It was snowing. Damned snow was falling. As if everything else was not enough. They were still far to the South and it was snowing. White snowflakes were sluggishly falling down from the sky. Brienne was wondering if Tarth is already covered by white coating. At least she was trying to thing about it but she wasn't good at it. For real her thoughts scattered around something else. Someone else. She couldn't delete from her memory his gaze stolen by her in presence of so many people. In presence of Queen Cersei. But if these gaze was her only memory then she would felt completly different. For sure not so tragic. But there was also this short exchange of words... He was so cold, so unfamiliar... Like if he was irritated that she called to him. They have gone through so much together and he tried to dispose of her. She felt her heart burst into small pieces. She would not dare to dream about anything but still she had a hope that this little attachment, maybe even friendship between them is real. Apparently recalculated.
She stood up in silence and left people who were warming up by the fire. She went away in darkness and breathed loudly. She had hope that Podrick will not soon notice her disappearance. She cared for a moment of calm. Away from this stupid dialogues and politics. Everybody was talking about the Others and about Queen Cersei's change of mind. But Brienne could only think about hypnotic green eyes which last time looked at her in anger. Why had she became close to someone who saw world completly different? Almost always there was a misunderstanding among them, yet still she hoped, still her heart beat faster at the memory of him...
"Milady?" worried voice of her squire pulled her to the ground. She blinked gustily and noticed that she was sitting on overthrown trunk. More layers of snow grew around her. She didn't remember the moment in witch she sat.
"Is everything alright, milady?" he asked, standing next to her.
"Yes..." she whispered, "I need a moment for my own." she explained.
"It's dangerous to go so far away from the camp..."
"What is threatening me, Pod? We made an alliance with Queen. Nobody is threatening us for a while. By the way I have Oathkeeper with me. Don't forget this. "
" Of course, milady. Should I sit next to you?"
"No. I want to be alone. Go back to the others."
Boy nodded and disappeared with her back. Brienne didn't want to watch the firecamp and people who were tough to beat incoming threat from the North. She wanted this too, of course, but... Fight with dead meant death for many. She began to think for the first time in long time that she might die. The fact of her mortality was even more painful because of that she has not had contact with her father for a long time, has not seen her family home for years, she has lost Renly whom she loved over life and she was painfully disposed of by the one who stole her ... that ... that .. where she cared.
It was pathetic. She could not think of anything else. She, the ugliest woman in the world, who received only mockery and pain from the men, felt like a stunned, stupid lady.
She would most like to cry to someone in the shoulder. Jaime's shoulder... No. She could not. He was a Lannister, an opponent, and beyond that he obviously did not even feel the friendship that began to grow between them. Apparently he did not consider her a person who could give him note, who could talk with him in the company of important people. Was he ashamed of their relationship? Or maybe he had enough of pretending that he tolerates her? Why then did he give her the Oathkeeper? Why did he for seven hells tell her about killing Aerys?
"Damned" she whispered to herself and wiped a lonely tear from her cheek. She will die alone in this bloody snow and only her father will cry over her death.
Then she heard the horse's rattle and hoofbeats. Immediately, she reached to her feet and involuntarily grasped the handle of her sword. She calmed her breath and stepped into the darkness toward the noise.
"Who is going? " she asked firmly, stubbornly staring at the rider. She only saw a dark figure on a horse that stopped several meters from her.
"Jaime Lannister," he said, and her heart stopped.
"Ser Jaime ..." she repeated dryly. Equally as cold as snow all around, as the wind breaking through her coat and clothes.
She watched carefully as the stranger jumped off the horse and grabbing his reins goes to her decisively. It was only when he approached the meter that she noticed that the horse's jaw was heavy and Jaime was tired and exhausted. She was about to ask the reason, but before she opened her mouth in her head echoed his last words to her. And what will I tell her? It was like an accusation, like stoning her stupid idea. Worse than when he called her a wench. Back then she considered him a oathbreaker and did not intend to take care of his words. Now it was different.
"Brienne," he said, catching his breath. This time there was not a bit of formality in his voice. Her name sounded sweetly in his mouth. So soft and warm that her hands trembled. "I have to see the Dragon Queen or Snow or my brother. Anybody…"
This time her lips quivered. She did not trust herself enough to speak right away. She wanted to grab him for his clothes and shake. She was no one to him, but it should not worry her. It should not bother her.
She shook herself and so she looked into his brilliant green eyes, and he withstood the look, and even returned them. And they remained so for a long moment, staring into each other.
"They are not here," she said finally. Her voice was barely a whisper.
"They sail to Winterfell. Everyone who counts," she said and fell silent. She stood stiff, straight and proud, although inside she could not put herself together.
"I understand that you are going there too?" he asked and sighed heavily. Without waiting for an answer, he headed toward the fire and horses tethered nearby. He stopped in a few steps and looked at her. "Are not you going?"
"No, ser Jaime. You do not need my escort," she said and took her place back on the trunk. For a moment she did not hear the steps until finally he moved. Then she just hid her face in her hands and moaned softly. This conversation was the last thing she needed.
The horse snorted softly, and Brienne stiffened. A second later, she felt someone take the place next to her. All her muscles tightened and she slowly pushed her hands away from her face. He was there. So close and so far away. He watched her carefully, as if with concern. His only hand hung uncertainly a few centimeters from her shoulder, and there was a question on his lips. When she looked at him, he withdrew his hand to his chest and looked away. Now he was staring into the darkness, just like she had until recently.
"Cersei was lying," he confessed with pain, and she never felt more shocked. Why did he tell her? Why he was here? Why he left Kings Landing, his family, his twin siter? A treason should not be a reason for someone in love... But even if he was ther, next to her. Why did he stay with her in cold instead of going to the campfire? He was so badly dressed. She could practically see him trembling. Even in the dark.
"So why are you here? Her loyal knight..."
Only after several long seconds, she realized that Jaime still not removed the hand from her arm. Immediately she blushed, which, fortunately, in the darkness he could not see.
"You should go to the rest and ask for fur and food. You look finicky, "she said, looking away and trying hard to ignore his touch.
"I will stay. I do not feel like companionship."
Once again there was a silence that rang in her ears. Brienne felt uncomfortable. She wanted to cry, she wanted to cry so badlly. Into his arm. And yet she could not afford it. It would prove only weakness, and she was not sure if he would not use it. Again he became a mystery to her, a potential enemy.
"Brienne... " Jaime broke the silence and moved a little closer to her. "You know that I could not say anything else. We were on the opposite side... I tried to talk to Cersei, really. It did not do anything, but I did what you asked for."
"It does not matter."
"Of course it does. I hate to argue with you about politics."
She stiffened. He once said it. That day in the tent. She belonged to the enemy, yet she was still safe in the Lannister camp. Everything thanks to him. However, she still doubted. How could she? She told him once that she trusted him. Although no one else has ever trusted. She felt completely lost, and his gaze only hindered everything.
"Ser Jaime ..." She whispered, feeling tangible tension between them.
"What is this ser for? How long do I have to tell you that my name is Jaime? Just Jaime."
"You are a knight," she contradicted.
"I broke so many oaths that I probably do not deserve this title. Do not you remember?"
"No," she said again, shaking her head. "You are the best knight I have ever met," she said before she could bite her tongue. Immediately she regretted, because Jaime smiled brazenly, as only he could. Sad and sweet at the same time.
"In that case, isn't it enough for you that we know each other so well to call me only by my name? Because if you think otherwise, then I went out on a fool forgetting to add the lady every time I addresed to you" he said calmly, and she could not catch even a bit of mockery. It was really this Jaime. This changed, noble. Her Jaime. Again, it left her speechless and she did not know what to say. By the way she noticed that he finally took his hand from her shoulder. Trembling hand. He was shaking. Brienne opened her frightened eyes broader. After all, he was freezing. And probably starving.
She leaned back and picked up a bit, all to be able to unbutton her coat. Jaime looked at her with surprise tracking her movements. She knew it was inadequate, but it did not appear that they got up and went to the fire. She moved closer to him carefully and covered them both with her coat. Then they continued silently, staring into the darkness. This time no one interrupted the silence.
Brienne could not even say when she fell asleep. The darkness of the night turned into darkness under her eyelids. It was so warm, so nice, so pleasant...