Pod wished, not for the first time, that he knew more about how to be a proper squire. He was all too award that he wasn't really that good, and the other squires back in King's Landing had laughed at him for it, but he'd left them behind, now. And was on a real quest, and he bet none of the other squires had ever been near one either.
And the lady – was he allowed to call her a lady? Or was he supposed to call her 'ser?' – the lady never laughed at him or hit him when he did something wrong. She didn't talk to him too much at all, but when she did it was always a kind word or a good thing to say, or a 'Thank you, Pod,' as she swung up on her horse.
A few days of that and Podrick Payne would have followed her off the end of the earth if she had suggested it.
But the lady – ser? It would be easier to call her just Brienne but that wasn't right either – was in a bad mood again tonight, but not an angry bad mood like Lord Tyrion had sometimes, just a sad kind of disappointed bad mood, and that was worse, he thought. He couldn't help thinking that somehow he'd done something to disappoint her, even if she had said 'thank you, Pod,' just as usual when he helped her remove her armor.
And Podrick wanted to make it up to her! So he was a little away from the fire, trying to polish her armor and having a hard time because he kept getting fingerprints on the places where he finally managed to get a shine, and kept dropping pieces because they were heavy and awkward, and he felt so stupid for not being able to do this better, because he was supposed to be her squire.
But he was not going to sniffle.
"Pod, what are you doing?" Ser Lady stirred from the sedentary position she'd taken for the last long while, staring into the flames, and looked up. "You don't have to sleep all the way over there…"
"Not sleeping," Pod said, sheepish, ducking his head in shame. "Trying to clean your armor."
There was a long silence, and Pod quailed, not sure what he was expecting. Then Lady Ser sighed. "Leave it, Pod. It doesn't need cleaning. Sleep."
"I only want to be a good squire," Pod protested, and almost heard Ser Lady grimace. He winced.
"You are a good squire, Pod. Thank you. Go to sleep."
One thing Pod did know, though, was that there was definitely no other lady or ser who was as good to him as Ser Lady was.
And if she asked, he'd probably jump off the end of the world. And then the last words he heard would probably be 'thank you, Pod' and wouldn't that be a nice way to die?