Twenty-two – 03

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

We lapsed into silence for a few minutes. Thordin’s gaze wandered, eventually settling on Lin’s basket. I could sense an ache in him, something that went beyond anything physical, something that lay in the depths of his very soul.

I exhaled a quiet breath and it was enough to draw his attention, at least momentarily.

“What?”

“Jac’s with Sif?”

He closed his eyes and nodded. “She said she wasn’t going to leave until she woke up. Is that supposed to be reassuring?”

“Is it?” I asked, taking another sip of coffee.

“Yes. No. Dammit, I don’t know.” He pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, groaning. “I don’t fucking know and it’s making me crazy that I don’t know if it is or not. I feel like I should be there but at the same time I know she’s right and I need to clear my head but she’s staying with her and that makes me worry that much more.”

“Endless feedback loop,” I said, then smiled weakly. “It takes some breaking. I know how you feel, though. Thom’s out cold right now because of whatever the hell changed with the camazotzi—or changed with him. I’m not sure which it is.”

“Either,” Thordin said. “Both.” He sighed and picked up his mug again, staring into its depths for a few seconds before he finally got up and moved closer to me, settling down on the opposite side of Lin’s basket. He stared at the infant for a few seconds, then reached a hand toward him, one finger trailing down the side of my son’s face. Lin stirred, but didn’t wake.

I smiled faintly. “You’ll have a chance, Thordin.”

“I had a chance,” he murmured quietly. “And then I got myself killed. Who knows what happened to the son I never knew.” He glanced up at me, smiling a sad little smile. “I don’t know if that chance will come again, or if I’ll ever know what it would be like.”

“Don’t rule it out,” I whispered.

Thordin shrugged slightly. “It seems like it’s pretty far away now. Maybe it’ll happen. Maybe it won’t. If I lose her…”

“You won’t.”

“You don’t know that.”

I reached over and grasped his arm, squeezing. “Yes,” I said, my voice firm. “Yes, I do. You’re not going to lose her.”

He met my gaze, held it. He swallowed hard, twice, apparently seeing something in my eyes that frightened him. He looked away, back toward the fire.

His head bobbed once in a nod and I let go of his arm.

We lapsed into silence again, neither willing to break it—not quite, not yet. It was a fragile thing, that silence, his hope, my resolve—but it was a thing that we needed in that moment, a thing that neither of us was willing to sacrifice.

So we sat in silence, listening to the sound of a crackling fire and a sleeping infant, until the sound of footsteps heralded an end to the moment.

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