Title: The Pride of Lannister
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Game of Thrones
Genre: Fix-It, Time-travel, Episode Related (S8E5)
Relationships: (past-)Jamie Lannister/Cersei Lannister
Warning: Canon Incest (Lannister Twins), Major Character Death-Jamie and Cersei
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo, Square: Free Space – Time Travel
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 2,475
Summary: Rocks fall, Jamie dies…then he wakes up again.
“I want our baby to live. Don’t let me die, Jamie, please don’t let me die!”
“Look at me,” Jamie shushed his sister—his twin, his other half. “Look me in the eye! Look at me! Just look at me!” Cersei’s stubborn, panicked self finally obeyed. “Nothing else matters.”
She sobbed a bit but didn’t look away from his eyes.
“Nothing else matters, only us.” He ran his one and only thumb over her face soothingly as she calmed. He pulled her into his arms and tucked her head under his chin, sheltering her as much as he could. Not that it would matter with a dragon screaming overhead and the Red Keep falling down around them.
But the only way out was blocked. There was nothing left they could do but stand together and breathe until it was time to go.
Jamie took a deep breath and closed his eyes, clutching Cersei to him.
Rocks fell about them, crushing, crushing—he couldn’t breathe!
Then he could.
And he was alone.
And he was terrified.
He scrambled out of his bed—a much smaller bed than he’d had since he was a boy still living in Casterly Rock.
A blanket tangled his legs and he fell only to catch himself on his hands. Two hands. He hadn’t had two hands in over a year! He used his faithful left hand to check the wandering right. It was real. It was attached! And worked and it even hurt when he scraped his nails on it.
Jamie ran from his room.
How could this be? How could he be back at Casterly Rock before everything went wrong? Before he’d been taken for the Kingsguard. Before he’d killed the Mad King. Before Robert’s Rebellion. Before his mad son and then his madder sister had taken the throne that they had had no right to.
He found himself on the only balcony on his level.
Security was a major concern in the Rock with the Iron Born so close. That meant there weren’t many balconies on levels with living quarters, but this one was on the sea side of the keep with an impossible climb the only way to access it if you weren’t already inside.
He gathered his thoughts as he watched the sunrise.
Part of him thought that maybe what he had experienced was just a dream but, in his soul—and the bones of his right wrist—he knew it was true. So much terrible had happened because of his love for Cersei.
A love he now knew she didn’t return. That she had never returned.
He could stop so many terrible hardships and even more horrible events just by refusing to fall for her lies a second time. Though…he loved her desperately. And he knew he probably always would.
He saw a ship coming into the caverns below the Rock. Orange fabric painted with a red sun pierced by a golden spear, the sigil of House Martell.
An idea bloomed in his mind. Separation. That was the only thing that would keep him and the Realm safe from Cersei.
He turned back to face the Rock. He just had to convince his father.
He took a deep breath and moved with purpose toward his father’s solar. If the Dornish were here, then his mother had died less than six months ago. Princess Mariah would be on that ship with her younger children to present them to his parents for a formal alliance.
Jamie had to convince his father it was a good idea.
Would it help or hurt his case to convince his father that his idea was his mother’s? His father would do anything for his mother…but she had just died. In that other life his father never moved past the anger stage of his loss where his lady wife had been concerned. He didn’t want to hurt his father…
To the Seven Hells with it all. He would try. He would be cold and ruthless. Calculating. Everything his father had always wanted him to be, but he had never been.
He didn’t have any other options.
He knocked on the door to his father’s solar.
“Come,” his father ordered.
He opened the door, sealed it behind himself, and presented himself to Lord Tywin’s desk. “Father.”
“Jamie,” his father stared at him. His eyes were empty, calculating the best way to take him down, as always.
Like a lion.
“Dornish sails entered the sea cavern beneath the Rock.” He paused to catch the faint curl of distaste on his upper lip. “Mother told me…before…that I was going to marry a princess. I—I was confused because King Aerys has no daughters but now I know she meant something different.”
“And?” his father prodded.
“And I think Mother had a good idea, but I’m not sure marrying Cersei and I both to Martells is enough.” He hastened on before his father could discipline him for the implied insult to his mother. “The most effective way to keep our family safe from all comers should—ideally—be to marry Cersei to the Crown but, I’ve heard the rumors. King Aerys hates you, he’s jealous of you. He would never give my sister his son.
“The second-best method would be to unite the Seven Kingdoms in the event we need each other to stand against the Crown.”
Lord Tywin’s eyes narrowed. “Go on.”
Jamie took a piece of blank parchment from the pile on his father’s desk and his quill and ink without so much as asking and started writing a list. He started with the Westerlands and wrote all three technically marriageable members of the main Lannister line—Tywin, Cersei, and Jamie.
He wanted to add Tyrion but he knew better. His father would never consider Tyrion his son or a viable member of his bloodline.
“There will always be a Mad King,” Jamie said as he wrote. “The Targaryens have at least one mad person in each generation and it’s a flip of a coin if that person sits on the Iron Throne or not. But if we unite all the other Seven Kingdoms—or even just most of them through interlocking marriages, we will have the means to defend ourselves should the Targaryen on the throne go too far.
“Dorne is the best,” he said as he added them to the list with their available members—Elia and Oberyn. “They have the longest history of killing dragons of any of the Seven Kingdoms. Their tricks and tactics will be the most useful should we have to defend ourselves against the Iron Throne.
“The North,” he added them to the list with the Stark’s four unbetrothed children. “The Starks united and then ruled the North for eight thousand years. Their main line has never been broken even in the face of extreme opposition. They are the next best, for building our legacy.
“The Reach and the Riverlands share our borders,” and their main lines had three children each, which he added to the list.
“The Stormlands are tricky because their current lord’s mother was a Targaryen.” He added only Robert and Stannis to the list. By his reckoning, Renly wouldn’t be born for another four years or so. “But perhaps they can be offered betrothals without being given the other reasons. Whether we include them or not, it’s a risk.”
“There aren’t many options within the Vale.” He wrote down only Elbert Arryn, Lord Jon’s only nephew and heir. “But they are valuable because they have men that could come to our cause.”
He handed the list to his father and watched him take in the lines he had added to interconnect the Great Houses. He didn’t react in any way that Jamie could detect when he followed the line from himself to Elia of Dorne.
“You have connected Cersei to Oberyn Martell,” his father said.
“Yes,” he agreed.
“Prince Oberyn is the third born and second son, unlikely to ever rule Dorne.”
“Good.” Jamie shrugged when his father glared at him. “Cersei is power hungry with none of the control or discretion she pretends to possess. With Oberyn, she can have the appearance and trappings of what she wants with none of the substance. And she will never be able to pull one over of Prince Oberyn because he’s cleverer and smarter than her.”
His father observed him quietly. “I was under the impression you were close with your sister.”
Jamie couldn’t help the bitter snort. “When I let her control me, yes, we’re close. If I make my own choices she shrieks and hits me and carries on. I…cannot be close with her and ever become my own man, father.
“And…I hate how possessive she is of me. She calls me her other half like she owns me.” He looked directly into his father’s eyes to watch the building fury. “No one owns me.”
“Perhaps she should foster with your Aunt Genna at the Twins,” his father offered. “Clearly she has not taken the loss of her mother well.”
“As you say,” Jamie tipped his head.
There was a knock on the solar door. Probably a servant come to tell them of the Martell’s arrival.
“I will think on this,” Lord Tywin promised. “You are dismissed, Jamie.”
“Very well, father.” Jamie turned for the door. Then he stopped and turned back to his father. “Greet our guests with bread and salt.”
His lord-father almost reared back in surprise. “Guest Rite is old. Not a custom normally observed outside of the North.”
“The tradition is old but honored throughout all of the Seven Kingdoms,” Jamie argued. “It will tell everyone attending that you take your guests seriously—not something the Dornish get very often when they travel outside their own borders. It will make them inclined to listen to us and not report what could be considered the beginning of treason to the crown.”
Lord Tywin considered that and nodded.
The knock sounded again.
“Come!” he ordered.
“My lord,” one of the castellan’s trusted servants bobbed a curtsy. “Princess Mariah of Dorne has arrived with her daughter, Princess Elia, and son, Prince Oberyn. We have given them rooms in the guest quarters, my lord.”
“Very well. Tell the kitchen to prepare for Guest Rite and have the Martells invited to the Great Hall for bread and salt once they have refreshed themselves.”
The servant blinked in surprise but curtsied again and backed away. “Of course, my lord.”
“Wine?” he offered as Princess Mariah followed him into his private solar.
“Yes, Lord Tywin, thank you.”
He poured her a goblet and took it to where she had taken a seat on his second favorite chair in his office. “My wife told me long ago that you were the cleverest person in King’s Landing—even cleverer than me—and that if I ever had to negotiate with you, that unvarnished honesty was my best option.”
Princess Mariah gave a startled laugh. “Lady Joanna was a gift to this world.”
“She was.” He took the list his son had made off of his desk and handed it to the Princess. He had been impressed. He didn’t think his son had known the names of the Great Houses much less knew all of the children they had produced and how to spell it all. And his quillship had vastly improved in the six months since Tywin himself had taught him to read and write.
He wondered, somewhat idly, if that was what Cersei had shrieked and carried on about that had Jamie so put out. The idea that his daughter did not want his son improving himself was infuriating but his sister Genna would take care of it.
“What is this?” Princess Mariah asked. “This is not Lady Joanna’s handwriting.”
“It’s not mine, either,” Tywin admitted. “My son wrote that list.”
Princess Mariah blinked in surprise.
“He came to me this morning. He saw your ship sailing in to dock and realized the truth of something his mother had told him—that he would marry a princess. He laid out a plan to bring all of the Seven Kingdoms together to protect all of us from the Mad King. Interlocking marriages, he called it.”
“And you have claimed my daughter for yourself,” Princess Mariah offered neutrally.
“There are a number of unclaimed sons on that list,” he said honestly. “Your daughter could provide me the daughters to claim them.”
“And if I do not want my daughter marrying a man old enough to be her father?”
Tywin raised an eyebrow at the Princess. “I may be old enough to be her father, but your daughter is known to be a gentle soul. She will be safe in my care. I can be able to give her children now while she is young and can enjoy them, rather than waiting ten years for my son to be ready to do so—though I will wait to wed her until a reasonable mourning period has passed. Joanna has only been gone six months from this world.”
“Another six months,” he said immediately. “My mourning period will be the traditional year and a day.”
“And then you will plan the wedding.”
Princess Mariah considered that. “It would give my daughter time to get to know your family and see if she could be happy here.”
Tywin almost sneered at her. Happiness had no place in a political marriage…but peace did and if Princess Elia could not find peace in the Rock there would be no point in pursuing the option of marriage between them.
“Your son also connected your Cersei with my Oberyn.”
“My son said Dorne was the best connection to make since you have the longest history of successfully opposing the Blood of the Dragon—”
Princess Mariah looked pleased with this statement.
“—But my daughter is not currently fit for betrothal. She has taken her mother’s death poorly and I will be sending her to foster with my sister at the Twins to recover from her poor attitude.”
“Before I leave my daughter in your care?” Princess Mariah asked pointedly.
“Yes. It will take a week for me to organize her escort, but the raven has already been sent. Once I receive confirmation from my sister, she will be on her way.”
“We could go with her at least some of the way,” Princess Mariah offered. “I still have no offers for a bride for my son. The Reach and the Riverlands have multiple daughters each.”
“You mean to bring them into our plan?”
“Possibly,” Princess Mariah tipped her head to one side. “I would like to hear more about this proposal and the terms you would offer me for my daughter, but I feel confident we can come to a…mutually beneficial arrangement.”
“Very well.” Tywin settled back more comfortably in his chair.
This was going to be a long conversation.
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