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Brienne spends her Sunday bouncing between text conversations with Margaery and Jaime, which means she spends her Sunday triple checking which name is at the top of the conversation before she hits send while doing the stuff she neglected to do during the week. It’s not like she and Jaime are discussing anything of particular interest specifically, but Brienne has been very careful to continue to keep Margaery under the impression that she and Jaime have no plans to meet up while he is in King’s Landing.

What Brienne really means, of course, is that they have no further plans to meet up while he is in King’s Landing. But during the frantic conversation she and Margaery had the night before, Margaery had assumed that she and Jaime hadn’t already met up, and Brienne did nothing to correct that assumption.

Brienne has also left Margaery with the impression that the communication between herself and Jaime is limited. Almost non-existent. Nothing to write home about.

Brienne can tell Margaery is still annoyed she failed to mention that Jaime had her number. (“This isn’t over!” Margaery keeps texting. “You gave him your number and you WILL tell me how that happened one day.”) But all in all, it could be much worse.

*

Jaime flies back to Dorne the next day. He texts Brienne when he lands. It’s a few hours into her workday though, so their conversation is brief.

Later that evening they text like they have been for weeks, only this time, for the first time, Brienne spends exactly zero energy wondering what Jaime’s motives are.

*

Texting with Jaime is the same as it’s been, because they’re talking and checking in with each other and arguing about which movie they most want to erase from all of history and sending each other youtube videos of the worst activities they can find to playfully threaten to challenge the other to it and everything else.

But also it’s better, because Jaime knows she knows about the porn and his sister and the bet, and he knows that Brienne isn’t sure yet if that will be a dealbreaker.

And Brienne knows he likes her. He’s texting her because he wants to and he likes her. So he is.

It is like it was before, but so much better.

Brienne finds they text back and forth at least twice as often as they used to.

*

On the other hand, Margaery is treating Brienne with increasing suspicion. Even when Margaery is texting her about anything else, Brienne can’t help but assume that she is just biding her time, waiting to mount her next attack for information she feels Brienne is withholding.

Brienne would feel bad about it, but so far she has been right every single time. Margaery isn’t going to let this drop. She didn’t let it drop when all she knew was that Brienne had beaten Jaime at a stupid made-up sport; she certainly isn’t going to let it drop now that she knows that a) Brienne had sex with him and b) she is still in some small degree of contact with him (as far as Margaery knows).

And without fail, the picture Margaery sends of the puppy her brother recently adopted is followed up by a carefully worded enquiry about Brienne’s weekend plans.

Brienne answers honestly. She’s got nothing of note on this weekend, save a meet up with a work friend on Sunday afternoon.

(Jaime is in Dorne this weekend. Brienne doesn’t tell Margaery that. As far as Margaery knows, Brienne doesn’t know where Jaime is at all.)

*

Would she date a man who used to do incest porn?

This is what Brienne finds herself asking herself over and over and over. Every day. Multiple times a day.

Would she date a man who used to do incest porn?

This is not a hypothetical question. Brienne has to decide if Jaime’s history of incest porn is a dealbreaker for her. Margaery would have no shortage of opinions on the matter but Brienne doesn’t want them.

Brienne knows she’s the only one who can make this decision, but so far she doesn’t know.

*

It isn’t long before Jaime is in the city again for a few days. This time it’s in the middle of the week and she has to work but she invites him over to her apartment for dinner on Wednesday.

Brienne hopes no one recognizes him in the elevator when she buzzes him up.

*

When she opens the door he steps inside and hands her a box.

“A Super Nintendo Classic?” she asks.

“Yeah,” he says. “It’s a hacked one.”

“Okay,” Brienne says, looking down at the box and then back at him, feeling like she’s missing something.

“It has Mortal Kombat on it,” Jaime explains.

Then Brienne grins.

There had been more than a few Mortal Kombat jokes exchanged between them while they were out on the water trying to balance on their paddleboards while wailing on each other with the big foam-covered sticks, and there had been many more since. Just about every time one of them sends photographic evidence of some particularly ridiculous activity, the other responds to the challenge accordingly.

Brienne’s trying to remember what stupid activity had been suggested the last time one of them invoked Mortal Kombat. Frisbee golf maybe? Or lawn bowling?

Whatever it was, it wasn’t actual Mortal Kombat.

She’s not sad he brought it though.

She’s not sad about it at all.

*

Once they get the thing hooked up it becomes clear that the wires on the controllers are impractically short. They have to sit side by side on the coffee table to reach so suddenly they are two not-small people sitting on a not-large coffee table.

Plus, it turns out they both suck at Mortal Kombat.

But they laugh a lot.

A lot a lot.

Almost as much as they laughed out on their paddleboards.

Then they switch to rotating through the bountiful assortment of games and the level of friendly sabotage between the two of them escalates until she nearly shoves Jaime off the coffee table. She has to grab him to keep him from actually falling over and then they’re laughing harder and then there’s a moment where she’s pretty sure they’re both thinking about the last time she knocked him over and where that led not long after.

*

When they eventually turn off the console after discovering that they are apparently terrible at every video game ever made, Jaime is not remotely bitter that he was more terrible than her at most of them. He’s grinning at her as they migrate to opposite sides of the couch and he makes a joke about it being for safety reasons. There’s no bitterness in his tone whatsoever.

She likes that about him. She liked that about him from the beginning. From their first wobbly bout on those paddleboards, the challenge between them was always friendly even when they were taking it too seriously in the moment and as soon as the competition was over it was just over. Jaime doesn’t hold grudges or gloat or demand a rematch or sulk about it. Win or lose, he always just looks like he had a great time and he’s already looking forward to getting to do it again.

Gods, she likes that about him a lot.

*

Jaime stays until almost midnight and then texts her when he gets back to his hotel to say goodnight.

*

Brienne once again finds herself mulling things over as she tidies up her apartment the following morning before heading to work.

She knows the incest porn thing is more than enough to be a valid dealbreaker. Exactly no one would judge her for that being the case, including Jaime. It’s obvious he’s still waiting for her to say that it’s not something she wants to get involved with.

And he won’t hold it against her. If she texted him now and told him it was a dealbreaker he would understand completely. He would be kind and generous and thank her for being honest with him. Fuck, he would thank her for being thoughtful enough to take the time to fully consider it.

And all of that? That makes the incest porn less of a dealbreaker. Because he’s not assuming she’ll be okay with it, with him, with anything.

Brienne sighs and puts the controllers beside the tiny Nintendo under her TV.

*

“Who are you texting?”

Brienne looks up. It’s Tuesday and she’d been alone in the break room after a particularly rowdy tour with a group of third graders when she’d started texting him. She hadn’t noticed her supervisor had joined her. “Just a friend. Why?”

“You’ve been grinning at your phone for five minutes straight,” Catelyn replies.

Jaime had dragged up pictures of “extreme ironing” and had been sending them to her at regular intervals, trying to convince her this should be something they try. Brienne was pointing out that surely they could find something slightly less stupid to be competitive about that didn’t involve scaling a mountain or jumping off a cliff with a tiny ironing board and iron.

*

Later that night Brienne finds herself circling the familiar paths once again.

Hyle orchestrated the bet on her. That was a Dealbreaker. That was devastating in ways she still talks about with the therapist she checks in with from time to time. (She’s probably overdue for a conversation with her, come to think of it.) But that was a dealbreaker and she knew right away. As soon as she found out, it was over. She couldn’t even look at Hyle and consider moving that relationship in any direction that wasn’t her getting as far away from him as possible.

And when she found out about Jaime’s history… well. She went home that first night and looked up enough to confirm what Margaery told her was true, but when Jaime texted her, she texted him back.

And she keeps texting him back…

*

Tormund was a different story, and a much less dramatic one. He liked her a lot more than she liked him and when she finally agreed to go out with him she found that he definitely liked her a lot more than she liked him.

And that was that. She didn’t like him all that much. So she didn’t go out with him again.

Dealbreaker feels like the wrong term to apply to that situation but Brienne supposes that is what it was.

She didn’t like Tormund enough to date him. That was the dealbreaker.

Brienne still likes Jaime.

Brienne still likes Jaime a lot.

*

But then Brienne tries to think about what it could actually be like. To date Jaime. To actually date Jaime. To be in a relationship with Jaime. And every time she lets herself think about it she falters because he’s famous. Infamous really. And people will find out.

Hells, just Margaery finding out would be more than Brienne is ready to handle right now.

Is that the dealbreaker? That she isn’t ready to handle the storm that comes with him?

Brienne doesn’t know.

Not yet.

*

Brienne wakes up to a text from Margaery. It’s a screenshot of the title of the latest video uploaded to onesoultwobodies.com.

Rationally, she knows those eight words in that order should be a dealbreaker.

*

It’s another two weekends before Jaime is back in town. He doesn’t make a point to explain why he’s in the city. He has another therapy session Friday afternoon, but beyond that it’s very clear he’s coming because he wants to see her.

“Your upstairs neighbour is a fan,” Jaime says as he steps into her apartment and closes the door behind him.

“He must be a big fan,” Brienne agrees. “He can’t even look me in the eyes anymore.”

“Sorry about that.”

“Don’t be,” Brienne says. That particular upstairs neighbour was never her favourite person to run into around the building. Him avoiding her as much as possible is a great side effect of Jaime visiting once in a while.

*

“Does it bother you?” Brienne asks once they are settled in her apartment. Jaime has brought coffee and muffins and he places them on the table. “The elevator guy?”

“No.” He looks over at her. “Does it bother you?”

She thinks about it.

“It doesn’t bother me exactly,” she says. “But I do notice when someone is looking at you like…”

“Like they’ve seen me do unspeakable things?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he says. “You don’t have to be sorry. And you don’t have to be okay with it. With any of it.”

“I know I don’t,” she says. “It’s just… weird. To know why someone is looking at you like that.”

He nods once as he gestures for her to pick a muffin first, “It takes some getting used to.”

She takes the chocolate chip muffin. “Are you used to it?”

“Yes,” he says. When she doesn’t reply for a while he keeps talking. “The ones who are embarrassed to know who I am just want to be ignored, and the ones that have something to say about it lack originality. I haven’t heard new material from anyone in years.”

“People hate you,” Brienne says. It feels like a simple way to say it, but it’s true. People hate him. People who don’t know him hate him. She doesn’t know how he deals with that.

“At least they hate me for something that’s true. Was true,” Jaime amends before his expression shifts. “It will always be true. Even if it’s not true anymore. I will always be the guy in those videos.”

“I guess I just can’t imagine any of that part of my life being public,” Brienne says. “That’s all.”

“It’s not all public,” Jaime says.

She knows he’s right. Part of his relationship with Cersei is so public and well-documented that he’s recognized on the street for it, but the rest of it… It’s not all public. He’s mentioned the lawyers he’s meeting with more often to prepare for the divorce a few times now. Even the fact that they got married isn’t public, though Margaery is still keeping her posted on the internet’s obsession with finding out.

“I don’t want you to feel like you have to tell me anything,” Brienne says, hoping this makes sense. “But I don’t want you to feel like you can’t.”

Jaime nods and then takes a sip of his coffee.

*

If Jaime was still making incest porn that would certainly be a dealbreaker.

If Jaime was still with Cersei that would be a dealbreaker.

But he’s not.

Right now he’s here in her apartment.

And when he’s not here, he’s not with Cersei.

He has an apartment in Dorne. He has therapy appointments. He’s looking into programs that start in the fall. He goes grocery shopping and does his laundry and he goes for a run most mornings. He does any number of normal things that aren’t fucking his sister on camera and then uploading the videos to the internet.

But he did spend ten years doing that.

Brienne is painfully aware that Jaime spent ten years doing that.

*

It’s late and Jaime is about to go back to his hotel. He’s not sure when he will be back in the city, but he assures her it will be soon. His shoes are on but neither of them are rushing to open the door and send him on his way.

He looks especially beautiful in the soft light that bleeds from the other room and she wants to kiss him.

He’s looking at her like he knows and he’s right there with her and he smiles at her and then all she can see is the look on his face when he looked at Cersei. The sound he made when he came. The way Cersei called him the other half of her soul. The way thousands and thousands of people have watched that happen…

Brienne included.

Fuck.

Maybe that’s the dealbreaker.

She wishes him a good night as she opens the door for him, unable to hold his gaze any longer.

*

The memory of the afternoon they spent together in Dorne has been boxed up in her memories. Brienne tries not to touch it. She fails sometimes, hating that she finds herself gravitating towards it late at night as she’s chasing an orgasm that will let her fall asleep. She hates that she remembers their time together most vividly right before she comes.

What she hates even more is that she’s not sure if the little groan she remembers him making right before he came is something she remembers from that afternoon or something she later watched.

That alone could be the dealbreaker.

*

Margaery has been over at her place for over an hour and she hasn’t mentioned Jaime once. This must be a new record. Brienne should give her a ribbon. But then Brienne reaches for her phone but it’s not where she left it. She reaches around where she’s sitting for about ten seconds before she turns to Margaery.

Brienne rolls her eyes and holds out her hand. “Give it back.”

“Give what back?” Margaery replies in what would be a very convincing projection of innocence and polite curiosity if Brienne didn’t know better.

“My phone.” Brienne has been waiting for Margaery to try this. She’s almost disappointed Margaery’s best effort is so pathetic.

Margaery sighs and holds it out for Brienne to take, “Someone texted you. But you have the option to hide names and contents enabled, so I didn’t even get to see that.”

Brienne makes no effort to not look smug about this.

*

She does check the message. It’s from her dad. She tells Margaery this, just to make sure she knows there is nothing to be gained from trying to look at her phone.

(She doesn’t mention the messages from Jaime. She’ll reply to those when Margaery is anywhere else.)

*

Jaime is over again. Brienne is aware of how much she finds herself looking forward to this when she knows he will be in the city over a weekend. They’re in her apartment sharing another meal they ordered in. They don’t talk about why she keeps inviting him over. They don’t talk about why they order food in instead of going out. They both know why.

*

Jaime fucked his sister.

Dealbreaker.

That should be the dealbreaker.

There doesn’t need to be anything else.

(So far it isn’t doesn’t seem to be a dealbreaker...)

*

Jaime had said he was going to be coming to see his therapist who was based in King’s Landing every other week going forward, but he seems to be aiming for every week, because Brienne wakes up to a message from him saying that he’ll be in the city the following weekend. His appointment is Friday afternoon as usual, but he’ll be around until Sunday.

She texts him back: I have plans Friday night, but otherwise I’m free.

Fun plans at least? he replies. She had spent a considerable amount of time lamenting a particularly awful event she had been dragged to the week before to him, so she can’t fault the question.

Movie night at a friend's place, she answers.

What kind of movie night?

The kind where we watch a movie that got a theatrical run. Then Brienne adds, My friend promised we wouldn’t watch anything you star in this time.

That’s kind of her.

Brienne grins because she can hear exactly how Jaime would say that before he replies, She’s been suspiciously nice to me since she saw a picture of you in King’s Landing. In-between interrogating me about you of course.

What did you tell her?

Not much. She’s very annoyed about it too. Just you wait, when I show up at her place on Friday she’ll have laid out a 14 step plan to get me to talk.

About what? he replies.

You

Am I that interesting?

Brienne snorts before she texts her reply: In a word? Yes. Trust me. If she knew any more than she currently does she would stake out my apartment. She would follow me around. She would become a world-class hacker just to read our messages. I love her a lot, but she’s definitely capable of ruining my life over less. And yours probably.

Then she adds a few emojis to convey that she’s not actually concerned that Margaery is going to burn the world to the ground in her quest for details.

Jaime replies with a laughing emoji and wishes her good luck with that.

*

Friday night rolls around and Brienne is on her way to Margaery’s when she gets a text from Jaime that just says Have fun(?) at movie night!

Shut up.

*

Sansa, Myranda, and Margaery are already there when Brienne arrives. They greet her with warm familiarity that feels sincere enough that Brienne is about 94% certain Margaery has not ‘accidentally’ let it slip that Brienne’s interactions with Jaime were far more than Brienne let them believe. Then Sansa smiles at her and Brienne’s certainty level goes down to about 71% because Myranda couldn’t pokerface her way through this if she knew Brienne had fucked the man she’d watched fuck his sister, but Sansa probably could.

Brienne sighs and takes a seat on the couch with Margaery and hopes for the best.

*

Brienne is happy to let the conversation flow mostly around her for the next hour or so. Sansa’s new job is both stressful and interesting and Myranda has enough dramatic dating stories to keep them all entertained. There’s a slight gap in conversation where Myranda has relinquished the floor and asked if anyone has any notable hookup stories to add.

Brienne is certain Margaery is going to say something vague or cryptically pointed in her direction, but she doesn’t.

Then Sansa asks what movie they want to watch and the topic of notable hookups fades without anyone putting up a fight to keep it going.

*

The movie that ends up getting chosen is not good. It is, in fact, quite bad, and Brienne, unfortunately knows this before the movie starts because she and Jaime had watched it together a few days ago. They had spent most of the runtime texting each other in increasing confusion and anger that the movie dared to be as awful as it was.

The problem is that the movie popped up on Netflix so recently that Brienne doesn’t want to mention she’s already seen it. She is not known for being particularly urgent about her movie watching habits so if she says she’s already seen it, everyone will ask why. And she doesn’t want to give Margaery any ammunition to question her about anything.

Tonight Margaery has been on her best behaviour so far, and Brienne would like that to continue for as long as possible.

*

Here’s the thing:

The movie is TERRIBLE.

It was terrible the first time. It is worse the second time. It’s been on less than ten minutes when she pulls out her phone and texts Jaime, You will not fucking believe what movie they picked.

*

Jaime is beside himself, texting back immediately to laugh at her pain and then ask which part she’s at.

*

By twenty minutes into the movie Brienne is texting Jaime at a near-constant rate.

I hate you so much right now.
I hate everyone who is not currently watching this movie.
I hate myself. I hate everything.

You could always suggest they switch back to porn? Jaime replies.

Shut up.

But Brienne is smiling. She wonders if it’s weird that she and Jaime are at a place where they can joke about her and her friends watching porn of him fucking his sister, but here they are. But then the movie introduces the talking dog and Brienne has other things to worry about as she angrily texts Jaime about the stupid dog that she’s going to have to listen to for the next hour and a half.

*

If Brienne was paying more attention to the people in the room she would have noticed that Myranda, Sansa, and Margaery only manage to hang in there for slightly longer than she and Jaime lasted before they realize how terrible the movie is and their attention starts to drift.

But Brienne is too busy texting with Jaime to notice the warning signs.

*

“Brienne!”

“What?”

“Are you texting with him right now?!” Margaery demands.

“Who?” Myranda asks.

Brienne switches to her email and then replies, “No.”

“Who?” Sansa asks.

“No one,” Brienne says. Her phone is face down on her thigh. She is determined not to pick it up until Margaery has stopped looking at her like that.

*

Brienne shifts more snuggly into the corner of the couch and checks to make sure that the window behind her isn’t picking up any reflections before she resumes texting Jaime.

He’s asked if the terrible movie has killed her.

Fuck off. She replies.

*

Jaime asks if he should put on the movie and watch it again in solidarity. Brienne points out that if he is serious about it he would have asked that an hour ago, not when the movie is almost over.

*

When the credits finally roll Brienne lingers just long enough to listen to most of the post-movie debrief, but not long enough for Margaery to ask her any of the questions Brienne can sense lying in wait.

*

She texts back and forth with Jaime as she walks home and ignores the message Margaery sends that Brienne knows is bait.

*

Brienne manages to sleep in later then she usually does the next day. Sunlight is already streaming in through the window she rolls over and checks the time. She blames being over at Margaery’s, but she knows the fact that she texted with Jaime for over an hour after she got home is also a factor.

When Jaime texts her to ask if him coming over at two as they planned is still okay, she texts back and suggests they meet at the park instead.

It’s too nice a day to spend it all indoors.

*

When Brienne arrives at the park Jaime waves her over to where he stands under the shade of a tree on the grassy hill. He’s wearing a blue baseball hat that does not suit him and sunglasses she’s never seen him wear.

*

There are some fancy food trucks parked on the northern side of the park so they head in that direction first before wandering back to the big hill. They are far from the only people enjoying the warm day, but it is easy enough to find a section of grass to sit on far enough away from other people to afford them at least relative privacy.

He asks about her work and she regales him with a story from a particularly disastrous tour she gave several days before. He seems to enjoy it, laughing in all the right places, asking if all of her tours end up like that. She assures him that at least some of her tours run more smoothly.

She still does not quite know how to return these sorts of questions to him. The only job of his she knows about is not one she is keen to discuss out here in the park. And in any case, he is not… he is not doing that any more. And she’s not even sure how he thought of it at the time. Or how he thinks of it now. She still doesn’t know if ‘job’ is even part of how he categorizes that part of that relationship.

There is a lot Brienne doesn’t know about that relationship, but she’s working to be okay with not knowing. She’s barely mentioned Hyle or Tormund to Jaime. Granted, neither of those were anywhere near as serious or as public or as taboo as what Jaime and his sister were.

She still… She still struggles with it sometimes. That Jaime, the Jaime sitting beside her in the shade of this tree eating his crepe, is the Jaime that is world famous for twincest porn. She still feels what she considers is an appropriate amount of disgust towards the fact that the only other person he has ever had sex with is his sister. There are still times she feels like that should be enough to make her not like him anymore.

The thing is, she still likes him, as least as much as she likes the Jaime she spent part of an afternoon battling for paddleboard jousting bragging rights and the other part of an afternoon fucking. The Jaime she met on vacation is still the Jaime she gets to talk to every day.

“That hat is terrible,” she says, unable to contain it anymore.

“You think so?” he asks lightly. “You should have seen the other options in the gift shop.”

“Why were you buying a hat from a gift shop to begin with?” she replies before she realizes that she knows exactly why he hastily bought a hideous baseball hat before coming to meet her in the park. “Never mind.”

She can’t see his eyes because he’s still wearing the sunglasses as well as the stupid hat but she wishes she could.

*

They’ve been in the park for hours and she wants to tell him he can take the ridiculous hat off. That if she really had a problem with him she would have said so by now, stopped talking to him by now, stopped wanting to see him. She knew… she knew when she invited him to the park there might be people around.

And she wants to kiss him.

She still doesn’t know if his history is the dealbreaker it maybe should be, but she knows she wants to kiss him.

She won’t though. Not here in the park. Not yet.

But she wants to.

*

This would be a thoroughly enjoyable date, except for the fact that neither of them are calling it that. Brienne knows the only reason they aren’t calling it that is because she doesn’t know if she wants to date Jaime.

But whatever exactly today is, it is thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s enjoyable enough that once they’ve had their fill of the park they walk back to her place because they aren’t ready to say goodbye yet and hanging out in her apartment feels much lower stakes than going back to his hotel room together.

*

They meet up again the next day. It looks like it’s going to rain so this time Jaime comes over to her place as he usually does. He arrives five minutes after the rain starts, looking like a drowned rat and she laughs and offers to find him something dry to wear.

*

Jaime may have fucked his sister and she may have watched it and maybe that’s a dealbreaker but right now he’s sitting on her couch and he’s wearing her clothes and Brienne really really wants to kiss him.

(She wants to do a lot more than kiss him.)

*

Each message she receives from Margaery over the course of the week comes with a surge of adrenaline Brienne is not ready for. Until she opens the message, each one is potentially Margaery throwing proof that she and Jaime were in a park together over the weekend. There were people there. More people than she and Jaime have ever been around. Someone could easily have recognized him. She’s waiting for the beginning of the end…

But Margaery just texts her about normal non-incest porn star things.

*

The next time Jaime texts saying he will be in the city she suggests they meet up at her place.

*

“Can I talk to you about something?” Jaime asks once they are back in her apartment the following Friday afternoon.

“Of course,” Brienne says as she sets her shoes aside and turns to look at him.

She’s waiting for him to take his shoes off and follow her into the apartment so they can sit on the couch and talk about whatever it is, but he is making no move to do so. He’s just standing there by the door with his shoes still on.

“Okay,” he says. “Okay.”

Then he hesitates for long enough for Brienne to wonder if it is okay at all before he starts to speak.

“I can be your friend however you want. We can meet up here or wherever you want and stay out of most public places if that makes you more comfortable. We can go back to not seeing each other in person and just texting once and a while. We can stop talking altogether if that’s what you decide you want. But if… if you ever decide that you want to be with me, I don’t want to have to hide. And I don’t mean I want it to be public the way Cersei and I became public or anything.” He takes a breath. “But I can’t be in another relationship that has to be a secret.”

“Okay.” Brienne nods, not quite knowing what to say to him. “That makes sense.” She doesn’t know everything, but she’s gathered enough from the things Jaime has said that he and Cersei were some degree of together long before they released their first video. Brienne watches him for a moment as he shifts back and forth where he stands.

“It’s just… sometimes it seems like… or maybe I just hope it seems like maybe you want to kiss me,” he says. “And that’s great and I want you to but I just… I can’t be in a relationship that I have to hide.”

“Jaime—”

“I’ve never done this before,” he adds quietly. “Sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” she says, the tone of his voice is a lot, and the look on his face even more so. Fuck, he doesn’t have to apologize for having needs and boundaries. Fucking hells.

Jaime nods once, like he doesn’t believe her. His shoes are still on. He’s barely stepped off the doormat. He’s waiting for her to tell him to leave.

“I would never ask you to keep it a secret,” Brienne says, wondering when she became the one of them with a potential secret to keep. “If we… If we ever… Okay. Part of why I haven’t… I want to kiss you. Sometimes I really want to kiss you but I don’t because it wouldn’t be fair to you. Because I still don’t know if—”

“It’s okay,” he says quickly. “I understand. I do.”

“I want to be ready,” Brienne says, hoping she’s making sense. “So I won’t… I won’t kiss you unless I’m sure.”

“Brienne, it’s okay. I know this whole situation is… complicated.”

She nods. It is complicated. She wishes it wasn’t, but it is.

“Thank you for telling me,” Brienne says. “Any other boundaries I should know about?”

“If we ever have sex again,” Jaime says. “I don’t want to film it and put it on the internet.”

*

Brienne is just getting home from work on Monday when Margaery sends her a picture of Jaime in the King’s Landing International Airport and a long string of the eyes emoji.

Brienne chooses not to reply.

That picture could have been taken at any time, and she’s determined not to give Margaery the satisfaction of getting a reaction from her.

Brienne certainly won’t be pointing out that she knows it’s from the weekend before last because Jaime is wearing her shirt in the picture.

*

It’s just a shirt. An old blue flannel shirt that Brienne doesn’t even wear that often. And when she does wear it, she wears it around the house, not when she’s with Margaery. It’s a generic men’s shirt. Hundreds of thousands of people must have a shirt that looks just like it. It is a thoroughly unremarkable, unrecognizable shirt.

There is no way Margaery recognizes it. There’s no way.

And even if, by some chance, Margaery does recognize the shirt as one Brienne has, there’s no way she could logically conclude that Jaime couldn’t also have the same shirt. It’s a thoroughly unremarkable, unrecognizable shirt.

It will be fine.

(Brienne refuses to let herself lose sleep over it because of how fine it will be.)