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Author: bratanimus
Title: Nights Without Armor (Chapter 5 – Jaime, Part 1)
Fandom: Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire
Pairing: Jaime/Brienne, Podrick/Sansa
Word Count: 4,834 this chapter (~32,000 entire story)
Rating & Warnings: M for sexual content, language
Summary: An unlikely trio – Jaime, Brienne, and Podrick – set out to rescue Sansa from Petyr Baelish. Can they return the last known Stark heiress to Winterfell and fulfill their oath to Catelyn Stark, thereby releasing them all from Lady Stoneheart’s death sentence?
Author’s Note: If you missed it and need to catch up:
Chapter 1 – Podrick
Chapter 2 – Brienne, Part 1
Chapter 3 – Brienne, Part 2
Chapter 4 – Sansa
This COMPLETED story has six chapters, to be posted once weekly. It is a continuation of my one-shot The Wrong Things for the Right Reasons, but can be read on its own. Thank you for reading!


“The structure appears sound,” said Jaime, though really he knew little and less about architecture and the soundness thereof. What he did know was that Sansa Stark, returned now to the blackened skeleton of her home, needed some good news.

“It is about to crumble,” replied Sansa in a low voice, letting her gaze follow his to the keep.

Or perhaps she needed honesty more than she needed optimism. No matter; that was something Jaime knew better how to provide. He shrugged. “Perhaps it is. We’ll find shelter elsewhere.”

The Bastard of Bolton’s men had repaired parts of the keep, but it still stood a huge, burnt-out shambles. Sansa’s eyes shone in the bright morning light as she stared up at the blank windows, and she blinked several times before she turned her face away from the keep and the scrutiny of her companions. She cleared her throat. Although her voice was slowly returning to normal, it would catch every once in a while, the sound cut short as though she’d been struck; but whether that was from lingering damage or from emotion, Jaime couldn’t be sure.

While Sansa gazed upon her childhood home Podrick hovered near, as close and silent as a shadow. He knew how to allow a woman her space, Jaime had to give him that. Women couldn’t be forced open like stuck doors; if they would open at all, it would be in their own time.

“The guest quarters are not likely to have been sacked as badly as some of the other buildings,” said Brienne as she crossed the courtyard from the burned library.

Jaime nodded in approval, and he and Brienne shared a knowing look. He suspected that Sansa would not want to see her old rooms today, anyhow, and certainly not the bedchamber that the Bastard had restored and claimed for his own use after his marriage; it might have been Ned’s and Catelyn’s own bedchamber, for all Jaime knew. But Sansa had kept her face perfectly blank when they’d ridden through the open gates of her home an hour ago at dawn; whatever she’d felt when she saw the collapsed towers, walls, and bridges, she’d kept it to herself.

As Jaime surveyed the ruins, he saw none of the cold majesty he’d noted during his last visit here; now Winterfell looked as if the overgrown lichyard had extended its reach into the rest of the quarters, strangling everything solid in its creeping roots and vines. He shivered and tugged his cloak closer around his neck. The courtyard was cold and silent in the frosty morning. Despite the sunshine it was early enough that fog still skulked, ghost-like, along the ground. The back of Jaime’s neck prickled almost as though he were being watched. Even he, who did not believe in such things, could not but wonder about Stark ghosts. They must seem overwhelming to Sansa.

She led them to the guest house and together the four of them walked through, taking note of which rooms were relatively untouched and which had been too thoroughly sacked. One of these rooms had been Jaime’s, when he’d come here with Cersei and Robert and the children; but for the life of him he couldn’t remember which one. Everything from that time had somehow blurred itself in his mind, as though it had happened to someone else. He thought of the boy, Bran, and furrowed his brow. It would do no good to dwell on that.

Sansa surveyed each room with cool eyes as she passed through, taking in the comfortable beds and heavy bed curtains, the wooden and upholstered chairs and scrubbed tables, the wardrobes and chests for storing clothing and personal effects, all reminders of the visitors who had flitted in and out of this place like chimney swifts, who perhaps had come to their own bitter ends just as her own kin had, and as Sansa herself would – as they all, most likely, would.

Jaime frowned. After he lost his hand his thoughts, as one might expect, had darkened quite a bit; but since he’d stepped into Winterfell this sunny morning they’d become distinctly morose. But with Brienne standing by his side, he felt the familiar relief that her sturdy frame and clear eyes instilled in him. He missed her when she left him, even for a moment, and though he often wondered what that meant, he didn’t think it was necessarily a bad development. His wench was becoming a welcome constant, even if he did not deserve such a thing. Even if he wasn’t used to it. His hand found the small of her back and she looked at him, the clarity of her gaze making him feel, as it somehow always did, that he was the best thing she could hope to see.

The room at the end of the building had no exit, save the adjoining room through which they had just passed, and the windows were high above ground.

“Podrick and I will stay here,” Sansa said, “and you two can stay next door, in case of marauders. We should all be protected here.”

“Or cornered,” said Podrick. Sansa looked at him pointedly. “My lady,” he added gently, but he managed not to blush. She raised an eyebrow. “Your grace.” And here he did, finally, blush.

Sansa smiled and blushed, as well, and she was again the lovely young girl Jaime remembered from before everything had gone sour. If Podrick had done that for her, given Sansa her smile back, he was glad of it. Podrick certainly looked happier, and even if he couldn’t have his queen in marriage a man grown needed someone to love, someone to protect, a reason for being.

“Where would you have us sleep?” Sansa asked.

Podrick gestured back to where they had started. “On the opposite side the windows are closer to the ground. If the shutters aren’t stuck, we can rely on them for escape. If necessary.”

“Very well,” said Sansa, and turned on her heel. Podrick followed.

Brienne caught Jaime’s eye and grinned. He smiled back and shook his head. They fell in step with each other as they followed the younger pair to the rooms Podrick had indicated. Jaime agreed; with multiple windows as exits, the rooms here would be safer for them, if rogues came prowling in the night.

Podrick placed his and Sansa’s packs together in the far room, for they had all done away with any sense of decorum long ago. Jaime couldn’t even be bothered to remind Sansa that she was still married to his brother. She knew it, and so did Podrick. It sounded as though she and Tyrion had never been much of a match, anyhow, and Tyrion seldom let his bed remain cold for long. If they found him, he’d likely turn a blind eye to his wife’s new lover; after all, Tyrion had always been fond of Podrick, even before the boy had saved his life. Besides, when they challenged the Iron Throne, there would be more pressing worries than who was fucking whom.

Jaime and Brienne laid their saddlebags in the adjoining room. The two chambers were separated by a thick wooden door, which Jaime shut, though he left the door to the hallway open. He looked around.

There was a curtained bed that might be large enough for the two of them if they slept on their sides tucked together, as they usually did, and a wardrobe, if they had anything to put in it. Jaime crossed the room to the window and lifted the bar, opened the shutters, and saw Winterfell’s godswood looming in front of him, the gnarled branches of the thick forest of trees stretching sideways almost as if they wanted to reach inside the window and snatch him out. But the snow-covered ground was only a short leap down, as Podrick had noted; so this was a safe room, Jaime supposed.

He closed and barred the window again to keep the cold out, glad to be rid of the sight of the trees’ reaching claws. The room itself was surprisingly warm due to the hot springs that ran below the floors and through the walls; the Starks had always been kind to their guests, and Jaime was thankful for the shelter. He thought again about what he’d done to the Stark boy to protect his queen. The things I did for love, he thought. He shook his head, trying to expel the ghosts lurking there.

Brienne stood in the doorway and stared out into the hall, a faraway look in her eyes. What was she was thinking when she gazed off like that? He had to admit that it frightened him a bit. He’d seen that look on Cersei’s face before, and it never portended anything good for him. Once he’d fallen into the lion’s jaws, he never knew when they’d snap shut.

But Brienne was not Cersei, no; once he’d had the sense to really look, he’d come to realize that Brienne was everything that Cersei had merely seemed.

Still, the deep-rooted fear took hold of him and silenced his questions before they reached his lips. So he did what he always did when beleaguered by doubt: he slipped an arm around Brienne’s waist, nestling his body behind hers, and felt his manhood respond immediately. He’d grown to love her height, and the way his nose met the nape of her neck when he held her like this. He kissed it with an open mouth, tasted the salt of her sweat.

Brienne squirmed – such a girlish movement, who would have thought? – and returned from wherever she’d been as she twisted around to face him. The prize of her sapphire eyes fixed on his brought Jaime back from his place of dread.

“Do you think our ravens will be answered?” she whispered. Jaime, relieved, could only wonder at her trust in him, for Cersei might have sat on her thoughts for days, or weeks, or never told him at all.

“No,” said Jaime. When Brienne furrowed her brow, he continued. “ I think the Stark bannermen will come here directly. They will understand Sansa’s need and rise to it. That is how things are done in the North.”

“I hope you are right.”

“Either that or we’ll all be killed while we sleep tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.”

Brienne slapped his shoulder lightly. Jaime rubbed it, feigning to be wounded, but he let a smile creep up his face. It was true, though, and Brienne knew it. Best to jape around the fear, as he’d always done, for worry would not keep disaster away.

Sansa entered the hallway; she carried an oil lamp. “Pod will prepare our rooms and a meal. I would visit the crypts, and later see the sept and the godswood.”

“I shall accompany you, your grace,” offered Brienne at once. Jaime took up his sword, as well, and the three left the guest house together.

They passed by the empty armory and guards’ hall and entered a small courtyard. The entrance to the crypts stood on the far side. An ancient round fortress crouched on their right. Jaime peered up at the leering gargoyles and was glad that time had erased most of their features, for the lichyard that surrounded the keep was eerie enough. And that broken tower seemed familiar. Was that where he and Cersei …?

“I shall enter alone,” said Sansa, crossing the courtyard to the crypts.

“No, your grace” said Brienne. “Men could have entered before the last snowfall. Let us accompany – ”

“You,” interrupted Sansa. “Only you.”

Her expression remained placid, but Jaime knew her affection for him had only improved by the smallest of increments since they had rescued her. He could not erase the past, and her father was dead because of his family. Because of him. Certainly the deaths of the rest of her clan could be blamed on Lannisters in one way or another, if Sansa thought about it, which she probably did, and often. He stepped lightly away, pretending to want a closer look at the guards’ hall. The two women silently entered the crypts, Brienne’s sword at the ready and Sansa’s oil lamp held high. Jaime watched them disappear into the darkness and began to worry for Brienne. If there were bandits inside, she’d need him.

He tried to distract himself while listening for sounds of alarm within the crypts. Looking about, his eyes drew back to the damaged watchtower on the far side of the keep. Something wasn’t right; it was too tall, and he couldn’t imagine what it looked like inside. No, it was the old round keep, the First Keep, Sansa had called it. That was where he and Cersei had gone to be together, and that was where the boy … where he’d …

Jaime turned away from the keep and stalked around the lichyard, stepping over gravestones leaning this way and that; some lay flat, some were broken, but all had been kicked out of alignment to some degree. The sacking of Winterfell had been thorough. It was cold in the shadow of the First Keep, and Jaime began to feel agitated. Why, today of all days, had the sun decided to come out and irritate him with its damned shadows?

He hunkered down in the snow closer to the crypts and fiddled with his sword hilt. His golden hand glinted dully in the sun, and he tucked it into his armpit, unsure why he did so. A crow landed on the head of one of the keep’s gargoyles and watched him with its beady eyes. Jaime sneered at it, then felt a fool and stopped. This was no time to become superstitious, or to revisit all the reckless things he’d done. But if he hadn’t pushed the boy …


Brienne’s voice made him start, and he stood at once. He had an overwhelming urge to run to her, but he couldn’t show these cursed ghosts that they’d bested him. Still, he was happy to see her coming to his side, her yellow hair blazing bright as a torch in the morning sun. She squinted into the light, and Jaime countered so that the sun was beside both of them.

“The crypts are safe. I thought it best to give Sansa her privacy.”

Jaime nodded. Brienne looked quietly miserable, and Jaime wondered what she’d seen down there, or what the tombs had signified for her. Perhaps she missed her own father, or felt the lack of one who could love her for who she was. Whatever Jaime had thought of Eddard Stark, he’d loved his children, including that bastard of his. Even the worst father could recognize that.

Jaime suddenly decided that he would be quite happy to see the end of his time in Winterfell.

“If the Stark bannermen come, fortifications will need to be made,” said Brienne, looking at the open North Gate. “And we’ll need to train our army, if we’re fortunate enough have such a thing.”

Jaime snorted.

Brienne looked at him. “Why are you doing this, then, if you don’t believe in it?”

“I never said I didn’t believe in it,” said Jaime. “Sansa’s cause is the most just one I could hope to support. I don’t believe it will work.”

Brienne looked at him for a long moment. Then she sighed. “You’re right, of course.”

“Why are you doing it? And don’t say, ‘For Lady Catelyn,’ because she’s dead.”

Brienne turned away and looked at the entrance to the crypts. Her chin wrinkled as she thought, chewing on the inside of her lower lip. Finally she said, in a rush, “Because the world is ending and I want to be on the right side, and I don’t know which side that is. My father would call what we’re doing a ‘side bet.’ I think it’s the most correct decision I could make, all things considered.”

Jaime stared at Brienne, and she returned his gaze and shrugged. She looked so sweetly forlorn that he couldn’t help but snicker. She scowled at him, which made him snigger all the more. She crossed her arms and watched his shoulders shaking, apparently hoping to wait out his mirth; but finally her impatience gave way to resignation and she smiled, the corners of her eyes crinkling, her beautiful, imperfect teeth glinting in the sun like a lion’s. He chuckled harder. How she was able to make him laugh so with her honesty? Her earnestness? Why was his laughter never disdainful but delighted? Even Brienne no longer believed he was laughing at her expense, but she still could not fathom what about her speech tickled him. He couldn’t tell her that it was simply her, that in this whole, spoiled world there was one person who had somehow remained good, and thought him so, too. He was a sinner with fine prospects, indeed, and he was happy for it.

He was still chuckling when Sansa emerged, red-eyed, from the crypts. She swiped the back of her hand across her eyes and glared daggers at Jaime, who tried to compose himself, but not quickly enough. He turned his back to her and took a few steps away, taking steadying breaths as he went until he appeared appropriately subdued once more.

Sansa crossed to the lichyard and began to look around. Jaime remembered someone saying the Starks had buried their most faithful servants here. An old woman had watched over the Stark children, hadn’t she? Was it her grave Sansa sought? She wove through the toppled and broken gravestones slowly, peering at the inscriptions as she went.

Brienne and Jaime kicked away some snow and sat together on one of the low steps leading into the First Keep.

“We need your brother,” said Brienne in a low voice. “We should talk about how we will find him.”

“We won’t,” said Jaime.

Brienne looked at him sharply.

“Tyrion will find us. Wherever he is, if he’s alive, news of our challenging the Iron Throne will reach his ears faster than quicksilver. We could never hope to locate him, for he might be anywhere. Besides, we cannot abandon Sansa to search for him. She needs all the warriors she can muster. If Tyrion wishes to join us, he will come to us. That’s how we will find him.”

He’d come to this dismal conclusion after they had left Lady Stoneheart’s camp, but his gut still churned at the thought of having to wait for Tyrion to decide to come to them. To him. And what should he expect, after what he’d said to his brother at their last meeting? He should have kept his foolish mouth shut; Jaime’s truth had stung Tyrion far worse than Tyrion’s had Jaime, in the end. And Tyrion’s barbs had done him a favor, truth be told; they’d shoved him out of the asp’s nest for good, at last. But as with every good deed Jaime had tried to do, his words meted out everlasting punishment.

As if she’d read his thoughts, Brienne laid a hand on his knee. “Tyrion will come. He bears no loyalty to the Iron Throne. Here, a home waits for him, and family, a reward beyond riches. We will defend him as he defends us.”

Jaime smiled wryly. “We’ll all die together.”

She smiled back, ran her fingers down his cheek, and the boldness of her gesture pleased him even if it did not reassure him. “Perhaps. We’ve been known to survive before, though, haven’t we?”

Jaime turned his face into the palm of her hand and kissed it.

“Where is she?” muttered Sansa. She’d swept up her sodden skirts and now darted from one stone marker to the next, though she must have read each one already. “Where is she? She’s supposed to be here!”

Brienne and Jaime stood as one, and she approached the distraught girl. “Your grace, may I assist – ”

“Here!” screeched Sansa. “Father said he’d bring her here, so that Cersei wouldn’t have her pelt! He said he’d do it!”

At a loss, Brienne looked back at Jaime, and realization hit him hard in the chest. “Her direwolf,” he murmured. “Cersei forced her father to kill it … ”

Sansa sank to her knees in the snow and looked around bleakly. Brienne ran to her and enveloped her in her long arms, and Sansa crumpled into them, looking vulnerable and lost and very much like the young girl she was, in truth. Jaime started to walk away to leave the women alone … but then he stopped and turned himself around again. He did not approach, but watched them from a distance. Brienne spoke soothing words – she’d somehow figured out how to do that, since they’d found Sansa: perhaps the grave hadn’t been marked, or maybe someone had thrown the gravestone into the rubble of the keep or into the godswood, but her father surely had kept his word, the direwolf was buried there, she should have no fear, her father loved her, she was his precious girl.

Jaime’s eyes prickled, but still he watched.

They took their noonday meal seated together at the small table in Sansa’s guest room, Podrick having decided to keep their supplies close at hand until Winterfell was better fortified. Jaime was pleased to see the lad becoming more comfortable making decisions on his own, and to see Sansa’s trust in him. He didn’t know what Petyr Baelish had done to the girl; but, men being men, he had his suspicions. If Sansa was falling in love with Podrick, Jaime couldn’t imagine a more honorable fellow to keep her safe.

With a fire crackling in the hearth and hot waters coursing through the walls and beneath the floors, it was a relief not to feel chilled to the bone. And the hot food was pleasing, if not entirely filling. Being indoors for the foreseeable future made Jaime reflect on the finer comforts he’d come to take for granted – servants, a full meal, a goblet of wine, clean clothes, baths. As Jaime swallowed a bite of rabbit stew, his mind wandered back to Casterly Rock and the way the sea had thundered beneath the floors there. When he was a child, it had sounded to him like a great lion lived under his house, roaring and threatening anyone who would wish him harm. How many years had it taken him to realize that there was no lion, that the roaring was just that, a noise and nothing more?

The Starks’ water was as silent as the stones it heated, but it benefited everyone within its walls. Why had the Starks ever left this place? Why had Jaime left his home? What good had any of their wanderings ever done anyone?

But if he hadn’t wandered, if he hadn’t ruined so many things, he’d never have met Brienne.

He realized he was staring at her during his ruminations and quickly dropped his gaze into his bowl. He didn’t want to be without her, if they survived this; lately, that fact was the one thing about which he was certain. His heart suddenly lurched in a way it hadn’t done in years, when he realized that he’d already made up his mind about Brienne the Beauty. It felt strange, admitting it to himself, after so many years of believing his fate was forever tied to Cersei. How long would it take him to admit it to Brienne? And would she even want him, crippled warrior that he was? A lord who’d effectively forfeited any right to his own home? Lannister or no, he was still just a knight who’d killed one king and betrayed another and who was, even now, preparing to stand against his own royal son for the North.

It was a fine mess he’d managed to step into, over his years of bungling everything he’d tried to do right; but somehow he couldn’t regret being here. This barren, haunted place felt like home … or perhaps it was his companions who made it seem so.

No. It was Brienne.

He realized he was staring at her again, but this time he didn’t lower his gaze. She looked up and smiled at him, and his own smile in return was as involuntary as a child’s. How could he have ever thought her ugly? Scar be damned, hers was the most agreeable face in the world to him now.

After they had supped Jaime and Brienne donned their boiled leather, retrieved their steel and practice swords, and the four wandered about Winterfell, noting which repairs should be made at once and which could wait. Soon they found themselves between the keep and the great hall. Sansa kept her eyes resolutely away from the blank, staring windows of the keep and strode directly to the sept, Podrick trailing a step behind; but as they approached the door, he drew his sword and entered first.

In the open courtyard, Brienne turned toward Jaime. Without a word, they laid aside their scabbards and steel and raised their wooden practice swords. Soon the crisp afternoon air was punctuated by the hollow clunking of wood upon wood and the soft stamping of boots through snow and mud as the two advanced and retreated, dancing around each other as their swords roughly kissed and kissed again.

Oh, but Jaime loved this, and Brienne’s skill in swordplay was unmatched. She’d grown ever more clever in her fighting since they had begun so many weeks ago, the day after Podrick had rescued them in the middle of the night from the barn and Lady Stoneheart’s judgment. Jaime’s skill with his left arm had improved, as well, though he still had to rely more now on his savagery and unpredictability, as the strength and precision of his left would never match his right. Brienne, for all her size and force, was a whirlwind, hailing blows down on him until he was forced to retreat again, laughing. He adored her satisfied smirks when she outdid him; he wanted thrust her against the nearest wall and kiss that smirking mouth until she begged him to take her.

But that was for another day, and there was more fighting to be done in the meantime, and so Jaime lunged forward and lashed out, forcing Brienne to leap backward. Now that she was off-balance he took full advantage, raining slashes from above, which she parried again and again. But then she stumbled on something under the snow, perhaps a root or a stone, and fell back into the white drifts, panting, her blue eyes wide as she looked up at her conqueror. Jaime dropped his weapon and was about to lower himself onto her when she lazily raised her sword to his throat.

“Will you never learn?” she chided breathlessly, her eyes twinkling.

Jaime laughed. “Put that damned thing down, woman.”

She did, and he covered her body with his and kissed her while the snow steamed all around their hot skin.

They wouldn’t have much time, he knew; but Brienne was always agreeable to any sort of tryst, no matter how brief or incomplete, and he’d needed to kiss her, to feel her solid body against his, since they’d set foot in this desolate, ghost-ridden place. And she was so responsive, her body clamoring for his in ways that Cersei’s never had. Blinded by his twin’s beauty, he had never suspected there might be anything better than a full bosom, cascading golden hair, a prettily pouting mouth. But now he had Brienne, a most surprising match for him under the bedclothes as well as on the field.

But though she’d satisfied him in almost every way a woman can satisfy a man, and though he’d never say so, he was growing impatient. He wanted to fuck her, to take her maidenhead in every position he could think of, and to let her have him in any way she wanted. He was sick of feeling solitary. Hands and mouths were not enough anymore; he wanted the complete merge of her body with his, and his with hers, and the subsequent mental peace that only such a union would bring him. But he wouldn’t push her. With his past sins of flesh and steel as common knowledge, it was a miracle he hadn’t frightened the honorable Brienne of Tarth away already.

She didn’t seem afraid of him now, though. Her body arched into his, meeting his manhood enthusiastically as their pelvises ground together. He’d just grasped a handful of her arse when Podrick and Sansa emerged from the sept. He removed his lips from Brienne’s and looked up, managing to suppress a huff of frustration when he caught Sansa’s disapproving expression for the second time today. He stood and offered Brienne his hand, and she hoisted herself up, shooting him a private smile before she turned to face her queen.

To be continued … Chapter 6 – Jaime, Part 2


( 2 Dreamt — Dream It )
Aug. 15th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
I'm mentally subtitled this one as a sinner with fine prospects!:D It's wonderful to read Jaime seeing himself this way; the fact that it's Brienne seeing him as reliable that has rendered him so, that Jaime has grown enough to realize and welcome this, is far more touching in its flippancy than a hundred passionate declarations could ever be. They'd sound somewhat incongruous coming from his head anyway, lol, which I feel I'm inside of every step of the way.

Of course I could also subtitle it The Ghosts: Winterfell seems to have them at every turn for him and Sansa. I liked your use of the sun and the frost, the warmth and the cold; Winterfell seems to alternate between a crumbling, eerie ruin and something lying dormant, waiting to be brought to life again. My favourite part was when Jaime contrasts the sound of the waves at Casterly Rock - How many years had it taken him to realize that there was no lion, that the roaring was just that, a noise and nothing more? - and the silent, efficient power that once was Winterfell. A memorable metaphor for the two families as well.

I also loved how he refused to think of Bran, and then, later on, is forced to confront that regret once more. Only to realize that it led him to Brienne. He had an overwhelming urge to run to her, but he couldn’t show these cursed ghosts that they’d bested him. It's clear how these two get comfort from each other, and how there are ghostly parallels that trouble Brienne here as well.

As for Sansa, you've brought to vivid life the contrast between the growing strength in her, with even her voice returning to normal, and the vulnerability of Ned's daughter, searching desperately for a grave and a final link to her father. Guh. My eyes were nearly prickling with Jaime's at Brienne's words of reassurance - perfectly pitched for the child Sansa was and the young woman she is.

I've said this before, but this story just gets better and better. And stronger, like all the characters. I'm in awe. :)

Edited at 2013-08-15 03:47 pm (UTC)
Aug. 16th, 2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much. I'm so pleased that you think I've captured Jaime's flippant and limited introspection, because I'm not sure I've always got it. My temptation is to make him nicer than he probably is (Remus redux, lol) and not as arrogant and snarky as he should be. Then again, as you said, with Brienne's faith in him as a better man, he may have no choice but to live up to the expectation. We've talked before about his way of living almost as a mirror to others, and he's had the wrong person to reflect for all these years; so maybe now he really CAN become a better man. (Speaking of the mirror metaphor, you might like the new fic, which is posted now. ;))

Winterfell seems to alternate between a crumbling, eerie ruin and something lying dormant, waiting to be brought to life again.

Why did you not write my fic?? Because that is BRILLIANT. Again, you're seeing things I haven't consciously seen. :) I only wrote the sun and cold in relation to the shadows the sun casts, i.e., being in Winterfell with Brienne (his sun, his torch, his flames) bringing out his guilt over things he's done wrong.

Thank you for pointing out the bluster of the imaginary lion in the ocean versus the steady, warm flow of Winterfell's hot springs; that IS a metaphor that I think works for the families, and I don't think we've seen the end of the Starks, even in canon. The Lannisters are going to crash themselves to death against the rocks, and the Starks are just going to flow on, finding new crevasses to fill ...

Re: the Bran guilt, I kept hoping that GRRM would come back to that, because how could a man try to kill a child and then just be okay with it? Again, this is probably mostly Wishful Thinking on my part, lol. But yes, I think Jaime is very good at steering his thoughts away from all things painful, and at distracting himself from too much introspection. I think he hasn't had the luxury of much comfort in that regard from Cersei, and Brienne providing it now open up the cracks in him.

Thank you for pointing out the moment when Brienne comforts Sansa; I was choked up writing it, and I'm so pleased to know that it hit the right emotional note for you, too.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for your thoughts. You are AMAZING, and I appreciate you SO MUCH. ♥
( 2 Dreamt — Dream It )

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