Title: Someone Must Protect You
Rating: M for sexual content
Word Count: 5755
Summary: As the battle draws to a close, Sansa waits in Jaime's tent.
Notes: Originally written for the got_exchange.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction for which the author receives no profit.
Someone Must Protect You
Sansa listens closely as the thunder of battle roars in the distance outside of the tent. She listens, hoping that the sounds will give her some clue as to how their side fares, but truly, she has no doubt of their ultimate victory. They have Daenerys Stormborn's dragons—those awful beasts, who just seem wrong to her, and surely nothing can overcome their fire. Fire does terrible things to people. She has seen it, she knows.
But Jon has reminded her more than once that the wights who stalk the land, made to walk by the Others who set their eyes aglow, can be destroyed by fire. So, fire can't be all bad. Still, she doesn't understand the motherly affection Daenerys shows those fiery beasts and she suspects she never will. Even if they should manage to save them all from the creatures beyond the wall.
She suspects Jon could do just as well in battle without them, but she does not say this in his company. He might take it as a slight against his new blood—blood of the dragon—just as she once slighted him as being bastard born, not fully Stark. She would give anything for him just to be her brother again, not one of the three heads of the dragon. Jaime Lannister brought her to him, as he had promised, and if Jon wasn't a Targaryen, they could have rebuilt Winterfell together and let others worry about thrones. They could have tended the memories of those they had lost and rewarded those who remained loyal, but instead, Jon wages war alongside his Targaryen kin, and she, unwilling to be parted from her remaining family, hovers just beyond the battlefield, waiting.
She hates the game of thrones. She hates it because it has stripped her of nearly everyone she loved, and she hates it because Littlefinger made her so very skilled at it. Sometimes she catches herself silently plotting in her mind how she might take the confidence the new queen has in her and use it against her, because she believes she might have the skill to do it, having been so carefully taught, so carefully groomed. But, Sansa does not want to be queen, she hates the very thought of that Iron Throne. So, she stops herself, pinching the back of her hand until the thoughts dissipate, along with the sound of Petyr's voice in her head and the feel of his breath on her neck.
She is rather skilled in obfuscation, but in this moment she wishes she had been trained in the art of swordplay, like her grubby little sister. Then she might rush down into battle and fight alongside those she cares about. It's a silly wish, she knows, for Jon will return unburnt. Fire cannot burn a dragon. But Jaime. Jaime Lannister might never return. Dragons are difficult to control. Unleashed on a battlefield, they can burn their own as easily as the enemy, and Daenerys is already wary of the man who killed her father. Even if by now she had been told of the Mad King's proclivities. Jaime only survives because of Tyrion.
It need not even be dragon fire. Jaime lost his sword hand, leaving him at best half the knight he once was. He practices, sharpens his skill, and does his best to hide the deterioration of his abilities, but Sansa knows he is not what he once was. She witnessed firsthand how desperately he fights—without any elegance or finesse—when he saved her on their trip north, fulfilling the promise he made first to her mother and then to her, I will take you home.
And he does not believe in this fight. He is just as apathetic about the outcome as she is. He only fights to stay in the good graces of his brother. She worries that if he doesn't truly believe, he must have something else motivating him to fight to win.
Living would be fair motivation, but sometimes Sansa doubts whether Jaime truly believes that he should be alive. That he should have outlived his sister, their children, or even Brienne. That he deserves it.
She knows what he is, his crimes, his failings: he numbered every one along their journey together, seemingly trying to frighten her into being less gracious, less unafraid. It very nearly worked, but Sansa no longer believed in romantic songs or true knights. She knew men are very rarely all good or all bad. What counted most to her was strength and reliability, and Jaime was strong despite his hand and he was determined to follow through with his promise. That journey to bring her home seemed at times the only thing keeping him alive.
But that quest was over. And he was out there, being made to fight.
"My lady?" a nervous voice calls, drawing her attention from her hands, which she has been staring down at, thinking them useless and stupid in their uncalloused perfection. She could go without a sword hand, but Jaime requires one.
She looks up and sees her serving girl hovering with the tent flap pulled back.
"How did you find me?" Sansa demands a little harshly. She is not in her own tent. She is not even in her brother's, where one might expect to find her waiting. She is in Jaime Lannister's tent. Completely uninvited, although Brie couldn't know that. She does not even know what drew her here or how long the battle raged before her feet found their way to his simple tent.
She has no energy to pretend to be mortified at how this might appear to the girl.
Brie struggles to find an answer that will not displease her mistress, and Sansa shakes her head in irritation. "What is it?" she asks.
"Lord Tyrion said to keep you safe," she tries.
"Yes?" she presses. She can appreciate Tyrion's kindness more now that she knows true evil has nothing to do with the shapes people take. It also helps that they are no longer wed to each other against their will. "Do we need to leave?"
If the battle is going badly, they will need to flee before they are within the grasp of the enemy, who would like nothing more than to have Sansa Stark as a hostage.
"No, but I wanted to be sure of you, so I might find you quick if need be."
Sansa nods. "How does it go?"
"I don't know, my lady. I can't bear to look," the girl confesses.
Sansa would be annoyed, but she can't bear it either. So, she waves her away and turns on Jaime's stool until she can rest her head on the camp table and wrap her arms around her head until the din of battle is muted.
She sleeps. But she is only aware that she sleeps, when his voice rouses her. She thinks he says her name, but in her fogginess she only knows one thing.
"Are you disappointed?" he asks, unceremoniously tossing his helmet down on the ground with a dull clatter.
She takes stock of him quickly. He is dented and bloodied. His hair mats to his head in one place, where it looks like he is bleeding still, but he is alive. The last of his kind. Like herself.
She swallows, staring up at him from his camp stool, her fingers gripping the edge of the table before her.
"I've left you speechless," he says, as he fumbles one handed with his breastplate. "I must cut an impressive figure."
"Oh, be quiet," she orders, as she finds her feet and steps up to him, batting his hand away, so that she might assist him with one of the buckles that holds his breastplate closed.
"You're in a mood," he observes, watching in barely contained bemusement, as she awkwardly works to free him from his armor. The grace with which she can ply a needle or turn a step on the dance floor seems to escape her in this task, particularly with his eyes upon her. "You have no gentle words for a knight fresh from the battle?"
"I haven't the patience for courtesy today," she says, her hands trembling, as she tugs on a thick leather strap. "I've been very short with Brie."
"Wonders never cease."
"Please, be quiet," she begs, her hands freezing at the third fastener, as she looks up at him. When he looks back at her with an unfamiliar kind of intensity that makes her heart race, she attempts to return to her task.
"What are you doing here?" he asks so softly she could almost miss it with the rattle of men returning from battle all around them.
"Waiting," she confesses.
"Jon is fine," he tells her with a weary sigh, sinking into one hip as he lets her work.
She hasn't asked after him. "Of course he is." It was not Jon she worried about, after all. "Don't you have a squire to do this?" she huffs, fighting to pull the breastplate over his head, but he finally takes over for her, completing what she has begun.
"I've no need for one: you've done such a fine job," he says, reaching up to chuck her under the chin as if she is a child. "Besides, I don't know where he is. I lost sight of him."
Sansa squeezes her eyes closed for a moment. His squire might lie out there in the field, bloody and dying. Or already dead. She opens them to reassure herself that Jaime, however, is alive. "You're bleeding."
"You can tend my wounds next if you like," he drawls.
"I'm not your nurse," she bites back.
"No? Well then, can I be of service, my lady?" he asks in an unmistakable tone that makes his remark sound crude, particularly since he is peeling layers of boiled leather from his body to reveal his stained surcoat.
She should stalk from his tent at his crude insinuations. She should slap him across his blood smeared face. But, he looks handsome and worn and his green eyes burn with a luminosity that holds her fast. So, instead, she steps forward and presses her palm to his cheek. He is sticky with blood and rough from having not shaved. "I'm glad you're alive," she says, unable to hold back her relief.
His eyes fall on her lips. "What are you doing here, Lady Sansa?" he asks again, his voice thick. "Your brother will be missing you."
She wets her lips before she speaks, "I won't be missed for hours." Jaime risked everything to bring her home. Not her brother. Jaime has concerned himself more with her safety than anyone here today. Only, he can't bring himself to admit anything beyond the bonds of a vow made. "And it occurred to me that I've never properly thanked you," she says, as she feels her cheeks flush. He will take that as an invitation. Perhaps it is.
"Thanked me?" His gaze takes her in from foot to head, lingering in unmasked appraisal.
"For fulfilling your vow. For bringing me home," she explains, as she draws a red smudge of drying blood across his cheek as she smoothes her thumb over his skin.
"Someone should have told you not to come into a man's tent," he murmurs, though she feels his good hand warm in the small of her back, his arm encircling her even as he says it. "Killing makes a man," he begins, but stops, as her other hand grips tightly to his surcoat, bunching it in her hand, as she draws him forward.
His lips crash down on hers, and for the first time in her life she feels what it is to be kissed and to respond in kind not out of terror or calculation but with desire. This is what she wants. What she has wanted from him from the moment she realized that whatever he had done to her family in the past, this was a man she could trust, upon whom she could rely, that this was a man who loved fiercely. There was more praise in that than in honor, as far as Sansa was concerned. She would like to be the focus of that kind of intensity, instead of an echo, as she was to Petyr.
There is nothing composed in the way his mouth slants against hers, and she gasps in shock as his teeth bite hard enough into her lower lip to make her knees almost buckle. He must know enough to realize that it is pleasure and not pain that causes her to cry out, because he does not stop, does not pause before dragging his tongue across hers, bared to him in her astonishment at his forcefulness. She is suddenly abuzz from the tips of her toes to the roots of her now auburn hair, and her only thought is that she must get closer to him.
As if reading her mind, his hand slides lower, dipping below her back to grab her and close the last bit of distance between them with a firm tug. Her head drops to the side as it dawns on her that he has insinuated a muscled thigh between her legs. She scrambles at his surcoat, as his lips find her neck, blazing a hot trail over her pulse that surely beats too fast to be healthy. But how can she calm herself when he rocks her body against his leg until she moans in a decidedly unladylike fashion? The friction causes her eyes to fly shut, even though she would like to look upon him.
Her name is like a chant, which he growls between nips and kisses, his body curling over hers, claiming her, and she has never liked the sound of it so much as she does now. It is positively liberating to listen to her name spoken in such hungry tones.
And yet, she dimly hears Petyr's voice in her ear, reminding her that there must never be marks, and Ser Jaime will most certainly leave a mark the way he is sucking and biting at her neck and behind her ear. She hates the voice though, and she knows how to drown it out. "More," she whimpers, as she attempts unsuccessfully to slip her hand between his surcoat and his tunic so as to be closer to the heated skin she knows lies underneath.
He chuckles into the crook of her neck, amused no doubt by her boldness, but he does not leave her in misery for long, as he slips free of her to pull his surcoat over his head in one powerful tug. The pull of his surcoat leaves his matted hair standing upright at a ridiculous angle, which brings a smile to Sansa's face that she can see unnerves him slightly. His confidence is so much bravado and easily shaken. She wonders if it is as obvious to others, who are not as skilled in quiet observation. His smiles are just as wide since he lost his right hand. His taunts just as rude. But he truly thinks himself irreversibly damaged, and he is always awaiting the jape at his expense even if it is not forthcoming. Certainly not from her. They are all missing something now; he is merely short one hand.
She reaches up to smooth his golden hair back down. There are grey strands that mix with the gold and one of his arms ends in a stump, but she thinks him very fine. His smile shows nearly all of his impossibly white teeth, so that he looks perfectly feline—a true lion—as he unhooks her grey cloak and it falls to the floor in a heap of scratchy wool. She is happy to be rid of it even in the chill of winter.
He looks as if he going to kiss her again and she rocks forward in anticipation, when he stops, turns on his heel, and walks to the entrance of the tent. Sansa feels a pit open in her stomach as she watches him, fearing that he is about to walk away from her, but he only moves to secure the ties on the flap that keep it closed in case of wind. Or unwanted visitors. At least, it would slow them down.
"Someone might take it into their head to come looking for you. This might be as likely a place to find you as anywhere else," he tosses over his shoulder.
True enough. Brie knew just where to find her, after all. "My girl knows I'm here," she admits, as he strides back to her and runs his hand down the sleeve of her gown before pulling her roughly against his chest.
"Then we best hope she is discreet," he says, pressing a kiss to her temple, as he reaches back up to trace her once more, this time from her shoulder over the outside of her breast and down her waist, his hand following the curves she has only fully developed since her last name day.
"I don't care," Sansa breathes, feeling reckless and unhinged, as he urges her back until the backside of her knees find the rough edge of his camp bed.
"Funny, I'd rather not be run through by your brother after managing to survive this battle," he says, his reticence undermined by the fact that he is pushing her down into the bed and following after her.
Sansa tries to freeze time in her mind, so she might memorize the feel of his weight upon her and his hand fighting with her skirts, desperate. She has unmade Jaime Lannister, the one they used to call Kingslayer. If he ever tries to intimidate her into conceding to his wishes again, she will call upon this memory.
She smiles to herself as she states calmly, "He wouldn't. And he isn't my brother." Not truly, though they refer to each other as such. The dragon has claimed him, just as the dragon has claimed Jaime's brother.
He stops to level her with a look. "I doubt he'll care much about the distinction."
"If I want you, he'll," she begins, but then his hand it sliding over her woolen hose, following the curve of her calf, over her bare knee, lingering at the softest part of her thigh, and she finds that words escape her. He isn't the only one losing control.
She arches at his touch, silently begging for more, but he has already moved on. His fingers skim the edge of her smallclothes, skating over her so lightly that it raises goose flesh along her arms. His hand hovers there as he asks her, "My lady?"
Without giving a moment's thought to her response, a string of 'yes's follow, and while she is a maid, she is fully aware of what she is saying 'yes' to, for she is a woman as well. He requires no further permission, when he hooks his fingers into the linen fabric, pulling.
She should be satisfied by the throaty groan he makes—further evidence of his undoing—as his hand spreads her legs apart and brushes her nakedness, but the hunger within her burns ever brighter as his mouth finds her thigh, and she covers her own mouth to avoid sobbing at the feel of someone else there. He moves over her until he can pepper her bosom with open mouthed kisses, as his fingers caress her, but her dress covers more skin than she likes. His touch is gentle, but as he looks over his nose at her, his eyes burn fiercely, promising something more.
She must have more. When she says his name, it sounds like a plea and her cheeks burn brightly.
She reaches out to him, grasping him by the shoulder to bring him back over her fully. She wants to feel his arms cage her in, his body pressing her into the feather mattress tick of his bed. She wants his lips against hers.
"I won't let anyone harm you or take you away," she promises him, as he stretches out over her with her skirts bunched between them and her nakedness below the waist only covered by his own body.
He cards his fingers through her hair, wrapping a strand about his finger at the end. "You intend on protecting me?" he asks with more seriousness than she expects. She thought he might laugh at her vow.
"Someone must," she says softly.
Perhaps he means to show her something, when he seizes her wrist and pulls it above her head. He holds her there, his fingers biting into her flesh and his eyes locked on hers for what feels like an impossibly long time, as Sansa fights the urge to squirm beneath him until she can feel the sensation she felt when his thigh was between hers. By the time he releases her to undo his breeches and slip them down over his hips, she feels as if she is a tightly strung bow. There is no room in her mind for misgivings or even shyness, as she feels the blunt end of him brush against her.
A sharp stab of pain and a burn quite unlike the pleasant burning in her belly Jaime began to generate only moments before brings her back sharply enough to make her yelp and jerk, as he drives into her.
"Fuck," he curses, looking down at their joined bodies and fisting the pillow beneath their heads. "You're not…" he begins, but does not finish.
She digs her fingers into his shoulder, her breath coming in shallow pants as she stares up at the top of the tent. Jaime Lannister is between her legs with all Jon's troops just outside the canvas flap. She has just given him her maidenhead. And apparently he knows it.
She can sense that he wants her to say something—his eyes are begging her to say something. Most likely to tell him that he is mistaken, that her reaction did not mean what he thinks it means, but for the moment she can't respond. She should not have given herself away so carelessly. Petyr schooled her to be quiet, but the pain startled her. She should have known to expect it, but her mind was drowsy with arousal, and she didn't think to prepare herself. However one does such a thing. The vaguely nauseating feeling of failure sweeps over her.
"Gods, woman. Have you lost your mind?" he growls into her ear, his breath hot against her skin.
He knows it and he is not pleased, it would seem.
She swore to her maidenhood, when Tyrion had their marriage put aside, but perhaps no one save Tyrion truly believed her. Perhaps if she had submitted to an examination by the septas, which Tyrion said was wholly unnecessary. Perhaps not even he thought she escaped Littlefinger intact and meant to spare her. She had grown very skilled at delicately putting Petyr off. Mourning her lady mother. Mourning Harry. Mourning Sweetrobin. But she was running out of people to mourn and his bedroom was too close to hers, his kisses to insistent.
"Is it very bad?" she asks, sounding like the Sansa of old—young and uncertain—as she shifts slightly underneath him until the pinching is mostly relieved.
His eyes close, as he moves inside of her and then stops again, looking as if he is in pain. "That's the damn problem, Sansa: it's very good," he says through gritted teeth.
If she has not disappointed him, if he is only reluctant, she can manage that. She can soothe him, for she is good at that. "It doesn't matter," she says with more certainty. Harry would have taken it if he had not been poisoned. Petyr would have taken it if he had not been shoved. One of Jon's bannermen would have taken it, when an appropriate match could be made. Now she has given it. She grabs his face, framing his square jaw with her hands, so he must look at her, when she says, "There is already so much blood, Jaime." Blood on his face, blood on the bed, blood in the fields, and on her hands, on both of their hands. What does a little blood signify?
He sighs and strokes her brow with a tenderness that was not there previously, as he rocks his hips into hers.
She will be sore, she can tell, but the bite of the pain is gone, and she focuses on the feel of his chest against hers, his hand tangled in her hair, his handsome face a hairsbreadth from hers, and the nonsense he murmurs into her ear, as he slides in and out of her, setting up a slow rhythm that is less uncomfortable and more pleasurable with every passing moment.
She has wondered what this would be like—her and him—for many moons, just as she once wondered vaguely about what it would be like to lay with her lord husband. A guilty form of speculation as she drifted off to sleep. Here in this tent, it is not so far off from what she first dreamt of with Jaime, when they were miserable, traveling north through cold and snow, doubting whether they would reach Jon alive. Indeed, a tent would have been a luxury compared to what she dreamt of on the hard, frozen ground, while they shared a blanket for warmth.
She wonders, as she listens to the sounds they make together—primitive sounds that make blood rush to her face—whether he ever imagined this moment. She would ask him, but she is not so bold; she has expended her boldness already. Instead, she works a hand underneath his tunic, caressing the smooth of his skin there at his side, where he is narrow despite his age, where he is not marred by scars, where she can feel the play of the muscles beneath his skin as he moves against her, inside of her.
There is a reason this is something for lord husbands and lady wives. She has never been so close to another person, but instead of feeling exposed or vulnerable, she feels perfectly cocooned in his strength. It is as if he is making another promise to her.
She knows already that she was not meant for Joffrey. Maybe she was meant for this, for him.
His golden hand is a cool distraction against her bare thigh, when he drags it down her body and draws her leg up alongside his hip. Suddenly the angle has changed, and Sansa buries her face in his neck as the feel of him becomes more intense, more tightly focused. His hand has no give as it presses to her hip, helping her meet his quickening thrusts. She thinks she knows what he wants, and she imitates his movements, his rhythm, rocking up to meet him, and when he groans, Sansa smiles to herself.
She has stirred something inside of him, and his hips begin to snap more quickly, more erratically, and her heart beats against her chest like a bird against a cage at the sensation and the knowledge that this is real. She is not lost in her head, lost in fantasy. This is real.
He struggles for a second, shifting the weight of his body onto the forearm of his other arm, as he slides his good hand between their bodies and touches her once more there, where it felt so good. She can't help the whimper that escapes her lips as he rubs her and whispers huskily, "Almost there."
Almost where, she would ask, but then her whole world closes in on one small point and she is throwing her head back, as her muscles jump and she feels numb and somehow more alive than ever. She is so distracted by the waves of pleasure that roll through her body that she misses the chance to look into his face so that she might see whether he is similarly thrown by whatever this is, as his hips break hard against hers and he mouths filthy, irreverent words until he empties his seed inside of her.
Sansa brushes back a strand of hair that has fallen across her brow, and wets her lips before speaking, "I'll need help in Winterfell. Help rebuilding. And some of the men may not want to bend the knee to a woman."
He raises his hips up off the bed, sliding his breeches back on, as he answers her, "Have you ever thought of growing a beard?" She frowns and is about to complain, when he shifts onto his side and rests his hand atop her waist. "Men are distracted by your face, my lady."
"Are you?" she asks, her head tilted on the pillow to face him.
"It's a good face," he says with a slow smile.
She rolls her eyes at herself, thinking it was foolish to try to force him into a confession. Jaime is not that easily trapped. Besides, there are beautiful women everywhere, and she suspects that is not the appeal in this case, just as she thinks him handsome, but wants him for other reasons. And if he had stayed with her until now out of duty, out of a desire to reclaim his honor, he has thought very little about honor in the space of the last few minutes.
"Sansa," he says more seriously, "your brother will provide you with whatever support you might desire."
She places her hands over his, pressing it into her middle. "Then where will you go, ser?"
The lines between his brows become more prominent as they knit together in thought. "I don't know." His hand slips free of hers to wrap around her waist and draw her in towards his chest. "Where do you imagine one handed men with soiled reputations are desired commodities?"
The queen insisted that he not be given Casterly Rock. That was to be Tyrion's and even if he would have given it to Jaime, she would not hear of it. The eldest Lannister may have saved the whole population of King's Landing from burning, when he put an end to her father's life, but Daenerys' forgiveness only extends so far. She will not have the Kingslayer establish a stronghold, have men serve underneath him, wield wealth and power. After he proves his allegiance by shedding his blood, she will no doubt want him gone from her sight.
"I'd like to get you out of this," he adds in a lower register, as his hand strokes her breast through her dress.
She ignores him, since she must speak to her purpose before more time passes and she must pull herself together and return to her own tent in case Jon does come for her. "You would be out of the way in the north. Daenerys could forget about you." It could be the two of them, the two who were left behind.
"What kind of reckless plan are you proposing?" he purrs, teasing her.
Sansa bites her lip, a habit she once scorned in Arya, but which she sometimes indulges in herself now, a piece of Arya kept alive in her. It gives her the space to breathe before she poses her question as composedly as possible, "Shall I pull one of the maesters away from their healing arts to make me some moon tea or shall I go speak with my brother about whom I should like to be at my side in Winterfell?"
His eyes shift away from hers, the green of them going dark with something other than arousal. His jaw works, as the silence of the tent envelops them. Time slows until he finally responds, "I still love her."
He could mean Cersei. He could mean Brienne. She is not sure and she knows better than to ask. His confession as it stands still feels more intimate than his bedding her. He would not say those words to just anyone. It costs him to admit it.
It costs her to hear it even if she tells herself she doesn't believe in songs, that she hasn't for a very long time.
Sansa manages to nod.
He disentangles himself from her and sits up in the bed, sinking his head into his hand. "You don't just want a one handed master-at-arms?" He sounds so weary. Whatever rushed through his veins after the battle is spent.
She sits up, and trails her hand down his neck and back, repeating the motion slowly. She leans into him, resting her head upon his hunched shoulder, close enough that she can smell the sweat of his body. "I don't want to be married off," she whispers. "Sold to someone in exchange for land and a title and loyalty. I don't want that, Jaime," she says, her voice beginning to shake as she clutches him. "I dread it."
"You sound like her," he says, turning in her grasp to mumble into her hair.
"I think you might love me a little," she ventures.
He tips her head up, looking into her eyes with a frown. "Half the men in the Seven Kingdoms are in love with you."
It's not exactly an answer, and she suspects he means something other than love. She has seen that look in other men's eyes and it isn't love.
He rubs his thumb across her lower lip, as she looks up at him expectantly. "It sounds as if you need saving. I thought you were going to protect me," he drawls.
"I will," she promises, her chest rising and falling, as she fights off tears.
"From what, exactly, hmm?"
Sansa swallows, composing herself. "Loneliness, purposelessness, unkindness," she tries. She will be kind to him. She will wake him when he has those terrible nightmares that make him thrash and shout. She will put him to work. They can stand together in the north and do something with their lives. At least rebuild something, even if it is just a castle.
She could be a good lady wife. She is almost certain she still has the ability to do that.
"I couldn't save her," he finally says, as he wraps his large hand around her shoulder and trails a thumb over the thin skin in the notch of her neck.
"But, we can save each other."