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lions for lambs

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There’s no softness to it at all. Jaime can’t say he’s surprised at that. He could have guessed that touching Brienne would be a world away from what Jaime’s used to. Cersei’s heart might be as hard as Valyrian steel, but her body is soft and sweet, her embraces accommodating. Brienne is the precise opposite, a hard carapace concealing a heart tender enough to bruise like overripe fruit at the slightest mishandling. It occurs to Jaime that the tender heart might have been what necessitated the development of her armor in the first place; indeed, that she sought out a life of hardness in part to protect herself from the cruelties of a world that had no place for unattractive women. It’s unaccountable that such a creature should move him to desire. Even more unthinkable that she should move him to soft emotions, emotions well-suited to her soft heart, so he pushes those down, ignores them until he can convince himself that they never existed. Desire he understands, even for such a wench as Brienne of Tarth. Desire he can handle.

There is no yielding here, no soft surrender. She loves like she fights: fiercely, deliberately, whole-heartedly. She shares none of Cersei’s womanly affectations, none of her prettiness. Brienne grunts where Cersei would have moaned, hisses where Cersei would have sighed. Her shyness, though – unlike Cersei’s – is not feigned for effect. Even as she moves atop him, one hand pressed directly over his navel for balance, she crosses an awkward arm over her breasts; strange, he’d always thought of them as teats before, but such a word seems too crude for her now, too base. Too thoughtless for a woman who has fought him, protected him, and now fucked him with such single-minded fervor. He cannot help but admire her. Admiration has always been his undoing.

He sorely regrets now the times he mocked her and made cruel japes, added any element of shame to her current attempt at modesty. Maybe that’s what brings this queer tenderness welling up in him. Or maybe he would have felt it anyway. Few things are more inscrutable to him than his motivation at the moment.

Some unfamiliar determination takes him, to overcome her shyness, make her forget herself enough to drop her arm and ride him with abandon. He slides the thumb of his remaining hand towards the apex of her thighs. Her arm flutters away from her breasts to band protectively across her hips, then back to her breasts again – unsure which maidenly treasure to guard more fiercely, which modesty to maintain even in the face of such immodest circumstances – until her hand falls away entirely, all modesty forgotten in light of what his thumb is doing to her body. The satisfaction that surges through him is primal, electric. He may no longer be able to handle a weapon but he can still handle a woman.

He could not have said what it was that had made him kiss her in the first place – some unnameable urge bubbling up from the rarely examined depths of his soul. She had stiffened and pushed him away, but not without a split second of response.

“Why did you do that?” she had asked, and he knew she intended it to sound steely and implacable, but he could hear the quaver in her voice, as if she had been wounded. Wounded by a chaste kiss. Truly an overripe pear in a too-tight grip.

“We could die on the morrow,” he’d said, and it was both no answer and the only real answer there could be. She regarded him, her face all wary suspicion. He couldn’t blame her.

“Do not lie and say you think me beautiful,” she had said at last. He smiled ruefully. No, he’d not do her that dishonor.

“You have an undeniable loveliness of spirit, wench. Brienne.”

If his reasons for kissing her were inscrutable, it was nothing compared to the mystery of why she stepped square against him and touched her lips to his. It was shocking enough to paralyze him for a long moment, too long, as she drew back, gave him a look so wounded that a lesser man would feel a complete heel. Or a better man, really.

“Do you not want me?” Her words were the barest whisper.

“Gods help me but I do,” he had said, a man drowning, and pulled her back to him. It should have not excited him so, the hard plane of her body, the inexpert press of her mouth. He should not have grown hard in less space than it took to draw a breath. And yet.

“Jaime,” she pants now. “I don’t…I can’t…” Her face is distressed, confused. Gods, he thinks. Could she truly be so innocent? Given her appearance and her manner, he had expected little in the way of experience, but had she no curiosities, no urges to explore? It should have been vexing. Instead he finds himself gentling his touch, crooning at her soothingly.

“Easy,” he murmurs. “Brienne, easy. Relax. It’s all right. Just let me. You can let me.” Shuddering, hands planted on his now-jutting hipbones, she acquiesces, her muscles relaxing deliberately, tangibly. “Easy,” he says again. “Easy.” Like he’s calming a frightened horse.

It takes more patience than he would have thought he possessed. Twice, she becomes overwhelmed, whimpers and tries to pull away, until he strokes her gently, running his fingertips along the sensitive skin at the crease of her thigh and over her belly when she can take no more of his touch. Finally, he can feel her tightening, can feel her muscles gather as she tosses her head, bewildered.

“Jaime, what…I…please.”

“Shh, there’s a girl. There’s my girl. Come for me, m’lady.”

“I don’t…” she whimpers, shaking her head, but even if she doesn’t understand, her body clearly does and she cries out as feeling overtakes her. She writhes against him, grinds her pleasure out against his hips, which does nothing to help him maintain his rapidly diminishing control. He’d intended to pull out, the idea of possibly getting a child on any woman other than Cersei unfathomable, but Brienne is strong, tight around him, and her abandon is intoxicating.

With an incoherent sound, he spills himself inside her, giving over to the pull of her body on his. It’s unlike anything he’s ever experienced with Cersei. Perhaps it’s the newness that makes it the sweeter. He’s glad, at least, that he was able to make it good for her. Knowing as he does what happens to women who become the spoils of war, knights of the Rainbow Guard or no, he’d rather she know pleasure first.

It’s only when he comes awake that he realizes he’d slipped into a shallow sleep. Brienne lies next to him. She’s not exactly snugged against him, but rather curled facing him, bare breaths away but not touching him anywhere other than the arm – his good arm – that he has under her head. He imagines it’s the most vulnerable position Brienne would ever allow herself and he can’t help but be touched. She’s watching him with those startling eyes of hers and he drops his head to the side to watch her in return.

“Why did you do that?” he asks, an echo of her earlier question. She regards him steadily; almost – if one fancies such an idea possible – almost warmly. Then she smiles and she’s transformed and it’d be like to break his heart. If he had one.

“We could die on the morrow,” she reminds him, and he gives in and laughs. It’s no answer at all. And yet it’s the only answer there is.