The walls are far too thin.
There are deafening sounds from every direction. Rain lashes violently against the single window of their cramped inn room and prattles overhead. Below the wooden floorboards there is the thunderous voices of drunken commoners, whores and men and maidens alike. Worse, perhaps, of all, there is a series of moans and a screeching bed-frame from the room next to theirs.
Brienne is not surprised she cannot sleep. She never sleeps, after all. Not when what greets her there are ugly images of death and blood and Biter. The storm outside breaking against the inn strengthens these possibilities. She does not trust herself to close her eyes. There are several faces awaiting her vulnerable state; pale, bloodless, a snapped neck. She is not surprised she can't sleep, but disappointed, yes. Dispirited because she has not slept in far too long. Every night she is restless, grieving to herself, and tonight is no different; she lays on her back, eyes wide open, listening. She notes the shuddering of thunder in the skies, the cries of pleasure next door, laughter below, and the heavy breaths of Jaime beside her.
Aside from those sounds her eyes are greeted with the empty chamber; the room they managed to purchase is small and possesses only one bed, that could have fit four or five, in a tight squeeze. They, however, fit comfortably, with at least a foot of decency between their bodies.
She is aware of his every move. Aware of the winds that wail and whistle, louder, still, against the building structure. Brienne is aware that her feet are blocks of ice and her knuckles resist, screeching in dull pain, as though frozen hinges, when she wraps them into fists. Sleep will not come to her, but she is desperate for it. Her face tilts toward the window on her side of the room. Everything is surreal at this late hour, with the rain blurring the world beyond and the peacefulness.. of such an unmoving, unhurried ticking away of time. It makes her feel so alone, suddenly. Everyone around her has a companion, is enjoying themselves. There seems that there is nothing but the inn and its costumers, nothing but the blankets drawn over her chest, and the prone shape of Jaime beside her, barely imposing enough to throw a shadow across her side of the bed.
He does not stir, does not hear all the deafening sounds, does not snore.
Brienne can't watch the window any longer and rolls aside. In his sleep, Jaime looks younger. Seamless skin lays over his face, relaxed by dream. There is the absence of that familiar crinkle around his eyes from a smirk, or the bitter curl of his mouth. And he does not sleep in a shirt. The blankets have slipped from one of his shoulders, as he half rolls away from her, and though Jaime sleeps like the dead, Brienne can see the muscles of his back and shoulders rolling in complaint or shrugging sharply as they do on their travels. Or they are sweat-damp beneath a dirty and dusty shirt, the tendrils dancing underneath the skin, as if reeds rasped in the breeze.
Brienne watches him carefully, listening to the loud sounds about them. She waits, calculates. Wonders over the strands of golden hair splayed against the pillow, almost close enough to taste their oily, earthen scent at the back of her throat.
He does not stir. The woman in the room beside theirs is gasping and screaming her pleasure. A raw feeling crawls up Brienne's throat, the longer she uses her ears and eyes. Jaime is asleep, and the sounds are so loud, and she cannot sleep.
Podrick and Hyle are in her mind. Biter and those children. Willow. She wonders which of them are dead, and knows whom are for certain. Guilt blossoms in her mouth like weeds. Brienne bites her lip and rolls over, twisting sheets around herself horribly in an effort to find some sort of comfort.
The fabric pulling around her shoulders slips tighter than she'd intended, skirting over skin and curling unbearably around her neck. Memories are violent; the jerk of the rope, the laughter. She kicks the sheets off in a swift move, only to yank them back on a moment later when the air is cold on bare skin, curls up into a ball underneath them and stares uncertainly at the man who is still and silent and unaware on the other side of the bed.
And she would like to sleep, by the Seven, and it’s not as though she's stressed (no more than killing a man you have respect for can be) and it’s not as if the rain is too loud, she has always enjoyed the sound of rain, the sigh of water against shores. It is not as if she desires the nightmares that will inevitably come, not now, not when she knows she must face them alone, as her own guilt. However, what are a few nightmares? They are expected, perhaps needed, to make sure she remembers what's happened, what she's done and seen.. and it wouldn't be proper to forget. The nightmares, so very horribly considerate, serve to remind her, and it had been rather fortunate that she should wake alone, so no one can be disturbed by her screaming.. so she could calm herself, all on her own–
Brienne knifes her way onto her back, stiff, eyes wide, watching the lightning throw reflections of rain upon the ceiling. She breathes, slow. Her hands uncurl and curl again, clutched at the top of the blankets. She breathes and breathes and breathes. It does nothing to calm the tightness prickling over her skin.
Quietly, inaudible over the rain, she swears a soft string of curses that a lady should not know. Some that Brienne has heard many times, but never used, never needed to or wanted to use. Jaime, still, does not twitch. Does not hear her over all the sounds. And so, quietly, she unclaws a hand from the blankets and slides it down beneath them to trail over her body.
(It is only to help herself sleep, she tells herself. Only that. If only to turn her mind from those unpleasant things.. it is because this is the first warm bed she has been in... with such thin and fortunate walls, a storm, that distant mirth of travelers..)
She lets her mind wander as slowly as her hand, fingers tracing soft over her breasts and toughened hips and taunt belly. There are fantasies she’s used before, of course; it is not the first time she's sought relief. She lingers over the thoughts of men like Renly, with untouched skin and clean shaved faces, kind, open eyes, sweet words to match pink lips as soft as peach flesh.
Until a thought weeds its way into her mind. “You’d love to know what it feels like to be a woman.”
The woman. A woman – and it is true that she does not see herself twisting beneath these Renly-like visions, for she is the ungainly one, muscled and tall and assertive. And that suggestive, japing voice rings in her head; “You’d love to know what it feels like to be a woman.”
Yes, Brienne admits. She would. In her mind she flicks through the faces of all the men she's ever seen, with calluses on their hands and curses on their tongues, desire as hot and dangerously sharp as the burn of alcohol in her throat –
A man with rough written into the lines of his face, the shards of green, as if a broken, scattered emerald in his eyes. What she wants is roughness, to feel weak as any other female, the heat of fire blazed, kisses sloppy on her neck, a hint of teeth sinking into a shoulder..
What she wants, is him.
What she wants is to feel like a woman, his arms, strong and solid and unbreakable around her, the surge of him over her, a crash of salt water against the rocks, that throws the sea to white, churns and travels and pulls the sand mercilessly under the tow of the tide, deep down into the dark, the unknown.
He, who will bracket her face between his hands as he kisses her as if she is a thing to be savored, to be devoured. He could press her deep down into the mattress and hold her there and his hands could bruise, could hurt, but the feel of his breath hot on her cheek will distract her from the throbbing. The way he pins her, directs her moves for himself, it will be dominate, but she will not feel helpless for it.. she will feel empowered, will feel helpless for more, gasp and twist uselessly against a strength superior to hers –
Brienne half-wishes she were not dressed. Even if it meant peeling off her own clothes in the dark. The man in her head, this brute, he changes faces and bodies, but gravitates toward one. She knows that, who, and it makes her shift her thighs together, feel the slickness gathering in response. A man like him, would undress her himself, impatiently, ripping and tearing. And there would be desire in his touch and want, he'd trace the shape of her like her own fingers are tracing now and tilt her head back to kiss her –
Her fingers find one of her nipples and roll it between them, and she sighs in the dark.
When he kissed her it would taste nothing of peaches. She can imagine the thrill of it already, running down her spine, the secret curling heat in her belly. It would be something wicked and urgent and probably far too quick and he’d bite at her lip, a little, and she’d whine (and that is not a noise befitting of a knight, that is not a noise she just made). He’d kiss her hard as he undid her laces by feel, clumsy, and she’d press herself against him with hands fisting in the golden hair on his head –
Brienne gives a shudder, her brows drawn tight together and her eyes squeezed shut. Because that thought, that thought –
It is not as though it’s never occurred before.
It is just that he’s so.. so.. Jaime. The air rushes from her lungs for allowing the name into her mind.
The hand that’s been playing at her breasts trails down to stroke the insides of her thighs. Her legs turn outward and open by themselves and she keeps her motions careful, careful, trying to not shift too much at once as if she might wake the man beside her.
The rain thunders on outside. So loud. Human voices echoing around.
Her fingertips ease between her legs, and oh.
He’d be careful, too. Not because she’s fragile (no one would ever call her that) but because she is precious. She's read the respect enough in his face, knows it would be there, having seen it in every way he's ever touched her in the past; holding out a helping hand, offering her ale, handing over the reins of a horse,Oathkeeper. He believes her to be his better, something to worship–but as a knight (that is what he truly respects, her honor, her bravery, cunning and physical strength)–and she doesn't want to be worshiped for that, not in these imaginings. She wants to feel like a real woman, wants him to treat her as one, and she could never believe herself a better to Jaime, but it is nice. Sweet. Baffling to know that he would not close his eyes in the dark, pretend a prettier face beneath his and call his act one of duty. It would be an animalistic grapple and there would be hands curled around her wrists, pulling them above her head.. He’d treat her such. As a woman. The woman. His wench.
She'd want him to just take her, she’d beg for it, her voice would probably even crack–he’d want to make sure it did, make sure she was given the full over and he’d kiss and touch and learn his way down her body and drive her utterly mad by the time he reached between her legs.
And he knows, sees the woman in her eyes, would know what she wants, so he'd –
He’d circle her clit just like so and –
Brienne gives another shudder, a jar of pleasure shooting up her center.
That’s what it’d be like. Just that. She’d cling to him. Hands on his shoulders. In her mind she conjures up the images of the scars she knows will be there; the dips of healed flesh, wounds seemingly forgotten and patched. She’s seen those, all of them. Down in the Harrenhal baths and beside her now, tortuously. Tiny white scars like bursts of stars scatter his knuckles, almost invisible. Tourney reminders. War memories. Swordplay. Calluses from training on his palm. She wonders if she’d be able to feel them as he slid his fingers inside her.
One, at first.
She adds two, because her own fingers are narrower and because there’s a shiver that wracks her body at the thought, leaves her gasping on the bed. The hand that isn’t worked inside her presses to her mouth. She can’t make any noise. Even with the storm beating against the windowpanes and such thins walls. She can’t, she can’t because he is there, right there.. and she is foolish, but burning, alive with her want..
He could wake. Jaime could roll over and catch her at it. The thought throws her heart against her ribs.
“You’d love to know what it feels like to be a woman.”
Brienne holds her hand clumsy and tight over her mouth and imagines that it’s his. Yes. The weight of him draped over her and keeping her down and his hand over her mouth, whispering in her ear to be quiet, stupid, stubborn wench. There would be a catch in his voice that wants to be a moan and he'd seal his mouth against her throat to silence it, the ghost of his right hand would force her head back into the pillow, the searing, dragging skim of his teeth riveting their way up her neck –
There is a snap that goes through her starting at her hips and Brienne whines, fingers dragging inside of her. She tries his name against her hand. Silent. But no. Not enough. He growls at her to scream it, to let everyone from the Wall to King's Landing to know that she is the Kingslayer's whore.
Her eyes squeeze shut and her head turns to the side and she bites the pad of her thumb as if the pain can center her, can steal the name from her lips, but it can’t, it can’t. She can't sleep, because he is there, and the walls are too thin, and they are a day away from the brotherhood without banners. He needs to know, has to understand. And her voice is so, so quiet – terrified, shaking. Because she'll be caught. Of course he'll know, will see it in her face. The thought is an electrical storm over her skin.
Her hips jerk against her hand and she wants – she needs –
“Jaime,” she gasps, wretched around her hand, his hand, “I – please –”
The fingers curl inside her. Surging and rough, thumb at her clit. And there’s no point in covering her mouth, now, not with the way she’s gasping, not with the way she can hear it over the storm outside.
She’d tried so hard to be quiet and now he was going to take her so the whole inn could hear her –
Brienne already tried so hard to be quiet and keep her objections from him, the secrets, her desire or affection or whatever it is she's feeling, so she could keep her oath.. so when he was hanging underneath a tree she could turn away without thought, without that unbearable sickness brewing in the pit of her stomach as it does now, at the thoughts..
Let him hear – she wouldn’t care, they wouldn’t care, she doesn’t care –
Him. Filling her. Nails in his shoulders. Her heels in the small of his back. His mouth at her throat sucking and drawing welts from the freckled skin, or his kisses falling over her face as heated rain, or his tongue dragging over hers, in a off-kilter press on her lips. Teeth ringing a nipple, tugging and sucking, and that little pain, not quite enough to leave a mark but only just –
Brienne moans, a small little sound, something befitting of a proper maid. She catches her lower lip between her teeth as her free hand slides down to cradle her own neck. He could – he could hold her there. Would press the fingers into the nape beneath her hair, draw a tight thumb down the apple of her throat. There would be strength in that hand, firm and imposing, violence that has killed many. But he would kiss her, would f**k her, and it would make her feel weak and gentle in comparison. It would be just that, just that pressure. A tiny bright edge of danger of his hand hovering on her throat and the pressure of his body over and on and inside her.
He'd take her slow, at first, focusing on tongue and teeth and hand, but that’s not what either of them wants so – so there would be another person beyond the thin walls listening to the smacking of skin, the gutters of moaning and cries of pleasure escaping her – she would be breathless, might sound girlish, even. That would amuse him, he'd want to mock her about that. She imagines his smile in the dark, toss of hair from his eyes as he leans down low to speak. Voice deep in his throat.
“Like this, wench?”
Like this. Inside her. Need. She twists on the bed. Skin slick with sweat. She is warm and made bright and burning by his hands, candle-flame brought to a blaze, all desire, a woman in the shell of gentle, something like a lady, and she's watched him and she knows his body, knows how easy it would be to sling arms around his neck and fit her chest to his, and allow his bearded cheek to press into her broken one. He’d f**k her full, and well, and open, ah, yes, he'd –
(And she feels the bed shift, is aware of the jump of his unconscious body jerking to wakefulness, but she closes her eyes and can not stop, not so close, not when she is already beneath him in her imagination, is openly staring into his eyes behind her lids, watching her writhe, he knows her, he knows, so well, he knows how to make her a woman, he knows how to make her sigh and scream and –)
Brienne arches, high, back bowed, his name falling like a gasping litany on her lips. Jaime, Jaime, Jaime. No less noticed for being unvoiced, and the climax that rushes over her is white and shuddering as the crackle of lightning in the sky outside.
And there is suddenly an arm laying heavily over her lower abdomen, pulling her flat on the bed again, sending a live-wire of energy through her from groin to flushed face. The touch knocks the air from her lungs, makes her twist into it without thought, the throes of her ecstasy still there. A new moan escaping her lips when another hand, that is not hers, ghosts over her nub and she arcs upward, fast, bucking into the confining arm over her abdomen.
He pushes her back down again, every time she sharply rises. The map of her sex's petals are easy to navigate, wet and warm and willing, and Brienne cannot recover before he is driving her forward again, pushing her over the precarious edge; he takes the relief of the first orgasm and shatters it, turns it to tension in her belly once more, teetering and unfulfilling and searing for release.
She wants to beg him not to stop. Is too scared to open her eyes and turn her head; does not really believe that it is Jaime's hand and arm touching her. They feel real, they move with life and pulse heat, but it does not make sense. Part of her is buried in shame, for being caught, for doing it in a bed with him there, and another part is soaring, reaching for that distant rise.
She lets him do as he will. Her hair is stuck to her face with sweat and her skin is wracked in chills, and with the ghosts of her own hands and the hand that is there, now. There is the sound of rain, lesser to her panting, and she hears his own breath tight in his mouth. Focused. Brienne pries her eyes open and sees his face, drenched in the dark – he is eying her, her face, her breasts beneath the tunic, her hips that he has an arm clamped across, the way his fingers circle and dip and pull her fingers away –
His eyes find hers the moment his sink inside; he watches her with a bleary, yet unwavering, gaze. Heat washes down her face and through her. She raises a hand to grasp him, anywhere, somewhere, but the arm around her abdomen rips her closer, tight and hard and she is suddenly close enough to be underneath him –
Jaime adds another finger.
Brienne shivers under the covers, and it has nothing to do with cold.
The rolls of pleasure working up her body is almost too much. More than she's ever had; twice, in the length of such a little time. Her walls cramp and pulse and she swears her heart is ramming in every piece of her, rushing in her ears and zinging through her wrists –
She groans, tosses her head back into the pillow and there is a echo from him. The next one is not as monumental, but it is drawn out, sweeter, slowly snaking it way into her, curling around his fingers, washing through her in a release that aches inside her belly.
His arm slithers off of her, but his fingers remain for a moment, drawing three heavy circles over her numbing clit, before pulling from her pants. Brienne watches him examine the wetness of his fingers, meet her curious, hazed stare and smiles thinly before placing a finger to his lips and drawing it inside with a flash of his tongue.
That strikes her as strange and stirring and she does not know what to do. She merely stares helplessly at him as he tongues his hand clean. Outside, the rain thunders on. There is no more human voices, the hour is later, the man on the other side of the bed is awake...
And she has to tell him.
“Jaime,” Brienne says, hushed.
She swallows, hard, the lightning of the storm fading from her chest. She listens to the rain outside. Listens to the thunder hold its breath. Watches Jaime's face, and can't understand why he's just touched her, like that, like he would a real woman. Might as well be flinging him from the bed physically, if she was going to tell him, right then, that she's been leading him to his death..
And that's what stops her.
He didn't call her wench. Not even Brienne. It wasn't Lady Tarth, or Ser, or wench.
Jaime waits for her coming reply. Unassuming and observant and uncaring – as if he'd not just had a hand pressed against her center, inside her, driving her over the edge. As if the act was natural of him, to participate in it without invitation, on instinct.
“You’d love to know what it feels like to be a woman.”
She won't tell him about the ambush, the brotherhood without banners or Lady Stoneheart. Can't tell him about that, that she almost gave him away to killers. She won't do that. But what she does tell him is sufficient enough to draw out of her promises and oaths and become his whore, an oathbreaker and take him elsewhere, away, safe. “Sansa isn't in the Riverlands.”
Around them the world is storming, their walls are thinning, and Jaime's reply is a whisper. “I know.”