Tyrion listened as Shae's breathing slowed, feeling her sag against him as she went to sleep, nude over the silk sheets. Her hair tickled his chin when she shifted a little, and the sweet scent of her filled his nose anew. He hoped it would linger in his bed when she was gone, so he could remember her like this - soft and warm, head resting on his chest like he was the only one she needed, the only one she wanted. But even though she'd worn him out, sleep would not come.

It was odd to think of Tysha. It was stranger still to mull over the littlest thing's he'd learned about her - from the way she tore apart her bread with her fingers before eating, to how she'd grimace a little when she drank, no matter how hard she'd tried to hide it. But she was always. Tysha was apart of him, she'd made him into the man he had become, for better or worse.

All he'd done was look down at Shae, and seeing her dark curls against his chest made him recall how Tysha had laid against him like that. When she snuggled against him like that, he thought maybe those stupid love songs singers crowed at Casterly Rock weren't so stupid after all.

Tysha. She'd been a skinny girl, doubtlessly underfed. Her hair was dark, her eyes were blue, and he'd loved her, fool that he was. He loved her somuch that he'd made her his wife, and never thought of Casterly Rock, or his father or his inheritance (because with Jaime in the Kingsguard, fatherhad to give up the Rock to his youngest son when he finally died). Tysha had been all that mattered.

Tyrion rarely spoke her name aloud, hurt and mortification still as fresh as it had been all those years ago, and he'd never let anyone know how much it still hurt to think of her. Jaime, his well-meaning brother, had told him after that he should not feel snubbed. "She's a whore," he had said when he found his little brother sniffling quietly in his bed. "Not worth half a thought." Tyrion dried his eyes, but said nothing. Jaime sighed. "I wanted to help you, little brother. Truly, I didn't mean any harm." he said, his voice softer than Tyrion had ever heard it. "I didn't know father would -"

"Don't." Tyrion cut him off, his low voice slashing through the air, louder than any shout. She didn't love me. Jaime rented her for me. Her love was all a lie. "I never want to speak of her again." While the word Tysha was forgotten in Casterly Rock, and the little lord's ill fated marriage was never spoken of, Tyrion could not forget his wife. For however brief a time, he'd had a wife.

He had loved her and found it impossible to hate her, even now. She had been his first...his first everything, really. Sometimes, at night, asleep in his bed, he could feel the kiss she pressed against his brow after they ate their generous meal. It had been unexpected; her moist lips lingered a long moment before pulling away. It held no hesitance of disgust, only sweetness that planted the seed of admiration in Tyrion's heart.

Tysha was half naked and in tears when he first met her. She'd looked so afraid, and trembled, even under his cloak. He and Jaime had been on a ride when they heard her scream, and saw her running a little ways in the distance, quickly followed by two men. They had been calling after her, shouting horrific promises of what they planned to do to her when they finally caught her. But they froze like startled deer when Jaime called out to them, and bolted when his big brother drew his longsword.

As Jaime called back to his brother, telling him to "Look after the girl," Tyrion silently hoped his brother made the men pay a costly price for attempting to harm the poor girl. Tysha looked so small and fragile, curled up there on the side of the road, her beautiful blue eyes all teary and frightened.

She was a fine little actress, my wife, Tyrion thought sullenly.

The girl looked up at him with those wide, scared eyes when he put his cloak around her, casting a quick look down to his stunted legs. She said nothing, as Tyrion expected, but he could feel her eyes on him when he took in their surroundings. As he watched her body shiver under his cloak, seeing purple start to stain her skin, he knew she should not have to stay here. His brother would no doubt be a while, and Tyrion would not make the girl wait for him to return. Thankfully, just up the road, there was an inn that looked comfortable enough.

When he asked her name, she murmured, "Tysha," A pretty name, he'd thought.

"I'm Tyrion Lannister." he watched her eyes scan over his body again, waiting for the disgust, or the sparkle of delight he usually saw in peoples eyes when they looked at him. Even as a grotesque dwarf, his father's greatest shame, he was still one of the richest men in the realm. But when her blue eyes looked back at his, there was no greedy glint, or poorly hidden revulsion.

"You're small." She said simply. Her sweet voice had no trace of malice, not trace of pity. There was only a little curiosity, only a statement.

"Yes, it appears I am." He replied, his voice hard. He waited for the usual list of things people said when they first met him, ("The gods are cruel, little one, don't let it hurt you," "Tywin's youngest and littlest son, ha!" "I feel I should kneel, m'lord, to be proper") They never came.

She only gave him a small, watery smile. "Thank you, m'lord, fer your cloak. You are very, truly kind." When she spoke, he remembered, she looked only at his face. ,As if his body didn't bother her, as though he was a full man, not an imp.

Fool, he thought to himself now as he curled his arm tighter around Shae, she was already half rich with the gold Jaime paid her.

When they sat at the small table in the inn, two full chickens, a loaf of warm, crusty bread, and a bowl of greens dressed with pine nuts and honey between them, he found himself watching her curiously. She was beautiful, he found as he served her a few hefty cuts of meat. But not in the way the noble women were beautiful. Tysha was a beauty all her own, and a young Tyrion thought she could charm the lords and ladies at court with just her smile. Her body was lean, but her hips flared out, her straight hair fell down her back, dull looking and unwashed, darker than copper and her skin was smooth and white although dirty and bruised slightly from where the men's hands had gripped. There was the littlest gap between her front teeth, and a small smattering of freckles on her forehead and nose.

Her hand was small as it laid there on the table, small and soft looking. Tyrion wanted to hold her hand but did not, knowing she'd wretch it away if the ugly boy across from her touched her.

After an entire flagon of bitter tasting wine, Tysha began to relax. Her tense shoulders fell, her eyes did not shift nervously, and she talked with him freely, not even calling him "m'lord". Oh, she was so much prettier when she smiled, especially when her sweet smiles were directed at him. Her teeth were crooked, but gods, she was still gorgeous.

Later that night, as Tysha giggled hysterically from one of Tyrion's jests, a strange, warm feeling grew swiftly in his chest. Never in his entire life had he felt this remarkable feeling before, so warm and light and all consuming. He'd do anything to keep this feeling alive, to feel it again and again. Even the glee he felt when he outsmarted Cersei could not compare to what he felt when making Tysha laugh. What's more, she was not laughing at him - not at his size, his face or his fascination with her; she was laughing with him... because of him.

But it was a lie, all a lie. Her kind smiles, her robust laughter, the way she kissed him, the way she so kindly took him in the bed of the room he paid for.

Tyrion had walked her up to the room he had rented her, both of them laughing all the way. But when they reached the door, all the humour went from Tysha's eyes, but a little smile remained on her thin, pink lips. Tyrion watched her anxiously, thinking he'd done something wrong but when she leant down, and kissed his lips softly, he felt ten feet tall once the shock began to fade. For a moment, he thought it to be a one time kiss, but when she pulled away to breathe, she paused to smile at him again and kissed him once more. They stumbled into the room after that, Tysha's hands trailing in his hair, his hands fisting at her hips.

But when they stood before the bed, she got shy. She pulled away, slowly and timidly loosening pulling her dress up and over her head. When she stood bare before him, she shifted a little, her hands fidgeting nervously. His sweet, lovely, perfect Tysha was skinny, her breasts the size of apples, while her wide hip bones jutted out beneath her alabaster skin. Her legs were long and lean, and the hair between them was dark but soft looking. Tyrion felt himself harden, wanting to touch and be touched by her. Wanting to taste her and drink her in, until there was nothing else in the world. Only Tysha.

She let him watch her a moment before she covered her breasts from his eyes. "No, please don't." he begged without thinking. Tysha blinked. "You're gorgeous, my lady. I want to see all of you." A shy smile pulled at her lips, and she started pulling at his clothes, her breasts swaying in a rather mouthwatering fashion as she hurriedly pulled and tugged at his garments until he was as naked as her.

She was a virgin, and he was baffled into silence when she pulled him on top of her and whispered that she wanted him inside her. Everything was made real at her simple words. Why would she want him? She was lovely and charming and could have any man she wanted. He was a half man, a monster that made little children cry with just one look. He wasn't tall or beautiful, he wasn't Jaime. He wasn't even a pox scarred pig farmer. He was just Tyrion, the dwarf of Casterly Rock, whose gold was more attractive than him.

But Tysha wanted him, she was whimpering for him, she guided his hands between her legs to let him feel how badly she needed him. Her smile was sweet and earnest, and he couldn't help but kiss her. He ran his hands over her form, taking delight in the curves, in the flat planes, committing every inch of her skin to memory.

She wept when he first entered her, but refused to let him pull away from her. And when her pain passed, both found themselves enjoying this newly discovered act that men and women had been doing for centuries before them. It ended quickly the first time, but neither of them cared. The second time came upon them quickly anyway. And the time, after that as well.

That first night, between their fumbling and short rests, Tyrion marvelled at her, explored her and she took delight in it, he knew and this led to more lovemaking. She would kiss him afterward, her long fingers trailing in his hair and she would sing to him, her sweet voice lulling him to sleep before she awoke him by kissing down his stunted body toward his manhood. He knew he loved her then, but how could she feel the same?

He was never happier in a single moment than when she whispered her love for him as he hovered over her, her small hands holding his face so she could look into his eyes.

Sleep claimed them finally in the early waking hours, but before darkness fully engulfed them, Tyrion whispered into the darkness, "Tysha, marry me." She did not stir, but whispered a short, "Yes," against his chest. When they arose in the late afternoon, Tyrion's proposal was not forgotten nor was her answer and they rose in a hurry, smiling and laughing as they searched for their clothes.

By their luck, a septon, throwing back his fourth mug of dark beer was sitting in the corner of the tavern. Quickly flashing a golden dragon, the septon married them in their room, leaving as the new couple began to kiss and moan, and pull each other to the floor.

They lolled in bed for the next few days, alternating between making love, kissing or simply talking.

They were silent a moment as Tysha twisted onto her belly to face him. "You don't think you're pretty," she smiled at him, and abruptly his little smile faded from his face. "I think your gorgeous. You're so smart, and clever and sweet and kind and funny and I love you. I love your face. I love your hands. I love your cock, I think it might be my favorite part 'o you. It don't matter what the people outside 'ere think, it matters what I think because you're mine, not theirs, and I think you're wonderful."

That was probably just a line she fed me to stay with her, and it worked. He wanted to hate her, but never could.

Tyrion did not think his family missed him too greatly. Why would they fret over him for being gone a few days? Cersei, most defiantly. Jaime, perhaps. Tyrion, never. Gods they would probably hold a private feast if he turned up dead in a ditch somewhere.

The small cottage Tyrion had acquired for Tysha was his home, it felt more like home than Casterly Rock ever had. Her—their—cottage was small, and the nights that Tyrion slipped down from the Rock to see her, he never saw anything more than the bedroom.

Before they knew it, a month had passed.

Tyrion would only be too happy to spend the rest of his life here with Tysha. Maybe have a few babes that looked exactly like their mother and crawl in next to Tysha every night. But the gods were always cruel to Tyrion and as he and his young wife slept, the now sober septon send a raven to Tywin Lannister, informing him of his drunken mistake. He probably hoped to get a reward for telling the great Tywin Lannister of his youngest sons deeds. Tyrion hoped someone, somewhere gutting the old shit from balls to brain, especially when father reacted...

Tyrion put a stop to those memories. He went to that place once every few years and he had no wish to go there more often, it hurt too bloody much. Even if she was what Jaime and father said she was, Tysha did not deserve what his father had given her...he wanted to weep at the injustice of it all, all the hurt and suffering and humiliation Jaime had caused, even in trying to be kind to his little brother.

Tysha was gone now...just another passing face in his life, a woman who had not loved him for him, but his name, and gold. Hurt pulsed through him, and not even Shae's soft hair under his hands was of any comfort.

Gods, what was wrong with him? Tysha was gone, Shae was here. The memory of his forlorn marriage should not be something that still pecked at him. The past was over and done, Tysha was out there in the world. He was not under the delusion that Shae would ever love him like he had once believed Tysha had, but she was very good at pretending she did, and she was loyal enough, and beautiful.

Shae would be well taken care of in likes of home and material things, and he would be well taken care of in likes of companionship. There had been worse matches.

Still, even though his plans would make him content enough, he would always remember that one blissful month with his lady Tysha.

If he could be happy then when it was all a lie, why couldn't he be happy with Shae when she pretended? Only this time, his father could not take this one away. He swore it