Joffrey Baratheon tries his best to not let the screams get to him. They are loud, shrill and piercing; the sound echoes in the stone hallways and he tries his best to drown out the sound by the slap of his leather boots on the tiled floor. He paces quickly, waves off any attendants that try to bring him food or drink with a bejeweled hand and interrogates every handmaid that slips from Myrcella's bedchamber with a harsh voice and angry eyes. They all carry bloodstained sheets in their arms and jump when he addresses him; they say they cannot tell him anything because they do not know anything. But when the shrieks behind the large wooden door begin to tamper off, and they shift into the continuous pained groan of a dying animal, he knows.
Tommen is still a boy, but a tall boy. His face retains the soft curves of baby fat, but when he rounds the corner at a fast jog and hurries to meet his brother, there is the distinct smell of horses and sweat on him. Dirt dusts his cheeks, but his eyes are bright with what Joffrey would assume to be tears. The youngest of them three, and he had always acted it. "Is she going to die?" he asked. "Is 'Cella going to die?"
He searched for words to respond to that, but comes up blank, and waves off Tommen as well. The younger boy sits with his back against the wall and his head in his hands, and Joffrey ressumes pacing. It feels like hours before the tinny wail of a newborn joins the tired screams of its mother, and even longer before the old maester pushes open the door and announces; "The Princess Myrcella would like to see you. You can come in now."
Tommen is on his feet in a matter of seconds, but Joffrey shoulders him out of the way and slips in past the maester first. He would have likely shoved the old man, but he had the sense of dip away quickly and return to a basin of hot water by the window. The whole room was dark save for that window, light filtering through the glass to fall upon a bed, illuminating a blond haired beauty and a still screaming, squirming bundle of blankets.
Myrcella looked tired, a sheen of sweat drying on her face and hair plastered to her forehead and neck. She had cried and her eyes were red rimmed and exhausted, threatening to close the second she looked away from the little babe in her arms. The room smelled of blood and sweat, but the thin white sheet that pooled around her waist bore no trace of blood. The king is not stupid enough to believe that would mean there was nothing wrong, though, and takes a few steps forward on the pretense of approaching the bed and checking on his sister for himself, but he stops. Falters. And speaks her name instead.
"Myrcella - ..."
She looks at him then, green eyes glittering and the faintest of faint smiles curling her lips. She hefts the baby up in her arms and jostles the blanket loose so the swaddling fall away from the child's head, revealing soft curls.
Soft black curls.
And Joffrey's breath stops.
Whatever she sees in his face must look like anger, for she shifts to hold the baby closer to her chest. "Joffrey, don't hurt him -"
But he's laughing. Laughing and shaking and Tommen is trying to put a hand on his shoulder, but he shrugs it off and reaches to hug his brother instead. They don't know. Neither of them understand, but they will. And soon after, the whole realm would, too.