d just vacated, resting his head in one hand. “Vodka. Yes.” He swallowed and met her gaze. “Please,” he added, like it was an afterthought.
Brienne nodded slowly, retracing her steps back to the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator and grabbed the red-capped bottle from the crisper drawer, then snagged a tumbler from her cupboard, pouring a couple inches into it and handing it to Jaime. He nodded as he took the glass, his fingers brushing hers. They were freezing. She wondered how long he’d been standing on that bridge.
“Are you having one?” he asked, raising one brow.
Brienne shook her head. “Total lightweight,” she confessed with a wry half-smile. “I already had drinks with some friends tonight.”
Jaime nodded thoughtfully.
Brienne left the bottle by his elbow and headed for her bedroom. She stopped short of her door when she heard his quiet thank you, murmured into the still air. Brienne looked back at where he sat in the nook, slumped next to the vodka. She wondered if this was a turning point, an olive branch, maybe. Well, she’d take it.
Brienne crawled beneath her sheets, feeling for the first time in three weeks that maybe this hadn’t been such a bad idea after all.
Chapter 3: Green
Brienne wonders whether Margaery is right and puts Jaime to the test. Margaery delivers a warning. Brienne wonders whether Margaery is right a second time. PENTOSHI TAKEOUT.
Bergamot, this chapter goes out to you. :D
After seeing Jaime on the bridge, and then later in the kitchen, a truce seemed to fall between them. Brienne wouldn’t call them friendly—she was still far too awkward around him, and he still slipped into entitlement and condescension far too often—but at least there wasn’t the animosity there had been.
A month later, she was watching Breaking Bad, about halfway through the first season, when Jaime came home. She was completely engrossed, and she started when the door closed heavily at the same moment a gun was fired on the screen. She turned around with a squeak, fists close against her chest, to find Jaime watching her with one arched brow and a hint of a smile. She caught the scent of autumn leaves and Unella No. 5 as he shook off his coat.
This was the third time she’d noticed the scent of perfume—the first was the night she’d seen him on the bridge, though she hadn’t recognized it at the time. The second time had been a couple weeks before. He’d come into the apartment and gone straight to his room. She hadn’t seen him again that night. She had to admit to being a little curious—was it a girlfriend? His mother? They didn’t talk about such things, of course, and Brienne knew well enough not to pry. She didn’t enjoy answering questions about her family and love life, either.
Jaime sat down on the sofa next to her with a sigh, staring at her TV screen, the show paused on a close-up of the main character’s face. There were shadows under Jaime’s eyes, and the set of his shoulders spoke of a bone-deep exhaustion. “Breaking Bad?” he rumbled, breaking the silence that had fallen. He didn’t look at her.
“Y-yeah,” Brienne stuttered out, cringing a little, hoping he wouldn’t insult or mock her viewing choices, or worse. She remembered what Margaery had been saying about Jaime, that he was a drug dealer. “Do you want to watch it with me?” she asked, hesitant. Maybe she’d be able to rule out ‘drug dealer’ if she saw how he reacted to a show about making meth?
Jaime snorted, a half-hearted chuckle leaving his mouth. “Why the hell not,” he sighed, crossing one long leg so his ankle rested on the opposite knee. “It’s a good enough show, and I’m sick of being in my own head anyway.” The last bit was muttered, and Brienne wasn’t sure whether she was meant to have heard it, so she pretended that she hadn’t.
“Just don’t spoil it for me,” she warned him lightly, pressing play and immersing herself in the world of Walter White.
“I still think he’s a drug dealer,” Margaery announced a couple weeks later, still firm in her belief.
“I’m pretty sure he’s not a drug dealer,” Brienne said, exasperated.
“How do you know he’s not a drug dealer?” Margaery countered. Brienne was actually pretty sure Margaery didn’t believe what she was saying, and instead was just trying to get a rise out of Brienne. She was well on her way to succeeding, Brienne’s face feeling as though it was on fire.
“I just think he’s probably not a drug dealer.” Wouldn’t she know if he was a drug dealer? Did drug dealers own as many hair products as he did? She was momentarily distracted, thinking about the rows of pastes and pomades cluttering his half of the bathroom counter and spilling onto hers.
Margaery looked at her critically, silence hanging in the air between them. “Oh gods, you are totally hung up on the drug dealer!” she crowed.
Brienne gaped, stunned, and knew her face had flushed even darker. She was moving her jaw, but no sound came out. “Would you please keep your voice down?” she hissed, wondering not for the first time why she and Margaery were friends. “And I am not… ‘hung up’ on Jaime Lannister. We just watch TV together,” she finished, only stuttering over the words a little.
Margaery’s eyes widened and she grabbed Brienne’s arm, manicured nails digging into her skin almost painfully. “Did you say Lannister?” she asked, voice almost breathy.
“Yes.” Brienne was confused. Hadn’t she ever mentioned his last name to Marg? Apparently not.
Margaery drew in a sharp breath. “You’re right,” she said, sounding almost disappointed. “He really isn’t a drug dealer.” She seemed to think for a moment, then brightened. “Well. Probably.”
Brienne was even more confused now than she had been. “Do you…know him?” she asked.
Margaery stared. “I’m amazed that you don’t.”
Brienne tried not to feel offended. “So what do you know about him?”
Margaery paused, seeming to think about her words. “He’s a fair bit older than me, but Jaime and I grew up in the same social circles. His mother passed away when he was quite young, and Jaime and his brother each have a sizeable trust fund, not to mention jobs at Casterly Holdings.”
Brienne felt her eyes widen as she recognized the name of the largest financial planning firm in King’s Landing. “Well what in the seven hells is he doing living with me?” She’d known he was wealthy.
“Grandmother had mentioned he was taking a sabbatical of some sort.” Well, that explained why he never seemed to go to work. Margaery shrugged. “I assumed he was sightseeing in Dorne or some other nonsense.”
“No,” Brienne groaned, “he’s just slumming it with me.”
“Ah, well.” Margaery patted her arm. “You only have four more weeks, right?”
Brienne frowned, thinking. “More like three, actually.” It was actually a little sad to think about. It was nice to see signs of someone else living in her little apartment. It was nice having someone to watch TV with. “So, since you’ve known him for so long, and he’s probably not a drug dealer, anything I should be concerned about?”
Margaery hesitated. “Just steer clear of his step-sister, Cersei.”
Brienne got home after work, still mulling over her conversation with Margaery at lunch. She opened the door to the sweet, spicy aroma of Pentoshi takeout, the breakfast nook littered with white cartons, and two empty plates. She hung up her coat, looking around the small apartment but seeing no sign of Jaime. She couldn’t deny the small glow of pleasure she felt at the sight.
Jaime’s bedroom door opened, and Brienne looked up to see him walking to join her in the kitchen. She smiled hesitantly as he shifted nervously.
“I got dinner,” he blurted out. “You had said this,” and he waved his hand around him, indicating the apartment, “was for three months.” Jaime pulled an envelope from his back pocket, similar to the one he’d given her the evening they met. “Here’s another three months, if you were willing to extend.”
Brienne tried to look more at ease than she felt and gave a shrug. “I actually think this is working out better than I’d thought it would,” she admitted, realizing in that moment that she had started to consider him as something like a friend. “But you don’t have to pay me all at once. The first of the month is fine.” She turned and started opening containers, something for her hands to do.
Jaime leaned in close and set the envelope on the counter near her elbow. She could smell his cologne, subtle and woodsy, feel the warmth radiating from his skin. “I have it right now, might as well take it.”
Brienne was reminded of what Margaery had said about a trust fund earlier that day and decided it must be true. He was so casual about money, it almost made her head spin.
“Besides,” Jaime added, a deep grin creasing his face so she could see his even, white teeth, “it would’ve been hard to finish watching the rest of Breaking Bad before I had to move out.” He nudged her in the ribs, gently.
Brienne rolled her eyes and followed him back to the couch, trying in vain to hide the smile on her face. She sat in her usual spot, tucking her feet up and to the side. She was swallowing her first bite of sweet and spicy chicken when Jaime tickled the soles of her feet for a brief moment. She laughed helplessly until he stopped, then kicked him in the hip with a half-hearted glare. He was grinning at her boyishly, his eyes crinkled at the corners, and she felt her heart speed up a little bit. It was probably just the spicy food, she told herself.
Hung up on him? Not even a little. But she thought maybe he was becoming her friend.
Chapter 4: Gold
Jaime and Brienne settle into a pattern. Jaime makes a confession. Brienne prevents Jaime from buying a too-large Midfest tree a la the Griswolds.
Another month passed, marked by evenings on the couch watching TV—they’d finished Breaking Bad and were watching Battlestar Galactica—and Fridays ordering takeaway. Brienne enjoyed the routine—two or three episodes, punctuated every so often by Jaime poking her in the ribs or tickling her feet until she squealed with laughter. One night, he actually made her snort. She’d shoved him with her foot. He’d been insufferably delighted.
Then one day, she came home and the apartment was unusually silent, Jaime nowhere to be found. Of course, he was free to come and go as he pleased, but he usually texted her if he was going out, or left a note on the kitchen counter.
She was worried, unusually so. It wasn’t like Jaime at all. She flipped through the channels aimlessly, unwilling to begin without him. Brienne didn’t even realize she’d fallen asleep on the couch until the front door slammed and she jerked her chin up from her chest, turning so fast she was surprised she didn’t give herself whiplash. Jaime stared at her blankly, swaying on his feet a little. Brienne jumped up in concern, helping him with his rain-dampened coat, her brow furrowed. Still he said nothing, a vacancy in his expression that Brienne couldn’t recall ever seeing on another face.
“Jaime, what’s wrong?” she asked worriedly. She could smell Unella No. 5 in the air as she led him to sit beside her on the couch, turning to face him. But he said nothing, only twisting in his seat and leaning forward to rest his forehead against her shoulder. Brienne blinked in surprise, strands of his wet hair tickling the back of her hand as she placed it on his shoulder. After several long moments, Jaime released a harsh, ragged breath against her neck. His face was cold, damp with tears or the rain, she couldn’t tell.
“Jaime, what happened?” she whispered, fingers threading through the ends of his hair tentatively. And oh, it was as soft and lovely as it looked, thick and smooth. Nothing like her thin, brittle hair.
“Gods, Cersei,” he rasped, pulling away and covering his face with his hands. Brienne recognized the name from Margaery’s warning several weeks ago—Jaime’s stepsister. “It’s over. It’s actually over,” he muttered.
“What’s over?” Brienne murmured, feeling a touch of uneasiness. This wasn’t how people normally talked about family. This was more like—
Jaime’s story spilled into the air between them as he told her about his relationship with his stepsister, one they’d kept secret since their teens. He told her about discovering all her other lovers and taking a sabbatical because he couldn’t bear to see her in the boardroom, the elevator, at meeting after meeting.
And then he told her about the handful of times he’d gone back to Cersei these past months, who seemed to know just when to call, just what to say.
“I loved her,” he said, eyes dry, no apologies. “I loved her, and I think I finally realized—” Jaime swallowed hard, eyes darting to the side. “I realized we weren’t on the same page anymore.”
Brienne nodded slowly, knowing she must look a bit shell-shocked. It was a lot to take in, after all.
Jaime chanced a look at her, then quickly glanced away. “Do you find me appalling?” he asked, hunching his shoulders.
“Oh,” Brienne said quietly, more an exhale of breath than anything else. His eyes met hers. He was afraid. “No, Jaime, I don’t.” Jaime swallowed thickly, looking down at his hands in his lap. She paused, thinking of what to say. “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” she said with all the sincerity she could muster.
Jaime nodded slowly. “Thank you,” he said quietly. There was a long moment of silence, then Jaime sighed, rubbing his hands briskly over his thighs. He stood, looking awkward for a brief moment, then jerked his head towards his bedroom.
Brienne understood. “Sweet dreams,” she murmured as he walked down the hallway.
Another month passed. Jaime hadn’t mentioned Cersei again, but he seemed as though a burden had been lifted. It had only take a day or two for any lingering awkwardness to dissipate between them, and things were back to normal. Brienne wondered if he’d actually resolved anything with his stepsister, or whether he just didn’t want to talk about it; either way, it wasn’t her place to push.
Winter had finally hit King’s Landing, and Jaime had been insistent that they buy a Midfest tree to celebrate. “I want a big one,” he declared as they entered the lot full of real trees—he’d insisted on that, too—pines and firs and spruces everywhere they looked.
Brienne blew into her hands before rubbing them together briskly. Why could she never remember gloves? Winter after winter with perpetually cold hands—either she lost one or both, or she forgot to buy them until the stores were out of stock, but it seemed like she should have figured this out by now. She followed Jaime, who was wandering excitedly from tree to tree, stamping her feet to get the blood moving.
“This one!” he shouted, standing next to an enormous fir that she was positive was bigger than her front room. And he looked so stupidly handsome there, like something out of a Tobho catalogue. He was wearing his black wool pea coat, a bright red plaid scarf draped artfully around his neck. His eyes glinted gold in the string lights crisscrossing above them, a pink flush high on his cheekbones from excitement and the cold, a sprinkle of snowflakes just beginning to melt in his hair.
Brienne chuckled and shook her head, trying to dispel the squirming feeling low in her stomach at the picture she made. “Jaime,” she said, exasperated, “we could not fit that tree in the apartment.”
He pouted. “We could just move the couch,” he suggested, a wheedling note in his voice.
Brienne rolled her eyes. “And put it where?” she exclaimed. “Also, I can’t make the apartment any taller,” she reminded him.
He looked up, seeming to think about her words, then reluctantly nodded.
“What about this one?” Brienne suggested, pointing to a nearby pine.
Jaime cast it a scathing look. “That thing is dropping needles by the pound.” He almost looked offended. “I’m not looking to reenact A Charlie Brown Midfest, Brienne.”
Brienne coughed when he said her name. No one else said it quite the way he did, and warmth spread through her chest. She was glad her face was already bright red from the cold. He continued his search, Brienne trailing behind absently. She wondered whether she should get him a Midfest gift, and if so, what could she possibly give him? The question had been plaguing her mind for days, ever since Jaime had announced this harebrained scheme of his to get a tree. She still didn’t have an answer. She pushed the thought from her mind, focusing on the tree shopping instead.
They eventually found a Midfest tree that would fit in the apartment and yet also fit Jaime’s exacting standards. She hadn’t known he’d be so picky, and her teeth were chattering by the time they tied it to the top of the SUV she’d borrowed from Renly.
“I’ll drive, so you can put your hands in front of the heating vents,” he offered, seeming to feel bad about how cold she was. She handed him the keys, his fingers brushing her palm, sending warmth all the way through her. She coughed and pulled her knit hat further down over her ears, climbing into the SUV and buckling her seatbelt as they drove back towards their apartment.
“How about dinner?” he asked suddenly, turning to grin at her.
“Look at the road, Jaime!” Brienne cried. Jaime rolled his eyes and turned back to the road. She rolled his words over in her mind. Dinner? Like at a restaurant? This was a first. She felt her heart speed up at the thought, and quashed the thoughts burgeoning in her mind.
He seemed to take her silence for hesitation. “Please?” he wheedled, somehow managing to give her puppy dog eyes without looking away from the road. “We could try that new Dornish place.”
Brienne caved, a sinking feeling in her gut. She was totally hung up on Jaime.
Gods, she hated it when Margaery was right.
Spring was in the air, though snow still covered the ground in large patches, melting into slushy puddles in others. Brienne knew her pants would be soaked halfway up to her knees by the time she got back to the apartment, even though the walk from the subway station was a short one. She thought longingly of the warm, dry, flannel pajama pants Jaime had given her for Midfest, maybe a hot shower first...
It hit her when she was close to home—gods did she have to pee. Brienne hurried the rest of the way, taking the stairs two at a time, regretting every sip of that lemonade with every step. She fumbled with her key in the lock and dropped her coat on the hook next to Jaime’s as she sprang through the doorway, pushing the door shut with her foot before hurrying down the hallway towards the bathroom, unfastening her pants as she went.
She flung the door open, belatedly realizing that it was already occupied. Jaime sat up straight in the tub, water streaming from his hair and over his shoulders, beading in his chest hair as he blinked at her owlishly.
“Oh my gods, Jaime! I have to pee!” she near-shrieked, hiding her face in her hands and crossing her legs. Oh gods, he’s naked, she thought, half-panicking, unsure what to do. They only had one bathroom!
Jaime chuckled, a warm rumbling sound, and Brienne wanted to die from a combination of embarrassment at her predicament, but also wanting to peek between her fingers.
Jaime sighed. “Just go, Brienne. I’ll keep my eyes shut and everything,” he said teasingly. Brienne caved to the temptation—she looked at him from between her fingers, finding his green eyes gleaming almost lasciviously. She didn’t say anything, though her face felt like it was on fire, just pointed a finger at him and glared.
He laughed and closed his eyes tightly, making an exaggerated production of covering them with one hand. Brienne looked at him suspiciously, then at the toilet. Gods this was embarrassing. But at least the sink and counter were between them… She pulled out the long tails of her white button-up, yanking down her black slacks and polka-dotted underwear, anxiously checking that his eyes were still closed as she sat down.
She waited. And waited. Oh gods, she could not do this, not with Jaime in the same room!
“How’s it going over there?” Jaime asked, laughter in his voice. His fingers were still firmly clamped over his eyes when she glanced over at him, but his chest was jerking with silent laughter.
“Oh gods, just shut up,” she muttered, his silent laughter becoming an audible snigger. “I have a shy bladder. You need to shut up!” She threw Jaime’s comb at his head and he flinched but still didn’t move his hand, his laughter tapering off. Brienne reached over and turned on the faucet so he couldn’t hear her, and sighed in relief as she was finally able to urinate.
Brienne finished, pulling her pants with her as she stood, keeping half an eye on Jaime until they were buttoned up. She adjusted the temperature on the faucet, soaping her hands—
—and gasped as she felt water splashing her left side. She was frozen in shock for a moment before whirling to face Jaime, soap suds dripping from her fingers.
“Jaime!” she shrieked. “You—” but her words were cut off by another huge splash of water drenching her face and her shirt. Brienne spluttered, wiping the water away with her sleeve, clenching her fists at her side. “Jaime. Lannister,” she growled, refusing to let her eyes drop from his face as she glared it him.
Jaime grinned, biting into his lower lip, his eyes seeming to darken as they raked over her face and dropped lower. Brienne held her breath, the air seeming to thicken between them as his eyes met hers once more.
“Brienne,” he murmured, so inviting she couldn’t bear to look at him another moment, scowling and dropping her eyes to her feet. Which was when she noticed her white shirt plastered to her front, her bra visible through the wet fabric. She gasped, face turning red as a beet, her arms crossing tightly over her chest. She left the bathroom in a huff, Jaime’s chuckles burning in her ears. She hid in her room for the rest of the night.
The next morning was predictably awkward for Brienne, Jaime cracking pee jokes the moment he saw her. She glared at him half-heartedly as she ate her oatmeal, but soon he startled a laugh out of her, looking like a pleased little boy. She sniffed and looked away with her nose in the air, which made him laugh uproariously. They grinned at each other ridiculously for a moment, and then Brienne left for work, relieved that it wasn’t quite as awkward as she’d feared.
Brienne was making breakfast in the kitchen on a Saturday, the blinds open to let the weak sunlight filter in. Sweat beaded on her face, heat radiating from the stove as she cooked, and she was thankful for the thin tank top and sleep pants she wore. Anything more, and she thought her face might melt off. But this was worth it—she hoped, anyway.
Thoughts of Jaime ran through her mind as the pan sizzled in front of her. Another month had passed, and an odd, subtle sort of tension was growing between Brienne and her roommate. Sometimes she would catch him staring at her, a thoughtful look in his eyes. Sometimes he looked like he wanted to devour her.
She was reminded of an evening a little over a week before, when they’d gone for a walk after dinner to enjoy the brisk air and stretch their legs. Jaime had suggested that they stop at a little grocer’s stand nearby, and she’d watched his long, strong fingers run lightly over apples and lemons, peaches and pears. A heaviness settled low in her stomach as she wondered what those fingers would feel like trailing over her skin. He’d selected two peaches and two plums, and the grocer put them in a paper bag as Jaime handed over a few bills. They’d walked a little further to sit at a park bench they’d discovered on their last walk, the paper bag rustling in Jaime’s grasp as he opened it. He had handed her a peach and pulled the other out for himself, taking a big bite. Brienne had followed suit, feeling the juice trickle down her chin, but before she could wipe it away, Jaime’s thumb was there, wiping the liquid from her skin. She’d been almost mesmerized as he brought his thumb to his mouth, sucking the juice away, his eyes almost black as they watched her. But then he’d winked at her and smiled, and the moment was gone.
Brienne turned off the gas stove with an easy flick of her wrist, trying to push the memory from her mind. She walked to the breakfast nook and looked at it with a critical eye. Well, she’d done the best she could. With that in mind, she walked down the hallway, standing for a nervous moment outside Jaime’s bedroom door. This is stupid, she tried to tell herself—but no, she couldn’t chicken out, she wouldn’t. She knocked lightly and waited for an answer, but none came. After a few moments, she knocked again, louder, and heard him grunt. Well, one thing she’d learned about Jaime, he wasn’t a morning person.
“I’ve got breakfast,” she called through the door. She heard him grunt again. “Hurry up!” Brienne walked back to the kitchen as she heard his door open, his shuffling footsteps heading towards the bathroom. She began setting out plates of food. She’d just pulled a carton of orange juice from the fridge when she turned around, emitting a startled “oh!” as a feeling of déjà vu swept over her.
Jaime stood in the middle of the kitchen, watching her, his hair mussed and a smear of toothpaste at the corner of his mouth. He was scratching his bare stomach idly, naked except for a pair of green plaid boxer shorts.
He was still the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on.
Brienne took a deep breath. “I thought we talked about this, and you need to wear clothes out here?” she asked, clutching the orange juice to her chest and looking anywhere but at Jaime.
He grinned, emerald eyes sparkling. “Do I smell bacon?” he asked.
Brienne chuckled, more a huff than anything else, and nodded her head.
“What’s the occasion?” he asked, grin widening impossibly.
“Would you believe we’ve been roommates for six months now?” she asked. When Jaime shook his head, Brienne said, “Look what I made you.” She led him over to the breakfast nook and picked up the platter of bacon—thick sliced, crispy, black-pepper bacon—and turned to show it to him. She knew she must look like a fool, grinning from ear to ear. “You said you were a bacon and eggs kind of guy,” Brienne said, turning to put the platter next to a similar one filled with scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. She felt Jaime come to stand beside her, the warmth radiating from his bare skin towards hers. She wanted nothing more than to lean against him, to feel his arm wrapped around her, to…
“Brienne,” he said softly, and she felt that familiar shiver run up her spine at the way he said her name. “Thank you.” She turned to reply, and that’s when his mouth covered hers.
Chapter 6: Silver
Brienne has brunch and overthinks things. Jaime eats cold bacon.
Oh. Right. There's banging (kind of).
“What do you mean, he kissed you?” Margaery half-shrieked as Brienne shushed her, looking around furtively. She knew it had been a mistake to tell her, especially when they were out in public, but it wasn’t like Brienne had a lot of options.
“I mean I made him bacon and eggs and he probably tried to kiss me on the cheek or something but I turned my head and—” Brienne sighed. This even sounded ridiculous to her. Just not as ridiculous as Jaime actually wanting to kiss her.
Margaery rolled her eyes. “Okay. Sure. Let’s pretend he accidentally mashed his face against yours and fell tongue-first down your throat.”
Brienne gasped at her friend’s description, scandalized, but Margaery was speaking again before she had a chance to draw in a breath.
“When exactly did you get to the kissing-each-other-on-the-cheek stage?” she all but demanded.
“I don’t know!” Brienne hissed, mortified.
Margaery looked at her, eyes inscrutable. “Okay, so what happened after he kissed you?
Brienne sighed, letting her face fall against her arms, which were crossed on the table top.
“I left,” she said, muffled into her elbow.
“You left?” Margaery said, incredulous.
Brienne peeked up at her, then hid her face in her arms again. “Yes,” she mumbled. “Then I called you and asked if you could meet me for brunch and here we are.”
“I can barely hear you,” Margaery said dryly. “Just so you know. It’s a good thing I know you so well, otherwise you’d have to repeat that whole thing.”
“Okay, so you left. He just let you leave?”
Brienne sighed, sitting up again. Her face was on fire. “He pulled back and looked at me and I told him I needed to go grocery shopping.” She could see Margaery was trying not to laugh at her and scowled. “I was freaking out! I just rushed by him and grabbed my coat and went out the door before he could say anything else!” Brienne plucked at the fabric of her sleep pants. “Which is why I’m wearing pajamas and crocs,” she mumbled.
“Oh my gods,” Margaery muttered under her breath, then again, “oh my gods.” Margaery pointed her crepe-covered fork at Brienne and gave her a severe look. “You could be having amazing sex right now with the most gorgeous man in this city, probably the country, and you are sitting here with me.”
Brienne gaped, jaw hanging somewhere around her chest. Can you die of embarrassment? I am going to die of embarrassment. “He wasn’t—I mean, I’m not—” Brienne spluttered, unable to convey what she meant—no one had wanted to have sex, amazing or otherwise, with her ever. Let alone someone like Jaime.
“Go home, Brienne,” Margaery said, then softened her tone. “You’re going to have to deal with this either way. Might as well do it now.” Margaery smirked, a devilish glint in her eye. “Then you can do it later.”
“I seriously hate you,” Brienne muttered, hiding her face in her hands.
Margaery squeezed her forearm. “Face it head-on, Brienne. Don’t be a coward.”
Brienne let her hands drop, glaring at her friend. Without another word, she stood and left.
Coward. Ugh. Margaery knew just how to manipulate her. And she knew she was being manipulated and let it happen anyway! She alternated between fuming and nerves as she walked the short distance home, the nerves becoming more and more prominent with each step she took.
With a certain amount of trepidation, and a fervent prayer that maybe Jaime had left as well, Brienne slowly walked up the stairs to her apartment. She unlocked the door and shuffled inside.
Jaime was sitting at the table, still clad in nothing but his boxer shorts, staring at her with dark eyes as he slowly chewed a slice of bacon. Truly, the gods had abandoned her. There was a panicky moment where she wondered if she could just open the door and make a run for it, never come back. She could buy new stuff…maybe move to the Wall…
But no. She made herself meet his eyes. He kept staring at her as he stabbed a chunk of cold scrambled eggs and brought it to his mouth.
“Thank you for breakfast,” he said, breaking the silence after he’d swallowed. He sounded unnaturally calm.
Brienne cleared her throat nervously, hanging up her coat and toeing off her crocs. “You’re welcome,” she managed to choke out. She wanted to sink through the floor. She wanted to teleport to her bedroom. She wanted Jaime to push her back against the door and kiss her again, like something from a movie.
None of those things happened.
Her shoulders slumped, her insecurities eating her alive. She dropped her gaze to the floor, mumbling something unintelligible as she sidled towards the hallway and the safety of her bedroom, thinking longingly of her fluffy duvet and possibly hiding underneath it forever. She finally made it to the hallway, turning her back on Jaime. His stare was boring a hole straight through her. A few more steps, and she’d be in her room, she’d—
“I thought you were going grocery shopping?” Jaime said, his voice sounding too loud in the uneasy quiet of her apartment. She froze, slowly turning to face him. He was still sitting at the table, his face like a thundercloud.
Brienne’s jaw worked soundlessly for a moment. “I—I—” she stammered, not really knowing what to say. She fell silent once more as Jaime pushed back from the table and stalked over to her.
“If you are not feeling this,” he said fiercely, gesturing between their bodies, “just say so. I can handle it.”
Brienne felt her eyes widen, round as saucers, at his tone. “N-no, I do, I just—” she stuttered, but she was cut off by the press of Jaime’s mouth against hers, his tongue in her mouth, his fingers sliding into her hair. He walked her back until she was pressed against his bedroom door. She was startled, frozen at the unfamiliar sensations, the way she felt surrounded with Jaime’s arms on either side of her.
“Gods,” he groaned, tearing his mouth away to kiss her neck, scraping his teeth over a spot behind her ear.
Brienne sucked in a breath, arching against him as he groaned again and pressed back against her, his cock pressing hot and hard against her hip. She could feel his heart pounding through her shirt, matching the pace of hers. And gods, she wanted this, but it was moving so quickly. She pushed at his shoulders, dizzy with the feel of him, needing some space to catch her breath, something.
Jaime pulled back, looking confused, and Brienne took a moment to drink him in. His eyes glittered in the dim light, dark with just a thin ring of bright green around his blown pupils. His mouth was kiss-swollen, a sheen left behind as he licked his lips. His chest was heaving, just the way she knew hers was, pressed against him with every inhale she took. She noticed fingernail marks on his stomach—when had she done that?—before glancing shyly at his green plaid boxers, which were prominently tented.
“What’s wrong?” he rasped out as she met his gaze once more, looking at her hungrily. “Are you going to run away again?”
“N-no,” she stuttered at his challenge, licking her bottom lip. His eyes sharpened, watching the movement. She swallowed heavily as he leaned in to kiss her again, and placed both hands against his chest, feeling the rasp of his chest hair against her palms. She swallowed again, staring at his mouth, soft and just slightly open. “I haven’t done this before,” she blurted out, eyes squeezing tightly shut. Gods, this was mortifying. She waited a few moments as the silence stretched between them. They were so close she could feel his breath fanning her face, his chest rising and falling against her fingers. She finally squinted one eye open, wondering if she’d totally ruined the moment.
Jaime was biting into his lip, eyes scanning her face. “Okay,” he breathed. “Do you need to stop, or—” He cut off as Brienne shook her head vehemently, eyes wide. A hint of relief crossed his face. “Slower?” he suggested.
Brienne nodded and licked her lips again, noticing how hot and swollen they felt, sensitive to the press of his lips, the probing of his tongue. She moaned low in her throat as his hands left her hair and skimmed over her neck before caressing the swell of her small breasts. “Oh!” she gasped, her hips moving against his of their own accord as his fingers plucked at her tightening nipples through the fabric of her shirt.
“Do you want to go to my room?” he murmured, fingernails scraping lightly over her nipples and then squeezing her breasts, so that she could barely think straight.
“Whu—?” she asked, her head feeling muzzy. Why was he talking?
Jaime chuckled, reaching for the doorknob by her hip and pushing the door open. She clutched his shoulders for balance as he walked her backwards to his bed, his lips never leaving her mouth, her neck.
“Jaime,” she whispered, right before he claimed her mouth again, easing her back to the extravagant king sized bed which took up most of his small room.
And oh, the soft give of the cool mattress beneath her, the hot, hard press of his body above her as he settled between her legs…it was so much to take in. She ripped her mouth away, taking in deep, shuddering breaths as she felt him…grinding between her legs, the seam of her sleep pants rubbing against her as well. She felt a warm, deep glow building in the pit of her stomach.
Gods, she was still wearing all her clothes, and this was so much better than her small, lonely fumblings in the darkness of her room. Jaime was kissing her neck as she ran her hands over his back and shoulders, urgency and hesitation warring within her, wanting to feel more—more of his skin, his teeth, his hands…
“Oh my gods,” Jaime muttered, sitting back on his haunches to fumble with the hem of her shirt. “Can I take this off?” he asked, eyes dark and pleading.
Jaime shook his head. “It’s okay,” he murmured, lowering his head as he pushed the hem up a couple inches, running his tongue over the strip of bare skin he’d revealed. “It’s okay,” he said again, working his way back up her body, catching the tip of one cloth-covered breast between his teeth and flicking it with his tongue, dampening the fabric there.
She couldn’t help but squirm beneath him. It just felt so good. “Jaime,” she whimpered, arching against him mindlessly. Jaime responded in kind, groaning against her breast, grinding back against her. She fumbled with the hem of her shirt, pulling it over her head in one quick motion. It took all her willpower not to cross her arms over herself, to hide all the wide expanses of freckly skin no one had seen but her—until now.
She forced herself to keep her eyes on his face, searching for any signs of revulsion. She saw none, Jaime’s eyes fixated on her breasts with rapt attention. He reached out to span them with both hands, fingers sinking slightly into the soft flesh before rolling her nipples between thumb and forefinger.
Brienne felt her eyes roll back in her head, heard the ridiculous whimpers and noises spilling from her lips, but couldn’t stop them for the life of her. And then—oh, then Jaime’s mouth joined his fingers. Brienne locked her ankles behind his back as his cock ground against her, his mouth pulling at her flesh. She felt that glow burning brighter and brighter inside her, Jaime’s moans, the wet sounds of his lips on her body ringing in her ears.
“Jaime?” she moaned, unsure, her fingers clenching in the hair at the back of his head. His hips were still grinding against her, his movements a little jerky. He moaned in response, the vibrations rumbling against her, and that warm, glowing feeling burst inside her in rippling waves, her back arching, her fingers tightening in Jaime’s hair. He was grinding even harder against her now, all rhythm gone, until he let loose a loud, long groan against her breast. His hips stuttered a last few times against hers before he collapsed against her, his breath hot and damp against the bare skin of her chest.
They were both pulling in shuddering lungsful for the next few minutes. Other than that, they were both quiet, for which Brienne was thankful—she was attempting to process, but Jaime was so distracting, still pressed against her as he was.
“Was that good?” she asked, unsure.
“Oh gods,” he muttered into her neck, his shoulders shaking in mirth, “was it good? I haven’t come in my pants since I was a teenager.”
Brienne began laughing, too, surprised that it could be like this—like maybe they were still friends, there was just more. And she thought she liked the sound of that an awful lot.
Chapter 7: White: An Epilogue
Brienne's dad visits. Jaime buys peaches.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Brienne stared at Jaime’s profile, limned by the late morning sunlight. She propped herself on one elbow, tracing one finger along the bridge of his nose, then the curve of his lower lip. He smiled, cracking open one eye to look at her, and Brienne blushed at being caught. She pulled her hand back, ready to apologize for waking him, but he snagged her wrist, smile turning into a grin.
Jaime tugged her hand back to his mouth, catching the tip of one finger between his teeth and flicking his tongue over it, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
Brienne flushed darker, that now-familiar feeling of arousal pooling in her stomach as she yanked her hand back. Jaime’s teeth gleamed, white and even, as his mouth opened in a laugh. With a huff, she rolled out of his—their bed, naked as the day she was born. She ignored him as she pulled on his shirt from the day before, a blue button-up that still smelled of him. She glanced over her shoulder where Jaime was sitting up in bed, crisp white sheets pooling around his hips, looking deliciously tousled.
“Come back to bed,” he rumbled invitingly, his eyes dark.
That smile ought to be illegal, Brienne thought. “I thought I’d make us something to eat.” She turned to face him. “Yogurt and peaches and granola, maybe?” she murmured with a smirk. Jaime wrinkled his nose, and she fought to hold in her laughter. “Bacon and eggs, then?”
He bit into his lower lip, running his gaze up and down her body, lingering between her legs. “There’s something right here I think I’d prefer eating.” He leaned forward, fingers of one hand curling behind her knee.
Brienne rolled her eyes but allowed herself to be tugged forward, her hands coming to rest on Jaime’s shoulders as she looked down at him. He grinned at her boyishly, his eyes crinkling at the corners in the way she loved so well.
“You know my dad is getting here this afternoon,” she reminded him, trying not to be distracted by his fingers running lightly up and down her thighs. Jaime made a face and she giggled as he buried his nose in her lower abdomen, taking a deep breath. All of a sudden, Brienne found herself falling to the bed, rolling to the side so that Jaime landed on top of her, settling between her legs.
“That gives us some time,” Jaime mumbled, kissing along her collarbone as he began unbuttoning his shirt she was wearing, then down between her breasts.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” she sighed, dreamily running her hands over his shoulders, his back.
Jaime’s lips brushed her lower stomach, bit at her hip bone. “We’ve definitely done this before,” he murmured, right before his teeth sank into her inner thigh.
Brienne gasped as she thought about the first time he’d done this, that first day when she'd made him bacon. “I didn’t mean this this—” She felt his warm breath a moment before his tongue touched her, and moaned loudly. “I meant g-getting—married. Oh!”
Jaime lifted his head, his eyes glittering. “I have never been more sure of anything in my life.” His voice was quiet, confident.
Brienne chewed on her lip. “But after only nine months?” she asked, voice breathy. His tongue swiped over her again.
“I would have married you after the first week, Brienne.”
She would have answered, but…well. Jaime could be very distracting when he set his mind to it.
Her dress was white, a simple thing she’d bought off the rack but which fit well, the hem flaring around her knees. Her family cloak brushed her calves, the rose and blue silk whisper soft.
Brienne bent her knees, and Margaery placed a crown of blue flowers in her hair. “You look beautiful,” she gushed, and Brienne rolled her eyes, trying to fight back a smile as she straightened. Margaery gave her a stern look. “Jaime will think so.” She sighed. “Two weeks! Two weeks to plan a wedding!”
“You’re lucky you had two weeks, Marg,” Brienne said, laughing at her friend’s mock irritation.
Margaery grabbed her hands, squealing and jumping up and down. “I am so excited for you!” she exclaimed. “And he’s not even a drug dealer!”
Brienne laughed. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she admitted.
Margaery paused, searching her eyes. “Do you want to be doing this?” she asked carefully.
Brienne’s eyes widened at the question, thinking of the day just two weeks ago when he’d proposed to her. They’d been on their way home after a walk through the nearby park, and Jaime had stopped at the grocer stand to get some fruit—two peaches and two plums. He’d reached into the white paper sack, fumbling a bit, and Brienne had held out her hand, waiting for a peach. Instead, she’d found herself blinking at a small velvet box in the palm of her hand, open to show a beautifully sparkling diamond. She’d met his gaze, relieved to find he wasn’t kneeling at her feet. Marry me? he’d asked, eyes bright and hopeful.
And she’d said yes.
“I do,” she said. “I really, really do.”
Margaery grinned and squeezed her hands. “Jaime’s waiting for you.”
She held her father’s arm as she walked down the aisle, Jaime waiting for her at the top of the dais, more beautiful than anything she’d ever seen.
She took her first step up the stairs, then another. I am his, and he is mine, from this day, until the end of my days.
There was nowhere else she’d rather be.
Whew! We've reached the end! And I'm only a little behind schedule with the final chapter.
Thank you to everyone who has read, kudos'd, and especially reviewed this story. I appreciate it more than I can say. I appreciate all your lovely words and compliments. That being said, if you have any constructive criticism you'd like to add, I am always interested in getting better at this writing thing. If you have any suggestions to pass along, I would appreciate them greatly!