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Only Knights Left Alive

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Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh.

Sweet she was, and pure and fair!

The maid with honey in her hair!

Her hair! Her hair! Her hair! Her hair!

The maid with honey in her hair!

In  her hair, yo. In her hair.

The maid, the maid so very fair.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh.

 

The bear smelled the scent on the summer air.

The bear! The bear! The bear! The bear!

Yo. Aha. Oh, oh, ohhhh.

All black and brown and covered with hair!

Black and brown! Brown and black!

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh.

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Some songs never should get a remake.

Ever.

As this musical torture proves spectacularly.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair sounds all kinds of wrong when a teenage girl squeals it into the microphone along with a guy who seems to gurgle with Brillo Pads to a repetitive rap beat everyone has already heard in some derivate a thousand times before, with lots of special effects and scratching in all the places where it shouldn’t be to make it sound new when really it isn’t.

A rap version!

But that is something the ravages of time prove over and over: Just doing something different doesn’t necessarily make it better.

It just makes it, well, different.

And many times… it just sounds wrong.

Very wrong.

But part of the human condition is a certain kind of arrogance, mingled with a sense of discovery, a sense of invention.

Even if it’s only just re-inventions.

Because people keep forgetting that it was already there before.

Ding-dong.

Jaime groans, running his hand over his face, resting it over his eyes for a moment.

First, a poor excuse of The Bear and the Maiden Fair on the radio, a poor rap excuse on tops, and then… zombies.

For a brief moment, he considers just rolling over to pretend to have fallen asleep.

But then that stupid doorbell will keep ringing.

Because another part of the human condition, or zombie condition, is persistence, obtrusiveness, stubbornness, and being a massive pain in the ass.

Jaime sighs as he gets up, growling when the knot to close his red housecoat won’t hold properly.

Some things don't change, even after so many lives he spent one-handed.

He walks over to the door, kicking away some clothes he didn’t bother picking up the last few… let’s say days… to shuffle over to the wooden door. Jaime glances through the peephole, letting out another sigh once he catches sight of who wants to get inside.

Jaime opens the door, his expression blank. “Peck.”

“Jaime, how are you, man?” the young brunet asks as he stands there on Jaime’s front porch with a shoulder bag way too big to fit on the skinny frame.

Jaime lets him inside wordlessly.

“What brings you here?”

“Imagine, I got it, man!” Peck announces, taking off his shoulder bag. “Wanna see it?”

The young man doesn’t wait for Jaime’s reply, and instead kneels down to unzip the bag to retrieve a dusty sword. Peck holds it out to Jaime.

With a cocked eyebrow, Jaime takes it from him, allowing his eyes to roam over the blade with a pensive expression.

“Damascus steel blade. My friend said it dates back to Robert’s Rebellion, so it’s like… really ancient… like two thousand years old or something…”

“More like 939, but who’s counting?” Jaime huffs, twisting the sword a few times.

The weight is still too familiar. Even though it’s been ages since I last swung a sword to kill a man.

“Well, the handle is pretty worn out by now. The original leather is almost completely gone and someone thought it was funny to try to fix it with some simple overgrip, like for the tennis rackets? Has seen better days.”

“As you know, that is the least of my concerns,” Jaime tells him calmly, eyes fixed on the blade.

It’s not like zombies give a lot on history, or preserving it. They are very busy about forgetting it.

Forgetting themselves.

Because, in the end, history is a story of forgetting.

Just like they forget the proper lyrics, harmony, and melody for the old songs, and think it should be a rap next.

“Right, right,” Peck agrees, nodding his head. “Man, people love your work. Like, I am not even kidding just how much they love it. They’re already hyped about the next project.”

My work… what did I say about spreading information online?” Jaime exhales, trying hard not to moan. “You remind me?”

Peck is one of the more bearable zombies. Jaime can even bring himself to consider him a fine zombie, but there are those moments when Peck, like all the others, convinces Jaime of his assessment that zombies are zombies and not worth his time.

And Jaime has a whole lot of time zombies are not worth.

Way too much time not being made worth much of anything.

“I didn’t, but people keep going crazy about your swords. They are collector’s pieces, man. You work some serious magic with these old blades. And people want a bit of that glory.”

“Witchcraft is not on the top of my priority list,” Jaime argues, his voice flat and monotonous.

He didn’t believe in the Old Gods.

He didn’t believe in the New.

Why would he now count on witches?

Witches seem even more ridiculous than some Red God his priests used to proclaim that the evil people, those who did not believe, had to be burned.

Or cleansed, as they called it.

Witches seem also even more ridiculous than some Seven Gods all working as one, in whose names Septs were built where houses could have stood, in whose names wars were fought, people were sanctioned, chased down the streets, humiliated, demonized, imprisoned, and murdered.

If your gods are real, if they're just, why is the world so full of injustice?

Because of men like you.

There are no men like me. Only me.

“I just restore them to what they once were,” Jaime adds.

“And people love you for it.”

Jaime tries hard not to roll his eyes.

Back in the day, they hated me for being the Kingslayer. Now they love me for running some sword blog! What a turn of fate!

If only zombies finally understood that Jaime could not care less about how they feel about him, hatred or love alike.

How did his father always say? They do not concern themselves with the opinion of the sheep.

Or zombies, for the matter.

And that may be one of the few life lessons, time didn’t blur from Jaime’s memory.

It may be one o the few good advices he’s ever given me.

“I’d rather have those loving zombies leave me alone,” Jaime says, but at Peck’s shocked grimace, lets out a long sigh.

It’s not Peck’s fault that zombies are zombies.

He was born into a time where history was already a tale of forgetting. So it’s little wonder that he knows as little about the time before him as his peers.

Who gives a shit on who fought in the war against the dead so long the living turned out victory hundreds of years ago anyway?

At some point you don’t question the peace anymore, if it lasts for as long as it does now, you take it as something constant, something naturally given.

As though there never was Winter, but only a long, long Summer.

Little do they know…

“But oh well, at least a new blade,” Jaime concludes, distracting himself with the small budding future as he twists the blade in his hands, familiarizes himself with the weight, the texture, the density, shape.  “From the Stormlands, I assume. They used heavier metals because they were more frequent around the area… and the technique used to fold the metal fits more with the Eastern regions… yeah, that should give me some ideas for the design…”

“Do you have a name yet?”

Because the best swords have names…

“Feels like a Wavebreaker to me.”

Nice,” Peck agrees happily. “So it’s male.”

“Yes, this one is male,” Jaime tells him. “The blade is too bulky and lacks elegance. Has more of a Warhammer the likes of Robert Baratheon would have swung… before he got fat and drunk. Very fat and very drunk.”

Peck opens his mouth in reply, but that is when both turn their heads abruptly at the sound of footsteps outside.

“Zombies, zombies everywhere,” Jaime exhales, glancing out the window to see them lurking in the dark.

It reminds him of those cold days in the North, where the wolf pack kept looking at them up on the castle walls as they kept watch.

Just that zombies are far less threatening, but a lot more annoying.

Jaime cranes his neck before walking over to a electric panel by the door to start the sprinklers. And under much shrieking and squealing, the zombies retreat to their cars and drive away.

How delightful.

“Sorry about that, man, I made sure no one followed me, as you asked me. Took a different route again, over Silk Street this time. I was sure no one caught me.”

“They’ve been here before,” Jaime tells him bluntly. “I don’t think they followed you.”

“Jaime, man, I keep thinking… Maybe your whole reclusive attitude is not doing you any favors,” Peck goes on to say. Jaime keeps his expression blank as he glances out the window. “What’s not doing me any favors is that those zombies keep lurking in my front yard, stepping on my ipomoea alba, the little shits.”

“Your what?” Peck asks, his grimace curling into a confused frown.

“My ipomoea alba, my white morning-glory, my moon vine…,” Jaime says, but then stops himself, letting out a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. “My flowers.”

They always shine blue in the moonlight.

Like her eyes… if only zombies didn’t constantly piss on them!

“Ah, alright. Well, that’s what I was talking about, with your tactics. Maybe it’s time for a change, man. If they lurk around your place like that. You know… with that whole ‘Not up for Sale’… you make them want these swords even more. And that’s why they keep lurking.”

“I don't sell them because they are not up for sale, simple as that. I don't need other people’s money for my work. I just do my work, so I intend to keep it.”

He still has a chest full of gold stags from the Reconstruction period in his attic, each worth a big villa uptown, if not more.

The merits of coming from a noble House, Jaime assumes. Or from the times that noble House sat the Iron Throne.

“Hey, man, I know, I know. But the others? They don’t get it, so maybe… you know… just sell a few? I don’t know, maybe some of your earlier projects or so. The ones you don’t like as much… a broken one… they’d take anything at this point. I’m not even kidding.”

“If I started selling only just one, they’d lurk around my front yard to get more swords. How does it go? Give him an inch and he’ll take an ell. Whatever way I choose, someone is going to piss in my front yard and step on my ipomoea alba. Then I rather keep my weapons to myself.”

He never should have started that blog to post his work in the first place, Jaime knows now.

Back in the day, Jaime, foolishly, thought it was a good idea. Not to get feedback or so, he knows what he is doing. He refined his skills even as a one-handed man.

And little wonder, with all the lives he could spend doing just that.

Jaime actually needed suppliers, needed supplies. No more, no less. And if time has taught him one thing, then it is that you have to show your toys if you want to get into the club.

He needs the leather dressed in traditional tanneries. Not those mass products that have the wrong grip to them.

He needs the metals they used back in the day. If the pommel was gold, it has to be pure gold again, or else the weight is different, the balance is off.

He needs rubies, not red zirconia.

I need sapphires. Damn, do I need them.  

So, to get the things he needs, for the swords at least, Jaime created that stupid blog named The Song of Steel: Reforging Ancient Swords in Times of Modernity, the name purposely boring enough so no one would accidentally stumble over it, or so Jaime had hoped.

He posted some dumb, poorly illuminated pictures of his swords to get better connections, to show that he is worth giving the best materials to, that he can make good use of good steel, gold, leather, and the like, and not the cheap stuff you get at the hobby stores.

Because a blade from the Stormlands needs Stormlandish materials to rebuild it, to recraft it, to revive it from its deep slumber, its endless dreams of time. It has to feel like the old one. It has to have the same texture, the same weight. The leather has to make the same creaking sound as you tighten your grip around the handle. The blade has to cut through the air with the same sound.

The song of steel.

And for that, you need the ancient materials, for that you need a market available to you.

Well, and Jaime thought that the blog would grant him access to that secret market, that secret stash of resources, promising a bit of glory of the former days. He thought that this was his ticket back in time.

Only to get stuck in the gray mass of today and some faintly gleaming tomorrows.

And suddenly, Peck stood on his front porch and became his dealer, his little ticket handler.

A little smuggler in worn leather jacket still too big for him, trying to mimic Jaime’s style over the time they got to know each other.

He even tries to grow a beard now, which is more peach hair than anything else.

Some orders later, some updates on his blog, and suddenly he had a readership, followers, subscribers, lurkers.

And suddenly, Jaime had a whole lot of attention he did not want.

At all.

And now he can’t seem to rid himself of it ever again.

While the world keeps forgetting, the internet seems to have a surprisingly good memory.

The internet doesn’t forget.

Not even some stupid sword blog.

Damn those zombies.

They just keep stealing his time.

Not that Jaime doesn't have enough of it, it’s just that he doesn’t want to waste it on them.

They are just not worth it, which is telling… if you have so much to spare.

“My supplier said he might be able to track down some Essosi steel blades for you, if you liked. Do you do… ugh, what’s it called? Arakhs? He said he can get you one. Rumor has it that Khal Drogo used to have it back in the day.”

Arakhs are most definitely not on my list. I lost quite a bit to a rusty Arakh once, and don’t need revisiting.

“I stick to Westerosi blades. They have the better materials. And the Dothraki never gave too much on the aesthetics,” Jaime argues. “They were much more focused on murder, rape… pillage and threaten to burn… those kinds of things. That’s not my kind of style.”

“Right, right, what you do is art.”

“If you say so.”

Jaime doesn’t care if zombies consider what he does art.

He went to the King’s Landing Museum of Art some time ago, and there, a zombie claimed that a rubber band in a glass box was high art.

A rubber band in a glass box.

That was the day Jaime realized yet again, for, in these days, it’s not about realizing things once, but re-realizing them, rediscovering them, seeing them in another shape, that he has no clue about art.

Who is he to say that this rubber band in a glass box is not art?

But then again, who are the lurkers stepping on his moon flowers to say that what he does is art?

It’s all too abstract these days.

All just rubber bands in glass boxes.

“Well, I’ll talk to my supplier. Maybe something pops up. I still think he can get me Valyrian steel, but he doesn’t want to admit it because he doesn’t find the price right.”

“I told you often enough that money is the least of my concerns.”

The one thing Jaime no longer has to concern himself… ever.

“Yeah, I know, man, but the price he gave me was… nuts. I know what Valyrian steel costs on the market, and that was far from it. I’ll talk him into it little time from now. You’ll see.”

“Do what you have to do,” Jaime says, waving his hand dismissively.

What should he care?

Whether he gets the blade tomorrow or a hundred years from now, it hardly makes a difference these days.

“Is there something else you need?”

Jaime licks his lips. “There might be something.”

A way out of eternity, perhaps.

“Hey, whatever you need, man, whatever you need. I can get it for you. I mean, it’ll take some time, but you’ve been helping me so greatly, so…”

“Obsidian.”

“O what?” Peck frowns at him, taking out his little notepad and pen, waiting for instructions, definitions.

“Obsidian, frozen fire, dragonglass. I need a dagger made of obsidian.”

“Man, never heard of that stuff.”

“The stuff that they used to kill the Others with, the White Walkers, the… nevermind. Can you get me an obsidian dagger? Note it down,” Jaime says, gesturing at the pad. “Obsidian. Frozen fire. Dragonglass.”

Peck is busy scribbling on the yellow paper, nodding his head despite the fact that both know that he does by no means nod his head in understanding, as clueless as his expression is.

Jaime sighs, gesturing as he speaks, “This long. Sharp. I don’t just need the dragonglass, but I need a finished dagger. I can’t sharpen it myself – an expert has to do it for me, it’s different than steel blades.”

“Obsi…”

“O-b-s-i-d-i-a-n,” Jaime spells out, growing annoyed.

Peck is likable, but so very slow at times, as though he had time to spare, when in fact, he is just the blink of an eye.

“Well, I’ll ask around, man. I think I know someone who can help you with that. But… uhm… what for?” Peck asks.

“A project. A secret… art… project.”

If they call it art, why shouldn’t I go along with it?

“Oh, cool. That’s… cool,” Peck replies, nodding his head. “Anything else you’d want?”

“No, thanks. That is all. Just the obsidian dagger,” Jaime tells him.

“Oh, okay. Alright, well, uhm, then…,” Peck says, but Jaime interrupts him before he can go on, “You have to be on your way. Well, you know where the door is.”

“Actually, uhm, can I use your bathroom little quick?” Peck asks, biting his lower lip nervously.

“I’m afraid it’s still out of order,” Jaime argues, motioning over to the door to make him leave at last.

Just because he has so much time to spare doesn’t mean he has any intention to spare it.

Just like it doesn’t mean you have to share your bathroom with anyone.

“Still? It’s been months?!”

“Yeah, still. Sorry for the trouble. Feel free to piss in my garden so long you don’t sprinkle on my moon flowers. Bye, Peck.” Jaime gives him a gentle shove out the door before closing it with a thud.

“Zombies.”


 

 Brienne makes her way down the corridors of Winterfell.

Nothing much has changed about them, and that despite so many years having passed since it was first built, and then rebuilt after a lot was destroyed before and after the Long Night.

And she is glad for it. It gives her a feeling of belonging she oftentimes finds herself lacking when she has to rent yet another apartment.

She feels less detached from a past that is still so close to her despite the fact that it is so far away from almost everyone else.

Brienne knocks on one of the old wooden doors, smiling at the hurried shuffling sound of footsteps.

So many things change, but there are also those that seemingly never do.

The door opens, revealing a familiar face.

Which is rare enough in a world that constantly changes, renews itself, before her eyes, while she goes on and on and on again.

“Sam! It’s so good to see you,” Brienne says, giving the dark-haired man a brief hug and a warm smile. “How are you?”

“It’s good to see you, too. And I am very well, thank you. You?"

"I can't complain."

"You wouldn't complain even if there was something to complain about," he snorts.

"You know me too well."

And Brienne finds herself appreciating that more than maybe she should. Because she only feels that sense of familiarity with the people sharing her fate.

She has other friends, she has people she feels close to, that's not the thing, but it is to people the likes of Sam that she feels most connected to, feels like she can say what she normally has to keep to herself because people do not understand.

Or cannot.

How do you explain that, really?

How do you explain eternity?

“And how is he?” Brienne asks with a grimace.

“The Maester is weak, but his spirit remains unbroken,” Sam says, leading her inside.

“Davos is a man who remains unbroken,” Brienne says with a small smile.

There was a time when she wanted his death, no way around it.

Back when her heart still sang the sad laments for Renly, and she vowed revenge for his murder.

And Davos surely had little love in his heart for her in the beginning, too, after she told him that she was the one who slew his King in turn, swung the sword to pass the sentence Stannis brought upon himself with kinslaying, his own little brother no less.

But if life has taught Brienne one thing, then it is that sentiments such as hatred are all but fleeting in the end.

At least they grow to be once you don’t pass them over to the next generation to uphold in your stead.

Wars come to an end the moment hatred flits away, through the window, into a cloud of ash.

The only sentiment that has the power to last much longer?

Love.

"He is a tenacious man, no matter how much time passed already to perhaps water down some of that spirit," Sam agrees.

“Of course. That's what people the likes of him are made of. Well, luckily, he has you to tend to him. He is in the most able hands,” Brienne says, giving Sam’s hand a gentle squeeze.

“He is like family to me now. He’s helped me a lot with Little Sam, after… after Gilly left us.”

She squeezes his hand another time, tighter this time. There was a time when Brienne was afraid of those touches, but these days, she sees that her discomfort does not necessarily diminish the comfort she can give with the brush of her calloused fingertips.

Brienne knows Sam is still hurting from the loss. He loved Gilly truly, there is no doubt in that, but she was not like them once the war came to an end. They lived through a long spring of Reconstruction. Gilly saw Little Sam grow up to a man, but then she passed away of old age, leaving her two loved ones with no other choice but to cover her grave in Gilly flowers to bid her farewell as they carried on without her.

“He loves Little Sam,” Brienne goes on to say.

And Davos truly does. He already helped with the child when Gilly was still alive. Perhaps he saw something from the past reflected in Sam’s big blue eyes as he got to know the world, and it seemed to ease some of the pain out of the Onion Knight’s body as the world was rebuilt around them.

Since Gilly passed away, Davos was ever the more supportive of Sam, helped him through the grief, sharing with him his own pain, mingled in stories of a past long left unseen, uncovered, offering to talk even late at night when Sam just couldn’t find rest without Gilly by his side, and the two somehow carried on, as Gilly would have wanted them to, for Little Sam’s sake.

Though Little Sam is hardly little anymore.

“How does Sam like it at the Citadel?” Brienne asks, and the flash of pride is right back in Sam’s eyes.

A father’s pride.

One of those things that time cannot wash away.

One of those things that grief cannot destroy.

And one of those things Brienne won't witness.

There was a time when she envied Sam, if only in secret.

If only in Jaime's arms as he held me while the tears kept falling. And he wouldn't let go of me until the tears had dried. 

It took Brienne some time to let go of the idea, but these days, it's even less than a dull ache.

And once she started doing what Davos did, namely to put effort into Little Sam instead of her own self-pity, the ache faded and smiles returned.

“Oh, he likes it now. He was a little irritated at first… the Citadel is not much different from back when I got my chain. Just that it’s now no longer a chain but a certificate. But he found some friends now.”

“Then it’s well.”

She always found it a pity that they let go of the tradition to reward the Maester's achievements in the specific fields with new chain links. There was something heavy about it, not only in terms of the actual weight of the chains, but about the symbolism, the meaning. A sheet of paper, framed, hanged upon a wall, seems far more fleeting.

But it seems that our kind just tends to grow old-fashioned.

“It doesn’t get any easier, even after all this time, I will admit,” Sam says, shrugging his shoulders.

“They grow up too fast.”

“Indeed. But I thought it’d get easier at some point. I mean… how many years is it now? He has been to other places, many places, all across the Seven Kingdoms, but the Citadel… now that I am so bound up here in the North, it seems very far away,” Sam sighs.

“Well, gladly, we no longer have to wait or ravens to arrive,” Brienne argues. “Those took forever.”

“True, telephones and video chats make it a lot easier,” Sam replies, nodding his head. “Well, we should go ahead then. C’mon.”

Sam leads her over to a separate room, or rather, a chamber just like it was back in the old days. An old wooden bed, an old wooden study, furs, quilted blankets, old banners on the walls.

Some echoes from the past are the most precious sources of comfort.

“Just go on. I still have some work to do.”

“Thank you. We still have to sit down and talk some more, once you find the time.”

“Once I find the time… one should think that I finally have enough of it, huh? But it never seems to be enough," Sam exhales. "There is still so much to study, so much to learn, so many books to read..."

“I am sure we will find a bit of your precious time to spare for me.” Brienne smiles.

“For you of course.” She laughs before opening the door.

“Lady Brienne,” Davos, sitting on the bed, calls out to her, flashing a bright smile at her as she approaches.

All these familiar faces... they help her feel at home at a time when she feels like the whole world has grown to be her home.

Or rather, has grown to be her places to be, scratching away at the memories of what home really is.

Safe for the one she always knows will be hers.

Despite the fact that it's busy in King's Landing instead of here in Winterfell.

“Hardly a lady, you know that,” she argues, chuckling softly, motioning inside.

She settles down next to him on the bed, which creaks under her weight.

“As I am hardly a Maester, yet, here we are.”

“You got your chains like Sam did, so you are, by rights a Maester,” she insists, pointing at the links hanging on the wall as a constant reminder of the achievement Davos likely was the one to expect the very least. “So? How are you?”

“Have seen better days, I assume, but haven’t we all?”

“More or less.”

They have seen some many dark days, dark ages, even, but there also were those of light, of hope, when the first flowers broke through the melting snow and he looked at her with the expression she thought she’d never find reflected in a man’s face as he looked upon her.

“I got something for you,” Davos says, nodding at the familiar metal case, resting on the nightstand.

“The good stuff?”

“Only the good stuff. You know me.”

“Yes, I do know you, Ser Davos Seaworth.”

She didn’t always, but war seems to make you band together in ways that you can only comprehend once you stood, back to back, fighting against death itself.

That is when trust is born out of hatred, rises from the ashes, from the graves, and leaves you wondering how it comes that you took so long to let go of that stabbing sensation, poking holes deep into your chest.

“Hardly a Ser anymore these days, I told you. You shouldn’t call me that, at least not anymore. I’m even less of a Ser than I am a Maester,” he snorts.

“You served well, my friend. And you know how it is, once you are knighted, you hold that title till the day you die.”

Even if it lasts for hundreds of years and more.

You vow for life, and so it only makes sense that a vow should last as long as life itself does, too.

“That was a long time ago," he argues, running his fingers through his white beard.

“And so it was for us. The Long Night was not as long, by comparison.” She smiles.

“A short Long Night,” he chuckles.

Intense, on the verge of tearing them apart, but short, compared to the lives they now live, the time they now spend and have spent already.

It seems like time has to be measured according to intensity and not just duration.

“Still as deadly as a long Long Night.”

“That is true… So, I assume you’ll be sending some of the good stuff bdack home?” Davos asks.

Though it’s not really a question.

“Of course. He can’t get it down South. Wrong climate.”

“You know it’d be much easier if you both just stayed here.”

“You don't have to tell me,” Brienne huffs, amused.

They lived together in Winterfell for a longer while, after they spent many decades in Casterly Rock. Brienne thought Jaime liked it there well enough, now with Spring and Summer taking the place of long, demanding, excruciating Winters.

However, there was longing in his eyes, his movements grew rigid, lethargic, until it was clear to both that he needed some time away from Winterfell, the Wall, the North more generally. Brienne, by contrast, has a job going on she likes well enough, and with Davos not doing so well, she wanted to stay around, and Jaime agreed.

They never hold each other back. That was one of those things that never needed explaining or demanding, they just naturally stuck to that over the years and centuries. When Brienne wanted to move away from Essos because she didn’t like it there, Jaime didn’t question it any further and they went together. He had nothing to hold him in Meereen, so there were no misgivings.

That doesn’t change anything about the longing still throbbing beneath the skin, even though they are only a phone call or a video chat apart.

“You know that you could make him,” Davos laughs. "If only you asked."

“I won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. You know how it is after so many years… you don't have to be around each other the whole time, like the newlyweds,” Brienne snorts.

Not like they were after they took their vows.

They barely moved apart, sought the contact, the lack of distance.

Sought each other.

There was something strangely thrilling about it, to move as one, to eat as one, to be one.

However, the thrill wears down after some three hundred years. Or rather, you no longer need it as much. You welcome it once it arises, but you don’t chase it.

While, by contrast, the thrill seems much stronger when they meet again after spending miles and times apart.

It is like falling right back into love again.

History is oftentimes one of repetitions, after all.

And those are the best of repetitions.

“Still, it’s uneconomical, even he should see that. Just what is he doing in King’s Landing, still? There is nothing there that he can’t do here. What is his hobby again?” Davos frowns pensively.

“Reviving swords back to former glory. And for that, King’s Landing is the better place to be. Better resources, he told me. Shipping to Winterfell is just about awful. We all know that,” Brienne huffs, rolling her eyes.

Sometimes it feels like they still send the mail via raven.

“I always wonder how you don’t run any trouble sending the good stuff down South,” he chuckles.

“Holding a doctor’s degree sometimes comes to have its merits, I realized. They still think I am running a private clinic, so I can send medicine from A to B. Even if it’s just the good stuff, actually. They think it’s some antidote for Greyscale,” Brienne explains.

“Greyscale is long since extinct,” Davos argues, making a face.

“To their knowledge, there are still some cases across the Narrow Sea. Since King’s Landing has the biggest port to the Eastern side, it makes sense for me to ship these things to there. Well, and a friend in Essos claims to have received the antidote. So no one is ever asking questions. After all, Greyscale no longer exists indeed.”

Jaime’s idea, actually.

“Gladly so,” he exhales.

“Yes,” Brienne sighs, clapping him on the thigh once. “In any case, I think I should be on my way. You need the rest.”

“I need way too much rest these days,” Davos huffs.

“And you deserve it. Take your time. After all, if there is one thing we have, then it’s time,” she smiles, tapping the back of his hand before standing up.

She takes the metal case full of good stuff and motions to the door.

“I’ll see you soon.”

“I’ll be there.”

They can take the time, after all.