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The North…

This wretched land does not leave her mind. It’s the last thing that keeps her from being a Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

But they won’t last for long, Cersei knows that and the best thing is that they also do. 

*

 

Euron’s presence is more and more aggravating. As much as he was useful to have at her side, now, when the war is practically won, he becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

Cersei sighs. She will have to deal with him soon.

But now she grinds her teeth just from the thought of having him in her bed tonight. 

*

 

The coming news report that everything goes according to plan and Cersei, however pleased, cannot prevent herself from feeling almost disappointed. This was easier than she’d thought. Obviously, they are not a match for her.

Just like this dragon bitch who had taught herself invincible with those beasts at her side. And how did they help her? Your beasts are worthless if you turn out to be too stupid to live.

Pity, Cersei muses drinking her wine. But they were asking to be obliterated. Who in his right mind would come defenceless under the city walls and demand surrender? If it was the Imp’s plan then he would definitely win the title of the stupidest Lannister. If he was a true Lannister, of course.

*

 

The raven comes. Winterfell has fallen. There was no resistance and no loss. They had help from inside. Jaime finally came back to his senses. Good.

*

 

The thought of Jaime makes her uneasy. He betrayed her, rode North and somehow managed to survive.

At first, Cersei raged at his disobedience. How dared he to join their enemies? And for what? A stupid promise? Once he promised to never leave her side but apparently, this one has never meant much to him.

It was another betrayal, something Cersei couldn't forgive. Yet she was glad she didn’t send this sellsword after her traitorous brothers.

She knew that eventually, they would come back by themselves. It was much more satisfying to be there and watch the Imp’s so well-deserved death. 

As for Jaime… When he returns to her, she will have a plan to make him useful again.

*

 

Cersei wakes up in a far better mood than in recent weeks. Finally, Euron has left Kings Landing to deal with his rebellious niece. Good, let them fight each other.

Soon Euron will be dead. She and Qyburn made sure of that. Cersei would never put all hopes in some Ironborn bitch. If you need something to be done, you do it yourself. Cersei has learned this lesson long ago. 

It was her who prevented Jaime’s separation from her side.

It was her who got rid of Robert when he became a serious threat to her and her children.

It was her who in one decisive move removed all those fools who dared to think they had the right to put her on trial.

It was her who finally became a Queen.

*

 

It takes her army much longer to return to King's Landing and deliver the captured traitors. Are they deliberately taking time to plot against her on the way?

No, she dismisses the thought. Golden Company is loyal to the gold she pays them. As the Lannister men are loyal to her, the last true Lannister. 

*

 

Finally, the day comes. Cersei is sitting on her throne when the last, most awaited prisoners are brought to her.

Little dove.

A great cow of her sworn sword.

And her foolish twin, though he hardly looks like the beautiful golden man she used to love. 

Unlike the women, Jaime is not tied but he ends up on his knees all the same. It doesn’t escape Cersei’s attention how the beast flinches away from him as his hand accidentally brushes against her. Interesting, the cow had no problems to reach for Jaime with her grubby hands before. 

Cersei will investigate this later. There are more pressing matters now.

She scans the prisoners. None of them looks at her, their heads dropped down. 

“Brother, welcome home,” she says after moments of heavy silence. “However, I did not expect to see you in one line with traitors.”

“As I didn’t expect that my service to the crown will be considered a treason.”

“We have got the word about your contribution in the defeat of northern rebels. And the crown will see you rewarded accordingly for your service.”

“Service to the Crown is my greatest reward,” he says but Cersei knows he doesn’t mean any of it.

*

 

The women are thrown to the dungeons as well as the other prisoners from the North. Some time alone and an occasional visit from the Mountain will make them more agreeable. And maybe it will help some of them to make the right decision. Because Cersei doesn’t plan to execute all of them. Such miserable cowards like Tarly are not even worth the effort of the executioner. 

But not the little dove and her cow. 

Their fate has been sealed a long time ago. Jaime can say whatever he wants about the old Tyrell and her supposed confession but Cersei knows better. She will never let go of her son’s murderer and her accomplice.

*

 

Cersei runs her fingers through her golden hair. Her locks are not as long and beautiful as they were before but they are not those short awful strands she hated so much.

At least I’m still golden. Not like her stupid brothers who lost their colours together with brains.  

She will need to see Jaime soon. 

But not today.

Let him wait. Let him come around. Let him ask for her.

*

 

Jaime doesn’t ask for her. As much as she is annoyed by his stubbornness, Cersei realises that she doesn’t have as much time as she’d like to have. 

*

 

Finally, Bernadette comes to report everything their people got from the northerner prisoners. Cersei tries to look indifferent and composed but there is just one burning thought that consumes her insides.

“Send for Qyburn,” are the only words she manages to say.

*

 

Qyburn comes immediately. 

“Tell me everything you know about my brother and the beast.”

“Do you mean lady Brienne of Tarth?”

Yes,” Cersei hisses through gritted teeth.

And Qyburn speaks. About Jaime saving her from rape, about him losing hand, about a shared bath and the bear pit.

Every word makes Cersei's blood boil. 

She has always known the woman fancied herself in love with her brother. One look at this pathetic creature was enough to tell that.

But Jaime? It feels impossible that he would even spare a glance at such a monster and yet...

According to Qyburn, from the very beginning, there was something more. 

After the Dragon Pit Cersei has wondered for a while.

Of course, she noticed the looks that passed there between them. And Jaime’s sword on the beast's hip.

And the familiarity with which beast grabbed Jaime’s arm. 

She has wondered but in the end, she dismissed such a ridiculous possibility. Jaime might have had a weak spot for ugly monsters but he would never… 

But now it doesn’t seem so preposterous. Now Cersei remembers.

The beast told him to fuck loyalty.

And he did.

How could he abandon me for such a creature?

*

 

Cersei is calm and composed when she enters the chamber serving for his cell. 

“My Queen and her personal bodyguard,” Jaime sarcastically raises one brow at the Mountain's presence behind her back. “What an honour that your Grace finally remembered  about her prisoner.”

“It seems that time alone is doing you good, dear brother,” she smiles at him. Finally, he looks more like himself, with cut hair, shaved face and fine crimson shirt on his shoulders.

“I do my best with your generous reward.”

“So now you call your treason a service, quite convenient for you.”

“I helped you to get control over the last opposing kingdom and brought your enemies here. Am I considered a traitor for this?”

Cersei stops herself from rolling her eyes. Does he think her stupid?

“Maybe a treasonous coward at best,” she says, closely watching his face. “You defied my orders and joined our enemy. This alone should be enough to put your head on a spike. You stayed with them when they appeared to be a winning side, but when I crushed them, you changed the sides again. What should I make of it? How can I trust you after that, dear brother?”

“Think whatever you like. They would take my head on a spot if they didn’t think there was a conflict between us. In truth, I have never left your side. Winterfell should be sufficient proof.”

Blatant lie, Cersei hides this thought under another smile. 

“So, dear brother, as much as your service is appreciated, I don’t recall it to require giving your sword to the ugly cow.”

The meaning is clear and Jaime visibly flinches at that. 

“Do you deny it?”

Cersei looks straight into his eyes. She has always known how to read them. He can’t hide anything from her.

“I do not,” Jaime doesn’t lower his gaze.

At least he’d have the decency to look ashamed.

“I would have never thought you’d fall so low.”

“Don’t be so surprised, sweet sister.” A cutting smile appears on his face. “Aren’t we the same? You whore to get a fleet and I whore to get North.”

The sound of a slap that fills the room is followed by his chuckle.

“Gentle as always, sweet sister. Did Euron also appreciate your tenderness?”

She slaps him again. How dares he? He has no idea how hard it was to endure that obnoxious pirate. He can’t know what relief it was to finally find out that Qyburn’s poison has worked and Euron will never be her concern again.

Still fuming Cersei turns to the table to pour herself a glass of wine. She almost forgot how infuriating and annoying Jaime could be.

“Don’t get upset, sweet sister. I was merely joking. It gets lonely here without company.”

“Shall I arrange a cell with your beast?”

He scoffs at that.

“What for? You already got the North. There is no more use for her.” 

That’s where you’re mistaken, dear brother. 

When Cersei faces him again, there is a blank indifferent expression on his face that almost makes her believe his words. But after everything she has learnt from Qyburn, words are not enough. They are just words, they are never enough. And she needs to be sure where his loyalties really lie.

Cersei makes a step toward him.

“Did you not enjoy those big cow eyes looking at you with utmost admiration?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t really seen anything in the darkness.”

He swallows hard when she puts her hand on his chest. Cersei feels every beat of his racing heart.

“Did you think about me?” she asks as her hand travels down his body.

“Only you.”

Cersei smiles at that. Of course he had to. The beast wouldn’t even get him hard.

“What are you doing, Cersei?” he says in a strangely strained voice when she starts unlacing his breeches.

Testing your loyalty.

“I am happy you are finally here. I was worried for you. And I missed you,” she whispers into his ear between light kisses.

Jaime grabs her hand.

“No,” he hisses as she bites his neck. “Not with that monstrosity in the room.”

It takes Cersei a few seconds to understand what Jaime is referring to. 

“He stays. He doesn’t care.” 

“You do not trust me?”

“I want to. Show me that I can. Prove that you are mine and only mine.”

She kisses him hard, pressing her body to his.

“Cersei… no…” he breathes out when she leaves his lip to travel down his neck.

He failed, she thinks ignoring his words as well as his hand pushing her away. But he still has something I need.

Cersei turns her eyes to the Mountain and then gives Jaime a meaningful look. 

“Are you here to defy your Queen, dear brother?”

*

 

Later Cersei stays at her balcony with a glass of wine.

She is satisfied the way she wasn’t with Euron. With nobody, to be honest. Only Jaime can make her feel that good. Just a mere thought of him being totally under her control makes her wet and aroused.

But he is getting older. It took her twice as long to get him hard and even longer to get him to spill inside her. Usually, she had the opposite problem. In the past, it took her some time to teach him not to be overenthusiastic. 

 But today Jaime wasn’t even close when she finished. She had to ride him further to get what she wanted. Did the beast break him also in this way? The sudden image of this stupid cow watching them at this moment sent Cersei spiralling again and that time she managed to take Jaime with her. 

 

She visits him every night with a Mountain guarding her back. 

Jaime does everything she demands from him.

Every night she falls asleep with his seed inside her, hoping it would quicken in her womb.

*

 

After a week Cersei finally agrees to grant Jaime freedom of wandering around the castle. 

Better to keep him thinking that he has his freedom and her trust. But every one of his steps is closely watched and everything he does and says is immediately reported to her. She won’t have him doing something stupid again.

*

 

Cersei visits dungeons one day. 

Little dove keeps her head high, staring her directly into the eyes and stubbornly refusing to utter a word. Every day Cersei must fight the impulse to put her head on spike. But it is too soon, this one time Jaime has a right of it. This time little dove won’t escape from her hands and Cersei may enjoy her second visit to King’s Landing much more than the first.  

“You may think of how strong you are. But soon I will have you begging for a quick death.”

No response comes. 

*

 

The beast sits in the corner when Cersei enters her cell. Her arms wrapped tightly around her bent legs and eyes locked on the entrance.

At the sight of Cersei, the beast’s head drops down.

“Did you expect someone else?”

Silence.

“Jaime won’t come.”

Silence.

“He’s quite busy pleasuring his Queen. He will do everything for the one he loves. ”

The beast clutches her knees tighter to her chest.

“You didn’t truly think he could love you? Everything he said to you was a lie. To gain your trust and bring my enemies to me. Jaime will never leave my side. Especially not for the likes of you.”

“I know,” the cow finally speaks. “Why is Your Grace so concerned about delivering the truth to prisoner instead of enjoying your time with your great love?”

Now those stupid cow eyes are directed at her. Involuntarily Cersei wonders how her brother could look at such a hideous face. Even not beaten and not covered in grime and blood, it was painful to look at. Jaime must be a better liar than he appears or the cow was just that desperate for a cock.

“I will enjoy. More than you ever had.”

            *

 

 Jaime never comes to her. Not like he used to do in the past.

It’s even better, Cersei tells herself. Finally, he has learned his place.

He always replies to her summons and she doesn’t have to deal with him after she gets what she needs.

*

 

The council is a real thorn in her side recently. They insist on sending back the Golden Company which Cersei cannot allow now. They are still needed to back up her rule. To be her power making other kingdoms think twice before rebelling.

“We don’t have gold and provisions to keep them in check. We don’t even have enough to feed our people in King’s Landing,” Jaime says to her when they’re both alone in her solar. 

“So what? We don’t need smallfolks. We need the army…”

“Who soon will turn on us demanding their payment,” he interrupts her. “And you can’t have more gold from the Iron Bank and Casterly Rock.”

“So it seems you support the council and not me.”

“I want you to see the reason and…”

“I don’t need your input. It was me who won the war,” Cersei cuts him off. “I know what I’m doing.”

*

 

Cersei doesn’t let Jaime anywhere near the council. He doesn’t understand anything and she doesn’t want him to oppose her.

It’s better to have him swinging the sword in the courtyard. It’s the only thing he has ever had any talent for. 

But now he can’t even do that. Cersei watches through the window how one of the Lannister soldiers Jaime has been training with, knocks him down to the ground. She turns away from this sight, disgusted.

Useless, pathetic cripple. 

*

 

Summons are sent to all great lords that remained in the Seven Kingdoms. They are to come to King’s Landing and swear fealty to their Queen and to witness the severity of her justice.

*

 

Cersei wakes up with cramping in her lower belly. It can mean only one thing, her moonblood has come.

She curses. Yet again Jaime failed to put a babe in her.

It is no doubt his fault. He is weak and passive during their couplings. As much as she enjoys being in control, she needs him to be more aware and more engaged. Maybe she should ask Qyburn if there is something that could help with Jaime’s issues. 

*

 

Qyburn disappears.

No one knows what happened. No one saw anything.

How can one just disappear? Did he abandon her? No, not Qyburn. He was the last she expected to betray her.

*

 

A week passes. There are no clues about Qyburn and no body to find.

Even the threat of executions doesn’t convince involved traitors to talk and she is tired of their teary assurances of innocence and pleas for mercy. 

There is no mercy for traitors.

Cersei doesn’t have another choice but to execute them. 

*

 

Getting rid of those snakes doesn’t solve her problem.

Qyburn is gone and two council seats remain empty. Cersei understands it can’t stay this way any longer. Not having a Hand and Master of whispers is not a trivial issue. With all the enemies around, plotting her demise, having loyal councilors is a matter of life and death.

And there are no loyal people around her. As always she’s surrounded by useless greedy fools. There is no one who she can trust immensely.

*

 

The Mountain is found dead by the entrance to her chambers. 

No signs of a fight, no wounds. Nothing. 

No one speaks.

More executions take place.

Silence.

For the first time, Cersei feels the fear rising deep inside her guts. Traitors are everywhere, conspiring to take her down. They removed Qyburn, now the Mountain. She won’t let them get to her. She won’t be next.

*

 

Cersei orders Jaime to be her Hand. 

“You forget sweet sister that I lack a hand,” he snickers in response. “Offer the position to someone more suitable than me.”

“I don’t trust any of them.”

“Do you trust me?”

She is still not sure if she can rely on Jaime entirely. He has been closely watched but nothing suspicious was reported about his behaviour. He was mainly training in the courtyard, he responded to every of her summons and did exactly what she had asked of him. He has never tried to get in touch with the beast nor has he uttered that wretched name. Yet the doubts never leave her. 

“You are my brother and my other half. I trust you won’t let any harm happen to me and our child,” Cersei puts her hand protectively over her womb. This should work. It always had.

“Do you?” Jaime sceptically raises his brow. “I recall you fucking me in front of a Mountain out of a pure trust.”

Cersei barely stops herself from slapping him. 

She needs him now. She hates to admit it, but she does.

*

 

However reluctantly, Jaime accepts his new role. We rule together now, Cersei muses taking a sip of wine. Once she had dreamed about this when she was a little girl. This could have happened long ago, had Jaime listened to her but he was weak. He still is, Cersei decides watching as he struggles with the piece of meat on his plate. 

They dine together as Jaime reports her about all official matters but she can’t focus on his words because of the annoying sound of a fork scratching the plate.

“I hope you are more capable as a Hand than you are at dinner.”

Jaime’s hand freezes and the room is instantly filled with the blessed silence. “Does my beloved Queen have any other concerns?”

“This is no time to be weak,” Cersei takes another sip. “I thought you understood the stakes.”

“I did.”

They sit for a few moments in silence. Jaime stares dully at the crescent moon lurking from the window. When did he become so old, Cersei wonders, noticing significantly more grey strands in his hair as well as wrinkles around his tired eyes.

“If that is all, I’ll take my leave,” Jaime says suddenly, standing from the table.

“You barely ate anything,” she points at the almost full plate and an untouched glass of wine.

“I lost my appetite.”

Without waiting for her response he leaves her alone in her chambers.

*

 

Jaime presents her new knights for her Queensguard.

Cersei is not impressed. None of those weaklings are good enough to replace the Mountain yet she smiles listening to Jaime’s praises.

Now everyone is more capable with a sword than you, Cersei thinks with irritation as he continues to boast over their skill with a sword.

 

“Will they be loyal to me?” she asks later when they are alone in her solar. 

Jaime puts his full glass of wine on the table. 

“They all have served diligently in the West army and never refused to conduct any order. Their Houses were always loyal to ours. I’m sure it will be a great honour for them to defend you.”

Cersei nods at that, taking another sip of wine.

“Pity I can’t take all of them. So who would you grant the place in my Queensguard?”

Jaime takes a long moment before answering. Then he tells her the names.

She nods again, giving him a knowing smile. Now she is sure who she shouldn’t pick.

*

 

The lords and ladies start to arrive at King's Landing. Soon they will swear their felty to her. After the trial and following execution, everyone will think twice before going against her will. And even if some of them are that stupid, the great collection of spikes is already ready to use.

The Queen is expected to greet the nobles, Cersei knows that, but lately, she doesn’t feel well enough to do anything. She is constantly tired, her head heavy and stomach unsettled.

It seems too soon for such symptoms. Cersei tries to remember her previous pregnancies. Probably she just miscalculated and Jaime somehow managed to put a babe in her. It’s not the ideal time but there is no way back now.

The next few days Cersei spends in the seclusion of her chambers. The only visitors are her maid and Jaime who comes to report to her about all the meetings he had to lead in her name.

*

 

“You should reconsider the execution.”

“Do you have any objections?”

“It won’t make people love you.”

Cersei lets out an annoyed huff. In such moments she regrets making Jaime her Hand. Luckily she barely gets to see him recently but it is going to change because she feels significantly better with every passing day.

“You don’t get this, Jaime. I don’t need their love. As the Queen, I demand respect and obedience.”

“Execution of the nobles won’t bring the others to your side. They already hate you for the sept alone. You don’t need to make more enemies.”

“So my Hand advises me to call off the execution of the traitors? To show everyone that treason against the crown goes unpunished?”

“Yes. They are not worth the consequences. And if you showed mercy…”

“It’s interesting, dear brother,” Cersei doesn’t let him finish. “That you care so much for the fate of my prisoners.”

She gives him an assessing look but his face remains still and composed.

“I don’t give two shits about what happens to your prisoners. As your Hand, I’m merely concerned about the repercussions of those actions.”

Cersei smiles. He could almost fool her. Almost.

“Haven’t you paid attention? There will be no repercussions. No one has enough power to oppose us.”

Jaime only grits his teeth in response but Cersei is not done. Not yet.

“Ser Alyn!” she calls the knight guarding the door. 

“Your Grace?”

“It’s about time to pay a visit in a beast’s cell,” she says, stealing a glance at Jaime. “You know what to do.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

The knight bows and leaves the solar. 

Jaime is silent but his pale face and clenched jaws tell her everything she needs to know.

*

 

Everything is ready. Even Jaime, as useless as he usually is, managed to somehow prepare everything for the upcoming events.

Tomorrow it will be over. Little dove’s lovely head will decorate the gate along with a beast’s. A murderous bitch who killed her dear son and the pathetic cow who tried to steal Jaime from her side. Finally, they both will get what they deserve. 

*

 

Cersei walks down to the dungeons. She wouldn’t miss the last opportunity to say goodbye.

When the door to the cell opens with a loud creak, she enters inside only to discover that there is no one in the room. 

The beast’s cell also turns out to be empty.

“Where are they?! Where are the prisoners?!” the echo of her voice bounces from the stone humid walls.

The guard swallows.

“The… they were moved…”

“Where?”

“I don’t know… I wasn’t told. And… and I didn’t question the order.”

“Whose order?”

“The… they said your order, Your Grace…”

The rage overtakes her. There is only one thought in her mind. 

Traitor. Traitor. Traitor.

*

 

Cersei leaves the dungeons and summons all her Queensguards. 

They follow her as she walks through the corridors of Red Keep.

Cersei finds Jaime in the throne room, sitting on the Iron Throne. How dares he? He is not alone. There are other nobles with him but Cersei doesn’t care. They are not armed and her Kingsguard will take care of them if those fools try to interfere. Maybe it is even better they are here. Let them see what happens to those who choose to go against her.

“So it’s true. You betrayed me again,” Cersei says in an icy voice.

“What are you talking about, sweet sister? The throne? I am merely keeping it warm.”

The wave of amused whispers spreads through the room, igniting new flames of rage and betrayal inside her. He will pay her for that. They all will.

“Guards, take him!”

No one moves. Her knights are standing there with impassive stone faces. Lords exchange curious looks.

“I command you to take him!”

Queensguards do not react and Jaime lets out a short strained laugh.

“It seems your own guard won’t listen to your command. They are all Lannister men after all who answer to their Lord.”

“I am the Queen! Take him!” Her commands fall to deaf ears. 

“Not the Queen anymore. Just like you never were to us,” Cersei catches disdain on Edmure Tully’s stupid face. She certainly won’t forget that. They will regret the day they turned on her even if it will be the last thing she does.

Jaime stands up from the throne. Now his figure towers above her, blocking everything else from her vision. 

“Cersei Lannister, you are accused of using wildfire and blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor, of betraying mankind in a war against the dead, for unjustified death of innocent people, smallfolks, members of noble houses and your own kin. As you have heard, you are no longer a queen. ”

Treasonous snake. She should have removed its head the moment he betrayed her for the first time. Instead, she was giving him chance after chance to prove himself, to prove his love he’s always so ardently declared.

“How could you? I am your Queen, your love, your sister, your other half. How could you, Jaime?”

Jaime takes a few steps towards her. He stands so close that she can feel his hot breath on her cheek. 

“How could I?” His voice is no more than a whisper in her ears but involuntarily her whole body shudders at the intensity hidden in it. “I ask myself every day. How could I be so blind? How could I follow you after everything you’ve done? How could I not realise sooner who you were and what I’ve become at your side?”

“We finally had everything we’ve ever wanted and you ruined it again." Everything she has fought for. So much sacrifice, so much suffering over the years. All for nothing because of her stupid brother who was supposed to be her twin, her mirror, her warrior. "I’ll make you pay for this, dear brother.”

“You already did,” Jaime says with a strange expression in his eyes and adds louder for the whole room to hear. “ Guards, take Her Former Grace to her cell.”

Her own knights take her and drag her back to the dungeons. She is thrown into the exact same place she so much enjoyed visiting and soon her voice is hoarse from screaming that no one can hear.