Title: The Sparrow
Series: The Breoch Cycle… or Variations on an Original Female Lannister
Fandom: Game of Thrones
Pairing(s): Jaime Lannister/Ilse Breoch (OFC)
Secondary Pairing(s): Loras Tyrell/OFC (Cerzainya), (past) Jaime/Cersei
Word Count: 11k
Rating: MA (to be safe)
Summary: A tragic look at the variation, though with romance and hopes of redemption. Jaime Lannister is released from the Kingsguard and returns home to Casterley Rock and to his daughter – Cerzainya. While visiting a local Sept to thank the gods for his good fortune, he sees an acolyte and falls immediately in love with her. Only problem is … she might be a Lannister bastard pledged to service…
Warning(s): incest, unintentional incest, illegitimate children, sex and religion, sudden ending, secrets, lies, manipulations, Jaime is headstrong
Part the First
He reigned in his horse in the courtyard of Casterly Rock. It had been nigh on a fortnight, but Ser Jaime Lannister could not believe that he was no longer a member of the kingsguard. His father had paid dearly to free him from the order of knights after Jaime had written him an impassioned letter of how he wanted nothing more than to be free.
His letter had not been candid. Cersei had just told him she was with child with their third illicit offspring—fourth, if you counted Cerzainya—and he could not bear to be part of her machinations any longer.
Lord Tywin Lannister wanted back his heir and Jaime wanted freedom from his sister. Their interests aligned and a deal had been struck, although if Lord Tywin had known about Jaime and Cersei’s love affair, he had never confronted his two eldest children.
A girl of no more than thirteen summers ran up to the horse and smiled. She had her mother’s green eyes and golden hair and her radiant face showed how glad she was to see him. Cersei had fallen with child when she was but thirteen summer fields, and she had convinced their father that Jaime should claim the child as it would be best as he was a man. The child, a little girl, was also his, though neither of them admitted it.
He had gone North and it was believed that Jaime had wed a lady from a noble though insignificant House, the little girl being the only remnant of his marriage. Cersei had been hidden away for her confinement, and strangely no one learnt of the truth.
Jaime swung from the saddle and took Cerzainya’s face in his hands. “Darling girl,” he greeted, “you are indeed growing beautiful—as beautiful as your mother though I daresay you favor the Lannisters.”
“Are you truly here to stay?” she asked in a breathless whisper.
“Indeed,” he agreed, stroking her cheek lovingly, his only child that he could claim. “We shall make quite the pair, you and I.”
“Of course, Father,” she agreed.
Cerzainya was wearing silks of red, her hair down in a maidenly style, and Jaime clipped her chin. She stood aside, and Tywin walked forward.
“I am glad to see you back in your rightful place.”
“I am, too,” Jaime stated wryly. “I never thought that it would happen.” He looked up at the Rock. “To be home again.”
Tywin hummed. “Yes. You remember the way to your rooms.”
Jaime scoffed. “Of course, Father.” He saw a servant bringing in his trunk, and he placed a hand on Cerzainya’s back before he entered the keep with his family, finding it strange to be back home.
Cerzainya bounded with energy, telling him of all she had learnt from her Septa, and entering his rooms before he got the chance.
“She’s a whipper snapper,” Tywin muttered lowly. “Nothing like the usual Lannister restraint.”
Jaime looked over at him. “I would have her have joy of life. Cersei never had any, for all that she tried in her quest to become queen. The kingsguard brought none to me.—Tyrion,” his voice sighed off. The father and son looked at each other, perhaps both remembering the whore he had married when he was the same age as Cerzainya. That would not be her fate.
She was so young. The age of Cersei. However, she had not the sensuality to beguile. Cerzainya was beautiful of course. She had her mother’s golden hair, their green eyes. She possessed Jaime’s sharper chin, her mother’s cheek bones, the Lannister nose. She was pure Lannister, but then again her parents were twins, her grandparents had been first cousins.
Cerzainya would never be told. Her mother would always be someone from the Neck, the Rills, the Barrowlands. Just as for Joffrey, Myrcella and the unborn child, their father would always be King Robert Baratheon, first of his name. Tywin Lannister had been raising her with all the bounty that the West could afford her, and Jaime would continue that direction.
With a smirk to his father, Jaime entered his rooms to see Cerzainya ordering the placement of his things. The main sitting room had been redecorated, with different hangings. She turned to him. “Do you like it, Father? I thought you were not a child any longer and might like scenes of battle.”
He turned around him and saw dragons sparring against each other, a tapestry of a young man who seemed to be him sitting on the iron throne, and he moved toward it and looked. “Zain,” he murmured.
His daughter came up to him and smiled. “I did not know your true likeness, but I like to remember that for a short while my father was king.”
Jaime placed an arm around her shoulders. “Thank you, daughter.” After several long moments, he drew his eyes away. “Are those the white walkers?”
“Indeed,” she agreed. “I made all the tapestries, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve been working for over a year, in case you should come visit. I took their likeness from descriptions from the North.”
He laughed, small and low in his chest. “I must say you are talented. Have you likewise shared you gift with Grandfather Tywin?”
They both turned to the Old Lion who was leaning against the wall.
“Nay,” she demurred. “I leave his rooms exactly as they were when he married the Lady Joanna. It is my gift to him.—I have worked on the Queen’s rooms, and Prince Joffrey’s.”
He kissed her forehead. “Good. It is as it should be.—I want no talk, however, about you and Joff marrying. Your aunt had such ambitions but I do not want such a life for you. It is one of intrigue and your closest friends and confidantes betraying you. You, Cerzainya, seem too sweet.”
Her green eyes turned to Lord Tywin. “Grandfather promised me Highgarden, perhaps. What think you?”
“I think it is a lovely idea,” he agreed. “Have the negotiations begun? I would not like to lose my precious daughter so soon—”
“There is some question as to the bridegroom,” his father admitted. “Lord Willas sits in a chair, but he is heir to be Warden of the South. He is also older than yourself.”
“I was full young when I married,” Jaime lied. “We need not decide in a day.” He clapped his father on the shoulder. “Cerzainya is a beautiful prize but she is still full young.” When he saw Cerzainya was ordering his books to be placed on bookshelves he did not know with books he had not seen, he quickly took them, and entered his bedchambers, which had been left almost the same, the same blues and greens he favored personally. He set them beside his bed.
Neither his father nor his daughter entered here. He was blissfully alone if only for a short time.
He was not a religious man, but Jaime would not neglect the Seven. They had given him a new life, as strange as he found it, and so in the early hours of the morning before even his father rose, he got on his horse and went to Breoch, the Sept in Lannisport.
All was hushed and quiet and the candles were not even lit. He knelt and tried to clear his mind as he prayed to the Crone for wisdom in his new life and then he saw out of the corner of his eye a light. He turned toward it and saw a figure in a pale blue dress, a hood on her head, carrying a lantern and lighting the candles from it.
He continued to watch until the figure was visible to him and he saw a beautiful young girl who was not a Septa with the most startling blue eyes and long golden hair, which seemed to be piled in braids on her head.
She took his breath away. Where Cersei would tease and entice, her green eyes looking at him longingly and then away again, her hand running down and into his uniform before brushing him where no other woman had touched him before—this girl just glanced toward a candle behind him and he knew that he wanted her for his bride. A girl in a Sept, his mind faltered, he could not carry away a Septa, although she was not dressed as one of the holy priestesses.
When she noticed him looking at her, she nodded to him in recognition and then turned away toward another candle, her slim hand placing a long stick into the lantern’s flame before carrying the flame to its ultimate destination. Her lips puckered, a pink that was pale and almost the color of flesh as she blew it out again, only for her to move onto the next candle and repeat the process.
Then she was gone, hidden behind the door, and Jaime found he could not pray.
The next day he rose early again and waited for the young girl and found that she came again, lighting the candles. He tried to distinguish her age. She was older than Cerzainya, that was for certain, but far younger than Cersei. People placed coins in the candle bases for prayers and he waited at one she was about to light before he placed in a gold dragon. She looked down at the coin, her eyes not leaving it for a few seconds, and then she looked up at him with a humble expression and nodded. She made to light her candle, but he took the wooden stem from her and lit it for her, whispering a prayer to the gods he had known since childhood, and she smiled at him.
“A name?” he asked.
“Sparrow,” she answered into the quiet. “We children are all named Breoch Sparrow.”
“I understand ‘Breoch’,” he murmured, “but ‘Sparrow’—”
She bowed her head and moved onto the next candle. She moved to light it, but he took the piece of wood from her hand and lit it himself. “Sparrow,” he asked again.
“We are gifts to the Septas,” she replied. “Great lords give us in tribute to the Sept. We serve it until we die.” There was no emotion in her voice. She was only stating simple fact. This lovely creature knew that she would light the candles every day of her life and she should accept nothing more from it.
“What are your other duties?”
Her startling blue eyes looked up at him, judging him, when she finally whispered, “I go through Lannisport and collect prayers.”
“Then may I go with you, Lady Breoch Sparrow? May I see how this Sept works?” He tried to make his voice earnest. He did not care how Breoch worked. He did not care about Sparrows except how they related to her. He just wanted to be close to her. He needed to be close to her. Jaime needed to learn everything possible so that he could spirit her away.
She glanced at him. “Do you have a prayer?”
“I will tell you when we walk through the city,” he stated honestly. “I will give you a prayer every day we walk.”
Her bright blue eyes looked at him again. Finally, she nodded. “You must wait.”
“Then I shall pray,” he concluded, and he knelt down in the Sept as she went through the door again and finally came out two hours later.
Jaime knew he should have returned to his father, but after about an hour he had sent his guard back with a message that he was delayed in Lannisport and would return when he was able and sent his love to Cerzainya.
Breoch’s hair was down in a long braid, which fell across her back, although her hood was still placed upon her head, separated from her dress and a deeper blue, the sides of it falling down her shoulders, past her breasts and to her waist. Her hair was indeed golden. However, she simply could not be a Lannister. Her eyes betrayed her. She was, however, tall—taller than his acknowledged daughter, almost as tall as Cersei.
Within fifteen minutes, all kept in silence, a fishmonger’s wife came up to Breoch and curtseyed. Holding out a coin that was worth next to nothing, she whispered, “That my son’s marriage might be fruitful.” Breoch accepted the coin with a nod, the woman curtseyed again, and then was gone. Breoch watched her go before setting the coin in a pouch that hung around her waist.
Soon, men and women melted out of the crowd, all offering coins, some small, some as large as a silver dragon. “Save me from the pox” (which was ridiculous, there wasn’t an outbreak), “may Lalu notice me and not her betrothed,” “If only I could stop weeping,” “may my business prosper,” “may that man across the way be stricken down.” She accepted every coin with a nod and put the coins away.
Finally, Jaime asked, “How do you remember them all?”
“I do not,” she admitted, “but the Seven are listening.”
Jaime nodded. When the Sept of Breoch was in sight against the gray sky, Jaime halted her and took out a golden dragon. “For Lady Cerzainya Lannister. That she may be happy that her father, Ser Jaime, has returned to her.”
“An elevated request,” she admitted, as she took the coin. “Tomorrow?”
“If my father can spare me,” he said truthfully. “I took liberties by staying so long.”
She looked at him a long moment. “You are—peculiar.” Breoch then turned and walked toward the Sept, her head held high. He watched as her braid swished back and forth across her back and wished to take off her hood on their wedding night, undo the braid carefully, and run his hands through her golden hair.
Tywin was waiting for him in the courtyard. The sun had reached its zenith. “Where were you? I wanted to go over the books with you today.” His voice was commanding, as always, and yet held a certain nonchalance to it. As always, it held little emotion. He seemed to reserve that for Cerzainya, but in many ways the girl was more his daughter than Jaime’s, as he had been the one to raise her.
Jaime swung off his horse, and patted it down. “I apologize, Father. It is just—I believe I am to wife. The lady will take much persuasion.”
“You are the Heir to the great Lannister Name. What more can a woman want?”
He sighed. “I have to convince her of that.”
“Bring her here.”
“That may be difficult. She won’t have permission.” Jaime looked at his father honestly. “She is not a lady of high birth, base born, or of the common folk—”
Tywin stilled. “Please tell me you didn’t go to the Sept at Breoch to pray—Of course you did. You went to thank the Seven for your good fortune like your Mother taught you.” He sighed. “Septas do not marry.”
“There are more than Septas at Septs,” he argued back angrily.
“Don’t,” Tywin warned, “even think about it.”
“I am thinking about it. It is already decided.” He stalked into the keep, or he would have if he were a twelve year old boy. Instead, he remembered that he was the Kingslayer, and with an arrogance he had learned over the years, he walked with a steadiness of arrogant purpose past his father, as if he did not care what the man thought or said.
His father, however, followed him. “I could marry you into one of the Houses if marriage is on your mind. I know it has been denied you—”
“I do not want one of the Houses.—I want Breoch.—By the Seven, they didn’t even give her a name, they consider her to be so faceless.” He ran a hand down his own face. “She is so perfect, Father, you would see as soon as you met her.”
Changing the subject, Lord Tywin took out a raven and held it out to Jaime, “As your mind is so set on marriage, perhaps you would like to think on your daughter’s prospects.”
Jaime looked at the man who had given him life, and took the message. He scanned it—and wondered aloud. “Lord Willas. Proof of his virality is that he has an three year old son, who does not live at Highgarden but can be produced if necessary.—Do we really want to give Cerzainya to such a man?”
“We couldn’t give her to him otherwise,” he stated brusquely. “Cerzainya is a young woman who needs to be able to bear children and she cannot do that with a man who is sterile. I want her Lady of one of the Four Points. I would not have her marry to the North and the East, well, the child is but a year old.”
“Invite him then,” Jaime suggested, folding the scroll. “I do not relish a man so much older—but if this is the best option for Zain, then we must consider it.—I’ll write it. I’m her father.”
“No more women from Breoch,” Tywin stated as Jaime walked away.
Of course, Jaime didn’t answer. He had no intention of not going back.
The next morning, he left without anyone attending him and far earlier than he was used to. He would not have his father stop him.
They were walking among the streets of Lannisport when he gave her three gold dragons. “My daughter, who it is secretly my sister’s bastard, is truly my child. I lay with my sister when we were but twelve and it is a secret that only we know.”
“How did you hide it?” she asked in confusion.
“She said that she lay with a stable boy and we were both sent away to different kingdoms. She gave birth to a beautiful girl. I was said to be married and was given the child. My wife, supposedly, died in childbirth and I came home with a daughter. My sister went to the Capital when she recovered and never came home.”
“I am sorry,” she whispered, “that must have been painful.”
“My daughter has had a good life. She is loved, she wants for nothing. She knows nothing of the woman who is supposed to be her mother as I have always said it was too painful—Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to say.”
“I know the tragedy of not knowing who one’s parent is. I do not know the Septa who gave birth to me—though I suspect.”
He looked at her and she glanced back.
“My eyes,” she answered. “I do not know the lord who was asked to give the gift of a life to the Sept. I don’t know who I am other than I am the birdling ‘Breoch Sparrow’ and there are nearly two dozen of us at the Sept.”
“I am sorry,” he whispered, taking her hand and entwining their fingers, the sign of two lovers.
She glanced down in her fingers, but she lifted his hand to her lips and kissed it. “What are we doing?”
“I am making love to you,” he answered honestly. “I hope to take you back away to my keep. I am the heir to a lord—”
“But your secrets—” she whispered.
“Are yours to hold. I give them to my future wife. The Seven already know them.” He held her hand in his and they walked along the roads.
She paused and looked up at him. “We do not marry.”
“They do not marry,” he corrected. “I doubt the same applies to House Lannister.” Jaime began to walk again, not looking at the shock on her face, his arm stretching out as she continued to stand there. Finally, she continued with him.
“Who are you?” Breoch’s voice was full of wonder and unbridled curiosity, as if she suspected the answer and yet could not believe it.
He glanced down to her. “Jaime.”
She gasped. “Your daughter is—I shall pray for her and the Queen.”
A dark laugh escaped him. “Do not pray for Cersei. She has no regret. She does not even care for Cerzainya, who is a beautiful sweet girl.” His thoughts turned to his daughter. “I wish you could meet her.”
Breoch looked up at him. “Why don’t you bring her to the Sept to pray—for any reason. Penitents ask Sparrows to pray all the time, if they wish for a personal touch. She might pray for her mother who died in childbirth?” Her voice rose in a half question, her stunning blue eyes looking up at him. “I could ask her to tell me of her mother—surely she is passionate on the subject.”
“Then I shall bring Zain,” he agreed. “I will secret her out of the Rock so that Father does not know.”
Glancing at him in confusion, she asked a silent question.
Jaime sighed. “I told him I wished to marry you, and he became angry.”
“You should not have said thus—it is an impossibility no matter whatever sweetness passes between us.” A wistfulness escaped her eyes. It was clear that the thought had passed her mind, even for the barest of moments, but she had dismissed it perhaps as impossible.
He kissed her hand longingly. “It is not an impossibility, Breoch,” he begged her. “I will discover who you are so we may travel to another Sept and be wed. I doubt anyone will marry Ser Jaime Lannister to Breoch Sparrow.”
“No,” she agreed in a whisper. “That would not come to pass.”
For the first time, he kissed her on the forehead when they were to part, their eyes closed at the harshness of their worlds. She walked away from him, not looking back, and all he could do was watch her retreating back.
“Lord Willas is to come in less than fortnight,” Jaime told his daughter as they swung into their saddles, long before the sunrise. He had told her this was their secret, father and daughter, and that she should dress simply. She was in a dress of red, embroidered with black lions that melted into the dark red, made of homespun fabric, her hair falling in long golden tresses. “Are you glad, Zain?”
“I know you were wed at my age,” she admitted. “Is it truly a wondrous thing?”
He looked over at her as they left Casterly Rock. “I cannot say. Your mother and I did not know each other well—but she gave me the greatest gift, a child. We go now to pray for her soul and to seek her guidance.” Jaime glanced over at his daughter who was silent.
When they arrived at the Sept, it was dark and hushed, and he led her to the center where they kneeled down. When Breoch finally arrived, he gave Cerzainya three golden dragons. “Give them to the Sparrow. She will hear your prayer as she is a representative of the Seven.”
Cezainya looked at him in confusion, but got up and approached Breoch with her offering. The two young ladies spoke to each other quietly, and then Breoch motioned toward an indentation in the Sept where it seemed one could sit and talk.
Jaime continued to kneel, giving his daughter the time she needed, until Breoch came and approached him. “Lady Cerzainya wishes to speak more of Lord Willas over tea,” she explained in a hushed voice. “The Sept usually does not allow such liberties, but with an added donation…”
Her eyes were laughing at him, a hint of a smile on her face.
“Of course, Sparrow,” he agreed, getting up and standing. “Would ten golden dragons cover your losses in the prayers you would collect?”
“Indeed,” she murmured.
He got out the sum and gave it to her silently and followed the two girls out of the Sept, watching as they were slowly becoming friends.
“Do you know the Houses?” Cerzainya asked solicitously as she offered Breoch a cake. “I do not know if it was part of your education.”
“Only the ones here about in the West,” she admitted. “I know the Lannisters, for instance. However, you may explain it to me, Lady Cerzainya. I am sure I can grasp it quickly enough. I believe I am clever.”
“Lord Willas is heir to the Lord of the Reech,” she explained, “the Warden of the South.”
“Important then,” Breoch teased, glancing at Jaime.
“He broke his legs and must sit in a chair. I believe he is Father’s age.” Her voice held no emotion. She merely spoke fact, and Jaime looked at her as this was the first time she had expressed anything close to an opinion. “He also has a child although he has never been wed.”
Breoch paused for a moment. “Perhaps he could not marry the mother. Perhaps her House was not suitable or she was low born.”
“Low born,” she murmured, “Yes, perhaps that is it.”
“Still,” Jaime said, entering the conversation, “You should not ask him about it until after you are long wed.”
Cerzainya paused. “He does not use a cane but is in a chair. I wish he were taller than I am.” She sighed. “He cannot ride a horse in a tourney.”
“Failings indeed,” Breoch conceded, “if one were a romantic.” A strange, unidentifiable look came across her face. “Is the man or the knight more important?”
This caught Jaime’s daughter off guard. “The man,” she supposed.
“Then meet the man. It is all you can do.” She took a sip of her tea. “I will pray for you, Lady Cerzainya, and that you will find the truth in this match your father has found for you.”
Nothing else had to be said, and they continued their tea, the most expensive one Ser Jaime had ever attended—but he frankly didn’t care.
Part the Second
Lord Willas was—well—Cerzainya sucked in her breath when she saw him, and Jaime guessed it was because he was rather handsome. With blond curls and blue eyes, he looked like he would be at home among his flowers at Highgarden, and his intricately carved chair suggested as much.
He was lifted down from a horse, which he controlled with some kind of stints on his legs, and placed within it, and sat there and bowed his head in greeting. It seemed as if he were sitting upon a throne before them all, as if he were a king.
Lord Tywin looked at his granddaughter in interest before approaching their guest. “Lord Willas, you are most welcome. I trust your journey has not been too arduous.”
“Not at all,” he answered in a firm voice. “I have enjoyed visiting country that I would otherwise not have seen. The West holds much beauty, Lord Tywin. I would be loathe to leave it if I were Warden of the West.”
Lord Tywin smiled at him congenially. “Yet leave it I did when my king demanded it. Now, have you ever met my son, Ser Jaime? You may have, at one time, been in the lists together?”
Jaime came up and shook the other knight’s hand. “We never came up against one another,” he remembered. “However, I remember what a fine knight you were.” He took in his face and realized that this was a man, this was at least a face, a young maiden might fall in love with. Whether Cerzainya could overlook his other defects was a matter for her to decide. Jaime did not know his daughter well enough, he realized, to guess what she might come to feel. “May I introduce my daughter?” he asked. “The Lady Cerzainya Lannister.”
For a moment she paused, and then she came up to him and curtsied. “Lord Willas,” she murmured. “I hear we might be friends.”
He laughed charmingly. “I hear the same.”
A small smile formed on her lips. “Then you must tell me what you like and what you don’t prefer, otherwise I shall be forced to guess.”
“I like it when you smile,” he decided. He made a motioning gesture and a small bottle was produced and given to him by one of his retinue. Lord Willas held it out to her and she carefully took it from him. “I also love the smell of roses. I hope you will accept it for your bath. I heard the flower does not grow in your region and I thought the scent might be pleasing to you also.”
“How kind,” she told him. Looking behind her, her maidservant came up and took the scent from her. “I’ll be sure to wear it to the feast in your honor.”
He gave her a warm smile and she hesitantly returned it. Tywin looked smugly at Jaime who realized that, perhaps, he might have a goodson within the next moon.
It was evening and he waited for Breoch to come down from the Sept. She should be sleeping, but he told her he couldn’t escape the Welcome Feast until well into the night. There was a sudden movement to his right, and he turned, but he could see nothing until two small hands rested on either side of his face and two chapped lips pressed against his.
He pulled away and looked into two deep yet startling blue eyes. “Bree?” he begged, hoping this was more than an apparition.
“Bree,” she murmured. “No one’s ever called me that.”
He ran a hand under her hood, feeling the smooth hair beneath it. “You cannot be ‘Breoch’,” he argued. “There are so many of you who are ‘Breoch,’ both male and female. No, you are my Bree.” He kissed her lightly, relishing in the taste of her, salt from the bread made on the streets and fresh water.
She kissed him back hard and yet showing her inexperience. He wanted to laugh, adoring her naivete. She was fresh. Breoch was all his. She had never belonged to someone else. She was never going to belong to anyone else, and he would teach her gently, not roughly as he had been taught.
Pulling her closer, his free hand slid up her back. “Come back to Casterly Rock with me,” he begged against her lips. “Light the candles and return with me.—No one will miss you.”
“I must pray,” she argued, “for all the poor souls on the streets.”
“Let another pray,” he begged, letting the hand in her hair sweep down her cheek. “Bree. My sweet girl. You always think of others.”
She took in a deep breath. “Am I not thinking of myself now? Am I not here with you now, Jaime Lannister?”
“Then come, Breoch Sparrow,” he asked again.
“Pray,” she suggested, “and perhaps the gods will hear your prayer.” She kissed him again and he enfolded her in his arms.
That morning he prostrated himself on the Sept floor, begging the gods to let Breoch come with him to Casterly Rock. He could smell smoke as she walked around the Sept, lighting the candles, and when her steps echoed off into the antechamber, Jaime pushed himself off the floor and left the Sept.
He had almost given up hope when she joined him where he was waiting. Breoch was still wearing her formless dress, but she had removed her hood and her hair was in a braid that swirled around the top of her head. The sun hit it so the gold was burnished, and it took his breath away. Leading her to his horse, he helped her up so she was riding sidesaddle, and then swung himself up behind her.
“We have a guest,” he informed her as they meandered through the streets, “Lord Willas of Higharden.”
She smiled back at him. “He has come, then.”
“He has come.”
Jaime rode gently as he rushed up the mountain to Casterly Rock and entered the courtyard to little fanfare. He helped her off the horse and took her hand, leading her into the keep.
They first came across Lord Willas and Cerzainya speaking together on a balcony, overlooking the sea. “Cerzainya,” he greeted, “you remember Lady Bree, from the Sept. She had tea with us just the other week.”
Cerzainya looked up and took in the other girl, her eyes flashing green, before recognition flashed through her gaze. “Of course, Father. Lady Bree,” she curtseyed. “How wonderful it is to see you again. Welcome to Casterly Rock. You must forgive that I cannot entertain you.”
Breoch smiled. “I did not expect to find myself here so I do not deserve any special treatment. Please, do not let me disturb you and, may I ask if this is Lord Willas?”
“Indeed,” she agreed with a small smile. “You have caught me out.” She sat back down and turned to Lord Willas, clearly dismissing her father and his guest.
Jaime moved Breoch out of the balcony. They walked through the corridors until he found another balcony and showed her the bay. “Have you seen a view like this?” he asked her. “The beaches, the drifts?”
“No,” she breathed. Breoch leaned against him, and he could feel her back against his chest. He let his hands run down her arms and down to her hands, where he let his fingers slide down in between hers and hold onto them. He ran her hands up her stomach and then crossed them over one another, holding her tight against him. Breoch’s breath caught at the sensation, and she turned to him.
“Your hair is too constrained, Lady Sparrow,” he murmured against her ear.
A breathy laugh escaped her lips. “I am a child of the Sept.”
“Jaime!” a strong voice commanded, and they turned to see Lord Tywin Lannister. He was set against the door, strong and bold, in colors of red and white. His green eyes were sharp and his jaw rigid. “Explain yourself. I told you not to pursue a lady of the Sept.”
After a moment, Jaime unwound himself from Breoch. Taking her by the hand, he led her forward. “I wanted to show Lady Bree Casterly Rock, Father. I hope she will be its lady soon enough. I care not for your—principles.” He held his father’s green eyes for several long moments and then Tywin turned his attention to Breoch.
It took less than a breath for him to draw in a gasp. “I’ve seen your eyes before.”
“Get her out of here,” he demanded. “She mentioned the Sept. Those eyes—Get this child out of here!” he roared.
He turned away and walked out of the balcony and Jaime could only stare after him.
Running his hand down Breoch’s hair, he quieted her. “Think nothing of it,” he murmured. “Father is—distracted.” Of course, he knew this wasn’t the answer, but it was all he could say to explain his peculiar behavior.
“Forgive me,” she murmured, “but I cannot credit your words. He knows my eyes. He’s a great lord.”
Jaime looked down at her sharply. “What are you saying, Bree?”
She evaded his gaze. “I am a Sparrow. My mother is a Septa. I have come to believe that I possess her eyes. My father is a lord or a man of great note of the community around Breoch. We share similar hair, Ser Jaime, and it is not completely common in Lannisport. Perhaps your father has it. I did not notice.”
“My father has always been true to my mother’s memory.” Jaime was very adamant about this. “I’m sorry, Bree, but he never would have—despite his reaction—”
Breoch immediately calmed, and he touched the braids of her hair. A reverence and a calm passed through him, and the thought of a true and simple marriage without the machinations of the life he had known spread throughout his mind.
She let her hair be undone and loosened the braids herself. Jaime ran his hands through her hair so that it was lying down her back in tangled tresses and he kissed her forehead.
“Beautiful,” he complimented, his mind turning briefly toward Cersei, now the thought of his father had entered the picture. Jaime pushed it out of his thoughts as quickly as it had come, and smiled down at the girl he loved so dearly.
Next, he grabbed her hand and ran with her through the keep, showing her the public rooms and kissing her in the private corners. They were so sweet, so fresh, that he just wanted to hold her close and bury his face in her hair, breathing her in.
“Sweet girl,” he promised, “you will be my wife.”
“I don’t have a name,” she demurred.
“We’ll find you one.” It was practically a growl. He ran his hand through her hair and she smiled up at him and kissed him again lightly. “Bree Lannister,” he promised her. “I love you.”
She pulled back away from him and her bright, haunting eyes looked into his. A disbelief crept into them and then she pushed herself close, her chin resting into his shoulder and he thought he heard her crying.
“Bree,” he murmured.
“We’re not loved,” she admitted. “I never thought I’d be loved.” Breoch pulled herself closer, her fingers spasming in his tunic, but he let her try to burrow her way into him as if she were a small child. He just held her closer, shielding her from the world, the sound of the waves reaching them even here within the keep.
They went down through the secret trails to the beach and they played within the spray of the water, Jaime picking Breoch up and twirled her in the sea spray before depositing her bare feet in the sand. She laughed when he sent a splash of water her way, but never did anything but run in with her skirts held up, not daring to engage him in a battle of water.
When a serving maid came to tell them that lunch would begin presently, he picked up her shoes for her, plain though they were, and they made their way up to the Rock.
They came into the Dining Hall and Cerzainya looked at them in shock. “Lady Bree is still here,” she wondered aloud. “Of course. It must be a matter of great importance. Are you praying for mother’s soul?”
“Nay, child,” he answered, kissing her on the forehead. “There are no prayers today.”
Tywin looked back at them. “The girl is from the Sept at Breoch, is she not? I would have her taken the child back immediately.”
“Lady Bree is my guest,” Jaime answered coldly. “I will not have you carry her off like a criminal.”
“Lady Bree,” Tywin responded in kind, “is none other than one of the many Breoch Sparrows. She was born a Sparrow of Breoch and she will die a Sparrow of Breoch. Is this not right, child? You have a particular Septa’s eyes about you.”
Breoch swallowed. “I wouldn’t know about a Septa. Septas remain mysteries to many of us.”
“As they should. Dine, Sparrow. It is a long journey back to Lannisport.” He came over to a seat and held it out for her.
She looked at Jaime and then walked out of his arms and took the seat.
Servants came in and began to place platters of food in front of them. Breoch looked at it in wonder and picked at it, not saying a word to anyone, the words between Lord Willas and Cerzainya dominating the conversation.
A raven came at the end of the meal. It was given to Lord Tywin and he read it with relish and then stood. “I am proud to announce that the Queen, my daughter, has given birth to a second son, Prince Tommen, first of his name. The boy is healthy and of green eyes. His hair is sparse and the color has yet to be determined.”
It would be blond, Jaime knew.
Breoch looked toward him, and must have seen the carefully hidden desolation on his face, as her hand reached for his beneath the table.
When he lifted her onto the horse after lunch, she looked at him and asked, “Do you have a prayer, Ser Jaime?”
“This is no time for prayers.” His voice was bitter and cold and he came up behind her, circling his hand around her waist. Jaime breathed in the saltwater scent of her hair—indeed, the Sparrows probably had access to nothing else—and he swore that one day it would be different.
She glanced back at him. “Three dragons for three children,” she suggested.
He sighed at her perceptiveness. “Cersei’s first child was of her husband. Steffon was sickly and did not survive the month. He was black of hair and his eyes were dark, even though he was just a child. She begged me afterward, given Cerzainya’s strength—she was a witch sent to tempt men, and she knew how to do it, too, so that I would forget myself. Robert Baratheon would not lie with her as he still loved the shade of his first betrothed, Lyanna Stark. He prefers drinking and whores to my sister. So I lay with her. We have three children, and they all belong to another man.—Three dragons for three children who will never carry my name.”
“You gave them a better life,” she suggested. “Does the Queen love them?”
Jaime laughed coldly. “She worships them just as she ignores Cerzainya.”
“And King Robert?”
“He is cruel to Joffrey. The boy wishes only to please him and he has turned twisted and cruel. I know not for Myrcella or how Tommen will turn out. Tommen, what a horrible name. I’ve named none of the four.”
She turned around and looked at him. “That is a sorrow for any man.—What would you name your heir, Ser Jaime?”
He looked down, not being able to face. “I would not know. I’ve never had the chance.” He spurred the horse onward and nothing more was said. The two descended into silence and spoke not a word even when they reached the streets near the Sept. He let her down and got out three golden dragons. “For my prayers.”
She turned his hand away and shook her head. “The gods have already wept.”
Jaime watched her go and wished she would come back again, but he had not a name for her and could not marry her under the sight of the Seven without one.
When he returned to Casterly Rock, he immediately found his father. “What do you know?” he demanded. “What do you know of Bree?”
Tywin looked up balefully and regarded his heir. “I told you to stay away from the Septs.”
“She is nobly born,” he huffed, crossing his arms.
“She is base born.”
“I need not remind you of who else is,” Jaime seethed in anger. After a moment, he took a deep breath. Cerzainya was too precious to him. “I did not mean that.”
Looking at him speculatively, Tywin asked, “What did you mean?”
“I meant,” Jaime carefully explained, “that her father is a nobleman and it is not the same as marriage. One is not true born or base born. A child is a gift. A gift, Father. Truly that is something. Now, what do you know of Breoch Sparrow, the one who was here within these halls?”
Considering, Tywin stood from his desk and went to look out the windows toward the bay. “I knew a Septa with eyes like hers once,” he admitted. “It was after Joanna died. I was asked to give a gift.”
Jaime’s lips thinned. “I don’t believe you. You would never be unfaithful to Mother’s memory.”
“She seems the right age.”
“Don’t you dare,” Jaime demanded. “Don’t you—” He turned and left. Running a hand through his golden hair, his mind tried to make sense of what his father had said. Bree—a Lannister. It could not be true. Certainly, she had the hair, but her eyes, her startlingly beautiful eyes that haunted his dreams.
It must be a lie to keep him from her. It was the only explanation he could think of. Nothing else would do—Bree, a Lannister. Preposterous! If she were, then perhaps Uncle Kevan—even that seemed beyond belief.
Two days later, Cerzainya was in the small garden. She was picking sand flowers, smelling each one and then twining them together. Her handmaiden Lalie was helping her, and they were murmuring together.
“Do you think this one?” she questioned, lifting the yellow blossom to her nose.
Jaime laughed. “Darling, you have pollen on your nose!”
She looked over at him and lowed the sunshine flower. “Do I, Father?” she questioned. “Do you think Lord Willas will like it? I want to drape our flowers over his chair.”
He took the flower and twirled it between his fingers, sniffing it himself. “I would like it if a fair maiden gave it to me,” he admitted, thinking of Breoch. “You find yourself favorably inclined toward him, then, daughter?”
Cerzainya was looking among the flowers as Lalie was twining them together. “Should I not?”
“You were worried that you might find yourself—indifferent. Your grandfather and I were uncertain what to do if this were the case.” He came up to her and placed a hand on the top of her head.
His child was truly beautiful. She was perhaps more enchanting than Breoch, but her beauty was more obvious like her birth mother. Breoch’s looks were more subtle, haunting in the candlelight of the Sept. She had an innocence about her that Zain did not possess even though she was two or so years younger.
With a sudden flash of knowledge, Jaime realized he did not know Breoch’s age. She had never said. He wondered if she had ever been told. Perhaps they had taken that from her, too. How cruel could the Septums and Septas be? He determined to take her away even more now than he had before, and he had been certain with all his being before.
“Father?” Cerzainya was standing, several flowers in her hand, looking at him in question.
“I’m sorry, Zain, I was not attending.”
“No,” she agreed carefully. “You were thinking on the Sparrow again.” Cerzainya sighed and made a movement toward her handmaiden who curtseyed and left the father and daughter together. Going to a bench, Cerzainya sat and motioned toward her father, who sat beside her. Setting down her flowers, she took his hands. “Did you take me to the Sept that day to pray for my mother or to meet that girl?”
He looked into her green eyes. “I am determined to take her to wife as soon as I can figure out how,” he confessed. “You are my daughter and I would never—” He kissed both her hands in supplication. “I do not believe I could live without her, but it was my wish that you would know her and that you would at least respect one another.”
Cerzainya looked away. “I knew you would take a lady to wife again,” she admitted. “You need an heir. Grandfather often talked of trying to make me his heir before you left the kingsguard. He did not like the prospect, but he said I was your only heir and Uncle Tyrion was not an option, though I know not why.”
Jaime was not surprised. “Your grandfather has never spoken to you of him? He has never been to Casterly Rock during your lifetime?”
She shook her head. “Perhaps when I was a young child, but I cannot recollect.”
“Uncle Tyrion is called ‘the imp.’ He is short of stature,” Jaime tried to explain. “He is a dwarf. Father believes him deformed in every way and will never name him his heir.”
“Oh,” she murmured. “I see.” Cerzainya shifted uncertainly. “But a girl from the Sept? That is anathema.”
“I was a member of the kingsguard. That is anathema,” he told her plainly. “I will to wife the woman I choose. I will not have a fine lady Father chooses unless she is the woman I want.”
“Then why—Lord Willas?”
“Because,” he answered simply. “Your life was not taken from you. You are given the best that we can conjure for you. I will never force you. If you decide that you do not wish to wed Lord Willas, then you shall not wed him. However, I will not protest you draping him with flowers, as he is from Highgarden.” He tweaked her nose and they father and daughter laughed together.
As they stood, she murmured, “She is so young.”
“Any wife I took would be young,” he told her. “What is important is that she be a sister to you, even if you are only here for a short while. You might write ravens to each other from your separate kingdoms, seek advice from her as well as from your aunt, the Queen.”
“Aunt Cersei is cold,” she admitted after a long pause. “I do not think she likes me.”
“Cersei,” Jaime admitted, “is unhappy in her life. She takes pride only in Prince Joffrey, and does not know how to show affection elsewhere. It is not that she does not care for you, my dearest Cerzainya, it is just that she does not know how to express it.”
She picked up her flowers and they began to move out of the garden. When they were near the entrance, she paused and looked up at Jaime. “You are to Breoch tomorrow?”
Jaime nodded. “I go nearly every day.”
“I must pray on this matter with Lord Willas. I will tell him that I will be absent in the morning.” She then moved away with a swish of her skirts, Jaime looking after her.
Part the Third
There was a rider.
It was several days after Cerzainya and Breoch had moved about Lannisport, taking coins for prayers, while Jaime looked on. Lord Willas had been waiting in the courtyard for them when they arrived back, and Cerzainya could hardly contain the smile that was on her face.
Now Jaime was sitting at his desk, a quill in his hand, when a servant told him to come to Lord Tywin’s study. He entered and saw a Septum sitting there with a glass of ale.
“Ser Jaime, my son. I believe he is the offending party.”
“Yes,” the Septum said in a nasally voice. He had a large wart on his nose, his face drawn and long. “You have drawn comment with your attention to one of our Sparrows.” The man took a large drag of ale. “Fine drink, m’lord. Nothing finer.”
Tywin nodded his head in appreciation. “I have told my son to desist.”
“He has not,” the Septum answered. “I realize that the Sparrow is of Lannister extraction and thus must be of great interest to Ser Jaime, but this must end. She is a Sparrow, young man,” he stated imperiously, “and belongs to Breoch.”
Jaime stood there, shocked. “Lannister beauty cannot be hidden,” he eventually stated.
“Perhaps not,” the Septum agreed. “You will say your farewells, and then all will be done. You will pray in the afternoons when she has duties elsewhere. You seem to be most pious, young man, despite your appreciation for Breoch Sparrow.” He stood, his bones cracking, and he bowed low to Lord Tywin. “I thank you for your cooperation.”
The Septum left, his head turned humbly to the rich carpeting, and Jaime didn’t even bother to watch him go.
“Is that enough for you?” Lord Tywin demanded. “A Septum come to tell you that your Lady Bree is a Lannister? That you must stop whatever you are doing? At least they do not believe it a romance!”
Jaime looked at him, fire in his green eyes. “I heard you, Father!” He then walked toward the door. He had no intention of giving Breoch up. Jaime was now more than determined to have her.
She was not his sister. The Septum had not said so, only that she was a Lannister. His father would never be so foolhardy. He wasn’t religious in the least. He only paid lip service to the Seven; he wouldn’t actually bestow upon them a gift of this magnitude. No, Breoch was his cousin.
He did not have the feeling he did when he was with Cersei, the illicit feeling that what they were doing was a sin in the eyes of the Seven. That they were like the Targaryens. Then because she was Royal, it must be all right. No, this was different. Breoch was sweetness and she understood—but she was pure and true and she was his gift from the gods. Breoch was not something he had to hide because his head would end up on a spike. She was something he must protect from others.
He went to his mother’s old sitting room and opened up the trunks, tearing through them until he found the Lannister marriage cloak. Next he went to her closet and found a rich gown of white and gold. He secreted them all away to his chambers. He would take Breoch away tomorrow and they would ride to Kayce where they would be married. They would claim they were the cousins they undoubtedly were.
Jaime slipped into Cerzainya’s rooms before the sun rose and kissed her temple as he knew he wouldn’t be seeing her for several days. She seemed so peaceful. Cerzainya moved in her sleep and he withdrew, hoping she would forgive him.
He rode in the darkness and prostrated himself in the Sept aware when the candlelight appeared at the corner of his vision. He sat up and looked toward her. She was beautiful, her face illuminated by the glow. “We must say goodbye,” he whispered, “for a little while.”
“The Septum went to you,” she stated in resignation.
He gave her a sad smile. “Did you think I would listen?”
Breoch cocked her head to the side. “I do not understand you, Jaime Lannister.”
“Goodbyes are not for holy places,” he told her sincerely. “Do not keep me waiting.”
The sky was tinged with the faintest of blues when she came out of a side door, a hood on her head which shadowed her face. Jaime smiled down at her and kissed her lips gently once. “Say you’ll be my wife,” he whispered into her ear. “No one need know.”
“Jaime,” she hushed.
He grinned. “That was not a refusal.” He took off her hood and put it aside for anyone to find and lifted her onto the horse.
Breoch settled and Jaime climbed behind her, settling a hand around her waist. He urged his horse forward and made a path away from Breoch and then onto the high road, taking the most direct route to Kayce.
Neither spoke a word until they entered the city late at night and Jaime pulled up to an inn. He took the saddlebag and handed over his horse. “Your finest room,” he told the innkeep, flipping over three golden dragons. “My bride and I don’t wish to be disturbed.”
“Happy moons,” the innkeep responded, testing the first of the gold dragons between his teeth. “I’ll have Mahree show you up.
Jaime placed his hand at the small of Breoch’s back, and they proceeded up the stairs. When they were alone, he gave her the dress. “There’s a screen,” he told her, “it will give you some privacy and I will help you with the laces.”
Feeling the silkiness of the fabric with her hand, she only nodded and hid herself from him.
Immediately, he divested himself of his pale gold jacket, revealing brown britches and a red tunic. “The Septum said you were a Lannister,” he told her honestly. “I sent a raven ahead and said we were cousins—which is the only explanation—and although we are both of age my father will not consent to the match because you have no dowry.”
“I have no dowry,” she whispered.
He scoffed. “Do you think I care?”
She came out in a white gown with a cape already fastened to it, etched with gold. Breoch was truly a bride. Her golden hair was tangled in loose curls, so unlike the Lannister hair in that way, and she nervously ran her hand down the high waist into the skirt. “I’ve never worn anything so fine.”
Jaime’s breath was caught in his throat, but he quickly regained himself. Coming over and kissing her lightly, he swept away her cape and did up the laces. “I hope you are not offended, but I could think of no greater honor that having you wear my mother’s wedding dress.”
“Surely Lady Cerzainya—”
“Perhaps she will,” he agreed, “but that does not mean my own bride cannot also wear it.” He turned her face toward him again and kissed her lingeringly but innocently. “I love thee, Bree Lannister.”
Placing a necklace of large pearls around her neck, one down low, the next up higher, the third down low again to create a pattern. They gleamed in health against her skin, and she positively glowed against the sea jewels.
Breoch placed her hands on his face and kissed him again. Breoch hadn’t said it back, perhaps thinking she didn’t know how to love or that he knew already, but he was contented with having her to wife—for now. She would say the words, he was determined, by the time she bore his first child.
It was a short trip to the Sept at Kayce and the Septum had been waiting for them. “The Lannisters,” he greeted, “you do us great honor.—Please, stand before me and join hands.”
She was shaking a little, but Jaime took Breoch’s hand firmly and held it. Her bright blue eyes looked into his and a small smile formed on her lips.
“In the sight of the Seven,” the Septum began, “I hereby see you these two souls, binding them as one for eternity. Look upon one another and say the words.”
Jaime glanced into her eyes and saw Breoch take a breath. For a moment he thought that she would slip her small hand from his, but then he heard her quiet voice and his strong one joined hers, “Father. Smith. Warrior. Mother. Maiden. Crone. Stranger. I am his/hers and s/he is mine, from this day ‘til the end of my days.”
He took the cloak, and she turned away from him. Jaime carefully unclipped the white one and placed the Lannister lion on her, smoothing it, before taking her hand and kissing it.
Breoch took a deep breath and looked at the Septum. “Are we wed?”
“Yes, my dear,” he answered. “May I know your name? I must admit I am curious—a Lannister wedding after nightfall.”
“Lady Bree,” she answered, the words difficult on her lips. “My husband,” (she smiled) “Ser Jaime.”
The Septum looked at him in surprise. “You are of the kingsguard, the Queen’s brother.”
“I am freed from the kingsguard,” he told him smugly. “I am once again free to live my life, to love a woman, to inherit my father’s lands.—Bree, darling, I’ve put you rather through your paces today. We’ve been riding since early light.”
She blushed. “Forgive us, Septum.”
“Not at all. Go, children. You have my blessing.”
Jaime picked her up in his arms and twirled her around, causing her to giggle, and carried her from the Sept, back to the inn. He ignored everyone and finally placed his wife on her feet. Just the thought sent blood running through him and he kissed her. It was chaste like all their kisses, but all of his passion was built up behind it. He let his arms snake around his waist, and he lifted her up, twirling her around in the kiss.
“Jaime!” she cried before he set her down again.
“Allow a man joy on his wedding night.” He grinned at her, a smirk really, and she laughed, clapping her hands. “Let’s get this cloak off you and unlace you, darling.”
Her eyebrows furrowed slightly, as if she didn’t understand, and he came up to her.
“No one has ever explained,” he realized. Touching her shoulder, he kissed her cheek. “We will bare our souls and our bodies to each other as the Seven have made us,” he whispered, “and then we will join in a way that is hard to describe. I will try to explain everything that is about to happen, my bride.”
“I am to take off my shift?” she asked in confusion.
“Would you like to retain your modesty?” he asked her carefully and she nodded her head emphatically. “All right, darling,” he agreed, kissing the side of her neck. “Tell me if I ever make you uncomfortable.”
And he proceeded to undo the laces of his wife’s dress and make love to her, making her his wife in a way that not even his father could tear them apart.
They lay in the morning sun, her shoulder bare to the room. He let his finger run up against it, and her eyes were unfocused.
“Are you well?” he murmured quietly, worried for his young wife.
She turned her head toward him slightly and nodded. “Yes. I had not expected marriage to—children come from such things?”
“How peculiar,” she responded.
Jaime leaned forward and kissed her. She didn’t respond immediately, but then she pushed herself into his arms and he shifted his leg between hers. Gasping, she pulled away and looked into his eyes. He entered her smoothly and she held onto him, her forehead against his shoulder. Jaime moved his fingers between her legs, attempting to give her release, but she shied away from him.
“Bree,” he begged. “Let me give you pleasure.”
She only shook her head. Still, he pushed his fingers between her legs and rubbed there. Her breathing became erratic. Again, she pushed him away.
With a groan, he pulled out of her. “Bree,” he begged. “I cannot gain pleasure from you if you won’t let me give it as well.”
“The Mother would not be pleased,” she stated with a decidedness of the young.
He blinked for a long moment. “Try it,” he begged. “Tell me she would not wish the Father to make her happy instead of her simply enduring.” He lifted up his finger and ran it down her nose. “Beautiful girl.”
She looked down in shame, and whispered, “Did you do it with her?”
“No,” he promised, “she liked raw pain.—Let me do this for you, Bree.”
“Tomorrow,” she decided, “or the next day. Not now.” She had rolled over onto her back and looked up to the ceiling. “I need to go to the Sept.”
“Bree,” he begged, “that is not wise.”
Sighing, she turned toward him. “I cannot go back, can I?”
“Not for awhile,” he apologized, running a finger through her hair. “I love you, Bree.” Her face looked at him, her startling blue eyes looking into his soul.
“Is it love, what you were attempting? Is it love what happens in this bed?”
“It can be duty,” he told her carefully, “but for me it is love. I want it to be love or at least desire for you, sweet girl. I thought you at least cared for me.”
She turned toward him and cupped his face. “You are so dear to me, Jaime Lannister,” she promised. “I don’t care that you’re a great knight. You could be a base born farmer or another Sparrow, you would still mean as much to me and I still would have come here with you.” Breoch kissed him gently. “I thought you knew that.”
He ran a hand up and down her upper forearm. “You never said. I could have been a way out of the Sept. I knew not.”
She laughed. “You were that, but your purpose was not to save me from a life I knew was mine to serve.” She stroked the sides of his face with her thumbs. “No, Jaime. It is you.—I think it was first because you were in need of such forgiveness that my mind turned to you, but then your kindness surprised me.”
He smiled at her sweetly, in a way he had only previously reserved for Cerzainya. “Then let me be kind to you, Bree. Let me bring you pleasure. It would bring me such happiness.”
A darkness fell over her face. “No,” she disagreed. “Don’t ask me that. I am content to lie in your arms and have you fill me with that strangeness that will give me children.”
A thought crossed his mind. “What if I find a way to give you pleasure without touching you with my hands?” he questioned.
“If it were the will of the Seven,” she agreed.
He laughed. “Challenge accepted.” He moved over and kissed her passionately and rolled her over, picking up her leg and placing it over his buttocks. “Lady Lannister,” he greeted, kissing her again, before making love to a willing bride if not a satisfied one.
Jaime was sad to see her get back into her blue Sparrow’s dress, but he packed up the cloak and Lady Joanna’s wedding dress and they left after breakfast. They rode the familiar way back to Casterly Rock, bypassing Lannisport so they would not be recognized, and arriving well past midnight.
A servant was waiting for them.
Jaime barely had time to show Bree his rooms when Lord Tywin angrily entered: “What is the meaning of this? You abscond with a Sparrow and now you bring her here to be your whore?”
“You are speaking to my wife,” Jaime argued, ushering Breoch into the bedchamber. “We were married in Kayce just last night. Thanks to the Septum, we knew her name was Lannister.”
“What have you done?”
“I have married the woman of my choice. Cersei had her choice when she married Robert Baratheon. She always wanted to be Queen more than anything. You married your cousin in a love match. Tyrion was not so blessed—but why should I not have my choice?”
“She is not suitable!” Tywin insisted. “How many times must you be told, you stupid boy? You will go and return her to Breoch at once.”
However, Jaime would hear none of it. “The marriage is consummated.”
There was a long pause. “You lay with a girl who has no concept of the marriage bed? Are you mad, boy? Has being in the kingsguard addled your brains?” He slammed his fist against a bookcase and a few of the tomes fell out.
Jaime, though, did not care. “If that will be all? I have my wife to see to.—I trust you can think of a suitable amount to donate to Breoch for the loss of a Sparrow. Or perhaps you can give them a gift? I would, of course, but I find myself happily married. You can show yourself out.”
Breoch was sitting on the bed, looking at the door, clearly waiting for him. “Your father does not sound best pleased.”
“He’ll get over it,” Jaime promised, “as soon as you give him a grandson.”
She smiled at him and bit her bottom lip, causing Jaime to lean over and kiss her for it.
“And what shall we name him?” she whispered.
“I was named for my mother’s father—but apart from that most of the men in the line are given strong names of “Ty”. Tygue, I think. What say you?”
“Perhaps,” she suggested. “Though I wouldn’t mind naming a child after his father.”