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To The North

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Steeling herself, jaw clenched and jutted, she’s sure she looks like a stubborn cow. Her septa once told her that the mirror would hold the truth, and she remembered being twelve and heartbroken, trying faces in the mirror and finding all of them ugly. Her face was red and scrunched from crying, her nose wide and pink and dripping snot. Trying a most winning smile, she found her mouth too large and toothy, her eyes too sad; a pitiful smile for a pitiful, ugly girl. She frowned, then, and looked beastly. She tried expression after expression and none of them even remotely pretty. Her septa walked into her chambers, then, and tutted.

  Something was damaged inside of her that day.

  “You’re a right ugly bitch,” the man growls, unsheathing his blade. “I’ll cut a fucking smile into that face, it won’t make you uglier.”
  She makes quick work of him, knocks his blade away and runs her sword through his throat. Jaime watches her from the tree against which he is sitting, blood dripping from his temple. The man shits himself in death and Brienne would be lying if she claimed it gave her no satisfaction. She is angry and ugly as she wipes sweat from her brow, kicking the bandit’s corpse and spitting on it.

  Turning to Jaime, she sheathes Oathkeeper.

  “I told you not to go,” she says in a low voice, kneeling to look at him.

  “Don’t touch me,” Jaime hisses, swatting her hand away. “I will live.”

  “He almost killed you,” Brienne almost shouts, wanting to strangle him. He doesn’t look at her. “I told you not to go!”

  Jaime’s breath is shallow. “Am I to follow your every order now?”

  “You can’t defend yourself anymore. That is the simple truth. Searching an abandoned tavern was stupidity.”

  Jaime doesn’t reply, just draws short shallow breaths. His head is still bleeding. Brienne goes to the sack lying next to him and rifles through it, finding a scrap of linen. She presses it to his temple, hard, and he flinches. He looks at her then and sneers. She mimics his expression, knowing that this face could curdle milk.

  “Are your ribs broken?” she asks after a moment of heated, angry silence.

  “Broken, no. Bruised, likely, and he kicked me repeatedly here as well, after he took my golden hand,” he spits, lifting a swollen and scratched stump. Brienne knows it must hurt badly. “I’ll stick it in some snow. Perhaps my arm will turn black and fall off. Would you like that, wench? You may become my caretaker yet.”

  “Shut up,” she growls, pressing the bloody linen into his good hand as she stands up. Going to the bandit’s corpse, she finds Jaime’s golden hand and the coins that the man had stolen during the apparent ambush. The wind whips through the stark black trees and the cold stings at her nose.

  Going back to Jaime, she offers a hand to help him up, but he rejects it. It takes him a few minutes to get up, slowly, and he hobbles away from her without looking. She almost hates him in this moment; his arrogance is what got him beaten by a common thief, what made him leave the company for hours on end. He could barely handle a sword half as well as he used to. They’d been traveling for weeks, going to the Wall with half the Brotherhood in order to find the boy Snow and deliver word of the vision Thoros had seen in Lady Stoneheart’s funeral pyre. Nearly two months they had spent going deeper in the cold, in the snow. They were near Moat Cailin, Nettle had estimated, traveling just east of the Kingsroad and camping long hours. Slow going, but better they stay warm, fed, and alive.

  She wondered why Jaime had chosen to come. He’d been preparing to rejoin his garrison when Thoros had met with him privately, leaving Jaime quiet and solemn for days. When Brienne asked him what the priest had said, Jaime simply replied, “I owe the Targaryens one last bout of duty.”

  Any more prodding was met with silence or with other things, as Jaime had decided to kiss her the night after they defeated Lady Stoneheart and the Hound’s pretender. The Brotherhood had banded around Brienne after that, and she tried to shift the mantle of leader to Thoros. The priest simply told her to take a few men and go to the Wall to meet with Lord Commander Snow, and to hurry.

  Ser Hyle had nearly knocked her on her back as he embraced her after his rescue, but quickly joined the other men of the Brotherhood in their drinking and songs. Brienne retired to a small tent that the men had offered her. Jaime joined her almost immediately, catching her as she removed her armor. She blushed as he looked at her, and blushed more as he stepped forward and pressed his lips to hers, wrapping an arm around her waist.

  He would later admit that seeing Ser Hyle touch her had made him jealous. Brienne didn’t believe him; she saw his teasing grin as he said it, tongue trailing along her hipbone. She had stopped being the Maid of Tarth some weeks ago, and the first time had been just as painful and embarrassing as her septa had promised.

  Just the first time, though. Jaime had made certain of that.

  She would lay at night staring at the canvas of the tent feeling guilt for not being a maiden for her wedding night, for betraying the future she was sworn to as Lady Tarth. Jaime’s sleepy breathing at her neck reminded her only of the vows he was breaking while he fucked her. She tried to imagine what he saw in her. Nothing beautiful, that she knew. A warm, familiar cunt, perhaps: something she knew he liked, more than most men.

  More the pity for her, then. She is strong in so many ways, but is always made a fool of by a man with a pretty face.

  Jaime stops and puts his ravaged stump in a bank of snow, as promised. Brienne detects a slight limp; he will be sore, no doubt for days. She thinks of how weak he was when they were captives of the Bloody Mummers and her irritation turns to worry. All she wants is to go back to the camp; it is almost midday and they need to keep moving. Northmen loyal to the Starks or Reeds would champion any man who killed a Lannister, and Jaime is a prize indeed.

  “Let’s go,” Brienne calls as she drags the corpse to a patch of brown, dead thicket. Slinging Jaime’s satchel over her shoulder, she walks to him and nearly shoves him forward to keep him walking.

  They follow Brienne’s footsteps in the fresh snow to the camp the men have made and a few of them eye Jaime warily as they take down tents. The men of the Brotherhood were annoyed at the Kingslayer for leaving to search the empty barn, one or two even suggesting that they move on without him. Brienne refused, ignoring the mutterings of “Kingslayer’s whore” behind her. She’d put too much effort into keeping the man alive, she would not leave him to die in the middle of the wood.

  It is hours later when they set up camp, one of the Northmen of their band claiming they’d be stuck for days as there was a storm approaching. Neither Jaime nor Brienne speak with each other during the march north that day, and when she lays down on the furs of her tent her frustration peaks. She lays naked underneath, warming her toes and waiting.

  Jaime enters silently, shedding his clothing as he does every night. She will never get used to seeing him naked, she knows. The broad plane of his chest is still well-defined from sparring, the light dust of hair above his smallclothes shining golden in the dim candlelight that brings little warmth to their tent. His turns his back to her and she watches him run his hand along his ribs; he trembles, and she can see that he is in pain.

  “Is there anything I can do?” she asks him. Jaime stills.

  “Are you trying to seduce me?” he asks innocently, and Brienne cringes.

  “You’re in pain, ser,” she says timidly, turning her head away and burrowing deeper under the furs. “I only wanted to be of help.”

  “Of course,” Jaime snaps. “You only ever want to help me, is that it? I can’t defend myself, I am useless to you. Shall I play captive again?”

  She bristles. “You angered me today; I will not lie to you. You could have died easily and needlessly.”

  “Poor Lady Brienne. All alone in the North without a cripple to fuck. I could cut Hunt’s leg off, he’s eager to plant a bastard inside of you and claim Tarth for his own.”

  She sits up. “Do not dishonor me. Do not—“

  “It’s far too late for that,” Jaime seethes, turning to look at her. His torso is bruised and his face is sour. “I know how well you squeal with my cock buried inside of you, wench. You’ve dishonored yourself.”

  Her jaw drops; here is the real Jaime, the one he has hidden in order to get her to spread her legs. Cruel, vulgar, honest.

  Something in his face changes, and his shoulders slump. He opens his mouth to speak. Presses his lips together. Stammers: “I-- that was… unkind.”

  “I didn’t want you to die,” Brienne says simply, steeling her jaw once again and pulling a mulish face. “You are honest, ser, but so am I.”

  He sighs and lays next to her, slowly. She follows his movements, shifting away from him. He looks at her, almost apologetic, but she cannot trust his intentions. Perhaps she never has, not since he gave her a kiss.

  “The truth, then. I want you to fuck me,” he says in a quiet voice.

  “You want a wet place to warm your cock,” she spits, perhaps more bitterly than she intends. He looks taken aback, and Brienne cannot pretend that it does not satisfy her.

  “Is that what you think?” he asks, curious.

  She will have no more of this. If he wants to be fucked, then he will be fucked. It is all he wants, and it is all she will give. Grabbing his left hand, she flips him on his back as rough and swift as combat. He tries to lift himself to his elbows but Brienne slams him back down, angry, straddling his hips. A punch to the face would not be out of place in this farce of intimacy, but she doesn’t much care.

  He tries to move but she is heavier and holds him down, allows him to struggle slightly as she makes the face that she knows is ugly, angry. Holding his wrists with a bruising grip, refusing to allow him to move, she slowly (maddeningly) grinds herself into his groin, circular and thorough. He lets out a groan and his cock firms; she can feel it pressing into her buttocks. Jaime bites his lip and there is a pause, a hush. The only sound is of the wind outside, and of their warm breathing. Brienne’s breasts rise and fall, and Jaime glances at them. There is a beginning of a flush on his chest, and he attempts to move his legs. Brienne tightens the grip of her thighs around them and looks at him coldly, silently daring him to move again.

  When he has been patient for a time, she spreads her body up and moves Jaime’s wrists slightly above his head. Her breasts, nipples are close to his mouth and for a second she wishes to feel his tongue on them. Instead she feels his swollen cock at her entrance, the fabric of his smallclothes the only barrier between them. Despite herself, she feels the beginnings of wetness and a flutter in her stomach, her mind’s eye immediately catapulting to a vision of herself (smaller, prettier) taking his cock inside of her. This causes her to give another slow roll of her hips. She hears Jaime’s groan, sees gooseflesh on his arms.

  “You want me,” she mutters, looming over him, staring at him, “to fuck you.”

  “Yes,” he breathes, straining his neck up to try for a kiss, but Brienne shoves him back down. She grinds into him again and feels his cock growing ever harder. His breath is short and he winces, likely from his bruised ribs, likely from arousal.

  “Say it,” she growls, dipping her head closer to his (but not close enough), his gasps hot on her cheek. She is dangerous and angry, angry at him for humiliating her and fucking her and treating her like someone’s lover.

  “I want you to fuck me,” he says, strained and desperate. Brienne has never heard him like this before, and is transfixed by the dilation of his pupils: a wide black circle set in green.

  She releases his wrists and splays her hands out above his head. He doesn’t move, just watches her and swallows. Pleased, Brienne, rises to her knees and tugs his smallclothes off. He helps her kick them off, and his cock is hard and thick as it rests on his belly. She reaches for it, fitting it in her large hand perfectly. She grips it tenderly. It is hot and the skin on it is soft to the touch, the flesh firm and wanting. Her heart is pumping wildly, and his cock twitches in her hand. She presses a thumb to the head, makes a small circle, and listens to his gasp.

  Brienne holds him in place with her thighs as she gives two quick strokes and leans back to take his cock inside of her, straddling his hips again. He lets out a guttural groan as the tip slips inside of her: she is damp and needy now; though his cries pierce her, she still in control. Feeling daring, powerful, she runs her hands over her breasts. Jaime tries to thrust upwards, keening, but she tightens her legs to stop him.

  “Not yet,” she says, running her hand over Jaime’s chest, up his throat, grasping his chin in her fingers. His beard is rough and she feels a thrill when he squirms and tries to capture her thumb with his teeth, when his single hand clenches and unclenches. “What is it that you want, Jaime?”

  “I want you to fuck me, Brienne. I want you. To fuck. Me.”

  Her face is still and she refuses to betray the thrum of her pulse, the wet of her cunt, the overwhelming want that this man inspires in her. Never would she have imagined that someone like him would want this from her, nor that she would take from him like this. She draws a breath and sinks down onto his cock, letting it fill her and complete her and belong inside of her. Her eyes shut and she hears Jaime make a strangled noise, his hand scrambling for her thigh.

  She looks down at him and rolls her hips, allowing his thick cock to shift and thrust inside of her while she lets out a moan. One of her hands goes to her thigh, the other to Jaime’s balls as she brushes and cups them lightly, feeling their tightness and knowing what it means.

  “Fuck,” Jaime exhales, and Brienne allows him a thrust deep inside of her. She moans, the friction from the bare skin of his member sending waves of heat and pleasure through her body. Her blood sings when they are like this: it is better than sparring, equal to battle. She starts to ride him, establishing a mounting rhythm and feeling everything: his cock sliding through the tight wet of her cunt, his babbling and stroking up and down her thigh, the stump of his right hand at her waist, the warmth and sweat all around her, dividing her and stitching her back together. He thrusts and thrusts and she slides up and down, watching him watch her, and they both moan.

  He sits up quickly, and she allows it because his cock feels perfect and she will allow him anything, now. He sucks and licks at her nipples, his beard grazing the tender part underneath her breast. She is so sensitive there, and feels something twitch and pulse inside of her, in her cunt. Brienne threads her fingers through his hair and allows herself to surround him, allows herself not to care about her size or gait or ugly face as she pulls him into her and to her chest. His breathing grows erratic and he says her name with every other thrust. She says his name as she rolls into him and fucks him, quick and dirty and possessive. Suddenly he tenses and shudders, and his cock twitches and sputters inside of her. He moans into her throat, single hand bruising her thigh as he comes.

  He falls back, eyes closed, and Brienne just looks at him, his spent cock still inside of her. His come and soft cock will drip out of her soon, and she feels her chest go hot as she imagines it. They breathe for a moment.

  Without warning, eyes still shut, Jaime grips her thighs and pulls her forward. She obliges, still in a haze of heat and want. His cock slips out and she shifts forward on her knees. Jaime opens his eyes and stares at her, his eyes hooded. He then sits up, hand gripping the back of her thigh, and presses his mouth to her cunt.

  She lets out a noise higher than she thought she could possibly make, and Jaime’s chuckle turns into a hum against her opening.

  This… he’d never done this. She didn’t even know that this happened. That people did this. It was…

  His tongue circles the place she’d touched before, alone in her room, a young girl still at Tarth. She’d been seventeen and dreaming of Renly, imagining what fucking feels like and accidentally brushing her fingers too far up. She’d touched that place, that strange, hard little nub, and stopped for fear that she was a freak in more ways than one.

  Jaime knows this place, she realizes. He licks and sucks at it, the nub in her cunt, sending sharp trills of pleasure through her body. He hums into it, and she feels a strange pooling in her stomach, a tingling heat at the base of her spine. He is licking the wetness of her cunt, licking his cum out of her, and Brienne doesn’t know what will happen if he keeps going because this is overwhelming and she can’t stop shaking. His tongue licks and laps, it speeds and slows and twirls and she lets herself moan his name as the pleasure mounts. She braces herself, her stomach tightens, and the heat low in her spine travels up and up and feels incredible and she cries out, seeing white and gripping Jaime’s hair.

  He hums into her again as she finishes, waves of pleasure finally receding. When she stops shaking, stops moaning, he falls back again with a satisfied look on his face. She doesn’t know what to do; she kneels above him, shaken and somehow utterly different from the person she was before this night.

  He pats the space next to him, bidding her over. She lays next to him carefully, still shaky and tender between her legs from where he had put his tongue. His face is serious, exhausted, and she feels the same.

  “I don’t just want a wet place to warm my cock,” he says after a moment. Neither speak while Brienne thinks of a reply. Time passes slowly before she knows what to say.

  “What do you want, Jaime? Truly?” she asks.

  “Don’t treat me like I exist only for your sake,” Jaime answers, his voice hoarse.

  Brienne’s eyes widen and she blushes. “I… don’t know what you mean.”

  “You treated me like a commodity today. It was unpleasant, and you were honest, but were you speaking to me? When you lay with me at night, do you know who it is you lay with?”

  Brienne bites her lip. “What you did was dangerous. I was worried. And…”

  “I know it was, but it was my risk to take. I thank you for saving me, but your role is not to be my savior. Do you understand? I don’t want someone to fuck, I don’t want to be someone for you to fuck. I want you. Get out of your own head.”

  “You don’t want to… be together? Is this about your vows?” she asks, her stomach falling a little and chest tightening.

  Jaime rolls his eyes. “Again, get out of your own head. I want you, Gods help me but I do. Don’t treat me like a character in a story,” he murmurs, brushing a lock of hair from her face. “You are one of the very few people in this world who know me well. Treat me like it.”

  Brienne spends much of the next day thinking on his words, and much of the next night sucking on his cock and feeling his fingers inside of her and telling him stories of girlhood at Tarth, asking him of Casterly Rock, and discussing the merits of Ibbenese steel. There are some days when she hopes they don’t reach the Wall, and many cold days when she can think of naught else. Her nights, however, are filled with only Jaime.

  The Winter is harsh and full of doom. There are rumors of things walking across the snow at night, of the cold seeping into bones and making the dead crawl through the dark. In the tents, however, there is only warmth.