A/N: I have this nasty habit of projecting my own feelings onto fictional characters, and even though this is a bit too convoluted to be entirely mine I still worry that it's not entirely Jaime's, or Circe's for that matter, either. My apologies if they seem out of character.
In which Jaime counts his losses.
There were songs dedicated to the Lannister hair. Spun gold, spun sunlight, a lion's pelt, laughter incarnate—Jaime had heard them all. That damned Sumner commented on it often enough, back when Jaime was still a gangly squire. He used to sing verses at the door, when Jaime took too long to get dressed for his liking. Tried to set him up with other men because "Only a true man could appreciate hair as beautiful as yours, Jaime."
Cersei stirred a little in her sleep. Her hair throbbed with sunlight.
He nuzzled her neck (he would have laughed openly at any man who admitted to doing such a thing, but this was his Cersei, this was different) and breathed in. She was sweet with her perfume, some incense blend from across the Narrow Sea, and something older, more primal, the same smell that stained the sheets. He reached across her chest and cradled her ear in his palm, entwined his fingers into a fistful of her Lannister hair. None of the songs do it justice.
He kissed her earlobe, listened to the rush of air as his breath played around her flesh. When he drew back, her eyes were open. They glittered in the sunlight, and she was smiling.
Her mouth twitched, and the sleepy smile morphed into a smirk. "Morning, little brother."
"Only by seconds, sister." Jaime propped himself up on one elbow. Face blank, tone deadpan. "And you certainly weren't calling me little last night, if I recall correctly."
She laughed—whether because she was genuinely amused, or because she knew laughter was the best way to show she was unfazed, he couldn't say. Jaime let her have her little victories. She nudged his shoulder with her fingertips. He obliged and shifted onto his back—she pillowed her head into the crook of his shoulder.
The gold sunlight was turning a harsher white, as the sun rose. "My Lord husband's going to be back from hunting."
Jaime breathed out. Resigned himself to the loss of this, again. "I'm aware. Unless that damn hart finally kills him."
"It won't." Cersei's hand curled into a fist on Jaime's chest. "Nothing can kill that man."
Jaime sighed. He pushed the blankets down and braced himself for the undignified scramble for clothes, the days (or weeks or months) with his empty bed until her Lord husband was too drunk or too far away to notice a stolen night. The nights were the hardest part. He could almost pretend that he was happy, until he was in the sheets alone with the knowledge that somewhere, that drunk King was lying next to his Cersei.
She shifted her legs, and he froze. A welt ran across the back of her thighs. He hadn't noticed it in the lamplight, last night. Jaime hissed.
Cersei rolled onto her back and pulled the blanket up, above her waist. "There's nothing you can do about it, Jaime."
"That—bastard—" Jaime pushed himself out of bed. His hands clenched down on open air, where there should have been the hilt of a sword.
"Jaime, let it go."
"I—" Words always failed him, so Jaime punched the wall. His knuckles left a smear of blood against the stone. Cersei didn't flinch—her damned husband was far worse, Jaime knew. "You loved him."
Funny, that he should mention that, so long after the fact. His hand throbbed.
"Yes." His sister's eyes were blank, glinting from within the frame of her hair. "I was very young."
Cersei had been his lover since before their bodies were even full grown, before they knew the real meaning of the word. She had asked him to stop twice. The first, when they were twelve, and Rhaegar caught her eye. Jaime nearly fell on his sword. The second time was the night before her marriage to Robert Baratheon, all black hair and broad shoulders. "It needs to be right with him," she had gasped past her tears. "I'm so sorry, Jaime, but this can't—this can't work. We have to grow up now."
All he had ever wanted was to grow up with her. But Cersei needed more, so he had murmured "I understand," into her hair. It was one of the few times he had ever lied to her.
Three months later she had shown up on his doorstep with a blackened eye and a broken heart, and when she sobbed into his chest because the King could only love her, that damned dead Stark girl, ("He says her name every time") Jaime had tried to kiss away her tears. He knew it was a terrible idea—but she was his Cersei, she was his sister, his sometimes-lover, his best friend, his oldest companion, and so he anointed her with his kisses like the desperation in his lips could elevate them both into something whole, something sacred.
So, here they were, over a decade later. Cersei, with three of his children, his heart, and her welts. And him, with stolen kisses, stolen nights, fervent dreams in another man's bed.
"His death-day can't come soon enough," Jaime muttered as he tugged on his breeches.
"That won't make this any easier, you know."
"Dear sister," Jaime kissed her temple, where her hair grew in soft, "It is entirely too early for honesty."
She smiled, ruefully, and ruffled his hair. He tugged on his shirt and took one last, long look (her breasts full and glowing in the morning light, her hair the brightest halo) and stepped into the castle hall.
You could always stop, some small part of him whispered. You could try this with a normal girl, try and make it work. Stop living off of stolen time with your twisted sister.
"Ser?" A Lannister guard's voice broke his reverie. "You quite alright? You're... laughing."
Jaime waved him away and started his descent down the stairs.