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Pretty When You Cry

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He knows he is ruining her. More importantly, he is saving her, or so he hopes.

He had thought himself broken and lost after the Bloody Mummers took his hand, but she dragged him back from the brink and into the mire that is life. Stupid bloody wench. She might as well have let him die in peace (in agony, the stench of his own rotting flesh in his nostrils) for all the good it’s done either of them. But no: she wanted to help him regain his honor.

She is making a sound which might be surprise or might be pain. He twists his fingers, pumps savagely. She whimpers now, in earnest.

He wants to slow down, to soothe and stroke, to use his thumb and show her how a woman can feel with a good man’s hand between her thighs. She needs to be reminded he is not a good man, not worth her sacrifice, and remember it always. He doesn’t touch her where he knows she needs it, even if she doesn’t know it, where she would melt for him.

Years have passed, and what is he now? Two of his children (never his) are dead, and the third wants nothing to do with him. His father disowned him, his sister rejected him, his brother cursed him. Two are dead, the third might as well be. The Rock is lost, the Kingsguard endures without him, the new queen might still take his head, and no one will hire an old, one-handed sellsword whose face no amount of facial hair can alter. All he has left is Brienne.

He pulls back his hand, doesn’t linger over the smell of her, the taste of her. Takes himself in hand, pushes her legs apart roughly, and buries himself in her. They have been one soul, one life, one destiny for so long. Finally they are one flesh as well. She is his, he is hers.

There is a full moon, very romantic, and despite the pain, despite his grimness and cruelty, her eyes are so open, so trusting, she is letting him in. Her fucking septa no doubt told her this would hurt, was supposed to hurt, and so she thinks what he is doing to her is right, is just. He wonders what she would do if he pressed his thumb into one of her eyes, so full of love and desire, would her other eye still be so open and blue and true to him.

He thrusts, fast and hard, as though he hated her, as though she were a common tavern whore hired for a quick fuck out behind the pigsty. Her eyes close, her mouth twists, but she doesn’t push him off, and she could, she has always been stronger than he.

She has stood by him through it all, all his losses and defeats, stuck to him like a tick. He couldn’t shake her off no matter what happened, not with her implacable willingness to see the good in him despite what the world showed her, what he showed her. He allowed her to convince him he was more than his swordhand, more than his name, more than his past, though somewhere in the deepest cave of his mind he always suspected she was fooling herself. For a long time she was all he needed, her faith sufficient for them both, but it is too late for mummeries about regained honor and noble quests. He wants neither, and he has nowhere to go and nothing to hold on to. But she does.

His hand itches to touch her, to stoke her breast, to rub her where they are joined. He longs to kiss her. He makes himself grip her hip instead, to keep her still, to bruise. He lifts himself up on his right elbow for leverage, digs his toes in, fucks her even harder. She is making short, strangled sounds which might be pleasure, but he knows they aren’t. A tear rolls out between her lashes.

Her island is still waiting for her, soiled though her reputation is (because of him, because she stood by him), and there are men who would take the Kingslayer’s leftovers to get Tarth and a warm body for their bed. It might break her, but she will break regardless. Everybody does, sooner or later. At least she would be alive to feel the pain, feel the jagged edges and raw, inflamed seams. But she is pigheaded, will not see reason, will not leave him and save herself, unless he makes her.

Brienne. In his head, he is kissing her ruined cheek, kissing away her tears, saying her name like it is the only word left in the world. Brienne, love. The last two words in his world. He wonders briefly if he should say it. If she knew the reality, the enormity (huge, terrible) of his love for her, would she become sufficiently frightened to run from him, abandon him at last? He cannot risk her responding in kind. She is so tight, so warm, and he keeps hurting her.

He has saved her from rape, from a bear, from poisonous tongues and armed foes and the dead, yet he cannot save her from himself. No matter how bad things got, what names he called her, what truths he flung in her face over the years, she never wavered. It is not enough to make her hate him. She hated him when first they met, and still she saved him at great personal peril. No, he must convince her that he hates her, that he cannot stand the sight of her, that she is worthless and means nothing to him. She must be so hurt, so humiliated she will run and never look back, never regret leaving him.

When they heard of the fall of the Rock, it was so easy to get her to offer him comfort, solace, herself. All it took was a few of his (false) tears, a few (true) soft and gentle words, words of desire, of need.

He is close. He wishes he would turn to stone rather than finish when she is crying openly now, fat, silent tears rolling down her cheeks and temples, her face turned away from him. Yet still she does not push him off. He wrenches himself away, spills on the ground between her legs. What would be the point of saving her if a bastard still tied them to each other? He’s sown a large enough crop of bastards already to last him three lifetimes.

Brienne sits up, tries to cover herself with her hands, trembling, cowering before him. There is blood on her thighs, on his cock. Good. He wishes it were his blood, torrents of it, all of it.

“Jaime,” she whispers, lower lip trembling uncontrollably. “Why… Was I…”

He sneers at her, makes his face as ugly as he knows how. “Your septa warned you true, Brienne. A man can convince himself any woman is beautiful if he needs to fuck bad enough. And I figured I owed you this much. No point in you going to your grave as the Kingslayer’s whore without knowing what it is whores actually do.”

She stares at him, hands gripping her own pale and aching flesh. He can see it in her eyes: he sees her break, as though she were falling off a cliff, plunging into a churning sea while he watches, safe on solid ground. What years of pain and misery and betrayal did not do, he has accomplished in a few minutes with nothing more than his worn-out body and his words, sharpened and honed throughout his life.

As she turns away from him and gathers her clothes with trembling hands, he knows he is free of her at last (she is free, and as safe as he can make her). He has nothing left. He is nothing.