In the end, it was just them and the septon, in a place mostly forgotten in these troubled times. They still had not heard back from her father. Jaime apologized for the lack of spectacle, but Brienne was not one of those ladies who had spent her hours imagining this day until it reached unrealistic expectations. No, this was far better than the hot embarrassment of a sept full of people scrutinizing her flaws and the drunken march to the wedding chamber. Brienne had spent time thinking of those things, but only in horror. Her wistful daydreams had all been private, stripped of unnecessary actors. This ceremony fit them well. The septon was a grave man, but not unkind, and he little mattered really. What mattered was the man standing across from her, a man who wanted to marry her. It was hard to remember now, the disdain she'd once had for him and he for her. Solemn and flushed, they retired to their room in the mostly deserted inn.
Alone there with him, Brienne felt her heart go to her throat. Stripped of her sword and bitterness, she was a maid like any other. She stood, wooden in anxiety, and listened to his footsteps cross towards her. Jaime's arms reached around from behind her, guiding her to lean against him, and she exhaled deeply, relaxing against his warmth. The intentionality was different than the times that chance had pressed them together before. His breath was hot against her ear.
“Regretting me already?” she could almost hear the smirk in his voice as he said it. It put her strangely at ease as she turned to face him.
His lips were rough but tender against hers. She remembered the night they'd reunited in the rain of that wretched forest, half thinking one another a ghost and the way his body had shaken and the sweet ache as he'd knelt before her, begging. His kisses had been desperate that night and the way he'd pulled away had been jerky and awkward. Since then, he'd behaved chastely as a story book prince, as if chided by a septa. Even tonight he seemed tentative, as if unsure as to whether she might startle away like a doe. Brienne gathered the courage to wrap her arm around his neck, tangling her fingers through the golden curls that were growing at the base. She was still in some ways surprised for him not to shy away, even given the circumstances. She was nobody's idea of a beauty and she sort of suspected that he admired her spirit and not her person.
He breathed sharply against her, fumbling with the fastenings of his own cloak, while pressing closer against her. She broke away to help him and he let her, instead of insisting on struggling through. She smiled into his hair as his kissed her neck and sun browned shoulders. They resumed their kissing and if Brienne had had much of a bosom to speak of it would have been heaving. Her own dress felt suffocating and she wanted to loosen it, the intended lady had not had as broad of shoulders as she did, but everything about it was complicated and intended for a lady's maid to unfasten. Jaime reached out and his one good hand achieved more grace than both of hers had. His eyes met hers with a question, as he slid the outer layer of the ill fitted garment down.
Her blood was boiling, nervous and anticipating, as she let him guide her hands back towards his own wedding garb, showing her how she might proceed. Before long, she was staring at his perfectly toned and proportioned form. Even in his maimed state, Jaime was majestic. Suddenly she felt ashamed all over again, looking down at her flat chest, her narrow hips and her muscled legs. She was no prize to behold.
Either Jaime didn't notice her shortcomings, or he was very skilled in pretence. His hand traced her waist as if it were dainty and beautifully curved. She wanted to shy away but he caught her gaze and held it, running his fingers along her skin, and kissing the calloused surface of her hand. His eyes beseeched her to let him nearer.
She let him lead her back to the bed, embarrassed and full of desire at the same time. What if she disappointed him? He knew she was not beautiful but perhaps expected her to compensate somehow. She was not wise in these things, having preferred sword fighting to giggling with attending ladies. Indeed there had seemed little point in wasting time on a subject that she figured would always be dead to her. He was exploring her body though, as if it were not unseemly, as if the scars were smooth untarnished beauty. Her breath caught in her mouth as he cupped what little fullness she had in his hand, his thumb pressing against the peak of one breast, sending shivers down her spine. His mouth found her other breast, lips wrapping themselves around a suddenly prominent nipple and she wondered whether she was defective for her reaction. She knew that men often were fond of this part of a woman, but had never suspected that she might find her own anatomy there anything other than an inconvenience. Now she found it wired to that most private part of herself.
When Jaime moved on she discovered that ordinary places suddenly had heightened sensitivity, all of it lending towards pleasure. Still, she felt exposed and awkward as he moved down past her waist, her thighs pressing together tightly. She opened her eyes to find Jaime staring up at her with a wounded expression on his face.
“Please, Brienne... my lady.” He stopped, “Have I displeased you? I only want to please.” Slowly, Brienne relaxed her legs allowing Jaime to drop his hand between them, “You will tell me if I do something you don't like, right? It would be a pity if we stopped being honest with one another now that we are man and wife.”
Brienne nodded, laying back on the bed and letting Jaime's hand slide up her leg, his face pressed against the top of her thigh, breath unsteady. And then he shifted and his mouth was there, warm and tickling. His tongue was tentative at first lapping lightly in such a way as to make her squirm, teasing that tender nub of flesh she'd rubbed herself, self hating and ashamed, while lying alone all those lonely nights. His eyes darted up, watching for her reaction, not shut as if imagining himself elsewhere. His hand migrated up, rubbing gentle circles as he buried his face deeper between her thighs. His tongue pressed against her opening, darting up, hesitantly at first and then gaining confidence. The pressure inside her was building as she found herself shuddering and short of breath in what she was sure was a most undignified fashion. She felt every inch of her body pulsing, throbbing with new and overwhelming sensations.
She dug her fingers into the bed to keep from arching sharply against him and choked back a low moan. Jaime raised his head slightly, watching her intently, and then slid back up her body, his lips finding hers once more. She could feel him hard against her, his manhood swollen and pressing into her thigh. His body burned against hers.
“I want...” he started, “I long to be... Brienne, I need you.” His body shook as he told her this, everything about him revealing a deep yearning and restraint.
She nodded. She'd been raised to fear this moment but her whole body told her a different story.
He reached down to help align himself with her body. Brienne could feel the tip of him pressed against her and her hips almost pressed up onto him on their own. Both their bodies were quivering as he sank down into her, eyes locked on hers. It stung and part of her wanted to recoil but the other itched with need for more. It both hurt and tantalized. For a moment they stayed there, tears in both their eyes. Jaime reached down to cradle her face.
She lifted her head up to kiss him, her hands reaching up behind his back. They moved slowly, long careful movements, each thrust bringing more pleasure and less pain than the one before, until the pain faded away completely.
Each time their hips met his breath seemed to catch in this throat.
“Brienne…” He gasped, “My love, my…”
It was still hard to her to believe that any of this was real, that he loved her, that he wanted her. Here they were though, as close as two people could possibly be. His body covered hers, pressed close against her. There was no trace of irony or swagger or any of the other things she’d once associated with him.
“Jaime.” She kissed him again.
“Never leave me.” He begged, body shaking slightly as they continued to move together, “I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
He should have chosen another word because when he said bear she started giggling, the absurdity of the situation too much.
He pulled away, confusion and hurt written all over his face.
“Oh, Jaime. I… This is just all so absurd: You and me. I mean look at me! Look at you! I mean… I must be dreaming or have descended into some sort of madness.”
“Are you saying you do not want to be with me, I thought…” Jaime’s face was ashen. He genuinely didn’t seem to understand that the idea that she would be the one leaving him was as absurd as that whole business with the bear pit. It was she who was ugly. She who was barely a woman.
“You misunderstand.” Brienne tried to explain, sitting up next to him on the bed and taking his hands in hers, “How could I not? Look at you! You are everything any woman has ever dreamed of… and I’m…”
“Perfect.” Jaime’s emerald eyes bore into hers, “You are everything I ever wanted and everything I ever wanted to be put into one.”
“I appreciate your trust and your respect, but Jaime a marriage is meant to be more than that. I may not know much about these things but… I am not beautiful…”
“The hell you aren’t!” Jaime’s tone had an edge of anger to it, “To me you are. It started with your eyes, your astonishing eyes, but every time I look at you I find more things about you that are beautiful: your strong capable hands, the way your freckles stand out when you blush, the firmness of your belly and the sharp curve of your legs.”
With each statement, Jaime ran his hands along the area he was describing, following that with kisses to punctuate his point.
“You are mad.” Brienne murmured, but a feeling of joy spread across her body anyway. She kissed him back, ending up straddling Jaime’s lap, feeling him hard against her.
“Mad about you.” Jaime grinned, as she slid down, feeling him inside of her once more with no trace of the prior discomfort, only the warm heat of pleasure, “And I won’t rest until I’ve convinced you fully of how completely and utterly I need you in every sense of the world.
“I could grow to like that.” Brienne gasped, as his mouth found a sensitive bit of flesh and their pace increased. Her breath became shorter and shorter, body tingling and a tightness building up at her core.
“Jaime!” She cried, as her pleasure broke like a wave upon the sand, and she felt him convulse in response, the warmth flooding her body.
They stayed there, wrapped around one another and Brienne would feel both their heartbeats slowing gradually. Separating finally, they found their way under the blankets as Brienne found herself suddenly shivering, Jaime curled his body around hers from behind, as if desperate to keep hold of her.
“You know. I’m the old man, chances are that now that you’ve started to realize the potential for what our bodies can do… that you will want a younger, less crippled…”
Brienne turned around and kissed him, hard. It had never occurred to her that he might be as insecure about her affections as she had been about his. That simply wouldn’t do. Brienne began to consider how best to assuage his fears as he had hers. That was the duty of a wife, wasn’t it? She looked at his handsome face and golden curls and smiled. She couldn’t believe she deserved this happiness, but she was grateful to have it nonetheless.