Some days set your world on fire

And some days they sink like stones

That's when your heart will cry out

Until your body is numb

And the night will try to tempt you

But the day will come

-Day Will Come by Keane

-Brienne-

Brienne was relieved when she shut the door to her quarters behind her. With that final shove, the world outside of her four walls disappeared. She sagged against the wall, letting the exhaustion overtake her. Lady Sansa had requested that she look over the remaining troops and help organize them into some sort of defense in case the Dragon Queen was not successful. Neither acknowledged that if this happened, Winterfell had no chance of holding out. But it was important for morale. Training the remaining troops should have been easy, but for two weeks she had not been able to get over this lingering illness. She was weak and nauseous most of the day, but she carried on.

Once she was inside her bedroom, she no longer had to pretend, though. She could let her body droop under the weight of her many layers. She slowly went through the arduous process of disrobing. When she went to grab her sleep clothes, her hand lingered on a worn undershirt. She hadn't thrown it out, not that she hadn't been tempted at points. But it was her only lasting connection to Jaime and she let herself be weak. She pulled the shirt on and curled into bed. She ducked her chin down, letting the musky smell relax her body.

It had been almost four weeks since he had left her and she felt her anxiety rise in the knowledge that he should be nearing King's Landing. Back to Cersei. Their couple weeks of happiness long since forgotten. She had sworn she never would turn into those lovelorn ladies, never imagining that she would fall under the spell of Jaime Lannister. At that moment, she didn't know who she hated more, herself or him.

The next day her illness came to a head when she was called into the hall by Lady Sansa to give a report on the troops and she lost all control of her body and threw up. Podrick instantly reached over to hold her elbow as she swayed on her feet. When she could finally straighten up, her face was flaming. The hall was quiet and Brienne felt every eye on her.

Sansa's voice rang out confidently. "Nadya, please get somebody in to clean up. Ser Brienne, let me lead you out. You are obviously not well and must sit down."

Brienne tried to protest, but Sansa grabbed her arm and pulled along. Only she did not lead her in the direction of the guest quarters. Sansa brought Brienne into her private chambers.

"Please sit Brienne," Sansa insisted, pointing to the private dining table.

"Really Lady Sansa, there is no need."

Sansa ignored her. Instead, she called her servant to bring in water and bread. It was only after this was done that Sansa spoke again.

"I have noticed that you have not been well for many days. You are having difficulty training the men and are wearing yourself out."

"I'm sorry if my work has not been satisfactory to you."

"I'm not calling you in because of that. I'm worried about you, Brienne, and I have my suspicion about what is wrong."

"I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about," Brienne pushed.

"Cut the bullshit. You were sleeping with that Lannister, were you not?"

Brienne nodded mutely.

"And when did you last bleed?"

At first, Brienne was confused, then realization dawned on her as she mentally calculated that date.

"You are with child, aren't you Brienne?" Sansa asked, this time quietly.

Brienne's breath hitched, looking around the room wildly, trying to change the answer to the question she was just asked. "I...I can't be."

Sansa reached out and put her hand over Brienne's own shaking ones. "Am I right in deducing that the baby is Ser Jaime's?"

There was no denying it. Nothing to say but nod once more.

"What do you want to do?"

"Lady Sansa, I don't know."

"Brienne, I'm talking to you as a friend, as just Sansa right now. You know there are ways that you could get rid of the baby?"

Brienne ran that through her head and there was a part of her that desired that so badly. Make it pass through her and she could move on with her life. This would just be a short painful episode in her life from which she could move on. But then her stomach fluttered as she imagined what the baby would look like. She saw a little girl with golden curls, but clear blue eyes. Dimples dominated a breathtaking smile. And just like that, she was done in.

"I don't think I can do that."

Sansa smiled at her softly. "Then we must get some things sorted. You will need bigger chambers. My old rooms are just down the hallway and they will do nicely. With winter coming, we will have to make sure we have everything the baby needs, a bed, a cradle, and so on. Leave it all to me."

"But Lady Sansa, I can't accept…"

"When it is just you and me, I am just Sansa. You must let me do this, for all that you have done for me. But even more importantly, this world is so incredibly dark right now. There seems to be death and destruction surrounding us daily. This is our chance to embrace life, and bring that life into the new world."

Brienne felt the tears start to come and she fought angrily to keep them down. "Sansa, but this baby, she will be a bastard."

"No," Sansa cut in fiercely, "this baby will be loved."

-Sansa-

Sansa stared at the note the latest raven brought in.

My Sansa, the deed is done, my brother saw to that. I fear King's Landing is no longer safe for him. Our Queen professes her thanks while eyeing the man who has now killed two rulers. I have been ordered North to see that all is as it should be. I hope I can count on your company.

-T

Sansa tried to process all of the pieces of those few sentences. Tyrion would be arriving to make sure the North fell in line. He was kind in his wording, but she knew that the Queen was wary of the loyalty of the North. Sansa wanted to stomp like a petulant child about the unfairness of all of this. But she thought of her mother and knew the only answer was to bend the knee. She needed to protect her people, and more importantly her family.

She also couldn't help but wonder if there was anybody else that could be sent. Tyrion's language was kind, and she could never decide what was flattery to get what he wanted and his true feelings. She knew under all of the jabs, there was a man who cared about her, but to what length?

Then the matter of Jaime, this at least was something she had control over. His actions were brought into a new light. She didn't know if Tyrion was hinting at bringing Jaime, but she knew that he must. There was so much fractured in this world. This was one way that some damage could be undone if Brienne would let it be so. She wanted to run straight to Brienne to tell her the news, but intuition told her that the news would not be welcomed. There was no word that he would return to her. Sansa would not bring false hope to Brienne. Sansa was finally doing the protecting, and she intended to do her job to the best of her ability.

My Tyrion, please consider Winterfell your second home. You and your family are always welcome here. In fact, I believe that your brother will find safety and solace in the North if he were to make the journey with you.

-S

-Brienne-

Brienne settled into her new rooms, unsure of how to feel of the expansive space. She had tried again to tell Lady Sansa that it was too much, but it was an unwinnable struggle. Within the following days, all sorts of baby things were found throughout the castle and trickled into her room. A small outfit here, a rattle there.

After two weeks of living in her new chambers, she tried to feel comfortable about her new situation. However, Brienne was full of fear. She lay in bed, unable to find a comfortable position as she cataloged each and every possibility.

She was afraid of bringing a baby into what was foretold to be a long winter.

She was fearful of her child being a bastard. Her parents had long since given up on her providing an heir, but to be unwed and with a child. Her parents would not welcome her back. She had no home.

Then she worried about Jaime, no matter how much she tried to push him out of her mind. Lately, every night she slips into his shirt, unable to stop herself. The smell of him was slowly fading, but she still clung to it, to him, as long as she could.

But there was a darker place she held tight in her every time a little item appeared in her rooms. She knew well enough that there were dangers with every pregnancy, and at best she was three to four months along. Something could still happen and therein was her most terrible horror, losing the baby. For now that she had decided to keep it, she wanted this baby with everything she had. She hated how much she yearned to hold her daughter...or her son. It really didn't matter. She didn't know why or how things had changed. Of course, it started with Jaime all of those years ago. But it wasn't just him. It was Podrick. It was a vow to Catelyn Stark. It was protecting Sansa. It was seeing the Dead. It was so many different experiences, that brought her to a place of wanting this child.

This baby was dearly wanted. It overshadowed all of her fears, even the fears of being an adequate mother. All she had to think of what she wanted as a child, to be seen, to be loved as she was. She knew she could do that.

It helped that as people figured out her situation, there was no shame or embarrassment expressed. Everybody seemed excited to have a new life on its way. Sansa checked in with her daily and Podrick hovered annoyingly close sometimes. While Jaime left a gaping hole in her, every person seemed to be trying to do their part in making her less alone. It wasn't a family she had ever imagined, but it was the one that she always had needed.

-Jaime-

"Gods, does it have to be so fucking cold in the North?" Tyrion complained from his seat in the carriage.

Jaime was getting tired of the endless chatter from his brother. He would have much rather have left King's Landing on horseback. The problem was that he had no place to go and Tyrion had insisted on taking him back to Winterfell where Lady Sansa had already guaranteed them both a warm welcome. He doubted that. Yet here he sat with the only family left to him in the world.

"Why is it that you came then? I'm pretty sure the Queen could have had almost anybody go check on the North to make sure they weren't getting restless."

Tyrion eyed Jaime, seemingly pleased to get him talking. "Yes, this job could have been done by many. I requested it."

"Why in the hell would you ask for this?" Jaime spat out, gesturing to the white landscape outside.

"All I see is a beautiful landscape dear brother."

"Or maybe you had your sights set on a more beautiful landscape once we arrived at Winterfell?"

Tyrion sniffed, but admitted, "I wouldn't deny that a certain Lady's company would not be amiss."

"Oh for fuck's sake, ask Lady Sansa to marry you, cart her off to King's Landing, and call it a day. I'm not sure why this involves me."

"Once again, you show all of the tact and emotional range of a flea."

"Oh do enlighten me."

"If you must know, I left the Queen's council. Consider this journey my final job as Hand of the Queen."

"What?"

"I did what I set out to do, both of us did. We did our best to undo all of the evil our family has brought upon this kingdom. I want nothing more to do with its governance. This game is meant for younger men than us. I intend to bow out from that arena and I'm taking you with me. Lady Sansa promised your safety and she's a woman of her word. A nice respite in her care is what I'm looking for. Now, if she doesn't feel the same way, then there are other places in the world to move on to, but I'm not taking for granted the true friends I still have. Once we get to Winterfell, if you want to run and hide, I'm not going to stop you, but I would consider that you have done your part in all of this as well, and for better or worse our time is over. Maybe you should think of yourself for once."

"And what would thinking of myself get me?" Jaime asked lamely. "There isn't happiness out there for me, after what I've done to the people I've loved."

"Don't be too surprised about the power of forgiveness."

Jaime wanted to argue further, but he knew it would be useless. There was no forgiveness for him. You don't get to have a happy ending when you've murdered two rulers, one your own sister, the mother of your children. There was nothing for him.

They arrived two weeks later in Winterfell, after having to take refuge in a small village when a blizzard hit. Jaime looked up at the stone facade of the castle he thought he would never see again. He tried to ignore the feeling that he was returning home. He knew that feeling had more to do with who was possibly there than any actual attachment to the building. He knew he couldn't count on a warm welcome from Brienne, after what he did to her. Yet, here he was anyway and kept pushing down the innate exhilaration of knowing she was nearby.

They were welcomed into the hall by Lady Sansa, who sat regally at the front table. Jaime had to marvel at the woman she had become. He had underestimated her all of those years ago, written her off as just a naive girl that would submit easily to the forces around her. Now, she was a key player in all of this and if he was a betting man, he would put her as the smartest one of them all, even his brother.

"Welcome Lord Tyrion and Ser Jaime to Winterfell."

"Thank you, Lady Sansa," Tyrion took the lead. Jaime was happy to sit back, no longer feeling like the knight he once was. "I have word from Queen Daenerys that she has secured her place in King's Landing. She is now seated as the rightful heir of the Seven Kingdoms."

Jaime noticed a pinched expression quickly pass over Sansa's face as she spoke her next words. "I congratulate the Queen on her success and I would let her know that the North is ready to follow her command."

"The Queen would like to reward the North for its loyalty by returning all of the soldiers that fought in the Battle for King's Landing. She will also be sending food stores to help through the long Winter to come."

Sansa nodded. "That will be most appreciated. But, enough of that. This has been a long journey and I'm sure you both are tired. You are both honored guests of Winterfell. Nadya here can send you Lord Tyrion to your chambers. Ser Jaime, I hope I can intrude and have a private word with you before I send you to your quarters."

"Of course, Lady Sansa."

Tyrion glanced at him as he was led out by a pretty servant. Sansa rose and led Jaime to her private quarters. She gestured for him to join her at the small table. She dismissed her ladies before turning to Jaime. He felt undressed by her stare, and could only hold her gaze for a few seconds before looking down.

"Ser Jaime, would you like some wine?"

"It's just Jaime now, Lady Sansa."

"Ah yes, well then I will be just Sansa for the moment." She poured them both a glass of wine, despite his lack of an answer. She took a sip, still thoughtfully assessing him. "I hear that you were instrumental in making sure our Queen took the throne."

He couldn't understand from her tone if this was a crime or not in her eyes. "Yes, it would seem I have."

"Was that what you set out to accomplish those months ago when you left Winterfell?"

"Yes."

"I thought so, but I did not know if my guess was worth sharing with others."

He knew who the others were in this situation. He could hold back no longer. "How is Brienne? I did not see her in the hall."

"Do you know what I learned in all of these years?" She steamrolled on, ignoring his questions. "There are two types of people. There are good people that occasionally have to do bad things and then there are bad people who stumble across doing the right thing. I'm trying to decide which one you are. Do you know?"

"No."

Sansa nodded unfazed. "I know which one Brienne would choose. She would say you are a good man who has had to hurt the people he's loved to try to correct his wrongs. Even if that means killing his sister or abandoning the woman he loves."

Jaime was disarmed by her honesty. He realized then, that this was a test. He had enough respect for Sansa to understand that the only way he would be able to see Brienne was if he passed Sansa's questioning. "Cersei was a disease that needed to be cut out. She had become a cancer to not only Westeros but to my soul. When I heard of her surprise attack, I saw that she could actually win. I care little who is on that throne, but I knew Cersei and Daenerys were going to let all of the people of King's Landing die for their battle for a fucking chair, an uncomfortable one at that."

Sansa laughed at his attempt at a joke, and he gave her a small smile back.

He continued on. "All I knew was that Brienne had put her faith in me and I wanted so badly to be the man that she saw. I didn't want her faith to be for nothing."

"Even if it meant killing your own sister?"

"Even so," Jaime admitted. Cersei was far from beloved, but he understood, there was a certain level of wariness about a person who was willing to murder his own sister. "Consider it my last act as Ser Jaime. I swore to protect the crown, but also this kingdom. What happens when those two objectives are at odds. I had to make that same decision decades ago. Both times I chose the people of Westeros."

"Yes, I understand that choice. To do what's right for your people or for your family. It is a difficult choice. By bending the knee to a queen I don't believe in, I am hoping that I am sparing my people from suffering. You have done a great honor to this land, and yet here you are. Probably the furthest place you want to be."

"It's funny, how killing two rulers makes the current queen a bit nervous. While she could not ignore what I had done for her, I believe it made her realize she did not want me in any position of power near her."

"So that leaves you, Jaime, a former knight of the Kingsguard without honors or land."

"Yes, I'm here because of my brother's insistence."

"And he was right. The Queen may not be able to honor what you have done for this land, but as Lady of Winterfell, I can. You are welcome here as long as you want."

"I don't want to impose."

"You are a friend of the North now, whether you like it or not. If you want work, I can think of a dozen ways you could be of help here, whether training soldiers or managing Winterfell. Or you can retire from the public and find solace in that here, away from the prying eyes of King's Landing."

"That is most gracious Lady Sansa."

"Ah see, remember, for now, I am just Sansa."

"Then Sansa, I do have one request and that is to see Brienne if you would permit me."

"Yes, I think that is the first thing in order. I have moved her quarters near me. I will lead you down there myself. However, I have one more thing to say, and to be clear this is coming from the Lady of Winterfell. If you leave her again, Arya will hunt you down and kill you."

As real as the threat was, Jaime just laughed. "That's not necessary. I'm not letting her out of my sight as long as I live."

Sansa let her face slide into a smile, but there was a sadness tinged there. "Despite your love for her, you are going to have to regain her trust. You hurt her more than you ever know."

"I understand that. I will do whatever it takes and wait as long as it takes for her to understand that this time I won't leave her."

"Good, she deserves nothing less. And maybe, just maybe, you might deserve a little of that happiness too."

And somehow, more than anything else, that touched him. After everything he and his family did to her and her family. "I hope you can find some peace now."

Sansa was rueful. "I take solace in that my people are safe and taken care of."

Jaime thought of Tyrion's words. "I don't know about that. I'm not counting you out yet."

Sansa just shook her head, standing. "I'm sure that's not your true worry right now. I will take you to Brienne now."

Jaime didn't respond, just following her out the door. Somehow, in that one conversation, he became enamored with Sansa. Whether his own brother or another man, he hoped that Sansa would find happiness. After everything she had been through, and to show him such kindness, he wanted her to get her happily-ever-after that she dreamed of all of those years ago.

When they got to the room, Sansa said quietly, "She's resting today. It's been a tough couple of months since you left. Knock quietly, but if she doesn't answer, don't wake her. She needs the rest."

Jaime nodded, and she smiled softly, leaving him there at the door. Jaime followed her instructions to knock quietly. As she warned, there was no answer. He tried the door and found it unlocked. He let himself in quietly. He noticed the rooms were much nicer than the ones she had been staying in. It was warm, with a fire crackling. There was a fine wood dining set along with a plush sofa in the sitting area. Across the way in an alcove was a large four-poster bed. He saw the large lumpy form of somebody under the covers.

He pulled a chair over next to the bed and got a closer look at Brienne. She looked much the same, although her cheeks were slightly rounder. There were shadows under her eyes that were not there when he left her. He noticed the collar of her shirt looked familiar. Then he realized it was one of his shirts that he left behind. The gesture of her wearing his shirt somehow moved him more than any declaration could. It was such a simple sign she had not forgotten him and maybe, he hoped, that she actually still missed him. He found himself praying to gods that he didn't believe existed.

An hour or two later Brienne finally stirred. Jaime pulled himself from his ruminations and leaned forward expectantly. Brienne shifted and moaned a little before opening her eyes. It took a moment before her eyes fully registered him sitting in a seat next to her bed. She jolted and sat up quickly. At that moment the covers fell and he saw her body more fully, and the unmistakable swell in her stomach. It was his turn to gasp and start.

"What are you…"

"Are you…"

They both spoke over each other before clamping their mouths shut. They stared each other down for a moment before Jaime had the courage to ask the question he needed answered the most. "Is it mine?"

Brienne nodded.

"Lords, Brienne, I wish I had known."

"You would have if you had only stayed."

"I had no choice."

"You always have a choice, Jaime! You wanted to go back to her despite my warnings. And now that the war is over you have come crawling back here."

"No, I went back to kill her. It was my blade that killed her."

Brienne deflated a little, leaning back into the bed. "You were the one that killed her? How is it that I had not heard that?

"You would have to ask Lady Sansa, for it is under her invitation I am here. My brother told her what happened and she insisted that I would be safe in the North."

"And she didn't tell me?"

"I believe she was trying to protect you. I had to submit to her questions as to my motives for being here and she wouldn't let me see you until I had answered her questions satisfactorily."

"You must have done okay if you are sitting here then."

"I'm still not sure this is where I should be. After everything I have done, I feel like I have no place in the Seven Kingdoms, let alone here at your side."

Brienne took a deep breath as if she was collecting herself, and she reached out her hand to him. He didn't hesitate to grab the hand she offered.

"Let's start at the beginning. When you left, was that your intention all along, to kill Cersei?"

"Yes."

Brienne sighed. "You should have just told me that."

"Then you would have insisted on coming with me. And don't even try to argue with me about that. I know you would have."

"You could have sent word or something!"

"I could have," Jaime admitted. "At that point, I was too much of a coward. I didn't know if you even wanted to hear from me. I don't know how to show real love to somebody. Growing up, you showed love by manipulating the ones you cared for. I don't know how normal people express love. I just know my own twisted form of love."

Brienne squeezed his hand, seeming to understand what he was trying to say. "To begin with you tell the truth, always, even when it is painful."

"Here is the truth, then. I'm sorry for abandoning you when you needed me most. I thought I was doing it for your own good, whether that makes me right or wrong, I don't know. I knew the people in King's Landing were not safe. Daenerys and Cersei would have let everybody in that city burn before either surrendered to the other. Once again, I faced the decision I had those decades ago, do I save my ruler or my people. I don't pretend to care who sits on that throne. But, I had to make a decision to save the people of King's Landing and I was betting that the Dragon Queen would be a more generous ruler than my sister or family had ever been."

"I'm sorry, Jaime, that you have to carry this weight."

"Please, don't be. I don't deserve your sympathy. I went off on my own selfish visions of me fixing the kingdom and left you here."

"You would never have been able to live with yourself if the people of King's Landing had suffered in a battle, knowing you could have stopped all of that. I understand that and you are here now. That is what counts. You haven't missed much, just me vomiting every day."

"Are you okay? Have you seen the Maester?"

"Lady Sansa and Podrick barely leave me out of their sights. Lady Sansa has me see the Maester every week and she herself checks on me every evening. The Maester said my nausea should pass any day and I will be able to resume my activities."

"Surely, you don't need to be working."

"I'm no invalid. I'm pregnant like women have been for eons before me. If I have to stay in this bed a day longer than necessary, I will go crazy. I need to be useful. It just so happens that my body is not cooperating well with me this week, thus I am banished to my chambers under Lady Sansa's direct orders."

"Lady Sansa is really growing on me."

"I think her mother would be proud of who she had become. I feel protective of her, but I dare say she doesn't really need me anymore."

"What are you going to do? Do you want to stay here?"

"I don't have much choice, I'm not sure my father would welcome me back having borne a bastard." Brienne gave Jaime a small smirk, letting him know she was joking. "Even then, I think it is safer to stay out here until at least she is born, then it depends on the weather."

"You think it is a girl?" Jaime smiled.

"I don't know, I guess I hope it is. Heaven forbid she gets my genes, then the world will not be a kind place to her. But, I think I could make her feel like she belongs in a way that I never did."

"She'll belong with us. And the first step is to make sure she is not born a bastard."

"You don't have to."

"I'm not doing this because I feel like I have to. I want this child. I will be able to claim this baby as my own. I will be able to be a father and a husband to you. There is nothing I could want more. I only have one demand."

"And what is that?"

"I don't want the child to have my name. I want her to have your name. My name is too much of a burden and has been tainted by history."

"You know you are an honorable man and that does not make your name evil."

"I understand that," Jaime agreed. "But still, it is a burden that I don't want her having. Your name has been left untainted by history and that is the name that this child deserves. She deserves to have a name that befits her future. Please, it is the one thing I will ask in all of this."

Brienne considered him, and Jaime could tell she was struggling with giving in. But eventually, she slowly nodded. "I will agree. But we will raise her not to be ashamed of her legacy. You are a man any daughter would be proud to have as a father."

-6 Years Later-

"Eryn! Get back here! Aunt Sansa is in a meeting!" Jamie yelled down the stone hallway, but it was of no use.

He heard the slam of her pushing the door open and he followed quickly to extricate his daughter as quickly as possible. He walked in to see most of Sansa's council getting up from their seats and leaving the room. Only Tyrion stayed in his seat next to Sansa's. Eryn was already in Sansa's lap proudly showing off the gap in her teeth.

"See Aunt Sansa! It's gone! Look, Uncle Tyrion, I have a gap! Father says it means I am a big kid now."

"Goodness, I can't believe it! Soon you'll be losing all of your baby teeth," Tyrion replied

"Not all at once?" Eryn asked, concern lacing her voice.

Sansa laughed, hugging the girl close over her own swelling stomach. "Oh darling, not all at once. I can't believe how big you are getting."

Jaime came closer. "I'm sorry for the interruption. We were just setting out to show her mother and she got away from me."

Sansa waved it off easily. "Don't be sorry. I was looking for an excuse to end the meeting. Really she is doing me a favor."

"Yes," Tyrion agreed. "If I had to listen to one more moment of Lord Senff discuss the different projections about how long our potato stores are going to last I was going to murder somebody."

"It's not nice to murder people, Uncle Tyrion," Eryn replied earnestly.

This time all of the adults laughed. "You are right Lady Eryn. I will never do that."

Eryn nodded solemnly before jumping off Sansa's lap. "Okay father, can we go find mother now?"

Jaime couldn't help from rolling his eyes. "I believe that is what we were doing and it is you that insisted on seeing Aunt Sansa and Uncle Tyrion."

His daughter just ignored him, grabbing his hand and dragging him for the door. "Let's go."

Jaime turned to give a parting smile to his Sansa and Tyrion. "This is what you get to look forward to, being bossed around by a 5-year-old."

He didn't wait for a reply before letting Eryn lead him through the winding hallways of their home and outside to the training field. He caught sight of the bright blonde hair of his wife in the distance. He let go of Eryn's hand and she needed no more permission before she started running ahead of him. He watched his daughter's golden hair flying behind her as she darted to Brienne. He knew by heart the bright dimpled grin that was most likely lighting her face. Brienne turned as Eryn got closer and her own face lit up in a matching smile to their daughter's. Today she only wore a light cloak over her pants and shirt. The sunlight gave them hope that spring was around the corner.

As he finally caught up to the two of them, he heard the tail end of what Brienne was telling their daughter. "That is marvelous sweetheart."

"I'm going to show Podrick too!" Off ran Eryn.

He spends his days with Eryn all day, taking care of her. Most days it was wonderful. Today, her energy did remind him that he was not getting younger. Her youthful exuberance was hard to keep up with sometimes. But he wouldn't change anything.

He reached Brienne and gave her a quick kiss in greeting. "She just couldn't wait another second to show you. We took a short detour and broke up Sansa's council meeting before we came out here," he told her as a kind of apology.

"It's fine. We're almost done here anyway. Do you want to stay out here for the last bit and we can head in for dinner?"

"Yes, as long as you don't make me do any fighting."

"You know you're not as rusty as you think you are."

"My fighting days are behind me. Unless it is fighting with our daughter about bath time."

Brienne gave him a small smile, letting him know she was only teasing, but then her smile turned softer and he couldn't help the flip that he still felt in his stomach at realizing this woman had chosen to be with him. Her voice lowered to a whisper. "Are you going to have the energy to fight one more?"

Jaime's mind faltered and all thoughts left his brain in a whoosh. It took a moment to understand what he heard and then his mind started racing to catch up. "You mean…"

"I checked with the Maester today to confirm. We are going to have another baby. I know we haven't talked about it in a while. I hope it's…."

He cut her off, fiercely hugging her to his body. "Brienne, I couldn't be happier."

He heard the muffled soft crying of Brienne, and it took him a minute to realize his own tears were wetting her cloak. He pulled back and cupped her tearful face. "This time I will be there from the beginning. I am so happy."

Brienne gave him a watery smile, letting him know he said exactly the right thing. He pulled her in for a kiss, before wrapping his arms around her again tightly. He would never stop being grateful that after so many years he found his real family and home.