It had been a mistake.
Piotr knew that now. He had been wrong to refuse his grandson his name, as he had been wrong just now, to coddle him, to say it had been a good enough effort. Miles would see through that, as he saw through most lies. Miles knew he had failed and that it had been his own fault. Piotr shouldn't have pretended otherwise; it would do the boy harm in the long run not to learn from it. Worse, Piotr knew that he had no excuse except shock. He had really thought Miles would have been able to do it, that he could overcome his body and his natural recklessness to take his rightful place among his brother officers.
No. He knew Miles was able to do it. He had no doubt that with the proper discipline, Miles could make a fine officer, the kind this new, strange Barrayar would need. But if the military had changed so much that it could not respect Vorkosigan honour and Vorkosigan service, where would Miles be then? Piotr was not the only one to have made mistakes. Aral had been too soft on the boy, trying to make him believe that he didn't need to prove anything. As for That Woman, she wanted to make his grandson Betan, to turn him into Miles Naismith without having him remember that he was Vorkosigan. Piotr had helped with that by not allowing the boy his name, an old man's proud folly. He saw now that his whimsy earlier, of giving the name now, would never work. Some battles, once lost, could not be won again.
But if there was anything Piotr Vorkosigan knew, it was that the war was not over until all the soldiers were dead. If a battle could not be won in the traditional way, one had to get inventive. Piotr's grandson might never hold military rank—though Piotr wasn't so sure, if anyone could sneak his way into the military it would be Miles—but he would have to fight for Barrayar, no matter what That Woman wanted. Piotr was too old and too tired to help, but he could at least offer a few suggestions on how to rework his strategy. His grandson was no Betan and no town clown. He reached for his bell, hoping to summon his man to get Miles.
Then he stopped. Miles was too much like his father, getting into these silly, melodramatic black moods. He wouldn't be willing to listen to Piotr now. Unlike Miles, Piotr had the sense to know when to retreat, when to conserve his strength for another day. He would allow the boy the day to mope about and indulge these ridiculous fantasies of being a town clown or something else useless. Then it would be time to get to work.
Besides, Piotr was feeling tired. Maybe he, too, needed the day to rest. Yes, he thought, tomorrow would be soon enough to begin again.