“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of prying.” he says, coldly, and that isn’t a lie, either. He’d been drunk once and regaled Ellaria with a somewhat tortured metaphor involving Cersei Lannister’s private parts and the frozen antagonist of Terminator II.
The less thought about that, the better.
Oberyn snags a champagne glass of his own and sips. He’s hitting his stride a little, now. She’s more brittle than he remembers. But what was it that Arianne had said? Damaged people can do a lot of damage. “It’s only that lion and dragon seem to be getting along famously. Your daughter’s here with Viserys, if I’m not mistaken…?”
A polite little half-question, that isn’t a question at all.
“I thought she and Trystane were seeing one another. Pity. I’d look forward to that fusion wedding, wouldn’t you?”
Cersei’s face falls at Oberyn’s mention of the word marriage. Is that what people thaught? That she’d given Myrcella to Viserys Targaryen as a prize, a trophy, a token in exchange for something? Rage cursed through her veins: marriage was not what she’d had in mind when she’d suggested her daughter befriended the young dragon boy. It was convenience, yes, but something that she could control, something she could save Myrcella from upon the first hint of danger. She couldn’t do to her daughter what her father had done to her. Arranged marriages she knew enough about, knew they were a subtlety but also common occurrence in their world. But Myrcella was too young, and innocent still: she could not protect her from discovering the ugliness of it, but she would be sure she did not drench herself in unshed tears the way she, Cersei, had done.
“They are friends. Myrcella and Viserys, I mean,” she said simply, rising her glass in a metaphorical toast. “As for…Trystane, is that right? As for him, I am afraid I am not one to mingle with my daughter’s affairs. What she wants to do, she does without having to ask my consent.” It was a white lie: the truth was Myrcella has never mentioned the Martell boy, not even once, and Oberyn had taken her by surprise. “I am sure they are old enough to do what they see fit.”
There was some harshness in her words, and reproach. Oberyn was not unlike her father, not unlike most men she’d met in her life: if what the newspapers told of him was to be trusted, he saw her kind as little more than objects.
“Tell me, Oberyn, and tell me true. Would you really look forward to that? A Martell marrying a Lannister?” She smirked and she brought the glass to her lips, sipping again. Then she stared at him over the rim of her glass for a moment.
For at least an hour she had been sitting, cross-legged on the end of the bed, trying to talk herself into summoning the courage to give in. There were ways out, if only Sansa relented completely to the political spotlight. Do exactly what they wanted. Live her days speaking their edicts and laughing at their jokes. Petyr promised he could get her out - Jon promised to help, but what if those things were impossible? This wasn’t a game of shadows. The government had many eyes through the country, and the Lannisters likely had more.
She’d lain awake the night before unable to sleep, thinking that, perhaps, it wasn’t too late to write to Lincoln College and see if Oxford would waive her rejection and allow her to start attending classes at the end of September. In Oxford, they could keep an eye on her, they’d be able to watch her, but at least there could possibly be the illusion of freedom. At least there’d be no house arrest…
She hadn’t heard Cersei coming up the hallway. The knock made her heart lurch in her chest, and then the crack of the door swinging open was a knife twisted in her gut.
For a moment, her expression was fraught and tearful. What new torture was being brought to her? And then she remembered her courtesies.
“Cersei,” she said, slipping from the coverlet to her feet as if royalty had just entered her room. Then she saw the tailor standing behind Cersei and the placid smile across her face.
“A gift?” Sansa repeated, telling herself not to be hopeful. To be vigilant and suspicious. “For me?”
If she had cared, even just in the slightest, she might have been heartbroken at how lost Sansa Stark looked in the imposing room that had been given to her. She looked small, insignificant, nothing in comparison to the people those room had been destined for. A Stark was no fit for Lannister Street; a wolf had no place in the lion’s den. But care she didn’t, and instead of dwelling on how unfortunate it was for a girl that age to be a political pawn, she brushed it off and armoured herself in pride.
I expect you will survive a bit of humiliation, she thought. I did.
“You seem surprised,” she said instead, stepping inside the room once proper formalities had been respected, and the man followed, close on her heels. She approached Sansa, stood before her for a moment with a small smile before circling her slowly, looking her up and down like a farmer examining cattle and picking which are fat enough to be skinned and cut open.
Slaughter. Butchery. She thought of the gun hidden safely in the first drawer of her bedside table, thought of how, among the faces she had pictured aiming it at, the little bird had been one of the first. She would make a pretty crime scene, one people would stop to glance at, shake their heads, and whisper: “What a shame, she was so lovely”.
“Lovely,” she said out loud, an echo of her thoughts, as she halted her stalking and stepped away, sitting down on the small loveseat nearby the window. On the table on her right was a vase, with a bunch of white roses in it: so innocent did they look that it made Cersei’s stomach turn. She made a mental note to tell the house staff that she didn’t want to see a single white rose in the house for as long as she lived. She crossed her legs and toyed absent-mindedly with the petals, tearing one out and pressing her fingertips together, feeling the velvet of it. She looked up then, and saw that neither Sansa nor the tailor had moved.
“Well what are you waiting for?” she asked the man, gesturing towards Sansa. “I don’t have all day.” He jumped at the order, and Cersei glanced at Sansa again, almost innocently . “You’re not embarrassed to get undressed in front of me, are you?”
As if she cared. As if she would leave.
Her mind was a battlefield where a new thought would shoot down an old one, and then another, and another yet. People, words, whispers crowded her head with an annoying background noise that smelled of desperation. Couples twirled gracefully, a rainbow of reds and greens and blues, and the dancefloor seemed to be more alive than she felt inside. Cersei could count every beat of her heart, drumming in her ears so loudly that everytime someone approached her and smiled at her she wondered if they could hear it too. A woman was talking, fumbling with words and subjects, her voice high-pitched, almost childlike; Cersei nodded once, twice, feigned ignorance and smiled when she felt the conversation might require it; overall, she had forgotten the matter of discussion twenty seconds after it had started.
She’d seen Jaime talking to a younger man Cersei remembered vaguely, a Tully, the youngest son if she remembered correctly. Odd company to keep, for his brother: Catelyn Stark was not her friend, nor was she Jaime’s or any of their kind for that matter; what could Cateyn’s youngest brother want from her brother? It was curious, certainly more compelling than whatever issue her companion was complaining about. Cersei allowed herself to look at her again: she was short, wearing too many rings on fingers so chubby that Cersei wondered if she would be able to take them off by the end of the night. She wore a ghastly gold necklace that covered her whole chest, an unnecessary display of wealth for a charity event. Distasteful, she judged.
She begged for a lifesaver, anything that would allow her to walk away unscathed before the boredom got the best of her — it wouldn’t do to yawn, it would be rude, and Cersei hated to show unpoliteness, because it would hurt her image more than anything. She smiled again, and her eyes flickered to the room once more, falling on a familiar face. It was better than nothing, as good an excuse as any. She placed her hand on the woman’s forearm the moment she stopped talking, catching an opening for a safe excape. “Forgive me, I see my cousin and there is something I have to discuss with him urgently,” she exclaimed, shaking her head in feigned apology and picking up the skirt of her dress, walking away and leaving her dumbfounded partner behind.
As she closed the distance to the blonde boy, she glanced around once again, not bothering with smiles and kind glances; instead, she scanned the place, every face, and returned every glare with nothing but scathing irritation that they would as much as glance in her direction. The night had been long, and she was growing tired of the charade. She halted by Lancel’s side, her eyes falling on the brunette at his side. She stared for a moment, lips pursed, tilting her head to the side and thinkng to herself that she looked pretty enough, but she didn’t know her: that alone meant she wasn’t worth the attention common decency would suggest she’d give her. She turned to her cousin instead, and smiled curtly.
“Dance with me?” It was not really a question.
Use your RP name while replying, and type the results as a reply to this post. ^_____^
He nods to her in response, curt as a duellist, and God help him, she isn’t walking away.
I need another drink. With lye in it.
Oberyn’s very aware of just how blind he is as far as Cersei’s concerned. She might be responsible or partly responsible for Doran’s assassination. She might have known of Elia’s murder, might have planned it herself, might have simply benefited in blissful ignorance. Who’s to say what goes on behind the shuttered doors of Lannister Street, or how responsibility is divided and shared out?
Either way, it doesn’t matter.
A lion is a lion, and being faced with this lovely golden-haired symbol of Tywin’s success feels like a slap in the face. It is one, and she knows it, too; he can tell from the way the smile curves on her face, the way she seems to float toward him, graceful and deadly. Whatever this bit of Kabuki is, he can’t play it casual. And there’s no need to; he has good cause to be upset, and she knows it. His voice is curt—a little tight, as if his throat won’t open all the way. “Cersei.”
He doesn’t trust himself to lie, so he doesn’t. “You look lovely.” It’s true, but isn’t meant as a complement, and it doesn’t sound like one.
“And yes, much too long.” he agrees, blandly. The smile on his face is brittle, plastic. “Your taste in companions seems to have improved.”
It is like standing before the execution squad without a blindfold, staring down the barrell and knowing at some point it will fire, and all she can hope for is that her skin is bulletproof. (Tywin made her so, Robert finished the job. She doubted Oberyn Martell could truly wound her.) “Lovely?” she repeats, looking away, focusing her gaze on a couple twirling on the floor. “That’s curious. Judging by the way you were looking at me, I was hoping for breathtaking.” It’s a humourless joke, really, one meant to sharpen teeth more than to simply show them.
Rhaegar is on the other side of the room, holding something short of a conference for the flock of hens that had gathered around him the moment she’d stepped away. She smiles to herself and returns Oberyn’s stare. “My taste in companions seems to be all people will talk about.” A waiter walks by with his trail held up high before him, and Cersei snatches a glass of champagne for herself. “Suddenly,” she starts, and there’s hilarity in the way she says it, like it’s nothing, “everyone seems very interested in what goes on in my bedroom.” She lets the words hang in balance, dangling the meaning behind it before Oberyn’s eyes for him to grasp it if it pleases him.
“I’m sure you’re no stranger to this sort of things,” she adds after a sip of her drink.
There are things she would love to say, there on the tip of her tongue, but she decides it would be unwise to make an enemy out of a Martell. (Arianne is already all the snake I need in my life, she thinks, wondering what that particular slithering viper would have to say of her attendance with Rhaegar that night. She makes a mental note to look for her later on.)
Hey bb looks like we're engaged according to HBO. Hope you like sexless nights and long walks on the beach alone
anyway what’s your take on brotherly love
Cersei had shaken too many hands, kissed too many cheeks, smiled too much at people whose names she could barely remember. The lights of the Water Gardens shone bright over the hall, and everywhere she looked her eyes caught glints of sparkling diamonds and pearly white teeth. It was the world she had been trained for and yet she wished she were anywhere but there: it was heavy, once again, to be looked at, and so soon after Joffrey’s death.
She’d felt the judgment the moment she’d stepped out of the car, Rhaegar’s hand holding hers firmly (too tightly, even, as if she could have run away and proved him right in his distrust): a mourning mother should not have looked like Cersei did tonight. They expected her to wear black, and to keep her head low, and to frown. Instead, she’d worn the lightest white dress, and she’d smiled at them when they were careless enough to stare for too long. And she’d held onto Rhaegar just as fiercely, every time a wandering eye would find their arms. What a perfect picture they painted, for the photographers waiting outside, and what a feast for the gossip whores that filled the room, like vultures over an agonizing animal. If they waited for a misstep, they would have to wait for a long time: Cersei Lannister did not make mistakes — not anymore.
As exhausting and frustrating as the whole ordeal was, she couldn’t conceal the satisfaction at the whispers that had welcomed their arrival. Even more shocking than her presence itself, it was the fact that she was with Rhaegar that would make headlines the day after; the article that she had loathed so much had turned out to be a nice premise to the show they were putting up that night. As if life had given her something to exploit for her own purposes, unknowingly. It was funny to think about it now. Everything was going as planned; they had people’s attention, and they would likely be the main subject for gossip columnists for the following week.
They smiled until their facial muscles ached, accepting people’s small talk with the golden gracefulness that they knew they had to master; but between them it was a whole different story. Rhaegar smiled at her, but every time he did, Cersei could see some of the ice behind the clear blue of his eyes. The same ice she’d seen the day he’d accused her father of murder, and wondered if perhaps her hands were bloody as well. They were wonderful performers, and hardly anyone could see the small slips everytime their eyes met, but Cersei felt it before she could see it. Rhaegar’s hands were cold, freezing, and his grip on her was even colder.
(Her eyes had scanned the room for Jaime the moment she’d walked in, and it hadn’t been hard to spot the golden lion in the middle of conversation with a small group, in between Tywin and Kevan, the embodiement of the bright heir to the fortune of Westminster. She had not smiled, because Tywin had turned to look at her the same moment Jaime had. That was where she was supposed to be, with her brother and her father, paraded as a Lannister rather than the appendix of a dragon. She swallowed and looked away because the sight of her family so far away — too far away — stang.)
Don’t do anything rash, don’t be stupid. “Wasn’t planning to, never fear,” he mutters in reply, his smirk twisting up the corners of his mouth. He’s not an idiot, he’s not going to just rush into something as serious as this when it could impact Cersei, too. If he does something wrong, doesn’t think it through properly, he could easily land not only himself but her and Tyrion in trouble, too. If he leaves any trace… he’d have to be careful, and that was even if he decided to do anything at all, in the end.
He probably will though; he’s a Lannister, and he has Cersei to think about… Cersei is all he thinks about, other than himself. Everything he does is centered around Cersei, and yet Jaime can’t find it in himself to care about that in the slightest. Cersei is his twin - they’re two halves of the same whole.
When Cersei kisses his neck, he pulls her closer to him. He rests his cheek on top of her head, and right then - that was when he knew he was going to do something, at least. Most likely it will be killing, but she’s told him not to be rash or stupid, so he’ll think on it before he acts… well, maybe. He’s not much of a thinker, really, he tends to just act on instinct So far, it’s worked just fine. He doesn’t see how this time will be any different.
Jaime allows her hand to guide his head down, and his eyes meet hers. He nods. “Alright, I promise,” he says halfheartedly, and if his hands weren’t occupied with holding her as close as possible, he’d have made a dismissive gesture with his hand, too. He’ll keep his promise, if it suits him. If not though, he’ll break it without a second thought. Obviously, he won’t tell Cersei of this; if an opportunity arises, then he’ll take it. He’s not going to sit around and wait for Tywin to take action: he knows full well he might not take the action that Jaime (and Cersei, he suspects) think best.
Tywin is capable, of course, Jaime just doesn’t want to waste any time while their father concocts a plan. Time is everything when it comes to matters such as these, and if Tywin lets it drag out for too long, Jaime won’t have a choice at all. And besides, he’s not killed someone in a long time. He feels his hand itching to shoot a gun again, to watch as his well-aimed bullet strikes his target dead on the chest, to watch as they fall to their knees as blood pours from the wound, to feel the rush of adrenaline flooding through his veins. He closes his hand into a fist, forcing his gaze to stay on Cersei, forcing all his thoughts back so she won’t know what he’s planning. But Cersei knows him better than anyone: Jaime’s sure she knows anyway, despite him trying to hide it: she reads him just as well as he reads her.
Jaime is restless, and stubborn, and she knows before he even replies that something is nagging at him, chewing away at him from the inside. It worries her, for him and for herself, and for everyone involved, because one thing Jaime is not is merciful, nor kind. He can be gentle — he is, with her, and when he wants to, — but she put a target before him, a metaphorical one. A threat that he will not and can not ignore, because that is not his nature, not who he is.
Cersei looks at him, drinks the lies but doesn’t swallow them, doesn’t believe them even for a moment. Her fists rest against his chest and she clenches them, her subconscious telling her that she has made a mistake in telling him; perhaps she should have told Tywin first, and then her brother. Tywin is rational, while Jaime is all impulse. (But it is her nature to turn to Jaime before anyone else. Not even for a second did she stop to question what she was telling him: it felt right, in the moment. It feels dangerous now, instead, and a part of her regrets not thinking before acting.) She stays silent, her lips are pursed and if there’s one thing she is sure of is that they both know they’re lying to each other: Jaime, by telling her he will wait, and she, by saying nothing and letting him get away with it. He knows, she knows, but there is nothing between them but an unspoken agreement to let it go because words don’t matter, and sometimes actions speak louder. Sometimes acting is necessary.
(Jaime might be right after all, in wanting to act quickly And there is Tywin to consider: Tywin must know already, she realizes, putting the pieces together. The nurse wouldn’t have died for no reason. Someone must have given the order. Someone must have wanted her to keep silent. Her father, it is clear now, does not shy away from having blood on his hands, even if figuratively only.)
Cersei could stay there, in Jaime’s embrace, and she considers it. But she remembers the smoking gun, and the paper target, and the reason why she is there. She pushes herself off him and sighs deeply, placing both hands on her hips. “Anyway, I think Rhaegar believed me when I pleaded not guilty. I told him I knew nothing about it, and you should have seen me Jaime,” she pauses, picking up the gun and smiling to herself. “Even you would have believed me.” She chuckles at the memory of how easy it was to feign herself shocked, disgusted at her father’s actions. The pride she truly felt, instead, was hers and hers alone to feel. “He’s taking me to the Martell gala,” she added, turning to Jaime and handing him the gun. “You do it.”
She’s seen the glint in his eyes. The gun might be too small for his hand, but it’s bullets all the same: it’ll do. Perhaps shooting something will sweeten the fact that she will be dangling off Rhaegar Targaryen’s arm instead of his. “Are you taking someone?” she asks then, casually, but there’s the bitterness she’s befriended throughout the years. A bitterness she’s lived with the same way he’s had to live with it. Every event where social standards expected him to show up with some little blonde thing that wasn’t Cersei, some twenty-something year old who would look at him with big doe eyes hoping to marry the future Duke of Westminster.
She watched them all come and go, watched as they dreamed big. But by the end of the night, it was her bed Jaime came back to, and the world didn’t know.
[Commercialis how Cersei described it. So business like. As though after this, they’ll seal the deal with a handshake. Or a shag in their suite at the Dorchester. (In a room where they both can’t trace back the past and it’s just them. It would sound romantic if it didn’t all come with a hidden agenda).
He looks at her, crouching beside him with her blonde hair glinting in the morning sun. She almost looks innocent. Almost, but not quite. He can’t underestimate Cersei. So, even when he feels her hand squeeze his thigh, he stands up and pulls out a cigarette from his pocket.
His hand fidgets. Falters. Four clicks till the a small fire flickers at the tip of the lighter. He inhales the smoke, leaning one hand against the railing of the balcony.]
Allies? [He wants to laugh; instead he looks away, towards the city and smiles. Targaryen and Lannister. Tywin had been his father’s right hand man but he left nonetheless. The Targaryens had other allies. People who have remained loyal even after Aerys had left Downing Street. The Daynes, surely. He could always trust Arthur. And Jon. And the people at Wales.
Rhaegar lets the smoke fill his lungs. Burning.
But he knows Wales is not enough.]
How can I trust you, Cersei? [He pauses, and looks at her sidelong.We were allies once. Do you remember that? Does your father? My father does. Will you stab my back the way you’ve stabbed my father’s?]
[Her eyes snap shut and when Rhaegar stands up, and for a moment she doesn’t move, her hands gripping the armrests. She stands up hastily then, leaning over the table and picking a grape from the bowl, then mindlessly peeling the skin; she smiles when Rhaegar asks her how he can trust her, and she pops the grape in her mouth. As she chew down on it, the silence drags and the smile is still there, refusing to leave her lips. It’s bitter because she wants it to be bitter, but truthfully, it’s surprised more than anything: she likes a challenge.
The cigarette between Rhaegar’s lips shortens with each drag, and Cersei finds herself craving one; instead she kicks the chair gently to the side and walks up to him, leaning against the railing and looking down on the street again. The silence has been pregnant for too long, and she knows she has to say something, or it will look suspicious.]
Do you honestly think so little of me?[She doesn’t look at him as she says so, hiding behind the hair that falls on the side of her face like a curtain shading her, hiding her true purposes.] My son died. Do you think me capable of playing any mind game with you? Do you think me ready, or willing?
[She pushes herself off the railing then, spuns around quick and angry, walking back to the table with her heels clacking against the hard tile, louder than they possibly should.] Nevermind, [she says quickly, grabbing her phone from the table and dropping it in her bag. “Mind game” she tells herself. “It’s just a little trick, old as our fathers, and their fathers before them. Old as the both of us.”] if that’s what you think of me, this is clearly a mistake, all of it. [She picks up the jacket and throws it over her forearm, telling sign of her intention to leave.]