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the patience of ordinary things

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"So what do we do now?"

Brienne checks her watch. It's only about twenty seconds since she last checked it, except now Jaime has squeezed into the tiny bathroom with her, and her hands are starting to shake. "We just wait... like, three minutes or something."

"Well now I know you're freaking out, sweetling.

She keeps staring at the little plastic stick, nestled in a bed of toilet paper on the floor, carefully not touching anything. "What do you mean?"

From the corner of her eye, she sees him perch on the side of the small bath. "I mean, normally you'd be all, 'three minutes and seventeen seconds, precisely', and then I'd be asking you again every thirty seconds, just to take your mind off waiting."

"Oh," she says distractedly, and glances at the numbers ticking away on her watch. She couldn't for the life of her have said what they meant. "I think I lost track. I meant to put a timer on."

"Brienne," he says, and when she looks over at him, "Come here." He holds out a hand, and tugs her closer. There's really not room for two people their size to perch on the bath; there's barely space for them both to fit in the bloody bathroom together.

She thinks for a moment about how they've just left everyone else watching the game back in the lounge, and disappeared. Or, at least, she had disappeared and Jaime had followed her? She still hadn't asked him how he had known, but she's not even sure she has to.

He pulls her closer still, and she puts a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. Neither of them are particularly slight, and she has visions of the white plastic cracking under their combined weight. "I really don't think Sansa will be thrilled if we break her bath."

"It won't break," Jaime tells her, and she's exhausted, and more than a little bit scared shitless, truth be told, so she lets him draw her down sideways across his lap, half-waiting for the sound of the plastic splintering beneath them - mostly because she really, really needs to bury her face in the crook of his neck right now, and not look at the small, ticking time bomb on the bathroom floor.

"D'you know how much longer?" He says against her ear after a moment. She has a feeling he's trying not looking at the stick either.

Brienne turns her head to burrow even more against his shoulder, mumbles into the neck of his jumper. "Oh, fuck knows. Why don't these things come with timers built in? They bloody cost enough, they should just... beep or something."

She feels him huff something that feels like a laugh against her shoulder, although she's really not sure what there is to laugh about right now.

The rational part of her brain - the part that acknowledges she cannot, in fact, keep hiding by burying her face against Jaime's collar, in Sansa's bathroom, of all places - starts to kick in. She takes a deep breath, lifts her head so she can look at him. "What do we do if it—"

"If it—" She feels his arms tighten around her. "Well, we go home, so we're not hiding out in Sansa's wretched, minuscule bathroom, and we... take the rest of the tests in the box. In our own, much more reasonably sized, bathroom—"

"Jaime," she says, bringing her hand up to frame his face, and he stops talking; swallows hard. "If it is— Do you—?"

There are worse things, she thinks. She doesn't remember thinking that before, but now it's all she can think about. Worse things than recklessly upending their entire lives over something they've never even really talked about. She spent so long trying to outrun what was expected of her, before she met him, she honestly never thought—

He's looking at her, a little wide-eyed, she thinks; almost like he's trying not to smile. "If we I mean, if you—?" He takes a shaky breath, and she bites her lip at the look on his face. "You know, we are getting so far ahead of ourselves."

"I know," she says. "But—?"


They look at each other for a long moment, and they don't look anywhere near the small plastic stick on the floor.