AN: Just a nice little light and fluffy chapter to wrap this one up. I can't believe it's over! I appreciate each and every one of you who have taken time out of your day to share in this journey with me. I was terrified to jump into a new fandom but you guys have been so welcoming and kind. I hope I'm here to stay for a while and I do hope you'll check out the new Braime fic I just started called Ladies, Knights and Whores. (Please trust me - I won't do anything awful to Brienne, I swear!) Have a great week! XOXO BobbiChapter 22
Even though Brienne hadn't willingly taken part in many grand feasts she knew this one was different. There had been feasts when she was a girl on her home island of Tarth and she'd seen prestigious weddings even, but she never got excited and never really understood the hoopla. That night, even though there was no grand ballroom, fancy dresses or singers with golden harps - she was excited, and she understood what it meant to celebrate and enjoy being surrounded by the people who felt like family.
The food was meager in comparison to a typical feast, but it was far better than what they'd been eating on the road, or even in Winterfell where the rationing had already begun. She had been concerned at first because it didn't seem right to overindulge while already in short supply, but Brienne later realized that the food they were eating was mostly brought from the south and wouldn't keep long without spending time salting, pickling and preserving with supplies they didn't have available anyway. It made her feel better to know they weren't over using things that needed to last through the winter and the wars.
The wine and ale was freely flowing as well and she never found her cup empty for long. She knew things would get rowdy later that night, but for right then the alcohol buzz only seemed to enhance everyone's enjoyment. Jaime looked more relaxed and happy than she'd ever seen. He even seemed to have broke through King Jon's cold exterior evident by the laugh they were sharing over something Brienne didn't hear.
It was strange to her to see both nobles and servants mingling as one, but Queen Daenerys had given everyone the night off to enjoy once things were prepared. Missandei and a handsome Unsullied man were holding each other tight on the makeshift dance floor. What they were doing wasn't the usual kind of dancing she'd seen the highborn lords and ladies do, but it looked much more sweet and romantic. Brienne watched them for a moment and imagined dancing like that with Jaime. He would have been formally trained as a child and no doubt knew how to dance very well, but there was something so free about the way the young lovers swayed together as one that she envied.
She was still watching when she heard a voice speak her name, "I trust you're having a good evening Lady Brienne."
It was the Queen. Brienne turned and gave a formal bow. "Your Grace. I truly am," she admitted with a bright smile. "We all needed this."
"Indeed," Dany agreed. "I wanted to tell you something about this morning," she continued. "It was the way Ser Jaime looked at you that convinced me to trust him." Brienne was both surprised and flattered. "For all I know he could have been lying about everything else, but when he looked at you and spoke of love… I knew he was telling the truth. No man can fake that kind of admiration." Brienne glanced over and Jaime and he caught her eye and smiled. Daenerys laughed. "See what I mean, he's so in love with you," she sighed dreamily. "I won't keep you, but I just wanted to tell you that and make sure you know what you two have is special."
"Thank you my Queen," Brienne said, bowing again. She wasn't sure what else to say and was a bit tongue tied in the wake of such a wonderful compliment.
"I'll make sure he knows too," Dany said, touching her arm briefly. "If Ser Jaime hadn't fallen in love with you… I can't say his fate would have led him to such a positive place." With a beautiful smile the queen gave a wave and was gone.
"Were you two talking about me?" Jaime said as he approached, hugging her from behind.
"I see your ego has fully inflated again," she teased him, leaning back into his embrace. "I wanna do that," she said suddenly, still enamoured by the adorable young couple on the dance floor.
"You want to dance? Of course," Jaime said, letting her go to offer his hand.
"Yes, but like that," Brienne said, nodding towards Missandei.
"Hmm… looks easy enough," he said, leading her out to the dance floor. Instead of keeping their arms up and their bodies separated a modest distance Jaime pulled her close and she put her head on his shoulder. It only took a moment for her to forget all about the fact that people might be watching them because she got lost in the feel of their bodies moving together to the music. Brienne hadn't even realized they had instruments at Castle Black, let alone people who knew how to play them, but a cute little band had been formed and they were quite good. She closed her eyes for a moment and enjoyed swaying around with Jaime. Once again she was in that place where she felt so much like a woman, a Lady even. For once she actually had to admit she wouldn't have rather been out sparring or riding instead.
"Is this what you wanted?" Jaime whispered in her ear. The sound of his voice made her body tingly. He stroked her back gently and nuzzled her cheek with his.
"Mmm hmm," Brienne replied with a sigh. She could have stayed right there in his arms for hours, but unfortunately the song ended and they switched to something much more upbeat, not really made for that kind of couple's dancing.
They slipped off the dancefloor as many others flooded on to bounce around to the new song. "Brother," Tyrion said loudly as they approached. "Come tell them how I once bedded 5 whores and exhausted them all." Brienne shook her head and smiled as she watched Tyrion pull Jaime away to corroborate his dirty tale.
Jaime was lost somewhere in the crowd when the next slower song came on, but Brienne wasn't without a dance partner. "Would ya dance with me?" Tormund asked, offering up a massive, calloused hand. Brienne found herself taking his hand immediately. Tormund knew that she was in love with Jaime and there would be no chance for him. He'd accepted it a long time ago and since then they had all developed a friendship. He still flirted with her once in awhile, but it was all in fun, to annoy Jaime. Sometimes she played along and sometimes she just laughed. But once the two of them were on the dance floor it felt a little different. Brienne realized something - it was her chance to be kind to someone, like Renly had done for her so many years ago. She didn't have to love Tormund or even pretend to, but he had feelings for her and what would it hurt to give him a little moment?
She let him hold her and they danced in silence. When they were finished she thanked him and then left him with a kiss on the cheek. He turned beet red and had the silliest grin on his face, but he was thrilled and it felt good. Brienne knew she wasn't leading him on because he was well aware of her feelings for Jaime, but it was special for him and it was nice to give him that.
Brienne tried to push the negative thoughts out of her mind, but thinking about Tormund and seeing other familiar faces around the room… she couldn't help but wonder who would survive the battle for another feast and who might be enjoying their final celebration. Another glass of wine rid her mind of those thoughts altogether, but it also left her far more drunk than she'd ever been. She was suddenly feeling really, really hot and claustrophobic and desperate for fresh air.
Leaving the laughter and music and loud voices behind her Brienne found the quickest exit and went outside. The cold hit her like a slap in the face, almost taking her breath away, but it felt good. She sucked in the fresh air and looked up into the black night. Bad idea… everything started spinning and she ended up on her ass. But it was funny. So funny. Everything was funny. She was laughing hysterically when she looked up and saw Jaime staring down at her. "Oh Ser Jaime," she giggled. "I'm afraid I've had a little too much to drink."
"A little hmm?" He gave her a smirk and then offered a hand. It was a struggle, but somehow Jaime managed to get her to her feet. "Come on, let's get you to bed," he said gently.
"No, no, no," she shook her head. "Just a little longer," Brienne begged. She wasn't ready to leave the fresh air, even if she truly was freezing at that point. Jaime undid his cloak and fiddled with it for a bit, awkwardly with his one hand, and then somehow managed to swing it around both of them and pull her into his warmth. "You're my hero," she sighed, her words slurring a bit. Jaime just shook his head and chuckled. "You're gonna be everyone's hero in this war you know. Bran said so." She felt Jaime stiffen and she turned to face him. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing to worry about tonight," he said, giving her a sexy smile and a light peck on the lips.
"Jaime, tell me," she pleaded. Brienne didn't have much patience even when she was sober. She needed to know what was concerning him.
He shrugged. "It's silly." She gave him a look. "Heroes die," he said, finally admitting his worries.
"So do cowards - and they die without honour," Brienne replied, touching his face with her freezing cold fingertips. Jaime turned his lips to kiss her fingers and it made her start to feel warmer. "Did you ever imagine you'd be here?" She asked, snuggling close to him once again.
"At Castle Black? Hells no," Jaime chuckled. "The Nightswatch never crossed my mind as a future endeavour." None of them expected the Castle and the Wall would ever be home, albeit temporarily, to anyone other than men who took the black.
"It's strangely beautiful, don't you think?" Brienne looked around. The moon was bright and you could see the ice crystals and fresh snow glittering in the moonlight. It was so quiet and peaceful. Of course the company didn't hurt either.
Jaime turned her to face him and looked into her eyes. "I have a hard time looking at anything but you." He kissed her and Brienne hugged him tightly, kissing him back. In the cold night, at the start of a long winter as far north as most living men would ever dare wander she felt content and happy. On the other side of the wall was an army like none other, ready to add many of them to the world of the dead, but in Jaime's arms she felt safe. Alone they were tough, together they were even tougher. Brienne's past had a lot of lows with a few highs, and she didn't know what the future would hold but the present - it was absolutely perfect.
Off in the distance Brienne heard a wail, followed by a loud woosh. As she turned toward the noise she was sure she saw glowing blue eyes, high in the sky… a flying beast… She started laughing at the absurdity. Just how drunk am I? She wondered.
"What's so funny?" Jaime asked her.
"I could have swore I just saw a dead dragon fly by, you know, with those glowing blue eyes?" She said, snorting with laughter again.
"Okay, we need to get you to bed," he replied, laughing along with her. "You're clearly wasted or delirious from exhaustion."
With no one to see them Brienne reached for his hand and linked their fingers as they headed back inside. She really was tired, but she hoped they wouldn't be going straight to sleep. She glanced over at Jaime and felt her heart flutter. He was beautiful and not just on the outside anymore. He was as brave and honourable as any man she knew and Brienne was proud to stand and fight beside him as equals.
My honour is greater to me than my life ~ Miguel De Cervantes