Toten knelt next to his bed in the Red Keep. The bells had already sounded briefly in anticipation on what was coming on the morrow. Toten looked out the window into the darkness beyond, and his shoulders shook.
It’s happening again, he thought, old memories surfacing quickly and terribly. War is here…and I have to lose more people that I love.
His sword lay on the bed before him, glinting coldly in the light from the moon outside. He had said he would never pick up a blade again after his last war, but more and more lately he had been forced to draw it. He tried to maintain his composure but the loss swarmed over him and tears fell from his eyes. Old friends swam before him. Tygor, smiling the same grin that his son now wore so often. Loras, swaggering down hallways. Jaime.
Gods, Jaime, Toten gasped in his mind, a fresh surge of tears streaming from him.
Toten rose and staggered to the window. He searched the sky desperately, looking, looking for her.
But he couldn’t find her. He hadn’t been able to for two days.
He slumped into a chair and hung his head in despair, aches that had nothing to do with the physical spreading through him.
A cool hand touched his shoulder, his cheek. He looked up. It was her. As she always had been. Pale silver hair trailing down her lean back, a light flowing pink dress wafting behind her. Toten’s heart stopped.
She knelt in front of him, the pale glow of the moon lighting her beautifully. She took his face in her hands. “You have to be strong, my love,” she whispered. Her voice was full of life and passion, an eagerness and caring flowing through the words. “You need to be king.”
Toten searched her smooth face, pouring deep into her violet eyes. “I’m not the king,” he managed. “Not anymore.”
“You have always been my king,” she said, a fierceness to her voice. “And my king always does what he has to, to make things better for his people.”
A fresh wave of sadness rolled over Toten. “I just want to be with you again,” he said. “Why can’t I be where you are?”
She drew him close to her and held him tightly, shushing him. “Now isn’t your time, love,” she said. “You have to stay. You have to protect our family. They need you. Our time will come later.”
Toten held her for what seemed like only seconds when she finally pulled away.
“They need you,” she said, authority pouring from her. “Take care of the children, Toten. You need to take care of them.”
Toten nodded, understanding. He needed her words to push him forward, to set him on his course. He always had.
As much as he hated it, as much as he wanted to put down his blade forever, Toten would pick it up for his family, for what was right. His son needed him. His daughter needed them. Their children and the friends they all shared who were so much more. Toten’s family was far reaching, from far in the north to the south of Dorne. Toten’s family was Westeros. And he would fight for his family to the end.
She knelt down and kissed his forehead, knowing in her eyes. She stepped away, towards the window, but Toten held onto her hand.
“Stay…” he said, not letting go. “Please stay, Gabby.”
Gabby smirked, all fire. “I can’t, you know I can’t.” She danced out of his grasp, all feminine curves and lithely made her way to the window. “But I’m always around. Just in case.” She winked.
Toten smiled and looked down. When he looked back up she was gone. He walked over to the window again and let the cool air wash away the last of his uncertainty.
He looked to the sky as come clouds moved past, a bright shining star revealed in their wake.