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A Kiss of Debt

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They are mirror images of one another. Nay, they are the mirror distorted. Flipped. Light and dark. Broken and healed. The cauterized stub of a leading sword hand matched against a sinister hook.

Jaime does not know where he came from, the pirate. He claims no House, and the salt encrusting his boots speaks of a journey made across the Iron Seas. He kicks those boots off with a flair Jaime would have envied a year ago. A flair he would've surpassed a year ago, when he still wore a gold cloak and a smile. Now he wears nothing but scarred, burnished skin. At odds with the pirate's winter-pale limbs. The contrast mesmerizes him for a moment, catches his eyes like a shadow moving beneath water. And then the pirate laughs, pushing him back into the coarse straw of the hayloft.

"Jones," the man had called himself. But Jaime prefers no names. An anonymous welcome to Westeros for this seafarer. An anonymous goodbye to the last vestiges of his soul. What he hasn't already given away to Cersei, he'll give to this dark, craven creature who reflects his own sins back at him in sharp relief.

The hook gleams in the splintered light coming in through the breaks in the thatch. It tore his clothes easily and left no scratches behind. But still, Jaime shudders. Remembers metal cutting through bone. Recalls leaving rotted tissue and redemption at Harrenhal.

"Easy there, mate." The stranger is gentle. Soothing. When he has no cause to be. "We're neither of us virgins now, are we?"

He is. That's the joke of it. He's only loved one person in his entire luckless existence. Only given his body to one woman. "Why?" The word tears from between his parched lips. "Why me?"

The sun-warmed leather of a single gauntlet trails down his belly. Sapphire blue eyes glitter with a wealth of mirth. Nay, not mirth. Self-mockery. "There's a saying where I come from: 'familiarity breeds contempt.' And you, my friend, remind me entirely too much of me."

It's on the tip of Jaime's tongue to ask why, then, would the pirate want to fuck himself. But he knows the answer already. As he spreads his knees and clenches his fist and gasps out a name he has no business uttering, he realizes, with perfect clarity, that there is no better way to punish what you've come to hate the most.

They are mirror images of one another. Nay, they are the mirror distorted. Flipped. Dark and light. Healed and broken. A sinister hook matched against the cauterized stub of a leading sword hand.

All things possible and the utter absence of hope.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013