So this is a long one, and believe it or not, there's a lot more I still wanted to include but I ended it where I did otherwise I might never post it, and I'm super overdue as is.
WARNING: If you're not a fan of Jaime and the J/S thing, you might want to go ahead and skip this chapter, as this is more about 'ship building' than 'plot building', because I seriously indulged here. As for those of you on board with the Jaime and Sansa train (though i'm sorry to say is still pg-13), even though it's not strictly canon compliant, hopefully it should make for a good read. (nerd alert:) I hope you enjoy the ride! And please, let me know what you thought.
What happens afterwards, none need enquire: They are poised there in conjunction, beyond time,
At an oak-tree top level with Paradise: Its leafy tester unshaken where they stand,
Palm to palm, mouth to mouth, beyond desire… and the tremulous gasp of watchful winds…
Past all unbelief… Twin paragons, our final selves, resistant…
The forester, never known to abandon his vigilant coursing of the greenwood's floor,
And you, dryad of dryads, never before yielding her whole heart to the enemy, man.
from Conjunction by Robert Graves
The weeks leading up to his marriage passed in a blur, amounting to little more than a collection of odd and often uncomfortable encounters with the other inhabitants of the castle.
Luckily most of the high Lords left just after the Royal Wedding, including lady Olenna and Ellaria and the newly appointed Baratheon, leaving only Lord Edmure as the last Southern thorn in his side, but only because the man hated him (understandably of course). Theon and Bronn remained as well, all of which would be attending his upcoming nuptials.
The thought nagged at the already twisted pit in Jaime's stomach, the same that had been there since his brother had declared the Queen's intentions back in Casterly Rock. He took a deep breath in an attempt to quell it, but it did little to assuage the feeling.
His and Lady Sansa's presence was hardly needed when it came to arranging the ceremony, as it would be a much simpler event than the new King and Queen's had been. They would marry before the new gods rather than the old, in the same sept where her own parents had wed. He'd not been told a reason why, at least not in words, but he'd known anyway, by the look in her eyes. So he said nothing, and kept his expression even, only nodded in agreement.
So in an effort to keep himself busy, and keep uncomfortable situations to a minimum, he spent most of his time training with Pod and or Bronn, currently only the latter, as Podrick had been called away by Lady Sansa. It was likely this, Pod's absence, that Bronn finally brought up his engagement.
"Odd isn't it," The man said, his face uncharacteristically serious.
Jaime took a breath as he made to stand after having been knocked particularly hard off his feet. His own mistake of course, forgetting for a moment that the once sellsword did not always play by the rules.
Bronn looked over at him, he had just gotten to his knees, and continued, "This being her third marriage and you, your first."
Jaime hadn't even considered that, or what the implications meant to a man like Bronn, so he only answered, "I suppose so."
He was finally on his feet, and he stretched a little to ease some of the pain from the fall. He looked over when he noticed Bronn, clearly lost in his thoughts by the hazy expression in his eyes. Jaime was tempted to return the jab that had been taken on him, when he'd been momentarily distracted during their fight, but didn't. Instead he stood and waited, wondering, and maybe a little bit worried, by what had the man so preoccupied.
Bronn finally looked over and suddenly smirked at Jaime as he spoke, "Not to mention you'll be giving up Casterly Rock while she rules the North. Does that make her the groom and you the bride?"
Jaime chuckled, more in relief than mirth realizing it was a jab of another sort, and not something serious or insightful as he feared.
"I guess it does," He answered in jest, not feeling bothered by the assessment.
Finally, Bronn frowned, "You don't seem too upset by that."
"I'm not," He replied, a smirk still playing at his lips.
Bronn took a deep breath, "I don't suppose i'd be too upset either, not if I was about to share my bed with a beautiful young woman like Lady Stark."
This, likely as intended, wiped the smile from Jaime's face—even though this sort of innuendo was of course Lord Bronn's bread and butter, and Jaime had long since gotten used to it.
He rolled his eyes, but said nothing, only resumed his stance and hoped his friend—he had to be as Jaime wasn't sure he'd let anyone other than his own brother say such things to him—would do the same.
After a moment, he finally did, even returning the roll of eyes, but instead, he spoke.
"It's no fun if you don't fight back."
So, Jaime lunged.
It was a few nights before the day when Podrick came knocking. It was late, long after the evening meal and Jaime was sitting by the fire in his room, trying to read as sleep seemed to evade him.
He felt his insides constrict when he opened the door, as he was reminded of the first time Podrick had come to him.
When he made his intentions clear, that Lady Sansa wished to speak with him in the Godswood on the eve before their wedding, Jaime feared nothing good would come from this second secret meeting, but he agreed anyway. Now that the time had come however, he froze. He had no idea what this was about, but considering the first had been about Brienne's death, the odds were not looking good.
It was only in remembering that she was out in the cold waiting for him that he finally made his way there, doing his best to avoid being seen. The moon was bright in the sky but it was late, and he saw no one.
She was already there when he reached the Heart tree, eyes closed in prayer, sitting just as many Starks before her likely had. He remained silent for a moment, trying not to notice how bright her hair shone in the moonlight, nor how her pale skin seemed almost silky smooth, the combination of both managing to distract him enough that he was unable to find the right way to tell her he was there.
In the end, he cleared his throat awkwardly and spoke her name, his voice sounding weak and unsure. Her gaze found his then, and he was suddenly certain she felt as uncertain as he did.
She stood before answering, "Lord Jaime, thank you for meeting me."
"Again," She added as an afterthought, smiling lightly.
It was gone as quickly as it had appeared but he returned the gesture anyway, his own grin likely a poor imitation of the one she'd given him.
Aside from her name, he still hadn't spoken, and suddenly remembering his manners, though he wasn't sure how exactly to answer, he only nodded and directed the conversation forward.
"What did you wish to speak of Lady Sansa?" He asked, his voice finally steady. He expected her to hesitate, but she didn't.
"I should like us to be honest with each other, here, now, before we marry."
Though she included herself in this request, he was fairly certain this was mostly about him, even despite still not knowing what they were there to discuss.
"Of course," He replied, managing to keep an even tone as he continued, "Is there somewhere specific you'd like to start?"
This time she nodded, seeming to finally waver. Another long moment passed before she finally spoke.
"You did not know about Robb and m-my mother, did you?"
She frowned slightly as her voice broke on her words, but she only waited, the silence looming heavily between them. Of all the things he'd expected, this had not been on the list, most likely since it was one of the few Lannister sins he could gratefully say was not his to bear.
"I should have," He finally answered, his own voice solemn, understanding the difficulty it probably took to speak of her family, most of all to him.
But at least about this, he could easily be truthful as he was relatively removed from the situation, and because the guilt of it lay at the feet of men who were long dead.
"When Lord Bolton returned me to King's Landing, I did not truly consider why. At the moment, I thought it was self-preservation, and I was too glad to be returning home to truly think on it. It was not until I reached the capital—"
"That is all I needed to know," She interrupted him, closing her eyes, likely not wanting to think on the pain of those memories.
He couldn't fathom everything she had suffered by his own family's hand, how despite this, she was still marrying him even when he carried his own load of sins. In kind, he could not believe his own luck.
"I know there is nothing I can say nor do to make up for what my family—what I have done to yours, but I am sorry, Sansa. I know it means very little, since there's nothing I can do to repay what's been taken nor undo what's been done, but I promise, to protect you. to keep you safe."
There was still hurt in her eyes, but she smiled lightly, "I know you will."
She made to move, and this time it was him who held her back, his good hand hooking into the crook of her elbow, forcing her to turn back to him.
"As long as we're being honest, there are some things you should know before—"
We marry. His voice trailed off, unable to say the words.
She let out a deep sigh, seeming resigned to what was coming, at least until she spoke.
"I have a confession as well, but you first."
Suddenly he couldn't speak though he didn't have to wonder why. After a few moments, he finally made himself answer.
"What I had with Cersei—"
Her hand gripping his forearm halted his words, and after glancing at the contact for a moment he looked up and as quickly as his eyes found hers, she let go.
"There are many things we must talk about, Ser Jaime, too many," She spoke evenly, somehow finding composure, and a firm gaze.
"We could never hope to speak of them all in one night. With time, when we are both ready."
He understood, of course he did, but how could he marry her without at least explaining himself? So he insisted, "About your brother—"
"When the time comes, lay your guilt at my brother's feet, not mine. I cannot speak for Bran, but I've forgiven you Ser Jaime."
"Why?" He heard himself ask, and it came so unbidden he could not have stopped himself from asking even if he'd wanted to.
"I don't suppose you remember, what with my brother nearly killing you, but I agreed to marry you for the sake of our kingdoms of course, but I only truly considered it because of Brienne."
"It was her—" He said then, in the momentary pause between her words. Needless to say, she didn't let him continue.
"Not because you sent her to me, but because of something she told me before she died. For fear the knowledge of it would die with her. "
Her eyes softened then, as they so rarely did, and he kept quiet, wanting to hear what she had to say, feeling as if he already knew what it was and yet not wanting her to say it either.
"About that night with the Mad King."
The name brought the memory of the confession to the forefront of his mind, the way it had taken so much out of him to say it, of Brienne holding his mangled body—
"It has helped me understand a little I think, or perhaps your motivations at least, and I am willing to put the past behind us, if you will as well."
Her voice interrupted his thoughts, and he found himself grateful for not only that, but as she continued speaking, she hadn't forced him to say anything about it.
He nodded, knowing it was more than he deserved, and only hoped he could keep his end of the bargain.
When he woke the morning of his wedding day, he was surprised to find the knot had moved up to his chest. He now felt it like a hole, achingly empty, a black abyss of unknowing. There was nothing else but it, even as the castle hustled only with a slight edge of hurry.
After he broke his fast, Lady Sansa nowhere to be seen, he was allowed his morning training round with Podrick, but nothing else after that, as the days were growing shorter already. Forced to his room to ready himself, he bathed and his squire trimmed his hair and shaved his face clean. After he was appropriately dressed and his hand replaced after being polished—the gold glinted at him ostentatiously so he made Rollam fetch him a glove to cover it—he sat by the fire sipping a cup of wine as he waited, knowing someone would come get him when the time came.
It was his squire who eventually did, glove in hand, but his face white as a sheet.
Jaime was about to ask what happened when the boy extended his arm with the proffered item and spoke, "It's time my Lord."
He frowned for a moment, but eventually left it at that, and focused on putting the glove on for himself, as his squire was suddenly standing at the door, already waiting for him. He understood the boy's behaviour once it was open. Just beyond stood the King himself, and the man was not alone.
Jaime had been waiting for this moment of course, for the threat to his life, in his case the second, he still had the scar from the first after all. King Jon, though having given his consent was on edge regarding the union and especially on his sister's suitor, Jaime himself.
What he had not been expecting, was the large white direwolf, looming menacingly at the King's side, his red eyes burning and teeth bared. Though it was also not the first time he'd been threatened this way, and he was not chained up, it was no less intimidating.
Aside from the animal who seemed ready to kill, they were alone, Rollam long since having disappeared.
"Lord Jaime," He began, his expression cold and his voice barely hiding his contempt.
He bowed respectfully but didn't speak and avoided the beast's eyes, knowing the man would get to the point quicker that way.
He did as he stepped forward into the room, forcing Jaime to step back as the direwolf followed suit. The King closed the door behind him, and Jaime couldn't help feeling as if this could very well be the end of his life. Perhaps this had been King Jon's intention all along, to agree to the union, only to have his direwolf 'accidentally' rip him to shreds before it could take place. Likely no one would be all that surprised, nor bothered, least of all his intended.
"Though I need hardly say it," The King's dark voice interrupted Jaime's increasingly morbid thoughts, though only long enough to force him back to the point.
"Should any harm come to my sister by your actions, in any way, deliberate or not, or should you do anything as much as touch her without her consent, it will not be my blade, nor dragon fire that ends your life."
The great white direwolf stepped forward then, seeming to read his master's mind, his teeth bared and glinting sharp. Jaime knew that if it came to that, his death would not be quick, and those glowing mad red eyes would be the last thing he'd ever see.
Jaime bowed deeply, knowing that put his bare throat that much closer to that mouth, hoping the gesture was understood. He hardly deserved his life as it was, he already knew this, and he would not break this last and final chance to prove he could be a better sort of man.
A long moment passed before he heard King Jon speak, his voice resigned yet still somewhat satisfied, "You ought to head to the sept."
Jaime raised his head and when he looked over at the King, he was surprised by the earnest look in his eyes, an expression Jaime was certain he was never meant to see. Then, King Jon spoke.
"For my sister's sake, do right by her, Ser Jaime."
'Don't make me regret this.' He hadn't said the last, but Jaime heard it in the cadence of his voice and the look in his eyes.
There was nothing he could do nor say, only time would tell, so he attempted neither and only nodded his head, as he often had these days.
They left his chambers moments later, Jaime making his way to the sept and King Jon to Lady Sansa so he could escort her to the same place, and to him.
When he exited the keep into the darkening sky and the sharp breeze in the air, the chill helped clear his thoughts. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with that same cold wind hoping it would do the same with the hole in his chest. He breathed out, and though he felt steadier, the pit was still there.
"I was just about to escort you to the sept," He heard a familiar voice ahead of him.
He opened his eyes, not truly bothered by Theon's presence, but he'd been hoping for a moment alone to collect his thoughts, and find his nerve. He'd gone to battle worse equipped than he was now, and yet the coming ceremony filled him with a deep well of dread he'd never felt before.
He said nothing to Theon's words, only began walking toward the place, eventually passing him. Theon followed, a step behind.
"I don't suppose I have to give you the talk," Jaime heard him say a few moments later.
He turned to look back at the Greyjoy, unsurprised he knew, or at least correctly assumed, King Jon had already done so.
"No, I don't suppose you do," He answered before turning forward once more. They were nearly there.
"Lady Sansa is like a sister to me, but we've fought together, so I know what kind of man you are, and I do not doubt you'll do right by her. Even if you don't seem so sure of it yourself in this moment."
There it was again, that word—right, do right—by your family and the gods and your king, be the right kind of man, honourable and good and true—taunting Jaime as if he hadn't been trying to do and be just that all his life. Here were two men, two brothers, one seemingly certain he could, the other was not, and Jaime himself felt the truth somewhere in the middle. In the end, he said nothing to Theon's words, and thankfully the man said nothing more.
They were standing side by side at the sept doors then, already open and still empty save for the Septon standing between the statues of the Father and Mother. He looked over at Theon once more, momentarily wondering how he'd become friends with such a ragtag group of men. First his brother, then Ser Bronn and Lady Brienne, and Podrick, and finally Theon. A Greyjoy.
And now he was about to marry a Stark. The world truly was ending.
The first to arrive was Lord Edmure with his wife Roslin in arm, and though it seemed the man intended to approach him, with a gentle tug she lead him towards their spot instead. He wanted to smile at her, feeling a well of gratitude towards her, but didn't, knowing it would likely not be well received by her husband who was still glaring at him.
The Northern Lords still in Winterfell trickled in soon after, eyes glaring but silent. Lord Bronn was nearly the last to arrive, a smirk on his face and Jaime could only assume the man was either remembering their conversation in the yard or one of the many taunts he'd made since learning of his engagement to Lady Sansa.
He did not even get the chance to roll his eyes as Queen Daenerys arrived in that moment, drawing all attention to her as she entered, including Lord Bronn. Jaime was surprised to see the serious, almost sour expression on her face, considering everything was going her way; this union had been her idea entirely, and she'd somehow succeeded in convincing King Jon to agree to it, yet there was no sense of satisfaction anywhere in her eyes.
He was only able to stew on this for a few moments, as a sudden hush fell over and all eyes turned to the opposite end of the room once more.
The time had come.
When he turned for himself, he froze, feeling as if the black pit in his chest had swallowed him whole.
She wore no cloak, only an off-white velvet gown, demure and simple, but the colour and fit suiting her perfectly. Her hair was mostly loose, half pinned back in a braid. It was only as she drew closer that he noticed the small blue roses woven in her hair and the small golden details trimming her dress.
Sansa's eyes found Jaime's as her brother lead her forward, and when he realized it was there, that rare glint of warmth, suddenly he was certain no one had ever looked more beautiful, not the Dragon Queen with her silver hair, nor the Tyrell girl with her spark of wit, not even his golden twin with all her ire, in the height of her beauty and his love for her. Suddenly he was Jaime again, as the hole spit him back out, and everything else faded away, including the absence he'd been carrying in his chest, so quickly it was almost as if it had never been there to begin with.
Sooner than he'd expected she was at his side, and he only barely noticed King Jon leave to stand beside his own wife. Jaime took a deep breath before he moved to wrap the cloak about her shoulders, only now seeing the crimson silk lining as he opened it. He would've grinned if he was not focusing on making sure the fabric did not slip from his golden hand.
She looked up at him, eyes still warm, and took his hand as he finished, now leading him towards the Septon. Jaime vaguely heard him begin, concentrated as he was, only registering the man's presence once he stepped closer, and Sansa pulled up their joined hands. The Septon spoke as he wrapped the ribbon around them, and though Jaime listened, he kept his gaze on her. Sansa's eyes were dutifully on the man speaking, but by the slight blush on her cheeks he was fairly certain she felt him looking. Knowing this, he tried to look away, but couldn't.
"Let it be known that Lady Sansa of House Stark and Lord Jaime of House Lannister are one heart, one flesh, one soul. Cursed be he who would seek to tear them asunder."
After the slight pause, Jaime finally looked forward, knowing the man was waiting for his attention.
When he had it, he continued, "In the sight of the Seven, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one for eternity. Now look upon each other and say the words."
She finally looked up at him, her timid expression mirroring his own, he took a deep breath before he spoke, her voice echoing his as well.
"Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger."
"I am hers, and she is mine." "I am his and he is mine."
"From this day, until the end of my days."
The Septon unravelled the ribbon before stepping back once more, and though Jaime had been fearing this moment, he still said the words.
"With this kiss I pledge my love."
With her eyes piercing him to his core he leaned forward, but suddenly stopped halfway, realizing he couldn't do it. So instead of her mouth, his lips found her cheek. The kiss was short and chaste, but he wouldn't ever forget the feel of her skin against his own. When he pulled away he saw the blush on her cheek before she quickly turned to the small group, now clapping lightly.
Joined in more ways than one, as they were still palm to palm, they headed to the Great Hall and for once, he hardly noticed the daggers being thrown his way.
It wasn't until after the feast, which although not entirely cheerful was at least not as uncomfortable as he'd expected, that the pit in his chest made its reappearance. As there would be no bedding ceremony—thankfully, before they left the Great Hall, the guests began to come forward and offer their congratulations. Mostly they looked at Sansa—the Northern Lords did at least—as they spoke, but it didn't bother him, instead he was grateful being overlooked.
It wasn't until after Lord Edmure came up and approached his niece, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, that he was finally directly addressed. Distracted with his wife, Lady Roslin, as they were currently talking, Sansa didn't notice the look her uncle was shooting his way.
The older man stuck out his hand, and waited. Jaime took the proffered hand and shook it, though it was the last thing he'd expected from the man. When Edmure pulled him in slightly, Jaime understood suddenly why he'd done it.
His expression was dark and menacing, and his voice low as he spoke.
"You once told me you would do anything for Cersei."
The clear omission hung heavy between them for a moment, and Jaime felt the full weight of his guilt, on the words he'd truly said. It didn't matter that he'd never meant it, would never have done it. It didn't matter that he'd only used his reputation as a monster so he could win the castle back without bloodshed. None of this mattered because he'd said the words, and Edmure had believed him.
"What I said—" He began, but it seemed the man didn't want to hear it. Instead he interrupted Jaime with a small shake of the head, but there was no anger in his words, only resolution.
"May you love my niece more than you loved her."
He looked over at his new wife, she was smiling at Lady Roslin, and suddenly he wondered if there was a chance he wouldn't, but he said nothing, only nodded.
They left the Great Hall shortly after, Sansa leading the way as it was her chambers they'd be sharing, and the quiet was so heavy he could hardly breathe, let alone risk a glance her way to gage her feelings. When they reached the door, he felt rather than saw her look at him, so he finally met her gaze.
"This is it," She said simply.
This whole evening had been singularly out of the ordinary that it was no surprise when it was her who finally opened the door and him who entered first.
He heard her close the door behind him, but nothing else as he took in the room before him. It wasn't much unlike any other he'd been in, he could see the fire burning in the hearth, two chairs strategically placed in front of it, as well as a table against the opposite wall, littered with drinks and various finger foods.
Just beyond, in the centre of her room, was her bed. He wanted to look away, and turn towards her so she would not think he was looking at it, but found that he couldn't, he felt frozen solid in place.
But then her hand was touching his shoulder, and he finally faced her.
"I can't," Jaime said then, the words tumbling out of his mouth without control, a slight edge of panic in his voice.
She smiled, seemingly unconcerned as she removed her hand. Then she spoke, her voice calm and easy, "For the sake of our houses and my brother and the Queen's pact, we need only share the room while at Winterfell."
He let out a sigh of relief and nodded, even though she hadn't directly said it, he could be sure there would be no pressure to share their bed either.
Then, she continued, her voice suddenly serious, "Once we leave for the Westerlands, there shall be no need for pretence, nor reproach if you decide that there is. There does not need to be love between us, nor discord either. Only the truth. Can we agree to that?"
This seemed entirely fair—though he was not sure where he'd stand when the time came—but he answered easily, "I can agree to that."
Her lips turned up slightly once more as she spoke, "Shall we drink to it?"
He felt himself smile lightly as he nodded before moving over to the table, and didn't bother to ask if it was wine she wanted as there could be no other. As for himself, he poured a shot or two of rum, even though he'd never had a taste for it, knowing he needed something a little stronger than wine.
It wasn't until after he'd poured the drinks that he realized he would never be able to take them both over, not unless he slid the stem of her wine glass into the space between the thumb and forefinger of his golden hand. When he had a vivid flash of the cup slipping from his grasp and spilling all over her lovely white gown, he gave up that idea and decided on taking two trips even if it made him look foolish.
Just as he extended his arm for the glass, almost from over his shoulder her own hand reached for it first.
"Thought i'd come see what there is," She said nonchalantly, standing beside him as she plucked a small cake—lemon as he saw the slice decorating the top—from the table.
He suddenly remembered the very same had been served at the feast, and wondered if it was because she liked them. He didn't have to wonder for long.
"These are my favourite," She added, before making her way over to the chairs by the fire.
Grabbing his own cup and tossing it back, he served himself another double shot before following her. She had already removed her cloak and was sitting in one of the chairs by the fire when he joined her. She seemed peculiarly unfettered with all the conflict that was brewing in his own head, she was either truly without worry, or she wore her mask too well.
It was quiet for a little while, Jaime had no idea what to say and Lady Sansa said nothing either, so they both sipped their drinks and glanced at the fire. Eventually she broke the silence.
"You don't need to be uncomfortable Jaime," She said, her voice gentle, but honest.
It was likely this, the softness in her tone, that he spoke without thinking, "I wish I could handle it as easily as you do, but I lack your experience—"
He'd only meant to be honest, but as he heard the words he realized they weren't exactly very kind, in fact could be taken very wrongly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean—" He fumbled, his eyes downcast until he heard her laugh, the sound so light and earnest he couldn't help but look up once more.
"I see Lord Bronn has gotten in your head," She interrupted, her expression only half serious, so it was a moment before her words hit him.
"Lord Bronn?" He repeated, letting the confusion show on his face.
She kept her tone light, "He was your brother's closest confident when we were briefly married. I recognize the man's work when I see it."
Her words, unfortunately, did little to help him feel at ease.
"How so?" He asked, unable to avoid it.
"I'd rather not get into it, suffice it to say, your brother Tyrion blundered rather badly when we first spoke on the day, and subsequently for the rest of the evening, though I won't put all of that on Lord Bronn's shoulders."
He understood she meant the rest of his family even without saying it, and though he'd heard of his brother's disastrous wedding day from Tyrion himself, he wasn't sure he wished to hear of it from her. Not now, at least. So in an effort to steer the conversation away, he focused on the first part.
He smiled, "Are you certain it was Lord Bronn and not your own beauty?"
He paused, face frozen in shock, wondering how that had come out and if he had just directly implied he thought that of her.
He felt his cheeks burning as he spoke, and looked away.
"I only meant—No one can match my brother when it comes to getting inside someone's head, and Tyrion is much more easily distracted by a beautiful woman—"
Gods. He'd done it again.
When he heard her laugh once more, he decided to quit while he was ahead, and finally turned to her once more.
"You know—you're probably right," He finally agreed, taking a long sip from his glass.
She looked at him a moment longer, her face an unexplainable combination of amusement and serious consideration. Finally, she reached for her own glass but paused before drinking from it.
"Thank you Jaime," She said simply, voice low, then tipped the glass back and drank deep.
A little while later she finally excused herself to sleep, telling him she hoped he did not stay up too late.
Neither spoke of the sleeping arrangements, but he promised he would not. He finished his fourth shot before he fell asleep right where he'd intended to all along, the chair he was already comfortably sitting in.
When he woke the next morning, a large fur covered the bulk of his body. He looked over towards the bed, thinking it had been her, but found it empty. He sat up and stretched, rubbing his face as he felt the slight crude leftover from the rum, and just as he was about to stand and head for the table in search of plain water, Sansa entered, fully dressed, from a different door than he'd come through.
"Good morning Ser Jaime," She said evenly.
"Good morning," He answered, voice as scratchy as he felt.
With a look that could only mean 'that's what you get for sleeping in a chair' she spoke, "I hope you slept well."
"It was not bad," He answered, in an effort to remain true. He had had plenty worse than that after all.
She nodded as if she didn't really believe him, but otherwise didn't address his words.
"My brother and the Queen would like us to break fast with them and my Uncle and Lady Roslin as they'll be leaving after. I took the liberty of having your things brought here."
He didn't get a chance to speak as Rollam entered in that moment, holding a pile of clothing that looked to be his own.
"I'll wait for you in the hall," She said, her voice unsure, before suddenly dashing out of the room.
Their sleeping arrangements remained the same from then on, though he moved to the chaise which was slightly more comfortable. Her eyes sometimes flashed in irritation at him but she said nothing about it.
By the time they left Winterfell, only a few days later, the King and Queen seemed more strained than ever, and though it was possible his new wife knew the cause, she'd never said anything to him. He pretended not to notice, as he had no clue what it could be about nor did he really want to know, so he only made his formal bows to the both of them before mounting his horse and waited for Sansa to do the same. Before she did though, she made her own polite curtsey to the Queen before hugging her brother goodbye.
They made their departure with Lord Bronn in tow, as they'd be escorting him to the Twins where they'd witness his union to his chosen Frey before making their own way to Seagard and finally Casterly Rock by sea from there.
The first night they made camp less than half a day's journey to castle Cerwyn, and Jaime found himself grateful they'd pass the place sometime tomorrow instead of stopping there for the night, though that forced them to seek shelter at a small farm. The family dutifully gave up their son's bedroom for Lady Sansa and himself, though he'd have preferred staying in the barn with Lord Bronn and Podrick and their northern escort, it would not do to leave her alone, regardless of how harmless the people seemed.
The room was small and the bed smaller still, with no other furniture but a table that barely fit a stool underneath it. When he looked over at her, he could tell she was wondering about the dynamics of fitting them both on the mattress.
"I'll take the floor," He said then, knowing he would never attempt to squeeze into a bed that size with her.
She seemed almost relieved though she tried to hide it. "Are you sure? I mean, perhaps we could both fit—"
He didn't let her finish, "The floor is fine, I've had much worse."
She seemed unconvinced still, her hands fumbling with each other, mouth half open as if to speak as she seemed to teeter between acceptance and contradicting him.
"Truly," He added lightly, looking at her openly, hoping she'd accept this, since it was nowhere near a lie.
"Alright," She finally answered, though she still seemed hesitant.
She moved past him, towards the table, and as she took off her cloak he realized the cause of her concern. This was not her room in Winterfell where she had a bath room to disrobe in.
"I'll step out for a moment," He said then, very suddenly, his voice too loud in the small room. He'd turned to the door when she answered.
"Not necessary, only remain like that for a moment."
He nodded though he wasn't sure she saw, but he began to hear the ruffling of fabric so he stood still, hardly moved, feeling strangely nervous.
"Alright," She said after a little while, but he waited one more moment before he slowly turned around.
She was standing by the bed already, removing some of the furs, presumably for him. He tried not to look at her directly, since she stood clad only in her woollen shift, but their eyes connected for a moment before she turned her back to him, and began to lay the furs out on the floor, and he understood the action for what it was. However, it was hardly needed as he only removed his cloak, belt, gloves and boots, leaving on his doublet and everything else to avoid letting this get any more uncomfortable than it already was.
"Thank you," He said once he was done.
She turned to look at him after she'd finished—he noticed that she'd given him the only pillow—and seeing that he was still mostly dressed, the corners of her lips turned up slightly despite her obvious attempt to hide it.
"Your welcome," She answered before turning to the bed and sitting down.
He tried not to watch her settle and kind of glanced about the room until the sound of her movements stopped. Then, in one swift motion—with only a momentary glance her way to see her lying on her back—he lied beside her, albeit lower, as there wasn't anywhere else he'd fit.
The room grew quiet then, except for the pounding of his heart, though he was fairly certain she couldn't hear it under his many layers of clothing and fur, and then the silent breath he exhaled to try settle it.
"Good night Jaime," She said then, interrupting the stillness that had settled in the air.
He looked up though he couldn't really see her, feeling his own lips pull up lightly before he answered, "Good night Sansa."
Thankfully he woke first, most likely because the floor though not hard was cold. Despite still feeling drowsy because he hadn't slept all that well, he stood quickly, though silently to avoid waking her, and dressed, leaving off his belt and gloves. He'd already piled the furs of his makeshift bed and was kindling the fire to warm up the room so she'd not be cold when she got out of her own bed, when she actually woke.
"You're up early," She said to his back, still sounding half asleep.
He didn't want to lie but he also didn't want to make her feel bad by admitting he'd had a bad night, so he stalled, putting the poker back before turning.
He smiled, the kind of grin he always bore when he was using his mask, "Yes well, it was cold," He answered, voice pleasant.
Her eyes narrowed a little, as if she saw right through his answer, but didn't say anything, only slid her feet down to the ground and as she began to throw the covers from herself he quickly spoke.
"I'll go ready the men, and see about breakfast."
He spared her a momentary glance before he bowed slightly and grabbed his gloves and belt and left the room before she could speak.
He entered the main room expecting the family either breaking their fast or about to, and instead found Bronn alone at the table eating, and the lady of the house cooking something over the fire. She greeted him quickly and offered him some stew, to which Jaime said of course, only he would wait for his wife. This seemed to please her, and she turned back to the pot.
He made his way over to Bronn, who was staring at him pensively. He sat despite the uneasiness he felt at such an expression.
"Good morning," Jaime said amiably, serving himself some mulled wine, wanting something hot.
"For you maybe," Bronn replied, voice slightly irritated. Jaime ignored it and him, and took a sip from his mug.
Unfortunately, his silence did not deter his friend, as he went straight to the source of his discomfort.
"I'm a Lord, yet I had to sleep outside with the other men, while you probably slept cozy and warm with your little wife."
Jaime thought of how far from the truth that was, but didn't feel like explaining nor defending himself, and only rolled his eyes, knowing Bronn had had worse nights, just like him.
His friend was seemingly looking to rile him up, as he pressed on.
"Now that I'm looking at you though, you're startin' to look a little rough 'round the edges. I can't believe i'm sayin' this, but you might want to slow it down a little. Ask your young bride to let you get some rest, otherwise you might not make it back to your Rock, and who would she do then?"
He wiggled his brows suggestively and chuckled, returning to his meal. Jaime felt himself burn with embarrassment and ire at Bronn's gall. Putting down his mug, he started with setting the man right.
"I slept on the floor, that is why I'm tired, not because—" He hesitated, not wanting to say it.
Bronn laughed harder. "What is it with you Lannister men and that ginger—"
"Don't forget that's my wife you're speaking of," Jaime interrupted him, suddenly serious.
His friend turned serious too then, and a little shocked. "I'm a proper Lord now, I don't say things like fuck and shit and cunt no more, I was going to say girl. But I see you're worse off than I thought."
What's that supposed to mean?" Jaime asked incredulously.
Bronn didn't hesitate, "Your brother wanted to fuck her—"
"What happened to—"
Bronn continued to speak over him, "But you… You're startin' to carry a real torch for the Stark girl."
Jaime felt as if he'd been punched in the chest and didn't immediately answer, though he wanted to, he simply couldn't find the words nor breath, so it was Bronn who finally did.
"I'll take that as a yes. In the words of your own brother on his wedding night—he later told me in confidence—"
He lifted his cup as in a toast, his smirk broad and wicked, "And so your watch begins."
a/n:So much of that was super corny, the ending especially, haha. What can I say? I told you guys, I indulged.
Anyway, this was a big one for me. A lot of (self)pressure to make it work considering the pairing and especially Sansa's past, and POV (despite it being a Jaime chapter). It was important to me that she have all the power in this moment, and that her wedding day feel as different from her last as possible, and while I'm never entirely satisfied with any chapter I post, I hope I achieved that.
Try not to judge Jaime so harshly, I mean, who wouldn't fall head over heels for Sansa? He has the good sense to restrain himself at least, perhaps too much, we'll have to see. Again, as always, thanks for reading. Tyrion next!