The day Mother had died, there was a harsh snowstorm clouding over the Rock.
He'd held Cersei all night, kissing her hair, petting her cheek, sharing a bed, though mother had forbidden it. Cersei wasn't crying. But he wanted to. The harsh gale blew as cruel as it did in the north, and the ragged breath of the wind was pierced by their mother's screams. All the while, a vengeful sea broke its fury upon the cliffs of the Rock, raging as if Durran Godsgrief had brought Elenei to their home. The grey wrath of the once-friendly sea was terrifying, and the bitter winter did nothing to help it. It was as if the Gods were raging outside, trying to breach their battlements and take mother away. They had failed once.
But Casterly Rock was not Storm's end.
Somewhere in the dead of the night, Mother's screams had stopped entirely. It had given way to a loud wail; the wail of a baby!
But something had gone terribly wrong.
Father didn't come down for breakfast the next morn. Nor Lunch. Nor Dinner. Jaime and Cersei had been left alone all day. It was only late that night, when Jaime was in Cersei's chambers, that Aunt Genna appeared looking like she'd cried all day.
"Children," she said shakily. And they knew that their mother was no more.
Cersei hadn't cried, even then. Lannister pride, they said. Strength, they said. Heartless, they whispered. But Jaime knew that she was angry. Oh so angry at the Gods who saw fit to take their mother from them. And their father too. He had not been seen since that night. Jaime had gone to his solar, though. In secret. And seen what he thought he'd never have seen.
Father was crying. Face in his hands, tears streaming down his marble cheeks. Shoulders heaving up and down. All around him was a mess of parchment and ink. Jaime supposed he'd thrown them in his rage. Jaime wished he could reach out and touch Father. Anyone else would have.
But not their father.
They saw through mother's funeral rights, them, Aunt Genna, Uncle Kevan and Uncle Stafford. Even Uncle Gerrion had been there. And they'd all mourned her. But Cersei's cheeks were dry.
And there was something stuck in Jaime's mind.
That night, when he'd held Cersei while the sea raged and Mother screamed, there had been something else. Someone else.
He had heard a baby cry.
It doesn't take long for them to find out what happened.
"A misshapen babe." He'd heard the washerwomen whisper. "A dwarf, with a too large head and mismatched eyes."
"Covered in scales, I heard." Says a peasant woman to the butcher. "With a tail like a dragonling."
"Small too," the maester had told Aunt Genna. "He mayn't survive the winter."
A brother then. A baby boy.
Their mother had been replaced by a little monster. But somehow, Jaime could never bring himself to hate the child.
Cersei goes to see the baby one morning. Alone. When she returns, her eyes are harder than he'd ever seen them.
"It's a little monster." She declared. "A horrible little monster that killed our mother."
She had wanted to kill it. But its wet nurse had entered just then, and she'd fled.
A little monster, then. If Cersei had said it, it must be true. But curiosity blossomed in Jaime's mind. And a thought.
Knights killed monsters. Jaime was Cersei's white knight. Would he have to kill this child, who was a dwarf with a big head and mismatched eyes, with scales and a tail? Somehow, he found that he couldn't.
That night Jaime sneaks out of his chamber again. He was going to run to Cersei, but something stayed him.
A little whimper, echoing across the castle.
A little call for help. By someone innocent.
Knights protected the innocent. Jaime follows the noise. It leads him to the babe's nursery.
It's cold. And dark. And sad. Not a place for a baby. in the dimmest corner, he could see the outline of a crib. Quickly and quietly he moves to it. And just as quietly, not belaying his very real excitement, he peers in.
A bright pair of eyes, one green, one black greet him from the cradle. Impulsively he extends his finger. To his surprise, the little occupant of the crib grabs hold of it and gurgles with joy.
Jaime looks around for a moment and pulls the babe out of the crib. He's surprisingly light, Jaime thinks as he carries the babe out towards the light from the torches of the corridor.
There in the middle of the corridor, swaddling dragging on the floor, Jaime looks at his baby brother.
He's not a little monster, is the first thing Jaime thinks. Yes his head is large and yes his legs are crooked, and his hair is shock blonde over Lannister golden, but there's no tail. No scales.
He's tiny, squirming and helpless.
And he's all they have left of their mother.
He bundles the babe in his arms. It's a cold night. Baby should not have been left all alone in that dark room. Then again, the baby had no one. He had Cersei, but this little baby was all alone.
Suddenly he feels a rush of pity for his baby brother. He would grow up ugly and misshapen, surrounded by indifference and hate. He would never run, never ride, never fight and never be knighted. He would never be one of them. Just an unfortunate little soul, who had been born of Lady Joanna Lannister by chance.
Before he knows what he's doing, he's carrying the baby up the stairs. To the window of the western tower. Where they can see the sea in all its glory. He doesn't know why, but he wants the baby to feel like he belongs in the family. Belongs on the rock. That he is as much a child of the westerlands as they.
"Look outside little brother," he croons in his ear. Surprisingly, the babe does turn his head to the window. Jaime smiles. It's a clever baby, he thinks, cleverer than any baby he's seen before.
A frigid blast bursts in through the tower and Jaime cradles the babe to his chest. He only whimpers, and does not wail. Jaime thought that he'd cry.
Baby brother is brave, he thinks, adjusting his hold on the child.
Baby brother. That sounded so right. His baby brother. His to love, his to hold, his to protect. Against the whole world and all that he loves.
"Jaime what in the Seven- Jaime!"
He turns swiftly to find Aunt Genna outside the tower, staring at him. "What in the name of the seven are you doing?"
"I wanted to show him the sea. He's a Lannister. He should see his home." Jaime says stubbornly, cradling the baby to his chest.
Aunt Genna softens and smiles. "Oh, come here my boy." She pats his head.
"Your mother would have been proud of you." "She would?"
"She wanted you to love him, she wanted it so much. But your father, he never will, and not Cersei either. You'll look after little Tyrion won't you?"
Jaime beams. His baby brother has a name.
Tyrion. Tyrion Lannister. The littlest lion.
He looks at the baby to find a curious face looking up at him. He strokes the chubby cheek.
"Welcome to the family, Tyrion Lannister," he says.
I am your brother, and I will love you until the day I die.