The land before them stretched out like an endless plain of glittering gems. Beneath the high afternoon sun, the crisp snow caught the light in a thousand different ways, creating a sparkling effect on the plain.
Brienne exhaled into the cold, crisp air, her breath billowing like a cloud. She gripped the reins of her horse tightly between her gloved fingers. To her right, Jaime sat placidly on his own horse, his green eyes fixed on the landscape.
It was unbearably quiet.
“This seems rather dull for the North, don’t you think?” Jaime said.
Brienne glanced at him, mustering a steely expression. “What?”
Jaime dipped his head towards the snowy expanse. “No warring houses, no bloodthirsty monsters, not even so much as a hungry wolf. In my limited experience with the North this is quite peculiar.”
“Are you saying you wish for one or more of those things to appear?”
Jaime’s brows flitted upwards on his face, creasing his forehead with doubt. “Well…surely the wolf would be manageable.”
Brienne’s eyes remained fixed on Jaime for a moment, and then she laughed. He did try to be optimistic, even in small doses. Her laughter softened to a chuckle as she encouraged her horse forward. “I’m certain you would find a way.”
“You doubt me?” Jaime asked playfully.
“Hardly,” Brienne replied over her shoulder. “I’d just like to see a demonstration of your skills.”
Brienne guided her horse around a wiry mess of half-grown trees. The landscape had shifted, revealing a scattering of rocks and pine trees that thickened into a forest ahead of them. Jaime came up next to her, eyeing the forest with a delighted grin.
“I think I see just such an opportunity,” he said. “You have the snares?”
Brienne nodded. “Of course. We should see if there are any tracks nearby.”
As they entered the forest, the trees grew nearly as tall as mountains, with trunks as thick as five men. Ahead, the trunks gathered so closely that daylight could scarcely peak through. Brienne followed, her eyes scanning the soft snow for any signs of animals. Winterfell was in need of fresh game, and due to their losses to the Night King, duties had to be met by whoever was able.
In their case, Jaime had boldly volunteered to join the hunting party that formed days after the Long Night ended. Winterfell had enough grain and dried meat to last the hellish winter, but fresh meat was always favourable over the tough and leathery texture of dried mutton. The rest of the hunting party, which consisted mainly of Wildlings and a handful of Dothraki and Stark bannermen, had fixed Jaime with a burning look that would contend with the wrath of Queen Daenerys’s dragons.
Brienne, naturally, had immediately volunteered to go with Jaime. That had drawn an irritated response from Sansa. She fixed Brienne with a penetrating look when she asked who would guard her in Brienne’s absence. Brienne spared no moment of silence when she volunteered Podrick for the duty, much to the boy’s surprise. A single look from Brienne had silenced his impending protest. Podrick was more than capable, even if he did not see that himself.
Jaime slowed his horse and hopped off into the snow, a small cloud rising around his feet when he did so. Brienne watched as he tied the reins of his horse to a nearby tree and took a few slow steps towards an overgrown patch of brush. Part of the brush was dead and decaying, leaving the branches bare like wiry bones. Jaime leaned over the plant’s husk, shifting his shoulders and head as if he was searching for something.
“Brienne, come look at this,” he said.
She slid off her horse in a single, fluid motion and secured him to the same tree. The fresh snow crunched beneath her feet. Jaime motioned to the ground, where a trail of small, round prints disturbed the snow: two small round ones in front followed by two long, thin prints behind.
“These are from a rabbit,” Brienne noted. She looked up at Jaime, and then to the brush, “do you think they went through there?”
Jaime’s shoulders rose in a half shrug as he swayed his head. “Though I’m not a rabbit, if I were one, that would seem like a good place to hide.”
Brienne nodded and stepped over to the brush, using her hand to push aside the spindly branches. A few snapped off and fell to her feet, the splintered remains poking at her fingers. The branches were speckled with pointed thorns that grew thicker on the fuller branches. She pushed against the brush with her armored sleeve before a flash of gold came into view. She turned her head slightly to see Jaime’s golden hand weaving amongst the branches, pushing them away. His golden hand brushed her bare one briefly as he leaned into the bush.
“Here,” Jaime offered. “These branches will do far less to gold than they will to flesh. Can you see anything?”
Brienne peeked through the underbrush, the ground speckled with bark and shadow. Amongst them, she could make out the faintest trail of tracks, the same ones that they’d found before.
“The tracks continue through here, looks like through the rest of the brush.” She glanced up at him. “We should leave a snare here. Either that rabbit will return, or another will follow it.”
Jaime nodded. “I’ll hold these branches back if you’ll set the snare.”
Brienne stood and moved swiftly to her horse, pulling a snare from one of her saddle bags. She returned to Jaime in a few steps and knelt next to him, reaching her hands under the tangle of underbrush to set the snare. She set it with a few deft movements of her fingers and withdrew her hands from the tangled mess of underbrush. When she was safely free from it, Jaime let the thorny mass of crackling branches snap back into place.
Brienne stood. “Thank you,” she said, and turned back to her horse.
“Don’t thank me yet,” Jaime said.
Brienne’s turned to look at Jaime, who remained standing next to the bush. His expression looked half disbelief and half awe. He closed his mouth and swallowed, the ridge of his Adam’s apple bobbing beneath the skin of his throat, “thank me when we’re ready to return to Winterfell.” Jaime then stepped over to his horse, reaching his left arm out to stroke its muzzle with his gloved hand. He gathered the reins in his golden hand, in the crux between his thumb and forefinger, before passing them to his left. His motions seemed to flow like water, when in times passed his golden hand would have hindered him. Still, he never offered complaint, only carried on in the most capable way he could.
When he clasped the reins, he dropped his hand to his side and looked to Brienne. “We should keep moving. Standing still may give us the appearance of trees, but I doubt we would catch anything aside from a cold wind.”
He held her eyes for a moment longer, then looked away. Jaime moved further into the forest, leading his horse with him.
Brienne watched him for a moment, the soft lilt of his hair and the ruffle of winter air in his cloak made her want to reach for him. She wanted him to feel something other than cold air. Brienne bit her bottom lip, rolling the soft skin beneath her teeth. No, now was not the time for that.
She wrapped the reins around her left hand and led her horse forward, stepping into the path that Jaime had trod into the soft snow.
Above her, fresh flakes of snow floated lazily to the forest floor.
A light layer of snow had gathered in Brienne’s hair before Jaime spoke to her again.
“You know, despite all the stories I heard as a boy, I never thought it would snow this much in the North.”
A smile tugged at the corner of Brienne’s lips. Jaime was amusing, even when annoyed. She called back a response: “Oh? And what were you expecting instead?”
Jaime looked behind to answer her, as if to make sure his response landed in the right place. “Not quite this.”
His eyes met Brienne’s for a moment, full and compelling despite the many feet between them. Brienne swallowed and found a lump had coiled in her throat. Things certainly hadn’t played out how she’d expected in the North either.
Brienne wet her lips with her tongue, willing her words to form: “If this snow keeps up, we’ll lose the trail we made from Winterfell. We should start back before it gets worse.”
Jaime strolled towards her, leading his horse with him. “But we’ve caught absolutely nothing.”
Brienne set her jaw. “The only thing we’ll catch out here is our deaths if we stray into a snowstorm. I’ve been in the North long enough to see one swallow men whole like a beast. We’ll be doing good to absolutely no one if we become stranded and die out here.” She paused when Jaime’s face fell at her last words. She took a step towards him, lowering her voice. “We can check the snares we set on our way out, and we can always return another day.”
Jaime nodded, shaking a few flakes of snow from his beard. A hint of a smile crept across his face. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. We didn’t fight an army of the dead just to die to a snowstorm now, did we?”
Brienne tried to hide the smirk that burst on her face. “No, definitely not.”
“Then lead us home, Ser Brienne,” Jaime said.
Brienne turned and stepped around her horse, gently leading them to follow her. Their path beneath the cover of the forest remained visible, leaving an easy route out.
As they made their way back through the towering trees and thick underbrush, the snow fall grew heavier. Soft flakes had clumped together into thick, heavy pieces that fell into Brienne’s eyes and left wet trails on her skin.
They had been checking the snares as they made their way back through the forest; the first two had been infuriatingly empty. When Brienne came upon the same tangled mass of thorned bushes they had passed before, she feared that this snare would be the same. She used a gloved hand to lift the prickly branches and found the snare, and the ground around it, undisturbed. Behind her, she heard Jaime and his horse quietly join her.
“Same as the others?” he asked.
Brienne dropped the brush back into the snow, raising a plume of white dust. “I’m afraid so. And the storm only seems to be getting worse.”
“Should we try to make camp here until it dies down?”
Brienne shook her head. “The nights are too cold to be in the open, and there are wolves and bears in these parts.” She glanced at him, “Unless you would like a challenge?”
Jaime blew a puff of air from his lips, his breath visible in the icy wind. “There is a vast difference between a wolf and a bear, and I’d like to chance an encounter with neither one.”
“Nor would I,” Brienne added.
From her spot, she could glimpse the open land beyond the edge of the forest, now little more than a raging sea of snow and ice. If they went out into that abyss, they would surely never return.
Brienne glanced to her left. The trees carried on for some distance, and though dense, seemed passable. To her right, the trees appeared to thin and were blanketed with heavy snow.
“We should keep to the forest,” she said. “We may find somewhere to shelter until the storm passes. Come on.”
She marched forward, not minding the way the snow sunk beneath her feet and clung to her boots. They would find somewhere to keep warm, and the storm would pass. As all things trying in the world, Brienne knew that it too would pass.
As they continued through the forest, the wind grew more violent, lashing against both tree and horse and nearly knocking Brienne off her feet. She moved from one tree to another, gripping the trunk to steady herself before gently tugging on her horse’s reins. Behind her, Jaime struggled to keep his balance in the deepening snow while trying to maintain a hold on his horse. His beard was matted with ice, and his hair speckled with enough snow that she could scarcely see the blonde beneath.
Brienne scanned the treeline ahead of her. Her line of sight had drastically reduced as the storm’s ferocity grew. Snow squalled through the trees, yielding vast swaths of whiteness in every direction but one.
Ahead the ground rose in a gentle ridge, carrying the trees with it. Some twenty feet further, a towering wall of stone cut through the trees. It was like a candle in the darkness; that was their destination.
Brienne waved at Jaime and then motioned towards the rock face. “There!” She called through the howling wind.
Jaime held a hand up to shield his face and squinted. After a moment, he nodded.
The path through the trees was short but arduous. The snow sloped on the ridge in large, soft drifts that threatened to pull them down if they weren’t careful. Brienne’s boots slipped on the icy ground hidden beneath, and she nearly went tumbling down the ridge before she found her footing again. When they finished climbing, the trees thickened and Brienne had to duck to keep pine needles from poking her eyes. The wind and snow bit at her face as she walked, like a pack of hungry wolves eager for a piece of her.
With a hand steady on a tree, Brienne chanced a look behind her. She feared that Jaime may have been lost to the chaotic storm, but he was there with her. He looked exhausted and nearly frozen, but still very much alive.
When they reached the edge of the treeline, Brienne saw that the rock face reached tens of feet above them, the top hidden behind the whirling clouds of snow. She took a few steps out of the forest and scanned the base of the rock face, her eyes finally landing on a single, cragged opening in the rock.
A crunch of snow sounded to her left; Jaime had joined her. “I suppose that’ll do!” He yelled over the wind.
Brienne nodded and made for the cave, leaving deep footprints in the snow. Her horse breathed heavily behind her as she labored across the snowy land. When she reached the opening of the cave, she grabbed for the nearest rock to steady herself and pulled her horse in after her. Jaime followed a moment later, leaving a trail of wet snow on the ground. They took a few moments to catch their breaths before Brienne reached into her saddle bag for some flint. Nightfall would come soon, and they would need fire if they hoped to survive it.
Jaime noticed the flint in her hands and grabbed a handful of dried plants from the cavern wall. He tossed them on the ground between two rocks, well away from the entrance of the cave. Brienne nodded a thanks and knelt over the shrivelled moss. With a few hits of the flint stone, sparks jumped into the moss and caught, setting it aflame. She watched the flame grow, flickering brilliantly against the dark stone. Jaime strolled over and dropped more kindling on the fire, feeding it into a rolling flame.
“This cave looks like it goes further,” Jaime observed. “Might be best to see where it goes, rather than stay here and wake half frozen tomorrow.”
“I didn’t bring torches,” Brienne said solemnly.
“Ah!” Jaime’s brows shot up and he marched over to his horse. From one of his saddle bags he pulled two wooden stakes and a scrap of cloth. “Will these do?”
Brienne stood and strolled over to Jaime. “They should, as long as they’re dry.” She tested the cloth and stakes with her bare hands; both were bone dry. She tore the cloth in half and wrapped one piece around the tip of each torch. When that was done, she passed one to Jaime and held hers in the flame, waiting for it to catch. The flame eagerly leapt onto the torch, curling around the tip like a fiery snake. Jaime did the same, and soon after they descended into the cavern.
The cave was dark but wide, giving them enough room to travel abreast even with their horses. The path dipped lower briefly, and then rose again. At the top of the slope the cave opened into a larger cavern. The torchlight swam across the smooth walls, easily illuminating the cavern. Jaime and Brienne secured their horses on a towering pillar of rock before Jaime wandered off into the cavern. Brienne was about to start another fire when she heard Jaime’s voice.
“There’s another cavern back here!” Jaime called. Brienne followed his voice through the narrow tunnel at the rear of the cavern, shimmying herself past the ragged piece of rock that jutted out at waist level. The air was warmer there, and when Brienne moved past the tight corner ahead, she discovered why.
The tunnel opened into another cavern, wide and tall enough that the light from her torch barely touched the furthest corners. A hot spring filled the center of the cavern, reaching almost to where Brienne stood. The air was hot and humid, but welcome after the biting cold of the air outside.
Jaime wedged his torch into the crux of his golden hand and stepped up to the edge of the hot spring, kneeling to extend his fingers into the water. He swirled his fingers through the water, as if he was pleased with it.
“Jaime?” Brienne’s voice echoed through the cavern.
He stood. “Looks like we’ve found our place for the night.”
“This was…not what I was expecting,” she replied.
Jaime dipped his head in acknowledgement, shifting his torch back to his left hand. “Can’t say I was expecting this either, but it is welcome after freezing our asses in the cold.”
Brienne smirked. “I suppose it is.”
Jaime took a step towards her. “We should sleep here for the night. It’ll be warmer than anywhere else.”
Brienne pursed her lips. “What about the horses?”
Jaime’s shoulders rose in the hint of a shrug. “They’re secure in the other cavern; they should be fine until morning.”
“And what if someone comes into the cave and decides to take our horses for themselves?”
Jaime met her eyes. “Then I suppose we’ll have to keep watch. I’ll take the first one, if it pleases you.”
The corner of Brienne’s mouth slipped upwards for a moment. “It does, so long as you do not mind.”
“Not at all.”
Brienne nodded. “Good.”
Jaime turned back towards the hot spring. “But first, I think I could use a freshening up.” He wedged his torch in a crevasse that sprouted along the cavern wall. “A long day of riding has left me smelling more of sweat than sweetgrass, and I for one would rather not smell like that on the morrow.” Jaime unfastened his cloak, tossing it aside in one smooth motion.
Brienne felt her brows climb towards her hair and a blush spread down her neck. Was he really going to…?
Jaime shucked off his breeches and jerkin in equally swift motions, answering her question. He added the clothing to the messy pile his cloak had started, tossing his boots on top. His golden hand came off swiftly, making a loud clang where it hit the stone floor. Jaime pulled the leather cover off his stump and let it fall into the muddle of clothing.
The low light from the torches cast shadows across Jaime’s body, but it was enough to illuminate the corded muscle in his arms and the sculpted ridge of his shoulder. She did not dare to look lower.
Jaime glanced over his shoulder, his eyes meeting hers. A coy smirk emerged on his face; he must have seen her blushing. “Would my lady like to join me?”
Brienne’s heart thudded in her ears. Did he actually…? No, surely he had to be making a jest. This cave was not Winterfell, and it lacked the wine that had plied their last meeting by firelight.
“I…” Brienne found that words eluded her.
Jaime raised a brow. “I can assure you the water is quite nice.” He peeked a glance at the hot spring, “but it would do no harm for me to check.” He waltzed over to the edge of the spring, the torchlight catching the curve of his ass as he walked.
Brienne bit her lip. Her clothes and armor felt stiflingly warm.
Jaime dipped one foot into the water, lowering himself down before hopping into the spring. He waded in until the water reached his waist before looking back at Brienne. “See? It’s quite alright.”
Her hands curled into her cloak. She wanted to wrap herself in it and disappear.
“Brienne?” Jaime moved towards her. “What’s wrong?”
She shook her head. “Why are you doing this?”
Jaime tilted his head, confused. “Doing what?”
Brienne gaped at him. “This!”
Jaime’s mouth parted, almost in a silent ‘oh’. “Brienne, do you…do you not want this?”
She clenched her cloak between her fingers. “No, it’s not that. It’s just…”
I cannot believe that he wants this, she thought.
“In Winterfell, when you came to my chambers. You were drunk; I was drunk. The wine spoke words for us in those moments. I had thought it was a thing of chance, to happen once and never again.”
Jaime’s expression fell, as if he’d been kicked. He swiftly moved to the edge of the hot spring and held out his hand to her. “I would have come to your chambers that night if I had not even a drop of wine. Whatever words I spoke, whatever acts I committed, were of my own doing.”
Brienne let out a silent breath. In that moment the cave lost its touch of disbelief and there was only Jaime, naked, warm and offering his hand to her in the dim light.
She reached for the clasp of her cloak and unhooked it, adding to Jaime’s pile of clothes. Oathkeeper and her armor joined her cloak a few moments later. When she reached for the laces of her jerkin, she spared a glance at Jaime. He’d lowered his arm but remained attentive at the edge of the spring. She undid the laces quickly, slipping the fabric from her shoulders as the warm air met her bare skin. She slipped off her boots and breeches before she could convince herself otherwise.
She stood up and squared her shoulders before looking at Jaime again. His green eyes were soft and welcoming.
“Come here,” he said, holding his hand out to her again.
Brienne took a few careful steps before reaching for his hand, letting him lead her into the spring. The water was warm and soothing after their time in the cold. She let go of Jaime’s hand and waded in until the water reached just below her breasts, then lowered herself deeper until the water reached her neck. She dipped her head back, wetting her hair. Brienne ran her hands over her head and down her neck, smoothing her hair against her skin. Jaime seemed to approve of her idea, as the next instant he had completely submerged himself below the surface. He emerged next to her, shaking water from his hair. She laughed and threw her hands up to shield herself.
Jaime blew out a puff of air and pushed his wet hair from his face with his left hand. The stump of his right hand poked out of the water between them. Brienne reached for his arm, gripping it gently. She lifted his arm and placed a kiss on the top of the stump, closing her eyes as she did so. When she opened them, Jaime’s eyes were fixed on her, an expression of awe caught on his face.
“Yes?” he asked.
Brienne lifted herself so she could look him in the eye. She felt gooseflesh rising on her skin. “Yes,” she said.
Jaime blinked once, then reached his hand out to her, running his hand up the length of her arm to her shoulder. He cupped her chin and leaned in, meeting her lips with his. She moved her lips gently, trying to find a rhythm, while Jaime made bold movements. He pulled her bottom lip between his own, wanting but not harsh. She pressed her lips harder against his, eager for more contact. His hand wandered up into her hair. She moaned in surprise when his tongue swept across her lower lip, asking for entry. She parted her lips, letting him in.
Jaime’s right arm dropped to her waist, gently nudging her to move. She broke the kiss and let him lead her to the edge of the spring. He pressed her back against the stone there and lifted her legs to wrap around his waist, her arms looping around his shoulders. Brienne felt heat coil between her legs. When Jaime stepped closer to her, she felt the hard ridge of his cock press against her thigh.
Gods, she wanted him.
She rolled her hips to try and bring him closer, the heat between her thighs growing unbearable. She wrapped her arms tighter around his shoulders. Jaime chuckled and kissed her jaw. “Patience,” he whispered into her ear. He kissed her again, his hand wandering down her side and across her hip before travelling lower. Brienne felt her entire body jump when his fingers slid across her clit.
Jaime stopped his movements, but Brienne was quick to encourage him. She gently pulled at his bottom lip with her teeth and pushed her hips toward him, trying to find some measure of relief. Jaime smiled against her lips and continued his movements. He moved his fingers in firm, confident strokes, passing over her clit in sure motions. She wanted him to do that for the rest of their lives.
Just as she felt the wonderful pressure building inside her, Jaime moved his fingers away. Brienne was about to smack his shoulder when he slipped both fingers, knuckle-deep, into her cunt. Pleasure spiked through her veins as she moaned into his mouth. He moved his fingers slowly, only picking up his pace when she began moving her hips to match his strokes.
Oh, Gods, this is wondrous. He’s so-
Brienne felt a sharp pain in her lower back, as if something was jutting into her skin. She tried to push it out of her mind, surely it could wait, but the sensation persisted, and she had to break the kiss.
“Stop,” she whispered.
Jaime immediately withdrew his fingers. “Did I hurt you?”
Brienne shook her head fervently. “No, no! Sorry, it wasn’t you. There’s…something pushing into my back.”
Jaime raised a brow and moved his hand behind her, feeling down the rock. A moment later, a look of realisation dawned on his face. “Ah, there’s a rather sharp edge here. That certainly won’t do.”
Jaime pulled away from the wall, Brienne still wrapped about his waist, and made for the shallow water where they had first come in.
“What are you doing?” Brienne asked.
“Finding a proper spot,” Jaime replied.
A proper spot? For wh-Oh.
Brienne untangled her arms from his shoulders. A puzzled look crossed Jaime’s face.
“It’ll be faster if you don’t have to carry me,” she said as she dropped her legs from his waist. She turned and strode for the ledge, catching the smug smile on Jaime’s face as she did so. The water became shallow quickly. She climbed onto the ledge and turned to see Jaime following behind her. He climbed out of the water and plucked his cloak from the pile of clothes they had abandoned earlier.
“Here, lie on this,” he said, laying the cloak out on the damp stone.
She knelt on the cloak and rolled onto her back. Jaime’s hand appeared next to her head, holding what appeared to be his shirt, rolled into a messy bundle.
“For your head,” he said. Brienne took the shirt in her hand and lifted her head to place it. When she lowered her head back down, Jaime was already kneeling between her legs. He placed his hand on the underside of her thigh, gently stroking her skin before meeting her eyes.
“May I?” he asked. His eyes were gentle, but full of desire. He was waiting for her permission and would not act unless she allowed it.
Jaime leaned forward, pushing her legs back against her chest. There was a moment of fumbling, and then all she felt was a warm fullness as he slipped inside her.
She let out a soft moan as Jaime braced his arms by her sides. Brienne reached for him, her fingers trailing into his hair as she pulled his lips to hers. The kiss was hungry, both eager to taste one another. Brienne gasped when Jaime began to move within her. His strokes were slow at first, and then grew deeper, harder. His hips pumped against her, driving his cock deep inside her. She felt a scream rising in her throat and bit her lip to stifle it, but the sound still squeaked past her lips.
“Let me hear you,” Jaime whispered. “There is only us here, you can be as loud as you please.”
He slammed his hips into hers, reaching between them to rub her clit. She arched against him, unleashing a deep, guttural moan.
“Gods, Brienne,” Jaime growled as he bit into the flesh of her neck. Somehow, he was pounding her even harder, and Brienne could not think of anything else in that cavern but him and his cock inside her.
“Jaime, yes,” she moaned. It was so good, he was so good. The heat coiled deep within her had begun to build, mounting a steep wave that was soon to break.
Jaime’s fingers swirled against her clit, his cock hitting that spot inside her that sent a warm ribbon of pleasure rushing through her on each thrust. She felt her cunt pulse around him; she was close. She could feel the crest of the wave approaching…and then she was falling over it, screaming as she came. She reached for anything she could grip and dug her fingers into Jaime’s back as her climax rushed over her.
Jaime’s low groans caught her attention, her own breathing uneven and short. She felt his cock twitch inside her as he buried his face into her neck. His thrusts grew frantic and he gasped against her skin before moving off her. Jaime let out a loud, guttural moan as he spilled against her hip, his breath coming in short gasps as he stroked his cock. He then rolled onto his side, his stump resting on Brienne’s chest. She took the scarred flesh in her hand, stroking it gently.
“Wonderful,” Brienne finished for him.
Jaime nodded, too exhausted for words. Brienne smiled and kissed his forehead. They rested like that for a few moments, until their breathing had slowed. When Jaime spoke, his voice was low and warm.
“We should get you cleaned up,” he whispered, motioning at her hip. He sat up. “Here, come back into the water with me.”
Brienne raised herself up on her elbows. “Gladly, Ser Jaime.”
Jaime smiled and rose to his feet, eager as a puppy. He dashed for the spring and hopped in, sending waves through the water. Brienne chuckled and strolled over to the water, slipping in after him. In the deeper water, Jaime held his arms out to her, and she glided over to accept his embrace. He settled his head against her shoulder, his wet hair pressed against her cheek, and she leaned against him, her fingers stroking the nape of his neck.
“Of all the places in the Seven Kingdoms, there is no other place I would rather be than here,” he whispered.
“Nor would I,” Brienne answered.
They stayed that way for a while after, sheltered in each other’s arms. The dim torchlight was enough to illuminate only them, and in that cave they found, for whatever sliver of time the Seven granted to them, a touch of peace.