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We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

Chapter Text

North Carolina: the beginning of their new life. 

Jaime and Brienne were the first to see the earth after the long journey by sea.

Back at home, in France, there was nothing for them, and with a baby on the way, a revolution was not the best place to stay, even if they had fought and nearly died for that event to happen.

As they approached the shore, calm and serenity were the major emotions they were feeling. The road ahead was still long and complicated, but they had each other, the baby and they were free from familial obligations.

No more Brienne, dressing like a man just to please her father, no more demands from Jaime's father for him to be someone different. They could be whoever they want to be.

It was odd, on Jaime's part, to be so sure that everything was going to be ok. Taking their history as an example, it was way more probable that their life ahead would be full of problems and incidents, considering his wife's tendencies to get into trouble and his own tendencies to follow her headfirst. 

Still, he was so sure the worst was behind them. 

It was odd, on Brienne’s part, to be so still and just present in the moment. Usually, she was worried about the past, the future, and everything in between. But considering all that happened in a span of weeks, it seemed futile to worry about anything but the very moment in front of her.

Again, the Universe had already proved that it had a very weird sense of humour.

“We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars”, he told her right before their first kiss, and now the stars were there to welcome them.

TbC

Chapter Text

Brienne was the last daughter of Tarth, a prestigious and old dynasty that went back to Louis IX: she had an older brother, Gallandon, but he died when she was eight. So, as the only heir to Tarth, her father decided to raise her like he would have raised Gallandon if he was still alive.

Brienne was happy, at the time, with that decision: being a son meant that she could learn to fight, to write and read, and to think like a fighter. No more dresses and tedious lessons about needlework, only long afternoons on a horse and swimming. 

Jaime was the first son of Lannister, a prestigious and old dynasty that went back to Charlemagne: he had a twin sister and a younger brother. He was the heir to Castle Rock, Lannister’s ancient castle, though he dreamed of being a knight and rescuing maidens. 

Still, he could learn all about being a knight even if his father’s expectations were different. He was nine when he met the love of his life. He knew from the moment he saw her, learning to parry and dodge like he was learning too.

Jaime and Brienne met by incident, even if Jaime always claimed it was destiny all along. Jaime’s father brought him along to one of the Tarth propriety near Paris (Tywin never did that before or after, again destiny at its best, if you’re listening to Jaime) and while their fathers were discussing private matters about trades and life at court, he wandered around the castle for a while until he heard a familiar sound -two swords clashing.

Following the sound, he made the discovery that changed his life: he met Brienne, who was fighting with real swords - something his father never allowed him to do -  against someone, he barely remembered who. 

From the first time he laid eyes on her, he could not help but think she was magnificent. A work of art. Even young as he was, he was sure of it. He wanted to be with her and marry her and have tons of babies together - funny considering how at the time he thought of kissing a girl as the worst thing ever. 

She was holding her ground admirably, and Jaime wanted nothing more than to fight against her, proving he was at her level - even at the time he didn’t think he could be better than her. 

She called the duel to a stop, and approached him “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“I’m Jaime Lannister and I want to fight you.”

“Do you think you can beat me?”

“Of course I do.”

He didn't know why he was telling her that. He was pretty sure he would lose, but as she was coming into his space, her majestic blue eyes did things to his little heart. He blurted something just to make sure she picked the challenge.

And she did.

“Tsk. No boy of my age has ever been able to beat me.”

“I’ll be the first.”

“Prove it.”

They fought.

Jaime never had so much fun in his little life, and - out of three matches - he managed to win one and tie another. They were equals.

Their fathers caught them like that, and if Brienne was any other girl, his father would call an engagement right and there, but Brienne was Brienne and she was a son, not a daughter, so his father didn’t say a word.

Again, it was not a surprise that Tywin didn't want them to become friends. 

He tried everything he could to prevent them from seeing each other, and in the end, Tywin tried to put Jaime in a boarding school like the one for his sister, but Jaime refused.  Tywin insisted, saying that if Jaime continued to refuse, he would be disinherited. Jaime still refused. In the end,  he made Tywin so mad that he actually disinherited him. 

Tyrion, Jaime's little brother, would have to carry on the Lannister Legacy.

Since he was out, he decided to stay at Tarth, as Brienne's attendant. Selwyn, Brienne’s father, was happy with that decision.

Even if he was raising his daughter like a son, he was no fool. A girl in that world was always in danger, and Jaime assured she was as safe as possible without having to bring another person into their house.

The eldest domestic helper of the house took him under her wings and basically raised both him and Brienne.

And so, Jaime spent basically his entire childhood at the Tarth estate, laughing and developing the most intense friendship with Brienne, and the more they were growing together, the more his feelings grew too.

TBC

Chapter Text

Eight years had passed. Eight years of laughing, fighting and friendship. Jaime knew the end was near. Eventually, everything kept changing, and as Brienne approached her sixteen birthday, he knew that things would never be the same. 

Brienne was growing tall, taller than any other person he knew. She was strong and yes, not a common lady for sure, but he loved her all the same

He kept his true feelings hidden for her, not because of shame or fear, or because as an attendant he had no chance of actually marrying Brienne, but simply because he was waiting for her to realize her feelings for him.

He was so sure she loved him, but he didn't want to force things.

He read in a book in the Tarth library that "if something is sacred to you, you can wait" and his love for Brienne was the most sacred thing he had, so he made a vow to always be near her. Jaime waited and watched as that girl he met eight years ago turned into a phenomenal fighter and a grown woman. 

Because she was indeed a woman. It was clear for him, even if he knew people at court and around them kept calling her Brian, the name Brienne’s father ordered her to present to the world.

Jaime was the only one allowed by her to call her Brienne (never in public though), and he was still so happy at the memory.

That day, the day of Brienne's sixteen birthday, was indeed a day to remember for both of them.

That morning, Selwin called Brienne in his office. She stormed out of there after twenty minutes and came back only after some hours.

Outside it was raining as if the weather could sense Brienne's feelings.

Jaime went to see what was wrong: watching her suffer alone was the worst possible thing he could think of.

Brienne sensed his presence, as she began to talk without any prompting by Jaime.

"My father wants me to join the Kingsguard. He thinks I could be of great service to the new queen when she will come here from Vienna."

Of course. The new queen. 

The news about the engagement of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ricocheted all over the country. Jaime hoped that would calm down some people who were beginning to talk about civil war.

“I went to Versailles, to meet the other candidate for the position and I challenged him to a duel: I won. He said he would be honoured to serve under my command.”

Jaime wanted to ask  a million questions:

Are you insane? Are you out of your mind? They could throw you in jail for treason, do you realize? Of course, you do. You were amazing, weren’t you? I  bet he is having the wank of his life thinking about how you defeated him? Are you okay? 

Instead, he asked a single question.

"What do you want to do?" he asked her. 

"I don't know."

"You know you're free, don't you?"

She turned around to look him in the eyes, furious and angry.

"I'm not like you Jaime. You are free. Me, I'm stuck."

They had this argument multiple times. 

"No, you're not. We can travel together, being some new version of hedge knight and saving maidens."

"You know, that was a nice fantasy. But this is real life. And I have to make a decision."

Now he was angry too. He was not playing a fantasy. That was his dream, an achievable one, if only she wasn't so stubborn and determined to do the right thing.

"Yeah. Go make this decision. It's not like you have something to lose."

"What do you mean? Just because I'm ugly it's okay for me to play the man?"

He was struck by lightning. He didn't mean that. He meant the actual opposite, but Brienne read his hesitation as a confirmation, and she stormed out of the room.

He was left alone all day long. The only positive thing out of this would be that as her attendant he could actually go with her. Follow and protect her. Not that she needed his protection, for sure, but a friend in the cold, bullshit environment of the court would be a gift. If Brienne would speak to him again.

In the end, he found her again, lying against her favourite tree.

"I'm sorry for my words," he began to say, but soon Brienne was on him, fighting. He loved fighting with her, it was a perfect excuse to touch her, even if with fists. He understood her. She was battling her honour and willing to serve his father against her own femininity. And if a good fight was going to help her make the decision he was not going to deny her.

Afterwards, they laid on the grass, looking at the sky, their hands one over the other.

"My father says that everyone should use Brian from now on, but you can keep calling me Brienne," she said in a whisper, before getting up and leaving him there, with a ridiculous smile on his face and his heart thundering like a hummingbird.

He waited sometime before coming back home, and it was at that moment that Brienne appeared in her new Kingsguard uniform. He stared at her for an eternity, the uniform somehow enhancing all the things that showed she was a young woman in her prime. 

His Brienne.

TBC

Chapter Text

  1. Thirteen years have passed since Brienne joined the Kingsguard. 

Her first big mission, just a couple of years after that memorable day, was to go to Vienna and accompany Marie Antoniette in France. She did oppose, in the beginning, stubborn as always, but eventually, she was convinced, and everyone in court told the story of how the future queen of France thought that her escort was a man. A handsome man, at that.

The truth of Brienne’s sex was spoken only in rushed voices and quiet whispers, and when asked everybody called her Captain Brian of Tarth: but rumours like that spread quickly in an environment that fed on malice and mysteries. 

After some time the novelty went out, and Brienne - Brian - was well respected and treated fairly - at least her men were genuinely impressed with her charisma and ability to guide them mission after mission, always putting herself - and Jaime, by association, in danger by being in the first line, never backing down.

They saved each other's necks multiple times, and while at the time France was in relative peace, that didn’t mean there was no work for them.

They would go to pubs and taverns quite often, and while he never tired of watching wenches falling on-site for the commander, and being rejected with grace and courtesy, he also heard comments that only ten years before were spoken very quietly, becoming very popular. 

In absence of a strong king, like Louis XIV,  the structure he created to maintain power over the noble was going to be the downfall of his grandson, who was more interested in playing woodcutter in his estates than he was ruling a kingdom.

Without a firm rule, advisors and ministers were playing around with power, consuming resources at an alarming rate and putting the weight of it on the people’s shoulders. 

Marie Antoniette, the new queen, was not in touch with her people at all, and the nation was tired of the never-ending taxes and lack of food.

It was like playing with fire… something was about to happen, sooner than later.

The new nation - the United States of America - proved once and for all that it was possible to revolt and be in a democracy. The word lit a fuse among the middle class and the poor, that were looking for an opportunity to revolt.

In that context, the King thought a ball would be a great thing to do. In Jaime’s opinion, the nobles - all of them - were way out of touch with reality, but he didn’t say a thing. It was not in his place to do so.

Renly - I’m Brian’s best friend - Baratheon, was returning after fighting in America, and the King- who was in love with him but only platonically, for sure - could not think of a better idea than dancing with him in front of a lot of people that were interested only in analyzing every word, touch or expression, to start rumours - not so untrue . Like he didn’t have other things to do.

Renly and Brienne met some years before in Versailles, and while it was clear Brienne had a crush on him -  the guy, who went to Versailles only when he could “ talk ” with the King, was so convinced Brienne was a guy that soon he was strutting around the Tarth property claiming he wanted to see his best friend.

Idiot. If Brienne was looking at him like she looked at Renly, he would have been the luckiest man alive. But it was clear that his affection was still not required. He was willing to wait for it. As long as it would take.

That said, he was just a little bit jealous of Renly, who had the privilege to dance with Brienne. At the ball, she decided to go dressed as a woman. 

He knew why: under all that armour and shield, there was a woman who wanted just to be loved for everything that she was. It was bound to happen… he had hoped he would have been the one to witness such an event, but Destiny was laughing at him. 

She was so stunning that night that Jamie forgot how to speak. She pulled out a blue, long dress that complimented her eyes in an astonishing way. Her hair was styled by some maid in a complicated chignon and overall she was a dream come true.

She gave a false identity entering Versailles and was admired by all court (as she should always be, in Jaime’s opinion, no matter how she was dressed), and Renly danced with her. And while they were dancing, the idiot told her that she kind of resembled his best friend, Brian.

Brienne almost fell, and when he was catching her, he watched in her eyes, and Renly - the idiot - finally understood. Brienne ran away, crying. If he could have killed Renly at that moment, he would have done with great pleasure. 

Then, the idiot went to the Tarth estate and said ‘’ sorry, but I’m in love with the King and you are only my best friend. You look majestic, truly ’, before leaving France, again, while Jaime had to pick the pieces of Brienne's heart and stitch them together.  

Just like the revolution was now being prepared in the street, he could feel that a revolution was coming for him and Brienne. He could only hope that revolution would be a positive one, instead of the disaster that was going to affect France in some years. 

TBC

Chapter Text

After that event, something changed in Brienne.

Anger, some would have said. Sadness, others would reply. In his opinion, it was a mixture of those above, plus pride, guilt and sorrow.

Just a few weeks later Brienne called him in her office, saying that she had asked to be transferred to the Paris Guard, and she would not need his service as her attendant anymore.

Bullshit! She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, that was for sure, but the Paris Guard was not a place for a highborn lady at that moment. She was so stubborn, as always, that Jaime felt anger like never before, and he left for the night before he ended up doing something he would regret.

He ended up at his usual pub, and he was planning on getting drunk like never before in his life - he was not a drunk type, but the occasion called for it.

“Hey, pretty face. Heartache?”

The question came from a red-haired guy, a few meters on his left. Jaime drank his first beer of the night before responding.

“Yes. do you have a problem with that?”

“Not at all pretty face. I’m here for the same reason. Who is she?”

“My best friend. The most stubborn woman I’ve ever met. She is highborn.”

“Ah, I see,” he said, almost smirking to himself. “Star crossed lovers?”

“If only...” he whispered to himself.

“And you?” he asked the guy. He seemed friendly enough

“Sadder story. Mine is dead. So, do yourself a favour, put yourself together and woo her.”

He smiled at that. Brienne wooed… he was crazy in love, not suicidal. The woman kept her female side so hidden, even more now because of that idiot of Renly fucking Baratheon, that if someone would go near her with flowers or stuff like that he would meet a sad end indeed.

“She is not the wooing type,” he replied, drinking his second beer.

“Oh come on, figure what she wants, and give it to her, not that difficult! By the way, I’m Addam, you?”

The guy - Addam - seemed so sure about everything that Jaime was a little envious.

“Jaime. A pleasure to meet you!”

In the meantime, a brawl was taking place in the pub. 

“Oh don’t worry. It’s pay-day in the Paris Guard, where we serve. And we tend to get a little excited in those days. A couple of fists and you’ll have your mind clear as the sky in summer.”

Then, he proceeded to throw a fist to his stomach, effectively pushing him back. The guy was strong, but he too could fight. 

Maybe it would help him get over Brienne, he thought, laughing at himself for the absurdity of the idea. There was no getting over Brienne any time soon. He was in love with her since he was nine…  there had been plenty of time to get over her if he could. 

Fighting was good for getting the anger out of his system. With a black eye, his muscles sore and his heart still pumping, he could think clearly about the situation.

He had made a vow, to always be near her, and he intended to keep it.

Addam, his new friend who tried  - and failed - to convince him to get a girl and be done with it, had given him an idea. He could not be Brienne’s attendant anymore, but he could be one of the Paris Guard. 

Looking back, he was grateful he enlisted. Otherwise, he would have lost the greatest thing he had ever witnessed in his life.

Yes, Brienne was furious when she found out, but she didn’t fire him. She only assured him that he would not have special treatment over the others - as he thought she would. She was way too honourable for that.

The guys gave her a hard time when they found that a woman was going to guide them.  Addam put two and two together and smiled at him “now I see what you meant by she is one of a kind”, but still, as the leader of his comrades, did not spare her just because Brienne was Jaime’s woman, in his mind.

“I call for a duel,” he said, after his brief presentation. “I just want to see the abilities of these royalties they send here to guide us,” he added, smirking.

Brienne - being Brienne - accepted. Jaime was in the first line, and if he could have bet something at that moment, he would have been rich in two hours.

The moment the duel started, heavy rain began to pour on the ground. The two opponents did not seem to notice, as they studied each other. They began a circle of movements around, a quick clash of the swords.

Jaime was absolutely certain of Brienne’s victory. The woman was a master of the art, and while in the years she became good with pistols and stuff, her first love was always the sword. When he realized she was fighting Addam with the sword he gave her for her twenty-five birthday - Oathkeeper, his heart skipped a beat. 

The duel did go on for quite some time. That was Brienne's favourite strategy: wear out the opponent and then quickly finish him off. Addam was good - a broad soldier with a lot of stamina - but in the end, it was indeed Brienne who won. 

When Addam yielded, Brienne searched Jaime’s eyes, and when she found him, she smiled at him like the first time she won against him so many years ago. His heart swelled and his pants became a little tighter. 

His favourite thing in the world was watching her in her element, like that day. If his afterlife was not going to be an endless cycle of Brienne fighting with him and then making love to him, he would be pissed.

Anyway… since that day, no one complained anymore about having a woman as their commander. 

TbC

Chapter Text

1788: Two years have passed since Brienne and Jaime joined the Paris Guard. The tension not only in Paris but in the whole country was reaching a tipping point.

Every day there was some attack on noble people, to the point where her father firmly suggested she go to Paris only when necessary and always in a carriage and with Jaime.

On her part she did follow his advice, even if she did feel a little bit of a hypocrite: commanding the Paris Guard exposed her to the trouble poor people had to sustain on a daily basis: she was never the kind of noble who despised common people, on the contrary… as a Kingsguard before and as a Paris Guard in those days, she was acutely aware of how much her service was for the common people, but at the same time, her privilege did not allow her to fully understand what kind of life people who weren’t born rich were having.

In two years time, she was able to gain more direct experiences and while she still was loyal to her country, she wasn’t so sure she was loyal to the monarchy or that she would fight for the monarchy when the time would come.

Brienne was deeply engrossed in her thoughts, that normal morning, as she and Jaime took the carriage to go to Paris from Tarth.

Both she and Jaime were silent while riding. The air between them was tense, but of a much different tension than that was around France at the time. Since Jaime was not with her constantly - they still did missions together, but sometimes she went alone, or it happened that they would not see each other for days - she was starting to have thoughts about Jaime. 

Not wanton thoughts - yet (her mind supplied, making her blush slightly), but thoughts… unwanted and unnecessary, not with a civil war that was most likely to happen in the next six months or so.

She wasn't even sure he loved her: once, before Renly, she would swear she knew, but now things were more uncertain in her heart. 

It was at that moment that their carriage was attacked. People were coming at them from every angle, and soon they were able to open the carriage and literally extract them from their vehicle. 

As soon as she realized Jaime was not at her side but pushed far far away from her by the people, a panic like never before ran through her veins. She had to save him. 

She started to push back and fight like a lion, her only object in mind was to save Jaime. She was so focused that she did not realize someone was calling her. She realized someone was pulling her out of the conflict zone, and that made her angrier and stronger.

She understood it was Renly, of all people, who was pulling her out. With a push, she set herself free. 

“I need to go. I need to save him. I need to say my Jaime.” 

Renly looked at her, not surprised at all.

“I’ll go get him for you. But you need to remain here, do you understand?”

She nodded.

Renly let her go and went back into the crowd, leaving her alone.

She was overwhelmed: not only because of the attack, she had endured worse things in her life, but because it seemed her heart had chosen long before she would have a chance to think about it properly. 

My Jaime, she had said and after that, it was going to be hard to deny her feelings any longer. 

Renly managed to bring him safely, and together the three of them escaped successfully. 

“Thanks for your help,” she said to him, later on. At home safely.

“Anytime Brian,” he answered, smirking at her for the male name he continued to use even if he knew her better than most. There was only one person who knew her better than him, and that was her Jaime.

“Why are you in France, by the way? I’m grateful, but I thought you were abroad.”

“Yes, I was. But I’m here to convince you-know-who to plan his escape now before it’s too late,” he told her, concern clear in his eyes. He had every right to be.

“I don’t envy you,” she said, her eyes landing on Jaime, who was watching Renly with pure jealousy in his eyes. 

Renly followed her movement, and with another smirk, he whispered in her ear, coming closer to her, “I envy you. Half a man, half a god. You have impeccable taste, my lady,” making her blush, causing Jaime to be even more jealous, before leaving the house. 

If only he knew.

That night, she played the piano a little bit before moving to the bed. She did not know how to woo someone - never expected to be wooed, nevertheless. She knew she was more than good with a sword, and that she had intelligence and courage,  and in her life more than someone offered her a night of their time, but that’s not what she wanted. She wanted love, intimacy, a partnership in all sense. Being with someone for her was as sacred as the vow she made to France. 

Her favourite quote was from a small book in the library "if something is sacred to you, you can wait", and she had two things she considered sacred: her vows to France and her love to Jaime. The first she didn’t have to wait at all, and for the second, she had the feeling soon her waiting was going to be over.

Chapter Text

1789. It was July, and much happened, not only in their personal lives but also in the nation as well. Some weeks earlier the General States had been called, an event that many hoped was going to be the solution to their problems. 

Jaime was sure it was just the beginning. 

Brienne’s regiment - and so his as well - was called to guard Versailles, and it was just like before when things were simpler and less complicated. 

Then, the General States failed to find a compromise and it was the final straw. Many protesters flew up in Paris and in all of France, and the probability they were going to be asked to shoot the protesters became almost certain every day.

Brienne made the strange request to pose for a portrait, something she never did in her life. Jaime knew she was feeling too the sense of inevitability, of something that was bound to happen soon and she wanted to leave a piece of her behind before everything changed.

The portrait was exquisite,  Brienne was represented as Antiope, the Queen of Amazon, riding on a horse, guiding her army in war. It was absolutely perfect and breathtaking. Her breasts were not cut, as the tradition said about the Amazons, but in Jaime’s eyes, that was a small but significant change Brienne asked.

Her father wanted another small portrait where Brienne was represented as Mars, of course. The man seemed oblivious to the fact that his daughter was more than ready to embrace herself as a woman and a warrior.

In the last months, the only one that kept on calling her Brian was her father, apparently unable to accept the reality. The son he always wanted was a woman, who found her femininity in swords and armies and had begun to embrace it. 

In Jaime’s eyes, this newborn confidence was almost addictive to watch. His love for Brienne did not falter, still convinced that all that she needed was time. And again, he was willing to wait.

It was the 12th of July when the order to shoot finally arrived:  Addam arrived at the Tarth estate with the saddest expression he had ever seen on the man.  

“Tomorrow we have to go to Paris and shoot on the people to stop the protest,” he announced.

Brienne asked him to stay for dinner, but Addam refused, saying he wanted to stay with his men. He thought of following him, thinking Brienne would want to stay alone in that situation.

“Jaime, can you wait for me? Let’s go together to the barrack,” Brienne said, surprising him again. Of course, he said yes, they didn’t have the chance to ride together anymore, and that evening could have been the last if things were going to be wrong the next day. 

They left when the sun was about to say his goodbye for the night, and everything was quiet - too quiet. It was after twenty minutes of riding that a small contingent of protesters attacked them.  

They managed to escape by crossing the river with the horse, but he also got a little injury on his right hand, a guy managed to hit him with a small dagger - not making permanent damage, luckily, but enough to hurt like hell.

On the other side of the river, they decided to camp through the night, already set, in order to avoid making too much noise. Brienne spied on a small group of people who were just a few kilometres ahead of them.

“They planned to go to Paris right now. By morning, we should be more than safe. Addam can manage for one night,” she said, smiling shyly at him. 

She had never been shy with him.

Brienne tied the horses to a near tree and laid on the ground a big blanket she always carried with her. 

Very diligent. Very responsible ,” he teased her, and quickly her answer was teasing him back, “ Oh, piss off , if it was for you we had to sleep on the mud.”

He smiled. At that moment, it was like they were sixteen again.

They sat on the blanket, looking at the stars above them. Silence was around them, tension thick. There were sparkles in Brienne’s eyes when he looked at her, the lights of the fireflies that were dancing on the river creating a game of reflections that he would have watched all his life.

“I’ve heard someone saying that ‘we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’, and I never understood what it meant until now”, he said, looking at her like the star she was. 

She turned around, and Jaime realized she was impossible closed to him. So close he could count the freckles on her nose. Her eyes looked at him, at his lips, and she bit her lip. He followed the movement like a thirsty man would look for water.

“What does it mean, in your opinion?” she asked, her voice low and… fragile. Like she was trying to find the courage to do something. His mind tried to focus on the answer.

“It means that life is ugly and brutal, but there are some people with whom you can still see the good, the positive, and have hope that everything will be fine, in the end. It means there are things worth fighting for,” he whispered, afraid of breaking the spell they were in that night.

“What’s worth fighting for?” she inquired, coming a little closer to him. It was impossible for Jaime to resist: “You,” he replied, cursing himself because he was going to ruin everything with his big mouth.

She opened her eyes wide, a single tear escaped it and still without thinking, Jaime lifted a hand to catch that tear, caressing Brienne’s cheek.

“It is possible that you still love me, Jaime, after all this time?” she grabbed his jacket leaning with her face upon it.

“Yes, Brienne. I still love you, like the day we met,” he answered, being honest with her like he could never be in his life.

“I love you too, Jaime.” He did think day and night about her saying these words, but the reality was so sweeter than any dream he had.

“I always knew this, Brienne,” he said and it was true. Having her in his arms was right like the universe was shifting and finally, everything was really possible.

She lifted her face up to look at him and a moment later she was kissing him. Inevitability never seemed so thrilling to Jaime.

His eager response was all that took for them to finally come together, the stars watching as they exchange their vow to one another with words and actions.

Jaime kissed her on her cheeks, her eyes, her chin, her neck, studying the way their bodies seemed to know that dance without instructions.

They started to undress on mutual accord, discovering how to make the other gasp or moan.

Brienne was a quick learner, like in anything she applied, and soon he was naked, her touch on his back slowly driving him crazy while her mouth was attacking his nipples.

Jaime exchanged their positions, trapping a nipple under his tongue and making her say his name in a long and deep moan. 

He went further down, kissing and touching until she was breathless. 

“Teach me how to please you, Brienne,” he murmured against her skin.

Her hand was soon moving on her centre, a few strokes and then a circle until it was inside her. It was the hottest thing he ever saw.

Jaime was quick to follow her: touching her cunt lightly, mimicking her actions, making her gasp again under his finger. He used her moist to wet his finger, before slowly - slowly - making his way inside her. He did not meet any resistance, she was too wet for that. Smirking against her skin, he kissed her thigh a few times, and then he put his mouth on her. It was at that moment that Jaime discovered the place where he wanted to die. 

He kissed, teased and licked her until her release came in waves that she rode under his eyes. That was his reward for years of waiting, and he was very glad to have indeed waited. 

Brienne was trying to touch him the same ways he did her, and he showed her, as she showed him before, how to stroke him, until she put her mouth on him, kissing just the tip and then taking him as much as she could, making him think he could indeed die from pleasure.

He stopped her right before his release, not wanting it to end too soon. Brienne understood without a word and she lay down, her legs open wide for him. 

That woman was indeed his, Jaime thought as he lowered himself to his knees, his cock begging to be inside her but not before he had the chance to tell her again he loved her. 

Brienne smiled so softly, rising up to kiss him again. They stayed like this for a while, enjoying the intimacy of being like this with one another, until soon they were groping against each other, their body eager to continue their union.

Jaime kissed Brienne for the thousandth time that night, and then he entered her. The pace was excruciatingly slow, he did not want to hurt her. She was still well prepared for him since their past activities, but being careful with her was in his blood.

“How is it?” he asked, curious about what she was feeling at that moment. He was feeling alive, and drunk on her light. 

“Weird. A good weird. Full. Loved,” she answered him, and that answer deserved another kiss.

They began to move together: their bodies needed a few tries to find the right rhythm, and they laughed together - their love blossomed that night, as well as their bodies. Their lovemaking that first time was slow, tender, full of what they have already said and all the things they did not manage to say yet.

Brienne found her release before Jaime, almost surprised by its intensity. Jaime followed her soon after inside her, not being able to resist as he watched her come undone before his eyes. 

Jaime raised up, walking like a toddler, and took a napkin from his horse before wetting it in the river. He made his way back to Brienne, cleaning himself and her of their fluids before taking her into his arms and kissing her until she was asleep. 

He was still looking at his personal star when he fell asleep. 

TbC

Chapter Text

The morning after found them still entangled. Jaime was the first to wake up, and he smiled at Brienne. His Brienne.

At soon as they could, he wanted to marry her and begin their life together. They had waited way too long in his opinion, even if he would have done everything again.

Slowly,  he began to kiss her softly, feather kisses to wake her up. He would have loved to have all the time in the world, but they were expected at the barracks. 

She was opening her eyes, and the sweetest smile appeared on her face. 

“Good morning,” he greeted her, feeling happy. If he was to die that day, he would have been happy. Of course, he would prefer to live a little more, but having Brienne in his arms was more than what he hoped would happen.

“Good morning to you, sir,” her voice was still full of her sleep, and his heart became bigger, filled with love like it was going to explode.

“You are the sir in this couple,” he teased her and just saying the word couple made him smile like an idiot again. He looked like a green boy with his first crush, and he was, but he did not care at all. 

“Yes, of course. So it’s on me to ruin this morning by ordering you to get up and dress?” she was teasing too, obviously, and he was glad that their friendly banter did transfer from their friendship to their new dynamic as a couple. It was one of the things he loved most about their relationship.

“Naturally. I’m the irresponsible one,” he affirmed, kissing her nose and caressing her back. He was kind of hoping for a second round, but he wasn’t greedy. The night before was still fresh in his memory. 

“You are tempting me,” Brienne said, kissing him back, her hand going down to his crotch.

There was no time for a long exploration, as a few hours before, but just a reminder of their new step together was enough. 

With an idea on his mind, Jaime laid on his back, and gently guided Brienne to be on top of him. 

“Turn around and kneel on my face,” he proposed to her, making Brienne blush.

When she was in position, glorious above him, he started to make her fall apart with his tongue. He would never be tired of doing that to her. Brienne, between her moans of pleasure, found the clarity of mind to pleasure him too with her hands and her mouth. 

Their release came after a brief time, leaving both satisfied and breathless. 

The sun was almost up in the sky, they needed to go.

Both with shaking legs, they dressed up and rode towards the barracks.

Addam was waiting for them, smirking like a big cat that caught some rats.

“Let’s go inside, then we can talk,” he said, giving Jaime a big pat on the shoulder.

The air inside was tense: no one wanted to go out and shoot on their relatives and friends who were protesting. Many already thought of deserting the Paris Guard, in order to join forces with the civilians.

Brienne sat down on the big table that was in the centre of the first floor of the building. She started to talk without preamble:

“I know what our orders are. I also know how you feel about that. I understand that feeling because it’s mine too. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do on an occasion like this, and honestly, I will not ask you to go into the street and kill people you know. It’s not right.”

“So, what do we do Commander?” Addam asked, looking almost proud of her.

“I will not tell you what to do, since I’m no longer your Commander. Starting today I’m only Brienne, Jaime’s partner, and at every cross, on the road, I will choose him.”

Jaime was looking at her with a small smile on his face. So typical of Brienne.

“We will fight with the people?” it was a question but also an affirmation.

The old regime would never allow a relationship like theirs: a disinherited attendant, and an ex-royal commander who was a woman.  A new world was their only chance to survive.

“We will fight with the people,” replied Brienne, smiling like the sun at him.

The men around them went crazy, and Addam shook Brienne’s hand: “Congratulations for the almost engagement. I want to be invited to the wedding. And, if you are going to fight with the people, we are going to fight with you, Commander. One last time.”

Brienne nodded, “thank you, Addam. Let’s go!”

The trip to Paris was quick. 

Brienne and Jaime guided the formation, and as soon as they found out a small group of civilians, they got off the horses and began to walk with them, fully supporting their causes.

It seemed like the major fights were happening around the Bastille, the prison for the people who spoke against the crown and for traitors. They had guns and munitions, so after a brief talk with one of the leaders of the protest, Jean-Paul Marat, half of them were positioned on the first line of defence of the people, while the other half went to attack the building. 

The first shot was from the other side: after that, it was a blur. People fell on the ground, and Jaime and Brienne tried to stay as close as possible to one another.

They saved each other countless times on that occasion, but even with all their efforts it was impossible to escape the hell without a scratch. 

Jaime, trying to protect Brienne from a bayonet, ended up being badly hurt. 

His right hand had caught the blade, and after a moment he was incapable of continuing the fight. 

Brienne was at his side in a second, looking worried.

“Don’t worry about me! I’ll be okay. Now go out there and make me proud,” he tried to convince her, but she was unmovable. 

“I can’t go with you here,” she answered, “not until I know you’ll be okay.”

It warmed his heart to know she was willing to lose this battle just to be with him.

They waited for a long time for a doctor to visit him, but in the end, he was stitched, and while clearly he could not fight anymore, he was not in danger, at least for now.

It was almost the dawn of the new day, the 14th of July when Jaime sent Brienne back to the front line, and it was the most difficult thing he did in his life.

They kissed each other goodbye multiple times, until finally, she got up, ready for the battle of their life. The thing that made him sad was that he could not witness his Amazon fighting. 

“For France. For us,” she said to him, before leaving the tent. 

He prayed, the first time in his life, that she would come back to him alive.

Chapter Text

Many words were written over the years about that day. It was the 14th of July of the year 1789 and it was cloudy, even if it did not rain eventually: in the morning, there were about 16-degree Celsius, but as the day progressed the humidity and the temperature made them all sweat.

Most of the people were desperately hungry and desperation was an amazing fuel to spark a revolution. Brienne knew that day was going to stay in people’s memory for a lot of time after they passed. She just hoped that people would remember for what they accomplish and not for their failures.

She felt like every choice she made in her life had led her at that moment, fighting for her and Jaime’s life.

She was not the only woman on the front lines: many women, simple housewives and even intellectuals and artists were on the street that day, united in an idea. Be free.  

She was, however, the only woman in the army, and the only one with significant military experience, so when they asked her to lead the attack at the Bastille, she did not refuse. She had much to live for, especially now that Jaime was in her life, but she was not the kind of woman who makes others fight her own battles. 

Since she was little,  she knew that at her core there was this need to be free, independent, sometimes alone and lonely, but always loyal to herself. She had finally found - right under her nose - someone who would respect her choices, and she knew that if she was not going to fight that day, she would have regrets for the rest of her life. 

So, she was on the first line, right next to some canons people had stolen from other regiments, and her men were charging those canons, in order to bring down the symbol of oppression.

It was funny, she did spend a good part of her life defending those people she now was against, and while she understood why people were anxious to pour their anger on the royals, she did not have any quarrel with them as people.

She knew the Queen and the King, and they were not bad people, contrary to many of the nobles who lived in Versailles: but, they had some fault in not recognizing their own privilege, something Brienne had come to terms in those years as Commander of the Paris Guard. 

Yes, she was fighting for Jaime, for their relationship, but outside of that, she had her own motive to stand right there and fight. She believed there was a better way to do things, maybe messier and not quite so perfect, but at least in theory with a great capacity for fairness and justice.

She was not naive. She did not believe that the battle was going to be the end, but a step forward, just like she had just done, bringing herself ready to give the command.

The first blow of the canons was deafening: she kind of hoped Jaime would hear that, making him close to the battle.

After that, it was blow, after blow, after blow., until she looked up at the Bastille, and saw someone she recognized from when she was little: Jaime’s father was guiding the resistance in the building and was ready to fire against them. She did not know if he recognized her or not. 

After that, there was just a storm of bullets, and it was clear that they were targeting her specifically as if bringing her down would win them the battle. Fools. This was not a moment but a movement, and even if she would die, someone would continue her fight after her. 

She felt the first bullet hit her left shoulder, but nevertheless she continued to guide the cannons. They were terribly close to a breakthrough, she could feel it in the air.  After that, another bullet hit her again in her thigh, and she was kneeling, no more able to stand but still able to guide her men.

She lost consciousness a moment before and heard people moving her away. She had done her part, now she just had to get to Jaime. Her Jaime. She closed her eyes, and the moment she was aware again, there were church bells singing and she knew they had won. 

When she woke up again she was just next to Jaime, who was standing, talking with Addam. The moment Jaime saw her awake, he was at the side, 

“You’re awake, thank God.”

He left some light kisses on her face, and even if she was in deep pain, her shoulder and her leg were killing her, she still was smiling at him because they had made it, against all odds they survived and now they could live together. 

“You two are the worst. Now excuse me I’ll go to search for people who are not so painfully in love with each other,” they heard Addam go out, and they both looked at each other and laughed. She learned some weeks later that it was Addam who moved her from the front line to the camp hospital, and after hearing his story it did not surprise her. Addam was the type of man that when loved, it gives himself completely: in that, he was like her Jaime. 

She took his hand, and brought it to her mouth, kissing the knuckle, like he was a lady. She was too tired to do anything else, but Jaime, like always, understood without a word.

Finally, they could start to talk about their future.

TbC

Chapter Text

It turned out that recovering was not a straightforward process: there were a lot of back steps, and in the end, they decided to get away from Paris, hoping to speed up their healing.

The victory of the revolution had some immediate consequences for the nobles inside Paris: nobles did not have the upper hand anymore, so they had to be very careful about their actions for once.

They decided it was safe to go to Tarth’s summer residence in Calais, where they could really relax before their next step in life. They still did not know what they wanted to do, besides spending life together as wife and husband.

Calais held some precious memories for both of them: the Tarth family used to spend a good part of both spring and summer when they did not have to be in Versailles - or more recently in Paris. 

The property was smaller than the one just outside the capital if you looked at the building - it was still a big house, with five bedrooms, a couple of salons, the kitchens and a big terrace, but nothing compared with the magnificence of the Evenfall, their family estate, with its thirty rooms, ten salons and a big kitchen.

The beauty of Calais was in the outside, they had a lot of space just for them: they could spend days just riding from the shore of the sea to the river that marked the end of the propriety. 

In the past, they used to ride, challenging each other to see who went faster. Now, especially because both of them need to rest to regain their full strength, their days consisted in the beginning of short walks on the shore and a lot of sun. In time, they were allowed by the doctor to go swim, without tiring too much.

It seemed for both of them as this was their honeymoon, even if they weren’t wed yet. 

It was Brienne who proposed to Jaime, one day on the big terrace that had a spectacular view of the ocean. Jaime, of course, said yes immediately, and that night they talked until dawn of what they wanted in the future.

Jaime’s brother, Tyrion, reconnected with him through a letter that invited the both of them - how did he knew about Brienne it was a mystery, as well how he knew their location - to his properties in North Carolina, America. 

In those weeks they thought a lot about what to do next: as much as they wanted to enjoy the aftermath of their fights, they knew all too well how things would go down after… they knew their happiness would not last too much, as the people had already started to process nobles with the accusation of “national treason”, how long before they started turning on the very same people who helped them just because they happened to be of noble origins?

They would have fought again, they believed in the cause, but they also were very aware that between theory and practise there was an ocean of compromise and just humanity dealing with change.

Their decision, in the end, was not fully theirs: Brienne was healing quite well, until one day she started to puke in the morning. The doctor just confirmed what they already suspected. 

That very first night they have been together, they also created someone new: it was a small miracle that the baby did survive considering how bad Brienne was hurt, and they didn’t want to risk too much or travelling with a heavy baby bump.

So they wrote to Tyrion, saying they were accepting his offer, and organized to depart from Rotterdam in just a couple of weeks: avoiding the capital and the French port would be the best course of action, and they planned to write to their friends once they were safe on the ship.

Their last night in Calais, they walked for some time on the beach, before sitting on the sand, admiring the stars and the view. The Milky Way was clear above them, and they just talked, sharing small confessions they already knew and hopes about their baby. 

For Jaime, it was still incredible to think they were going to have a  baby soon. When the doctor confirmed the pregnancy, he cried big tears of joy, kissing his magnificent wife and her belly.

He was so sure they were going to have a girl, even if Brienne was always scoffing at him. “The baby’s probably the size of a small potato right now, it doesn’t even know it exists,” she tried to tell him, unsuccessfully.

It was way after midnight that Brienne decided to go for a swim. Initially, Jaime was worried about the babe, but soon when it seemed everything was okay, worry quickly became desire.

He observed his wife, playing like a child with water, reflecting the light of the stars and swimming like a goddess who came down to Earth to bestow her gifts on the mortals like himself. The baby bump was not there yet, but Brienne’s body was already changing: her breasts were fuller, the hips a touch more rounded, her skin glowing and radiant like never before. 

Brienne got out of the water and caught his eyes: “Are you watching me, soon-to-be-husband?”

“Sure I am, soon-to-be-wife,” he told her, getting up and quickly undressing himself to prove to her the desire he felt. 

She was laughing - a deep, rich, sensual laugh that caused a shiver on his part.  

“I see: how can I help with the situation?”

That was a side of Brienne he didn’t know yet: the playful, sensual woman that was teasing him was another layer of her personality he was discovering every day of his life. He was the luckiest man alive.

“Come here and I’ll show you,” he said, taking her in his embrace.

They spent the whole night making love, reaffirming the connection that brought them together first as friends, so many years ago and now as a couple,  until it was time to leave France, maybe forever.

TbC

Chapter Text

And so, they took the ship to North Carolina as soon as possible.

The trip to the newborn nation - the United States of America -  luckily without any surprise, beside Jaime, was suffering a little bit of seasickness… Brienne found the fact hilarious to no end since she had no sickness even though she was pregnant. 

Every night they share a cabin together, and every night Jaime mapped her body to discover the ways her body was changing. They were both afraid of the birth, as both their mothers had passed away on the birth bed, but they had decided to fight one battle at a time.

They passed the first months of their permanence in Tyrion’s palace: he was a successful lawyer in the New World and he owned several acres both in North Carolina and New Jersey. 

They married when Brienne was seven months in her pregnancy, and Jaime had never seen something as beautiful as Brienne, dressed in her uniform as Commander of the Paris Guard, coming at the altar, standing proud even with the baby bump. It was a sight to behold.

That night, their wedding night, they made love in a careful and slow way. Every inch of their skins was covered in kisses and caressed tenderly - they had discovered that Brienne was incredible sensitive during those months - before coming together, both gasping for air and trembling slightly under the other's touch.

The birth of their babe was the scandal of the year since Jaime refused to be out of the room and was in fact near Brenne the entire time, even when she was cursing him or crying in pain. Brienne, being the goddess she was, was incredible. 

Their baby, a beautiful girl named Alyssa, after Addam’s wife long passed away, was a joy to see and was soon spoiled by her parents, her uncle and the staff of the house.

After some time, they decided it was time to adventure in the world on their own, even if that meant living off their hard work and without the level of wealth they were accustomed to. 

They had their share of luck, and they knew they had so much more compared to others. 

So,  Tyrion found for them a little cottage near Fraser Ridge in North Carolina, and, after making them promise they would come at least once a year to visit, he let them go.

They found peace and a sense of community, of belonging, they didn’t find in France. 

It was only a few months later after they set up in their new life, that they discovered another child was on its way.

Brienne threatened Jaime of never entering her bed again if he planned to keep her pregnant with his children.

He didn't make any promises, but they asked the counsel of the midwife, Claire, who was the wife of the Fraser's Ridge owner.

She looked at them with an amused smile on her face and started to explain to them how to prevent pregnancy later on if they wanted to.

After the birth of their second child, Galladon, Brienne and Claire become friends, bonding over their insufferable husband's (curious enough, Claire's husband was called Jamie) and Jaime was sure they were known in all the states as The Terrible Wifes, as they challenged the status quo for women more times than can be count.

It took a while for them to be ready for the third member of their family.

After a couple of years, the twins arrived: Renée and Alexander were the most adorable and spoiler babies in the entire North Carolina.

News from France arrived from time to time: positive news, like Addam finding a woman after all, and terrible ones, like the reign of terror that was all over France. Both of them would fight all over again that July, but both were hoping for a slightly different result than the one they got. 

When the news about Napoleon came, they were extremely glad they were in another continent, away from wars and emperors.

Yes, building a country was a challenge, and raising a family on top of that was even more difficult, but they never regretted their choices.

How could they regret the journey they had, when they knew they had their own stars just at the tip on their fingers? 

 

The End