Synopsis: Feeling disillusioned after his return to King's Landing, Jaime seeks the company of Brienne. Set between Seasons 3 and 4.
His sister pulled him into her arms, peppering kisses up his neck and running her soft hands through his golden hair. Her own hair, so like his, was a tangled mess of curls that made Jaime want her more than ever. He relished her touch, and he could not remember a time he had wanted her so badly. The year they had been apart had felt like decades, and he was not known to be a patient man. She tugged at his cloak, his shirt, his breeches, and one by one each item of clothing fell to the floor, unwanted and unnecessary. Their embrace was so needy, so urgent – he had never been so desperate to have her, and there was a hunger in her green eyes that left him breathless. His hands, both of them, caressed her wonderful body, so small and so beautiful. Then, all at once, she retreated from him, leaving him alone on her bed. Jaime rose, confused, only to find that he could not move. He called for her, screaming her name at the top of his lungs, yet she did not return. His head began to spin, and it was as though the room was closing in around him. Pain shot through his body. Desperate for air, Jaime breathed heavily, retching and spluttering and calling out with every spare breath he could manage to take. But it was no good, he could scarcely move. Everything around him went black as pitch.
Jaime woke all at once, coughing and choking for air. It was just a dream you fool. Opening his eyes, he realized he was laying abed back in the Red Keep, and the memories came flooding back to him. Wiping the sweat from his face, he struggled to sit and gain consciousness, the room around him seemed to be spinning. On the road he had longed for the warmth of the castle – its fire pits and rich foods, a warm feather bed and the even better warmth between Cersei's legs – yet in the weeks following his return, Jaime had been plagued by nightmares, and the hours he had been awake were far from pleasurable. He felt the anger surging in his chest as he remembered Cersei's words, "you took too long". Had he not done everything for her? He had fought for her; killed for her; lost his hand so he could get back to her; he had dreamed of her; longed only for her; thought only of her; everything- it had all been for her. Yet she had turned him away as though he were an unwanted suitor, moved away from his touch as though he were a commoner in the streets of King's Landing. And all because he had taken too long. Jaime sighed loudly and untangled himself from the bed sheets. He called to his servants for a pitcher of sweet wine and food to break his fast, yet when they returned he found he was barely hungry, his dreams had thoroughly ruined his appetite. He called for his squire, a young boy of House Swann, whose name Jaime could not remember, who helped him dress in the armor of the Kingsguard. I am useless, Jaime thought as he glanced down at the remains of his right hand. He might have dressed himself, but it would have taken too long, and that morning he felt too bitter to try. He hooked his sword into his belt and left his chambers, bidding several more servants to clean whilst he was absent. As Lord Commander it was his duty to protect the king at all hours, yet as Jaime slipped from his chambers into the halls of the Red Keep, he found himself walking in the opposite direction.
He found her chambers quickly. After narrowly avoiding the wrath of Loras Tyrell, Jaime had ordered for Brienne to be placed in her own private quarters of the castle. He approached the door to find two Lannister guardsman outside – Jaime had had those placed there too – unidentifiable through their helms. Thankfully, the change of garb and a few washes had meant he was finally recognizable once again, and the guards did not question his approach. Jaime knocked at the door, opening it slowly. For an instant he thought her chambers were empty, until he noticed her seated by the window.
"Brienne" He announced himself,
Her bright blue eyes widened as she turned to see him standing at the doorway. It was strange to see her in the Red Keep, yet somehow it was as though hers was the only familiar face in a city of strangers. For a moment, the smallest of smiles passed over her lips, but Brienne quickly rose clumsily.
"Ser Jaime" She replied, giving him a curt nod.
"I've told you before that it's Jaime, just Jaime." Though if he was honest, Ser was a step up from Kingslayer.
At his command, several new garments had been made for Brienne. She wore a blue quilted tunic that complimented her astonishing eyes, and an earthy brown cape hung about her shoulders. Though her garb was not typical of what women wore at court, it suited her far better than the ghastly pink dress Bolton's men had set out for her at Harrenhal. Jaime even thought she looked nice.
"You look… different" He said, shutting the oaken door behind him and closing the distance between them. Standing nearer to her, Jaime saw a light pink blush dust across Brienne's cheeks. He wondered if it was his words that had caused the blush, or his presence. She is such a maiden.
"As do you" Brienne admitted. She had the truth of it. Since his return, Jaime had enjoyed his fair share of baths. His cheeks were less hollow, his beard no longer a scraggy mane, and several good meals had made him less skinny. Maester Pycelle had even tended to his useless stump of an arm, and had promised to fit him with a golden hand as replacement. But Jaime had bitterly informed him that no golden hand could aid him in battle or help him protect the king.
"Your armor," She said, "you look very much the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard now."
Trust me, I don't feel it.
Jaime smirked, "I thought I'd ditch the lice-ridden clothing for something a little more dashing. I assumed it would please you, Lady Brienne."
She scrunched her nose at that, and the pink returned to her face. It was so greatly amusing to him that the woman could best knights such as Loras Tyrell in combat, and had no trouble defending herself against numerous opponents, yet she flushed at his flirtatious tone.
"You know," He teased, "you needn't blush each time I joke with you."
Brienne tensed quickly at his words, looking away from him.
"I am useless at King's Landing now," She said "You vowed to Catelyn Stark that you'd return her daughters safely home, whatever it took."
Her words caught Jaime off guard for a moment. He thought about telling her that words spoken whilst drunk in Hoster Tully's cell meant little, but decided that was far from a good idea. "Sansa is married to my brother now, Brienne. I can't just steal her away from him."
"You made a vow to return Sansa and Arya, your brother promised their safe return."
"Tyrion is no longer hand of the King, that responsibility now lies with my father. And their safe return to where? Winterfell lies in ruins and Catelyn Stark is dead." His words were blunt and he cringed at Brienne's hurt expression. For a moment, her blue eyes were full of pain.
"Brienne-" He reached for her with his right arm, before realizing the utter uselessness of the gesture. This stupid stump will be the death of me. "Brienne, I'm sorry that was cruel of me."
He reached again for her, with the left hand this time, his fingers brushing lightly against the arm of her tunic. Her body was angled away from him, with all of her usual rigidness, but she did not pull away from his touch. For once, Jaime Lannister was unsure what to say. He could offer a thousand apologies for Catelyn Stark's death, yet none would seem sincere coming from the mouth of a Lannister, let alone from him. I should leave her be, he thought, yet he stayed by her side a moment more, unsure of quite what to do.
"Brienne?" He asked, his voice low and his tone uncertain for the first time.
"I truly am sorry, for Lady Catelyn's death…" The words tumbled out of his mouth before he could stop them.
Brienne turned to him then, the rays of sunlight streaming in through the window shutters highlighting the sadness in her face. He had never seen her look so full of grief, and he wondered for a brief moment whether she had been this way when Renly Baratheon had been slain, too.
"Se-Jaime" She corrected herself quickly, "I don't need your apologies." She looked nervous for a moment, her blue eyes trained to the floor. Jaime supposed her reaction was better than before – when they had heard news at the inn from townsfolk coming up the Kingsroad, Brienne had reverted to calling him Kingslayer and had thrown him cold glares as a tavern wench might have thrown smiles. He half expected her to ask him to leave then, and Jaime prepared himself for her harsh words.
"You can stay" Brienne said quietly, looking as unsure as Jaime had just felt. "I mean to break your fast. If you want- you can leave if you wish." She gestured awkwardly to the table across the chamber that looked over the Blackwater Bay.
Jaime frowned slightly, surprised at her request. He considered using his dry humor in response, or making fun of her embarrassment, but quickly decided that was unlikely to please Brienne (and for some reason he wanted to please her). Instead, he nodded and the two were seated at the table. The sky over King's Landing was a sullen grey color, which only seemed to bring out the brightness of Brienne's blue eyes. Get a hold of yourself, Jaime chastised himself. He set his eyes firmly on his plate, his fork, anywhere but her eyes. Serving girls came and went, carrying an assortment of foods and drinks.
"You know, there are women all over the country who'd kill to be in your place" Jaime jested as he reached for a heel of bread, "Dining with Ser Jaime Lannister, it's an honor."
Brienne glared at him from across the table and scoffed, "They're lucky they don't have to suffer such a fate. I'm sure they'd be disappointed by Ser Jaime's company when they realized how arrogant he truly is."
"I'm not sure about that, Lady Brienne. I've known many a woman who enjoys arrogance."
She rolled her eyes at that, "Only the Gods know how I put up with your company all the way from Riverrun."
Jaime laughed then, an honest laugh – the first since they'd returned to King's Landing. He glanced at Brienne, and something in him heaved with relief when he saw the faintest of smiles plastered across her pale face. He had seen her smile so little, especially after hearing of the death of her Lady, that Jaime couldn't help but smile quietly to himself too. They broke their fast together on loaves of bread dripped in honey; platters of fresh fruit; trays of salted beef, and wine from the Arbor. He had tasted many a meal since his return to the city, yet the company of Brienne seemed to make this one strangely more pleasant.
Author's Note: Hello! I hope this short little one shot was enjoyable. I also hope that both Jaime and Brienne weren't too OOC, as this is my first time writing the pairing. I also hope it doesn't seem as though I'm dismissing Cersei, as that wasn't my intention at all. I just hoped to convey Jaime's frustration upon returning to King's Landing. Please feel free to let me know if you have any feedback, and thank you for taking the time to read.