Jaime tries to get her to drink with him every time they stop in a tavern.

It isn't often that they do and he finds it a great injustice that Brienne refuses to join in with his alcohol consumption on these occassions. They so infrequently are fortunate enough to find a safe place to spend the night as they journey North. And she flat out refuses to partake in a little fun.

It pains him that she won't let her guard down for even a few hours to be his drinking companion. She's too bloody serious and always has been.

Even when Jaime deems the risk to be low enough to indulge in a few flagons of mead or cups of wine, Brienne is always on edge, shrewdly watching everyone and everything with those alert blue eyes of hers, her shoulders tense and her hand never far from the hilt of her blade.

She sometimes takes a cup of ale when she doesn't trust the water, but sips it so slowly that she can't possibly feel any effect from it, and feeling the effects is the whole bloody point of drinking!

Though the wench shoots him down every single time, Jaime can't resist asking her to get drunk with him every single time they stop at an inn anyway.

He's relentless, and though Brienne never consents to a drinking session, he never stops asking. It's become a part of their routine and Jaime rather enjoys it.

Perhaps it's because, despite her obvious frustration at being pestered, the corners of her mouth tend to twitch in a way that tells him she's not really angry, that she might even find his begging endearing in its own annoying way. He likes the way her eyes sparkle when she rolls them at him, so he keeps it up, even if it always goes down in the same basic way.

Usually when they find an inn to drink at, Brienne sits quietly in a corner with Sansa and Podrick Payne until bedtime. Some nights, eager for a bit of gossip and excitement, Jaime makes friends with rowdy drunks, glad to be spending the night in a warm, noisy tavern instead of the frozen northern wilds.

If Brienne is in a particularly good mood, he is sometimes able to bring Pod into his shenanigans, but that is a rare occurrence and she usually casts dark looks at him for days after, especially if there's an increase in the boy's use of inappropriate words after.

On other nights, Jaime sits with them, telling stories that make Pod chuckle, Sansa titter prettily into a handkerchief, and Brienne look at him scoldingly.

On rarer nights, the tired young ones go to bed early, and he gets her to himself for a while. That's when his pestering is at its' peak.

It's a rare occurrence but he takes advantage of the opportunity whenever it comes up.

Usually, when Sansa announces that she is tired and ready for bed, Brienne will stand to go upstairs with her.

But if Jaime cuts in with a "What? You're going to leave me down here... alone and drunk? What if someone is mean to me? I can't defend myself with just one hand, wench!" the sharp young Stark girl will come to his rescue.

When he plays that card, Sansa Stark will usually give him a shrewd look for a long moment and earnestly convince Brienne that she is fine going up alone and insist that Brienne stay with Jaime a while.

And she does, because Brienne does whatever Sansa bloody asks. Jaime often wonders what her bloody secret is and how he can get it out of her.

Of course, Jaime's not sure he likes the knowingly superior way the young Stark girl looks at him at times like that, like she knows something the rest of the world is too stupid to figure out, but as she's quite adept at trapping Brienne into keeping him company, Jaime is mostly grateful to the girl.

Jaime is a happy enough drunk, and he enjoys spending time with her, even if she won't partake in drinking with him. He likes sitting beside her, likes telling her stories and jokes (the few clean ones he knows), likes the way her blue eyes sparkle when he gets a rare laugh out of her.

He likes being a little fuzzy-headed around her, even if she's sober, because he can allow himself to take little steps towards intimacy he can't quite manage when he's sober.

He likes that he can let their legs touch under the table and pretend it's only the drink making him clumsy and uncoordinated.

He likes that he can pretend Brienne allows it, not just because she's naturally patient, but because maybe she likes the feel of their legs pressed against one another as much as he does.

He likes that he can let it stay pressed up against hers without a nagging voice telling him to pull away.

He likes that when he's drunk, it doesn't seem quite so absurd to be harboring a growing attraction towards (a growing need for) his fellow warrior, his comrade-in-arms, his big, homely, disgustingly noble friend.

Whenever Jaime gets her alone, he starts his pestering. He begs her to have just a little more and they have the same repetitive arguments about it on many a night. He never expects her to agree, but he enjoys the arguments anyway.

"Go on, wench," he'll say, pushing his tankard towards her. " Live a little. We could die at any moment-"

"Yes, we could," she'll say, pushing it back towards him. "We could die in this very tavern if we're not alert. Sansa is my responsibil-"

"She's our responsibility, wench-"


"Our responsibility, Brienne, and if that's the issue, I will gladly volunteer to stay sober for an evening and allow you to drink to your heart's content," Jaime offers.

"My heart would be content not to take in substances that make me act like a fool," she'll reply.

"Act a fool? Wait- are you implying that when I drink I act a fool?" He'll ask with a grin.

"Yes," she'll say, stonefaced.

"You're no bloody fun," he'll reply, when they burn themselves out on the same old arguments. "Play cards with me then, you dour thing."

"No. You always cheat."

"I do not," he'll protest, mouth wide open in an over-the-top display of indignance.

"Yes you do. And you think you're getting away with it because you're a drunk fool," she'll say, and then there'll be that revealing little mouth-twitch that tells him she's having fun, even if she'll never admit it.

Those are the moments that make this all worth it. The fear for their lives, the terrible nights sleeping in the dirt that are a constant reminder that he's getting old, the frigid and unforgiving bite of the Northern winter...they are all worth it when he gets those little indicators that the wench likes him. That he can make her laugh and that her journey to fulfil her oath is a little easier because he's here with her.

But she still never agrees to drink with him.

Once, to vary things a bit, Jaime brings over two flagons to the table where she's sitting and puts one down in front of her.

"There. I bought you a drink. Be polite and drink it," he says standing behind her.

"No," Brienne says, craning her neck around to glare at him. "You be polite and do not buy me things I do not ask for, things which you know very well I do not want."

Jaime grins at her fierce response.

"Come, wench," he says soothingly, squeezing her shoulder with his good hand and giving it good hard massage before she reaches back to swat him away. He laughs and removes his hand from her shoulder before she can hit him.

"You need to loosen up," he says, waiting a moment before squeezing her shoulder again. He rolls his fingertips against her muscular back and finds it full of hard knots.

Brienne stiffens and freezes for a moment. Jaime grins and he takes her stunned surprise as a window to keep on rubbing at her tense back. He leans close into her ear and whispers, "Just look at all this tension. See? You carry the weight of the world on your-"

"Get off!" she hisses, finally snapping out of the trance he'd held her in, swatting blindly behind her and aiming for his face. Jaime dodges away before she can backhand his nose and probably break it with those massive hands of hers and he lets out a hearty chuckle.

His laugh fades though, when he realizes how much he'd really like to keep rubbing the knots from her strong back, to hear her let out soft sounds of pleasure as her stress melts away beneath his fingertips.

He feels a sudden longing to lay Brienne flat on her stomach, to rub all the tension from her freckled, nude back, making her arch against his palm as he used to do for Cersei when she'd had a particularly frustrating day.

I had two hands then, he thinks with some bitterness. I'd do a poor job of it, even if the dour wench allowed it.

Jaime moves back to her ear and says, "One day, I am going to see you drunk, wench," and darts away before she can swipe at him again.

She turns in her chair to face him, her expression firm.

"Today is not that day."

They are a day's ride from reaching Jon Snow and the Northern armies, if the word from the innkeep can be trusted, and Sansa is asleep upstairs. Pod has volunteered to keep watch at her door. The boy had grown quite attached to her over time, and though Brienne had insisted she could do it, a pointed look from Jaime made her back down, though she seemed confused as to why. Let him have his time with her, Jaime thinks. She'll be nestled back in the North soon enough.

It's a rowdy tavern, full of singing drunks and the stench of potent drink.

"Come on, wench. Your little Stark girl is safely tucked away in bed. She'll be back with her bastard brother by this time tomorrow. We've fulfilled our bloody oaths, traipsing from one end of the country to the other to do so," Jaime says dramatically, waving his arms about. "We've bled and starved and fought like the warriors of old! We've laughed and cried! We've vanquished mighty foes and saved innocents from fearsome fates! We're bloody heroes, Brienne. The least you can do is have a damned drink with me!"

Brienne stares at him stonily for a moment.

"I believe you've already had more than enough drink for the pair of us," she says wryly, glancing pointedly at his empty flagon.

"Nonsense! That was only my second drink! I'm hardly drunk. Sometimes, Brienne, people are just happy. I don't suppose a dour wench like you would know anything about that though," he smirks.

Something flickers across her features that he isn't sure he recognizes, but it may be sadness and he doesn't want that.

He was only trying to antagonize her into drinking with him, but even his most genuine intentions have a way of getting off track, and he winds up with his foot in his mouth and Brienne looking like a wounded doe, making him feel like a prize fool.

He doesn't want her hurt.

He wants to have fun with her because his bones are tired but he's not dead yet and they deserve to be happy. He's done lots of atoning and he's set to do a hell of a lot more before this journey is through, but he thinks a happy intermission is well deserved before the next stage of their quest.

They've already planned it.

Once Sansa's safe, they're going after the younger Stark girl.

Jaime is set to sail across the narrow bloody sea on this road to redemption, but for a night- just one night- he just wants to forget their obligations and have a laugh with Brienne.

He reaches his hand across the tavern table and says, "Sorry. I didn't mean...I just meant...I could show you what it's like, wench, being happy. It's not nearly so bad as you might think," he says with an easy smile. She stares back at him with those startling blue eyes, and there's heat and intensity between them. He's never quite prepared for these moments and tends to brush them aside as quickly as they come. He quirks his head to the side and grins, shattering the moment.

"A mug of ale might help us along though. Go on, have a drink with-"

She pulls her hand out of his grasp before Jaime can really get a hold of hers and he frowns.

"I'll be happy enough once Sansa's in safe hands at last," she says, her expression serious.

Jaime scowls grumpily for a moment.

Then he gets an idea and his green eyes flash with mirth.

"Happy enough to... share a celebratory drink with the poor, old cripple who's followed you through hell so you can uphold your bloody vows?" he asks, grinning hopefully.

Brienne lets out an exasperated sound that's half-laugh, half-sigh. "Is it really so important to you that I join you in your drunken debauchery?" she asks with a note of incredulity.

"Yes, wench, it is! And it's not debauchery to have a few flagons of ale with a friend after you've accomplished the impossible! Soldiers drink together after a victory, Brienne. And we've had a bloody slew of victories on this mad journey and naught but water's passed those lips of yours. We've come out on top when we should have been dead and buried a dozen times. We're about to have our greatest victory of all. We're about to fulfil our vows! We've been a fine pair of warriors, Brienne. We deserve a celebration. Go on, wench. Say you'll celebrate with me."

She stares stonily.

"Come on," he pleads. "Celebrate with me. Please."

"Fine," she sighs. "When we have returned Sansa to the Starks, I will celebrate with you."

"With drinking?" he asks, smiling like a boy.

"With drinking," she says with a such an air of defeat that he has to refrain from rolling his eyes.

She sounds as though she's agreeing to fight a bear without a weapon again, rather than agreeing to have a bit of fun for once in her miserable life.

"You have to promise to drink enough to feel something," he adds seriously.

She looks highly reluctant and starts to say, "I do not understand why you-"

"Promise, wench. You gave Hyle bloody Hunt half your gold just for getting us halfway North and turning back with his tail between his legs when his balls couldn't take the cold. I've come all the way to the top of this frozen hell with you and all I ask is that you get properly drunk with your loyal companion when we've seen it through. One small, small favor from a maid to show her appreciation for my selfless, noble-"

"Alright!" Brienne cries in frustration. "I'll do it."

"Promise?" he asks.

"I promise. Just- just shut up about it."

"Excellent!" Jaime grins.

Then because he can't resist pushing his luck and winding her up, he extends his flagon as says, "How about a toast to your surprising agreeability?"

Brienne ignores it, save for a withering stare.

"No. Goodnight, Jaime," she says, rising from the table as he chuckles heartily, far too pleased with himself as usual.

"Bah. Come back, wench. Just because you're not drinking doesn't mean you have to leave me all alone," he sniffs.

"I'm going to bed, Jaime. You ought to do the same. We've an early start tomorrow and I've no qualms about dousing you with ice water if you cannot rise on your own."

"I'm a big lad. I'll go to bed when I'm bloody ready, mother."

"Suit yourself. But as I say, no qualms."

Jaime lets her go, grinning broadly throughout the night as he envisions the celebration to come.