This is my first Jaime/ Brienne fic, so I hope that you guys like it! There won't be any swearing or particularly adult content, but I've rated it T just because of the themes in it. This is set in a slightly different universe where Hoat cut off Jaime's left hand instead of his right, so he still has his sword hand. The story starts off in Harrenhal, a few days after the dinner with Bolton, but then takes a completely different turn of events to the books, so there won't be any spoilers. I'm not sure whether to make it a one-shot or a longer story, so please review it if you want more chapters! :)
"Let me go in," Jaime hissed at the guard stood outside the door, though the refusal in the man's face was already apparent.
"I was told weren't no-one 'llowed through," the man growled back menacingly. Jaime sighed impatiently.
"Do you not realise who I am? Let me remind you. I'm Jaime Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, son of Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock." The man laughed at that.
"No, let me remind you who you are. A good for nuffink cripple, that's what!" Jaime felt his good hand clench the dagger concealed under his tunic, but he didn't pull it out, he didn't want the guard to realise he was armed. It was clear that the guard didn't care that Jaime still had his sword hand; the fact that he was maimed had removed any hope of his being able to intimidate the guard into submission. He had one more trick to try before resorting to violence, the trick that had always been just as useful as his combat prowess.
"I'm asking you to let me go through, good ser, and if you do, a pile of gold as tall as you are shall be awaiting you at the Red Keep. A Lannister always pays his debts." The guard spat at Jaime's feet.
"Pay back this debt, Lannis-scum!" he shouted as he pushed Jaime back, hard. Jaime hadn't expected that, so he stumbled back a couple of steps. He could feel the familiar rage inside him, the rage he had never been able to control. A slow, angry smile fluttered on to his lips.
"You shouldn't have done that," Jaime snarled. Before the guard had a chance to react, Jaime had whipped the dagger out from beneath his tunic and slit the man's throat, the blood already seeping down the front of his armour, reddening the flayed man sigil that marked him as Bolton's man.
"Ser Jaime!" Brienne breathed, shocked, as Jaime stumbled in through her door, dagger in hand.
"We haven't got time to talk," Jaime panted, grabbing her roughly and shoving her in front of him, so she could see the dead guard on the floor.
"What—"she began, but Jaime silenced her with a sharp look, as he started to run back the way he'd come. Brienne had no choice but to follow, knowing that even if they were caught trying to escape she'd most likely be killed quickly, rather than having to endure the rape that they'd probably had planned for her. Besides, she wasn't entirely sure that this was really happening, she'd been left in that dark room for days since the dinner with Bolton, how many she could not say. All she knew was that Jaime was to be going on to King's Landing, and she was going to remain in Harrenhal. I'm dreaming, she thought to herself, Jaime would never have come back for me, why would he? He hadn't said a word to Bolton after the dinner, so she'd assumed that he was happy enough with the deal. And why shouldn't he be? He would be going back to his beloved Cersei, so what was she to him? Nothing but some woman who'd kept him prisoner. And yet despite her misgivings, she kept on running after him. Even if this was a dream, it was better to dream of escape, than to feel trapped even in her sleep.
Jaime could hear the wind pounding in his ears, and his heart pounding in his chest. He hoped the wench was following, but he didn't dare turn around to check, he had to keep running. He'd killed a guard that belonged to Bolton, if he was caught now, he'd lose more than just his hand. Why did you kill the guard? a nagging voice at the back of his head asked him. He could have had an escort to keep him safe on the way to King's Landing, but instead he chose to rescue a stubborn wench who never looked past the fact that he broke his oath to the mad king. He tried to convince himself that he was just repaying his debt to her, but he realised that that wasn't all, and it frightened him to consider that he may have other reasons. He didn't want to think about them now; he had more pressing matters to focus on, like surviving. He ran down corridor after corridor, relieved to hear Brienne's footsteps thudding after him every time that he slowed to turn, and after what felt like an eternity, he finally saw the main gate ahead of him. He was amazed that they hadn't run into any guards, but he supposed that Harrenhal was a big castle, and that it was short on men, Bolton having headed to the Twins with the greater part of his men just a day previously.
He was about to run out into the breezy air when he heard Brienne scream, his breath catching in his throat as he turned to see her in the clutches of two of the Bloody Mummers. She was struggling violently to get free, but they had a vice grip on both her arms.
"Run along now, Kingslayer, or we'll gut you as well," the larger one snarled. Jaime was too panicked to recognise either of them, but he could see the way they leered at her, the look on their faces, a mixture of disgust at her apparent ugliness, and desperation to fulfil their base instincts. They had no right to look at her like that, she was a highborn lady, and she wasn't really that ugly, Jaime thought, not when you knew her. She was beautiful in her own way, and she certainly wasn't theirs.
"You'll let her go, or I'll slit both your throats like I did the guard that tried to stop me from seeing her earlier," Jaime said to them, trying to keep his voice level but intimidating. Despite his efforts to stay calm, he could hear the tinge of anger in his voice.
"We meant to be 'fraid of some cripple?" the other man asked, before reaching to grab Brienne's thigh. But his hand hadn't even landed on her flesh before Jaime charged straight at him, grabbing the sword that had sat at the man's waist, and balancing it in his right hand, pointing it at the guy's throat.
"Let her go, and I'll let you live. Keep your filthy hands on her for another second, and the last thing you'll feel is this sword through your neck," Jaime whispered in to the man's ear. Reluctantly, the man pushed Brienne away from him. Jaime nodded slowly as he pulled the sword away, seeing the man's face for the first time. It was Zollo, the man who had crippled Jaime all those weeks ago. "Never touch another woman again," Jaime started, "Here… Maybe this will help you remember," and he brought the sword down hard on Zollo's arm, slicing the lower half right off. He relished the sight of it for a short moment, before rushing off through the main gate with Brienne, leaping on to a horse, and galloping as far away from that evil castle as he could manage.
"Jaime. Ser Jaime," Brienne called loudly over the sound of their horses hooves. "Just stop. We've been riding for hours, there's nobody following us, we would have seen, we would have heard…" Her voice trailed as she struggled for breath, she was tired and hungry, they'd been all but starving her in that awful room that she'd been confined in. She was going to collapse soon, although she doubted that he'd care, no man had ever cared about her wellbeing before, and this was a man who had put a sword to his own king. To her surprise though, he slowed his horse to a trot before stopping altogether in the midst of the clearing. He secured his horse, as she dismounted from hers, but as he reached for the bridle of hers, she snatched it away so hard that the horse balked. "I can do it," she snapped, leaving Jaime with his hand hanging in mid-air, as she tied her horse to the nearest tree. She could see that he felt humiliated, but a second later he gave her a charming smile.
"My apologies, Lady Brienne, I only meant to help." What was up with him? He was never this polite to her. She decided not to dwell on it, she wasn't thinking straight at the moment, she felt utterly helpless in the stupid dress she'd been forced to wear, and wished that she had her armour and sword.
They didn't speak for the rest of the evening and as it began to grow dark Brienne went out to collect firewood. Jaime would have liked to have helped, but most of the logs in the area were too big to hold one handed. He had given Brienne his sword to use so she could chop any that were too long, whilst he stayed in the clearing and tended to the horses. He could still do that just as well as before as the horses didn't care about his stump, they didn't look at him with that look of revulsion and pity that most people gave him when they saw it. Brienne doesn't give you that look either, he mused, reflecting on the fact that the wench hadn't even commented on his stump since their bath together. It was like she had a newfound respect for him. She'd always hated him for being the Kingslayer, but now that she understood why he'd had to kill Aerys, he felt like she'd begun to forgive him. Jaime was glad of that, although he couldn't quite pinpoint why she should matter to him, she was simply protecting him to fulfil her oath to Catelyn Stark— he had no need to be grateful to her. And yet, he was grateful to her, she had been company for him, and helped him deal with the loss of his hand, no matter how grudgingly she had done it. The point was that he owed her some gratitude for all the things she'd been through with him. "That's right," he told to himself, "you're grateful, that's all this is, that's why you saved her." He ignored the odd feeling in his stomach that always came when he thought of Brienne. Thankfully he was spared having to dwell on his feelings, as he heard her footsteps as she returned with the firewood. She looked at him, and their eyes met for a brief second before she hastily moved to light the fire, and he turned back to the horses.
"I'm cold, are you not cold?" Jaime asked her, as they sat across from each other at the fire. He'd been insisting for the past half hour that she should fan the flames a little higher so they could get more warmth, but she didn't want to risk it.
"The trees are dense enough around here that this small fire won't be seen but if we make it any bigger it will produce more smoke, and then Bolton's men will find us." She tried to disguise the shudder that her body made as she thought of what Bolton's men had wanted to do to her before Jaime had saved her from her prison. She clearly didn't hide it very well though, because whether Jaime realised she was scared, or whether he thought she was cold, he moved round the fire to sit directly next to her. She flinched as he put his good hand on her shoulder, and he hastily removed it. "Look, Brienne…" He trailed off, before continuing, "I don't expect you to love me as you did Renly, but—". She spluttered at that and floundered.
"What? No, I didn't, we weren't, I was just…" But before she could try and deny her feelings, Jaime chuckled and cocked his head mischievously at her.
"So, you really did love him? Interesting. No wonder he made you one of his Kingsguard, he was probably trying to ensure you didn't try and marry him!" He laughed at his cruel jape, but stopped when he saw the pained look in her eyes. She watched as his features softened, and he spoke more kindly when he apologised, "I didn't intend to upset you, Brienne, please forgive me. I seem to have lost my manners as well as my left hand." She was about to tell him to leave her alone, when she noticed how genuinely sorry he looked. Jaime didn't look genuine very often, he was usually masked with a false confidence, but tonight he seemed as honest as he had that night when he'd revealed to her the truth behind his nickname. She searched his face, looking for any sign that he was mocking her, but found none.
And then suddenly his face was growing closer, and his arm was back around her shoulder, and she could feel his breath on her cheek, and he was only inches away from her. Brienne started to panic, she could fight men twice her size, had suffered the brutality of the Brave Companions, but nothing she'd done so far in her life could possibly compare to the raw fear she felt now. He paused, so close now that she could see the thin sheen of sweat just above his upper lip. He was going to wait for her to make a move; he was waiting for her to let him know that she wanted this. Except she wasn't ready, this was all happening so fast, and she had no idea how to feel about this man who she'd once hated, but who was now the only person left who cared. She saw him close the gap to her face, but at the last second she turned her head, and his lips just lightly brushed her cheek. He drew back, sighing in frustration. "Curses, Brienne! You never let me close," he whispered, anguished. He stood up and walked back to the horses, but she could still hear him muttering "you never let me close." Brienne had never been kissed before; no guy had ever truly wanted to be intimate with her, although a few had tried to kiss her for a jest. She always pushed men away, but she realised that tonight, for the first time, she regretted it. She just didn't know what to feel. She didn't know what to do. She didn't know the way forward.