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Northern Brides

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“And why would I want to visit the North?” she sneered. “Haven’t you heard it’s cold up there? It snows, even in the summer. It’s probably snowing now.”

“I thought you would be grateful to escape the heat of King’s Landing for once.” replied the King with an irritating chuckle.

“Well, I wouldn’t. The children and I will stay here. You can do whatever you want.” Cersei turned her back on her husband and looked out over the city. It would be nice to have him gone. For as long as he was, she could rule the seven kingdoms in his place. Maybe he would die and never come back.

The thought of Robert’s death put a smile on Cersei’s face.

She sipped her wine waiting for the sounds of her husband retreating. He could run off to the North for a few months in a vain attempt to make his best friend, the brother of that… dead girl… his hand. She would stay here and spend time with her brother and her children and show the seven kingdoms what it was like to have a truly good ruler. Maybe the people would be so grateful to her they would have another rebellion and make her queen – even if he didn’t die.

“Stay here if you want, but the children will be coming with me. I want them to see the North and meet the Starks. We won’t miss you, or your complaints, while we’re gone.” Robert said as he turned to leave.

Suddenly, the sound of the King’s retreating steps was not what she wanted to hear.

“Don’t you walk out on me!” she whirled around to face him. “The children will go nowhere without me!”

“Your choice, woman. The children and I will be leaving in the morning.”

Cersei screamed and threw her wine glass at him. “Get out!”

Cersei seethed. This was Pycelle’s fault. He had killed the old man. If he hadn’t killed him outright, then at the very least he had not saved him. And that was the same thing really.

Not that Cersei cared a whit about Jon Aryn, dead or alive. He was a decent enough hand. Robert loved him like a father, and that helped him keep her husband in line, most of the time. What she couldn’t forget or forgive was that Jon Aryn was the one that schemed with her father at the end of the rebellion to make her Robert’s wife in the first place.

It had seemed like a good plan at the time. Jon Aryn said she was more beautiful than Lyanna Stark had any hope of becoming. And her father wanted to make her Queen. Cersei had wanted to marry Rhaegar even more than she wanted to be queen, but he had died on the Trident. Robert killed him.

At the time Robert was a fine warrior, tall and handsome. He could have had any women in his bed that he wanted. Cersei might have grown to love him.

She shouldn't fault either of the older men for making their deal. How were they to know that Robert would find his way into half the beds in the kingdom and be too drunk most of the time to find hers?

She had never told them that every time Robert took his pleasure with her he cried out that other girl’s name. The dead Stark girl. She had let Rhaegar go, why couldn’t Robert let go of Lyanna?

She had taken her revenge with her children though. Her children, not the King’s, in spite of what he thought. She reveled in every comment he made about “his” children, knowing that he was not actually their father.

No one knew. And it was so unfair. The whole world thought the children were her husband’s. And that gave him the right to take them on this trip with or without her consent.

Completely unfair.

Then again, the children did take up her time, and she would undoubtedly be busy ruling the realm in Robert’s absence. It’s not like he would allow anything to happen to them. He was possessive if nothing else. And there would be the Kingsguard to watch over them too.

She drank deeply from her glass of wine and set aside her anger. She would allow him this. At least one of the Kingsguard would have to stay behind to guard her. It would be Jaime, her brother.

It was likely she would not even have to ask Robert to choose him. Robert had never really wanted her brother on the Kingsguard. All the times her father had tried to get Jaime released from his vows, it was Jaime who refused, not Robert.

But it was time for Jaime to grow up. They needed a new hand to replace Jon Aryn and Jaime would be so much better for the job than Ned Stark. Jaime would listen to her. Ned would be the dutiful friend, but what good could come from listening to a drunken old man like her husband?

Ned Stark might be able to stand up to Robert and keep him in line as well as Jon Aryn had, but she doubted he wanted to leave his home and family to come to King’s Landing. It would be a wasted trip.

Yes. She would stay. Jaime would stay with her. And she would persuade him to accept the next offer to be released from the Kingsguard. She would succeed where even her father had failed. He would see that she was his true heir then.

Cersei went to bed happy and woke at some god-forsaken hour to pounding on her door. The door burst open before she even had a chance to get out of bed, let alone dress.

“Get up sweet sister!” called Jaime.

He was always far too happy in the mornings.

“Why should I? Why don’t you come to bed instead?” Cersei raised the bed covers just enough to flash her naked body in invitation.

“We are leaving at dawn, Cersei. Didn’t Robert tell you?”

Cersei laughed. “I’m not leaving, brother. We are staying in King’s Landing while my husband goes on his wild snark hunt.”

“I believe he is looking for a new hand, not a grumpkin,” Jaime replied.

“I know what he’s looking for. I’m not going.” Cersei was angry at being woken up so early and still groggy from sleep. “You aren’t going either.”

“I am going. You should to. Your children are already settled in the wheelhouse. Would you give them leave to travel without you?”

“Do I have a choice?” Cersei was feeling more awake now as yesterday’s anger flooded back.

“Yes. You can go look after them, like a good mother would.”

“And you can stay here with me. Robert thinks they are his, he would not let them come to harm.”

“He might discipline them.” Jaime eased himself onto her bed. “Cersei, you need to be there,” he said gently.

“I need you in my bed. If Robert and the children are gone there would be nothing to prevent us from being together as often as we like.”

“Nothing but all the little birds in King’s Landing. You know we can’t be seen together like that.” He stood up, all energy an eagerness. Cersei liked that about him, except when he got ideas that she didn’t give him.

“I’m staying.” She said, pulling the covers up and over her head as she rolled over to go back to sleep. He would yield.

“I’m going. Someone has to look after the children.”

She heard him leave, but knew he would be there when she was ready to wake up. He never let her down.