Chapter 1: The Proposal
It had been a long time since she’d stayed and slept in such comfortable quarters. Had it been since Winterfell, during a life she could barely remember ever living? Only thirty-seven, and her bones ached, and not from her time on the road. Her room in the Red Keep was much brighter than the bedroom she’d shared with Ned, but it felt colder too, despite the heat of the southern sun. There were no warmth of the hot springs under Winterfell and no Ned to warm her bed, just herself and the ghosts of her family.
The first three days, after she’d been shoved unceremoniously into the room and locked in, she had sat in a plush chair by the window, staring out unseeingly, picking at her food and refusing to speak to anyone. There had been no time or place to mourn since Ned’s death, not for him or for their daughters or sons, but now that the war was over and had taken all of her sweet children, grieving was the only thing left for her to do. She didn’t see King’s Landing, the buildings or the landscape outside. She had seen Robb swordplaying with Rodrik Cassel; Sansa learning how to dance; Arya looking mischievous with a stick behind her back; Bran climbing a tower; Rickon running and laughing through the halls; and Ned, her dear Ned, lying in bed next to her, his chest slowly rising and falling, letting her know that they were all alive.
(But they weren’t. Everyone was dead and these ghosts would never bring her warmth.)
Catelyn Stark had broken down the fourth day, crawling weakly to the large bed and slipping under the covers where she could weep quietly. The next two days were spent in bed. She wrapped herself up in a protective cocoon of blankets and grief and cried every night until she had nothing left in her. The tears began to vanish and she began to come out of it after the first week passed, but she felt completely hollow. Grief had swallowed her whole and when it was done with her, it spit her out, leaving her as just a shade.
By the end of the second week, Catelyn pulled herself out of bed and slipped into a cool dressing gown. When one of the maids came in with her meal, Catelyn asked for a bath. It had been far too long, since she’d first arrived and they’d washed Robb’s blood off of her. An hour later, she was submerged in steaming water. It scalded her, but she didn’t care, preferring to let the pain wash over her skin. It was the first time she’d felt something since Robb’s lifeless body had been dragged away from her. They dressed her in a beautiful blue southern-styled dress, something she hadn’t worn since she’d married Ned as a girl at Riverrun. Her family’s colors, they’d said, the Tully colors, but she had been transformed into a Stark over the past two years, cold and unforgiving as winter itself.
While she was brushing her long red hair into something much more manageable than it had been for the past months, she heard the door creek open behind her. When she turned to see who it was, about to tell a maid to leave her be, Catelyn was stunned to find herself looking at Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, the man who had concocted the plan that murdered her oldest son.
At first, Catelyn didn’t know what to do, frozen in place, the brush in her hand still against her hair. For a wild moment, she pictured herself throwing the brush at the older Lord, screaming that he was a murderer and to get out, rushing to him and clawing his eyes out. She thought of how they would drag her away and lock her in chains. How there would be blood on her hands again and on the clean dress they’d given her. She wanted him to hurt just as much as she did. She’d heard that his son, the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, had fled in the night after murdering the first boy king Joffrey. She knew that he’d lost nephews to a furious Karstark. There was some loss in his family, but not enough, not anywhere close to Catelyn’s, and she wanted him to suffer just as much as she was. She wanted him to burn and die in agony. She wanted to take his dagger from his side and stab him in the eye with the pointy end.
But Catelyn did no such thing. Instead, she set the brush down, dropped her hands to her side, bowed her head, and said, “My lord,” in a soft whisper. It pained her to speak to him like this. She didn’t even know why she was, except for the fact that perhaps keeping like this, remaining proper, was the only thing that tied her back to the world when all other strings had been severed.
“Do you like the dress?” Of all the things for Tywin to say, Catelyn had not expected that. She raised her eyes to him, a slightly puzzled expression on her face. He shut the door behind himself and stepped closer towards her. “I made sure it was Tully colors. It will need to be taken in to fit you more properly, but I thought you might...appreciate it.”
Catelyn mulled over what to say. She had not thought that Tywin Lannister would pick out her outfits especially, but she certainly wasn’t appreciative of it. “It is beautiful,” she finally settled on saying, silently adding, But it will not bring me my children back.
“There are things we need to discuss,” Tywin stated, no longer beating around the bush. Yes, she preferred it this way. She didn’t have the desire to dance around with all the proper politeness. “I’ve come to broker a truce with you.”
“With me?” It wasn’t a question so much as incredulity.
“Yes, a truce, with you.” Tywin stepped towards her, proud and unrelenting. This was a man who was used to getting his way; and Catelyn was a woman that knew how to deal with men like that.
She refused to move, even if he was trying to intimidate her. She had never been a timid maid; she would not be one now. Besides, she mused, she had nothing left to lose. What else could they take from her? Here, the only person they could hurt was her, and she did not care about that any longer. “Why would you want to do that? Why would I want to do that? You killed my son, kept my daughter hostage, lost the other, burned my father’s land and tortured his people. I have no peace to strike with you.”
“It is not your peace that I seek, Lady Stark,” Tywin explained, “but the peace of the North and the Riverlands.” She pressed her lips together. The North had only been her home when she gave birth to her children and came to love Ned. She didn’t know what it was to her now, but she had started to lose pieces of it with Bran’s and Rickon’s deaths until it vanished completely with Robb’s. And while the Riverlands had been the place of her birth, she felt a foreigner there as well. “The Riverlands are a disaster and there is no peace in the North. It has become a wild mess, nearly as bad as beyond the Wall. Most of the families there have sworn fealty to the Iron Throne, and Roose Bolton is now the Warden of the North, but the hold is tumultuous at best. I need to solidify it, before winter takes over completely.”
“And what does this have to do with me?” Catelyn asked, feeling edgy. She had a suspicion about what he was going to say, but she didn’t want to believe her thoughts. They were absurd. There was nothing she could do to help contain the North. It had always been wild and untamable. Surely he knew that there was nothing a woman could do to bring them to their knees, especially a woman that did not want to do anything of the sort to begin with.
Tywin stood there, for a moment, looking her in the eyes. He was a cold man, she knew that, but two could play at that game. If she did not want to lose herself in her grief, she could lose herself in her anger. “The Tullys will hold no power in the Riverlands anymore, once Riverrun is taken from the Blackfish, but that does not mean they have lost the respect of the people. You also married a Stark. You cannot get any higher in the North. You walked with the men; you spent time in their camps; you broke bread with them. There is not a woman in the North that commands as much admiration and respect as you. Even Jaime said he had never seen a woman stronger than you.”
“What do you want?” she demanded. “No more games, no more flattery, Lord Tywin. Tell me.”
“I want your hand in marriage, Lady Catelyn. If I have that, then perhaps the rest of the men that still struggle against me will finally give up and bend to my will.” Without thinking, Catelyn went to slap him in the face, but he caught her by the wrist and pulled her closer to him. “You can do this willingly, or you will find out what your daughter Sansa went through.” She struggled against him, but he only tightened his grip. Once she realized it was futile, she stopped fighting and glared at him heatedly. “You may not realize it now, but this will benefit both of us. We both lost the one we loved. You have lost your children; and I need an heir. Peace will be a wedding gift, so that we may prepare for the coming winter.”
Catelyn finally jerked herself from his grasp. “Do you think I will just go to bed with the man that killed my son?”
“I think you will do your duty and whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of your remaining family,” Tywin replied coolly. She wanted to strike him again, but kept her fury at bay. “If you do this, then your brother Edmure will be pardoned; your uncle Ser Brynden as well, as long as he gives up his hold of Riverrun. We’ll even give Edmure a little bit of land in place of Riverrun, so that he may continue to be a Lord. I heard a rumor that his Frey wife is with child. Will you choose to protect them or keep your pride? What are the words: Family, Duty, Honor? Family and Duty come before Honor, it appears.”
Tywin knew as well as Catelyn that she would. Her brother and uncle were all that she had left. Her sister Lysa was hiding in the Vale, supposedly with Petyr at her court, and had proven to be no sister or friend to her. Sansa had vanished in the night and Arya was presumed dead. She didn’t think she was strong enough to handle being the only one remaining from two once proud families.
“I will leave you to consider your answer.” Tywin walked to the door, but turned before stepping out of it. “You have one night,” he told her, “to decide if you will fight or follow.” And then he left, leaving Catelyn alone with her fears and thoughts.
Chapter 2: The Acceptance
The chapters on here are a lot longer than the ones I posted on tumblr, partly because the ones on tumblr were so small and partly because it just flows better. I didn't realize it would be this long when I started it. Oops.
That night proved to be cold and infuriating. Catelyn first paced the bedroom, thinking about how much she wanted to kill Tywin Lannister on the spot. How dare he? How dare he even begin to consider such a proposal? She took a goblet that a maid filled with wine earlier and threw it across the room at the door, trying to pretend that he was still standing there, and then watched as the wine seeped down the door like blood. Her children’s blood. Her husband’s blood.
And now she was going to be married to the man that had had a hand in their deaths.
Tywin had made it clear that she was not going to be given a choice. He was merely extending a courtesy of sorts, letting the idea grow in her mind, giving her time to think about whether or not she would fight him, as he said. Catelyn was not the sort of woman who just gave up though. She was a fighter and always had been. This marriage, even though forced upon her, would not break her. It would only add fuel to the fire burning inside of her. It would be difficult, but marriage was a battle in itself, as she had found out as a young girl.
She had fought her way through Robert’s Rebellion, alone and forgotten. After Brandon’s death, her sudden marriage to Ned, and the realization that she was already pregnant, Catelyn had felt completely desolate. She had worried about Ned, tried not to picture him being burned alive like Brandon, but it had been difficult. A part of her had been excited to see him; she had been proud to show him that she’d already produced him a son. What a good, young wife, she was, she couldn’t help but think. And then Ned came back with his bastard son, proof to her that he hadn’t cared about her, that she would only be duty in his bed, and that he didn’t need her more than he needed his sword or a whore. It had been eye-opening.
Of course, things had slowly mended between them. She had grown to love Ned, especially when she would see him play with Robb. Ned had been the North in person, but he had warmed like the hot springs when with little Robb. When Sansa was born, and she’d been scared that Ned would be displeased with a girl, she had felt a burst of love and relief when Ned had picked up his daughter and proclaimed her to be a gift from the Old Gods, happy and true.
This marriage would be different. Catelyn would not battle to love her husband; she would have to battle to not kill him. Though she had been hurt by Ned, she had never strayed from her duties as a wife. He had apologized to her, though he had offered her no explanations or justifications. Tywin would be different. He would never apologize to her. He would not wipe the tears from her eyes should they appear during their wedding. He would not help her wash the shame away after she did her duties in bed. He would not hold her gently in the night if she struggled to conceive. He would not join her in the sept when she prayed to the seven about Sansa or her lost children. She would be with him, but she would be alone.
I will be as strong and cold as the North, Ned, Catelyn thought, looking out the window. You taught me well enough.
She knew what she must do – what she had to do. It terrified her, to say the least. Technically speaking, she was going to marry her daughter’s father-in-law; she would become Sansa’s mother twice over. But if that were the case, then the seven would have granted her Sansa’s life and presence, and she could intensely mother her daughter. Instead, there was no one.
The next morning, Catelyn found yet another beautiful gown hung on the door of her bedroom. One of the maids must have slipped it in some time in the early hours of the morning after Catelyn had fitfully fallen asleep. She put it on, carefully did her hair in the old southern ways she’d done as a girl, and examined her reflection in the mirror. She looked tired. She wanted to look proud and unbroken, but there were limits to her strength. By all accounts, her pride had been shattered and she was more broken into pieces at well. Bits of her were left in the burned ruins of Winterfell, the Twins, and the Riverlands. Her whole life was scattered across Westeros, and no gown or marriage would piece her together again.
When the maid entered again with her breakfast, Catelyn startled the girl by sitting on the bed waiting for her. The poor girl nearly dropped the tray of food, but Catelyn jumped and hurried to catch her. “M-m’lady, I did not expect to be awake.”
Catelyn felt a pang of shame. Since she had crawled into the comforts of the bed, she had not gotten out of bed until well after midday. There had been some days when she had pretended to be asleep when the maids came in, so they would not disturb her. Still, she gave the girl a soft look. “If you could be so kind, please tell Lord Tywin that I wish to speak with him.”
“Yes, m’lady.” The girl set the tray down on the table, curtseyed, and then left the room. Though she had never been much of a drinker, Catelyn poured herself a healthy glass of wine. She sipped, resisting the childish urge to dump its entire contents into her stomach, and waited.
Thirty minutes later, the door opened and a knight in white armor stepped inside. He was one of the Kingsguard, though she did not recognize him. She couldn’t help but wonder if this man had laid a hand against her daughter, something she had been told about by one of the serving girls. Gone were the days when the Kingsguard were filled with men of honor. She did not hide her revulsion. “The Hand will see you in his chambers,” he said, his voice rough and lukewarm. Perhaps he made a move to hold her by the arm, to look chivalrous, but she blew past him, her shoes clipping on the stone floor. She could hear the sound of his armor clinking after her. She was embarrassed to not know where the Tower of the Hand was exactly, but the knight caught up with her easily enough and guided her the rest of the way without her having to admit it.
When they reached Lord Tywin’s room, Catelyn was sure that she had lost all of her resolve. She wanted to run back to the bedroom and hide under the blankets. She could not do this. She could not handle this. She could not live like this, not while her sons and daughters and husband and parents were dead, all dead, and she was alive and breathing and for what purpose. So she could marry her enemy? Were the gods so cruel?
A deep breath shuddered through her body as the door opened and she was pushed in by the knight. When the door shut behind her, she knew that she had come to the end. Tywin Lannister was no less imposing in his court clothes than in his armor. He was dressed in the Lannister colors, golden and red like blood. He was a striking figure that was not to be trifled with. The court and small council, after all, were just fields of battle. She wished Ned had had his prowess in politics, but Ned had been an honorable man. There was no room for honorable men in politics.
“Lady Catelyn,” he said, turning to look upon her, “I had not expected you so early.”
“I’m sure you did not expect me to come at all.” Soften your words, her conscience warned, but Catelyn paid it no heed. She would bend to Tywin, as she had not been given a choice, but she would not break. Not for him at any rate. “I accept the offer. I will not fight it.”
Though he did not smile necessarily, Tywin looked pleased. “It gladdens me to hear that.” He poured two glasses of wine, walked to her, and handed her one. The goblet was cold in her hands. “You must understand that this is for the best of Westeros. There are many wounds between us that will not be mended, but perhaps through our peace, there can be a peace through the land.”
“What if peace doesn’t come for the Riverlands and North like you hope?” Catelyn asked, trying to mask her fear. She did not want to think of what would happen should this plan fail. There was a chance he would lay the blame on her. She had spent the better part of the night wondering about this aspect. “What if this incenses them more or if they do not even care? I am just a woman. If the North and the Riverlands did not bend to you, why do you think they will bend to me?”
“You will tell them to – or rather, you will beg them to. Reason with them. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me” – it took everything in Catelyn not to hiss at the word – “then they must too.” He never took his eyes away from hers. They were close now, just a foot apart. She could see him clearly now, his intelligent eyes green like moss, his face serious yet cunning. “You will never forgive me, I know that, nor do I expect you to. But all the injustices that the North seek to avenge were done to you. All the wrongs they fight to right were done to you. If you cast those away, if you even pretend to let go of them and move on, then what does the North have left to fight for but the ghosts of your sons and husband?”
Catelyn gripped the cup tightly. “But what if it fails?” she asked in a whisper.
“Then it fails,” Tywin said simply, “and I will smash them until they can only stand on their knees.” It was as much as Catelyn feared. She thought of Edmure and how proud he’d been when he’d held Tywin’s army at bay, all those months ago. It felt like those days had never happened. Unexpectedly, he put a finger under her chin and lifted it. “No harm will befall you. Once you are my wife, you will be treated with respect. I saw what my grandson did to your daughter, when they were still betrothed. I know you consider me a monster, but I will not beat you or put my guards on you. You have suffered enough for your disloyalty.”
Disloyalty, he called it. The war her son raged against his family and the Iron Throne. Suffered enough, he said of the deaths of her family. If anything, she had suffered too much. The cost would be high, she had known, but the seven, war, and Tywin Lannister had taken everything from her, even her ability to mourn as a widow.
“Even if this does not bring peace to the lands, our marriage will benefit us in other ways,” he continued. He spoke so exact; there was not a drop of emotion in his words. It made her head spin or maybe it was the wine on an empty stomach. “With Jaime in the Kingsguard and Tyrion on the run, I need an heir for Casterly Rock. Cersei refuses to leave her children. You’ve had five children, all healthy when born.” And all dead now. “Another child will not replace the ones you lost, but it may help you heal.”
“Nothing will heal the loss of my children,” Catelyn told him coldly, setting the glass down. “Ask your daughter how she feels or your brother Ser Kevan Lannister, and then we will talk about my children.”
Tywin paused for a second, looking her in the eyes, and then took a sip of wine. “I cannot bring your children back,” he finally said, “no one can, not the seven or the old gods your late husband followed.” He set his goblet down next to hers. “Should your daughter Sansa be found, she will be pardoned, as a peace offering from me to you. My daughter seems to believe that she and Tyrion plotted Joffrey’s murder, but from what I saw of the girl…”
Not her Sansa, no. The look on Catelyn’s face, betraying her, seemed to convince Tywin of what he himself was already thinking. She too had heard the whispered rumors that Sansa and Tyrion Lannister had poisoned the boy king, but she knew that, no matter how far Sansa had been pushed and tortured, she would not be capable of a cold-blooded murder like Joffrey’s.
Catelyn turned away from him, unable to mask the growing emotions inside of her. She didn’t want him to know just how weak she felt. She imagined that a show of weakness was terribly unattractive to Tywin Lannister; and though by no means was she trying to be attractive, she couldn’t bear the thought of him looking down on her or being disgusted with her in any way. She would not break in front of him. Swallowing the rock in her throat as discreetly as she could, she asked, “When will the wedding be held?”
“In three weeks.”
She turned to him questioningly. “I thought it would be sooner.”
“In a hurry to be a married woman again, are we?”
Catelyn stiffened. “You jest, my lord. I would sooner die a widow than marry you, but it seems as if I have naught the choice.”
Tywin allowed himself the smallest of smirks, but then turned serious again very quickly. “You need to announce the wedding, the treaty, and your forgiveness to Westeros. Before the wedding happens, people need to know why it is happening. There will be more rebellions to squash. Ravens must be sent as far as can be – to the rebellious Riverlands, the uncontrollable North, even the cold shoulder that has become the Vale.” Catelyn did not want to think of the Vale, but Tywin seemed to already know what was crossing her mind. “The lack of response from your sister when your family went to war and disarray was very curious indeed.”
“She is afraid.”
“She is weak.” Tywin looked at her in a way that made Catelyn wary; it was as if he was sizing her up, like she was the prey and he was the predator. It made her skin flush. “You are…very different, Lady Catelyn. Not a warrior in the sense that most men think of, but of the mind.” That smirk quirked his lips again. “It would seem as if my daughter has been trying to be you and failing. You were not the Queen Regent for your son Robb?”
“No, he was a man grown, even at a young age. The North hardened him – as did the murder of his father.”
Tywin pressed his lips together. “Your son was foolish, but he was wiser than my grandson. He needed a Regent, but my daughter knows half of what you do about politics.” Catelyn was surprised at his blunt honesty, which he seemed to catch onto almost immediately. “If this marriage is to work, even if it is just a political sham, we are going to have to be honest with each other, even if it means professing hate or disdain. We may not care for or love one another, but there will be no discord between us. We’re civilized people, Lady Catelyn, in a very uncivilized world.”
She didn’t want to tell him what she thought of that. Civilized people did not do what he did. They did not order their mad dog to burn lands, rape women, torture men, and kill children. They did not plot a boy’s murder when their own son was still in the grasp of that boy’s men. They did not callously put a woman who had lost their entire family in a position like this. No matter what Tywin told her, he would always be a monster to her; nothing would change that.
“May I return to my room?” Catelyn asked, beginning to feel weak and woozy. Her stomach was turning far too much to be comfortable, and she put her hand on the table to hold herself up.
“There’s just one more thing,” Tywin announced. Catelyn resigned herself again, raising her tired eyes to him. “At the wedding, you’ll be wearing Tully colors.”
Catelyn wasn’t sure why that upset her so much, considering she was a Tully, but she’d put on the colors and the honor when she took the Stark name and became Ned’s wife. “I’ve been wearing the Stark colors for sixteen years; I gave birth to five, Northern Stark children. I have not…”
“You are a Tully, Lady Catelyn, just as you were born and always have been,” Tywin told her, unmoving and uncaring. “I know how you work; I’ve seen how you live. You have always lived by the Tully words – Family, Duty, Honor.”
But winter comes for all in the end.
Chapter 3: The Apology
In the next few weeks, Catelyn had found that she had more freedom. She’d spent two days in her room, not even thinking about it, until one day she randomly tried the door and it opened. When she’d peered outside the door, she’d found that there wasn’t even a guard watching over her. She hadn’t known what to make of it at first. Certainly there had been no thoughts on escaping, considering it would’ve been ridiculous, but she’d felt it strange. The third day, she ventured out and started for the sept. No one stopped or followed her. She passed people, but they all seemed to ignore her, as if she was a ghost.
Once she reached the sept, Catelyn couldn’t help but hesitate when trying to decide which candle to light. She had always connected with the Mother, even as a child in Riverrun. After her own mother had passed, she had lit candles to the Mother and would send quiet prayers to her mother’s spirit. All of her hopes and dreams went to the Mother that she never had growing up. But now… All of her babies, her beautiful babies – they were all gone, all except for Sansa, who had vanished into thin air like Arya and would probably never be returned to her. When Catelyn looked at the Mother now, all she saw was Death.
There was the Crone, who could guide her with wisdom. Catelyn needed all the help she could get; and she needed the light to guide her through this darkness. Still, she felt no real connection with the Crone. The Father? It brought memories of Ned and her father to mind. The Maiden? No, Catelyn was no innocent. She still felt as if Robb’s blood was on her hands. She felt the ache of guilt at not being there when Bran and Rickon were murdered. And she had let Ned and the girls go South all those years ago. She had never felt a true connection to the Smith.
Of course, there was the Stranger… Catelyn walked to the Stranger, looking it in the face, and lit a candle. She felt like a stranger in her own skin and in this city. She hoped he would guide the spirits of her lost loved ones and even her. The Stranger had always been a darker figure of the Faith, but she felt a pull to him now that she never had before. She’d lost herself. She’d felt shattered after Ned’s death; beaten down when she realized that she could not get her girls back; and Bran and Rickon’s death had left her barely together. Robb’s death had pushed her over the edge, into the Stranger’s waiting arms.
She was about to leave when she caught sight of the Warrior. She had never had a pull towards the Warrior until Brandon’s death and she’d been married to Ned. When Ned had gone off to fight Robert’s war, she had gone to the Warrior and prayed for Ned’s safety. She could not suffer another loss and the Warrior would guide the men. She had taken to the Warrior even more after Robb had called the banners and then when he was crowned King in the North. The Warrior was normally a god for the men; the Maid for the women.
But Catelyn had never been a Maid, at least not in that sense. Catelyn Stark was a warrior, and she would need all the strength she had left in her soul. She lit two candles for the Warrior and looked up into the statue’s handsome face.
“So, I hear you’re about to become my mother-in-law,” a voice rang from behind her.
Catelyn wheeled on her feet, only to find Jaime Lannister himself standing before her, leaning against a column. He looked very different from the last time she’d seen him: clean, his blond hair short but growing, in his Lord Commander white armor, and, of course, his golden hand. “Ser Jaime Lannister,” she said politely, nodding at him.
“Lady Catelyn,” Jaime responded. His tone was gentle. She knew that he could be genial when he wanted to be, but she doubted that he ever wanted that. Jaime Lannister was great at pushing people away, as she had found out when he’d been her son’s captive. “I can already see that there are going to be a lot of confusing feelings. This is going to become complicated, most of all for you. I know I wouldn’t want to marry my father.”
“I should hope not,” Catelyn snipped, unable to contain herself. “You’re already sleeping with your sister.”
Jaime smirked slightly and watched as Catelyn turned pink. “Feisty, now, are we?” He pushed himself away from the column and walked towards her, his golden hand resting on the hilt of his sword. It appeared as if everyone was doomed to lose something in this war, but then again, that was what war was. It took what it wanted and gave nothing in return. “You’ll be a part of this wonderful Lannister family in no time. I hate to tell you, but we’re not exactly a happy-go-lucky bunch. We’re not like you Starks or Tullys; apparently we’re more apt to stab ourselves in the back than our enemies.”
“No, I think you’re excellent at both.”
The amused look left Jaime’s face, replaced by something strange – serious, maybe even regretful. “I am sorry for your loss, Lady Catelyn, and for what my father is putting you through.”
Catelyn raised her chin. “I do not need your pity.”
“No, I don’t think you do, but I wish you would accept my apology for failing you.” Jaime sounded sincere, something she hadn’t been sure he was truly capable of.
She narrowed her eyes, looking at him shrewdly. “Failing me?”
Her words only seemed to exasperate him further. His lips twitched, as if unsure whether they were supposed to form a smirk or a frown. The Kingsguard were famous for remaining passive, even in the face of strong emotions. Perhaps his time in captivity away from King’s Landing had stripped him of this ability for brief moments. “I swore that I would return your daughters to you, but when I came here, they had both vanished. And once here, I was too selfish to leave, so all I did was delegate the task to Brienne.” He actually sounded somewhat ashamed or at least embarrassed, but he didn’t look away from her. He looked at his flaws head on and he dealt with them as honestly as he could. As if being honest with someone seemed too much, Jaime switched back to his old self, adding, “I’m sure my lord father has already thought of giving you new and improved Lannister children to replace the ones that you lost. He can’t buy your loyalty with gold, but maybe with children…”
Catelyn wanted desperately to slap him, but more strongly, she wanted to rush out of his sight and weep.
“You should rest, Lady Catelyn, for your wedding,” Jaime told her. He looked away from her and back to the castle from which he came. “This will be a longer winter for you than anyone else, I imagine, and the Court will be filled with crueler things than lions.”
Nodding her head, Catelyn left Jaime and returned to the room that she knew she would miss, despite it being ridiculous. She would be a widow for just two more nights and then would sleep in the Hand’s quarters. It had been so long since she had shared a bed with someone, not since Ned was still in Winterfell. The empty spot beside her had been a source of pain, but it was not something she wanted to be filled, especially by Tywin Lannister. She gripped the sheets tightly, nearly ripping them, and fought the wave of tears and grief that threatened to swallow her whole.
In the end though, Catelyn could not take it; and she screamed and ripped the sheets in half and sank to her knees, the blue and red cloth falling all around her in a puddle on the cold stone floor. She pressed her face into the mattress and sobbed, her anger and anguish mixing together in her heaving chest until everything hurt. This would be the last time she’d allow herself to show such feelings, even in private; this would be the last time she’d allow herself to collapse and fall to pieces.
After this, she would be a woman wed – she would become a Lannister – and the Stranger would take over her.
Chapter 4: The Wedding
She was dressed in blues and reds and gold. It was the most elegant dress she had ever worn. When she had been married to Ned, the ceremony had been rushed and held a sense of urgency like one might a secret. The dress she had worn then had been meant for Brandon to see, not his younger brother, and the words had been meant for him as well. She had known Brandon longer than she had Ned, had been courted by the outgoing and brash young man, but it had been Ned Stark’s cloak that had been put on her shoulders and Ned that she had gone to bed with after the ceremony. It was strange, but she couldn’t remember what dress she was wearing on her wedding day. Despite growing to love Ned deeper than the Heart of Winter itself, their marriage ceremony itself had not been a good one.
They rarely were when they were mixed with funerals.
Today felt like a funeral to Catelyn Tully. When she looked at herself in the mirror, she did not see the Stark that she had become. King’s Landing and the rest had done its best to strip that away from her. Though she felt tired and worn ragged, all of the maids had commented on how beautiful she looked. One had even sighed in hopes that she would remain as beautiful as Catelyn did when she was Catelyn’s age. It had not been an insult; Catelyn felt older than her age, much older and much more tired. Her hair had been done up in the Southern ways that she had done as a child. It was a shinier red than she’d ever seen it before, like the red fall leaves that had started to float all over the city. They’d tried to put jewelry on her, but she had turned it away. She had never liked being flashy or wearing jewelry, something that had always amused Ned. He’d said that all Southern girls like their silver and gold, but she had been a true gem to find in the South.
He said that we would always be together, too, Catelyn thought as she walked through the hallways, guards on each side.
She had no one to give her away, she dimly realized and wondered who they might put in his place. The king, perhaps, but the king was a ten year-old boy. The only person she had known in King’s Landing had been Petyr and he was gone; besides, she might have scratched his eyes out had she seen him, for what he’d done to Ned. This all left her at a loss as to what was going to happen. Seventeen years ago, she had married Ned, and she’d almost forgotten what a wedding must be like. The last one she’d gone to had been Edmure’s, and… Catelyn closed her eyes, tears seeping out from underneath her eyelids.
No, I must be strong, like Ned, like my boys and my daughters were.
This was what Sansa must have felt like. Catelyn’s heart ached for her daughter and at the thought of her being forced into a marriage with Tyrion Lannister. It had been difficult, but she’d managed to weasel bits of information out of her maids concerning the marriage since they had been given none at Riverrun. Rumors had been abound that Tyrion had not taken Sansa’s maidenhead, though no one could say why. It had been enough to quench Catelyn’s fears. She would not be so lucky. Tywin knew what must be done in order to seal a marriage. Catelyn did as well. She was not a dreamy and sweet child like Sansa, whose dreams of love and white knights had been dashed away by the Lannisters. Fish did not bode well when they were trapped in a lion’s mouth.
When they entered the sept, Catelyn’s breath was almost taken away. She knew that it wasn’t nearly as done up as it had been for Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell and perhaps not even as much as Sansa’s to Tyrion, but she knew beauty when she saw it and she could tell that many decorations had gone into this. Tywin Lannister was a powerful man and, though she did not want to think of it, Catelyn was a powerful woman. She had been married to the Warden of the North for sixteen years. Some might say that she had been the second most powerful woman in Westeros, next to the queen, though women weren’t exactly considered when power was concerned. Ned had been different though. He’d talked with her about things, asked her opinion, and she had been more than pleased, even when she was young and idealistic, to answer and help her young and wary lord husband.
The hall was filled with people, spectators that she did not know but had come to see her wed. She forced herself to look straight, refusing to grant any of them glances. The time for that would come later. She would know their Houses, would learn their names, and she would damn every single one of them. She may have spent fifteen years in the North, but she was as fiery as the South, as she had been when she was younger.
Catelyn looked aslant and saw that the person walking her to the marriage altar was none other than Jaime Lannister, shining brightly in his golden Lannister armor. She nearly laughed.
“It appears as if you have no friends in court to give you away,” Jaime said, sounding a strange mixture of amusement and irritation.
“I have no need for friends here at court.” She took his arm and began to walk with him, determinedly looking straight ahead. I am strong; I am brave.
Jaime looked at her, an unreadable expression on his face. “They thought it would be…appropriate for me to do the honors, as I supposedly know you the best.” The idea of it was so laughable that it made Catelyn want to cry. When she had been wed to Ned, her father had walked her to the marriage altar. She had been scared then too, not truly knowing Ned and only his older dead brother, but she knew what Tywin was capable of and it was very unlike her honorable Ned. “Did you know that I was supposed to marry your sister Lysa, before I joined the Kingsguard?”
“Yes, I found out before she did.”
There were no emotions betrayed on Jaime’s face. Like her, he had become practiced at hiding it. “It seems as if we were destined to be family in the end, except instead of being your good-brother, I am your good-son.” They were a few steps away from the altar and Tywin, who she had not even deigned a glance out of spite. In a quiet voice that only she could hear, he said, “It’s not right.”
Those were to be the most honest, heart-felt, damning words she would ever hear from her good-son.
Catelyn stepped up to her place at the altar, leaving Jaime behind, and then looked up at her soon-to-be lord husband for the first time.
It took everything in Catelyn Tully not to react. Tywin Lannister looked…remarkably handsome. He’d trimmed his beard, so much so that it was nearly gone, and wore clothes of deep crimson slashed in gold. She had known that he was handsome, but she had never truly realized it until standing with him here now. There was a strange look in his eyes, his jaw set suddenly, and there was such determination on his face that it made her wonder if how badly he did not want to do this either. He had never remarried after losing his wife all those years ago; the grief of it had been too much, apparently.
During the entire ceremony, Catelyn kept her eyes trained on Tywin’s, defiant and furious. She did not smile and neither did he. She could not tell anyone what happened during the ceremony or the words that were said. There were prayers and candles and she even spoke a few times, but the words vanished into the air the moment they left her lips, never to be known by another again. The ceremony seemed to pass her by without her even realizing it.
She just kept picturing her children. She looked at Tywin and saw her life in Winterfell behind him: Robb shooting a bow for the first time and looking back at her proudly; Bran scaling walls though she’d told him not to a thousand times before; Sansa showing her a piece of beautiful embroidery she’d made; Arya riding her horse faster than the others; and Rickon, reaching out to her, a smile and a laugh on his face… They were calling for her, but she could not go to them. She was stuck in King’s Landing, with the men that had killed them. “I miss you, I love you,” she wanted to say, but only her marriage vows came out of her mouth.
Before she knew it, Tywin had taken her by the arm and was leading her out of the sept. She was a married woman again. The thought made her feel dizzy. Perhaps Tywin took note of it, because he gripped her arm tighter, though he didn’t shoot her a look of concern. She closed her eyes as they walked, letting him lead the way. If she could just pretend that she wasn’t here, if only for a moment, if she could pretend it was Ned leading her by the arm…
When she opened her eyes again, they were entering the great hall. Catelyn had lost sense of everything: she had no idea of mapping. The Red Keep was large, and she didn’t feel like keeping track. She didn’t feel like doing much of anything, but she didn’t want to let that on. That was weak. That was…
What is the point? a voice whispered in her mind. Your love is dead; your children are dead. Who must you remain strong for?
Herself, she had to remain strong for herself. For the memory of her husband and children; for the memory of her father; for the North and the Riverlands; and for all of Westeros to see that a Lannister could not break her will or spirit.
Tywin pulled a seat out for her at the table, which she sat in, and he sat down next to her. Neither of them had said a word since the ceremony; they had barely looked at one another since then. People gathered in the room and the festivities began. There was food and music and dancing and wondrous things. People were laughing and cheering and making toasts. This was the wedding she had dreamed of as a child; it was the wedding she’d thought to have with Brandon Stark. The wedding that had never happened had finally happened, seventeen years later. It was going to be a mix between Northern and Southern traditions, she recalled. Northern weddings were more formal, intimate, and refrained while Southern weddings were loud and boisterous. There had been no bedding at her wedding to Ned; and she hoped there would not be one tonight.
“You do look very beautiful, Lady Catelyn,” Tywin suddenly said. His voice was low, as if he did not want anyone else in the room to hear him.
Catelyn looked over at him. She tried to put on a brave face, or even a blank one, but she was tired. The day’s events, though they had flown by her, had also exhausted her emotionally. “Thank you, my lord.”
He tilted his head. “Will you not call your lord husband by his name?”
“Will it matter?”
A burly man with curly brown hair and a bushy brown and white-spotted beard approached their table and bowed deeply. “Lady Lannister” – it took her a second to realize that the unknown man was talking to her, and the name stung her like a hot blade – “would you do me the honor of dancing with me?”
“I’m sorry, my lord, I…” Catelyn struggled to speak. All she wanted to do was lie back in bed. “I do not know your name.”
“Lord Mace Tyrell, Master of Ships on the small council.”
Catelyn realized that she knew no one in King’s Landing but the Lannisters. As the wife of the Hand of the King, she should be more acquainted with whom he worked with, but she had been locked away for more than a month. She had no idea who she was surrounded by, though she knew quite well that they were all as poisonous as snakes. Part of her wondered if she should even try to learn these people, but deep down she knew that she would. If she was going to survive – and she would, if only out of spite – then she would need to know exactly who she was dealing with. If they thought her simple, they thought wrong.
“I’m thankful, my lord, but you should ask my lord husband if you may dance with me,” she finally said.
When both Catelyn and Mace looked at Tywin, she saw that he looked somewhat pleased, though he also looked irritated as well. She could see that Mace Tyrell’s being here was making him uncomfortable or at least agitated. “I believe the honor of my lady wife’s first dance should be with me. Should she want to dance with you afterwards, then I’m sure she will.”
He held out his hand to her, and she placed her hands in his. Smiling demurely at Mace, she nodded to him and then walked to the center of the hall. It had been some years since she had actually danced, but once they began to move across the floor, the steps came back to her easily. It was as if she had been dancing just yesterday. Tywin was more graceful than she had expected. She wondered when the last time he’d danced had been for him, but decided not to ask, at least not now.
“You look happier than your daughter did at her wedding.” The words, chilling as they sounded, were not meant to scare or harm her. They weren’t even misplaced. Strangely enough, she could tell that Tywin meant them as a compliment, though she didn’t think it a very good one.
“Sansa was a child filled with hopes and dreams, despite all the horror around her.” Her tone was soft and light, but it hurt her to speak of such things. She wondered if Sansa, where she was, was capable of having hopes and dreams anymore, or if her time in King’s Landing and the sudden loss of her family had swept them away from her forever. “I am no child.”
“Do you not hope or dream anymore, my lady?”
Catelyn looked him in his green eyes. “I dare not.”
They danced in silence for a while. Once the song was over, they stopped and people clapped for them. She was able to feign these emotions easier than she thought. She wondered how badly it had hurt Sansa when she had been in this position. It must have been nearly unbearable for her, but she had survived. People had always thought that Sansa was weak, but Catelyn had known her daughter better. She may have had much of the South in her, as Catelyn had, but Sansa was still born of the North and she had still been a Stark through and through.
Chapter 5: The Bedding
While Tywin returned to his seat, Catelyn danced with Mace Tyrell. He wasn’t that good of a dancer, preferring to ramble on about this or that. She paid him little attention, choosing to nod her head and make noncommittal responses that complimented him, which seemed to please him. Once that was done, she danced with a few more people, all of whom introduced themselves to her very courteously. There was Garlan Tyrell, who spoke of her daughter and how he’d gallantly tried to make Sansa feel better at her own wedding. Paxter Redwyne danced with her as well, before he had to return to his ships. One of the Kingsguard knights that she didn’t recognize or care to remember danced with her, though his name was Kettleback.
Catelyn went from man-to-man, reaching the point where she stopped trying to remember their names. Oh, how she laughed at their jokes, smiled at their compliments, and spoke generously on their courtesies. She could almost believe that she was enjoying herself. She didn’t think for one second that any of these people actually thought she was happy (with the exception of a few highly thick-headed ones), but as long as she pretended, no one could say otherwise. One older man had offered his condolences on her marriage, not on her children’s deaths, and she’d tilted her head and asked him what he could ever mean. If she hid her pain from the world, then for a night, it wouldn’t exist.
Catelyn turned around, almost ready (almost happy) to dance with her next partner, when she came face-to-face with another knight from the Kingsguard. “And you are?” she asked warily. She’d heard tales about the knights of the Kingsguard since her time here. Kettleback was one of the new members, but a few tales of the old knights had disturbed her.
The knight bowed. “Ser Meryn Trant, my lady.”
Catelyn’s entire body froze. “I know you,” the words came, though she could not recall saying them. “I was told of how you beat my helpless daughter, at the king’s request.” Her sweet Sansa – her daughter’s smiling face came to her unbidden. A dark shadow fell across her face and Ser Trant turned red. “What an obedient and honorable knight, you must be.”
“I did what my king told me to do, my lady,” Trant said in a low, dangerous voice. “And if the Hand tells me to do the same–”
“You’ll do no such thing to my good-mother.” Jaime Lannister stepped in between them, taking hold of Catelyn’s arm. She suddenly realized that she’d raised her hand, as if ready to strike the man before her. “And if you even think of it, I don’t know who would have your head faster: me or my father.” He started to steer her from the dance floor, taking her away from Trant, who looked both shocked and furious. “You must be exhausted from all this dancing. I’m sure you need to rest and a drink.”
“I…yes, of course.” Catelyn lowered her hand to her side. Jaime let go of her, nodding to her, and then turned around to watch the crowd as she returned to her seat next to Tywin. Looking and feeling a little dazed, she sat down, not noticing that he was looking at her. Had she been paying attention at all, she would’ve noticed that he’d been watching her carefully the entire time, even while talking with other people.
Without warning, she felt a hand touching her cheek. She jerked her head to look at Tywin, and his fingers tangled in her hair. His face was blank and his eyes even more blank, but she thought she could see something beyond all that, something that might be concern or at least mild interest in what had just happened on the dance floor.
“One might expect happiness during a wedding or perhaps sadness on your part,” he said to her, “but anger is not something I was expecting to see from you.”
Her eyes flittered to Ser Meryn Trant, who was dancing with a blushing young lady.
Tywin followed her gaze. “A knight does what his king orders him to do.”
“A knight is supposed to protect those that need protecting. My daughter was one of those people, and he beat her.” Catelyn felt a burst of anger explode in her chest. She felt like standing up and screaming; she wanted to pick up her goblet and toss it at the man. She felt like collapsing to her knees and pulling her hair out. “He’s a man grown and he beat a little girl, in front of everyone. And for what reason? Because his king told him to?”
Tywin pulled his hand away from her cheek. Her skin seemed to burn where his hand had been. “Now you know the dilemma of a knight in the Kingsguard.” He looked out to the crowd again. “If you’re worried, I won’t have them beat you should you displease me. I doubt you’ll do that.”
She snapped her eyes back to Tywin. “How can you be so sure of that?”
“Quite easily,” Tywin said with a small smile. “I know what you value the most.”
Family, duty, honor. Had she always been this easy to read?
The wedding came to an end just as suddenly as it came to begin. Catelyn had not left her seat at the table after that, although Tywin had gotten up to talk to a few people. More offers of congratulations have been given to her, more comments on her beauty, more sideways looks than she could handle. She had been close to pushing herself to her feet so that she could sweep out of the place, her hands gripping the edge of the table tightly, when Tywin appeared next to her and held out his hand. Her eyes traveled from his hand to his face suspiciously.
“Unless you want to stay, my lady.”
Catelyn took his hand and stood up. As they began to walk away, she realized that the amount of people in the hall was starting to dwindle. She’d stopped paying attention completely, picking at her food and sipping on her wine. The people that were left were more or less drunk and the knights that had remained to guard them.
One man nearly toppled at her feet, stomping them both short. “And what about the bedding, my lord?” he said through hiccups, grinning broadly. He reached out, fingering the sleeve of her dress, before she could pull away from him. “This one’s had five children, I hear, so she must be hiding something quite good under that gown.” The look he gave her was enough to make Catelyn blush as red as her hair.
Tywin stepped in front of her, in between the man and Catelyn. There was a sudden change in the air around him and in the way he was standing. She had not realized it before, but Tywin had an incredibly commanding presence about him. “I’ll have no such thing,” he snapped. “And if you dare touch my wife or speak any degrading comments about her again, I’ll have you thrown in the black cells for a month.” She thought Tywin might actually smack the man, but there was Jaime again, dragging the man away to be thrown out of the doors. A wave of dizziness flew over her as Tywin led her out of the hall.
It was only until she realized they were heading towards the Tower of the Hand that she began to tremble.
Stupid woman, she thought to herself viciously. She’d taken into account how horrible the wedding would be, but she had not once thought about what would happen after the wedding came to an end. Despite the fact that she was no longer a blushing maiden, the marriage would still need to be consummated in order for it to be valid.
When they reached his (their) room, Tywin let go of her so he could open the door. For a wild moment, as Catelyn stood there gripping her fingers tightly, she closed her eyes and entertained the idea of running away. She wouldn’t get very far, but if only for a small moment, she would be free as she ran down the halls. The thought of them dragging her back, kicking, screaming, pleading, crying… It was too much. As she felt Tywin pulling her into the room, she knew that she would never be free, truly.
This is what Arya must have thought was marriage was, Catelyn thought to herself dimly, being trapped in a cage.
“Here, take this.”
Catelyn opened her eyes and saw that Tywin had poured her a glass of wine. She frowned at it somewhat suspiciously, but took it anyways, muttering a thank you under her breath. The urge to down it crossed her mind very vividly, but she only sipped on it. She felt like she needed the whole bottle, even though it was bitter and strong.
Tywin regarded her carefully over the rim of his glass. “You’ve not been with anyone since Eddard Stark?”
“No,” was the crisp response Catelyn gave him. When he said nothing further and continued to look at her, she sighed. “I’ve only ever been with him.”
“You kept your maidenhood while betrothed to Brandon Stark?” Tywin let out a small chuckle. “How shocking. I heard the only man to rival him in whoring was Robert Baratheon.”
“Your son Tyrion outdid them both, from what I heard.”
The slightly amused look from Tywin’s face faded away almost immediately. Mentioning his youngest son had been a mistake. He was not exactly proud of having a dwarf for a son, much less one known for drinking and mucking about with whores – especially now that he was on the run and accused of murdering the king, his own nephew. Tywin set his glass down. “You’ll be given freedom more than most prisoners in all of the Seven Kingdoms, but I will not tolerate any insubordination from you. Whether you like it or not, you’re my wife, and you will act accordingly.”
He stepped closer to her, and she set her empty glass down next to his. Be brave, she told herself, steeling her nerves, but she was not expecting the sudden gentle touch of one hand on her cheek and another on her waist, pulling her to him. Tywin Lannister was many things, and gentle was not one of them. Out of all of the things he could have done, perhaps this was the one action that startled her the most, and she jumped, stumbling back away from him, her eyes widening in panic. It was his touch that did the trick. It was the first intimate thing to happen while they were completely alone. He hadn’t even kissed her during the wedding ceremony. He hadn’t showed her any sort of affection or care while in front of everyone, except for dancing with her once and holding her hand while they walked.
No, this moment was theirs and theirs alone.
“You could have done worse,” Tywin pointed out. “You could have been married off to someone much worse than me.”
Catelyn shook her head, tried to say the word “no,” but her lips could only wrap around it and fail.
“Lord Walder Frey actually wanted to take you as his wife, as his payment for his hand in your son’s murder.”
“No!” Catelyn cried out, swiping the glasses and the jug of wine off the table. They crashed to the floor loudly, wine spilling all over the wall and seeping to the floor into a red rug. She was acting so stupidly, like a child throwing a tantrum, but a wave of anguish rolled over her and it was almost too much to bear. When she shut that out though, all she was left with was rage. When she finally took a deep shuddering breath to calm down, she began to panic. She expected a guard to rush in or for Tywin to slap her for her “insubordination,” and she hastily shot him a glance, only to see him just watching her. “Forgive me, my lord, I did not…” She had to be proper; she had to be strong. If he saw her like this, he would know he had won. “I did not mean to…”
But some lies, however small they seemed, were too big to be said aloud.
It felt like ages before he spoke. “I wondered when you would finally break.” But no, she didn’t break. He didn’t know what breaking was if he thought this was it. “Perhaps break is the wrong word,” he added, as if sensing her thoughts, “but I did not think it would take you this long to…finally be honest with your emotions in front of me.”
If she were truly honest with her emotions in front of him, she would’ve thrown the glasses at his face. She would’ve attacked him. She would’ve done everything in her power to hurt him. But for a moment, she wasn’t angry at him. She wasn’t even angry at herself for allowing herself to cave into her grief. She was just so angry at everything. And it was then that she realized something. The only time she felt alive was when she was angry. Her days were blurry with grief, but the moments when she felt bursts of anger were so clear and vivid; it was startling. If she did not want this marriage to consume her, if she didn’t want Tywin to be the end of her, then she would have to let her anger burn through her blood. She would not be the quiet, simpering wife; she did not think that he would want that anyways.
“Then let’s be truly honest with each other in this very special moment,” Catelyn said, raising her eyes to finally meet his. “I know what must be done, and I am truly loathed to do anything. I’m sure you know that.” She walked away from him, catching her reflection in the mirror, as if to gage her own face. You must be as hard as the North. “It will be done, of course. I have no illusions about this marriage. All I ask is that I am not degraded, not in public and not in private. Surely you can afford the decency of not treating me like a whore when you have need of me.”
“A man should treat a lady as a lady,” Tywin said, seemingly agreeing with her, “and a whore as a whore. You’re certainly not the latter, and I wouldn’t treat you as such, but you are my wife.”
“And a wife has her duties, of course. Eddard put a child in my belly on the night of our wedding before I even really knew him. I know my duties.” Catelyn picked at the strings of her dress, pulling and fingering them almost absentmindedly. It felt more like armor to her than any shield ever could. “That does not mean that I have to enjoy it,” she said as she turned on her heels to face, “or make sure you enjoy it.”
The dress, which had hugged her thin body so tightly throughout the wedding that she could barely breathe in it, slipped down her shoulders and into a puddle at her feet. She stepped out of it, still in her small clothes, and delicately kicked her shoes to the side. Though the war had run her thin, she’d had five children and the slight curves and body to prove it. She wasn’t the blushing maid with creamy pure skin with no lines or stretches, but she didn’t care. She had always been proper and dressed appropriately, but she’d lost her insecurities about her body the moment she’d given birth. There were so many other things to be concerned with. At thirty-seven, she was no sprightly young woman that could hop in and out of bed with a giggle. She was no gorgeous wanton thing.
But none of that seemed to matter to Tywin. He hadn’t said a word or even made a move since she shed the dress, but she could see the desire in his green eyes plain as day.
Finally, he stepped up to her. Again, she wanted to run away and scream, but she didn’t. She was fire. She would not back down from this. She was not weak. Even when he touched her, his rough hands sliding on skin that very few had ever seen, she did not flinch, though she wanted to. Even when he pulled her smallclothes away, she did not jump or cry or step away. She made sure to meet his eyes and let him know just who he had married. But when he ran his thumb delicately across her breast, she could not stop the sudden gasp from slipping from her or from digging her nails into his sleeve. It had been so long since anyone had touched her so intimately, and it had alarmed her a lot more than she’d thought it would.
A small smile appeared on his face, faint and dangerous. Tywin leaned into her, his body against hers and his mouth so very close to her ear. “I find it very difficult to believe that I wouldn’t enjoy this and perhaps, just maybe, you might as well.”
Catelyn smiled. “We’ll see about that, now won’t we, my lord?”