[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
It was late when the rain finally ended, into the wee hours when I took the dawn watch, and I didn’t see Thordin until he came to the fire during that watch the next morning, looking as exhausted as I wouldn’t admit to feeling. I’d spent the hours after J.T. had finished with him sitting with Thom while he slept and had only left to take the dawn watch to spare Cameron from having to leave Neve. Her water had broken during the aftermath of the battle and when time for the watch came, she was still in the throes of labor when it came time for the change in the watch. I’d sent word for him to stay with her via J.T., then gone to take the watch. As much as it made me ache to think of Thom maybe waking up without Lin and I there, some things were much more important.
Thordin arrived by the fire long after I’d taken the watch, slumping down across from me, complexion like wax and his eyes sunken into shadowed hollows in his face. I winced slightly at the sight, then slowly stood to put on some water for coffee.
“I know better than to ask if you’re all right,” I said quietly. “How’s Sif?”
“Unconscious,” he grated, staring at the fire. His gaze drifted from the flames a moment later, settling on the basket where Lin was fast asleep, swaddled in a blanket that he’d already managed to work an arm free from. “Not in any danger of bleeding out anymore, though, so I suppose that’s something. Took a lot of work, though.” He closed his eyes. “Jac told me to get some air. Said she did the same thing to Sif a few times when she was fretting over me. I just—bloody hell, Marin. I told them that I would end them if I lost her to this wound and I meant it but what I really—I really don’t want her to die. I don’t want to lose her, not ever again. Once was enough.”
“I think she’d say the same about you,” I said. “Once was enough. What you did—”
“Was reckless, I know. But your brother followed me out there.”
“Trust me, I noticed.” I got out two mugs, then paused, watching him for a few minutes. His gaze had shifted again, back to the fire. “That was one hell of a storm.”
“I should have let it go sooner,” he muttered. “I wasn’t thinking. Not about that, anyway.”
“None of us blame you for that.”
“No one that’s voiced it to you, anyway.” He scrubbed a hand roughly over his face. “And really, how many people actually knew it was me?”
“A few,” I said. “Maybe not everyone.”
Thordin nodded and stared into the flames. “It’ll be everyone someday.”
“Someday isn’t today.” I started to make coffee. He watched the fire, saying nothing for a long time.
Then, finally: “When they come again, I’ll make good on my promise.”
I didn’t ask what the promise was. I didn’t want to know if it was what I thought it was.
Sometimes, it was just safer not knowing.