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There were a lot of wedding gifts, oddly enough: Jaime supposed they were expressions of caution, and cheap at the price. Looking on it from the outside, an observer would have thought it remarkable that the Lannisters had somehow managed to arrange the war with them on both sides of it, so that even though they’d lost the throne, there was Tyrion at the new queen’s right hand, and Jaime seated as Lord Lannister—at Highgarden no less. A handsome step up from Casterly Rock, in fact, given that the Lannister mines had all run dry. Father would have approved, fuck him anyway.

Of course, not all the gifts were meant in exactly the same spirit. Jaime was fairly certain that the suspiciously large pup that had come from Winterfell had secret orders to chew all his shoes, belts, leather jerkins, sheaths, cloaks, trousers, shirts, and anything else he might take his eyes off for thirty seconds. Once he’d caught it going for his sword. Brienne only looked at him in mild reproach when he suggested as much, and also that maybe Loyalty should sleep outside, and yet mysteriously, her gear showed not a single toothmark. The entire length of that conversation, the beast sat in its place by the fire with its tongue lolling out of a wide smirk.

“Then there’s the one from Dorne. I realize it’s meant to be insulting, only I’m missing the exact nuance,” he said to Tyrion, turning the thing over in his hands to display. There were cocks on both sides of it, at odd angles to each other, with leather straps hanging off in multiple directions. “Why not just one cock?”

Tyrion coughed. “It’s not meant for you. Well, not exactly.” Jaime frowned at him and Tyrion reached out and held it up with the one big cock going more or less up and the other one jutting out more aggressively, and used his other hand to hold up the harness straps in a way that made it obvious how the thing was supposed to be attached.

Jaime snorted. “Brienne doesn’t need a cock. She’s got a sword.”

“And a lovely sword it is,” Tyrion said, tossing the thing back onto the heaped table. Then he frowned hard down at it in the way that meant he was near laughter.

“What?” Jaime said. Tyrion only glanced up and shook his head. “Out with it.”

“It was an inescapable thought,” Tyrion said. “But one I’m not sure deserves to be passed along.” Jaime gave him a prodding look, and Tyrion hesitated a moment, and then shrugged fatalistically and said, “Only that you’re lucky no one ever gave Cersei one of those things.”

Jaime stared at him, shocked speechless: they’d always mocked everything amongst themselves, of course, even their own feelings and places of pain, playing with the claws out, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to have that one touched. Tyrion looked back at him and grimaced: he knew, of course he knew, but then abruptly he took a breath and went onward instead of back. “Don’t give me that look,” he said. “You know she’d have bent you over the nearest table five minutes later.”

Jaime stood there blankly, waiting to be angry, to be hurt; waiting to find a snarl of agony and regret in his throat, don’t talk about her, and the terrible hollow sensation of watching his sword slide into her body, the light fading out of her eyes as she lay in his arms, the candle guttering out on the floor of the hallway, leaving only the sickly green glow of the wildfire puddles beneath the racks of barrels, only steps away.

Only it didn’t come after all. Instead he saw her clearly as if she’d come back to life, standing across a table holding it in her hands, looking up at him with a hard, cruel smile already shaping her beautiful mouth, a savage eagerness widening as he stared back at her appalled. And he would have given in, of course: he’d given in on everything else, why would he have stopped here? He could endure physical pain, after all, which was good, because she’d have wanted to hurt him; she’d have wanted to make him wince and gasp and even cry out, and he’d have borne it all, just in case that would have done it, just in case she’d have finally been sated afterwards, glutted on this one more yielding.

She wouldn’t have been. Nothing could have sated her. But that understanding hadn’t come to him until the last moment, watching her turn her back on him with the candle in her hand. She’d been smiling then, too, as if she’d almost been glad for the excuse of her own destruction, glad for the chance to take the whole world down in fire with her, or at least as much of it as she could reach. But before then, he’d have let her do it. He’d have let her fuck him brutally; he’d have let her fuck him until he was bleeding and still trying to convince himself that this was love, this frantic clawing at one another that somehow never allowed for a moment of respite.

He stared down at it on the table and then he shut his eyes a moment, then breathed out and said, a little wavering, “She would have, wouldn’t she,” and if his voice cracked a little, Tyrion didn’t say anything about it, only put a hand warm in the small of his back.

Afterwards Jaime felt lightened and lightheaded both, as if he’d heaved off plate armor at the end of a long, grueling battle, two days without sleep or more than a swallow of water, exhausted and queasy. After Tyrion left, Jaime went down to the baths and soaked in the dim light for an hour, his eyes shut, just breathing. He felt as if he remembered Cersei doing it, as if she really had, a translation of years of pain and humiliation and domination into a form physical enough for him to understand. Like the clarity of standing in that green-lit hall full of death, with another mad king to slay.

He finally dried off and went upstairs and found Brienne in their chambers looking at the thing herself in complete bewilderment. “I’m not sure how to thank them for this. Is it religious, do you suppose?” she said, her face screwed up like someone who’d been offered a plate of grasshoppers or raw testicles and had to pretend to want to eat them.

Religious?” he said.

“Like that statue they sent Danaerys from Myr, with the enormous,” waving her hand inarticulately in an exaggerated curve over her breasts, and he burst out laughing, trying to stifle the hysterical edge of it. It didn’t entirely work: she looked at him with a little worry.

He didn’t want her to worry: her, his respite, his endless clear shining water, so he took it out of her hands and showed her the way Tyrion had held it, and said, “I think it’s more in the nature of a strongly worded suggestion of what you should do with your new husband,” and her eyes went wide and she covered her mouth and erupted in a choking snort of laughter that woke his own again, and they both laughed so hard they had to sit down and ended up leaning against the foot of the bed together wheezing.

She said, “I don’t think the Dornish like you very much,” and he said, high-pitched, “No, I don’t think they do,” and she brayed another laugh and they went off on another burst until they were just lying flat mostly draped over one another.

But there was something wonderful about it, too: the Dornish still hated him, and he could with joy have put the sword to the necks of every last one of those poisonous murdering bitches, and the worst that was going to happen was a rude present in his bedchamber that made his wife—his wife, what a magical phrase—laugh like a donkey. Danaerys had gathered all her lords, at the end of the war, and made clear that the fighting was over, all blood debts wiped clean, and the next person who started anything would soon be having an intimate and very warm conversation with Drogon.

“And just to be clear,” she’d added, with that smile of hers like steel, “if there’s any question about who started it, I’ll send a raven to Winterfell and find out.”

“You just had to push him out a window, didn’t you,” Tyrion had added afterwards. “It’s very dampening to all us schemers and spies, you know. It takes all the fun out of it if you can just ask someone.”

So Jaime leaned back against the curve of his wife’s body still holding the thing and couldn’t help smiling at it, silly and helpless, and then Brienne said tentatively, a sincere question, “Do you want to try it?” and he stared at her and she wasn’t—she wasn’t asking if he would, she was asking if he wanted to, if he wanted her to put it on and take him with it and, “Yes,” he rasped out. “If you—only if you—”

She turned bright red and said, “I—don’t mind trying,” in a stifled, valiant voice, and when they’d got it on her, his mouth between her thighs to make her wet for it, he lay down beneath her almost shaking with eagerness, and then she drove him mad for half an hour trying things to make it wet enough to go in easily, until he had a fit and pinned her down and used his mouth on it, letting it slide down his throat until he could lick at her clit with his tongue and make her moan. He pulled off and mouthed around the base of it where it went in her, and licked and sucked everything he could reach until she came twice and was so wet her juices ran down the jutting shaft, and after that she also tried one of the other presents, a box of some expensive perfumed oils, and suddenly it was sliding into him, nothing more than a few twinges and gasping, and she was—she was inside him.

“Is it—pleasant?” she asked, breathlessly, still quivering herself.

“Ask me in a minute,” Jaime said, a little choked. He did like the strangeness of it; it wasn’t, after all, like anything he remembered. He wasn’t sure it was pleasant, though. And then Brienne caught his hips in her broad strong hands and pulled them up and—and fucked him, and he didn’t care if it was pleasant or not. He grunted out a harsh breath, and Brienne, his darling, magnificent, utterly straightforward Brienne, just asked, “Like that?” so all he had to do was say, “Yes,” and she did it again, and he reached out and dragged every one of the pillows he could reach and shoved them underneath himself and sank into utter submission beneath her, and afterwards she stroked his head where he lay pillowed on her belly—still flat, but not for much longer—and said, with a stifled giggle, “We will have to thank them, I suppose,” and he started laughing again, helplessly, and lifted his head to nuzzle at her navel and kiss her hip.  

# End