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Ned Stark watched the 'loving couple' with a mixture of satisfaction, resentment and guilt. He had been on at Robert for years now, trying to get Lannister stripped of his White Cloak, and for it to be replaced with black. Unfortunately, only the first half of his request had been granted. A Bride's Cloak had taken place of his White Cloak, to be swept over the broad shoulders of the homeliest maiden he had ever seen.

The bride's ugliness was some small consolation, a bread crumb thrown to him by Robert when Lord Tywin's demands had been conceded to. Ned knew deep down that the Kingslayer's disgrace was less out of a place of justice and more as a result of Lord Tywin making noises about recalling some of the crown's numerous debts.

And so, Lord Tywin had his heir back, Ned had Ser Jaime off the Kingsguard and Robert had the satisfaction of watching the Great Lion of Lannister wed to the unfortunate Brienne of Tarth, whose father was no doubt singing at having made such a match for his unfortunate heir. The only person not somewhat pleased by this arrangement, except from the Kingslayer and the sour faced Queen, was the bride. Never had Ned seen a more miserable looking creature, hulking and awkward in her exquisite gown. Hence the twinge of guilt in Ned's belly.

Still, a maiden had to be wed and a Lady needed a Lord. Ned's eyes shifted down to Arya, who was squirming in boredom next to a bewitched Sansa. Even Arya, his wild little girl, would have to be wed. Little girls can't stay little girls forever, they all have to grow up one day and accept their duty.

His eyes went back to the Kingslayer, standing proud and haughty in his crimson doublet. 'When the day did come for Arya to be wed,' Ned resolved, 'it would be someone far more worthy of her'. He tried not to think of Joffrey, betrothed to his Sansa.

Ned's eyes finally settled on the bride as she unwillingly allowed herself to be draped in Lannister red and submit herself to his protection. A truly tragic figure.

'It is a better match than she could ever hope for,' Ned consoled himself, 'she will be grateful. In time.'

He was right. 

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She should have killed him when she had the chance. Cut a smile into his throat like the smirk on his handsome face. She had prudently resisted the urge at Harrenhal, focussing on Lord Walder and his traitorous brood. But now, having watched the Kingslayer waltz around Winterfell, she wished she hadn't.

When the Kingslayer had first arrived, Jon had refused Arya the chance to give justice to Bran.

“We offered the Lannisters a truce,” he grudgingly pointed out, “And we must keep our word,”

Sansa agreed, as did Bran. Even Bran, never to walk again, had raised no protest to the Kingslayer's continued presence.

“He has a role to play in the war,” Bran said placidly, staring through Arya like a window, “He is needed,”

Well, the war was over now. The Kingslayer had played his part and played it valiantly, by all accounts. But that wouldn't bring back Bran his legs, nor Jory his life. Sansa and Jon may grit their teeth and make amends, anxious to avoid any more blood shed. But Arya was less squeamish. She had come as accustomed to blood as to snow. What was one more life?

The Kingslayer had arrived at the gates last night, bloodied and half dead from battle, along with numerous other survivors. Now he was laying in bed, weak and defenceless. If he were to slip away in the night, who was to say it was not from his injuries.

Wearing the face of a pretty serving girl, Arya slipped away from her family and crept her way to the Kingslayer's chambers. She pressed her ear against the door to see if the coast was clear.

It was not.

A voice, a woman's voice, was talking, sobbing.

Pleading over and over, “Don't die. Please don't die. Not now,”

Arya felt a surge of hatred rise within her. Lady Brienne! She, who had been so loyal to the Starks, was begging for the Kingslayer to live.

Arya listened as the proud warrior woman broke down into helpless sobs. She rolled her eyes in frustration, wondering how long this was going to go on.

“Arya?”

Arya spun round, to see Sansa staring at her.

“How do you know it was me?” she hissed.

Sansa raised an eyebrow, “I recognised the serving girl. Who else would be wearing a dead girl's face if not you? What are you doing here?”

“What do you think?” Arya demanded.

Sansa shook her furiously, “You will not,”

“We owe it to Bran!”

“Bran has forgiven him,” Sansa snapped, “And what about Brienne, have you forgotten what we owe her? No good can come of continuing with this folly,”

Arya stared at her defiantly, squaring her shoulders.

“All you will achieve,” Sansa continued, “Will be the heartbreak of a woman to whom we already owe more than we can give. Now step away from the door and leave them be,”

With that, Sansa turned her back and glided off, not looking to see if Arya followed.

Arya cast one last, longing look at the door, and then walked away.

 

Chapter Text

Myrcella and mummy were arguing again. Tommen could hear mummy shouting through the phone all the way from the corridor to the living room, where he was playing with Ser Pounce. Uncle Tyrion's new girlfriend, Margaery had brought Ser Pounce for him when he and Myrcella first moved into Casterly Rock. Mummy didn't like Margaery very much. Actually, there were a lot of things mummy didn't like. Margaery, Uncle Tyrion, Myrcella's boyfriend Trystane, Uncle Renly, Uncle Stannis, daddy before when he was still alive.... In fact, mummy didn't like most people.

She had liked Uncle Jaime, once, but not anymore. Not ever since he started going out with his girlfriend, Brienne. When Jaime first introduced them it had been at an family dinner at Casterly Rock. She seemed quite nice to Tommen, if a bit shy and uneasy, and both Uncle Tyrion and Grandfather liked her a lot. But mummy got very upset and said some nasty words that he wasn't allowed to repeat.

Actually, mummy had been saying a lot of nasty words near the end, before Grandfather had come round and told them they would be moving in with him. Mummy had been angry but didn't disagree with him, no one disagreed with Grandfather. She still called every day, and visited them every week, but they weren't allowed on their own with her. This made her angry, Tommen could tell, and sometimes she got shouty.

Tommen cuddled Ser Pounce against his chest, and hoped that mummy wouldn't ask to talk to him. She sounded really angry with Myrcella and he didn't want her to be upset with him either. He poked his head round the corner and saw that Myrcella was starting to cry, though she kept her voice steady on the phone.

“Tommen?” a gentle voice asked, Tommen turned round to see Brienne smiling down at him comfortingly, “Is everything alright?”

Tommen pulled Ser Pounce closer and mumbled into his fur.

“Mummy is shouting at 'Cella,” he explained, lower lip wobbling, “And now Myrcella is crying,”

Brienne nodded, “I see,” she said, reaching out to stroke Tommen's golden hair. Tommen followed Brienne as she walked up to Myrcella, lingering in the doorway of the living room. Brienne spoke softly to the crying teenager, who, after an encouraging nod, hung up the phone and allowed herself to be drawn into to larger woman's warm arms.

Tommen cuddled Ser Pounce and smiled.

“I thing we like Brienne,” Tommen told Ser Pounce, who purred in response.

 

 

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Tyrion smiled at his drinking buddies in pleasure, “Isn't this nice,” he declared, “Just like the good old days. You,” he pointed at Bronn, “Me, young Podrick-”

“And a viscous army on its way to kill us all,” Bronn finished, downing his wine and thrusting out his goblet, “Fill us up Podrick,”

Podrick went to obediently do so, only to stop himself.

“Why should I?” he protested, “I'm as much as Lord Tyrion's guest as you, I'm not his squire anymore,”

“Because your closest to the wine, you whiny son of a poxy whore, and you're still a squire,” Bronn thrust his goblet at Pod's chest, “Now pour!”

“Why are you still a squire?” Tyrion asked, “Surely you are too old to still be serving Lady Brienne, don't you want to be a knight,”

“Of course I do,”

“Then why haven't you asked Bronn to knight you, I'm sure he would be willing?”

Pod stared at the pair defiantly. “I won't be knighted until Lady Brienne is. She deserves a knighthood more than I,”

“That's very loyal of you Podrick,” Bronn said, “Sickeningly so,”

“I'm afraid you will be waiting a long time before anyone knights Lady Brienne, Podrick,” Tyrion said gravely, “I cannot think of anyone who would be willing to knight a woman,”

“I can think of someone,” Bronn said, taking a long gulp of wine, “Your brother,”

Tyrion's head whipped round. “What?” he demanded.

“Your brother would be willing to knight the lady, he's already given her his sword,”

“Ser Bronn, you should not speak of the lady thus, not before her squire,” Tyrion reprimanded him.

“Not that sword, you wanker, his actual sword. The Valyrian steal one with the fancy golden pommel your father gave him,”

“Did he now?” Tyrion raised an eyebrow, “Are you sure it was the one father gave him?”

“He did,” Podrick confirmed, “He gave it to her find Lady Sansa and bring her to safety, to fulfil his vow to Lady Stark”

“He trusted her enough to do so?”

“Oh yes,” Pod nodded eagerly, “He trusts Lady Brienne a great deal. I can tell from the way he looks at her, like she's....” Pod trailed off, as unsure how to describe the looks between his mistress and the Kingslayer.

Tyrion took a long sip of wine as he processed this information. He had known that Lady Brienne had accompanied his brother back to King's Landing, and in return his brother saw to it that she received treatment according to her rank during her stay there. But Tyrion had never picked up on any special fondness for the lady, indeed Jaime never spoke of her.

Although, now Tyrion thought of it, whenever she did come up in conversation, Jaime was always swift to change the subject. Embarrassment, perhaps? Or a desire to shield Lady Brienne away from their family?

“He must hold her in much regard,” Tyrion said at last.

Bronn snorted into his wine. “Oh, I would say so. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he is giving her his other sword to her before long,”

 

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Sandor grimaced as Bronn shot him a smirk,

“She hasn't given in yet,” Tormund admitted to Sandor and Bronn as they sat hunched over their pints of beer, “But it's only a matter of time. I'll have that woman in my bed and begging for it. I've sent her flowers, chocolates, bear skins. The works! Has your Lannister done any of that?”

“No,” Bronn admitted, “He hasn't,”

“Well then,” Tormund cried triumphantly, “He's got no chance,”

“And yet,” Bronn pondered, “She still prefers his company over yours,”

Sandor sniggered into his pint as Tormund drooped.

“What?” Tormund asked.

“Well look at them,” Bronn jerked his head over to Brienne and Jaime as they stood by the pool table, “Joined at the hip. He doesn't make nearly the amount of effort you do, and still she'd rather spend time with him,”

“What are you saying?”

Sandor had seen the pair together, Brienne Fucking Tarth and Jaime Fucking Lannister, and knew exactly what Bronn was saying. The most irritating pair in existence, either squabbling or staring longingly into the other's eyes.

It seemed bizarre that the homely, plain spoken Brienne and the dashing Jaime Lannister would find in each other the stuff of many a poxy pop song, but anyone with a brain could see the trust and respect between the two (which might explain Tormund). They constantly sought each other out, and fell into step beside the other as though they were one being.

It was enough to make him sick.

“He's saying, you dumb fuck,” Sandor cut in, “That you've already lost,”

“What?” Tormund asked numbly.

“Well, I wouldn't say he's 'lost' exactly,” Bronn put it.

“No?” Tormund said hopefully.

“Lost would imply that there was some sort of competition,” clarified Bronn.

“And that you were in the running in the first place,” Sandor added.

Tormund slammed his fist against the table. “That's bullshit,” he growled, “We've got something special,”

“She hasn't said one fucking word to you,” Sandor jeered.

“That's not true,” Bronn protested, “Remember when she said 'Mr Giantsbane, whether or not it is intentional, your continued advances are making me extremely uncomfortable and are utterly unwelcome' and then she threatened legal action?”

“She's just playing hard to get,” Tormund grumbled, his chair scraping sharply against the floor as he stormed off and out of the pub.

Bronn turned to Sandor with a mischievous tilt of the eyebrow.

“Shall we tell him about the restraining order, or just let it be a lovely surprise?”

 

 

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Tywin looked down at the young woman, who seemed to shrink beneath his glacial stare. Quite a feat, considering her height. It was a proud skill of Tywin's, to look down on even those taller than him. A narrowing of the eyes, a pursing of the lips, and he had battle hardened soldiers squirming like eels.

(He had been able to do so since he was four and his nurse tried to skip to the end of his bedtime story.)

Beside the unfortunate Maid of Tarth stood his son, hovering anxiously as Tywin silently regarded them both.

“Lady Brienne,” he said at last, “I understand that my family owes you a debt,”

Lady Brienne looked bashfully at her feet.

“It was nothing,” she mumbled, much to Tywin's annoyance.

“I'm sure you understand that I do not consider the safe return of my son to be 'nothing',” Tywin said with a bite of impatience, “Especially when a high born Lady treks across the Riverlands in the middle of a war to do so,”

“I am glad to be of service,” Lady Brienne said carefully, her eyes flickering to Jaime's before meeting with Tywin's.

“And you desire no reward for this service?” Tywin asked pointedly, “You risked your life and your virtue merely to be of some help,”

Beside her, Jaime stiffened and flashed a meaningful look at Lady Brienne.

“I also wish,” Lady Brienne added in a rehearsed and yet slightly grudging voice, “To be returned to the King's peace in light of my.... recent treachery,”

Here, Jaime's hand twitched towards Lady Brienne's arm, as though he desired to offer her some comfort. Tywin gave no sign that he had noticed, but instead paused some more as to keep them both waiting.

“I see,” he said, then after another pointed pause, “Of course you shall, all of your previous crimes and your service to the traitors Lord Renly and Robb Stark are forgiven in light of your recent service, and you are welcome to reside at the Red Keep for as long as you desire,”

Jaime deflated in relief, whilst Lady Brienne remained scowling somewhat, as though her confession had left a sour taste in her mouth. 'Not so sincere as she appears then, it must have Jaime who schooled her in that tactful response' Tywin mused, before giving them a curt nod.

“You may depart,” he said, returning to his correspondence.

Tywin kept his eyes fixed on his letters until after the pair had both left, sitting back in his chair in satisfaction. He pondered on the protective manner in which Jaime stood beside the Lady. A smile flickered over Tywin's lips. Well, he needed to find some way to get Jaime off the Kingsguard, and the reassurance of Lady Brienne's safety might just be that. And in that vein of thought, he also needed a wife for his son.

A nobly born wife, strong enough to give him many grandchildren.

Tywin picked up his quill and began writing a letter addressed to Lord Selwyn Tarth.

It seemed he might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

 

Chapter Text

“You set me up on tinder?” Brienne asked blankly. Her face remained strangely calm and unmoved, Renly expected a lot more shouting. Instead, the shock was so great, she could only stare at her friends in numb horror as she attempted to process the news.

“You set me up on tinder?” she repeated once more.

Renly shared a quick look with Loras. He didn't know how long the shock would last and Brienne would turn violent. Whereas her face was white and bloodless now, he knew any moment it could turn red. If he wanted to take advantage of her momentary silence to convert her, he would have to act quickly. Nodding at Loras, the pair each took a hold of Brienne's arms and swiftly sat her down on the sofa. They joined her, one on both sides, and Loras thrust a phone before her face.

“See,” Loras said, “A bunch of guys have already swiped right. Some of them are quite cute,” he shot a mischievous glance at Renly, “I wonder if any are on grinder,”

Renly glared and turned his attention back to the phone, quickly swiping left on the picture of a shirtless red head with a creepy grin, before coming to a stop on the picture of a certain golden haired Adonis.

“Hey, Brie,” he said, “Isn't that Jaime Lannister?”

“What?” Brienne asked, snatching the phone.

“It is. Loras, look. Jaime Lannister swiped right,”

Brienne blushed and sank into her seat. “He's only teasing me,” she said, shoving the phone back into Renly's hands. Renly met Loras's eyes over the top of Brienne's head. Loras smirked and nodded.

“Swiping right!” Renly announced, holding the phone up high as Loras pinned Brienne against the sofa, forcing her to watch in terror as Renly pressed his finger to the little love heart. Brienne wrestled her way out of a laughing Loras's hands and prised the phone out of Renly's fingers.

“Renly,” she growled, “How could you? Now Jaime Lannister is going to think that I think he likes me! Do you know how much he is going to laugh at-”

The phone buzzed. Brienne looked down to see Jaime's name flash and stifled a groan.

“It's Jaime,” she sighed, causing Renly and Loras to jerk forward in expectation.

Eyes shut and face screwed up in a grimace, she held out the phone at arm's length.

“I'm going to take this in my bedroom,” she informed the, leaving the pair waiting in anguish on the sofa.

She was gone a good fifteen minutes.

“Well?” Renly demanded on her re-entry.

Blushing a bright beetroot red, and valiantly fighting down a smile, Brienne shrugged.

“We're meeting up Tuesday,”

 

Chapter Text

Davos watched as Brienne checked her watch and groaned in annoyance. She still had half an hour until the security guards changed their shifts and Sandor would take over. Her phone rang, and Davos tried not to eavesdrop as she discretely explained to her room-mate, Jaime, that she was going to be late for pick up and he should go home without her. She would catch a taxi.

Davos shot Brienne a sympathetic grimace as he stood, stretching out his legs. “Cup of coffee?” he offered kindly, to which the fatigued woman accepted with thanks.

“Not long now,” he said, sitting beside her.

Brienne smiled, downing her coffee. “I know. It's just a nuisance having to wait,”

“Have you spoken to HR about him?” Davos suggested, “It's been going on for months now,”

Brienne slumped in her chair. “I can't... I just can't face them, I know what they will think,”

“And what's that?” Davos asked in concern.

“That...” Brienne's voice trailed off as she swallowed a lump, “That I should be grateful. That the big, ugly woman should be down on her hands and knees, praising the Gods because at last a man has found her worthy, never mind if he eyes her like a piece of meat. Even my friends,” Brienne spat, “People who claim to care about me, think that it's sweet. They say I deserve the attentions of a man for once. It doesn't bother them that he never speaks to me, except to tell me how much he wants to fuck me. That he gets right up in my personal space and touches me without permission, that he sees my feelings as nothing more than something to be overcome, to be conquered. That he doesn't care about me, or my comfort. No all he cares about is his own lust,” she hastily wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, “It's like I shouldn't ask to be respected, to be loved for who I am. No. I should throw myself at the first man not to recoil in disgust,”

Davos placed a tentative hand on her shoulder. “You've been holding that in for a long time, haven't you?”

Usually, Davos got on quite well with Tormund, the jovial security guard. But seeing the usually stoic and collected Brienne near break down because of his constant and lecherous advances, Davos felt a stirring of anger. “What about Lannister?” he asked, “Does he feel that way?”

Brienne shook her head. “He doesn't know,” she admitted, “If anything, he would take it too seriously, and blood would be spilt,”

Davos squeezed her shoulder. “Well, you will have to tell someone. This can't go on for much longer, you hiding away in the office so you don't have to see him,”

Brienne looked doubtful, but nodded. “I suppose you're right,” she sighed, leaned against her desk and rubbed her temples, “Gods I'm tired,” she mumbled.

Davos stood decisively. “Come on,” he said, “I'll walk you down and wait until you get a taxi,”

Brienne smiled in gratitude and gathered her things. They went down to reception, Davos on her left side and ready to shield her from the lascivious security guard. She was glad for his company, but it seemed she would not need him to stand guard as she waited for a cab.

“Jaime?” she asked in surprise, “I told you to go home,”

Jaime shrugged, “Ah , but my beloved Wench,” he said with a cocky grin, “It's not home without you,”

Brienne rolled her eyes and smiled fondly, turning to Davos.

“Thank you,” she whispered, before walking eagerly to the car and allowing Jaime to help her in. Davos watched the pair squabble good naturedly with a grin. Brienne's friends were right. She was a good woman, and deserved to a man who loved and respected her.

Fortunately, she seemed to have one.

 

Chapter Text

The lady hissed as Qyburn smeared ointment into the wounds.

“Now, now,” he chided as she squirmed like a child beneath his touch, “We don't want you to get an infection, do we?”

Lady Brienne scowled at his condescending tone and gritted her teeth. Qyburn could not help but notice her muscles as they grew taut beneath her gown. She truly was a peculiar specimen. Most spectacular. He had never seen a woman of such size, such strength. Even for a man her height would have been a source of fascination, but from a woman it was astounding.

His fingers twitched as he began sewing the wounds together, seeing the skin pull tight at the tug of the needle. What he wouldn't give to do the opposite, to take the woman apart and see what made her so different.

Not, Qyburn knew, would he ever get the chance. Behind the woman, Ser Jaime loomed, glowering down at Qyburn as though he knew exactly what the disgraced Maester was thinking. Qyburn may have saved Ser Jaime's life, but it would have been Qyburn's neck if anything happened to Lady Brienne whilst she was under his care.

The Bolton soldiers knew this also, and made sure to maintain a respectful distance, lest the Kingslayer took offence. None would dare risking his ire, even if they did not understand it. For all they saw was a big, ugly woman. They had no idea of the intricacies and the masterpiece that was the human body.

Qyburn and Ser Jaime, on the other hand, were well aware that true beauty was within.

As they prepared to ride, Qyburn approached Ser Jaime with an offer.

“If it would please you, my Lord,” he said obsequiously, “I am more than willing to perform an inspection of your Lady, to ensure that she is free from infection”,

Ser Jaime frowned and cast quick glance over at Lady Brienne. “I thought you had already seen to her wounds?”

“I did not mean the wounds, Ser Jaime,” Qyburn explained delicately, “I had meant that if you were hoping to have relations with the lady, I could merely see that it is safe to do so,”

Ser Jaime's eyes widened and his face turned white. Grabbing Qyburn with the scruff of his collar, and with spit spraying, he hissed “Talk of the Lady in that manner again and I will have your Bolton friends flayed, do you understand?” he demanded.

Qyburn nodded and was returned to the ground, although in truth he did not understand. Ser Jaime's desire for Lady Brienne was clear to see. Qyburn could not fathom why Ser Jaime would not want to ensure it was safe for him to copulate with her.

Oh well, as familiar as the human body was to Qyburn, the workings of the heart would always remain a mystery.

 

Chapter Text

A new toy! This one looked a lot of fun, bigger and juicier than the ones before. It kept waving a stick at him, but he dealt with that quick enough, with a swift bat of his paw. Still, it kept moving. This made Bear happy. He was going to have a lot of fun with this one. His new toy didn't cry like the others did either, which was good. The sweat caking their bodies seasoned them enough, tears just made them too salty.

Bear would enjoy eating it. He'd rip through it's clothes with his jaws and tear at it's flesh. He could already taste it's blood. It would spurt out like a fountain and ooze round his teeth, coating his tongue. His mouth watered at the thought.

But now they would play.

Before he ate his new toy, he would get some fun out of her first. Whenever he was given a new toy, he always made the most of them. It got so very boring and lonely down in the pit, where those rough man had thrown him after stealing him away from his mother and his forest home when he was just a cub.

He threw his new toy around, drawing blood on its succulent pink neck and throwing it to the ground. He was just getting prepared to strike the killing blow, when another leapt into the pit, cutting him off from his toy. Bear was mildly frustrated at having his game interrupted, especially as he was getting hungry, but was not too put out. Fine, if he had to maul this one as well, this smelly annoyance, he would. Two meals instead of one.

But then, something sharp dug into his skin! Then another! His first toy was hauled out of the pit and the annoyance tried to scramble up after her. Bear growled in pain and charged forwards. He was done playing. He was going to rip the annoyance limb from limb.

His toy threw herself forwards, near falling head first back into the pit. Instead, she clutched a hold of her comrade's arms and yanked him out, leaving Bear alone once more.

Growling in pain, he watched as the annoyance put himself between the toy and the rough man who had shoved both the toy and Bear himself into the pit. The annoyance glowered down at the man, and even Bear could tell that his toy wasn't for touching.

It seemed the annoyance had marked the toy out as his own, and wasn't about to share.

 

Chapter Text

The loathing and resentment filling Winterfell hung like a thick smog. Lannisters, Northmen, Wildlings, Dothraki and Unsullied all under one roof, after a lifetime of fighting and fearing each other. Jon had to get out.

Ghost close beside him, he strolled out under the stars into the God's Wood and breathed in the biting winter air, allowing himself a momentary feeling of peace. The rustling of the leaves and the warmth of his Direwolf filled him with a contentment that seeped into his bones. It was just him, Ghost and the Old Gods. At least, he believed it to be so. He soon found himself to be mistaken.

Voices, two of them, gently cut through the leaves in soft, deep murmurs.

“I am glad that you are here, moat glad”

Jon recognised the voice, Lady Brienne. Beside him, Ghost's ears pricked forward, for her liked and trusted the warrior woman.

“I gave my word,”

Here, Jon scowled. He had given the Kingslayer and his soldiers shelter and safe conduct, but he didn't like it. The memory of Bran, pale and lifeless in his bed, still burned bright in his memory. And as for the Kingslayer giving his word, Jon had to stifle a snort. The man's promises were as reliable as a twig in a sword fight, and twice as easily broken. He could not fathom why the Lady Brienne, who had so diligently kept her promises to guard his sister and bring her to safety, could even stand to look at the man, let alone befriend him.

But then, Jon supposed that he himself had made friends with men whose pasts were less than savoury. The travails and sufferings of the Night's Watch forged a bond that no man could break. Jon grimaced as he thought of the scars littering his chest and stomach.

Or so he thought.

Lady Brienne should be less trusting, no matter the troubles she and the Kingslayer had faced. Jon knew better than anyone that a friendly face could just as easily conceal a dagger. And after everything she had done for his family, Lady Brienne deserved better than to have her heart broken.

Drawing closer, Jon spied the two figures between the branches. Huddled in their furs, only their heads were visible. The moonlight brought out the silver of the Kingslayer's hair and the lines on his face. He was no longer the golden lion that had first descended on Winterfell all those years ago, he was older, more worn and if anything, even more handsome. Beside him, the light caught Lady Brienne's pale blonde hair like a halo.

The way Lannister looked at her... Jon could not quite pin-point it but it was so earnest, so sincere, so that when he said “I have broken with Cersei, I am no longer under her thumb,” Jon was almost inclined to believe him. But still, Jon had his doubts. Lady Brienne may trust him, and Bran may have forgiven him, yet nevertheless Jon still questioned as to whether the man could be relied upon.

Ghost broke away, ignoring Jon's hushed cries to call him back. Instead, the luminous Direwolf padded towards the Kingslayer and his Lady, bared his teeth and gave him a big sniff. Lady Brienne and the Kingslayer stiffened, watching the great beast in apprehension. Jon saw their hands travel to the hilt of their swords, but there was no need. Ghost relaxed and butted his head against Ser Jaime in a clear demand for a stroke.

Jon broke out into a grin. Well then, if Ghost trusted Ser Jaime, that was good enough for Jon.

 

Chapter Text

“A fine woman that,” Lady Olenna declared as Lady Margaery kissed her on the cheek and sat by her side.

“I do not think I have ever seen you quite so heartfelt in your praise before, Grandmama,”

“My dear, when one is as old as I am, you grow to feel as though you have met everyone and seen everything. Even a new acquaintance seems a mere copy of one you have seen a dozen times over. Nothing ever changes. Lords will prance about on horses in their sparkly armour and measure their swords and Ladies will smile their sugar and whisper their poison,” she took a sip of tea, “And so when one has the opportunity to meet someone who is truly original, truly unique, you must make the most of it,”

Margaery merely smiled, and daintily popped a grape into her mouth “She is certainly unlike anyone else in this court, I do not think that it is within her to scheme,”

Olenna leaned forward and grasped Margaery’s hand. “You would do well to befriend her,”

Margaery raised an eyebrow, “I have no disinclination to do so, certainly, but do you have another use for in her mind apart from entertainment?”

“For the past year she has dragged Jaime Lannister across the realm and held him in chains. When he has the chance to do the same to her, he secures her a pardon and provides her with chambers within the Red Keep and clothes suitable for her station. Somehow, he has grown fond of her,”

“She returned him to King’s Landing safely, it is only expected her show her gratitude. I think perhaps you overestimate the esteem in which Ser Jaime holds Lady Brienne,”

“I would agree with you, had a certain spider not spun me a pretty tale concerning a bear and a maiden fair. Ser Jaime delayed returning to his family, returning to his sister, for the Lady Knight’s sake,”

“And up till now, Ser Jaime has been his sister’s most devoted supporter,” Margaery mused.

“Exactly. And that the woman he has come to hold in such regard is so remarkably different from his sister would suggest that his golden twin has come somewhat tarnished in his eyes,”

“So, I should befriend Brienne of Tarth?”

“Befriend Brienne of Tarth,” Olenna confirmed, taking a dainty sip of tea, “And the Kingslayer. If you could find some way of encouraging Ser Jaime to do more than befriend her...”

Margaery smirked. “Even if we do not manage to win over Ser Jaime, it would certainly put Queen Cersei's nose out of joint if there were an attachment to them,”

Lady Olenna chuckled, “And surely, that in itself is reason enough to do so,”

 

Chapter Text

No bells were rung for her funeral. No vigils were held, no processions of Silent Sisters and no bells were rung. To think that she, Cersei Lannister, who had been a Queen and a Lannister, would be buried with no fanfare nor ceremony. Even after her death, she had been denied her due. As though a lifetime of being slighted and under-estimated was not enough, her enemies still found a way to torment her in the grave.

Cersei still fumed over it as the drifted along the beaches and cliffs of her childhood. It should have been a blessing to be returned here, to Casterly Rock. But the Rock belonged to Tyrion now, to the Imp. That wretched dragon whore had bestowed it upon him, the ancestral seat of his family in reward for betraying his family. It disgusted Cersei to know that her perverted little brother would be desecrating the Rock's ancient walls with his fornication and lechery, and she knew her father would be spitting in whatever hell he had landed up in.

But if anyone heard Cersei's screams, they put it down to the wailing of the wind or roar of the sea. Even if some of the more superstitious servants and smallfolk refused to walk alone by the cliffs at night, lest they catch a glimpse of the lone spectre with the fair hair.

There was one consolation, one thought that seized the mind of the lone figure as she traipsed alone. That her brother, her twin, her other half, would be joining her soon. He may have walked away from her once, but he would not do so again. Soon he would come to her

They were born together and they would die together. They had known it always.

To have Jaime by her side for eternity would not be too bad, just the two of them. Perhaps they would cross the veil together, maybe the reason she had not yet done so was because Jaime still hadn't joined her?

Could a soul find rest when it was in pieces?

This she believed until one day, the bells rang. Cersei had heard the rumours of course, but she would not believe them. Could not believe them. Jaime would never do such a thing, would never throw himself upon the Beast of Tarth! But still, when the bells rang, she found herself at the back of the Sept, watching in horrified disbelief.

Standing there, looking more proud and radiant than anyone as ugly as her had right to be, was Brienne of Tarth. The ugly bitch beamed with tears in her eyes as Jaime, Cersei's Jaime, swept her beneath the Lannister cloak and declared her to be his as he was hers.

And then they kissed.

Such grief and anger Cersei had never known, her brother had betrayed her for the hideous creature! Cersei cried herself hoarse, but her screams mingled with the crash of the waves onto the rocks as the bells pealed joyfully, and she was ignored.

 

Chapter Text

The bride was not near as beautiful as she had been on her wedding day. Tall, awkward and homely in her blue and gold gown, Ser Jaime Lannister was wasted on her, disgraced as he was. He might have been hers, might have been Lysa's. It was so unfair that she, a proper Lady and daughter of Lord Hoster Tully, was to spend her life chained to the decrepit Jon Arryn while this cow in velvet had won the greatest prize in Westeros. She could have made him a proper wife, someone to be proud of. An ornament to the arm and prize to the eye.

Oh, Lysa knew she could never love a man as she did her Petyr, but still... Ser Jaime was so handsome and looked so proud and noble beside his beast of a bride. Lysa remembered how lovely she looked on her wedding day, in her pale blue and cream silk gown with the feathers cascading down her cloak and framing her face like a halo. She had been a true beauty, rivalling even Cat.

Perfect Cat. Lovely, ladylike Cat, whose letters wrote of such joy and pleasure in her draughty castle up North. Cat, with her young husband and healthy babes, whose response to Lysa's woes and complaints was an endless order to mind her duty. Of course Cat would tell her to mind her duty, it was so easy for her. So easy for her wonderful sister who never had to share her bed with a shrivelled old man. Cat who was kissed and embraced endlessly by her father before her departure North, instead handed over to her stranger of a husband without a second glance, unable to look her in the eye. Cat who didn't feel her sweet babes thrive within her before bleeding them out. Perfect Cat.

Lysa focussed once more on the bride. For all that Lysa had smiled bravely on her wedding day, she recognised far too well the fear and doubt crossing Lady Brienne's homely face and swelling in her admittedly lovely blue eyes. The girl would be taken from her home, from all she knew and loved, and taken somewhere strange and frightening. She would live under the thumb of Tywin Lannister and be forced to spread her legs to a stranger and then be told she should be grateful for the honour of doing so. If she is lucky, her children will survive infancy, and live long enough to be taken from her. Her sons sent to war and daughters stripped away to repeat their mother's fate.

Lysa placed her hand on her stomach. She could feel phantom kicks and flutters within her, her heart tightening.

She closed her eyes and momentarily prayed that this bride found more joy in her marriage than she did.



 

Chapter Text

Bran watched as Ser Jaime Lannister entered his chambers, his demeanour resembling more that of a mouse than a lion. Humble, penitent and incapable of looking the boy in the eye. Bran knew that when Ser Jaime entered the courtyard of Winterfell defenceless and vulnerable, he had been proud and cocky. Unbending.

Now he approached Bran like a sinner to a Sept, begging for the forgiveness of the boy he had crippled, a cripple himself also.

But the boy Ser Jaime had done this wrong to was gone. Forgiveness could not be bestowed on the behalf of a dead boy. Nor could vengeance be exacted. The Three-eyed Raven could not be moved by such petty matters.

Or so he told the little boy who loved to run and climb, the one who still lived within him somewhere.

If he wanted, that boy could have the Kingslayer's head.

But he didn't see an execution in the man's future. He saw blood, and death and fear. Yes, plenty of that. He saw the bloodied bodies staining a pure white battlefield. But also life. Also victory. He saw the Lion of Lannister stand tall against an undying enemy, fearless and proud, wielding a Valyrian steal sword alongside its twin.

Its twin, brandished by the Lady Brienne. The woman who had saved his sister's life and sought to guard his family from harm, one final gift from their mother. He saw the tender smiles exchanged between the Lion and the Beauty. The laughter. The harsh words and the soft.

But now, here in the present, he saw the man's face waiting and watching. His jaw tense and lines taut.

They stared at each other, one calm and the other fearful.

“You are needed in the North,” Bran said at last, “And so you are welcome. The past is the past,”

Ser Jaime's eyes widened, before blinking rapidly. He hovered awkwardly, waiting for dismissal.

“Go,” Bran said simply, “She's waiting for you. She's worried,”

Ser Jaime's jaw dropped and his head to the door and back, as though expecting to see her standing there. Lady Brienne. Shaking his head in confusion, he bowed respectfully and took his leave.

Bran saw another vision. He saw children, tall and blonde and blue eyes, running along a beach. They knew nothing of war and fear. He saw them as clear as day, but the longing that tinged the visions had Bran questioning whether the vision was his, or Ser Jaime's.

 

Chapter Text

The gown was a stunning creation of blue velvet, with long flowing sleeves and an elegant train. Rubies glittered at the bride's throat, and heavy gold embroidery adorned the hem and the neckline. Although it was not clear from a distance, the embroidery took the shape of suns and lions with minute rubies for eyes, and were littered with silken silver moons. Septa Roelle knew every inch of the embroidery, every tiny detail. After all, she had worked alongside the seamstresses day and night, taking measurements of the girl's long limbs and meagre breasts, painstakingly selecting materials and colours that flattered her freckled, blotchy skin and fitting the gown to her awkward figure in the painstaking hope that for once, Lady Brienne of Tarth could be a Lady and credit to her house and father.

In this, they failed. All those hours of work, those hunched shoulders and calloused hands and pin pricked fingers and red eyes, for nothing.

It would not be too bad, Septa Roelle thought critically, if the girl would just smile. Not widely of course, her teeth were too crooked. But if she could smile and look pleased at her good fortune, instead of looking dour and miserable as always. As though it were she who was being punished.

Septa Roelle's ire with the young madam grew throughout the service and even more so during the feast and celebrations as the girl looked more and more miserable and despondent. The new Lady Lannister sat beside her husband in the place of honour, a sour and insolent look on her face only matched by the Queen, who was sumptuously arrayed in emerald green silk and in Septa Roelle's opinions, had far more cause for distress than Brienne. King Robert had long abandoned his beautiful wife in the pursuit of a pretty handmaiden, whilst Ser Jaime reluctantly remained by his ugly bride's side. He even tried to coax her into conversation now and then, but Brienne remained as tongue tied and slow as usual.

Septa Roelle could not help but be ashamed at the manner in which Brienne was behaving. Did she not know the shame she was bringing on her house? On her father? On her, who had raised her and taught her since she was a babe in arms.

Finally, the bedding was called. Just before Brienne was whisked away to be stripped and carted off to her husband's bed, Septa Roelle caught a hold of Brienne's sleeve and hissed in her ear “Be sure to be obedient and do your duty so that it may be over quickly. And for the love of the seven blow out any candles!”

After a sleepless night, Septa Roelle sought out her lady's bridal chamber. She doubted Ser Jaime would still be with her. No doubt he would quit his wife's bed as soon as possible. And indeed, she found Brienne alone in the bed, huddled beneath her sheets and furs to hide her nakedness.

“Well?” she demanded, “Was the marriage consummated,”

Blushing, Brienne nodded, “It was, Septa,” she said, drawing the sheets around herself.

“And did you blow out the candles?”

But Brienne had no chance to respond, instead a voice answered for her.

“Indeed she did,”

Septa Roelle spun round and sunk into an obsequious curtsy, awkwardly coming into eye level with Ser Jaime's nakedness. She blushed at the sight of the man, standing proud and shameless in all his glory, every inch the Warrior.

“Ser Jaime-” she began, only to be cut off.

“I presume it was you gave my bride the preposterous instruction,” Ser Jaime continued into a coldly pleasant voice, “I'd really rather you hadn't, you know,” he continued politely, “It was an awful inconvenience. How was I to see my bride with the candles blown out?”

“I had thought-” Septa Roelle mumbled.

“What you think, Septa, about the marriage bed is of little consequence. My Sweetling,” Ser Jaime turned to face his blushing bride, “Do you have need of this women?”

“No husband,” Brienne said, her shaking voice growing firm and hard, “I do not. Septa, your services are not needed here at present nor...” she trailed off, but with a nod of encouragement from her husband, she continued, “Nor will they be again,”

Jaime smiled in pride and went to join her on the bed, lounging beside her like a cat in the sunlight.

“That will be all, Septa,” he said “You may leave us,”

“But...” Septa Roelle protested.

“I said,” Jaime snarled, all pleasantries forgotten, “That will be all. You may leave us,”

And so she left.

 

Chapter Text

The Evenstar had only properly met Lord Tywin Lannister just the once, at King's Landing. They had spoken little, the great Lord of Lannister only showing Lord Selwyn Tarth the customary courtesies. Aside from that, Selwyn had caught a glimpse of the man from a distance at Tourneys and other large gatherings, but only from a distance. But Lord Selwyn didn't need to spend an overly large period of time with the man to form an opinion, not when his reputation had already reached the Stormlands.

Safe to say, he didn't like him much.

And so, it was with some perverse pleasure that Selwyn watched as Jaime Lannister grovelled at his feet. What would his proud father say to see his golden boy brought so low? To see him stripped off his lands and titles and begging for the hand of Selwyn's homely daughter. Would he be disgusted? Or proud that his penniless son had managed to worm his way into the heart of an heiress?

“You wish,” Selwyn enunciated slowly, “To wed my daughter,”

“I do my Lord,” Ser Jaime, meeting him square in the eye.

“Why?” Selwyn asked bluntly, causing Ser Jaime to start.

“What....”

“Why do you want to marry her?” Selwyn repeated, “You are a handsome man, Jaime Lannister, and I know what my daughter looks like,”

Ser Jaime stood in a swift, near aggressive movement.

“Your daughter is the most honourable, good hearted woman I have ever met, and likely to ever meet. She is brave, and honest, and beautiful,”

“Beautiful?” Selwyn raised an eyebrow.

“To me,” Jaime confirmed, “She is beautiful to me,”

“Well,” Selwyn admitted reluctantly, “you are either very much in love, or a very clever man,”

“Well,” Ser Jaime laughed wryly, “I know I am not clever, just in love,”

“And this is why you wish to marry her?”

“It is,”

“And not because you when I die, she will inherit my lands?”

A near giant of a man, Lord Selwyn towered over Ser Jaime and was twice as broad. Even so, the look of pure malevolence thrown to him by the one handed man had him cowering in his seat.

“I love your daughter,” Ser Jaime spat, “And I would love her just as much if she were penniless,”

“She may well be, if you carry on with your suit,” Selwyn said darkly.

Jaime faltered, “You would disinherit her?”

“There is no great pride in having a Lannister in the family,” Selwyn pointed out, “Especially not a Kingslaying, sister-fucking one,”

“Brienne has already agreed to be my wife, she would not set me aside. And so you would cast out your only child to keep me from your family?” Jaime growled, “Your only daughter?”

“I may not have to, if you were to withdraw your suit.,” Selwyn replied.

Jaime let out a harsh bark of laughter. “Withdraw my suit?” he repeated incredulously, “Never,”

“Even if it means Brienne is disinherited?”

“I trust Brienne to make that decision for herself,” Jaime tilted his chin, “I would never attempt to take the choice from her hands, she knows her own mind,”

Selwyn stared at the insolent man, before cracking a smile.

“You certainly do know my daughter,” he declared approvingly. He stood and swept towards his future goodson, “And that's enough for me. Welcome to the family son!”

 

Chapter Text

Renly and Loras

“I still think she should have worn the red dress,” Loras announced critically, causing Renly to shake his head in disagreement. He fingered the silky bit of fabric in distaste as it lay strewn across the sofa along with several other discarded items of clothing.

“She can't wear red, it'll clash when she blushes, and you know she is going to blush,”

Loras shrugged, “Jaime likes her blushes, he thinks they're cute,”

Renly raised an eyebrow, “How do you know?”

“Why else would he keep teasing her? It was like that time he kept calling her Brie-Brie at the Christmas party, and ran around behind her waving mistletoe. Besides,” Loras added, “Her butt looks amazing in the red dress,”

“Ah but,” Renly countered, “The black dress makes her legs look phenomenal,”

“The black dress?” Loras gagged, “With the capped sleeves? Brienne!” he cried through the bedroom door, “Don't listen to him!”

“I'm not listening to either of you,” she called back, “You can't agree on anything. At this rate, Jaime would be carting me about naked,”

“Well,” Loras muttered, “It's always a choice,” only to be nudged in the ribs by Renly.

“What are you wearing then?” Renly asked.

There was silence, before the door creaked open and Brienne grudgingly walked out. She was wearing blue, of course. Blue like the smiley face stickers Jaime stuck to her work as a joke. Blue like the bumpy woollen jumper Jaime had knitted for her during his therapy. Blue like Ronnet Connington and Hyle Hunt's faces had been after Jaime locked them out on the company roof and left them there all night one December after he found out about the prank they had played on Brienne.

Of course, Brienne had chosen blue.

“You look gorgeous,” Renly said sincerely.

Brienne glared “Don't be an idiot,”

Loras sighed and rolled his eyes, “You know, common etiquette is to thank someone when they say you look nice,”

“Why should I, when I know they're lying?” Brienne shot back, turning to scowl at herself in the mirror, “This was a terrible idea,”

“Well, too late to turn back now,” Renly chirped as the doorbell rang.

Loras swept the door open whilst Renly caught a hold of Brienne's arm, shoving her forward. Jaime's eyes widened, and he momentarily lost his grip on his bouquet of blue roses.

“Wow,” he stuttered, “You look beautiful,”

Brienne blushed, earlier in the evening than Renly had expected, but did not scowl.

“I don't...” she protested half-heartedly, before trailing off, “Thank you,” she said, allowing Jaime to take her arm and lead her out, “Thank you for saying that,”

Ser Pounce

Although a Royal Cat, and a Royal cat well aware of the dignity and privileges such a title afforded, Ser Pounce had never forgotten his roots. Even now, he remembered the day he had been saved as a mere kitten from being drowned in a bucket by Prince Tommen. Ever since that day, Ser Pounce had a deep loyalty to his sweet, departed Prince.The lonely cat missed his King of Cuddles and Snuggles dearly, missed his tummy rubs and the ear scratches in just the right place. Ever since his death, Ser Pounce's circumstances had been greatly reduced. Things went from bad to worse after the Sack of the Red Keep, and Ser Pounce was forced to scrimp and beg for food like a common alley cat.

Still, he had not gone so far as to perform for treats like a dog. No! Never let it be said that Ser Pounce, Knight of the Yarn Basket, would ever be so degraded that he could be compared to a Dog.

Instead, he used his wits and stealth to keep his belly full. 

Ser Pounce was just preparing to leap on a particularly juicy looking pigeon, when a man's voice and the sound of rubble being cleared away caused Ser Pounce's supper to fly away. Curse it!

“Ser Pounce!” the man's voice cried, “Seven Hells that's Tommen's cat. That's Ser Pounce,”
Ser Pounce's ears pricked forward at hearing his proper title, but hissed when he was unceremoniously swept up, coming face to face with the man. It was Ser Jaime, Tommen's father/uncle.

Ser Pounce wriggled and squirmed, and was nearly dropped as a result. Ser Jaime caught him in the crook of his arm and tried to make him more comfortable with his stump.

“I can't believe it,” Ser Jaime continued in bemusement, “How the hell did he survive?”

Ser Pounce bristled. Idiotic Lannister! Didn't he know, cats always land on their feet?

Here, Ser Jaime's companion spoke up. She was a tall, brutish looking woman with a surprisingly gentle hand that reached out to give Ser Pounce a stroke.

“Cats are clever,” she said simply, causing Ser Pounce to purr as she hit the exact right spot between his ears, “What are you going to do with him?”

“Take him home to Tarth,” Ser Jaime replied, “If that's alright with you,”

“Of course it's alright,” the lady assured him, “He's Tommen's cat. He's family!”

Some hours later, Ser Pounce found himself on a ship to Tarth. Although a gale was blowing outside, Ser Pounce felt safe, happily ensconced in Lady Brienne of Tarth's lap. Purring away, Ser Pounce allowed himself to doze off, content that he had been returned to his throne.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“You have come,” Daenerys declared, rising her voice so that she may be heard by those at the back of the crowded Great Hall, “To beg pardon for your crimes,”

Even whilst kneeling, the Kingslayer seemed to radiate insolence, his bow appearing more ironic than deferential. Daenerys glowered down at him majestically, examining the lone figure with a critical eye. His shaggy hair was matted and grimy and he was in desperate need of a shave. Dark rings circled his eyes and his remaining fingernails were black with mud. He wore no adornments, no shining armour or flowing cape, the clothes he did wear carried enough dirt to grow potatoes. By all rights, he should not be setting her heart a flutter. But that jaw, that stubble and those piercing eyes.

'You're in love with Jon, you're in love with Jon, you're in love with Jon,' Dany told herself frantically, casting a side glance at her lover/nephew, with his black curls and full pout.

Ser Jaime raised his eyes, flicking a greasy stray lock of hair from his eyes.

“I have,” he drawled, fixing his gaze on Daenerys.

“Your brother,” she continued, “Has pleaded on your behalf, and begged I be merciful,” Dany sneered contemptuously, “Though I know not why. Your actions, along with that of your father and sister, have brought shame upon your family. Upon the name of Lannister,”

Jaime's eyes narrowed and his mouth curled. “Oh, I quite agree, your Grace,” he spat bitterly, “Do tell me, for I am curious, which actions brought more shame?”

Dany blinked, “What?”

Jaime shrugged carelessly, “Well, was it the incest that brought such disgrace on my family?” angry mutters filled the room, and Dany faltered as she realised the direction he was taking. Raising his voice so that he may be heard above the indignant din, “Or was is the burning of my family's enemies to a crisp?”

“Enough!” Dany thundered.

“No, no,” Jaime continued, “Tell me, I'm desperate to find out. What's worse, burning or incest? After all, you should know,”

Outraged cries filled the room, although in her daze Dany thought she caught slight murmurs of agreement and stifled laughter. Steeling herself, she slammed her fist against her arm rest.

“You will apologise for that remark!” she ordered, struggling to hold onto her decorum as she shouted to be heard, “Or else spend a night in the cells. Perhaps that would teach you some respect,”

Daenerys thought momentarily that the Kingslayer would choose the night in the cells, but a plaintiff voice cut through shouting.

“Please Jaime,” she said, and Dany followed Jaime's gaze as his eyes flickered towards a tall, blonde woman who had been watching the events with a tense jaw and stricken eyes. Lady Brienne, Jon's sisters' sworn sword.

She watched him give the Lady Knight a brief, sincere nod, showing her the homely woman more respect in that one gesture than he had shown Daenerys with his deep bow.

“Forgive me, your Grace,” he said graciously, “For my impertinence,” he dipped his head, “I humbly ask for your, and King Jon's, forgiveness for my numerous crimes and crave the chance to serve my Kingdom and protect them from the White Walker threat,”

Dany swallowed her anger, and with a curt nod from Jon, regally inclined her head. “Very well, serve this kingdom with the bravery and diligence it deserves, and you will be pardoned for your crimes,”

#

“Thank you,” Tyrion told her sincerely as they met after the audience, “I know that Jaime has done much wrong, but I truly believe that he is a good man and,” Tyrion sighed, “He is the only family I truly have left,”

Dany smiled tightly. “You have been too faithful for me not to repay your service, although your brother did not make it easy for me. He seemed determined to talk himself onto the executioner's block,”

“A family trait, I'm afraid,” Tyrion informed her gravely, “Thank goodness for Lady Brienne,”

“Ah, you saw that too, did you?”

“Indeed I did, although I admit I had little knowledge of his regard for her until now. But I saw him go to her after the audience, and they spoke most furtively,” Tyrion smiled wryly, “I was so intrigued that I forgot to be offended he did not come to me,”

Dany thought of the tall warrior women, with her pretty blue eyes that were wide with concern as she watched Ser Jaime plead for his life. “From everything Jon tells me,” she mused, “Lady Brienne is a most loyal creature. I wonder at her concern for him,”

Tyrion's eyes narrowed, “It is not so surprising,” he told her pointedly.

“is it not?” Dany asked lightly, “Well, I suppose that there may be more to him than meets the eye,”

“Lady Brienne certainly thinks so,”

“Although,” Dany added, “Maybe she just finds him handsome. A lady can forgive a man a lot for that jaw,”

 

Chapter Text

Necessity had dictated that Bran, Arya and Rickon be kept out of their smart clothes until the very last moment. Otherwise Bran and Rickon would get their suits dirty and Arya would 'accidentally' tear or stain her dress. Even though Cat still stood by her decision, the last minute panic to get them dressed was enough to turn her painstakingly styled hair grey. Bran kept running off and Rickon refused to sit still to have his buttons done up, and the minute her back was turned both would rip off their ties. Meanwhile Arya had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into her smart dress and have her hair neatly plaited. Finally, the three devils were dressed and combed to perfection and seated on the sofa.

Cat groaned as she checked her watch. She was dreading the wedding, but refused to be late. “We were meant to be on the road by now,” Standing at the bottom of the staircase she grabbed a hold of Jon. “Jon, is Sansa done in the bathroom yet?”

Jon shook his head, “Not yet,” he grumbled, “And she's been in there for over an hour. I haven't had the chance to do my hair yet,”

Cat grimaced. They couldn't wait for Jon to do his hair, or they'd be waiting another half hour while he got his curly locks just right. “We're leaving in ten minutes,” she said sternly, “If you want to do your hair then you have to get Sansa out of the bathroom,” she began storming off in search of Ned, “Use force if necesse-Robb!” she screeched, coming to a halt on seeing her eldest still in his pyjamas, “What are you wearing, why aren't you ready?”

Robb shrugged and made his way to the kitchen. “I'm not going,” he grumbled, “I have no intention of going to a Lannister wedding,”

“It's not a Lannister wedding, it's Brienne's wedding,” Catelyn snapped, “Even Arya has agreed to go,”

“We will still have to spend the day mingling with Lannisters,” Robb shuddered in disgust, “And I hate weddings. Remember what happened at the last one?”

“That was your own fault,” Cat pointed out, “If you ask me, being thrown into the fountain was the least you deserved,”

Robb pouted. “Ok, I get it. Being found in the honeymoon suite with Jeyne Westerling wasn't the best idea-”

“You were found at your Uncle's wedding to a Frey, by a group of Freys, whilst you were dating a Frey!”

Robb had the grace to look contrite, but still stubbornly refused to budge, “I won't go,” he insisted, “I'm not up for putting up with those Lannisters,”

“Brienne is going to have to for the rest of her life,” Arya pointed out, “Poor thing,” Catelyn didn't bother to scold her. She had made her opinion on Brienne's wedding very clear, but even so, she was going to show her support, as would the rest of the Starks.

“I don't care,” Cat said, “Put your suit on and drag Jon and Sansa from the bathroom whilst I get your father,”

Sulking, Robb went to follow his mother's orders, only to halt at the concerned frown on her forehead.

“Are you sure you're alright?” he asked tenderly. He knew how fond Cat was of the Tarth girl, and the stress this wedding was causing her.

Catelyn shook her head. “He's not good enough for her,”

“He will make her happy,” Robb reassured her. Even Robb had to admit that.

“Tywin Lannister and Cersei will not,”

“Brienne's tough,” Robb said simply, moving to get dressed and brushed, “She can take care of herself,”

“I'm still worried it might be a mistake,” Cat admitted.

“Maybe it is, but it's Brienne's decision, and you've got to let her make it,” Robb called down the staircase.

“Well,” Cat said grudgingly, “I suppose it is her neck,”

 

Chapter Text

Never did Lord Tywin expect to envy a man such as Lord Selwyn for having a child like Lady Brienne, but when the letter spoke in reassurance that his unfortunate daughter would agree to his demands that she be wed, Tywin could not help the pang of envy. Jaime insisted on refusing to obey his orders, even when it was for his own good. Lord Selwyn seemed so confident in his daughter's obedience.... still, Tywin knew how to play his son.

Jaime may not be as concerned with the family name as he ought, but he did love his family. And he was fanatically loyal to those he loved. Cersei, Tyrion and now, it seemed, Lady Brienne of Tarth. So fervent was he to protect those he loved, Jaime was liable to act first and think later (as was evidenced by the whole bear pit debacle). A well placed here and there should have the desired effect.

Jaime was not easy to command but very easy to play.

So easy, in fact, that Tywin found himself forced to admit that his son was not very clever. He would have hoped Lady Brienne would pass on some brains to their children, but she wasn't any better. They were both fools

Especially if they had to be forced to wed. Only a pair of fools could be blind to their love for each other.

-Modern-

Some things never change.....

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com: Mr Tarth, it is imperative you speak to your daughter. My son has become an utter nuisance, mooning over her and using the company account to send her gifts. It is time something is done!

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com:Why should Brienne do anything? I thought it was tradition for the man to make the first move.

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com:Because Jaime is an utter fool. He's got a nonsense feeling that he is not worthy of her. Imagine that! A Lannister not worthy of a Tarth.

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com: Your son would be lucky to marry a Tarth, Lannister or not. Besides, Brienne would never say anything. She just think he will laugh at her.

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com: We have some very stupid children.

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com: Hey! Don't talk...no, you're right. Ok, I'll try talking to her.

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com: If you think that would help. I know speaking to Jaime wouldn't do a thing, he never listens to me. If I told him to do anything, he would do the exact opposite just to spite me.

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com:...

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com:....

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com.....

LannisterT@Westeros.org.com: I have told Jaime I forbid him from ever seeing Brienne again. He is now on his way round with an engagement ring.

Evenstar@Westeros.org.com: Excellent.

 

Chapter Text

Lady Lyanna Mormont watched with an eagle eye as the Kingslayer swept a dashing bow and kissed the Lady Brienne's hands, causing a most undignified blush to rise up over the knight's cheeks. Waiting until the insolent man had taken his leave, Lady Lyanna approached Brienne of Tarth with an imperious tilt to the chin. Catching sight of the ferocious little she-bear, Lady Brienne bowed courteously and murmured her name.

“Lady Mormont,” she said, “Have you come about your lesson?”

Lady Brienne had been charged with instructing several of the young women in the art of combat, lessons which managed to fill even the dignified ruler of Bear Island with a childish excitement. Warrior women may be expected on Bear Island, but this Southron Knight took it to a whole knew level, reminding Lyanna of her own departed mother.

“No, I have not,” she said succinctly, “I have come in regards to certain distressing rumours that have reached my ears these past few days,”

“Oh?” Brienne replied dumbly, “And what rumours are those,”

“Rumours concerning you,” she spat, “And the Kingslayer,”

“Ser Jaime,” Brienne corrected automatically,”His name is Ser Jaime,”

Lady Lyanna merely raised an eyebrow. “Are the rumours true? Are you indeed betrothed?”

A the undignified blush spread once more across Lady Brienne's cheeks, as she held back a smile of pleasure, much to Lady Lyanna's chagrin.

“Yes,” Brienne confirmed, “Yes they are. Ser Jaime and I are to be wed,”

This displeased Lady Lyanna greatly. As far as she was concerned, Lady Brienne had proved herself to be a most noble woman, who had shown more loyalty to the Starks than Northern houses that had been sworn to House Stark for centuries. She was honest, valiant and honourable. So Lyanna could not, for the life of her, understand why Lady Brienne would deign to even speak to the Kingslayer! Let alone marry him.

“You are displeased?” Brienne ventured.

“Confused,” Lyanna clarified, “I cannot think as to why you are willing to marry such a man,”

“You are not the first to think that,” Brienne sighed, “Many would agree. Just as many others would wonder why he would care for a woman such as myself, but...” Brienne trailed off, and Lyanna could see she was struggling to think of a way to explain her feelings.

“But?” Lyanna snapped, having no time for prevaricating.

“But we love each other,” Brienne said at last, “There is not much else to it than that. We understand one another, and we are good together. In truth, we are better together than apart,”

Lyanna could see how that may be true for Lannister but not for Lady Brienne. Even so, she would take her word for it.

“Does this mean you will cease to fight?” Lyanna brusquely moved onto her next query.

“No,” Brienne reassured her, “It will not. Being a wife does not make any less of a warrior, nor does being a warrior make me any less of a knight. Now,” she asked gravely, looking Lady Lyanna in the eyes, “Do I have your blessing?”

Lady Lyanna cast an imperious glance over at the Ser Jaime Lannister, who was watching Lady Brienne with a disgustingly soppy gaze that could only be romantic love, and nodded her head. “Very well,” she said grudgingly, “I give you my blessing,”

“I am glad to hear it,” Brienne said with a smile, “I do not think I could have dared to wed without it,”

'I should think not,' Lyanna thought in satisfaction.

 

Chapter Text

Euron had heard much of the so called King in the North, the White Wolf and victor of the Battle of the Bastards. Suffice to say, he was disappointed. The boy had the pretty curls and pouting lips of a little girl. Euron had taken ships with male Lyseni bed-slaves that were more intimidating. He was more intrigued of the Mother of Dragons, a beautiful young woman who rode great monsters into battle could hardly help but be intimidating.

Euron hoped that when they won, Queen Cersei would let Euron fuck her before she had the Targaryen Bitch executed.

Sadly, the legendary beauty was not present, although Euron had kept watch for the characteristic platinum hair. That said, there were one or two members of the girl-King's entourage that caught his interest. His nephew, Theon, for one. Looking as weak and spineless as always. Well, losing your cock would do that, wouldn't it?

Then there was another man, scarred and muscled, scowling ferociously as any who caught his eye. The legendary Hound, no doubt. He was as large as they said, looming over the rest of the company. Only one other near matched him in height. A woman.

And what a woman.

Her face was unremarkable, but that did not matter with a body such as hers. Tall and strong, her walk radiating power and strength. She wore her sword and armour with pride, but Euron would have her stripped and begging. He could see her now, naked and bruised and bloody, maybe even tied to his bed, if that was what it took. He felt cock squirm beneath his breeches as he leered at her lasciviously.

Glancing around, Euron wondered if anyone else had caught sight of the impressive Wench. They had. The Kingslayer was watching her intently, seemingly lost in thought. Euron grinned and joined him, nodding in her direction.

“Now that's a fine woman right there,”

Lannister's jaw clenched, but he ignored Euron and continued staring straight ahead. Euron carried on, watching the woman with open lust.

“What a beast. I wonder what it would be like to mount her and give her a good ride. Of course, she may need some breaking in first,” Euron mused, before nudging Lannister in the shoulder, “I wouldn't mind giving it a go, hey?”

Lannister's lips formed into a snarl, causing Euron to chuckle. For a man with such a reputation, the Kingslayer, was quite the prude.

“I'd reckon she'd put up even more of a fight than my dear niece,” Euron continued.

Here, the Kingslayer spoke. “I'm sure she would,” he agreed.

“But she'd give in, in the end. Woman like that may wear their armour and wave a sword around, but deep down they all want the same thing. They're all just waiting for someone to overpower them, mark them as their own. Someone strong enough,”

Euron saw the Kingslayer flinch at these word, “And that someone won't be you,” Lannister spat, finally breaking his gaze and meeting Euron in the eye.

Euron smirked. “Maybe one day I'll get to find out. When we've slaughtered the Northmen , made horse meat out of the Dothraki and put those poor eunuchs out of their misery, the Queen might feel generous and let me have a go with her,”

“What?” Lannister snapped. Euron just shrugged and smirked.

“Well, why not? Her Grace lets Qyburn have his little pets, why shouldn't I get a toy of my own?”

“Because you will be dead before you ever get the chance,” Ser Jaime growled, hand lightly resting on the pommel of the sword.

Euron met Ser Jaime in the eye, and for the first time in years, felt truly frightened.

 

Chapter Text

“I'd be crying too,” Tyrion heard someone murmur softly behind him, “If I had to marry a Lannister,”

Tyrion twisted his head to see who had spoken out. He saw the man beside the talker shrug and cast a contemptuous look at the couple standing before the Weirwood tree.

“It'd be marrying a beast like that, that'd be making me weep,” he added.

Tyrion narrowed his eyes and turned his back, returning his attention to the beast, or in other words, the bride. She was indeed crying, although her tremulous smile indicated her tears to be of a joyous nature. She was not the only one tearing up, her groom was blinking rapidly and had to take a moment to wipe his eyes. Beside Tyrion, Podrick was trying not blub, much to Bronn's amusement. Some way back, Tormund Bearfucker Giantsbane wailed openly into an increasingly hostile Sandor Clegane's shoulder, big fat tears rolling down his cheeks and matting his bear. Albeit his tears were for far different reasons.

On the other side of the aisle, Lady Sansa wept discretely. Tyrion remembered the sweet young girl he had met in King's Landing, who had believed in true knights and true love. He remembered watching that shining innocence in her eyes be dimmed like a waning candle. Now, all the validation she needed for those long lost beliefs stood before her.

Ser Jaime Lannister and Lady Brienne of Tarth, truer knights and a truer love could not be found, in Tyrion's opinion. (Not that he would ever tell his brother that). No wonder Lady Sansa wept.

She had not wept at their wedding, as Tyrion remembered. No, she had stood brave and dignified in her overly ornate gown.

He approached his one-time wife after the ceremony, and gave a respectful bow.

“Lady Sansa,” he said courteously, “A happy day,”

Sansa nodded stiffly it, “That is was, Lord Tyrion,”

“You are happy for Lady Brienne?”

Sansa smiled, “I am. I wish her every joy in her marriage, for there is none more honourable or worthy than herself,”

A devilish smile slipped across Tyrion's face, “And my brother?”

“Does not deserve her in the slightest,” Sansa replied succinctly.

Tyrion quirked an eyebrow. “Oh, I quite agree,” he assured her, “But surely Lady Brienne deserves happiness? And my brother is her best bet on that score,”

Sansa grudgingly agreed. “I know,” she admitted, “Or else I would not have given Lady Brienne my permission, not if I didn't think she'd be happy,”

“She will be,” Tyrion said confidently, “They are good together, my beloved brother and dear goodsister, and they love each other dearly,”

A wistful look crossed Sansa's face, “I do not think I have seen a couple more loving than Ser Jaime and Lady Brienne,” she confided, “Except for my mother and father. In truth,” she swallowed, “I had nearly ceased to believe that such love exists, that my memories of mother and father were somehow wrong and I had been deluding myself,”

“But now you know you were not,” Tyrion said comfortingly.

“Now I know I was not. It even gives me hope that I might find it myself, one day,” Sansa paused, “I do not think I am ready now, but at some point, in the future,”

“I hope you do,” Tyrion said earnestly, “You deserve to find such a love,”

“As do you, Lord Tyrion,” Sansa said kindly, “As do you,”

 

Chapter Text

Lord Tyrion had sat beside Lady Brienne in her vigil ever since his brother was brought in, weak and feverish, and deposited onto her bed. It was only when his brother was resting peacefully and the Maester assured them he would live, did Tyrion seize the opportunity to stretch his legs and go for a piss. When he returned, he was bemused to find Ser Bronn and Podrick hovering outside the lady's chamber, ears pressed the door.

“Although that does look extremely comfortable,” Tyrion quipped, “I do believe that there are chairs inside. And you may find it easier to hear as well,”

Bronn glared and shushed Tyrion. “Quiet,” he hissed.

“Why are we being quiet?” Tyrion asked in a mock whisper.

Podrick beckoned Tyrion towards the door, “Listen,” he ordered.

Tyrion obligingly pressed his ear against the crack between the wall and door, to hear a gentle sobbing coming from within.

“Why did you have to get hurt?” Lady Brienne's voice asked softly, “Why did you have to fight, why couldn't you stay home?”

“I made a promise,” Jaime's strained voice replied, “And I couldn't leave you to fight alone. I had to come North, come to you,”

“You'd think the army of White Walkers coming our way would have something to do with it,” Bronn snarked, only for Pod and Tyrion to shush him furiously.

“I'm glad you are here,” Lady Brienne admitted, “I'm glad you came, though I knew you would. You're an honourable man,”

“That's because of you, Brienne. I had given up on oaths and knights long before I met you,” Jaime took a deep, hoarse breath continued, “Who I am now, the man I have become, that's all because of you. My dearest friend. My only friend,”

“Oh, thanks,” Bronn snarled.

“Shut up,” Tyrion hissed.

“That's not true-” Brienne said modestly, only to be cut off.

“It is,” Jaime insisted, “Brienne, you are my dearest love, and the one person I trust above all others,”

“Should I be offended?” Tyrion asked, “I am his brother,”

“You'd think we're a pair of fucking skivvies, the way he talks about us,” Bronn added.

“Be quiet, both of you,” Pod said in an uncharacteristically stern voice, “They're having a nice moment,”

“I too,” Brienne said, “Love and trust you above all others,”

“...Well, that's just insulting,” Pod complained.

“It's not so nice when it's you, is it,” Bronn said bitterly.

Tyrion stood away from the door, shaking his head. “Come along you two,” he ordered, “Let's go drown our sorrows in the tavern. It's clear we're not wanted,”

 

Chapter Text

“I'm not wearing a dress!” Arya declared, “I absolutely refuse. Sansa? Are you listening? I'm not dressing myself up like a doll for that sister-fucking Kingslayer. I am not!”

Sansa merely raised an eyebrow, and continued to placidly stitch at the grey velvet gown.

“Sansa!” Arya repeated, “I am not wearing a dress. Look, listen,” she waved her hand in her infuriatingly calm big sister's face, “I am an assassin, trained by the Faceless Men of Bravos. I've killed more men than I can count, I single-handedly brought down in House Frey and I fought in the Battle of the Dark Night! There is no way in Seven Hells that I will put on a dress, and you can't make me,”

To no one's great surprise, Arya ended up wearing a dress. Still, the mighty warrior was somewhat mollified that Sansa had managed to get her claws onto Brienne as well. The bride was decked out in simple, but elegant dress of blue velvet lined with tawny fur and embroidered at the neck with her family's coat of arms. Arya had to admit that Sansa was quite skilled, considering how comely Brienne looked. Arya wondered how many handmaids it took to hold Brienne down for Sansa to braid and pin the Lady Knight's hair.

It took six to hold down Arya.

“Well, well, well,” a bemused voice said, “Don't you look pretty,”

Arya spun round to see Gendry smirking down on her. She glared up at him.

“Don't call me pretty,” she snarled.

Gendry raised a mocking eyebrow, “What's got the little Lady in a sulk?”

“First, Sansa doesn't let me kill gut the Kingslayer and feed his entrails to the dogs,” Arya grumbled, “And now she's making me wear a dress to his poxy wedding!” she tugged at the heavy skirts of her gown, “I look like an idiot,”

“You look nice,” Gendry said placatingly, only to backtrack at the look on Arya's face, “At least from the back. From the front you could curdle milk,”

“You'd be in a sulk too,” Arya pointed out, “If you had to watch as one of the people you admire the most throw themselves away on a Lannister,”

“Well, as it is, I don't,” Gendry boasted cheerfully, “As a proud member of the smallfolk, I am excused from attending the ceremony. Although I will stop by at the feast afterwards and get very drunk,” he added thoughtfully.

“Sounds fun,” Arya said miserably, “I'll be stuck at the High Table. I'd rather be down with the rest of you, but Sansa says it's my duty,”

“We all have our duties to fulfil,” Gendry pointed out, “I'll probably have to take a shift watching over Tormund at some point tonight, make sure he doesn't do something foolish,”

“Oh, don't stop him,” Arya pleaded, perking up, “I'd love to see Tormund do something foolish,”

“I know we all would love seeing Tormund make a right idiot of himself,” Gendry agreed, “But we're thinking foolish more as in attacking the groom and trying to steal the bride,”

“Let him try,” Arya muttered darkly, grabbing the hilt of her sword.

Gendry sighed, “Poor Tormund,”

“Poor Tormund!” Arya repeated incredulously, “Poor Brienne, she's the one who has to put up with his leering,”

“He's not taking the wedding well at all,” Gendry finished, “He can't understand why Brienne would pick Ser Jaime,”

“I can't either,” Arya sniffed, “Not that I think she should settle for Tormund either. Why must she get married at all?”

“You'll understand when you're older,” was all Gendry said.

“I doubt it,” Arya scoffed.

She frowned and tried to suppress the fluttering in her stomach at the strangely wistful look Gendry shot her. He shrugged.

“That's a shame,” he said, before marching off, “Save me a dance for later!” he called over his shoulder.

Arya found herself smoothing down her skirt. She wondered if Gendry really meant it when he asked her for a dance.

Not that she cared!

 

Chapter Text

Working in a bakery, Hot Pie was used to having bizarre customers come in during his shift. He liked to watch them, discretely stuffing eclairs and tarts into his mouth. There had been the father of the bride who ordered a six tier red velvet wedding cake with red frosting and red cheese frosting, and only replied he wanted all the stains to remain one colour when asked why. Another patron, a teenage boy with gold hair and pouty lips had asked after the practicality over having a life sized model of him made out of pastry. When the answer was 'not practical in the slightest', the boy spent two hours crying on the phone to his mummy. Finally, there had been a police officer with a baton who demanded all the doughnuts in the shop due to some critical 'doughnut emergency'. His boss thought he should have asked for the police officer's ID to be sure he was actually a police officer. But Hot Pie knew he was because he carried a baton, and only police officer's carry batons.

He knew that because the Police Officer told him so.

He always looked forward to these customers, and so his ears pricked right up when a furiously squabbling man and woman entered. Danish in hand, he tried to look nonchalant to be sure they didn't think he was shamelessly eavesdropping, despite the fact that he as shamelessly eavesdropping.

“I can't believe you punched him!” the woman scolded the man, “What if he goes to the police?”

“Honestly Brienne. As if he could do anything,” the man scoffed, “I'm a Lannister, remember?”

Hot Pie suppressed a storm of glee when he heard the name 'Lannister. Licking chocolate buttercream off his fingers, he hoped that this one would break down crying and snotting up on the floor like the last one.

“Look,” Lannister continued to Brienne, “I said I was sorry. And I'm getting you a cupcake to make up for it, alright?”

“Well,” Brienne said grudgingly, “As long as you don't do it again,” her eyes brightened at the sight of the cakes, “And it's a big one,”

Lannister chuckled, and joined her as she eyed the display of deluxe cakes, only for his chuckle to turn into a growl that mingled harshly with the tinkle of the doorbell. Hot Pie watched as a ginger bearded man with a shiny purple eye entered the shop and pretended to look at a menu.

“Jaime,” Brienne murmured, “Don't do anything you'll regret,”

The atmosphere in the shop quickly turned hostile, and Hot Pie coughed to break the tension.

“Can I help you?” he asked politely.

“Yes,” Jaime Lannister said brusquely, cutting Brienne off, “Can you show me your wedding cake selections,”

Brienne spluttered while the ginger bearded man stiffened and shot Jaime daggers.

“Jaime!” Brienne snapped, “You can't-”

“A chocolate one would be preferable,” Jaime specified, “With strawberries and profiteroles,”

All protests died as a look of desire entered Brienne's eyes, and she allowed Hot Pie to show her the wedding cake book.

“So, uh... Congratulations?” Hot Pie offered awkwardly.

“Thank you,” Jaime said, wrapping his arm round Brienne's waist and deliberately raising his voice, “We're very happy,”

With a snarl on his lips, the ginger man turned and stormed off, slamming the door behind him.

“So,” Hot Pie continued, “Any thoughts?”

Jaime laughed. “It's alright. We don't really want a wedding cake, we're just looking for cupcakes-”

“That one,” Brienne said sternly, jabbing her finger at a particularly divine looking chocolate wedding cake, “We'll take that one,”

Jaime whistled at the price. “Are you sure Brienne?” he said doubtfully, “It's pretty costly,”

“That's alright,” Brienne said sweetly, “You're paying,”

 

Chapter Text

It had taken a wounded and distraught Tormund a moon's turn to make his way to Winterfell. He and a straggling group of survivors, all limping on through the snow and wind. All through it all, one thought kept Tormund going.

The Big Woman.

When he finally arrived at Winterfell, he immediately sought her out. Bypassing both the care of a healer and the chance to rest and eat, he went straight to the training yards, there he discovered her sparring against another familiar face, the Hound. He watched her, utterly mesmerized by the strength and fluidity of her movements. Gods, he wanted her. Heart, soul, loins... especially the loins. His cock leading him forward like a compass, he barged his way through the gathering crowd until he reached the front.

In that moment, Tormund made up his mind. He was done acting coy and playing the long game, the time for subtleties was over! Tonight, he was having her. Life was short and you should savour the sweet fruits of life when you can, and Tormund had a very sweet fruit to taste.

“She's magnificent,” he murmured, watching her land a blow on the Hound's head, using the momentary distraction to kick him in the cock.

“She is,” a voice agreed.

Tormund turned his head to see a Southron knight beside him, watching the Big Woman intently. He was handsome, not pretty like Jon, more rugged. He was slightly taller than Tormund, though Tormund felt assured that Southerner's stubble faded in comparison to Tormund's magnificent beard.

“You know the woman?” Tormund asked gruffly. Here, the knight finally broke his gaze away from the woman and flickered towards Tormund in annoyance.

“Lady,” the knight corrected, “I know the Lady,”

Tormund snorted. “Giant lass like that doesn't need no titles,” he declared, “She ain't one of your pretty little Southron ladies who dreams of songs and knights,”

An infuriatingly smug look of pure superiority crossed the knight's face. “You actually believe that?” he scoffed, “If Lady Brienne did not care for knights and songs and chivalry, why would she even be here? Why would she have bothered to rescue Lady Sansa if she had no care for knights?”

Tormund shrugged uneasily. In truth, he never really thought of what drove the woman's loyalty to Jon's sister. And he had just assumed that such a woman held little value for the prissy ways of the South. Surely, she was better than that. True, she seemed to disdain his table manners and open approach to their courtship, but that was just playing hard to get.

“Do you know the woman?” the Southron knight continued, his sceptical tone of voice obviously suggesting he doubted it.

“Of course I do,” Tormund replied defensively.

“Then how is it you do not know that Lady Brienne probably cares more about songs and knights more than even the prettiest maid with flowers in her hair,”

“What does that matter?” Tormund blustered, “I know enough about her to know I want her!”

“Such as?” the knight prodded.

“That she is strong, and tall. And our children will be fearsome beasts that could take on the world! What else do I need to know?” Tormund demanded, “And what's more, I will have her. Tonight, if I want! We Free Folk don't bother with your pointless Southern ways when it comes to women. We know how to woo them right, and I'll have the big woman in my bed before-”

A metal hand sprung out and sent Tormund flying. His head crashed against the ground and was still spinning when the knight caught a hold of Tormund's collar, thrust it upwards and spat in his face “Her name is Lady Brienne! Address her as such,”

Silence momentarily fell upon the crowd, before jeer and cries for a fight took up. The Hound and Lady Brienne rushed forwards and tugged the knight away from Tormund's dazed form. Blinking, Tormund was just able to make out the foggy figure of Lady Brienne scolding the knight. Despite the blood gushing down his nose, he found himself smiling.

The smile promptly faded when Lady Brienne pressed a quick kiss to the knight's cheek and offered a quiet thank you, before swiftly marching off. Once she was a safe distance away from the commotion, Tormund saw her head whip round and shoot a quick smile at the insufferable knight.

Tormund, at last, felt a stirring of doubt. He had seen Lady Brienne walk away from him many times, but she never stopped to smile at him.

 

Chapter Text

Lord Varys had known Ser Jaime since the latter was a young boy, first indoctrinated into the service of Mad King Aerys. He had seen the chivalrous young boy watch in horror as Queen Rhaella bravely bore her husband's abuses, sickened by his own ability to help her. He saw the hero worship felt by the young boy when in the presence of Ser Arthur Dayne and his ilk and the pride with which he served alongside them.

And so, when the news came that man known as an oath breaking, sister fucking Kingslayer had risked his neck by throwing himself, handless and sword-less, before a ferocious bear in order to save a lady's life, he saw no reason to doubt the report. His continued behaviour towards Lady Brienne only served to make the story appear more likely. He arranged for her to be housed comfortably, and had clothes befitting her station commissioned for her to wear.

The final straw in Varys's certainty for their mutual affection came during the Purple Wedding, when he conveniently overheard Queen Cersei accuse Lady Brienne of being in love with Ser Jaime. The look of terror on Lady Brienne's face, and on Ser Jaime's when he saw the two conversing, confirmed that Cersei was breaking the habit of a lifetime and was in fact being shrewd, not paranoid.

Unfortunately, King Joffrey typically proved himself a nuisance and dies, causing such mayhem that Varys was unable to put this information to use. Both Lord Varys and Lady Brienne departed from King's Landing, and Lord Tywin (who may have found the information useful) departed this life.

Still Lord Varys never forgot this one weakness in Queen Cersei's staunchest supporter. He was always certain that the affection held for the Beauty of Tarth by the Kingslayer would prove in useful, and as always he was correct. Cersei may have agreed to a Parley at the Dragonpit in King's Landing, but he knew she would never bend. All hopes for a reconciliation between the opposing armies rested solely on Ser Jaime's shoulders.

“May I suggest,” he said to the council gently, “That a representative from Winterfell, one who has been there until recently,” he nodded respectfully to King Jon, “Be present, Lady Sansa perhaps?”

King Jon had been greatly opposed to the idea. “My sister will never set foot inside that rat's nest for as long as I live,” he growled.

“Lady Sansa is needed at Winterfell,” Ser Davos agreed, “Although perhaps another representative can be sent, as a sign of respect,”

“Someone Lady Sansa trusts,” Lord Varys added.

Jon nodded grudgingly, “I will put it to her,” he said, “It will probably be Lady Brienne,”

Tyrion caught the slight smile of satisfaction on Varys's face and raised an inquiring eye brow. But Varys said nothing.

Varys knew his friend doubted his certainty, and this doubt only grew at the sight of Ser Jaime storming away from Lady Brienne and scurrying after his sister.

“Well,” Tyrion remarked bitterly, “It seemed your little ploy has come to nothing. Lady Brienne has left Sansa without her protection, and now I must try to reason with my sister. Though I doubt any of it will come to any good,”

Vary merely smiled placidly, “We shall see,” was all he said, “We shall see,”

 

Chapter Text

Honestly, horses needed rest too.

Honour may have valiantly sought to live up to his name. Riding fearlessly into battle and carrying his Lord with bravery and pride, but even he had a breaking point. He was exhausted, and was covered in (thankfully light) scratches from where he had swords swipe at him. Yet instead of being able to take it easy, he was stuck with two great lumps on his back.

Honour couldn't understand why Ser Jaime took such care with the traitorous wretch, what with her leading him to his death. Even before they came across the Brotherhood without Banners, Honour could tell she was up to something. Her hands were trembling and she looked jittery. Horses could always tell. But all his Lord noticed were those innocent blue eyes and the gaping scar on her cheek. The white knight in Ser Jaime came roaring to the surface, and all sense went out of the window. Not that Honour didn't value chivalry and courage, but he also valued loyalty. Above all, he was loyal to Ser Jaime.

And, as evidenced by her disgusting betrayal, Lady Brienne was not.

Still, instead of leaving her to be hung and drawn like such a betrayal required, Ser Jaime nobly fought beside her, risking his neck to save both her and her comrades. Somehow, they all managed to escape with their lives, although Lady Brienne had several additions to her substantial collection of wounds.

Lady Brienne's horse had been given over to the boy and the cocky knight, Ser Hyle, while a lifeless Lady Brienne had been heaved up onto a weary Honour's back. Ser Jaime sat behind her, his handless arm wrapped tight round her stomach to keep her from falling. Honour really rather wished she would, having to carry two charges was hard enough at the best of times. And neither of his riders were exactly a bag of feathers. Yet despite his exhaustion, Ser Jaime spurred him on, coaxing him with promises of apples and carrots when they returned safely to camp.

A lot of apples and carrots, Honour decided, and some sugar too.

And so, Honour selflessly did his duty, and returned Ser Jaime and his companions to the Lannister camp, where they were met with a flurry of activity. Bellowing orders and a summon for the Maester, Lady Brienne was pulled down from Honour. Several men were required to keep her upright and see her to Ser Jaime's tent, manoeuvring her limp limbs whilst her head flopped like a rag doll. Ser Jaime gave Honour a firm stroke and pat before marching after the lady.

Honour was returned to his stable, and rewarded for his efforts with a good grooming, his scratches were tended to, and he was fed a scrumptious meal. Mollified by this pampering, he allowed himself to doze off in the warm straw.

When he awoke, it was to the sound of two grooms gossiping.

“I heard he stayed with her all night, clutching her hand and begging her to recover,”

“And apparently, whenever the Maester moved him away, he paced and fretted. Bet he made a right nuisance of himself,”

“Well, according to young Peckledon, he was actually near tears at one point,”

At this news, Honour felt a pang in his belly for his former coldness to the Lady, and his reluctance to carry her wounded body. He may still be angry with her, but he would carry Lady Brienne anywhere, for Ser Jaime's sake.

 

Chapter Text

“I must say Locke,” Lord Bolton began, his cold blue eyes resting lightly upon Locke's rat like features, “I am somewhat surprised by your charity,”

Locke look confused, his beady eyes flickering apprehensively, “I know not what you mean, milord,”

Bolton raised an eyebrow. “I mean in releasing the Lady Brienne to Ser Jaime's custody without extracting a ransom. Most courteous of you,”

“I didn't give her to him,” Locke whined, “The Lannister cunt stole her from me,”

“He did not offer a ransom?” Bolton asked.

Bolton's face turned white, “He-he did,” he admitted.

“But you didn't accept it?” Bolton clarified. Locke didn't reply, instead his eyes flickered towards the door, as though looking for an escape.

“I suggest you tell me Locke, I do not like being kept waiting for answers,” Bolton continued calmly, his eyes revealing the frustration his tone did not.

“I did not,” Locke said at last.

“Instead, you allowed Tywin Lannister's son to throw himself into a bear pit, thus risking his life,”

“Milord-” Locke began, before being sharply cut off.

“You were a fool to refuse her father's ransom,” Bolton snapped at last, “And doubly so for refusing Ser Jaime's,”

“How was I supposed to know the Kingslayer would care so much for the ugly bitch!” Locke protested.

“By using your eyes, you have two of them,” Bolton smiled coldly, “For now, at least,”

It had been obvious enough to Bolton. True, the ugly warrior woman was a strange choice, but then so were sisters. Bolton himself was as fond as his fat wife as far as he could be fond as anyone.

He had seen how Lady Brienne had cut the Kingslayer's meat, and in turn how he held her hand to keep her from acting foolish. And he had heard how Lady Brienne had tended to the man whilst he lay weak and feverish. Weak and feverish from the wounds Locke had kindly bestowed upon him.

“Not only have you already nearly killed Ser Jaime once,” Bolton said, returning to the matter at hand, “You go on to do so once more. Furthermore, you needlessly discard the life of Selwyn Tarth's only living child, a nobly born woman,” by now, Locke was shaking in his boots, “May I remind you Locke, that you are known as my hand. As such, your follies reflect upon me. As such, it relies upon me to clean up the messes your stupidity makes,”

“No milord,” Locke said obsequiously, “I need no reminding,”

Bolton regarded his rat for a moment, before leaning forward against his desk slightly.

“It will be a shame,” he said, eyes unblinking, “If your presence becomes more of a hindrance than a help,”

Bolton let Locke squirm, watching him silently for a further five minutes while Locke shifted uneasily. Beads of sweat rolled down his pale, clammy forehead and his moustache twitched like a mouse's whiskers.

“You are dismissed,” Bolton said at last.

Locke scurried out of the door and Bolton returned to his correspondence, penning letters to both Lord Tywin and Lord Selwyn, apologising for his rat's behaviour.

It was a mistake, Bolton mused, to have wasted Lady Brienne on a cretin like Locke. Bolton saw now that he should have kept the woman with him. Considering Ser Jaime's regard for her, it would have been useful to have kept her within reach. It was known that Ser Jaime was Tywin Lannister's favourite child, and so no harm could be done by strengthening Ser Jaime's need for a friendship with the Boltons.

Bolton chuckled to himself, plus, if the Lady were to remain as his honoured guest, just think of how many pink dresses he could have her wear.

 

Chapter Text

Author's Note: We're down to the final three! Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed, your support has been wonderful.

The Westerosi could use pretty words and hem and haw about negotiations, but Khal Drogo knew the truth. These snivelling Lords and Knights, bowing and scraping, were paying tribute. Gold, horses, livestock and jewels were laid before the Khal and his Khaleesi's feet in thousands. Now that his wife's dragons had burned down their stone walls and his army had come charging in, the Westerosi had nowhere left to hide and were forced to bargain for their lives with their greatest treasures. Well... nearly all of their greatest treasures.

Khal Drogo and his men had already gained a fortune, and more Lords were to due arrive with tribute yet. Watching these proud men grovel, Khal Drogo could not help but cast a fond look at his bride. Who would have known that such a tiny thing would hold such power? When he took her for his wife, he could never have expected that he was gaining three dragons along with his diminutive beauty. Even now, surrounded by men twice her size and girth, she glowed with strength.

“So,” Daenerys Stormborn announced before the assembled court, “In tribute you have paid me with gold, horses and castles. A fine tribute, but..” she eyed the bowing Lord before her with intense dislike, “is it enough, from the man who betrayed my father and stabbed him in the back?”

The Lord straightened up and shot the Khaleesi with a impudent smile. “It is all I have, your Grace. I have nothing left but the shirt on my back, unless you want that too?” he smiled and laughed, as though his humiliation meant horse shit to him. Khal Drogo thought that if this Lord of Lannister's arrogance was a physical thing, it would have been gold plated steel. Nothing could leave a dent in it.

“Of course,” Lord Lannister continued, “If you do want me to take off my shirt, I can hardly blame you,”

Here, Khal Drogo had to laugh, along with the rest of his gathering. The Moon of his Life shot him a disapproving look, unable to see the amusement.

“Keep your shirt,” Khal Drogo said in his hard learned common tongue, “You Westerosi are so weak and boneless, you hide in your suits of steel. We Dothraki need no things to cover us, we fight bare chested and with no fear,”

“And a great sight that would be too, mighty Khal,” Lord Lannister bowed his head, “And thank you for allowing me to keep my shirt. I would not have minded, but I dare say my wife might have a word or two,”

The Khal's eyes flickered towards to wife of Lannister. A plain woman, but strong and broad and capable of giving birth to many fine sons.

“Lady,” he said, propping himself forward, “I have seen no Westerosi woman like you before. I had thought all women of your land to be weak and soft,” he snorted, “Like your men. I could give you to one of my men, a soldier who is worthy of such strength,”

“I thank you, mighty Khal,” the woman stuttered, “But I am content with my husband, and he would not relinquish me willingly,”

“No?” Drogo asked, before turning to face Lord Lannister, “I could demand your wife as tribute, your greatest treasure,”

The atmosphere in the room, already tense, turned positively hostile. The taking of slaves as tribute had been a contentious topic, one on which the Lords of Westeros, and more importantly Daenerys, had refused to kneel.

“We will pay no tribute in humans,” Lord Lannister said darkly, “Not when the Mother of Dragons has given her word she will not use her children to force us to do so,”

“And I intend to keep that word,” Daenerys said quickly.

“You will not come willingly?” the Khal asked Lady Lannister, just to be certain.

“I will not,” Brienne confirmed.

Drogo was disappointed. His Khalasar could only be stronger from the presence of such a woman, and yet she remained with her husband. Perhaps there was more to these Westerosi men than first appeared.

 

Chapter Text

“Shae,” Tyrion said consolingly, “I know it is a lot to ask, but-”

“A lot to ask?” Shae scoffed, “As though I do not have enough work already, you volunteer my services on my behalf!”

Tyrion propped himself up against the pillows. “Lady Brienne returned my brother safely, I owe her a debt, the least I could do is have a maid arranged for her,”

“There are many other maids better trained to tend to her than myself,”

“Jaime has given me cause to believe she won't require much looking after,” Tyrion explained, “We're really just making sure Cersei doesn't have the opportunity to place one of her spies with her,”

Somewhat mollified by the news she would only be playing lip service as a maid, Shae nodded grudgingly and presented her cheek to be kissed. Tyrion did so obligingly.

“I'll repay you,” he promised, “Whatever you like, jewels, furs... anything!”

“I already have jewels and furs, more than I can ever get to use. What good is having jewels and furs when I never get to wear them?” Shae pointed out, “You said so it wasn't safe for me to wear them. I think Lady Sansa may have a thing or two to say if I start parading about tricked out like a Queen,”

As much as Shae may have enjoyed her luxuries, most of them had to be kept hidden away. Shae knew that they would only ever come into use should the time come for her to sell them on. Tyrion should have just paid her in gold, like a proper whore.

“I suppose you're right,” Tyrion admitted, “What about a new gown?” he said hopefully, “I could have a new gown made for you,”

“And what do you know about lady's dresses?” Shae huffed.

“Well,” Tyrion smirked lightly, “I like what you have on now,”

“I'm not wearing anything,” Shae said, gesturing to her naked body as she rested beside Tyrion.

“Exactly!” Tyrion playfully nipped at her neck, causing Shae to bat him away.

#

It was true, Lady Brienne required little of her. She dressed herself in her plain tunics, kept her room neat and ordered, and seemed reluctant, even apologetic when she asked for bathwater or food. Still, it was a hassle for Shae to traipse all the way to the Maid of Tarth's chambers after a long day of attending to Sansa, only to be told 'no thank you, I don't need anything' and then be sent to trudge all the way back. The futility of the entire arrangement had Shae wishing that Lady Brienne was actually more demanding, just so Shae would not feel her time was being wasted. Try something different with her hair, have her wear something other than those shapeless tunics.

As hopeless as these dreams seemed, Shae found her wish being granted. On her way to the Lady's chambers, she was accosted by the Kingslayer himself. He stood before her, stopping her in her tracks. In his arms was a stunning gown of a shimmering sapphire blue.

“You are attending to Lady Brienne, correct?” he asked her.

Shae bobbed a curtsey, “I am Ser,”

He held the gown out to her. “Would you be so good as to bring this to the lady,”

Shae accepted the gown and assured Ser Jaime Lady Brienne would receive it. On reaching Lady Brienne's chambers and finding the lady not present, Shae took the time to examine the quality of the fabric and work. Inside the fold of the gown, Shae discovered a jewellery box containing a simple yet stunning sapphire necklace. Her mercenary eye told her that for a woman he wasn't in love with, Ser Jaime had surely spent more than a few dragons on the ensemble. Examining the gown and necklace with a critical eye, Shae saw that both would look exceedingly well on Lady Brienne.

She kept this in mind when she approached Tyrion, intent on collecting her debt.

“So you do want a new gown?” Tyrion asked, “Well, that should be simple enough,”

“But,” Shae interrupted him, “I want your brother Ser Jaime to pick it out for me,”

“Jaime?” Tyrion asked incredulously, “Why?”

Shae simply smiled. “Something just tells me that your brother has excellent taste,”

 

Chapter Text

Brienne was furious with herself. That she, the personal guard of the Queen of the Amazons, should die slipping on some rocks. True, the fall itself would not kill her, but the boar she had previously been hunting should do the trick. She scrabbled in the shallow water of the stream, sliding helplessly in the silt and mud as the boar charged towards her.

Accepting it was hopeless, she squeezed her eyes shut and braced herself for the fatal blow. And yet, instead of finding herself gored to death, all she heard was a thump as the beast fell to the ground. She opened her eyes to find the boar dead, with a spear in its back.

Breathing heavily, Brienne dragged herself to her feet, eyes on the dead boar. Once she had regained her calm, she lifted her gaze to thank the woman who had saved her life.

“Thank you, for saving me,”

“Oh, you're welcome,”

It wasn't a woman, it was a man.

With the force and speed of a lightning bolt from Zeus, Brienne threw herself forward and tackled the man to the ground, into the mud.

“Is this how you thank people for saving your life?” the man spat, staring up at her furiously.

“This is how we treat intruders,” Brienne growled, “No man enters Themyscira, on pain of death,”

“And so you will kill me? The man who saved your life,” the man asked incredulously “And risk the wrath of the Gods?”

Brienne hesitated and loosened her grip. Sensing her doubt, the man wrapped his legs round her waist and rolled her over, so that he loomed over her.

“My name is Jaime, by the way,” he said mockingly

Brienne bucked furiously as 'Jaime' laughed. Fuming, Brienne grabbed a hold of his golden hair and yanked his head to the side. The two wrestled furiously, until Brienne once more had the man pinned under her and they were both caked in mud.

“Stay still,” she ordered.

“I think not,” Jaime said, still struggling.

Beneath the mud, Brienne blushed as his toned body rubbed against hers. Still, she fought to keep him beneath her. There was no way she could release him, but she could not kill him lest she bring the Furies down upon her head. Pressing her left arm against his throat and straddling him between her thighs to keep him in place, she tore at the bottom of her tunic to tie him up.

“I thought mating season was in the spring months,” Jaime snarked.

“Silence!” Brienne hissed, enduring the bonds were in place, “I owe you a debt,” she admitted grudgingly, “You saved my life and I shall save yours. I will escort you from Themyscira and see you safely away. Try to escape, and I will kill you. Understood?”

Jaime nodded. “Understood,”

At this, she finally let him stand and the pair got a good look at each other. Even when bound and covered in mud, Brienne had to admit that Jaime was incredibly handsome, to rival Apollo himself, she thought blasphemously. Clearly, Jaime was less impressed.

“Gods you're a big and ugly one, aren't you? Even for an Amazon,”

Brienne ignored him. Instead, she grabbed a hold of his arm and dragged him along, anxious to get him away as quickly as possible. She was content to repay her debt in silence, but Jaime had other ideas.

“I suppose you're lucky you mate with the Gargareons in the dark,” he noted, “Otherwise you'd never find a mate,”

Brienne suppressed the anger rising within her, and continued trudging along through the mud in silence. Jaime took her lack of reply for confirmation she had never mated, and tutted in sympathy.

“Poor warrior maid,” he sighed, “All those spring nights spent alone, with no mate,” he shot her a grin that made her want to stab something, “Perhaps I could volunteer?”

“Not interested,” Brienne said quickly, trying to avert her gaze from his shapely calves.

Jaime just shrugged and smirked. “We shall see come Spring,”

 

Chapter Text

“Younger and more beautiful?” Jaime muttered as he led the Wench into the wood, “Well, Cersei was half right,”

He turned round to watch the awkward, lumbering Wench stumble behind him. His pace was so brisk, even she had trouble keeping up.

“Ser Jaime,” she called, “Where are we going?”

“Just keep up Wench!” he snapped back, turning away and quickening his stride. He couldn't look at her, blithely following him with those blue, guileless eyes. They were her one true beauty, those eyes. Everything else about her was plain, rough and ugly.

And yet Cersei was jealous. Threatened even.

Jaime's fingers clenched around the handle of the sword. Did Cersei truly believe that Brienne would be the one to cast her down? Stubborn, stupid, honourable Wench that she was. Or was this simply a test of his loyalty? Forcing him to drag this blindly trusting woman into the woods and see that she never leave. Just to be sure that when the time came, he wouldn't falter

They came to a clearing. Dense, gnarled trees loomed over them and engulfed his face in shadows. He suddenly ground to a halt, causing Brienne to stumble.

“Jaime?” she asked once more, “Why did you bring me here?”

Jaime grimaced, closing his eyes and tensing his shoulders. It was time.

“Brienne,” he said softly, “Cersei wants you dead. She told me to bring you here,”

Brienne blanched. “What?” she stuttered, her eyes refusing to leave Jaime's face even as he drew his sword. “Jaime, you wouldn't,”

Jaime scowled. “Of course I wouldn't, you stupid Wench,” he held out the sword and dropped a satchel of gold dragons before her. “Take them, they're yours. Beyond this wood I have a horse waiting. From there you can begin your search for Lady Sansa. Get on it and go,”

Brienne stared uncomprehendingly at the sword, before facing him once more. “If your sister finds out...” she trailed off uncertainly.

“It's Sansa Stark you need to worry about. You leave me to deal with Cersei,” he told her, “But you need to leave. Now.

Brienne swallowed, but nodded. She took the sword and strapped it to her waist, and stooped to collect the bag of coins. She straightened up and nodded stiffly.

“Goodbye, Ser Jaime,”

Jaime watched in silence as she turned, and without looking back, disappeared into the shadows.