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Never Let Me Go

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She has the ring on her finger still, the ring with stone the color of her shimmering eyes, the one he had given her the day he bended the knee and asked for her hand in marriage.

“I thought you have packed all your jewelries for the journey?” Windproud will sail on the morrow, and they will depart on the mission to find a worthy good-daughter for a glorious king. That was how Aerys had put it, how he had described the mission entrusted to his Baratheon cousin and his lady wife.

“I could not bear to part with it,” Cassana replies, fingers nervously rubbing the stone. “What if we fail?”

“We will not fail. And even if we do … well, Aerys loves me, his dearest cousin,” Steffon says, smiling his brightest smile.

“Like he loves Tywin Lannister, his dearest and closest companion?” Remember how well that turned out. You should know better, her eyes are chiding him. You should know better than to lie to yourself. Or to me.

What a pity, he thinks, that none of their sons had inherited Cassana’s eyes. Not the color, and certainly not the expressiveness. Perhaps Renly has inherited the latter from his mother, though it is hard to tell for certain with a babe just past his first nameday. As to the former, Renly’s eyes had never truly been green; it was only Steffon’s imagination gone wild in the first few moments after his youngest son’s birth. He has your eyes, Cassana, your beautiful eyes, he had exclaimed, before Maester Cressen kindly but awkwardly corrected him.

“Aerys will not be forgiving,” Cassana continues.

Steffon closes his eyes. He does not want to believe this. Not of Aerys, not of the boy who -

But the child is not always father to the man. Or perhaps, he had not known the child that Aerys had been as well as he thought he did.

Eyes still closed, he feels, but does not see, his wife’s jeweled hand grasping his own.

“You see that, don’t you? That your cousin is not the man you once believed him to be, nor is he the man you still wish him to be.”

My father sees what he wants to see, his mother’s voice echoes in Steffon’s ear.

The man who only saw what he wanted to see had once told his three grandchildren, We are not puppets on a string, bound to repeat the errors of our ancestors.