Jun. 9th, 2013

ladytp: (Anne of Cleves)
Jaime

The official ceremony in the Great Hall was every bit as illustrious as Tyrion had predicted. The hall was adorned with the red and black of the Targaryens, and a third throne, made of grey hardwood, had been built on the dais to join the other two. It too was clad in red and black, but its back and armrests were decorated with engravings of wolves.

The Northern delegation embraced Jon for the last time as their equal just before the proceedings started. When they next met, he would be part of the royal family. Howland Reed had tears in his eyes when he clasped Jon, murmuring how happy Lyanna would be to see her son finally recognised by his father’s kin. Jon played down the significance of the event, but Jaime knew him to be pleased. He had confessed as much to him, and although Jon still had a great deal to learn about his new family, he already liked young Aegon and was in awe of Daenerys.

The whole court witnessed the recognition of Jon Targaryen, and to his amusement Jaime saw several dropped jaws when the courtiers tried to decipher the latest turn of events. Jon was solemn and handsome in his new garb – it had been easy enough to add red trimmings to the black brother’s clothing he refused to yield.

Jaime had told Jon earlier about Tyrion’s proposal regarding Sansa. Although slightly taken back, Jon had conceded all Tyrion’s points to be valid ones.

“It is ultimately Sansa’s decision, and whatever she decides, I will accept it. Should it be you, I would welcome you into our family,” he told Jaime.

“You reckon she would really consider tying herself to another Lannister, just after ridding herself of one?” Jaime looked at him doubtfully.

“Had you asked that a while ago, I suspect the answer would have been a definite no. Yet things have changed. You are a different man than you were before and even Tyrion may redeem himself in her eyes with his acts of good will towards the North. Sansa has also grown up to be a strong and sensible leader. Nothing is impossible, I suppose. Just look at me!” Jon grinned at him, splendid in his new royal outfit.

Sansa had sent Jon her congratulations and lamentations of losing her brother just as she had found him again, yet she welcomed her new cousin with all her heart. She also wrote how sorry she was that Lady Catelyn was not there to witness the event.

Tyrion had made enquiries about Lady Stoneheart on Jaime’s behalf, but she and her group of outlaws seemed to have disappeared from the Riverlands. House Frey was scattered and broken and the lordship of the Twins had been given to a descendant of a Riverlands noble house from the Golden Company. Whether the ghost of Catelyn Stark still lived her gruesome existence somewhere in Westeros, nobody knew.

The day after the official celebrations in honour of the new Dragon, a smaller ceremony took place in the Great Hall to provide a response to the Northerners. As Tyrion had informed him, Jaime was pardoned on the condition that he kneel in front of the thrones and give his sworn oath of allegiance. The Stormlands and the North were received back into the Seven Kingdoms, and ravens were sent to Lord Stannis and Lady Sansa regarding their expected pledges. Aegon declared a war campaign against the Others, the details of which were to be sorted over the next few days.

In the course of a surprisingly brief formal procedure, all their wishes had been granted and they were finally free to head back to the North.

----------

It didn’t take long for Jaime to feel at home at the head of a war host once again. A spacious tent for a commander, squires looking after his armour and weapons, cooks with their big cauldrons doling out hot broth to start the day. The biggest difference between this army and the others he had led was the large presence of fighters from across the sea. The Unsullied, they called themselves, although some whispered that these troops were different to the ones back in Astapor. These soldiers had names and their discipline was not as cruel. Yet they were stoic warriors and better organised than any armed force Jaime had seen before.

During the long days of riding Jaime sometimes missed Jon’s company. They had said their goodbyes at the dragon pits, where Jon had been taking lessons from Daenerys on how to handle Viserion. Jon had embraced him in front of the cream-coloured beast and wished him good journey until they met again in Winterfell.

Instead of him as a companion, Jaime shared the tribulations of travel with new fellows, with whom he passed the long days and evenings. Ser Jorah Mormont had volunteered to join the party with an intention to visit Bear Island before continuing to the Wall. Two young maesters were on their way to their new posts; Jon’s friend Samwell Tarly, earmarked for Castle Black, and his fellow student Weimar Hey, assigned to Winterfell. The newly-minted maesters were youthful and eager, but nothing could hide the wisdom behind Sam’s chubby face or the streak of intelligence shining through Weimar’s eyes. Jaime had hand-picked him from the group of maesters that had arrived from Oldtown, bringing with them carefully guarded secrets from the musty libraries of the Citadel on how to conquer the mysterious Others. Weimar was witty, eager and as an added advantage, originally from the North, near Hornwood.

As a commander, Jaime had the luxury of a tent of his own. One evening as he was poring through the scrolls and plans spread across a small table, Artus came to him, coughing discreetly at the tent entrance.

“There is a lad here who wants to see the commander of Winterfell.”

“What does he want? Can’t you or one of the other officers take care of him?” Jaime continued his reading, not really interested in hearing what the stranger wanted. The troops had attracted a steady stream of followers, men and boys eager to make their mark in the service of their queen and king.

“He insists he wants to talk with somebody from Winterfell. Says he knows someone from House Stark,” Artus explained patiently. He was a good lad and Jaime liked him. Knowing that he wouldn’t bother him if he didn’t think it truly necessary, he sighed and waved wearily.

“Bring him in then.” Must be someone from the Young Wolf’s troops, wanting to get back home.

The tent flap was pushed aside and a man stepped in. As Jaime glanced at him, he startled. Renly? Then he looked again and saw that the newcomer was younger and stockier. Still, his piercing blue eyes, black hair and his general demeanour certainly reminded him of the late Baratheon contender.

The youth stared at him defiantly, unlike most smallfolk. Jaime gathered his thoughts.

“You wanted to see me? I am Ser Jaime Lannister, the commander of the Northern Guard of Winterfell.”

“I know who you are, and I thank you kindly for seeing me, Ser. My name is Gendry Waters, and I would like to join your troops and follow you to Winterfell.”

Jaime looked at him sharply. “You could have sorted that matter with Artus, but he said you insisted on seeing me. And that you said you knew someone of House Stark. Was it the King in the North, Robb Stark?”

The man returned his stare steadily, then shifted his stance. Something cautious entered his features.

“No, haven’t met the Young Wolf. But I heard that the eldest of the young Stark ladies has returned to Winterfell. I wonder…” his eyes were searching but he seemed to hold himself in check. “…whether Lady Arya has returned as well, that’s all.”

Now Jaime was truly interested. How could a bastard from the Crownlands know Sansa’s feisty little sister?

“You expect me to believe that you have met Lady Arya?” He beckoned the youth to step forward.

“I did meet her, during the War of the Five Kings. We travelled together for a time, before she was stolen.”

Jaime actually had an easier time in believing him than he let on, having heard from Sandor how Arya had spent time in the company of Night’s Watch recruits, in Bolton-occupied Harrenhal and with the Brotherhood Without Banners. He wondered where in her adventures this fellow featured. And why was he here asking about her?

“Why do you want to know? What is it to you?” Jaime leaned back, piercing Gendry with his gaze. He didn’t flinch, though.

“Is she back, then?”

Jaime wasn’t stupid. Nothing but most unusual circumstances would make a man step out and reveal himself, whether he was a deserter Black Brother recruit, from the wrong side of the lost war or part of the notorious group of outlaws. He knew only one reason for such behaviour, and he tried hard to hide his smile.

“No, not Lady Arya, but only her older sister Lady Sansa has returned to the North.” He saw the disappointment in the other man’s eyes and momentarily felt sorry for him. He knew Arya had been but a child, but obviously she had made an impression. By now – if she was still alive – she would be the same age Sansa had been when betrothed to Joffrey.

“Is there any news of her then? She was stolen from the Brotherhood Without Banners by that vicious Lannister dog, the Hound, and I have feared for her ever since.”

Well well, he is certainly very protective – and possessive of her! Jaime wasn’t sure how much he should reveal before knowing more about this young man. Yet he was one more link to Sansa’s little sister, and he knew Sansa would want to talk to him and find out everything she could about Arya. He made his decision.

“Hear me, Gendry, and hear me well. We don’t know where Lady Arya is - yet. If you still want to join us and come to Winterfell, you may do that. Before that, however, we need to have a serious talk about you and your role in recent events. Understand that I will accept nothing but the truth from you and neither will Lady Sansa.”

The stare he received was almost unnerving. Wherever Gendry had been, he had learned to hold his ground. Nonetheless, there was no outright defiance in him but only the self-confidence of someone who knew who he was.

Jaime called for Artur, who had withdrawn discreetly but would be just outside, within shouting distance. True enough, soon he emerged.

“Artur, take Gendry with you and show him where to sleep. He is one of us now.”

Artur nodded, and Gendry stood up. Before leaving he turned to Jaime once more.

“I will tell you and Lady Sansa all you want to know. I may be a bastard but I am not without honour.”

As Jaime looked at his retreating back, he was left wondering once again about the power of emotions, those irrational troublesome feelings that could not be curbed. Why would they drive people to do foolish things, act irresponsibly and rashly? His own life had been driven by them, and he wasn’t proud of it.

Yet he knew he couldn’t have chosen another path. Not before, nor now. As he settled for the night, Jaime thought of all that had happened since he had ridden to King’s Landing: Tyrion’s forgiveness, the annulment of Sansa’s marriage, the acknowledgment of Jon as a Targaryen, his own royal pardon, the proposal for him to marry the Lady of Winterfell – and then something more.

----------

Since the evening at the Dragon Knight, Jaime had many times had an urge to go back and find the smith with soft lips. If he was not there, he could search every shop in the Street of Steel and surely find him. Yet he had resisted, for the same reasons he had not followed him that night.

As the date of their departure was determined and preparations were underway, Jaime’s thoughts returned to him more often than not. On his very last evening in the city he finally gave in and made his way to the inn. He made a pact with himself; if Meryn wasn’t there, that would be it; he wouldn’t try to find him. If he was there…well, he would see what would happen.

He was there, sitting in the same window seat Jaime had first seen him. As he noticed Jaime, his eyes locked on his, but only when Jaime walked straight towards him did a smile form on his broad, comely face.

His smithy was close-by, the room was clean, and it had a bed. Meryn needed no words to understand that it was Jaime’s first time, and he was slow, tender and just as gentle as Jaime remembered. There was only one moment of hesitation as Jaime removed his golden hand. At their previous meeting he had worn a glove over it and kept it mostly under the table.

Meryn’s eyes widened. “You are the Kingslayer?”

“Jaime, my name is Jaime,” he murmured, wondering if the revelation would change things between them. It didn’t, and after getting over his initial surprise, Meryn continued his soft attentions, removing Jaime’s clothes one after another in the flickering light of many candles. The experience was strange to Jaime. He was accustomed to being attended to by a squire, but their hands were swift and professional, sure and pragmatic, whereas Meryn’s hands lingered on his skin, brushed him in intimate places and took their time in undressing him. Every now and then he kissed Jaime at the nape of his neck, on his lips and at the hollow point between his collarbones, the intensity of his kisses increasing as Jaime’s clothes fell on the floor, one by one.

Recovering from his initial uneasiness, Jaime soon started to feel a different kind of tension. When he finally stood naked in front of the other man, his skin tingled and the hair on his arms stood up in premonition of a new and mysterious experience. Impatiently, Meryn tore away his own clothes and stepped closer. He was every bit as solid and muscled as Jaime had known him to be; shorter and stouter than Sandor, but emanating the masculinity, vigour and grace of someone whose profession requires both strength and skill.

Jaime’s cock stirred, blood rushing to his groin. He trembled in anticipation, and had he been his normal self, he would have laughed mockingly at himself; the Kingslayer quaking in front of a common smith!  Alas, he was consumed by a need that called for its release; being concerned about his dignity was the furthest thing from his mind.

For a moment he had a flashing recollection of another time, many, many years ago. He had been a young boy then and Cersei had descended on him with an alluring combination of the naivety of a young girl and maturity beyond her years. Jaime had soon realised what she had wanted and had been instantly aroused, but at the same time also both exhilarated and horrified of the prospect. Then, like now, he knew what was about to happen was abhorred by society – and then, like now, he didn’t care. All he had was this moment, this man, this opportunity.

He studied Meryn, seeing his eyes darken with desire and meeting Jaime’s unwaveringly, his naked body straining with the effort of controlling himself. Gradually Jaime felt some of his usual confidence returning, together with a sharp pang of lust and a burning ache to feel him. He extended his trembling fingers to touch Meryn’s broad shoulder, closing the distance between them.

It hurt, at first. Yet if Jaime had thought that being used as a woman would feel degrading, it had been anything but. On the contrary, he loved relinquishing control to someone else, to be held tightly and so utterly conquered and invaded. Meryn’s expert hands on his cock knew exactly what to do; how to make Jaime pant and grunt and eventually come more powerfully than ever before. Gods!

Afterwards they lay on the bed, Jaime’s back against Meryn’s chest while his large smith’s hands stroked Jaime’s sides. Jaime was dazed and sated and slightly melancholy, feeling filled and empty at the same time. The hollowness arose from the knowledge that he had to go, his contentment from finally having fulfilled his quest, the one he hadn’t fully admitted even to himself.

Meryn reached for Jaime’s stump and lifted it, pressing gentle kisses on it. Jaime shut his eyelids and sighed; the sight of his maimed hand still made most people shudder or look away awkwardly. He felt good lying there, but at the same time he knew he had to leave. Leave to go back to the North.

After Jaime had dressed he gave Meryn an arakh he had purchased from one of the Dothraki warriors. The armourer appraised it with a professional air, then turned to look at Jaime.

“You are leaving tomorrow? The whole city knows about the army marching to the North to fight the enemy beyond the Wall.”

Jaime admitted that to be true.

“You are not coming back,” Meryn’s eyes didn’t leave Jaime’s, but instead of being discomfited, Jaime met his gaze calmly.

“No, I suspect not.”

The smith rose from the bed and walked to Jaime, glorious in his nakedness, and kissed him softly on the lips.

“Goodbye, Jaime. Goodbye, Kingslayer. It has been an honour to have met you.”

“Same to you, Meryn the Smith. And… thank you.”

That night and his lover returned to Jaime’s mind repeatedly in the following days and weeks, but he didn’t regret it or him, or the fact that he had to depart. He was patient and possessed self-sufficiency that had helped him to endure long periods of separation from Cersei and physical affection. He had his needs, but he was not a slave to them. 

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