Lovers's Quarrels and New Beginnings

Jaime sat at the high table, occasionally glancing at Brienne out of the corner of his eye. She sat beside him and he could feel the anger coming off her in waves. He was still rather perplexed about what had her so upset.

All he knew was that halfway through dinner, the blue eyes that usually beheld him with such warmth and affection had turned to ice and she'd given him the cold shoulder completely. Her stare was icy enough to make him feel like he was up in the frozen North again, and he'd been trying to catch her eye ever since to see if he could figure out what had her so upset. But it was no use. She'd fallen sullen and silent, leaving him to take charge of the conversation with Lord Selwyn and the Tarth bannermen as she stabbed angrily at her food without eating any of it.

When dinner had ended, Lord Selwyn, whose health had been failing these past moons, had retired early and most of the bannermen had left as well.

Jaime expected Brienne to leave too, leaving him to socialize with the stragglers as he was clearly more socially adept, particularly tonight. He figured he would hear about whatever she was so angry about in their bedchamber whenever he got there.

She hadn't gotten up though. She'd sat stonily beside him and continued to glare at him from over the top of her goblet.

He realized then that he was in serious trouble.

He just didn't know why.

When the last of the bannermen, red-faced and drunk as a monkey had risen to his feet and muttered, "I must take my leave of you, Ser Jaime, Lady Brienne. Many thanks for the magnificent feast," Jaime had started to rise too, but Brienne had hissed, 'sit' at him and he'd obeyed, not wanting to fathom what might happen if he didn't.

The servants had come in when Lord Hayland had left, wanting to clear the table, but Brienne had asked them to please leave them be.

The last of the maids was on her way out the oak doors when Brienne turned to Jaime, fury wrought across her features, making his homely wife even less charming than usual.

"Why do you always have to say things like that?" she demanded, blue eyes flashing with anger. Once the words had been spat out, however, he saw that there was hurt pooling in them as well, and they were shinier than usual, as though beginning to glisten with tears. His wife was certainly not prone to weeping and Jaime was more than a little surprised.

"Things like what?" he asked, genuinely confused.

"Oh, don't act like you don't know! You're always doing it!" she pushed out from the table and got to her feet. Even in the low torchlight of the hall, he could tell her eyes were definitely filled with tears. "You're horrible! You're just so rude and cruel and- and- horrible all the time!"

Jaime gaped at her. He had no idea where this was coming from.

It had been just over a year since they'd first married, and Jaime deemed the months since she'd become his wife to be the happiest of his life. Certainly the happiest since his early childhood, when his mother had still been alive. Horrible would be one of the last words he'd choose to describe their marriage thus far, but Brienne was looking at him with such fury that he was certain she meant it.

He just could not understand what she meant.

They'd spent years in the frozen North together, rescuing maidens and fighting soulless wights, defending the wall and witnessing the sight of winged dragons dousing the world with flame.

The North was where he took her maidenhead, on the floor of an abandoned wildling home somewhere above the wall.

She'd been the first to press her lips to his, though he'd been dreaming of kissing her for longer than he cared to admit.

He'd been too startled to respond at first, for there had been very little lead up to it.

She'd been lying under the blanket of furs in the tiny hut, resting her eyes but not sleeping.

He'd knelt beside her and placed a hand on the blanket above her thigh. "Brienne. I'm just going out to get some more wood for the fire. Elsewise I'm like to freeze my balls off by morning.

"Hmm?" she'd said, sitting up beneath the furs sleepily. "Oh, yes, alright. Be careful."

"I will," he'd said, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "I won't be a moment."

He'd made to get up then, but she'd grabbed his wrist to stop him and pressed her large, chapped lips against his. It was a chaste kiss, but deliberate. It would have lasted longer, perhaps, had Jaime been able to process what was happening faster and managed to react.

He'd been surprised though, and slow on the uptake. When he didn't respond, the wench had pulled back, looking stricken.

"Ser Jaime- I am sorry- I should not have-" she'd begun to stammer, turning so red he could her cheeks burning, even by the low light of the fire.

"Hush," was the only reply he could manage before he was kissing her back with fervor.

They were the only lips besides Cersei's he'd ever tasted, and the moment they touched he knew they were the only lips he'd ever taste again.

Their second kiss intensified almost at once, and in less than a minute she lying on her back on the furs, and he was lying on top of her pushing his tongue past her lips and hungrily exploring her mouth. Soon enough he was glistening with sweat, warmer than any logs he'd gathered could have made him. Her kisses were a bit clumsy, perhaps, but knowing that they were her first and she'd seen fit to bestow them on him was so endearing that he found himself grinning like a fool whenever they pulled apart to catch their breath. She refined her technique rather quickly too, and soon enough the aching hardness of his cock was almost painful.

Brienne felt it pressing against her, and reached for the laces of his breeches, tugging at them and still kissing and nipping at his neck.

He hesitated then, though his cock desperately craved the sort of warmth it had not known in so long.

He put his good hand between them and pushed back at her shoulder.

"My lady, wait. This is happening a bit- a bit fast. Are you sure you want-"

She swatted his hand away, reaching one of her own large ones up to grab him behind the head and kiss him hard. Her other hand returned to his laces, tugging wildly at them.

She explored his mouth with her tongue for another moment, before pulling back to answer his question.

"I'm sure, Jaime. We should have been dead half a hundred times already, and there will surely be half a hundred more chances for us both to meet an early end. I am sure," she said again, firm and resolved.

A moment later though, she looked shy and embarrassed, biting her lips which were already red and swollen from his hungry mouth and scratching beard. "I mean- that is- if you will have me." She looked down at her large body, studied her huge hands and frowned. "I know I am not...I am not-"

And then it was Jaime's turn to cut her off, for he cared not to hear the words he knew were coming- not beautiful, not much to look upon...

Whatever it was she was trying to stammer out- it didn't matter.

She'd stood by his side when everything he knew and loved fell to pieces around him, and had given him a reason to live on.

She was good and brave and strong, loyal to a fault and the best person he'd ever known.

Perhaps she was large and ungainly and scarred, but she was the only thing in this hellish world he wanted.

He'd wanted her for half a year, at least. Probably longer, though he'd done his best to hide from those thoughts.

He'd wanted to kiss her wounds and hold her against him on the cold nights they'd spent together, wanted to trail kisses down her belly and taste her cunt and make her remember that no matter how much armor she wore, she was still a woman.

If he'd never acted on his increasingly great desire for her, it was only because he never believed a pure-hearted heroine such as she could ever want a soiled, crippled knight like him.

He kissed her hard then to silence whatever unkind things she was trying to say about herself, and allowed her to release his cock from the confines of his trousers.

He'd laid her gently down upon the blanket of furs on the dirt floor, and when he was sure she was ready, had pushed himself inside her, delighting in the way she moaned kisses into his neck and torso, marveling at how quickly she'd gotten past the brief flicker of pain that came with the loss of her maidenhead, how quickly she'd begun to meet his thrusts and quicken the pace of their desperate, passionate coupling.

They fucked every night and most mornings after that, even after they'd joined up with the men of the night's watch.

If Brienne was bothered by their judgmental whispers, she never let on, and once the men had seen her fight, they stopped their gossiping, lest she do to them what they'd seen her do to the white walkers.

Neither of them had expected to live through the war, but they had.

They'd made it through as whole as two maimed warriors such as they could be.

They'd watched the dragon queen come to save them all just as their last hopes were fading, they'd seen young Sansa Stark returned to Winterfell, they'd each destroyed dozens of wights and undead beasts and monsters of men, and come out of the other side.

The first Sept they'd reached after crossing The Neck and entering the Southern Kingdoms, Jaime had seized her by the wrist and pulled her towards it without a word.

"Jaime," she'd gaped. "What are you-"

"We're not in the North anymore, wench. You are a highborn lady and we cannot behave like heathens any longer. And as I don't plan to stop fucking you anytime soon, we had better marry in the sight of the gods lest people begin to talk. My honor hasn't meant a damn thing for years, but you might be able to salvage some of yours if we wed before gossip reaches the Southern halls."

Brienne stared at him.

Then, to his utter surprise, she began to laugh.

"What are you laughing at, wench?" he asked, deeply offended.

"I'm sorry," she said breathlessly, when her laughter subsided a few moments later. "That was just a...well a truly awful proposal, Jaime."

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said irritably. "Did you want a bloody sonnet?"

He turned from her, still irked and slightly wounded.

"Oh Jaime," she said, slipping her hand into his turning him back around to face her. "I'm sorry," she smiled almost pityingly. "I didn't mean to- to hurt your feelings. It's -it's very sweet, that you would think of my honor in such a way at all. I didn't mean to laugh. Though on the subject of your honor, I do wish you'd stop saying it doesn't mean a thing. You've more than proven yourself these past years. Even Queen Daenerys was willing to-"

"Enough about honor, wench. Will you marry me or not?"

She'd smiled and kissed him and agreed. They'd found a septon inside and were wed within the hour.

They'd continued on to Tarth after that, for Tyrion had been named Lord of Casterly Rock and Jaime had no desire for the place and all the memories it held anyway.

He'd never thought he'd be worthy of such a chance at a new beginning, but some twist of fate had deemed it so and their life together had begun.

They'd arrived on Tarth on a warm spring day and spent the last year at Evenfall hall.

As far as Jaime had known, they were happy. Though Selwyn had been cold and mistrustful of him at first, he'd eventually warmed to him as he came to realize how happy he made his very hard-to-please daughter.

Jaime was coming to view his good-father with more affection than he'd ever had for Tywin and spent long hours in his solar, listening to the kind older man talk.

Jaime was also building a rapport with the men-at-arms and sworn lords.

And of course, he was inside Brienne every night, loving the feel of her strong arms wrapped around him and her soft kisses every morning.

Things had being going so well.

Which was why he could not fathom her anger right now.

Of course, they'd had their spats before and often. They disagreed about all sorts of things, and enjoyed arguing about them at length.

Jaime loved to grate on her nerves and prick her to anger, but it was usually all in fun. Though she'd smack him in irritation or glare at him stonily, he could almost always get a smile out of her in the end, and he loved the sparkle in her eyes when she did.

"What do you mean, I'm horrible?" he asked, shaking his head in disbelief.

"You're're just so mean and you have no idea how much your words can hurt," she said, tears welling in her eyes. "You shouldn't say such awful things, especially not in front of other people. I may be a giant beast of a woman but I do have feelings, Jaime."

She began to turn, tears welling in her eyes and made to walk away. Jaime reached for the her wrist, grabbing it gently before she could leave.

"Alright, wench, you're going to have to help me out here because I have no idea what it is I've said," he said quietly still shaking his head.

She wrenched it out of his grasp furiously and seized her water goblet.

"I'm not a wench!" she screamed, throwing the contents of her goblet in his face. "I'm your lady wife!"

Jaime stared in shock for a moment as droplets of water poured down his face and into his eyes.

Then he began to laugh. Quietly and incredulously at first, but after a short time, he was laughing uproariously, so hard that tears were streaming down his face as well as water.

"Shut up!" Brienne was saying. "It's not funny! Shut up!"

But he ignored her, still shaking with laughter.

Until she took the whole bloody golden goblet and threw at his torso in fury. It hit him hard so hard in the ribs he was surprised she hadn't cracked one.

"Ouch!" he cried in surprise. "That fucking hurt!"

She shrugged insolently, glaring at him.

Jaime found himself growing irritated now.

He got to his feet as well and moved around her, pinning her between himself and the long table.

She reached up a hand to shove him away, but he twisted it down and pinned it between their bodies. Her other hand came up, probably to hit him based on the way her eyes flashed, but he was too quick for her.

He caught that one too, twisting it deftly and pinning it between them. He pushed up against her, his own hand leaning on the table behind her to steady them.

"Tell me now, Brienne," he said, quietly. "Stop acting like a child and tell me what it is that has you so bloody angry that you're throwing fucking goblets at me?"

Annoyed as he was, and despite knowing that he'd have a sore bruise on his ribs where the goblet had hit with such force, Jaime found himself growing aroused at their proximity and her hard breathing and the feel of her body pushing up against his as she tried to buck him off. He found himself kicking one of her feet aside so he could move further between her legs.

"What could I have said, sweetling, to make you so furious?" he said, voice low and throaty in her ear.

"You don't even know," she said, pulling back from him, hurt and anger in her expression as she made a weak attempt to push him off her. Jaime's desire quailed a bit as he took in her utterly resigned expression. "Of course you wouldn't have the slightest idea what it feels like to be mocked about your looks in front of people! You look like a bloody god, with your stupid golden mane and your bloody green-"

"Mocked about your... Brienne, I am certain that I never said a single thing about you loo-" Jaime began, surprised and confused.

"Do you think I like being reminded constantly, at every turn, even by my own husband that I'm a hulking, ugly, ungainly fr-"

Jaime's eyes widened, for he hadn't said any such thing.

He wracked his brain, trying to think of anything he'd said that his wife could possibly have interpreted as a slight against her appearance.

He'd said many cruel things to her in the past, but once he had learned to love her, and learned how sensitive the heart that beat beneath her layers of armor was, he'd taken care never to say anything unkind about her appearance.

Brienne was still ranting, listing off a long list of insults that he was certain his poor wife had heard in her time, for people were cruel and many of them were accurate. She mentioned horrible things that made his heart ache... but he'd certainly never uttered a one of them at dinner, or in many long years.

"Come now," he said, pressing a finger against her lips and pressing his growing hardness against her sex. "You're talking nonsense, love."

He leaned in to try to kiss her, unsure how else to ease her obvious distress, but she jerked her head away and shoved at his stomach with her hands, which were still pinned between them.

"I don't want to kiss you, you monster!" she spat furiously.

"Monster?" he asked, hurt and irritated, increasing the pressure of his body against hers to stop her from pushing him away. "There's a word I haven't heard you use against me in a long time, wife. Just as it's been a long time since I've said any of those cruel things about you. And there were some amongst them I've never said, and certainly not tonight."

"What about what you said to Lord Hayland, when he asked you about our marriage?:" She asked with an accusing stare. Jaime furrowed his brow.

He did recall the man asking how their marriage was going, and making some joke about his unhappy marriage to his own wife. Jaime tried to recall his response to the question, but he didn't have to. Brienne was venemously quoting him, her eyes blazing, " 'My Lord, you only need to look at my wife to know our marriage is a peaceable one. She could beat me into the dust if I stepped out of line so I take care not to."

"That's what you're upset about?" Jaime asked as his words were parroted back to him by his wife. A few of the tears that had been welling in her dazzlingly blue eyes finally fell.

"That was a compliment, my lady. One I've given many times before and usually puts a satisfied smirk on your face. You've always enjoyed the fact that you can best me in a fight, and even more so when I'm willing to admit that you are!" Jaime said, truly perplexed.

He was annoyed and confused, to be sure, but Brienne, who had spent weeks on end fighting white walkers with hardly any sleep or food, never shedding a tear, now had tears streaming down her face over a harmless jape he'd made at dinner.

His annoyance gave way to genuine concern. There had to be something else going on here.

He softened, reaching out to wipe away her tears with his thumb, still pressing his body against hers. "These tears are- are most unlike you, my lady. What on earth is the matter?"

"I don't know," she sighed weakly, collapsing against the table and moving back a bit so she was sitting on it. Jaime moved closer to fill the space between them, wanting to be near her. Her legs spread reflexively to accomodate him, and he pushed between them, brushing strands of blonde hair behind her cheeks with his left hand to keep them from sticking to her face with tears.

"I just feel so... so huge lately. I know it's stupid because I've been this way all my life, but I I lived as a warrior for so long that I allowed myself to forget what a sight I am when I'm not on a battlefield. I'm going to be the Lady of Tarth one day, and I tower over every woman on this island," Brienne said, clearly anguished. "No matter how flattering a gown they make me, I still look so large and ugly and out-of-place! And I'm covered in so many hideous scars, and I know it shouldn't even matter because I was never much to look upon anyway, but every time I see this horrible cheek in a looking glass I-"

"Shhhh," Jaime said, pained, pressing a kiss to her ruined cheek. He held his mouth there gently and pressed his body against hers until she sighed and closed her eyes and her shoulders heaved slightly into a more relaxed position.

He closed his eyes too, and stroked her the hair at the back of her head with his good hand. He moved his cheek so it was pressed against hers and spoke softly into her ear.

"Brienne, the people of this isle do not care about your bloody stature or your cheek. They know you for your deeds, and love you for them. They know you as a hero who fought the living dead in the frozen north, who risked her life to save our young queens and kept the south safe from unholy terrors. They don't care about your scars or your size, and neither do I."

The calm that had come over her as he'd kissed her cheek seemed to be slipping away to anger once more. She twisted her mouth in anger and made to retort.

"Ladies are supposed to look a certain way, Jaime and it is not like this-"

"For gods' sake Brienne, would you stop this nonsense!" he growled, seizing her at the back of her head and kissing her hard, pushing her back against the table. She held herself up with an elbow and tried to shove him off with her other hand.

He pressed the kiss on her harder, and she could not get the leverage needed to push him off her, so she resorted to biting down on his lip hard.

If her intent was to scare him off, it surely failed, because the hard gnash of teeth against his lip only made his hard cock even harder. He bit her back, and sucked at her bottom lip as she tried weakly to shove him off.

Her silk skirts made pressing his cock against her warm body difficult and he longed to press himself up against her and feel some friction against it. He roughly seized the hem of them and pulled them up towards her waist, shoving his hand beneath them, still kissing her desperately.

He found her smallclothes and slipped his hand beneath them. Angry as she was, as soon as he pushed past her thicket of hair and soft lips, he found her warm and wet beneath his fingertips.

"What are you doing?" she asked in a strangled gasp as he began to move his fingers inside her.

"Doing an increasingly poor job of treating you like a proper lady," he grinned, leaning forward to nip at her earlobe. As predicted, the sensitive spot made her arch up against him with a throaty moan. "And doing my best to get your mind off this utter foolishness."

Again, she attempted to pull one of her hands out from where they were still pinned between their bodies. Her attempt to push him away was weaker than ever and she was beginning to writhe beneath his deft fingers.

"What are you doing?" she repeated, breathing hard. "We're in the great- bloody- hall! My father's hall! Anyone could walk in-"

"We're a man and woman wed," he said, pushing his fingertips further inside until he reached the spot he knew would turn her legs to jelly and make her give up her protests soon enough.

"We're- the- the future Lord and Lady of this island! We are supposed to behave with decenc-"
She gave up entirely then, clutching at the front of his tunic with her shocking strength, pulling his mouth down to hers and kissing him with fervor. Their mouths met in a clash of teeth and tongues and soft, hungry lips.

"To hell with decency," he said, when they pulled apart at last, both red-faced and gasping. "I'm going to fuck my violent, angry wench of a wife into this table," he said, burying his mouth into her neck.

He reached behind her with his good hand and with a swipe, sent the plates and silverware behind her to the side. Then he pushed her back onto it and lifted her silk skirts up even further, withdrawing his hand from her dripping cunt and moving his body between her legs again.

He heard her gasp at the sound of the silk fabric ripping as he tugged it up. He thought he heard her mention something about her septa being furious, but he ignored it, tugging down her smallclothes with one fell swoop and tugging hard at the laces of his breeches.

They'd barely fallen to his ankles when he pushed himself inside her. She'd grown so wet from the attention he'd given her with his hand, that he slid inside her easily. She braced herself against the table with her hands and wrapped her strong legs around him, pulling him towards her hungrily.

There were times in their when they spent long tender hours together in their feather bed.

They'd lie together on the soft mattress, beneath thick, warm blankets and Jaime would slowly explore her body with hand and mouth and tongue, delicately learning more about the things that made her swoon and sigh. He'd tantalizing trail his tongue over her body, finding her favorite spots to be kissed and licked and sucked. He'd spend an hour just tasting the freckles on her small breasts, loving the feel of her strong hands digging into his muscular back.

This was not one of those times. The fight had him fired up, and he took her hard. Their was no slow sweetness to this coupling. He drove into her with strength and speed and she met his thrusts with just as much desire. The goblets and silverware on the longtable clattered with every desperate thrust and their moans echoed off the cavernous ceiling.

Jaime was panting, his brow soaked with sweat in no time at all.

Occasionally, he collected his thoughts enough to pull back and breathlessly say things like, "You're a bloody idiot, you know." and "You're magnificent and everyone on this bloody island knows it" in between kisses and eager pumpings of his cock. She glared and smiled in turn as he gasped out insults and compliments, and by the warmth and desire shining in her eyes he knew she was finally starting to believe it.

It didn't last long but it was hot and hungry and neither of them would ever forget the ferocity of the highly indecent coupling.

Jaime was ready to spend himself inside her from almost the moment they started, but he forced himself to hit the spot his wench loved until she had reached her peak and bit down on his neck to stop her cry of pleasure from echoing through the hall. He'd already brought her close with just his hand, however, and she came quickly.

As soon as she'd stopped shuddering and clenching around his cock, he'd allowed himself to spill inside her. When he finished, he shakily pulled out and let himself collapse on top of her chest for a moment, still shuddering as she stroked his damp hair and laid kisses on top of his golden head.

When he'd managed to collect himself at last, he stood up properly again and offered a hand to help her up off the table.

The white table cloth was splattered and stained with arbor red.

Jaime grinned and pointed at it. Brienne turned to see, and blushed.

"We've certainly made a mess, haven't we?"

"Aye," he said, mussing her hair affectionately. "A beautiful one."

He took her hand and led her towards their bedchamber.

A maid saw them in the hall, Jaime's breeches still unlaced, his shirt untucked and their faces still red and their hair soaked with sweat, and gave a shocked squeak before ducking into a doorway.

After that, they dashed the rest of the way to their room, laughing like children all the way.

As soon as they were inside, Jaime kicked off his boots and breeches, and collapsed on the bed.

Brienne undressed more slowly. Jaime watched her lazily from their bed, admiring the muscles of her strong back as she slipped out of her gown, letting it pool on the floor by her ankles. She crawled in beside hun, turning on her side with her back to him.

He immediately turned on his side as well, pressing himself against her back and draping his arm over her nude torso, cupping a small breast in his hand and kissing her shoulder.

"Well...That was different, my lady," he smirked into her skin.

"Yes. And utterly abhorrent. We ought to be ashamed-"

"Perhaps we ought to be, but I'm certainly not," Jaime scoffed. "That was bloody arousing. Wouldn't mind trying it out in a few other places too! How about the training yard? Or the rose garden? Or perhaps- mmpph"

Jaime's words were cut off when she turned, laughing and pressed her pillow down upon his face.

"Certainly not! Once was more than enough!"

"Alright," he said, laughing as well and shoving the pillow off his face.

She was propped up on an elbow, leaning over him and staring at him in shocked amusement. "Alright," he repeated, because she looked ready to press the pillow to his face if he did not agree. "No more publically animalistic displays of affection for my wife. Got it... but do let me know if you ever change your mind, m'lady" he winked.

She scowled, but he kept grinning at her until she grinned back down at him.

As he looked up at her, his expression turned more serious as he recalled how upset she'd been earlier that evening.

"Are you alright, Brienne?" he asked, cupping her cheek gently. "Truly? I've never seen you so upset about something so...well...insignificant," he said cautiously, hoping he wouldn't infuriate her or hurt her or cause any other sort of unpleasantness with his word choice.

She let out a heavy sigh. "Yes. I'm fine," she said. "I know I went a bit...mad back there."

Jaime made a strangled sound as his brain tried to intercept his mouth from agreeing with her assessment.

She lowered herself onto his chest, resting her cheek against it.

"And I think I...I think I know why I did," she added.

"Er...why?" Jaime asked, out of duty, though he was slightly afraid of what the answer might be.

If it was a serious matter, like her father's health, or something else he was ill-equipped to comfort her about, he dreaded messing it up, or failing entirely, when she'd been so good to him, when she'd saved him from insignificance and heartbreak and despair and helped him become a man he could be proud of.

"Well...I...," she said, sounding slightly pained. He reached out a hand to stroke her hair, wanting her to get whatever it was out even if he was half terrified of what she might say.

"Septa Roelle says that...she says that when a woman is..." Brienne mumbled into his chest. "She says that sometimes women get more...more emotional than usual when..."

"When what?" Jaime asked, trying not to show his impatience and failing.

Brienne sat up again, staring down at him. She breathed in heavily once and then said, in a clear, steady voice. "I've not had my moon's blood in almost three cycles."

Jaime sat up at once.

He turned to her, mouth ajar.

She was right, of course. He hadn't noticed the passage of time at all, for Tarth was so peaceful and lovely in the warm spring that time seemed to move differently than he'd ever experienced it.

His days were pleasant, sparring with Brienne in the sun, japing with the men-at-arms, learning the history of Tarth with Selwyn, and his nights even more-so as he moved beneath the sheets with his kind and gentle and brave wife. He'd failed to notice that they'd gone almost three months without her moon's blood coming upon her.

"Are you- are you saying-" he gasped, unable to complete the sentence, but Brienne was nodding, eyes shining with tears.

"Yes. I am with child, Jaime. The maester has seen to me and he believes everything is- is going well so far. We're...we're going to have a baby," she said, eyes bright and beautiful as she smiled weakly at him.

"Gods," Jaime croaked, brain struggling to process the information. He leaned forward, resting a hand on her thigh and pressing a quick, soft kiss to her still swollen lips. "That's- that's wonderful, Brienne."

"Yes. Yes it is," she gasped.

Suddenly her brow knitted with worry. "I mean, I think it is. It should be. But I've...I never spent my girlhood days dreaming of motherhood like other girls. I hope I am- I don't know if I can-"

"Shhh," he whispered, pressing a finger to her lips. "The ravens that arrive every month from Sansa Stark and Podrick Payne are proof enough that you know how to love a child. Hells, Brienne, you even managed to love a wretch like me. Our babe is going to be luckiest child ever born."

He kissed her, stroking the side of her face lovingly.

"Thank you," she whispered, smiling.

She looked hesitantly at him then, biting her lip. She was on the verge of saying something, but seemed reluctant, and afraid to. Jaime waited, knowing his wife was often slow with her words, but usually had important things to say when she found them.

"I am - I am glad you'll get to be a father, Jaime. A real one, I mean. Sansa and Pod ask about you in all their letters too, you know. You were good to them, and they remember it. Every night since I found out, I've dreamt of you holding our child in our arms. You look bloody terrified, but so pleased and proud. I'm so glad you'll finally have the chance to be the father I know you can be," she sighed, pressing her hands to her belly softly.

Jaime felt a surge of emotion well up inside him as he thought of the children he'd sired and never known.

Myrcella was in Dorne, Tommen squiring with Tyrion at the Rock. Cersei had kept him from them, out of fear, and now they were leagues from him, growing into a young man and woman that had no need of him.

They were both old enough now, perhaps, to know that he was their true father, but they'd all been so lucky to survive this war that it would not do to visit with them and draw attention to their illicit parentage.

He'd lost his chance with them and sometimes the thought filled him with bitter regret. But looking at Brienne smiling at him so fondly, he felt some of that regret begin to dissipate as he reached over to feel her belly too.

"You can't feel much yet," she said with a shrug. "But the maester says it won't be long before we will."

She sighed happily laying back down on the feather mattress with her hands still on her belly, "I cannot wait until he's born. Or she," she added.

"He or she, the child is sure to be the deadliest thing that ever held a sword, being a part of each of us," Jaime grinned, leaning over to kiss her along the jawline. " And we'll make sure we fill their head with your good morals and my good sense."

She snorted when he spoke of himself having good sense, rolling her eyes.

Laughing, Jaime pressed a quick kiss to her belly before laying down beside her and draping an arm across it.

She soon fell into a contented sleep, but Jaime lay awake for a long time, wondering at this miraculous second chance at a life and family he'd been given.

He found himself imagining a future with this child of theirs in it long into the night.

He imagined himself brushing off scraped knees and showing them how to wield a sword, telling them tales of their mother's valor and teaching them to swim in the sapphire waters of Tarth.

Always at his side as he chased this tiny blonde person across the fields through the woods of Tarth, was a warrior woman with eyes that matched Tarth's brilliant waters; A woman who had saved his life in more ways than he could ever tell her; A woman who had given him a place in a the world, a place to call home, and a love that was real and right and constant.

When at long last he felt sleep was about to take him, Jaime pressed a final kiss to her cheek before drifting away into dreams.

The End

AN: Sorry for writing something that isn't Tale As Old As Time! I will get back to that ASAP, but I've been working for three weeks straight without a break and I just don't have the energy to give it the attention it needs! I will update it soon!