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Second Chances

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The private road to the cabin was noted only by a battered wooden sign declaring it 569A, a marker meant for emergency services and, it would seem, pro bono attorneys on sabbatical looking to get fucked.

“Relax,” Jaime said from beside her, in that aggravatingly insouciant way he had when he was teasing. “It’s just Addam. If you change your mind, we’ll spend the weekend shooting the shit and nothing more will be said.”

“I know that,” Brienne said, turning the car onto the hard-packed dirt and gritting her teeth. “I just…”

She regretted that first no, years ago. She’d been young and uncertain, hadn’t wanted to intrude on a tradition that was older than her still nebulous relationship with Jaime—a long weekend at the Marbrand family cabin, sex that wasn’t quite a hookup and wasn’t quite romantic. She’d wondered, then, whether she should have been jealous, but she hadn’t—she liked that it made him happy, liked to imagine the two of them in a tangle of limbs and tongues, liked to imagine that in some other world she had said yes and she was there too.

And she knew how much Jaime had missed these weekends; they’d happened a few times a year through most of their twenties, even after Brienne had been in the picture. But life had gotten busier and some of Addam’s romantic partners hadn’t been so open to the idea, and the trips had fallen to the wayside in favour of fleeting meals when they happened to be in the same city, and long distance calls and emails. Still solid—after almost forty years of friendship how could it not be—but different. And then the accident had happened and they’d learnt… They’d learnt who cared and who didn’t. Most of Jaime’s family hadn’t deigned to make an appearance; Addam had offered to fly to King’s Landing, and when Jaime had angrily told him to go fuck himself, he’d shrugged it off and sent them a meal service to get them through the first few weeks, and accepted Jaime’s later sheepish apology with an invitation to the cabin.

And, perhaps, she would admit that she just wanted this, for both of them.

“Hey,” Jaime said, laying his hand over hers on the steering wheel, “you’re going to crush it if you don’t relax. And then we’ll be stranded up here.”

She laughed despite herself, and loosened her grip enough for the colour to flow back into her knuckles. She knew she was being ridiculous, and yet…

“How long is this driveway?”

She saw Jaime glance at the road from the corner of her eye, his eyes crinkling as he surveyed the sun-drenched road ahead. It sent a stab of longing through her, even now, even though he was so fiercely hers; there was history in those lines, happiness and tragedy both.

“Two more turns,” he said, after a moment, dropping his hand from hers. “It feels longer, the first time, especially at this speed, but it’s not much further.”

He was right; within a few minutes she took the final bend and gasped—the cabin was nestled amidst the forested hills of the Westerlands, on the edge of a small kettle lake a shade of blue that rivalled Tarth’s waters.

“I told you there was more to the Westerlands than my father’s miserable house,” Jaime laughed, though he’d always been the one to suggest they spend their precious few holidays anywhere else. “The lake’s always warm this time of year.”

A detail evident by the figure in the water as Brienne parked the car and stepped out, relieved to stretch her legs after the long flight and longer drive. Rolling her shoulders, she cracked her neck and grimaced.

“I said I could drive,” Jaime said wryly from behind her, wrapping one arm around her waist.

“You hate driving.”

He did now, as much for the memories as the logistics, and in King’s Landing there was little reason for him to do it. She had dismissed his offer to swap halfway between the airport and the cabin out of habit, underestimating the toll of unfamiliar hills.

His good hand settled on her shoulder, his thumb digging into the spot that was most sore. “I hate driving, yes, but I’d rather my wife not turn into a bloody rock.” He pressed a kiss to her neck to soften his words, then murmured in her ear, “I think Addam heard us arrive.”

She glanced back to the lake, where Addam was emerging. She choked.

“He’s naked.”

That was, admittedly, the point of the weekend, but somehow the sight of her husband’s best friend striding from the lake, droplets of water clinging to his chest and his copper hair catching the sunlight, still felt obscene. And then he waved to them like they were catching each other outside a restaurant and bent over to grab a towel and—

“No wonder you hit that,” she muttered under her breath, and Jaime laughed.

“One of many reasons,” he replied against her neck. “We’re going to have so much fun this weekend.”

She caught his hand, running her thumb over the scars and breathing deeply. “Promise?”

It was ridiculous to doubt it now, she knew that. She wouldn’t decline, not again, but there was still—it had been so long since the idea of exposing herself before anyone but Jaime had been more than a fantasy, easily dictated and molded, and the reality of another person literally before her...

“Brienne,” Jaime murmured, “say the word and we’ll leave now. Won’t even say hello. Back in the car, tires squealing, maybe wave to him in the rearview mirror.”

She laughed. “Too late,” she replied, the niggling worry in her chest unraveling at his absurdity. “He’s coming this way.”

Addam had pulled the towel around his hips and slipped sandals on, and was now loping towards them at an easy pace. There was a litheness to his movements that had always fascinated her—she’d learnt to charge ahead, to use her size as a battering ram against whatever life threw at her, and Jaime always felt like the sharp edge of a knife glinting in the sun when he moved—quick and deadly, precise, easily returned to rest. Addam was neither; everything about him gave the impression of being at ease, down to the way he smiled and kissed her cheek in greeting.

“You’re early,” he said. “I meant to have the coffee on.”

She groaned, the idea of coffee more than welcome, and immediately caught how it sounded. Probably because Jaime was still pressed against her back, his chest shaking with suppressed laughter.

“Eager, sweetling?” he teased, and she felt heat licking at her cheeks. Seven fucking hells, this was worse than being a tongue-tied teenager with a crush. At least then she’d had a reason. And a lot less imagination.

Pulling out of Jaime’s hold, she flashed Addam a too-strained smile—his wet hair curled against his forehead, dark tendrils she could wrap around her finger—and headed to the back of the car to grab their bags.

“I’ll get it on before I unpack,” she said, unnecessarily lifting the bags in demonstration.

Jaime stepped towards her. “I can—”

“No, I’ve got this, and your—” she shook her head rather than remind him. “You two catch up, I’ll be right back out.”

She was halfway to the cabin when Addam called out, “Your bedroom is upstairs, second door on the left.”

“Thank you!”

She jogged up the few stairs that led to the idyllic-looking porch, with ivy-laden railings and a white porch swing, and pushed open the door. The downstairs was cozy in a rustic sort of way, all wood and dark, plush furniture. There was a small kitchen to the right, and the rest of the downstairs was open with a large fireplace on one wall. It even smelled rustic, probably the freshly cut firewood sitting by the door, and she was reminded of childhood camping trips and long summer evenings. Putting the bags down, Brienne headed into the kitchen and set the coffeemaker up, measuring out grounds from a tin that looked about as old as she was, then headed upstairs.

There were three bedrooms and a bath on the second floor, each with the door cracked open; it took her no time to find theirs and unpack, and when she was done she ran her hand along the heavy quilt in shades of brown and green. She did not know if they would sleep here, or… she pulled at a stray thread, letting it snap between her fingers, then decided to head back downstairs.

Addam’s room was nearest the stairs, and she stood at the half-opened door and took the room in: the bed was enormous, the backpack in the middle of it looking almost hilariously small, and the bedframe was ornate wrought iron—it was easy to imagine him stretched out over the blankets, all lanky grace as he gripped the headboard, as Jaime took his cock in his mouth, as Brienne sucked down his collarbone, and she forced herself to step away before she—

Downstairs, Jaime and Addam had both come inside and were standing by the fireplace. Addam had gotten dressed, the worn jeans and flannel far more at home here than Jaime’s white shirt and trousers, even if Jaime had rolled his sleeves to the elbow in concession to the heat. They were talking quietly, Jaime’s head tilted at the angle that meant he was absorbed in the conversation, Addam’s fingers drumming against the mantelpiece. Swaying closer as they spoke, casual touches, the back of Addam’s hand brushing against Jaime’s injured one so intimate that she—

Brienne coughed and they both looked towards her.

“You find everything alright?” Addam asked, his voice soft and drawling, the Westerlands evident in his vowels. Jaime had dropped all hints of the accent, if he’d ever had it, but there was something soothing in the sound.

“Perfect,” she said.

Addam nodded, then pushed off the mantelpiece. “We came in to grab the burgers,” he said. “Got distracted. Grill’s on though, if you wanna come sit outside?”

“Yeah, that would be great,” Brienne said, which was the sort of thing you said to a stranger and not a years-long friend, but apparently that was the sort of day she was going to be having.

Jaime clearly noticed her awkwardness, because he pulled a face at her, and when Addam headed into the kitchen for burgers he sauntered over.

“Oh darling,” he drawled, eyes dancing as he took her elbow and led her towards the door, “don’t let his sweet Westerlands boy act fool you. He’s still a banker in Lannisport.”

Brienne choked on her laughter, and glared. “Look, you knew I was hopeless at flirting,” she hissed, though she wasn’t truly irate.

“I did,” Jaime agreed, “but this is just painful.” He leaned in close, rising onto his toes so he reached the shell of her ear. “Lucky for you, Addam does not need to be persuaded.”

Outside, Jaime sat on the porch swing, and Brienne settled against him, the warmth of his body noticeable even in the summer. He pressed a kiss against her hair and didn’t tease her again, not even when Addam joined them. Addam checked the charcoal and frowned; he must have started it when she’d been unpacking, and it wasn’t hot enough yet. He gave it a final prod, and came over to lean against the porch rail.

“Flight was good?” he asked.

It was all the excuse Jaime needed to provide a detailed—and exaggerated—story of their disastrous time at security courtesy of the new pins in his hand. It hadn’t felt funny at the time, already running late for the flight and having woken up far too early that morning, but as Jaime told it she found herself laughing along and exchanging a knowing look with Addam; Jaime had always had a talent for finding the humour in the absurd, and the absence of it had been the starkest change in the aftermath of the accident. Seeing it return even about this, feeling his laughter rumble through her… It was not a pleasure she intended to take for granted again.

The conversation moved on—the airport story reminded them of a trip they’d taken back in university, which led to other people they’d known, and the discussion meandered as Addam put some burgers on the grill. Jaime’s fingers skimmed up and down her bare arm as they talked, a tender and familiar touch absently offered, and Brienne let the warmth and the company wash over her.

Addam’s face had reddened from the heat of the barbecue, and when he wiped his forearm across his forehead it made the hem of his shirt rise up, revealing the top of his hip, the divot she could run her tongue along. Brienne stood up.

“Beer?” she asked, barely waiting for both men to nod.

She headed back into the cabin; the interior was cool, and in the kitchen the forgotten pot of coffee was still hot. She considered pouring herself a mug, then grabbed a glass of water and leaned against the counter instead. The ceiling fan spun lazily above her, and she tilted her face upwards to catch the moving air.

“You alright?”

She opened one eye to look at Addam, who was watching her carefully from the other end of the kitchen.

“Fine. Just getting a drink.”

He nodded. “Good nerves or bad?”

Of course he knew. She smiled. “Good, I think. We haven’t… Jaime’s…” She tried to find the words to explain that this wasn’t an impulsive choice, but it wasn’t their usual one either; it was about the company as much as anything, and the company and the time were both lacking in the city and so they didn’t. Finally she settled on just, “No, it’s good.”

“Good,” he replied, giving her what Margaery would have called a panty-melting grin. “I came in for the mustard, but..” he held her eyes as he moved closer, not crowding her or blocking her escape, but close enough there was no mistaking his intention. Especially when his eyes flicked to her mouth and he bit his bottom lip. “May I kiss you?”

She closed the final distance between them, sliding her hands around his waist and pulling him in. She could swear she smelled the lake on him, the brightness of clean water, and tasted it on his lips. He kissed slowly, easily, his gentle hand against her cheek tilting her face just so, coaxing her into pursuit. When they broke apart, she found herself breathless, the fabric of his shirt fisted in her hands.

“I’m glad you came,” he said, a languorous smile spreading across his face as he looked her over.

It was strange, after all these years, to kiss a man who was not Jaime, to see the admiration in his eyes and know that there was intent behind it. Intent in her own answering smile, and the way her fingers trailed against him as she released his shirt.

“We should—” she said, gesturing.

He coughed. “Yeah. Mustard.”

“And beer.”

“And beer,” he agreed.

She headed to the fridge, tossing him the mustard before grabbing three bottles of some surprisingly good beer and following him back out. The knowing grin Jaime gave her as they emerged told her he had a pretty good idea why they’d taken so long, but she popped the lid of his drink and dropped down beside him without acknowledging it.

Addam was back at the grill. “One or two to start?”

Jaime sniggered, and Brienne elbowed him sharply.

“Two, please,” she said. “Airline portions are terrible.”

Addam nodded and plated two burgers, and she thought she’d gotten through the experience unscathed until he handed them to her with a wink and she was reminded of the soft press of his lips against hers.

“See?” Jaime whispered, when Addam went to grab Jaime’s burgers. “So much fun.”

She turned in her seat, nuzzled her way up his jaw to the lobe of his ear. She gave it a soft tug with her teeth, just the way he liked it. “Keep this up,” she whispered, “and I’ll lock you out of the bedroom.”

He laughed and wrapped his arm around her, though it made it harder for him to eat, and the conversation resumed.

Crickets chirped and the sun stretched long and low over the lake when they finally headed inside, an odd familiarity in the way they worked together to clear up the remnants of their meal. It was, in many ways, the same as any other meal they’d had over the years, any other conversation. Except the truth of it hummed beneath her skin, soon, soon, soon, low burning flames in her gut in a constant state to ignite.

They’d retired to the living room, Brienne feeling oddly exposed on the couch as Jaime crouched down to light the fire. Addam had taken one of the chairs, his long legs crossed in just the way for the stretch of his jeans over his thigh to distract her. After a few moments, Jaime rose and leaned against the mantelpiece, arms folded.

“Brienne,” he said, his voice sex-rough and gentle, “Your call. What do you want?”

A thousand fantasies over the years filled the space between them, but she nodded towards Addam. “Kiss him.”

Jaime moved towards Addam, braced his hands on the arms of the chair and bent down to kiss him, a teasing, barely there brush of lips before he turned to Brienne as if looking for her approval.

“You know what I meant,” she said dryly, and Jaime grinned.

“I think she wants us to kiss again,” he said to Addam, lips curling. “You up for it?”

Addam stood, slipped his hand to Jaime’s waist, and they moved a few steps from the chair, all the better for Brienne’s view.

She’d imagined this, polished and perfect, but the real thing was better—she hadn’t imagined the firelight on the stubble of Jaime’s jaw, or the way his fingers carded through Addam’s hair like silken sand. Hadn’t imagined the small smile Addam had as he went in for another kiss, filthy and familiar in equal measure. Hadn’t imagined the angle of Addam’s head in profile as he nibbled down Jaime’s throat, the fervent certainty he’d have as he reached for the buttons of Jaime’s shirt, or Jaime’s one-handed unbuttoning of Addam’s jeans to slip his hand inside. Hadn’t captured the throatiness of Addam’s moans, the eagerness as he pushed Jaime’s shirt from his shoulders. He paused once he had, and Brienne clenched her fist, waiting for the comments to come—Jaime’s hand had taken the worst of the damage, but there was a shallow scar that curved down his stomach to below his navel, still pink and hairless, and a softness to the muscles that would have seemed impossible before; that had been hardest on him, the slow return to athleticism and the adjustments he’d had to make, and she had sharp words at the ready. She needn’t have though; Addam merely grinned and returned his lips to Jaime’s throat, across his shoulder, along the line of his clavicle and then down, down—

She clenched her thighs against the sudden aching want, muffled her moan behind pressed lips, but it was not enough. The men paused, turned towards her, and for a moment she was certain she had ruined this, but Jaime laughed and Addam gave a slow, careful grin.

“I think your wife was enjoying the show,” he drawled, laughter colouring his words, softening them. “You are welcome to join us, Brienne.”

The thought of both of them against her, a mouth on her breast, a hand between her legs, made her face flame, her ears burn, and she shook her head. Jaime broke away from Addam with nothing more than a squeeze of his hand and a rueful smile, and came to sit beside Brienne, slid his good hand over hers.

“No you don’t want to join us, or you need more time, or…?” he asked.

“I don’t want to…” she searched for the word, the explanation for how it had seemed easier in her mind, and the best she could come up with, ridiculous though it sounded, was, “I don’t want to interrupt you when you’re enjoying yourselves.”

“Ahh,” he said, and looked towards Addam, nudged his head slightly. Addam moved, settled on the couch behind her as Jaime met her eyes. “And you see any attention paid to you as a distraction?”

Some days she loathed how well he knew her. “Perhaps. I just meant— It sounds ridiculous when you say it like that.”

Jaime, to his credit, did not say it was. He raised his good hand to cup her cheek, and kissed her softly, the intimacy no less potent for its familiarity. “Do you keep score?”

“What?”

He gave her a wicked, teasing grin. “At home,” he said, leaning in to speak against her ear, his breath hot. “Do you keep a score chart, maybe a spreadsheet of minutes spent, a little bar graph of—”

“Jaime, you’re ridiculous,” she replied, pulling away. “It’s not...”

“Precisely.”

He looked so damned smug that she had no choice but to kiss him, if only to prevent further absurdity. He still tasted vaguely of burgers and beer, and he slipped a hand beneath her shirt to tease the sensitive skin at the small of her back with too-soft caresses. When they pulled apart, she felt more herself and less…

“Brienne,” Addam said, placing one careful hand on her shoulder, “this is still your call.”

She turned to face him, taking in his familiar features and the unfamiliar vulnerability in his eyes. On impulse she reached up to stroke the line of his cheek, watched the flutter of his eyelashes as he closed his eyes and leaned into her touch. When they opened again, they were dark and full of intent; he slid one hand around her thigh, the heat of his palm palpable even through the denim of her jeans.

“I want these legs wrapped around my head,” he said, squeezing with surprising gentleness. “Join us?”

It should sound ridiculous. It did sound ridiculous. But it also sounded…

“Bedroom?” she said.

She wanted this, had imagined it for so long that the idea of finally having it… She stood up, crossed the room to put out the fire Jaime had built, headed towards the stairs. Turned back to make sure the others were coming, trying to hide her smile at the way Jaime doubled back to grab his tossed-aside shirt.

Upstairs, there was more kissing, hot and messy, Jaime behind her, teasing her neck, kissing Addam over her shoulder, Addam’s fingers toying with the hem of her shirt, knuckles brushing against her stomach, and then pulling it over her head with one swift, certain motion. She hadn’t worn a bra, she rarely did, and it clearly surprised Addam.

“Lovely,” he drawled, his smile palpable as he ducked his head to kiss the undercurve of one breast, as he took it into his mouth. Jaime cupped her other, and she was aware of the roughness of his palm as he slid it up, pinched the nipple just hard enough to make her gasp.

It was more frantic, more fractured, after that; stumbling towards the bed, all sensation—heat against her hands, the roughness of flannel. They had to pause for a second to toss the backpack aside, the awkwardness of it making them all laugh, and then Jaime was kissing the spot behind her ear that always made her skin prickle with awareness, with wanton need, and she forgot, lost herself to the slow peel of her jeans down her legs, followed by kisses, by a wicked, laughing grin from Addam before he pulled her legs over his shoulders and put his mouth on her. It was— different, good but not— not quite what she’d once pictured, but—

“Brienne,” Jaime said, the weight of him at her back, the press of his legs outside hers grounding her. Different, but good. She closed her eyes, lost herself in Addam’s tongue, aggravatingly slow and just left of—

“Harder,” she moaned, grasping down to capture his head with one hand and guide him just there, just—

She arched, gasped as Jaime teased her breast, murmured how good she sounded, how much he’d missed this way of making her writhe. She turned her head, kissed him messily, trying to convey— It didn’t matter; Addam pressed two fingers inside her, curled them, and she jolted, her legs kicking, and Jaime laughed. She should— should do more, should—

“Not keeping score,” he reminded her against her ear, a quiet, growling sound that made her squirm.

And then Addam sucked at her clit, a soft tug, and the unexpectedness of it made her jump again, made her legs cross behind his neck and pull him in, made her buck against his mouth, “Please,” she chanted, her eyes clenched tight, “please please please” until she came apart surrounded by hands and lips and darkness.

The touches slowed but did not stop until she’d caught her breath, her muscles lax in the aftermath of her orgasm.

“Brienne?”

Her name was softly spoken, tender.

“Good,” she mumbled, uncertain who had asked, her eyes still closed. “‘m good. But you...” she raised and dropped a hand, tired. Jaime kissed her temple, Addam squeezed her thigh. “You should…”

“Should what?” Jaime asked, just a hint teasing. “Tell us what I should be doing.”

She opened her eyes, scowling at the smugness on his face.

“Suck him off,” she said, nodding towards Addam.

“You were very quick to come up with that,” he said archly. “Very crude. Have you been thinking about it?”

She could only hope the post-orgasm flush hadn’t faded, because she might never live it down if it had. But with a final kiss to her cheek, an absent, familiar motion, Jaime was untangling himself and Addam was sitting up, and then it was Jaime on his knees, Addam’s jeans long gone—when had they gone?—and a harsh, eager kiss before Jaime wrapped his good hand around Addam’s hard cock, took it in his mouth.

He was beautiful like this, they both were; Jaime’s hollowed cheeks as he bobbed, the grip of Addam’s hand against the blanket, the way they moved together, the sounds they made. Brienne watched as Jaime’s free hand reached for his own cock, fumbled, could not get a pleasing grip on it with attention divided; Brienne slid from the bed to the floor beside him, laid her hand over his, wrapped her fingers around him and gave a soft, slow squeeze, just the way he liked it. He groaned, and Addam’s fist tightened, his hips canting upwards.

Brienne nuzzled Jaime’s ear. “Let me,” she said softly, and he gave way to her gentle ministrations.

Addam’s hand reached up, tucked a loose strand of Brienne’s hair behind her ear, and then it was gone, gripping the blanket once more as Jaime drove him to the brink of pleasure and back, time and time again until Addam was red-faced and cursing, and Brienne could feel another aching, clenching need in her cunt just from this, a cock in her hand and— she slipped a hand between her legs, lust-clumsy but accurate enough, just the pressure against her clit enough to draw another shuddering climax from her seconds before Jaime came, moments before Addam grunted and stilled, Jaime’s throat working as he swallowed it down.

They untangled themselves slowly after that, looks and touches exchanged, and perhaps it should have felt odd but it did not, and when they had all cleaned themselves, Addam asked if they planned to spend the night.

“There’s plenty of room in the bed, I mean, but if you’d rather— I won’t be offended if you wanted to go back to yours.”

Jaime raised an eyebrow at Brienne and shrugged, and she nodded. Pulled back the blankets.

“Yeah,” she said, sliding beneath the sheets and feeling both men follow her. “We’d like that.”