Jamie clenched his side in agony as he trudged up the secret passage to the Red Keep. His unpleasant encounter with Euron Greyjoy hadn't been in his plans, and he certainly hadn't escaped unscathed. But at least the bastard was finally silent. His mocking jeers still rang in Jaime's ears just as they had echoed off the stony cliff where he'd been left to die.
At his side, the wound Greyjoy had given him oozed with fresh blood, but to Jaime's eyes it only appeared to be a mere flesh wound. An unpleasant but endurable last gift from the bastard.
With grunt of discomfort, Jamie continued on in his quest to reach the hidden depths of the Red Keep. He had reasoned to himself that this was the most likely place for Cersei to keep Amarah. It was the most well-protected place in the Red Keep, the one that would prove the most difficult from where to retrieve the princess. So like Cersei to hide her here.
Rounding the corner, his blurred vision could make out the shape of the dragon skulls in the dim light, dwarfing everything else in the cavernous space. The sound of his heavy pants was his only companion as he marched on to his intended destination. If he had hoped for an easy escape (which he wasn't foolish enough to dream of in any case), he would have been disappointed by the sight that greeted him in the dungeons.
His sister's venomous voice floated through the stale air. Tracing the sound of it to a door standing ajar along the vast corridor, he crept through the prison where so many unfortunate prisoners had met their slow and lonesome fates. He approached the dank room that housed the voice, feeling his heart sink to his stomach at what he saw there in the darkness.
Cersie bent over a crumpled figure in the darkness, a wicked blade of a knife glinting in the torchlight as she held it to the silent figure's throat. Despite the darkness, he could tell it was his twin. The light of flickering torches played across the strands of golden hair haphazardly falling about her shoulders as she leaned over the prostrate figure she threatened. Aside from the golden locks, there could be no mistaking that venom-filled tone he had once been foolish enough to love.
That was all he said, but that one syllable contained a myriad of emotions. He would most likely die in this place, Amarah too. Even now, the walls of the city crumbled beneath the breath of the dragon queen's beast. But Jaime wouldn't let his princess die like this. Not Amarah. Not the woman he loved more than life itself. The woman who had shown him how to truly live. While he still drew breath, he would spare her from this gruesome fate at the hand of her enemy.
Cersei lowered the knife, turning back to look at him though she had to squint through the darkness.
The knife clattered to the floor, forgotten. Her feet dragged across the stones, scraping sharply on the rough surface as she went. Trembling, her hand reached out to him, cradling his face in her bony, cold grasp.
He took in the sight of her, waiting to hear her speak and not trusting his own voice to form words. Her skin was paler than normal, a sickly wash of white glowing palely in the dank blackness of the prison. That wasn't what shocked him though. The hateful lucidity that for so long had lurked in the depths of her emerald gaze was gone, replaced by a desperate look of defeat. He had expected to find hatred in her eyes, not this grim resignation. It shook him to his core.
Jaime might have been tempted to feel sorrow for his twin if he hadn't caught sight of the little lump lying to the side of his feet, like a forgotten rag in a heap of discarded laundry. Shaking off her touch, he bent down, instinctively picking it up with tender grace. The little body was hidden beneath a layer of caked-on blood. His eyes scanned the features of the child, its transparent eyelids and tiny fingernails hidden beneath a layer of grime. Eyes and fingers that would never move in life. He ran his left hand over the tiny head, covered by a thin layer of dark hair the same shade as his mother's, the soft strands brushing softly under his questing fingertips.
While running his touch across the head of the still little figure, Jaime grew cold, his heart hammering in a frantic beat that signaled the despair of a grieving father. This was his son, Amarah's child, and it was stone dead.
"This is your fault."
He kept the little body in his left arm while the hand that had been memorizing its features moved to the woman in front of him. The cry that escaped Jaime's lips didn't sound human, not even to his own ears. It was a sound ripped from his throat without volition or consciousness. His body's reaction to the grief and anger raging through his veins.
Without fully realizing it, he wrapped his fingers around the fragile bones of Cersei's neck, squeezing the life force from her with every ounce of strength he still possessed. Clawing frantically, she tried to dislodge the obstruction to her windpipe, but Jaime's grip never slackened, as firmly planted there as the hatred that bloomed for her in his grief-stricken heart.
He didn't know how long he stood there like that, a dead child in one hand and his dying sister in the other, but eventually her struggles faded, the little light that had been left in her eyes seeping away with each passing moment. Her clawing grip slackened, and her body slipped from his grasp, dropping to the ground in a heap. She lay still in death. Still and silent, just like the son she had stolen from him.
Not willing to relinquish the precious bundle, he kept it pressed to his side, ignoring the dead woman at his feet for the other figure lying still on the other side of the room. His blood thundered in his ears as he knelt down next to her, not daring to hope that she still might live. Jaime prayed to every god he had never believed in that she still drew breath.
Amarah's eyes were closed. The dark sweep of her lashes fanned across the delicate skin of her cheeks, but, to his relief, there was still a splash of color in her face. He cradled her head in his lap, gently slapping her cheeks to rouse her. A quick glance at her body revealed a splotch of ruddy blood red near the juncture of her thighs. The amount of blood stunned him. How could she have lost so much and still live?
Redoubling his efforts, he desperately patted her cheeks and called her name in a frantic whisper. "Amarah. Amarah. Amarah." The name dropped from his lips like the plea of a dying man begging for one last chance to live. Except he had no care for his own life, only hers. He needed to see those gray eyes open one last time.
The frenzied beat of his heart slowed the slightest bit in relief when her lashes fluttered, rising slowly to reveal those eyes that had been present in all his dreams since he left her that day at Winterfell. Her cracked dry lips moved just enough to form one word. "Jaime."
Tears blurred his vision, falling from his eyes unheeded as he bent closer to her, covering her dirty, bruised face in a cascade of desperate kisses. "I'm here, princess." His voice shook with his sobs.
She reached a hand up to still him, the weak press of her delicate fingers moving his face back far enough to look her in those lovely eyes. "Our son, he – " She couldn't finish the sentence, tears flowing down her face to match his own.
Shifting the little bundle from his arm where it was resting, Jaime laid the little boy's body on her chest, moving her hands to clasp him to her chest. "He's beautiful. He's so beautiful, Amarah."
Her lips moved the slightest bit upward in a hint of a smile though she still continued to cry, little whimpers periodically escaping her throat. They sat there like that for a time, grieving the son they would never have the chance to properly meet. Mere moments passed, or it could have been several minutes. Jaime couldn't be sure.
Eventually Amarah's voice broke the silence punctuated only by the sound of their soft sobs. "We're going to die, aren't we." It was a statement, not a question.
He had never lied to her, and he wasn't going to start now in the last moments they would likely spend together on this earth. Even if he could manage to get her out of the dungeon cell, there was no way they could escape the keep. Tunnels providing a path to freedom had crumbled beneath the fiery breaths of the dragon that laid waste to the city. He didn't voice the words, just shook his head to confirm her suspicions.
She squeezed his hand that clung to hers. "I'm not afraid." The words ghosted past her lips on the softest of breaths, delicate in their confidence. "I'm here with you."
"I love you." That was all he needed to say. Nothing else. She knew the rest.
They waited there together, just like that. Silent and at peace. The rumbling of collapsing stone drawing nearer and nearer with each passing moment.
The noise of destruction was almost on them now.
However, just at the moment Jaime expected the foundations to shake away from underneath them and the walls to fall down on their heads, the rumbling miraculously stopped.
The city had gone completely silent.