Jaime ran his fingers through his newly cut hair. It had been so greasy and long for over a year and he never thought he would live to see it cut again. After the haircut and the longest bath of his life, he prepared to dress. He looked at the Kingsguard armor that leaned against a chair. Someone had placed it there for him. He was still the Lord Commander, though he had never acted as the Lord Commander since he was named while away. He clenched his jaw as he stared at it.
He pulled on a tunic and breeches with difficulty. The loss of his right hand had made everything difficult for him, even holding a spoon to eat. Lastly, came his boots, which took damn near 5 minutes to pull on. After, he ran his fingers through his clean, short hair again. He smiled to himself as he left his chambers, heading for the Tower of the Hand.
It was a long walk and he was on the receiving end of some nasty stares. He walked with as much dignity as he could muster, but he knew that they were all staring at the stump at the end of his arm. He ascended the Tower of the Hand and knocked on the door to his father's solar, where he would be at this hour.
Jaime raised his right hand to knock but lowered it again as he caught sight of the stump. He kept forgetting that he didn't have a hand at the end anymore. He knocked with his left hand and heard, "Come in."
He reached across his body to open the door. The world wasn't made for left-handed people he had decided. Jaime stepped into the solar and found Lord Tywin Lannister sitting behind the desk, writing something intently. He didn't look at his eldest son, whom he hadn't seen since the start of the War of the Five Kings. Jaime stood in front of the desk, arms behind his back, his left hand holding his right forearm, waiting.
Lord Tywin finally looked up and said, "You're back."
"Yes, I thought that was fairly obvious." Jaime said dryly.
Tywin's eyebrows furrowed as he regarded his son. "I see you haven't lost your humor." He stood from behind the desk and walked around to stand before his son. They were almost of identical height and Tywin met his son's eyes with ease. He liked that. When he tried to talk to Tyrion, he felt the need to crouch down in front of the little monster as if he were still a child. Tywin said, "You look well."
Jaime unclasped his left hand and swung his right arm to raise it in front of his father's face. "Does this look well to you, Father?"
Tywin didn't look at the stump and stared into his son's green eyes. "No, it doesn't. But you will recover. You're a Lannister."
"Yes, I'm a Lannister. The new cripple Lannister for everyone to sneer and jeer at. As if they didn't already hate me enough." Jaime said, looking away from his father's cold stare.
"I have a gift." Tywin stepped away from his son and walked to a table near one of the windows.
"Do I need a reason?"
Jaime thought yes. Tywin didn't bestow charity upon anyone, he rarely gave gifts. But he held his tongue and didn't make a sound as he watched his father pick up a sword in a sheath. Jaime walked toward him, curious.
Tywin held the sword by its sheath out to Jaime, who reached forward with his left hand and grabbed the ornate hilt. It was gold and the pommel was a golden lion's head. At the end of each quillon was another lion's head, making three in total on the hilt. Jaime pulled the sword awkwardly out of the sheath and held it out in front of him.
"Is this Valyrian steel?" He asked, eyes growing wide as he stared at the beautiful sword.
Tywin confirmed, "It is."
"No one's made a Valyrian steel sword since the Doom of Valyria."
Tywin strode back around the desk as he talked. "There are three living smiths who know how to rework Valyrian steel. The finest of them was in Volantis. Came here to King's Landing at my invitation."
As Tywin sat down, Jaime asked, "Where did you get this much Valyrian steel?"
"From someone who no longer had need of it." He had a smirk on his face.
"We've wanted one of these in the family for a long time." Jaime commented. Since Brightroar was lost long ago on King Tommen II Lannister's absurd trek to Valyria, House Lannister hadn't a Valyrian sword to their name.
"And now we have two."
Tywin said, "The original weapon was absurdly large. Plenty of steel for two swords."
Ice. He was talking of Ice. Ned Stark's sword. Jaime had thought he would have returned the greatsword to the Stark family. It's what he would have done. He and his father were not the same person. Jaime said, "Well, thank you. It's glorious.
Jaime sheathed the sword as best he could. Tywin watched him as he said, "You'll have to train your left hand."
"Any decent swordsman knows how to use both hands." Jaime commented.
"You'll never be as good."
"No." Jaime said sadly. "But as long as I'm better than everyone else, I suppose it doesn't matter."
Tywin looked his son in the eye again, waiting for him to say something else. Jaime had asked for the meeting, he clearly had something on his mind. This time, Jaime didn't look away from his father's gaze.
"While its written in no book, I feel that I wouldn't be able to do my sworn duty of protecting the king with only one hand. I wish for Joffrey to exercise his right to relieve me of my duties."
Tywin just looked at him. "You do?"
"Yes. I cannot serve the king as I used to. If I failed him, I couldn't live with myself." Jaime lied. Honestly, Joffrey was a monster and, even though he was his father, Jaime knew that something would happen to the boy soon and he was okay with it. He needed to be stopped by any means necessary.
"Well, we will have Joffrey strip you of your white cloak." Tywin said, giving Jaime a small smile. "And you'll return to Casterly Rock and rule in my stead."
"You are the Lord of Casterly Rock, Father." Jaime said, giving him a strange look.
"Yes, but I am the King's Hand. My place is here." Tywin said, looking around the room. "I don't expect to see the Rock again before I die. I would like to know that it is in good hands…hand. And when I do die, you will be Lord of Casterly Rock, as you were always meant to be before Aerys Targaryen raised you to the Kingsguard nearly 20 years ago."
Jaime didn't care about leaving King's Landing. He had nothing left here for him anyway; he detested Cersei after learning of her many betrayals from Tyrion.
"There's one more thing." Tywin said slowly.
"What more is there? You've given me Valyrian steel and the Rock already."
Jaime sat down across from his father and just looked at him. "A wife?"
"Yes. I was planning to marry the young Stark girl to Tyrion to secure the North and undermine the Tyrells who planned to do the same." His father said. "But you've returned and given me this great opportunity."
"Sansa Stark? Isn't she a bit young?"
"That's of no matter." Tywin waved it off.
"I'm old enough to be her father!"
"Yes. And you will father your children by her." Tywin said, dryly. His face was an emotionless mask as he stared at his son. "You will put a child in her belly and secure the North."
"And what if she doesn't love me after all that our family has done to her?" Jaime practically yelled at him.
"You will put a baby in her, one way or another."
"I will not rape her!"
"You will do as you are told!" Tywin half stood from his seat and stared down at his son.
Jaime's jaw clenched as he said, "And are my siblings doing their duty for the family?"
Tywin nodded, resuming his seat. "Cersei will marry Ser Loras Tyrell to secure the Reach. And I will find another to betroth Tyrion too soon enough."
"Are we trying to secure every fucking kingdom!"
"Yes." He said, nodding slowly. "Myrcella is getting us Dorne. You will have the westerlands and the North. Cersei will have the Reach. All we need are the stormlands, the Iron Islands, and the Vale." After a moment, Tywin said, "Maybe I'll marry Tyrion to that Greyjoy bitch. Theon has been captive since the Boltons took Winterfell, she is now the heir to the Iron Islands."
"Not a bad move, if you can get Balon Greyjoy to the table."
"We will, one way or another." Tywin said, committing to his plan. "Now, go tell your intended of the change. Be sure to wipe her tears, the poor girl's likely been crying her eyes out. Tyrion's no ideal match for anyone, least of all a beauty from the North. Tell her you are to be married within a fortnight and will ride for Casterly Rock not long after."
Jaime sighed and nodded. "Yes, Father."
He stood and walked to the door but his father called him back. "Your sword, Jaime."
Jaime grabbed the Valyrian sword from the desk and managed to hang it from his waist, on his right side rather than his left. His father watched his struggle. Jaime ignored his father's muffled chuckle as he exited the solar.
Jaime found Sansa in her bedchamber. He knocked quietly on the door and heard a faint, "Come in." He opened the door and her Tully blue eyes lit up in surprise. "Ser Jaime."
"Lady Sansa." He said, nodding to her as he stepped fully in the room. Her handmaiden, Shae, was brushing her long auburn locks. "I wonder if we could have a word in private?"
Sansa looked to Shae and nodded. The Lorathi handmaiden gave Jaime a wary look but didn't comment on his being there.
Sansa stood and faced Jaime. "I didn't know you were back. What can I do for you, Ser?"
Jaime walked toward her and said slowly, "I have some news of your wedding."
Sansa's eyes cast to the ground. "Oh."
He sighed and stood in front of her, only a feet from his newly betrothed. "You will not be marrying my brother."
Her eyes shot to his face as she said, "I won't?"
He shook his head and looked at a spot beyond her. "No." She was smiling, her mood changing drastically. He wondered if she would stay happy after he told her the second part of the news. "You won't be marrying Tyrion, my lady."
"But I'm still to marry someone?" She was smart, he knew that already.
"Yes." He nodded. "You are to marry me."
Her eyebrows furrowed. "But you're of the Kingsguard. You're sworn to have no wife, Ser Jaime."
He shook his head. "I won't be the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard nor a knight of the Kingsguard." She was confused. He realized he had been hiding his right arm behind his back. He pulled it into view and she gasped. Word hadn't reached her yet it would seem. "I will not serve with one hand."
She stepped closer to him and raised a hand to touch his arm but stopped herself. "May I?" He nodded and she ran her hand over the bandaged stump. "Does it hurt?"
"Yes. Qyburn says it should stop soon though." Jaime replied, watching her run her fingers over it in fascination. "Have you never seen a cripple?"
Her eyes shot to his face. "My brother is a cripple."
"Yes, but you haven't seen him since." Jaime, of course, knew that Bran was a cripple, he had been the one to cripple him. "What fascinates you so?"
Sansa dropped her hand and lowered her eyes, she said, "I'm sorry, Ser Jaime. I didn't mean…"
"It's quite alright, Lady Sansa." Jaime smiled kindly at her.
Silence fell between them for a moment and Jaime waited for Sansa to say something, anything. When she didn't, he said, "We're to be married within a fortnight. We will make for Casterly Rock after. I am to act as lord in my father's stead." He gave her a small bow before saying, "Lady Sansa, I am sorry. For everything."
She looked at him quizzically as he exited the room.