Jaime was still in Winterfell; he knew that because it was so bloody cold!
The North… why had he agreed to come north?
Everything ached; his body felt heavy, bruised and swollen… there was no energy to even open his eyes…
What in the hells had happened to him?
"It was a deliriant," a soft, high, foreign voice rang through the darkness.
Jamie felt himself tense… though his body was sluggish and felt overly bulbous, he managed to shift on the hard surface he felt he had been laid across.
"I wouldn't try to move, if I were you," the voice told him, it's softness making his skin crawl. "Not at the moment… you have not been well Ser Jaime."
He understood that; this was the first time in a while the world felt as it should… cold and sharp.
"What was it?" A familiar voice asked in the ether.
Jaime's heart soared… he knew that voice…
"My lady!" The foreign shrill exclaimed, "You must not be here… it is almost your time…"
"You will tell me, witch," Brienne ordered, "I will be answered."
His heart slowed its thudding pace… because he was certain his Lady was with him.
More certain than the night gave way for the sun. More certain than the past few memories he held; though they were distant and fading… it was his wife.
"A hallucinogenic toxin," the foreign voice explained, "designed to incapacitate and create an alternate perception."
"What have they done to you?" He heard the sorrow in his wife's voice; felt her breath on his cheek.
He couldn't move but he felt more at home than he had for days.
Because that uncertainty was gone… this was his wife.
And, suddenly, the words made sense… why he hadn't felt right in such a long while… what the voice was saying about hallucinogens… Jaime gasped and remembered, "I thought I was talking to Brienne."
There was a silence before the strange voice, softly, whispered, "It was not her…"
He realised that – she had sounded like his wife and yet the feeling twisting in his gut would not allow him to believe it…
Jaime recalled little except brief conversations and a short encounter that had left him hollow and unfulfilled; the woman who seemed to convince upon him she was his wife had clearly thought her body was the way in which to win his favour… the roll of her hips to curve her pelvis, the light touches rounding her breast, the eyes lowering and looking up through thick lashes in a semi-submissive manner, the way her words hugged her lips and tongue… it made his stomach turn.
She had said she was Brienne… and he believed her… but there was the crawling in his gut that wouldn't cease.
It had made no sense, so he had tried his upmost to ignore it.
He had been wrong… there had been the question he attempted to push to the back of his thoughts while they… Where was his wife?
She said she was Brienne and he had accepted that without reason, entirely disregarding his instinct. And while their lovemaking climaxed for both parties, Jaime had found the encounter disturbingly fierce and needlessly aggressive.
It hadn't been right.
That moment of realisation, in the coldness of reality, cut into him.
Had he unwittingly fucked another woman?
Or had it been the other way around?
And did any of that matter to a married man who had had a choice to stop when he could have?
"It matters not," Briennes voice underlined. And though it wavered with the pain he must have caused her… she found the strength to command, "I want to speak to him alone."
There was no mistaking that grand authority in her voice… how he had missed it while talking with the woman who had drugged him?
There were muffled murmurs in the room, Jaime heard the rustling and shuffling of those about them leave with a final, decisive, click of the door.
So that meant he was alone with his wife… though he had thought that before…
"When you went missing I feared the worst," Brienne explained, sounding distant from him but more real than she had in days. "They told me you had left with a hunt… a hunt that had been arranged so early and you had chosen to join it so hastily you had neglected to inform me…" she huffed, "naturally, I was suspicious."
Jaime squeezed his eyes shut and willed himself back to a time before he agreed to step a foot back in Winterfell.
"Jaime…" Brienne's voice wavered. "I need you to open your eyes and talk to me…"
Talk? What was there to say?
Where could he begin to explain himself?
She needed him and yet…
"Brienne," he whispered so quietly it was hard to hear his own voice.
Her hands were on his forehead and stroking his face as her breath passed over his skin and she laughed, "Oh, it's me!" Her lips kissed his eyes., "I'm here."
Gods, he was so happy and yet… "I can't…"
"You can," she insisted. "That little witches pupil was captured and confessed it all… how she had drugged you and what she made you do."
Made him do… Jaime felt his insides crawl.
"It wasn't you, Jaime."
But it was…
"I want to believe you," Jaime said slowly, keeping his eyes closed against the harsh reality of light, "But it means I have lied and let you down."
"That is not the way of it," she insisted.
"But it is," he curled in upon himself, "In my belief it was you I allowed myself to be with another… inside another…"
"Jaime," Briennes voice broke a little, as did her heart, "We are stronger than this."
"You are, my love," Jaime agreed and admitted, "I should have been and failed."
"Then let me be your strength," she pleaded.
Still, he was afraid.
"Open your eyes, Jaime… it is I."
And there was no other truth in the seven kingdoms as the lion surrendered and looked upon the sun in splendour; for she was glorious and shone above him…
"I love you," she told him.
"And I love you."
Their lips met in a clash of all their being and the battle for what their future could be unfurled.
It was peace.
True peace within each other.
This moment would stand in time…
Before Brienne broke to exhale in sharp contrast…
Jaime suddenly found strength and moved to catch her as she doubled over their baby within her…
"Brienne?" He felt the world stop…
Blue eyes met him, wide with a fear he had never seen before as she announced, "It's alright… the baby is coming."
From nowhere, fire rushed through him; strength where there had been none moved his muscles until he had her in his arms.
A knock sounded at the door as the wood creaked and opened their moment to the audience in the corridor.
"You must come with me, Lady Brienne," a gruff and familiar voice informed her.
"No," Jaime responded, moving his lips between kisses and breath, "Not yet."
There was a rustle of armour as the rough voice insisted, "I must insist."
If I had my strength… Jaime thought, darkly.
Brienne exhaled a moment, smiling against Jaime's lips… "I have to go."
And Jaime moved his sluggish form to grip her before she pulled away, "Stay."
A sob ripped from her, "I can't."
"Lady," the voice prompted.
"Leave us be," Jaime commanded.
"I can't," the voice explained… "she has to return to her cell."
Cell? "You mean room."
"No," Brienne breathed, soothing his forehead with her hand, "he means cell."
"As in prison?" Jaime asked, stupidly. "Why?"
"For killing King Stannis," the northern voice explained.
"It was during the battle," she explained, still looking only at him, "and you know what I swore."
Jaime felt himself laugh and reached up to touch his hand to her cheek… the feeling grounded him in the moment and he remarked, "Only my wife would choose the honourable path."
Blue eyes smiled at him as a kiss graced his forehead.
"What are we to do?"
"The lady is to live out the birth of her innocent child," a voice informed. "And then face justice."
Brienne leaned to kiss him again, "Goodbye, my love."
As she turned to leave, Jaime attempted to stand… but his body was still too weak.
All he could do was watch as his wife was led away.