Jeor's voice echoes across the training yard, and Jon would give attention even if it was not his name being called. "Snow! You have a visitor."
Sam stares at him, eyes wide in his round face, and Jon contemplates the ramifications of delaying. At least for a heartbeat, because Jeor's face is greyer than usual, and Jon cannot help but wonder how unwelcome his visitor may be. And, he wonders, who visits the Wall?
"I heard that you took your vows. Congratulations, am I to recognise you as a man now?"
Jon has not heard that voice in many months, honeyed wine and lion's purr. "I am more of a man than you, it would seem; I face what I fear instead of running from it."
"Lady Stark?" Jaime laughs, and steps into the light, and Jon sees the scar over his brow, thick and ugly. "I have faced worse than her. Tell me, young Snow, how many times have you tried to desert your duty? Did they have to drag you back to face your fears, or did you come willingly?"
"Why are you here?" Jon is tired of the games Jaime plays, he is certain that Jaime knows no other way to be than this; arrogant and aggravating.
"You heard your Master, Snow. I came to visit you. To thank you properly for what you do for us. For all of my nephew's Kingdom." Jaime offers his hand, and Jon feels the same panic that he felt before he came to the Wall, and does not move to take it. Jaime studies him for a moment, the scrutiny making Jon want to shudder but he simply cannot give Jaime the satisfaction.
"You should have learnt more of your father's humility. I hear he was particularly humble when he gave up his head."
That. Jon's temper snaps, and he swings for Jaime's head, but his wrist is caught before his fist can connect.
"Are all bastards slow-witted, or are you just one of the unlucky ones, I wonder?" Jaime holds him as though it is no effort at all, which only serves to infuriate Jon more, but there is nothing that he can do. Jaime is taller, stronger than he is, and has not spent the last two hours in training. "Let me thank you, Jon Snow."
"Say the words and go home," Jon snarls, trembling in the Kingslayer's grasp.
"'Go home', as if that is an easy thing to do," Jaime mutters wistfully. Jon might almost feel sorry for him, if he was not a Lannister. Instead there is a different feeling entirely, settling into his blood, his bones, as Jaime's grip eases to a caress, and the calculating stare seems to soften. "I am tired, Jon. Tired and starved of company."
"Ride South to your sister, then." Still Jon feels a fight in him scratching for release, but it feels different, somehow. Like his words are spite, rather than hatred. Some look passes over Jaime's face that Jon cannot identify, but is gone so fast that there is no remembering it either when Jaime speaks again.
"Beauty fades with age; mine, not hers." Jaime laughs, bitter, and touches the scar on his brow. "I had a little help, of course. But it is not my sister that I want."
Jon becomes acutely aware now of every change in Jaime; the unfamiliar vulnerability of his words, the stilted breaths, and how he too seems to tremble, a lion on edge. I do not want this man, he tells himself, but when Jaime leans closer, Jon does not look for distance. Leather and old blood, sweat and the familiar smell of days spent riding, and Jon almost groans at the overwhelming maleness of it all. A bastard and a lover of men, he thinks, I really do belong on the Wall.
"Have you any idea how far I have come to be here?" Jaime whispers, all heat and ache that he no longer even attempts to hide. "For you, Snow."
"Do you expect my gratitude?" Jon asks, and he had meant to be defiant but it is impossible with Jaime scenting him, the tip of his nose a whisper of touch the length of Jon's throat. If Sam comes in, or Jeor... But even with those thoughts, Jon cannot move.
"No, Jon. If you recall, I came to give you mine. Nothing more-" Jaime stops, and lifts his head, forcing Jon to look up. "Still the same lost boy I saw in Winterfell. Allow me to enlighten you."
Jon's chest tightens when Jaime's mouth covers his; he finds it difficult to draw a breath, wondering how even the inevitable can be so unexpected. He cannot think about what lies beyond the arm that holds him too tightly. Not the Wall, not his friends, not the White Walkers. Just Jaime's stiff hand at his back, the teeth that scrape at his own and gnaw at his lip, his chin, his throat. He closes his eyes, clutching at Jaime's arm, asking for some small amount of grace that his body does not seem to truly want. "I despise you," he murmurs, with no force behind the words.
"And I do not think I mind."