I finally saw El today after almost six years.
It was everything I’d hoped it would be. And everything I hadn’t.
She said things that I never would have thought. Horrible things. But what’s worse is that she wasn’t wrong.
El was always the smart one, I know that. I just didn’t know that she could be cruel. She was right. I was gone too long. I forced her to have to be that way. She needed me, just like she used to…
“Oof!” Toten Wyl grunted as he hit the ground after a powerful shove from Arya. Natan rocked with laughter from his perch on the small wall, right up until a second shove landed him next to Toten.
“Who’s laughin’ now, you idiot?” Toten said as he stood up, rubbing his backside. “Very funny, Horseface,” he scowled up at Arya, who now occupied their spots, swigging from the bottle of wine the two boys had swiped from Rockfall’s kitchens.
The boys dusted themselves off and chased after Arya and the three of them tore into the castle, clattering around halls and through rooms until they rounded a corner near the great hall and ran straight into Elia, Tommen, and Lyene, almost sending all of them to the ground.
“Gods, Natan!” Elia yelled as they all untangled themselves. “What’s wrong with you!”
“Sorry, El. We were just fooling around.”
“Well you’re always fooling around, aren’t you? You could be using your time to do something useful.” Her eyes darted to the bottle that was now in Natan’s hand. “Instead of trying to be Robert Baratheon and taking these two down with you!” She stormed away, Lyene right at her side. Tommen paused for a moment, opening his mouth like he was about to speak, an apologetic look ok his face, until Elia called for him and he went off, leaving only a hurried “Sorry” behind him.
“What’s her problem?” Toten asked, snagging the bottle and taking a swig.
“Don’t worry about her,” Natan said, turning into the hall. “Come on, let’s go see what Uncle Lons is up to.”
Hours later, Natan opened the door to one of the highest rooms in an old tower. No one came there anymore. Except for Elia. She sat by the window, knees drawn up to her chest.
“Thought I might find you here,” Natan said as he sat next to her. She responded with silence.
“You want to talk about it? Or do you want me to start guessing?” he asked softly, so she knew he was being sincere.
He waited a long time for her response, but it was an easy silence.
“I was thinking about her a lot today,” Elia said quietly. Natan knew at once what she meant, but he let her talk. Elia went on, divulging her thoughts and problems, and bared her heart to him. He listened and talked to her, a brother to a sister, and they discussed things that they only talked bout with each other, far into the night…
I found her tonight, just like I always would. I knew as soon as I saw her that I had to. I could always tell then and it would seem six years hasn’t changed that. I don’t know if she knows how much she means to me. I don’t think she knows that our late night talks helped me as much as they did her.
There’s no way I could have taken the crown without talking with El first.
Her opinion is just as important to me as Father’s.
And neither six years or sixty will change that.