Thanks for all the encouraging reviews! I give thee: The Final Chapter!
They burst out of the tavern and into the frigid night. They barely make it past the oak doors when Brienne bends over and begins to retch.
Jaime cringes, holding her shoulders to keep her steady as...five...six? flagons of mead come up splattering the snow.
He bends over as well, whispering soothing words in her ear and keeping her hair out of her eyes with his good hand.
"There now," he says quietly. "Go on, let it all out, there's a good girl."
She stands up at one point, wiping her mouth and looking agonized, tears making her blue eyes shine in the starlight.
"Jaime," she wince. "This is horrible. Gods, how dreadful. I can't b-"
But then she hunches over and retches again, splattering his boots as she continues getting rid of the excess of drink.
"I know," he soothes, barely noticing the boots as he strokes her straggly hair, keeping it out of her face. "I know. It's terrible. But it'll pass. You'll be alright. But I know it's horrible. I wasn't more than thirteen the first time I went through it. It's alright," he says, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
"The first time? Gods, how could you ever drink again after-" a pause, and some more vomiting- "after going through this? It's horrible. I am never touching this stuff ag-"
She stops again, hunches over and Jaime chuckles, "That's what they all say, wench. That's not an oath many manage to keep."
"Well, I intend to," she says, standing up and wiping her mouth. "That was dreadful."
"I know," Jaime says, sympathetic but grinning. "I'm sorry."
"I think I'm ready to go back in," she mutters, but Jaime shakes his head.
"Let's give it some time, wench. The fresh air will do you good," he says and takes her by the hand.
They wander around the side of the tavern and reach the stables. They spend a few minutes there, patting the horses, leaning up against the stable walls and talking about nothing.
Then they find a doorway that's been cleared of snow and sit in it for a spell, side by side, Jaime's arm draped around her, her head resting on his shoulder as they look up at the clear night sky, dabbled with countless hundreds of stars.
They sit there quietly for a while, pressed close for warmth.
Jaime, still dizzy from drink, plays absentmindedly with her tangled straw hair as Brienne makessoft, sleepy, sounds of contentment.
The whole thing is so bloody nice that Jaime needs to break the silence to make sure she thinks so too. He feels responsible for the evening, as it was his stupid plan and his stupid drinking games that brought to them here.
"What do you say, wench? Not a bad night, eh? Despite the fact that you've decorated the snow outside with half the mead from this tavern?"
He cringes at his utter lack of tact or romanticism.
Should have kept your bloody mouth shut, Lannister. Let the bloody moment speak for itself.
Fortunately, Brienne doesn't look embarrassed or angry at his blunt description. True, she pulls out of his embrace a little and turns to face him. She rolls her big blue eyes and shakes her head at him.
But then she smiles and looks wholly sincere as she says, "No, Jaime. Not a bad night. Not at all."
His stomach does a peculiar flip at the way she's looking at him.
"A bloody brilliant night, one might even say," he muses, quirking an eyebrow at her.
"One might," Brienne replies, tight-lipped but clearly amused.
"Would you?" he presses.
She lets out such a bark of laughter that he jumps slightly.
"Gods, Jaime, has anyone ever told you you're a very needy drunk?"
He frowns. "I'm not- I'm not bloody needy. I just- I think it's- overall- been brilliant and was wondering if you agree."
"Yes, Jaime," she says, somewhat exasperated and like she's talking to a very young child. "I agree."
"Excellent!" he says, jumping to his feet and offering her a hand. "Well, wench. Let's go inside. My bloody balls are freezing off."
She accepts his hand up and they walk back into the tavern without letting go. Jaime leads them to the bar, intending to order multiple glasses of water for them both.
But when the nearest serving wench turns to them, Brienne grins a horsey grin and says, "Two more meads, please."
"What?" Jaime gasps, flabbergasted. "Water. She meant water, miss."
"No I didn't," Brienne says, crinkling her nose at him. "I meant mead."
"Wench, I very explicitly heard you say you were never touching the stuff again. Remember? You said quite recently, in fact. I believe it may have been stated as you puked your guts up on the front door of this fine establishment! We'll be having water, thank you," he says very clearly to the bar wench.
Brienne looks irritated, swiveling on her bar stool to face him.
"I can decide for myself what I want, Jaime. I feel loads better. And you're not my father."
"And thank the bloody gods for that!" Jaime barks. "If I was, I'd be beating bloody the man who allowed my maiden daughter to get so blind drunk that she was attempting to order more drink just after being sick as a dog."
"I'll... eh, just come back, shall I?" asks the bar wench awkwardly, with a hint of amusement.
"Yes," Jaime whispers. "With water."
He and Brienne fume at each other for a while longer, until Jaime buries his head in his hands in frustration.
"Come now, Brienne. I'm only looking out for you. You'll wish you were dead in the morning if you go on like this. There'll be other nights. Trust me, wench, now that I know what an excellent drinking companion you make, I'll make sure there are many other nights. But for now, let's have some water and go to bed, shall we?"
"Alright," she concedes, just as the server comes back with two tall glasses of water. Brienne downs hers instantly and then blindly reaches for Jaime's which she finishes as well.
He can do nothing but grin at her. For someone so viciously against water, she certainly made short work of it.
He thanks their server and the pair make their way up the stairs to their room.
It's then that he notices how truly uncoordinated they both are. When confronted with the stairs, Jaime is forced to realize that they are both well and truly drunk.
Getting up the steep stairs is a struggle for them both, but there's a fair amount of giggling as they stagger and stumble their way to the top.
He's fairly certain Brienne walks on her hands the last few steps, but he's laughing too hard to focus and confirm it. By the time he realizes, she's already at the top and grinning down at him.
"Can you manage?"
"I think so," he pants, teetering precariously halfway up.
They reach their room and all but fall in the door.
"You were right, Jaime. Gods, I'm so ready for bed," Brienne mutters, pulling at the drawstring of her breeches and starting to slide them off without a scrap of modesty.
Unfortunately, she forgot the crucial boot-removal step, and her trousers end up in a tangled heap at her feet.
Rather than realizing this misstep and correcting it, she merely shakes her feet about in an attempt to get them off over the boots, grunting in annoyance, before stumbling forward with a little shriek.
Fortunately, she lands right on her bed, facedown. The site of her planted there in her smallclothes, her feet trapped, is a hilarious as it is pitiful.
Jaime laughs himself silly as he makes his way over to lend the poor wench a hand.
"Settle down, you mad wench," he laughs, pressing a hand onto her back as she continues to kick wildly at her stuck breeches. "Turn around before you hurt yourself. Let me help you."
She flips over so she's facing him, sat on the bed and glaring around in frustration.
"There now," Jaime soothes, holding back laughter. "Let me help you."
He squats by the bed, and suddenly all the humor leaves the room as he is confronted with her impossibly long, impossibly bare legs.
Her tunic barely covers her smallclothes and he has a full view of more skin than he has since the baths of Harrenhal.
His breath catches in his throat and he shuts his eyes for a moment, willing himself to be calm.
He slides off a boot slowly as she stares down at him with those incredible eyes of her, and he knows there's no bloody use in fighting the arousal.
His cock begins to stir within the tight confines of his trousers and he scratches at the back of his neck uncomfortably before moving onto the next boot.
When that's done, he slides her breeches off her ankles and cannot resist a glance upwards.
A terrible idea. Now it's all he can do not to start trailing kisses up her legs, past her warm, strong thighs and beyond. He thinks about the untouched flesh there, wonders at how it would feel to kiss her and lick her and scratch his beard against her thighs until she came, shuddering with his name on her lips.
Jaime jumps to his feet at once, hoping to startle those thoughts away.
Not tonight. Not now. She's drunk. You're drunk. This isn't the time. Not for a woman like her. She deserves more.
"Right, wench," he says briskly. "Sleep well, then. Goodnight."
"Wait!" Brienne says, seizing his wrist before he can walk away towards his bed on the other side of the room.
"What?" he asks uncertainly, hating the way he's already reacting to her strong touch.
"You could- I mean- it's quite cold. You could sleep here... If you wanted."
Jaime stares down at her, quietly. She's lying in the bed now, legs bare and long and rubbing against each other tantalizingly. She's starting to shiver a little and is only trying to get warm, but she's teasing him better than any of King's Landing's finest whores could right now.
He curses his achingly hard cock, and shakes his head.
They've shared a bed before, of course, but that was only ever out of necessity. On the nights where they couldn't find a room with separate beds, and then Brienne was always fully clothed, making an effort to keep as much distance between them as possible.
"I think I'll- think I'll just head over there, wench. It's a rare treat to have a good, real bed to myself these days, you know," he says gruffly. "Ought to take advantage."
"But it's cold," she pouts and her bare legs are still exposed, taunting him wildly.
"Get under the bloody covers and you'll be fine," he snaps, heat rising to his cheeks.
He tries to stretch for the blankets, intending to throw them over her, but she still hasn't released his wrist. She stares up at him, blue eyes defiant, and gives a hard tug, pulling him into bed beside her.
Jaime lets out a laugh at her persistence.
"You've always been so bloody stubborn. Shouldn't have expected anything less tonight," he says, shaking his head as she throws the covers over them and boldly drapes his arm around her, letting it settle over her stomach and not letting go.
"Wench, this is a...a terrible idea. You're going to end up knocking my teeth out in the morning," he mumbles into her ear.
He ought to pull away and run for his own bed. This is beyond foolhardy. He shudders to think of a sober Brienne's reaction to his arm draped around her stomach, his hand resting on her hip like it is now, and her wearing nothing but smallclothes below the waist. She'll kill him.
"No I won't!" she mumbles earnestly. "And besides, you danced with me and you held my hair back while I...while I...I won't hit you, Jaime!"
"You say that now," he mutters, but he's already getting sucked in by the warmth, by her smell and by the feel of her strong body pressed against him. She slides a long leg in between his to get it warm, and his already spinning world spins even faster.
"Wait a minute," he says suddenly, sitting up.
His cock is beyond the point of aching right now, and he needs to make sure he can make it through the night.
"What?" she asks, annoyed at his moving away and letting the cold air in. "Jaime. What are you doing?"
"Relax, wench. I've got to take off my bloody boots," he says.
And it's true. She never gave him the chance to.
He removes them, but then he rifles through a bag until he pulls out a very full wineskin. There's no way he's getting through the torment of sleeping- just sleeping- beside Brienne without it. If he doesn't pass out soon, this will be a long and torturous night.
He drains it of wine quickly. It's strong stuff and soon enough he feels a wave of sleepiness starting to hit already.
Thank the gods, he thinks, tossing it aside.
He settles back down beside Brienne, drapes his arm back over her and pulls her close again.
She sighs, content, and he presses a kiss to her exposed neck.
The wine, it seems, has done the trick and soon enough they are both sound asleep, snoring softly in each other's strong arms.
"Jaime! Jaime, wake up!" she says loudly in his ear.
It feels like only minutes have passed since he finished that wine, but that can't be, because there's soft light filtering in through the red curtains of their tavern room.
"Hmm?" he mumbles, struggling to take it all in, to remember where he is and how he got here. "What, wench?"
"Did we...did something happen?"
She's sitting up in bed, looking panic-stricken.
"No. No, of course not," he says, sleepily moving into a sitting position beside her. Relief washes over her plain features, and he feels a surprising degree of irritation (and hurt) rise up inside him a he tries to decipher how much of last night actually happened.
He scowls at her. "And what if it did, wench? Would that be so bloody dreadful to you, my lady of Tarth?"
He's ashamed of how wounded he sounds, and convinced that if his head wasn't pounding so hard, he might have had some degree of control over this display of weakness.
Brienne frowns. "No...No, of course not," she says, shaking her head.
She still looks bleary-eyed and seems to be talking more to herself than anything as she quietly says, "I'd just be very sorry not to remember any of it, is all."
Then her eyes widen as she realizes what she's said.
Jaime's sure he looks just as surprised, but there's already an expression of delight forming on his mischievous features as Brienne's expression turns mortified.
"Would you, now?"
"That's not what-" she stutters, looking utterly humiliated. "I didn't mean...I just... Oh gods, I must still be dru-" she doesn't finish her sentence, just throws herself onto her back on the mattress. Groaning, she rolls over to face the wall, covering her face in her hands.
Jaime is grinning.
So it wasn't just the drink causing all that heat between them last night.
She has thought about it, as he has.
It started months ago for him, this deep and persistant attraction.
At first he'd tried his best to beat the thoughts out of his mind, to dub them absurd and hide them away. He'd soon realized it was futile. She may be big and homely and usually covered in dirt and grime, but he's been longing to touch her for weeks, to trail kisses across her small breasts, down her hard, muscled stomach and further still, to make her cry out his name and fist his hair as he brought her to her full.
Even as he came to accept the attraction, he tried to push it to the back of his mind, convinced that someone as pure as Brienne could never want a tainted crippled wretch such as him.
Even after their trials with Stoneheart and the other horrors they'd faced on the road, Brienne had kept her distance, scowling at him more often than she smiled.
She might trust him with her life, might be willing to die for him, but he also got under her skin on a daily basis and tried her patience endlessly.
He never quite dared to think there could be something here, something they both felt, something they both needed.
But looking at her twisting in humiliation on the bed, too hungover to gather her composure gives Jaime a surge of delight as he realizes at last that he's not alone in this absurd attraction.
Poor, dear Brienne has the blankets over her head, looking for all the world like an overgrown little girl. Her walls have crumbled, and he sees the shy maid beneath them plainly.
The noble parts of Jaime just want to hug her and kiss her hair and tell her it's alright, that he would be sorry not to remember it as well, that a woman like her deserve more and he longs to give it to her.
The less noble parts are unable to keep from chuckling affectionately at her misery.
Jaime laughs softly, a bit hoarse from all the drinking and rests his hand on top of the blanket that now covers her completely.
He lets it settle over her hip, which he gives a little shake. "It's alright, wench. It's alright. Sit up and have some water, will you?"
"I'm not thirsty. Go away."
"Come now, wench. I'm the one who put you in this state. It would be unconscionable for me to leave you in these trying times," he chuckles. "Have some water."
"I don't care about your conscience," she whines, muffled from beneath the blankets, where he can make out her large frame writhing in agony. "I just want to go back to sleep...can't you just... leave me...I hate everyth..."
"Come now," Jaime persists, pulling the blankets away from her bleary face. "Have a drink."
"Ugh, why?" Brienne moans, trying to grab back the blankets, which he pulls out of her reach. "Leave me al-"
"Because you're bloody dehydrated and this will make you feel like dying a bit less," he says taking Brienne by the hand and firmly pulling her into a sitting position.
He shoves a flask into her hand and she takes it from him, not meeting his eyes.
She drains it in an instant, sloshing water down her chin in her desperation to rehydrate.
She tosses it aside when she's done and looks as though she's about to throw herself back down to hide. Before she can, Jaime brings his hand up to her wet chin, and the touch makes her freeze.
He grazes his thumb across it, wiping away the water she's spilled on herself. Her mouth falls open slightly, and he knows he can't keep himself away from those lips much longer.
"And also, to get rid of your undoubtedly foul morning breath," he adds, and predictably she looks torn between outrage and embarrassment.
She begins to wrench herself out of his grasp, but he holds her steady and says, "So that I can do this."
Winking, he brings his mouth against hers in a gentle, fluid motion, applying only the faintest pressure to start with.
The instant his lips brush hers, he knows he wants more, wants it all. He finds himself starting to increase the pressure, all the desires that have built up over the months in her company threatening to burst out of him like water from a breaking dam.
He feels his tongue flick out to trail across her bottom lip and knows that if he doesn't stop now, he'll continue deepening this kiss until they've shed their remaining clothes and are going at it like rabbits. It's too much. Too fast.
With considerable effort, Jaime pulls back, wanting to give her the chance to process this and tell him whether it's really something she wants.
Brienne stares at him, open-mouthed, running a finger over her lip, mirroring the path his tongue traced moments before. "Why...why did you do that?"
He reaches out with his left hand to brush a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, then brings it back to her face, cupping her ruined cheek.
"Because you're too bloody good for this world and I've wanted to for longer than I care to admit," he said, kissing her again, this time with increased fervor. He feels her respond this time, cautiously. Her lips press back against his, softly at first. Then she begins to sink into it, to open up to him, her hands coming up to clutch at the fabric on his chest.
Smiling Jaime pulls back, "And because you're sober enough to remember it now." He kisses her again, just briefly because he needs to add, "And because, even though you're in the middle of the worst hangover of your life, I can't wait another moment to have you."
"Oh," she says simply, before throwing herself at him in a fierce, desperate kiss.
They lie on the bed, kissing like that for most of the morning.
Jaime's cock is desperate to take it further, but his head is still swimming from too much drink and the rest of him is satisfied to waste away the chilly winter morning with tender kissing, running his hand over her body, finding all the places that make her moan and sigh but drawing an invisible line around her waist.
He's waited long enough to have her. He can wait a bit longer.
Wait until his head is clear and he doesn't feel so bloody weak and drained.
To his surprise, after some time, it is her hand that crosses the invisible line, slipping into his unlaced breeches and squeezing him through his smallclothes.
He's more than a little embarrassed at the yelp he lets out at the unexpected touch.
"Right. Right, Brienne," he gasps, starting to pull away from her. "I think it's time we... get ourselves some breakfast. Nice, greasy breakfast."
"What?" she asks, sitting up, looking hurt and confused. "Did I do something wro-"
"Gods no," he says, shaking his head and kissing her briefly. "No, love. Definitely not. It's just- we've got time for that. Time for that when we're not half-dead from too much drink the night before. I want to savor this. I want to savor you. Also, I want bacon. Lots of it. Let's go get some."
Brienne stares at him for a moment and he starts to fear he's hurt that fragile part of her hidden deep down.
Just as he's frantically wondering what he can say to make it right, she's laughing. "Yes, yes, alright. Bacon sounds incredible."
She allows him to tug her to her feet. They putter around the room for a few minutes, finding boots and clothes and stopping often to kiss between steps,finding it hard to pull away from each other for even a moment.
Finally, they're dressed, and together they leave the room. They make their way down the stairs towards the smell of greasy breakfast food, his arm around her, matching grins on their faces.
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