Just a little one-shot I have written a long time ago. It's not part of any of my other stories, just an innocent little one-shot about my favorite ASoIaF characters...
This all is set in the year 281 AL, after the defeat of the Kingswood Brotherhood and the knighting of Jaime Lannister. The general idea for the story would have been a scenario where one person asks Jaime the questions he needs to hear, so he does not join the Kingsguard merely for his sister's sake. Once upon a time I even had a much larger idea for a story like this with great changes to the reign of the last dragons, but somehow they no longer feel... viable.
Oh well, have fun with the one-shot...
Music and laughter still filled the halls of the Red Keep, even hours after the king himself had retired from the feast in honor of his knights' recent victory. Not that he was missed much by those in attendance. The other guests were even merrier in his absence, as they celebrated the defeat of the Kingswood Brotherhood. For too long had these outlaws threatened the trade and travel in the Kingswood, but no more. Now they were gone, once and for all.
For young Jaime Lannister, this victory was an even greater honor, as he had stood his ground against greater foes and earned his knighthood at merely fifteen years of age. Never before had his father looked at him with such pride, as the day Jaime had returned to King's Landing, knighted and victorious.
And the feast now, oh what a feast it was. He reveled and drank. Many men had wanted to drink with him, to congratulate him. He felt so important and powerful... and slightly drunk as well, by the time he happened upon Ser Barristan Selmy, a member of the Kingsguard and the man who had managed to kill the leader of the Brotherhood, Simon Toyne.
"Ser Barristan, come, let us drink on our victory," Jaime said merrily. But the man was obviously not impressed by the sight of the stumbling boy before him.
"You are a knight now, Ser Jaime. Act accordingly. A true knight does not drink this much and makes a fool of himself," Ser Barristan chided him.
Jaime wanted to protest, but he could feel the wine doing its nasty work. His head was spinning and he felt slightly ill. Had it not been for Ser Barristan's strong hand on his shoulder to steady him, he would have likely keeled over. Oh, the embarrassment.
"Come, boy. You better get some fresh air, instead of more wine," His hand still on the young knight's shoulder, Ser Barristan lead him towards the open doors that lead to the garden.
For a moment Jaime wanted to resist, but in the end, he allowed it to happen, even when the other knight took his cup from him and replaced it with another, filled with clear water.
It was already dark, but countless torches illuminated the paths and the benches. The air was pleasantly cool on Jaime's skin, which was quite unusual, as the capital was warm and humid. But compared to the heat of the hall, being outside felt almost divine.
"Sit and take some deep breaths, boy. You should think carefully about what you do from now on. You are a knight and your actions will reflect even more on your House now. Act with the dignity befitting of your station," Ser Barristan continued his lecture.
Jaime wasn't sure why this man wasted his time with this, but he could appreciate the fact that Ser Barristan had likely helped him avoid a public embarrassment, which would have cost him all the recognition he had earned from his father. And Ser Barristan was widely recognized as one of the finest knights in the kingdom, only surpassed by Ser Arthur Dayne, if at all. Twice now this man had ended a conflict by killing the leader of his king's enemies. Maybe, just maybe he should listen and learn from him... but right now his head was beginning to buzz and he felt ill once more.
Ser Barristan sighed in annoyance, as he saw that his lecture was pointless now, "Rest, Ser Jaime. I will send a servant to look after you in a while. Use the time regain your wits. And you should figure out what kind of knight you want to be. Once your reputation is tarnished, you will never be able to restore it to the way it is now."
"Thank you, Ser Barristan," Jaime drawled almost inaudible. Had his eyes been open, he would have seen the slight quirk of the knight's lips, before the man returned to the feast with swift steps.
The silence was most welcome to Jaime, as he allowed himself to lie down on the bench. Just long enough for his head to stop spinning. He knew it had been foolish to drink this much wine, but how could he resist when all those other men, knights, lords and their useless sons, wanted to congratulate him on his knighting? His father would reprimand him severely, should he find out about this. It was a stroke of luck that the great Tywin Lannister had seen this feast as beneath him. His father had not attended, citing his duties as Hand of the King as the reason for his absence. It had not bothered the king or anyone else for the matter. Jaime knew that his father wasn't as well liked at the court as he had believed in the past. Especially the relationship of Tywin Lannister and King Aerys Targaryen seemed damaged beyond repair these days.
He had his eyes still closed when suddenly something or someone blocked the light from the torches. Jaime groaned as he wasn't really in the mood for company. Surely it was that servant Ser Barristan had mentioned. The poor fool was too early. Far too early.
"Go away. I don't need you right now, come back later," Jaime said, without opening his eyes to look at the person.
In return, he was laughed at. It was a bell like sound. Clear. Mocking, but without the malice, he would have expected. And it was clearly a woman. Jaime was not in the mood to deal with women in his current state. He knew that many noble daughters and even the female servants eyed him quite unabashed. And why shouldn't they. He was a handsome young man, heir to the richest and most powerful House in Westeros. Only a Targaryen would be more sought-after, but the young prince Viserys was still far from the age when the women would start vying for his attention like wanton whores.
"I do believe that you are not aware whom you are talking to. Maybe you should open your eyes or does my voice sound so hideous that the proud knight is afraid to look upon the face that goes with it?" The woman sounded obviously amused, which only added to Jaime's growing annoyance.
He wanted to reply with a snarky comment. Something witty, yet insulting. Too clever for a feebly minded servant to understand the insult. But when he opened his eyes to see her, he felt at loss for words for a moment. This was no simple servant, far from it. It was one of the ladies at court. One of Princess' Elia's companions if he remembered right. But he could not find a name that fit with the face.
But by the gods, this woman was a true beauty. Even in the twilight of the flickering torches, her beauty rivaled that of his sister. And to this day no woman had managed to do this. No woman had managed to come equally to his beautiful Cersei. Yet this woman did it. Almost effortlessly. The mirth that shone in her eyes, who flickered in the color of amethysts, whenever the light illuminated them, caught his attention and refused to let him look away.
"You truly are not what I had expected, Ser Jaime. My brother speaks quite highly of you and has great hopes for your future, yet here I stand and wonder why" The woman said.
"And who is that brother of yours?" Jaime demanded to know.
Oh that smile on her lips, it seemed to mock him more and more.
"Ser Arthur Dayne. The man who has knighted you not long ago. Surely you have not forgotten him, now that you have become quite the fabled hero for your great achievement."
Jaime's eyes went wide as he heard this. Ser Arthur Dayne... this was Ser Arthur's sister? Ashara Dayne! He had heard that she was at court, but he had never seen her before to connect the name to a face. Until now. He sat up, as he did not want to make even more a fool of himself than he already had. But his actions rewarded him only with more buzzing and a spinning head.
"It seems that the wine is not your best friend these days. How sad. I have heard that the new lord of Storm's End can drink a whole cask and still win in a fight."
"That man is not normal. I have seen him during the tourney at Storm's End and let me tell you, Robert Baratheon is a man who knows no moderation. Not when he is drinking. Not when he is whenching. And especially not when it concerns fighting." Jaime replied derisively. His memories of that particular Baratheon were not of the fondest sort.
"And you, Ser Jaime, what are your vices?" Ashara asked curiously. "Surely a man like you must have quite a lot of them."
"There are no men like me," Jaime corrected her haughtily.
"So pride it is. Or shall we call it arrogance? No, let's stick with pride, for your sake." Ashara concluded before she laughed, "Not the best, neither the worst."
"My lady, why exactly are you here?" Jaime asked, barely able to keep his annoyance from showing. It wouldn't do to insult the sister of Ser Arthur Dayne. Jaime respected the man too much to do that.
"Oh, I wanted to see the man my brother spoke so highly about. I know that this is likely not the best of times to judge, but I have to confess that you are not the man I had expected."
"I believe you have already said that much," Jaime said. Despite his prior problems, Jaime tried to stand up, as it had started to annoy him, that he had to look up to talk to Ashara. But his feet were still quite unsteady. Luckily he did not fall, though. "Maybe there are other reasons for your presence. Reasons that you might be... loath to admit here."
"Your pride must blind you or is it the wine that clouds your common sense?"
"Playing coy now is not becoming of you, my lady. I know very well why the ladies follow my every movement with their eyes. It is not like I can fault them for that."
Ashara laughed at him. She was obviously unimpressed by his claims, "You overestimate yourself, Ser Jaime. It is I who has to live with the wandering eyes of the men at court. Eyes that like to stare at the most inappropriate places."
"Beauty begets desire, as we should both know," Jaime replied, as he took his time to scrutinize her. He cursed the lack of light, but what he saw was truly breathtaking. Had it not been for Cersei, he would have even been tempted to try his luck... But his sister was always on his mind or never far from it at least. The only woman he loved and desired. His beautiful twin sister.
"Do you desire, Ser Jaime?" Her voice had taken a sultry tone. Any man would have fallen for her, just hearing that voice, but Jaime was not any man. And he could see the mirth still visible in her eyes. There was no desire. She was playing a game. A dangerous game, which she could lose far more easily than she was probably aware.
"I desire to return inside. I believe I have deprived the other guests of my presence for too long," Jaime replied cockily. He could see the disappointment in her eyes, if just for a brief moment.
"You are right. It would be better for me to return, lest my brother might believe that you have kidnapped me or something of the like," Ashara replied amused. But her good mood seemed more forced than natural now.
"You brother can always rest assured, that I would do nothing to besmirch your honor, my lady," Jaime tried to sound gallant, as he offered her his arm, "Shall we return now?"
A more natural smile graced her lips, as she replied, "But of course, Ser Jaime. Lead the way." She took his arm and allowed him to lead her back towards the feast.
Jaime felt better now, his head more clear. He would not touch the wine again this night. In fact, he felt ready to retire for the night, before he would leave the capital behind and be on his way to Casterly Rock.
Once inside he bid Ashara a good night, before he quickly left the hall, to return to his guest quarters. He had seen Ser Arthur and Ser Barristan, as they watched him and Ashara as they had entered, but when they separated, the Knights' attention had switched solely to her, much to the young Lannister's relief.
But he wasn't alone for long, once he had reached his quarters. His sister was already waiting for him. She sat on his bed, a seductive smile on her lips, as she looked at him with hungry eyes.
"I've been waiting for you, Jaime," Cersei said, as she stood up to greet him with a passionate kiss.
Jaime hesitated for a moment before he returned the kiss. But Cersei had already realized that something was amiss.
"Is something wrong, my love?"
"I... no, but..." What was he supposed to say? He didn't even know himself why he hesitated. Cersei, the only woman he truly loved and desired was here, before his eyes. She was ready and willing, yet he hesitated.
"So father has told you?" Cersei's voice changed so fast from worried to displeased, that Jaime wasn't sure which emotion was the true one she felt. But her words bothered him more.
"Told me what?"
"About your planned betrothal to that whore from Riverrun."
"I have not spoken to father this evening. We had agreed to meet tomorrow, before my departure."
"Then what is your problem?"
"No, don't change the topic now. What do you mean that father has betrothed me to a girl from Riverrun? Catelyn Tully is already betrothed to the heir of Winterfell, everyone in the Seven Kingdoms knows that." Jaime said. His annoyance rose to an all new level, most likely due to all the wine he had drunk. Or maybe the topic was just too important to handle with anything less than a full-blown temper tantrum.
"No, not her. Apparently, father does not even consider you worthy of a firstborn daughter. He plans to betroth you to that hag, the second born girl, Lysa. If only half the rumors about that whore are true, she should not even be considered worthy of breathing the same air as you. And father wants her as the future lady of Casterly Rock. As your wife!" Cersei was furious, no far beyond that. But Jaime would have expected no less in this situation. She had always been very protective of those she loved.
"Surely he wouldn't consider such a girl as a possible daughter in law. Father is no fool and the honor of our House is of utmost importance to him." Jaime really didn't want to believe it.
"But he does. Oh, Jaime. My lovely Jaime. We cannot let that happen." Cersei said as she hugged him closely.
"You know that it is almost impossible to change father's mind, once he has come up with a grand scheme," Jaime replied wearily.
"Don't worry. I have a plan. Just let me take care of everything," Cersei whispered into his ear. Her warm breath tingled pleasantly on his skin and he enjoyed the closeness. So he just nodded. He gave into her like he had done so many times before.
Cersei smiled brightly, triumphantly, as she slowly leads him towards the bed. She would get what she wanted. But something was different that night. As she was solely focused on the consummation of her illicit relationship with her brother, Jaime's thoughts had drifted elsewhere. Two questions haunted him the entire night. Questions that would haunt him for a long time. What kind of knight did he want to be? And what did he desire? At that moment with Cersei, he could not find a proper answer for either of these questions.
A/N: Well I am not even sure if this should be considered AU or not. This chapter does not yet change the outcome of Jaime's life and it basically could have happened. He did visit King's Landing shortly after he had been knighted to see Cersei and they had sex that night. There could have been a feast to celebrate the victory or not. Hm, it doesn't really matter either way.
I just hope you all enjoyed this little excerpt. It was a random idea, but one worth pursuing. And I think that we really need some new blood for pairings in this fandom. All others have been used too much and seeing another Stark/Baratheon or whatever OC daughter getting mixed up with Lannisters is really getting old by now. There are plenty of interesting women in the books to write about and some girls from Jaime's past are even more intriguing.