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Jaime took a deep breathe, and stepped inside.

The store held a near palpable feeling of anticipation, of anxiety, that immediately made him regret stepping inside. There were women of varying ages - all of them much younger than him, regardless - milling about the aisles with their hands twisting lipstick tubes and examining boxes of perfumes and browsing eyeshadow colours. Everyone looked so serious, so very calculating. He swallowed. Makeup was nothing you should toy around with. He agreed with them silently.

A sales lady hovered nearby, and he turned to her with a tight smile and a nod, and continued on into the store. He didn’t trust his voice right now, for some reason. Usually he was one you could rely to turn on the charm, but he couldn’t find it in him to do it for something so personal. One step in front of the other, he reminded himself.

Jaime tried to look disinterested in the products around him, to look like the lost boyfriend trying to remember what his girlfriend told him to buy. It wasn’t terribly hard; years of having his father tell him how important it was to keep your face a closed book was helping him greatly right now. He was yearning for a different kind of mask right now, though.

His carefully planned wandering brought him eventually to his destination, and he tried his hardest not to smile. Cersei had dropped not-too-casually that Marc Jacobs had recently released three new eyeshadow pallets: Vixen, Starlet, and Nudity.

He picked up Starlet, and made his way towards the checkout.

The clerk smiled at him and made the usual small talk: Did you want it gift-wrapped? Did you need a gift receipt? “No, no, it’s fine, but thank you. I know she’ll love it.” Okay. Your total is... I’ll include some samples for her as well... Thank you, have a nice day.

Deep down in the pit of his stomach, the snake coiled tighter around itself, choking. By the end of it, Jaime couldn’t wait to leave.

***
He took the pallet out of the box and carefully placed it next to Vixen and Nudity, then set about starting dinner. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, he texted his roommate.

[The trinity has been completed. You owe me a beer.]

It didn’t take long for a reply; Jaime idly wondered how Brienne could text so fast while doing her desk job.

[Apparently I do. Good on you. Stella or Kolsch?]

Jaime bit his lip and mulled it over.
[Let’s do Kolsch. Will go good with the pasta. Want me to save you some?]

[Would love to, but got invited out with Marg after work. “Girl’s Night Out.”]

Jaime laughed under his breathe, feeling slightly warmed by how informal Brienne had become with him recently. He couldn’t feel anything but glee for her position though, much as he tried to muster up sympathy.

The water was rolling now, so he left his phone and put the pasta in and began lining up and measuring the spices and herbs in order. By the time he finished that, another text from Brienne had come through.

[I’ve just been informed that should you want to come, you’re more than welcome to. Loras and Renly are apparently joining as well. Save me.]

[Can’t, I’ve got my delicious dinner already on the stove. Plus, I wouldn’t want to interfere with the men hunting.]

Jaime could practically picture Brienne’s ears going red. The text he got back was almost instantaneous.

[Oh, shut it. Those two only have eyes for one another, anyway.]

“Right, didn’t she have a crush on him at one point?” Jaime muttered to himself. Lord knows why, except maybe for the beard. He had to admit Renly grew a very nice beard.

[Well, play wingman to Marg. Drink yourself stupid and come back to my pasta. Or skip the drinking and just come home.]

[You really want me there, don’t you?]

He could lie through his teeth and tell her to enjoy the evening out. He could give her his expertly delivered mix of sarcasm and lying that he’d been perfecting since birth, if his father’s word could be trusted.

[Yeah, kind of do.]

But Brienne was worth a whole lot more than that.

***

It took an hour for her to make her excuses and walk home from the office to their tiny apartment. The weather had given her cheeks a rosy look and her hair a ragged appearance, which Jaime pointed out from his spot on the couch. Expectedly, Brienne rolled her eyes and told him he wasn’t much better in his sweatpants and hoodie, to which Jaime pointed out he’d been off work for several hours, so it was to be expected. Somewhere around the point when he’d opened his mouth, she'd left a six-pack at the door and had made her way into her bedroom and shut the door, but he didn’t care. He got off the couch and practically jogged into the kitchen, took her plate out of the fridge and put it in the microwave.

“Ah, the romantic beeping of rewarmed food.” Brienne said as she came out a minute later, her hair pulled back under a band and her bathrobe tied tight around her, accepting her plate with a tiny bow to match Jaime’s. They both smiled and laughed, but said nothing else until they both were seated on the couch again, each with a beer in hand.

“How’s the new one working for you?” Brienne motioned with her fork to Jaime’s right hand, to which he sat up straighter and rolled back his sleeve to show her his prosthetic in full.

“Comfier, though it’s hard to describe.” He rotated it to show her the other side, “Bit hard to be comfy without a dominant hand in general, but it’s much better than the last. Can actually balance things properly in this one.”

“That’s good.” Brienne’s smile was tight, but Jaime knew it was not out of nervousness for the subject matter. They’d had discussions about his disability before, and very early on he’d perceived correctly she was simply socially awkward. “Can it hold...?”

“No.” Jaime bit off the word faster than he’d intended, so he continued softer, “I was hoping that you...” He looked up then, and Brienne caught on right away.

She nodded, “I figured. I mean, not like that, but. Well. Christ.” She covered her face with her free hand. “I’m an idiot.”

“Not as big as the one I was when I was shopping today.” Jaime pointed out, smiling ruefully, “I’ll wait for you in my room?”

“You almost sound like you’re trying to seduce me.” Brienne poked him with a toe, mouth full, and she grinned when Jaime made a exaggerated reaction of shock.

“How dare you decipher my intentions so boldly, sir!” Brienne laughed then, loud and girlish, hand over her mouth as she kicked him. Jaime grinned back and pretended to limp away from her, holding the place she’d hit him.

“Drama queen.” She stuck out her tongue.

“Wench.” Jaime shot back from the hallway, partially out of sight save for his dragging leg.

“Kingslayer!” Brienne replied, giddy.

“Oh my god, you kill the king once in a DnD campaign and they never let you forget it, do they?”

“Never.”

***

By the time Brienne closed the door to his room, Jaime had sobered up completely. And shaved. She raised her eyebrows at that, but said nothing.

He sat in the middle of the floor on a blanket, legs crossed, and Brienne joined him mirroring his position. In between them were several items she had first guessed had belonged to his sister when he’d moved in. The two of them had apparently been inseparable, even going so far as to room together after college.

Brienne blinked, frowned, refocusing her train of thought. There were times to think about how downright weird Jaime’s family dynamic was, and now was certainly not one of them.

She picked up the concealer first, and Jaime made a humming noise in the back of his throat, shaking his head. She put it back down, fingers hovering, and moved towards the primer. Silence. Brienne took it as acceptance and picked it up, unscrewed the lid, and began to paint.

Her mind wandered as her hands moved, now practiced when they were once clumsy. This close to him, she could see every pore on Jaime’s face, every twitch of his eyelids. She could feel his breathe come shallow out from his nose. The intimacy sometimes overwhelmed her and she’d pull away, but not for long. Jaime didn’t like her being too far away from her when she’d help him, couldn’t handle being rejected at this point when he’d exposed this much to her. So Brienne held her breathe, and continued on.

Once the primer, foundation and bronzer were in place, Jaime would open his eyes and tell her which eyeshadow pallet to go with and which colours to use, and Brienne would continue to paint.

“Your hands are getting more steady.” He said, almost causing Brienne to smear eyeshadow on his temple. Jaime never spoke during this part unless it was to tell her something related to the makeup. Brienne was ultimately a stand-in for what his right hand could no longer do for him; she didn’t exist during this point of time. But he was looking at her with a strange sort of warmth that utterly terrified her, and it took a considerable amount of willpower to mutter a “thank you” under her breathe and keep working.

Next was the eyeliner, the part Brienne hated the most. Jaime showed her one he hadn’t opened yet, “Bought it earlier this week,” he’d muttered, sounding extremely pleased with himself. Brienne found herself smiling with him, as she poised herself before starting. It was liquid eyeliner, so she was doubly more anxious than usual with it. One stroke, two strokes- “Wings.” Jaime said. His hands fidgeted on his knees.
“Wings?” Brienne wanted to make completely sure. Jaime took a deep breathe and let it out with a nervous laugh.

“Yeah, if you could.”

She’d helped Margaery fix her winged eyeliner at work, so perhaps she could do this. Carefully, Brienne cradled his head in her large hands and tilted Jaime’s face towards the light. Keeping one hand on his jawline and pursing her tongue, she did one side, and then the other. She wondered incredulously how it was possible to make them look as even as they did in magazines.

That had been the first time Jaime’s interest, she reminisced. His door had been cracked open, and she’d knocked to ask him a question she’d forgotten now, but she found him sitting on his bed, Cosmopolitan open on his lap and applying eyeliner in the standing mirror across from him. He’d been thoughroughly embarrassed, deflecting all her queries she hadn’t the chance to ask yet, before giving her a firm shove out of his room and closing the door. If she hadn’t been completely still and silent, she wouldn’t have heard him mutter “shit, fuck, I’m fucked,” behind the door. She also probably would have never been prompted by a sudden need to... what? Comfort him? Console him? She didn’t know. But she went back in, and it hadn’t hit her until much later what that had meant to Jaime.

“All done.” She sat back on her heels, releasing the breathe she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, and looked at the job she did. Mediocre, compared to what other girls could do, perhaps. Jaime grabbed a hand mirror and blinked into it owlishly. Brienne scooted around on hands and knees and leaned in, so both their faces were framed inside it.

“How do you think you did, darling?” Jaime nudged her with his elbow, and she couldn’t help but giggle. She felt it was too deep and manly, but Jaime always reacted so positively to it she couldn’t find it in herself to hold it in.

“I think you look maaaaahvelous.” She couldn’t drawl like he could and he knew it. He snorted and nudged her with his foot, but shot her a look so earnest it made something in her chest twinge. “But no, um, I think I did good. Better than before.”

“You always say that. I think you really improved from last time. Not that last time was bad, but...” Jaime trailed off biting his lip, suddenly so shy and oh, there was that twinge again, “I never do thank you, so... thanks. For this.” He motioned to his face.

Now it was her turn to feel shy; she couldn’t help ducking her head and muttering, “It’s nothing, really.”

Brienne felt strong arms encircle her, a hand resting in between her shoulder-blades, the other circling around her neck. “Really.” Jaime’s voice was thick. “I mean it.”

She rested her forehead on his shoulder. She already knew.