"Are you ready?" Jaime asked, coming up from behind Brienne and slipping his arms around her. He rested them on the bump of her belly, drumming his fingers against the white satin of her gown.
"I am," Brienne whispered, sighing as he kissed the nape of her neck, loving the feel of his scratchy beard against her bare skin.
He reached for her hand with his good one, and when he found it, spun her around so she was facing him. He gazed into her blue eyes, brimming with love, and found that familiar shame rising in him once again.
"I am sorry for not doing this in the right order, my lady," he muttered, grazing a thumb across the white dress Sansa Stark had made for her. Brienne had grown bigger since Sansa had taken her measurements and it was a bit tight against her round stomach.
Brienne was heavy with child. The midwife at Winterfell said the babe would be born within the next two moons, though Brienne was larger than he could recall Cersei being even in the final days of her pregnancies.
"Don't be," Brienne said firmly. "I am not."
Jaime sighed and shook his head. "No maiden dreams of saying her marriage vows with a child inside her, nearly ready to come out. I suppose this is only fitting. I'm a man without honor, after all."
"Jaime," she said, sighing heavily, taking his hand in hers and holding it tightly. "Stop fretting about this. If I recall correctly, it was I who enteredyour tent the night this all began. I made a choice, and I would not change it."
Jaime remembered her choice, and remembered it well. They'd been well beyond the wall the night he'd taken her maidenhead, shuddering and starving with Lord Commander Snow and his men, preparing for the battle none expected to live through.
Jaime had been lying awake in his tattered tent, wishing Brienne was beside him.
They'd often slept side by side for warmth on their way North, but she'd been keeping her distance since they'd joined up with Jon Snow and his crows.
Though he'd never done more than hold her against him that had been enough to make the North feel less cold and lonely and he wished she'd lay beside him again.
He wanted to ask her why she'd stopped, but the mere idea of doing so made him feel stupid, made a warm blush creep up his neck at the thought.
And so Jaime lay on his back, staring at the roof of his tent, thinking about all the chances he'd had to kiss her and all the moments he'd let slip by.
They would probably be dead by the following evening, and she'd never know what she meant to him.
He lay there, bitterly scorning his own cowardice, hating himself for his shameful lack of courage. He had faced down an undead bear that very afternoon with only one useless hand, but the thought of going up to one ugly woman and telling her that she meant the world to him made his stomach twist into knots.
Then Brienne was there, her homely face shining in the moonlight as she lifted the flap of his tent and poked her head in.
"What is it?" he asked, sitting up immediately. "Is everything alright? Have the wights-"
"No." she whispered, "No wights. Everything is- everything is fine." She was crouched in his doorway, staring at him through those impossibly blue eyes of hers with an expression he couldn't read and was certain he'd never seen before.
"Oh," he said, shoulders sagging with relief. He frowned. "Then why-"
His words were lost as she all but dove through the door of the tent and pressed her mouth against his hard, her hands clutching at the fabric of his clothes.
Jaime's eyes widened in surprise for a moment before he responded with fervor, groaning at the feel of her whole body pressing down on his. Their urgent kisses, held back for so long, soon turned to more and they were rutting against each other desperately in the dark tent, nude flesh glistening as he moved inside her and whispered her name into her neck again and again.
The babe may not have been conceived that night, but it could not have been long after.
Jaime had her as often as he could after that night.
Each day they still had breath in their lungs was a gift, and now that he knew a wench as pure-hearted as Brienne could find it in her to love a man like him, Jaime refused to waste a single opportunity to take her in his arms.
There was so much going on that neither of them even considered the possibility of him getting a child on her.
They fought wights and undead beasts daily, scrounged for food in the frozen North whenever they had a reprieve from battle, and fucked like rabbits when they should have been catching what little sleep they could. When they finished bringing each other to gasping climax, they collapsed in each other's arms and slept until the sound of the crows' warhorns roused them from their brief boughts of sleep.
They were too tired and hungry and full of lust to even think about it.
It wasn't until Jaime was trailing soft kisses down her belly a few moons after they'd started fucking that they realized she was pregnant.
Jaime began his kisses at her small breasts and was making his way tantalizingly to her cunt. She was beginning to arch into him, moaning at him to hurry, for she knew his destination and knew how hard he could make her shudder when he slipped his tongue inside her.
Jaime was just moving past her navel when he pulled back and said, "How is it that you're looking so bloody healthy these days and I look worse off than a corpse?" he asked, patting her belly. "Have you been holding out on me, wench? Got a store of dried meat you're not sharing?"
She sat up, brow furrowed, "I would never!" she cried in outrage, and he laughed because of course she would never, he was only teasing and he always managed to get a rise out of her when he did. "I'm not...I'm not healthy looking! I'm as starved as you are."
He snorted derisively, "Well, you've certainly managed to get fat somehow."
"I am not fa-" she started angrily, then gasped, her hand flying to her belly. Her mouth hung open, revealing her prominent teeth.
Her eyes met his and in that moment, they knew.
Brienne stumbled to her feet, knocking her head on the low ceiling of their tent, pulling on some clothes and stuffing her feet into boots.
A part of Jaime was shouting at himself to stop her but he was too stunned to do a thing but gape at her.
They came to terms with it on their own, Jaime in his tent and Brienne out in the cold night.
Jaime stared at the ceiling for a long while, thinking about Cersei and Tommen and Myrcella, about how warm Brienne was and how good she was to Podrick Payne and Sansa Stark. He wasn't sure how much time had past when he decided he needed Brienne back in his tent and in his arms.
He had no idea what to say to her, but he'd figure it out when he had her back beneath their fur blankets.
Jaime was just about to walk out into the dark to find her, to make sure she was alright and let her know that he loved her with every last bit of his bruised and mangled heart, but before he could put his second boot on, Brienne was back, teeth chattering and snowflakes in her tangled blonde hair.
They stared at each other for a long moment, breathing hard but not saying a word. Then Jaime put his good hand behind her head and pulled her towards him for a fierce, hungry kiss.
He told her that he loved her between kisses, but many other important things went unsaid that night. They kissed until they fell asleep but never said a word about the babe growing in her belly.
They did not have to speak to know that they shared the same thoughts on the matter.
They had learned to read each other without the need for words by then, and in each other's sorrowful eyes they read the same message.
We won't live to see this child born. There's too little food in this frozen wasteland to nourish a child. We're like to starve to death ourselves, if we don't perish at the hands of an undead terror.
We must take each day as it comes, and not speak of things that will distract us, dull our reactions, make us weak. We're at war, and facing an enemy that does not sleep.
As the months passed, they continued to fight their battles and fuck into the night without ever discussing it, but as Jaime watched her belly swell, he sometimes dared to dream that all three of them might make it through the endless winter.
Then spring had come and they were still breathing.
Though Brienne had been cut and wounded a dozen times in the frozen North without ever having enough to eat, the child was still growing inside her and had begun to move about in her womb.
Jaime would often fall asleep with his head on her belly, feeling the tiny kicks against his cheek.
The Dragon Queen freed them of the threat of the Others with winged beasts and seen fit to pardon Jaime for his crimes against her house.
After that, Jaime and Brienne journeyed down to Winterfell with Jon Snow to see Sansa Stark once again, and pay their respects to the girl they had returned to her home months before.
The moment she saw Brienne, Sansa had thrown her arms around her, crying into her shoulder, saying between sobs that she was sure she would never see them again, that she had prayed to the gods for their safety night after night, never expecting them to be answered.
Brienne was patting her awkwardly, trying to sooth the girl, but Sansa continued to gush her worries and fears and joys.
Mid-sentence though, the Stark Queen had stopped, and gasped.
S he was pressed tightly against Brienne and seemed to suddenly recognize the large bump between them.
Sansa pulled back, took one look at Brienne's belly and let out a little scream.
"But you're- you're-!" Sansa squealed, her pretty mouth hanging open as she stared at Brienne in utter disbelief.
Then her eyes snapped over to Jaime who stood smirking behind Brienne, watching the scene in amusement. "Was it- was it you?"
"Do you think I'd let anyone else have her?" Jaime asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"I knew it! I knew it!" Sansa cried, clapping her hands together and looking for all the world like the girl she was rather than the queen they knew she could and would be. "Oh, I'm going to have to tell Pod straight away! He never believed me, but I knew it! I knew you loved each other! And now you're going to have a baby! Come! You must come in and eat and get warm! I can't believe you rode here when you're so far along! Come in and rest and eat."
Sansa seized Brienne by the hand and dragged her towards the castle, which was far into the process of being restored to its' former glory.
Jaime and Jon laughed as they watched a blushing Brienne stumbling along after the fierce little redhead and followed after them.
Jaime and Brienne rested at Winterfell for the next month, Sansa fretting over Brienne and forcing her to eat so demandingly that Brienne looked ready to flee whenever she saw the young queen coming.
No matter how much Brienne protested that the Queen in the North should not be worrying herself over such things, Sansa insisted mothering her.
Brienne would catch his eye and mouth at him to save her, but Jaime would only laughed and mouth back "Sorry. Staying out of it." and laugh harder when she flashed him an angry, betrayed look.
It was on their very first night in Winterfell that Jaime asked her to be his wife.
Brienne had seemed hesistant and shy at first.
She had even tried to spit out some nonsense about how he should not feel obligated to marry her, that if if he'd come to his senses now that they were no longer facing certain death, she would understand.
Jaime called her a daft bloody fool and kissed her and kissed her until she agreed to marry him, laughing into his hair.
Now they stood outside the sept, ready to walk in and become one in sight of the gods.
Brienne was staring at him, her jaw set. She was right, of course.
She had come to him willingly, night after night and had never mentioned a single misgiving about fucking out of wedlock.
She had made the choice and the ferocity in her eyes convinced him that she really did not regret choosing to defy convention by giving herself to him.
"And I am glad you did, my lady. Gods know I was too much of a coward to come to you, though I'd wanted to since before we even crossed the Neck. I wanted to from the minute you bloody chose to be my champion at Stoneheart's trial, though I also wanted to kill you for taking such a risk for me. Every moment I've spent inside you has been a blessing I don't deserve," Jaime said, pushing a strand of blonde hair behind her ear.
He sighed, "Still, now that the moment is upon us, I can't help wishing I had asked for your hand long before we crossed the Wall, so you would not have to struggle down the aisle heavy with child," Jaime said.
"First of all," Brienne scowled. "I will not be struggling! I'm still managing to get around perfectly well, thank you. Do I need to remind you that a month ago I was stabbing wights with Valyrian steel and watching them crumble to dust? "
Jaime laughed at her ferocity, "Of course not. My apologies, my lady. I meant no offense."
"You never do," she said, scrunching her face at him in annoyance and making him grin broadly. After a few moments of continued glaring, she softened, tenderly touching the side of his face. "Jaime, love, what's done is done. I have told you again and again that I do not regret anything we have done together. I am just so pleased you made through all of that alive, Jaime. There were so many times where I thought- where I thought you might not- where I thought our child might have to grow up without-"
Tears were starting to spring to her eyes and Jaime rushed to stop her from continuing to upset herself. He pressed a finger to her soft lips.
"Hush now. This is a happy day. Let's not think about what might have been. We're here. We're alive. Don't cry. You look so lovely in that gown Sansa had made for you. You can't upset her by getting all blotchy-faced."
"Lovely?" Brienne scoffed, gesturing at her enormous belly. "I look like a leviathan."
Jaime laughed, kissing her hard. "You don't."
She still looked mildly upset and he wanted her to be smiling when they walked through the doors for their ceremony.
"I do have one request for you, my soon-to-be wife," Jaime said, grinning.
"What's that?" Brienne asked warily.
"Now, I know you do not like to lie-"
"I don't," she said, fimly eyebrow raised in suspicion.
"But you might be willing to, if your husband's life was at stake, wouldn't you?"
"I might," Brienne said stiffly, the corners of her mouth twitching as she held back a smile.
"Then might I ask you go against all you stand for a tell a tiny lie for my sake?"
"What sort of lie?" she asked.
"When we reach Tarth, and your father asks when our marriage occurred...might we...might we pretend I did manage to do things in the appropriate order? Perhaps we might pretend this ceremony occured before we battled the white walkers? I don't think it would do to be killed by my own goodfather at our very first meeting."
Brienne laughed, shaking her head at him.
She was about to respond, when Sansa creaked open the door to the sept and hissed,
"Come on, you two! I cannot wait a moment longer!"
"Of course, Your Grace," Jaime said, holding out his hand to Brienne. "Shall we, my lady?"
"We shall," she said, her blue eyes shining with warmth. She slipped her hand into his and together, they walked through the doors, ready to truly begin their life together.
A/N: As always, I adore all the sweet feedback you beautiful Jaime/Brienne shippers give, and would love to hear thoughts on this!