Harry's brows furrowed as he perceived someone rapidly ascending the steps towards his room. He only had enough time to take up his staff before Jaime blew in, the door smashing open behind him.
'What the hell-?'
He had never seen the man so agitated. His face was a sickly looking grey and he held an expression that was of equal parts horror and disgust.
Jaime swallowed thickly before speaking with a hoarse voice.
"He…he raped her. And I could do nothing. Nothing!"
He took a deep swig from the bottle that he held in his hand before throwing it with a yell. Harry's eyes zeroed in on the projectile, his prodigious reaction time allowing him to snatch it from the air before it smashed against the jagged stone walls and showered them with a million fragments of glass.
Harry's deadpan tone belied the deadly serious expression on his face as he set the bottle down after taking a whiff. A pungent alcoholic smell came from the bottle.
"I can see you are upset, but please refrain from expressing your frustrations upon my room. You see, I work and sleep here."
Jaime rounded on him with a glare, his gauntleted hand smashing against the wall.
"How can you- jest in a time like this?!"
Harry matched his gaze evenly.
"Simple. You have not seen fit to inform me of what has befallen you to land you in such a state. So calm yourself and enlighten me, or leave and desist from destroying my room. Here, have yourself some tea."
Jaime looked at the cup and saucer that was shoved under his nose incredulously, seeming to war with himself over whether to smash aside the delicate china being offered to him. Finally, he reached up with trembling hands and took the cup, taking a single sip.
His eyes widened, and he visibly calmed.
"Good tea." He murmured as he stared down at his drink.
"Thank you. Now, tell me what has happened."
So Jaime recounted his story, and Harry's face darkened with each passing word.
As Jaime finished telling the horrifying tale of how King Aerys had savaged his own wife/ sister after watching a traitor being burned alive, Harry stood up, beginning to retrieve various ingredients from around his room with an air of efficient determination.
"Nothing can be done to correct atrocities already committed. All we can do is deal with the aftermath." Harry tried to sooth his friend's conscience.
"What will you do?" Jaime countered.
"I am a Maester. My job is to heal. So that I what I will do."
"And if this happens again?"
"I will not. I have underestimated the extent of Aerys's madness. Clearly, I will have to step up my plans."
At that, Jaime recovered from the haze that the calming tea had in a heartbeat. His narrowed eyes followed Harry, who he knew was far more than he appeared, around the room.
It was only a year ago when he had realized that his reclusive friend who lived in the tower was clearly anything but a naïve and innocent Maester.
Jaime had cracked open the door to Harry's room, after receiving no reply to his knocks.
Casting his gaze around, he realized that there was no one else present. Deciding to settle down and wait for his friend of only a few months to arrive, he accidentally reclined too far back on his spindly legged stool, and nearly pitched over.
Arms flailing to recover his balance, he grabbed an unlit wall bracket to right himself, when it gave away in his grasp.
As he pulled the bracket down, a low rumbling sound filled the room. After catching his breath at the near blunder (he was usually much more composed than this) he investigated the torch in his hand, which upon closer inspection was clearly a switch of some sort.
A short search of the room revealed a small alcove behind a generic banner on the wall. In it, Jaime found only a single huge leather-bound tome.
Withdrawing it carefully and making sure to memorize the position it was in so he could replace it without suspicion later, Jaime opened up the well-worn cover to take a look inside, flipping to a random page. What could his friend be hiding?
'Maester Daywin: Lord Hoster Tully remains ill, but his weekly visits seem to help him greatly. The concoction you provided works wonders. Lord Tully is still considerably distraught over having lost his wife. His primary concern is now to ensure the future of his children. Upon further urging, I discovered that he intends to forge a political alliance with House Stark through marriage. Initial negotiations are promising, according to him.'
Breathing rapidly, Jaime flipped through the book with increasing fervor.
'Maester Garut: Lord Stark entertains an alliance with house Tully, but is unsure as to …'
'Maester Faust: Prince Rhaegar Targaryen continues to complain of slight headaches, and the potion serves only to stay the effects, not cure them. Understandably, he is becoming more distant with his family due to his pain…'
"You know, it's rude to snoop through other people's things."
Jaime whirled around, his sword a silver flash in the air as it struck down the foe that had snuck up on him.
Or it would have, if a responding hiss of steel on lacquer had not responded.
With speed that had Jaime breathless, Harry drew a blade from within his robes and parried the strike. Glinting rubies set into a golden gilt hilt shone in the afternoon sun like droplets of blood. Eyes like two icy chips of emerald stared back at him.
Just as quickly, Harry sheathed his blade, the most beautiful sword Jaime had ever seen disappearing back into his robes. Turning his back, Harry set to fixing his customary cup of tea.
"I see you have stumbled upon my correspondences."
Jaime gaped at him. In that instant, Harry who normally seemed so short statured had straightened into a defiant man, his weak thin body became a lithe frame, and a modest Maester had become a knight. And just as suddenly, he had returned back to the appearance of a regular Maester, tending to his kettle.
"You're…you are a spymaster? You?"
Harry smirked, his green eyes twinkling in amusement.
"There are three things that loosen any tongue. Greed, lust, and fear."
He passed the cup of tea over, which Jaime ignored as he continued to point his sword at the man who he thought he knew so well.
Harry paused and set the cup on the table beside him before continuing.
"I have not the coin to incite greed, and do not control the pleasure houses to promote lust. But fear, I can broker in abundance. What man fears most is death. The most insidious of killers is the one that they cannot see, and therefore cannot fight. When the murderer known as disease arrives at their doorstep, they fear. And in their fear they are willing to offer up any information that may be even slightly relevant to help the Maesters heal them."
Harry turned again, sitting on his chair with a sigh and taking of sip from the cup.
"So, I took that readily available source of information and made it my own. Surely you know more than anyone that there are major players amassing their power and influence in the wake of the uncertainty around the current king. When the conflict inevitably erupts, I intend to be ready for it while others are left reeling."
Jaime searched Harry's face for any sign of deceit, finding none.
"To what end, Potter? Do you wish to be a lord? King?"
"My intentions lie with the wellbeing of Westeros." Harry ignored Jaime's scoff and continued.
"I intend to see the Seven Kingdoms flourish. No matter the cost."
"What of me? What role will I play in your plots? What role will the House of Lannister play?" Jaime's tone was light, but his gaze was steely.
Harry held out a hand. "Stay your fears. We are not enemies, and I have nothing against the Lannisters. So long as you also have the best intentions for Westeros you can stay your fears."
"And should that even change?"
Harry's face became inscrutable.
"You will know."
As Jaime left later that night he was unaware when Harry smiled secretly to himself, assured that the decision to reveal his information network to Jaime panned out well.
Jaime shook himself out of his reverie to realize that Harry had already put together a basket of slaves and balms.
"You intend to go to the Queen?" He asked carefully.
Harry nodded. "I'll tend to her on the morrow."
As Jaime descended the spiral staircase down to his own quarters, his mind was whirling. The horror of the events he had seen was banished from his mind by the implication that Harry intended to further his plans. He would need to watch his friend even more closely in the days ahead.