“She cried listening to my song, Jon. She understands. What it’s like to not be free, to live like a trapped bird in a pretty cage.”
I have shed tears too. For your songs. For you. For the us that never was, and never will be.
He knew what it was like to live like a trapped bird too. To live every day lying to the world, lying to himself, about who he was, what he wanted, what he needed.
About who he loved.
Those words he could never say. Not to his silver prince. So he did the right thing and he counseled Rhaegar about his duties. His responsibilities. His wife. His children. His kingdom. How could a prince abandon all of that for a mere girl?
“She is more than just a girl. I need her,” Rhaegar insisted.
“You need her? You love her, do you mean?” Jon asked, perturbed.
“I need her,” Rhaegar said darkly, and refused to divulge further. “My wife and my children, I leave them in your care for the time being.”
Elia refused to believe that Jon did not know where Rhaegar was headed. “He would have confided in you,” she confronted him time and time again. “His most trusted companion, his beloved friend. How could you not know what he had been planning?”
Beloved. He repeated the words in his mind over and over again. Rhaegar trusted him, depended on him, but did not love him. Rhaegar loved his lady wife, Jon had secretly despaired at one time, but that was beginning to seem less and less likely now. For how could you love someone, yet went on to pile humiliation after humiliation upon them?
Rhaegar needed his wild northern girl, but was need truly the same as love?
“I have loved, and I have lost,” Elia said bleakly.
Jon wished he could have said the same, but he could not. He had loved, yes, but he had not lost, for how could you lose someone that was never yours to begin with?