Being and becoming
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.
Author's Notes: A bit longer than expected but here it is.
There was a man on her bed. It was a little over two in the morning when she realized there was an arm about her waist, a hand dipping dangerously low on her abdomen and warm breaths on her nape. She twisted, heart pounding in her chest, blood thumping in her head, jerking free of the tangle of limbs (one calf had wounded itself around her leg) and pushed herself out of the bed. She had the baseball bat she keeps under her bed in an instant and the phone she set to alarm, ready to dial for the police. She flicked on the lamp.
A swoosh of air left her and she stood there gaping, her heart still hammering into her chest, threatening to spill out when the man on her bed blinked back heavy-lidded eyes. "Brienne," he rubbed his eyes, adjusting to the light, "What are you doing? Back to bed." And he slid closer to the spot where she had laid seeking the warmth left over and threw the covers wide beckoning for her.
She made an incredulous face, the adrenaline dying down. "What are you doing here?" and acting as if this is a regular occurrence to you? Which it is, but he was supposed to be somewhere else and not here, somewhere down in Dorne and he was not supposed to be back until the next month. She held still the bat in her hands, afraid of what he would do. Was it not enough that he is already in her head? Does he need to be in her bed as well? Yes, a traitorous voice in her head said. But sometimes it exasperates her, this normality about sharing sleeping space together yet sharing very little of everything else. She shouldn't have been listening to Margaery. Her mind was filthy enough as it is (what with Jaime there), it didn't need any more mental images from her brunette friend.
"It's cold," he blinked an eye open, "Come back to bed wench." He buried his face in her pillows and she saw that he was not wearing a shirt underneath the blankets. She had the mind to tell him to put a shirt on when he was suddenly on his feet and was pulling her back to bed.
"J-Jaime!" her back hit the mattress with a thud and Jaime reached to turn off the lamp and threw the covers about them. His hand snaked around her middle, searching for warmth against her skin before settling against the slope of her waist, fingers thrumming against the exposed bit of flesh between her shirt and pyjamas.
"Sleep," he murmured against the side of her neck, every breath ghosting against the sensitive patch of skin under her ear, the moistness of his warm breath sending a jolt of shivers down her spine.
"What are you doing here?" she finally managed to ask, voice not as steady as she was hoping for. He moved then, shifting to eke out more of her warmth and his toes touched hers as he half-lay against her, a corner of his chest pressing against hers. The hand on her waist curling to toy with the hem of her shirt tentatively before slipping underneath to press finger pads against her ribs. She hissed.
"Sleeping," he muttered, eyes closed, lashes brushing against her cheek.
"This is my bed," she tried to move but his weight was pinning her and she swatted the hand that had snaked under her shirt when it came dangerously close to the underside of her left breast. A flutter rose in her belly and settled and she felt every strand of hair falling from his face into hers and every patch of skin of hers joined to his burn.
"Share. Didn't they teach you that in school?" he was very much awake, she could sense. He was feigning drowsiness she was certain. He pressed a smile against her neck and she had almost punched him but his tongue darted out to moisten his lips and slid along her skin. She stiffened, she knew he was toying with her.
"Sleep in your own bed," she whispered, a hitch in her breath and there were ghosting touches again on the underside of her meagre breast. She buckled and he let out a groan. Frowning, she looked at him and found him with a pained look on his face, his green eyes glinting emeralds in the dark.
"Careful," he murmured, broken words on the hollow between her collarbones.
She didn't register him slowly pressing his mouth to her neck. She began to worry, was he injured? Is that why he was here? Where? He had come once with his broken hand, messy and bloody and she had dragged him to the hospital where he was put in a cast for months. She reached out to brush against his back, looking for any wound, his nape, his arms, but there weren't and his only response was to breathe shallowly against her throat.
"Brienne," he skimmed his wandering fingers against her side, brushing her breast (which drew a sharp gasp from her) and sliding around to slip down her back, his other hand, still weak and numb even after the cast was removed, he used to prop himself up, to let him face her.
"Jaime," she stilled, watching the play of shadows across his face. She had known him for almost five years now, there were flecks of silver on his beard, but he remained golden, golden after all these years and all those things that had happened to him—the loss of his family, his hand, the loss of her—and he was near, so near and here.
"Don't squirm too much," he whispered, too close and his breath brushed against her parched lips.
"Are you well?" she ignored the continuous almost-caresses of his hand underneath her back and tried to focus on his eyes, and not drown in them.
"Believe me," he licked his lips, "I've never been better."
"Did anything happen?" she tried to sit up but his weight on hers prevented her to.
"I had an…enlightening," he said the word as if relishing it, "Discussion with my brother."
"Who else wench," his hand snaked up to brush against her breast again and she hissed and made a wordless threat. He laughed, rich and warm, breaking the stillness of the almost-morning.
"Why are you here then? Shouldn't you be in Dorne? And get off please, and your hand is inside my shirt," she placed a hand between them, finally free from the constricting weight of his body earlier but ended up curling it against his naked chest.
"I know where my hand is Brienne," he rolled the "r" in his mouth and smiling smugly he added, "And I like it where it—Ow! " She punched his arm. Their first meeting had never been that friendly, there were mockery and insults and bitter judgements. But it was Catelyn Stark who sent the two of them together to Harrenhal to work out the funds embezzlement charges against the Boltons. It was hard enough considering the Boltons' shifting allegiances but it was made much worse when the Freys' name floated. Jaime was quick-witted and knew where to look and she was patient and focused and soon they were unravelling the mysteries of the missing funds. It was one long year of endless bickering for them and one long year of realizations and by the time they went back to the Riverlands, they had developed a certain respect for one another. They had been separated for a time when they were put in different cases (him back in the capital and her to the Vale) but surprisingly for Brienne, Jaime had kept in contact and when they saw each other again in the capital after half a year of not seeing each other he had made it so that by the end of that day she was staying in the spare bedroom in his apartment in the plush district of Aegon's Hill, eating the dish he made and watching recorded episodes of television shows he was following. And it became some sort of a routine. When Catelyn told her she would be staying at the city for a longer period than expected, Jaime offered her his spare bedroom but she insisted on getting an apartment of her own and soon he was crashing into hers and hogging her couch. Then there was the accident with his hand and months of rehabilitation followed but his hand was never the same. And then his father died and his stepsister, her, Cersei (until now she could not say her name), got married. She let him slip into her bed the night of his stepsister's wedding. He had cried then but she did not say anything and just held him. In the morning she made him breakfast and he was back to his usual snarky self. But the following days he made himself scarce until he was nowhere in sight for almost three months.
"You don't seem to be hurt anywhere," she said, mostly to herself, ruling it out. "Get off."
"You're warm," he grinned, eyes not leaving her.
"Put some clothes on," she frowned.
He cocked his head to the side, regarding her mischievously, "But I think that, from the way you look at me, you'd rather have me wearing less."
"Shut up Jaime," she knew he was joking but she blushed nonetheless. When had she started thinking about him like that? She could not tell, she woke up one day with her head filled with him. During the Cersei issue, he seemed to have forgotten Brienne's existence, he only appeared the night of his stepsister's wedding. She had accepted then that there was nothing really between the two of them, only warmth and words and hurt to share and he comes when he needs something and she welcomes him. Some nights during those three months when he disappeared she would think how he is a man and how all men jest. She was probably a joke to him, though she would like to think that he was different from all other men, that there was only one Jaime and that this Jaime, this Jaime who shared her bed and couch many nights does not jest. He was not jesting when he touched her, arms circling her waist, head burrowed in her neck, or it could be that she was blind and could not see and hear and feel the jests in his touches. She had thought briefly then how people say that love is blind. But she is not in love.
"If I shut up what will I have in return?" his breath was much closer and she could see the outline of his face in the dark.
"It's 2 AM Jaime. I have a meeting with Catelyn first thing in the morning." She looked away, the blush in her face creeping to spread on her neck.
"Should I send Catelyn a message now?" his voice was honey and mead against her cheek as he pressed his mouth to speak against her skin.
"What are you doing!" she tried to push him away but his hands had shot up to pin hers down. She had spent three sleepless months before he finally decided to show up again. When Catelyn told her she would be taking the first train to High Garden to assist the Tyrells, she texted him just to inform him in case he decides he needed her sofa. It took all her self-confidence to send him a text, because yes, why would he have need of her sofa anyway? He showed up that night and slept on her couch and he saw her off in the morning. There was something different about him but she forgot all about it when she reached High Garden. He was there in High Garden the following day and Margaery Tyrell, who had become friends with her after said something she did not understand. She was provided with a serviced apartment in one of the Tyrell hotels and he rented the apartment beside hers. At night he would slip into her apartment and make dinner and slip into her bed to share her warmth. She repeatedly told him he has his own bed or she has a couch which he can use but every time he ignored her so she eventually stopped pointing out the existence of other sleep-able surfaces and began leaving her door just a tiny fraction open whenever he came a little too late than expected but she nevertheless tried to send the message that he was not invited, totally not, but he never seemed to have gotten any of it. He was there every night since.
"What I should have done years ago," his tone was serious now yet there was still the sensuous fluidity in his tone.
"What?" she tried to kick him in the shin but he only laughed and held her closer. She tried to understand what it was he was talking about but couldn't. The past years had been rather blurry to her, yet somehow Jaime had blended right into her memory of the past years. After High Garden, she was back in the capital by the end of the year and Jaime was back with her. He would go where she would be assigned. He had made some changes to his contract with Catelyn he said and that he and Brienne were a team now. He gave her a spare key to his apartment and he stole her key and made a spare for himself. And years had passed since then, Jaime slipping in and out of her house unnoticed and there were days when he acted weird, touching her and saying things which only baffle her. It is only now that Brienne seem to understand Margaery's words.
He quirked a brow up, a grin playing on his lips when he slowly lowered himself. She panicked, yet she did not push him. Her body hummed with anticipation, every one of her senses heightened and she felt every little breath he expended but she did not close her eyes and watch him watch her, and searched his face for something that would tell her he was joking. Oddly enough there was none. When had it begun? This feeling, this fluttering feeling beginning in the pit of her stomach spreading to her toes, a little shivering that made her curl her calf around his and push herself out of the bed a little to meet him in the space between. Maybe it was when they stood at the edge of the tallest cliff in Tarth and he held her hand while staring out into the sea, a lifetime of memories, almost-loves and hurt and losses between them and he told her that he had seen this moment a thousand times in his dreams but that that moment was much much beautiful in real life and he looked at her, a different sort of look that had her heart crawling into her throat. She thought then he was going to kiss her but he didn't so her heart sank back into the pit of her stomach and down the bottom of her feet and she felt like she was stepping on it and squishing it the entire time they were hiking back to the house. Or maybe it was when she had first let him sleep onto her bed, but that was many years ago and he was so broken then from his loss. Or maybe it was sometime much earlier, when she first met him in the Riverlands. She doesn't know when, it was as if suddenly being with him was as normal as breathing and she could not remember what it was like without him and all memories that she could remember include him. She can't remember how or when Jaime's existence in her life had become like this. It, suddenly, is.
"Jaime," she purred, a sound so unlike her that it startled the two of them. He chuckled and she hoped he couldn't see the blush spreading from her cheeks down her neck to her chest. He chuckled still as he brought his forehead to rest against her. A little disappointed noise rose from her throat for she thought him about to kiss her but she stifled it down and tried to ignore the way he was breathing against her mouth, catching the air she releases into his own. But his smile and the crinkles in the corners of his eyes faded when he placed a soft kiss on her lids, her eyes quickly fluttering close at his movements and his mouth descended to place feather kisses on the bridge of her nose and cheeks before flicking his tongue to taste the corners of her mouth. Then he stopped moving and she opened her eyes.
"Who is Ron Connington?" his voice was low, vibrations rippled from his skin to hers, as close as they were and he felt a slight tightening in his grip on her hands and he pulled back, eyes narrowed and expectant.
"Ron?" she had almost laughed but there was a severe seriousness in his face that she all but swallowed hard, heart threatening to push past muscles and flesh to land with a faint thud on the floor.
"And Hyle Hunt," one hand he had brought down to grab her right hip, slide down her thigh and urge her to put it up and wound it round his hips. She stiffened but nevertheless did as he had wordlessly told her to do. He eased closer and something hard touched the inner flesh of her thigh and she let out a sharp inhale of breath.
"Jaime you…" but she could not finish her sentence, cheeks warm with something more than she could explain and the shivering in her stomach sped up and she felt the involuntary buckle of her hips against his until he groaned and placated her with a touch of his hand on her hip.
"I told you to be careful," he hissed, shifting his weight slowly, not the least abashed about his current state of arousal. He pressed himself to her closer, his hips grinding slow and liquid against hers and she could feel him pulsating inside the tightness of his trousers. With a groan he asked, "Who are those people?"
She fluttered her eyes open, eyes which she did not notice she had closed, revelling in the feeling of him so close and the reactions her body were making. The only other time her body reacted this strongly to his touches was during their stay at the Wall when it was freezing and he had shared her bed and body heat and the circles he made on her flesh with his fingers were less than innocent. She had attributed it all then to the cold but it was not cold now, in fact she felt stiflingly hot in her bedclothes and the pile of blankets around them.
"Brienne," he pressed a kiss on her chin, on her jaw but never on her mouth. The disappointed noise she stifled seconds ago came bubbling back up in her throat and he smirked. "Tell me or I won't."
"Whatever you heard is probably not true," the words flowed from her mouth, "They made a bet or something…about my virginity," she blushed at the word. The fact that she was still a virgin never really bothered her; it was only that she felt a little too inexperienced and a little too ugly talking about it with Jaime. Someone bothered enough to try to take it from her but she had more mind than vanity to just simply give it away as some sort of proof that someone wanted her that much to want her physically.
"I should have broken more than those bastards' noses and teeth," he said after a while of just looking at her, "You should have told me earlier."
"Why? Does it matter?" she asked wrinkling her nose at him despite their current position. His cock pulsed against her heated flesh and she shifted a little involuntarily to have it closer to where she wanted it. He let out another groan and she blushed at her boldness.
"Yes. I thought you were dating behind my back," his statement was so incredulous that she almost jumped out of bed hadn't he been pinning her down but she grabbed his arm and looked him in the face, and wondered when he would start laughing and deliver the punchline.
"Why would I—and why would you…why does it…" and she trailed off, looking away, anger rising unexplainably in her chest. She felt everything to be a jest and she gritted her teeth furiously. "Stop playing with me Jaime."
He didn't answer for a while, just looked at her, hurt evident on his face. Finally he said, "You think I am playing with you?"
"Aren't you?" she spat, more forceful than she intended and all her insecurities came rising again and memories of when they were still enemies came back at her, words sharp as swords and she pushed him but he didn't let go.
"Brienne," he hissed, a faint warning but she kept on pushing him to get him off but his mouth crashed into hers and he was mewling curses into her mouth and melting her skin and bones and tongues caressing and whispering coaxes, and hurt, yes hurt, because she had hurt him by not trusting him he said through his kisses and her world was careening behind her closed eyes and then he stopped his onslaught.
"I can let you win the bet," she muttered, heaving, bitter words melting in her mouth.
"I will win more than the bet," he said, pulling her closer, anger at her distrust lacing his tone. He placed a sound kiss on her bottom lip and trailed his tongue across the reddened flesh. She shivered despite her anger and she considered his words in her muddled head. Does he deem her a prize, someone like her, with her ungainly too tall stature, all her freckles and her homely face? He would be mocking her if he does.
"Or I will win," she said breathlessly, limbs loosening in his touches. She trailed her fingers down his neck, letting it slowly trace the hollow below his throat and watched entranced as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down. She reached up to kiss it then and he stilled while her tongue darted out to trace the line of his neck and lave the hollow between his collarbones.
"We both will," he whispered, eyes closing as he drew in a sharp intake of breath, "Gods, Brienne, I want you."
She looked at him then like it was the first time she was seeing his face. She knew then she had been unseeing him, only a version of him that was easy for her to understand. She was quick to regard his sudden bursts of affection as quips and though she knew that something far deeper and lonelier had been lying underneath his bravado and his taunts and sharp words, she never really dug deeper into it because she was afraid she would drown in what he was offering and hurt herself and lose herself in him the way he seemed to be so keen on losing himself in her. She had been untrusting of him and had been so selfish trying to protect herself from her insecurities. She touched his face, and realized that maybe she had been blind all those times but now she had her eyes opened and, though she does not understand how and when it came to be, she knew she was in love.
He kissed her again, tongue seeking hers and she responded and his hand travelled underneath her shirt and caressed a breast making her arch into him, molding herself against him. He pushed her down the pile of pillows behind her back and skimmed her sides with both hands as he attempted to pull her shirt up over her head. But it was too long and she was lying on it and it got stuck and they both laughed and she pushed him up to allow her space to remove the rest of her clothing while she swatted at his hands that seem to have a mind of their own.
Removing her top and pyjamas took her a few more seconds than she would have liked for Jaime had pushed her into his lap, changing their position and she was straddling him while his hands keep urging her nipples to become more alive than they already are. She felt a sudden jolt of heat in her groin when he pushed himself up and claimed a breast into his mouth, tongue circling the tender flesh and instinctively, she grabbed one of his hands and slipped it between her straddling thighs. He groaned then and he wasted no time in divesting her of her underwear and turning them over.
"What do you want Brienne?" he growled into her ear, fingers hovering above her pulsing center.
"You," she said taking his mouth, "I want you Jaime."