Buying land from Ned Stark was surprisingly easy, Theon thought. He and Mya had met with Ned and Catelyn after an admittedly stiff and stilted dinner, and Mya had practically fallen on her knees in front of Ned and Catelyn, begging for forgiveness. She’d been in tears, giving back all the wages she’d earned. Theon thought she’d come on a little strong, but it had worked. Ned and Catelyn were wary, justifiably so, but had told Mya there had been no lasting damage.
“I know how...difficult my sister can be,” Catelyn said. “She’s been fond of Petyr since we were children, and he knows it. He’s a clever man, and Lysa can’t see when she’s being taken advantage of.” She went quiet for a moment, then gave a quick shake of her head as if to dispel any images of Lysa or Baelish. “But that’s not what’s important. If you had come to us with the truth, Ned and I would have done what we could to help you. There was no need to lie.”
“She couldn’t have known that, Cat,” Ned broke in quietly. “And what’s done is done. There’s no need to rehash it.”
“I know,” Catelyn replied tightly. For a moment she looked like she wanted to say something else, but she didn’t. She always looked like she wanted to say more in regards to her sister; as long as Theon had known her, she rarely did.
Watching the small exchange between Ned and Catelyn, he wondered if his sister ever talked him the way Catelyn did Lysa; a tightening around the eyes, short, staccato words. Is she ashamed? Does she ever think about me? In the chair next to him, Mya’s hand brushed next to his and interrupted his thoughts. He shoved them to the back of his mind with the rest of the thoughts of his family.
Ned seemed to have been expecting Theon’s offer, judging by how quickly he accepted. A price was agreed upon, and Ned volunteered his services, as well as his sons’, to help make the cabin livable. When Theon mentioned that he intended to bring Mya with him, he could see the doubt in Ned and Catelyn’s faces but they held their tongues at his defiant expression.
“I know you don’t approve of what we’re doing,” he said, “but it’s our choice. I know folks’ll talk but ain’t they doin’ that already? They can’t say anything Mya and I ain’t heard before.”
“We know that,” Catelyn said slowly. “If you want to start courtin’, that’s one thing. But this... Theon, you’ve been a part of this family for over a decade. And Mya...we’ve all grown fond of you. We’re worried this won’t work like you both think it will. ”
“We know,” Mya said, her voice gentle. “If there are any two people who know life doesn’t go how you want it to, it’s us. I appreciate all you’ve done for me, and I know Theon does too. But this is what we want to do. It’s not what most people do, but it’s right for us.”
That had been slightly more than a month ago, and now Theon and Mya were settled in their home.
It wasn’t the easiest transition, and the gods knew they were still trying to get to really know each other, but waking up with Mya every morning was one of the best things Theon had ever experienced. She seemed so shy, striving to please him and anticipate his every need. It was unsettling at first. Theon had to keep reminding himself that she’d been raised to do just that - do anything that was asked of her or face the consequences. It was just like when they’d started working together, and just like then, Theon had to force himself to be patient as she learned.
At night, it was easier. At night he’d pull her into their bed and together they’d erase whatever mistakes had been made during the day.
At least four days a week Catelyn and Robb would come out to their homestead, usually with Sansa, and occasionally Arya and Jon. While Theon, Robb, and Jon would pull stumps and stones out of the empty field Theon wanted to turn into a training ring, Catelyn and Sansa would patiently spend hours teaching Mya the things her own mother should have taught her - how to cook simple meals, how to tend a garden, how to sew and make soap from the ashes in the fireplace.
The only thing Mya was never able to do was to thread a needle - she could see for miles into the distance on a good day but she confessed to Theon that up close everything went a little blurry. It had always been like that, she said. When Theon teased her about needing glasses she just swatted at his arm.
“The ladies in town would love that, I bet. Instead of being a lying, thieving whore, I’d be a blind lying, thieving whore.”
Her tone was light, but Theon knew better. He and Mya had only ventured into town a few times since Lysa and Petyr had shown up. Each of those times had been marked with whispers and cold glances at Mya, and a distinct aloofness from the Tyrells. Theon found it easy to let everything roll off him, but it was harder for Mya. She would smile at everyone she saw, but he saw how her chin would wobble.
“They’ll get over it, sweetheart,” Theon told her quietly one night. They were sitting together in the schoolhouse, watching a yearly recital the students put on. Mya had attempted to talk to several girls from town and it hadn’t gone well. He’d watched as Mya’s shoulders drooped at the scornful looks she’d received. “By the end of the year they’ll forget anything ever happened.”
“D’you really think so?” The sad way she looked at him pierced Theon. Her eyes were red-rimmed and wet. She’d been quietly dabbing at them with a handkerchief. “We weren’t friends before, but they were at least civil to me.”
Theon wrapped an arm around her waist. “Don’t you worry ‘bout them. You got plenty of folks who like you just fine. The Starks, Roslin, Jory an’ Dacey…”
She looked up at him in the dark schoolroom. Up at the front, Arya was starting to recite an epic poem about Nymeria, the Dornish warrior-queen. “And you?”
“And me.” Theon caught her chin in a finger and tipped her face up to kiss her. “You know that. You don’t need them town girls.”
Mya leaned against his side, her head on his shoulder, but didn’t respond.
Theon knew Mya had never had a chance to finish her schooling. She could read and write, but she hadn’t been in a schoolroom since she was twelve years old. It bothered her, but she hardly ever complained about it. A solution quickly presented itself to Theon, and within a few weeks of them leaving Winterfell, Robb started bringing Roslin out few nights per week to tutor Mya in the things she should have learned. They would sit together at the kitchen table, heads bent together over ancient history books or classic literature. Roslin would leave the books with Mya, and she devoured them at night.
While the autumn evenings were warm, Robb and Theon would retire to the barn or the porch to shoot the shit or maybe play a game of checkers. Robb hadn’t heard anything from Jeyne himself, but he had heard from her brother that she’d reached the Citadel safely, and had been trying to convince them to accept her.
“I hope she gets in,” he told Theon one evening. They were sitting on the porch steps, a tin of blackberry pie between them. While Mya may have struggled with her numbers and couldn’t sew a straight line to save her life, she cooked like she was born in a kitchen. She could give Catelyn a run for her money, but Theon knew better than to mention that in front of Robb. “I really do.”
Theon speared a plump berry and bit of crust. “You think she’ll tell you if she does?”
“I dunno,” Robb shrugged half-heartedly. “I’m glad she’s tryin’ to do what makes her happy but...I dunno,” he repeated. “Wish I knew what’d make me happy.”
“Don’t go gettin’ all soft on me, Stark.” Theon clapped a hand on his friend’s shoulder and nudged the pie tin at him. “It’s been what, two months now? ‘s high time you started movin’ on.”
Robb looked at him glumly. “What d’you mean?”
Theon cast about for an idea. “Well...there are other girls in town...Hells, I’d bet you with a little effort even Roslin’d grow sweet on you.”
That earned him a snort. “Please, I’m not about to go takin’ advice on women from someone who had to buy his for most of his life.”
Not all, Theon thought as he reflected back on the conversation later that night. Robb and Roslin had left hours ago, with Robb subtly sliding closer to Roslin on the wagon seat, and Mya was curled up with some ancient, cracked tome on dragons or some other such thing. Theon had just finished checking on his animals in the barn, latching the door shut behind him. He’d brought Smiler with him, obviously. The Starks had given him and Mya a few chickens for eggs, and he’d bought a cow from Jory in exchange for breaking a yearling for him. Come spring, he had plans to build a chicken coop so they could stop roosting in the tack room and shitting all over his saddle blankets, but for now, they were all locked in tight for the night.
Theon stood in the middle of the clearing, gazing up at the clear night sky. The summer crickets were long since dead or sleeping, and the only sound was the creaking of the old trees. The stars twinkled high above him, and he suddenly found himself thinking of Ygritte. He hadn’t thought of her in...gods, months. He wondered if she’d been able to move on from him, find whatever sort of peace Wildlings found.
Probably, he thought. She’s probably got a flock of Wildling boys hard as the mountains for her. If he listened hard enough he could hear her laugh on the wind, but it was so faint now. Nearly gone.
He wondered if she ever came over those mountains, wondered what he would do if she found him again, and what she’d think if she saw him with land of his own, and a woman of his own. She’d laugh at me and tell me I was dull now. Not worth her time.
Soft footsteps came up behind him, and Mya’s arms wrapped around his waist. “What’re you doin’ out here?”
“Nothin’,” he replied after a moment. Turning to face her, he tipped her face up to his. The stars reflected in her eyes, and he could see his life in there.
Ygritte was fire. She burned fast and hot and destroyed you. Mya’s water. She gives you life.
Leaning in, he kissed Mya softly. He’d never told Mya about Ygritte, or the truth about how Robb had gotten hurt so many months ago. With a jolt, he realized he’d never told her her son was alive, either. She’s been nothing but honest with you. She deserves to know.
Mya rose on her toes, pressing against him as their kiss deepened. He pulled away after a minute, twining his fingers in her long, silky hair. “I love you,” he whispered. “I love you so much, Mya.”
She pulled away, smiling at him in the dark. After the first time he’d told her he loved her, Theon thought it would get easier to say, but it didn’t. That didn’t diminish how he felt about her, and he wondered sometimes if she knew that. But now wasn’t the time for that. Now was the time to come clean.
“Come inside,” he said. “We’ve got to talk.”
Mya sat on their bed and listened patiently while Theon told her the story of Ygritte, from the day they met until the day Robb had been shot. Theon was surprised at how good it felt to finally tell someone - like the weight that had hung around his neck since the spring had finally been lifted away. When he was done, he watched her face, wondering what her reaction would be.
For a long time she seemed to mull over his words but finally, she took one of his hands in both of hers. “It’s over though, right? You haven’t seen her since?”
“Right.” Theon nodded. “It’s over. I just...wanted to come clean. I know I should’ve done it sooner but it didn’t seem like the right time.”
“I understand,” Mya said slowly. She rubbed her thumb over his knuckles while she thought. It was an unconscious motion, one she did more than she realized. It was comforting. “Robb knows, then. Does anyone else?”
She nodded. “I...I won’t tell anyone. It’s not my place, and it...it doesn’t seem like it needs to be told. You made a mistake, and it’s done.”
This sounded promising, but Theon knew she wouldn’t take his next bit of news so well. “There’s more.”
Something in his tone made her small smile fade, and she sat up a little. “What? What’s wrong?”
Theon’s gut was churning. He tried to brace himself for whatever her reaction would be, but he felt like he was teetering on the edge of a cliff. “The night you were in jail, Baelish told me...your son didn’t die. He’s alive.”
Mya exhaled and seemed to shrivel before him. She stared at him, her lips slightly parted. Her hands, still clasping one of his, turned clammy and cold.
“...How?” she whispered. “I was there, I…”
“You never saw him, remember?” Theon was trying to remain as gentle as he could. “Baelish said he sold him to a merchant in Braavos. Or Norvos. Somewhere in Essos. He said the couple who bought him are wealthy - he’s probably been raised well.”
“He sold him?” Mya’s voice was raspy. “He sold him? But...I…”
She was floundering for words, tears starting to fall. Theon gathered her close, letting her work out her tears against his shoulder. He didn’t say anything; there was nothing to say. He couldn’t imagine what was going through her head. Finally a thought solidified.
“Just say the word, and we’ll go find him,” he said against her hair. “We’ll bring your boy home.”
Mya sniffled and pulled away, looking up at him. For a moment he could see how badly she wanted it, how badly she wanted to hold her son and see him, hear his little voice. When she replied her own voice was small. “Bring him...but...we can’t. It’s impossible”
“Sure we can,” Theon cupped her face, wiping away her tears. “He’s your son, your blood.”
“But…” Mya’s chin quivered. “I haven’t raised him. I love him but he’s not mine, he’s...these other people’s. I don’t even know his name. We couldn’t just show up in Braavos and start asking who bought a baby four years ago. And even if we did find him, I can’t just show up and expect his parents to give him back. They’ve had him for years, they love him, they’ve cared for him. He’s probably all they’ve ever known. They can give him things I never could.” She took a long, quavering breath. “It’s not fair. Even if-” She stopped, shaking her head. “It’s not fair.”
Theon was, frankly, amazed. If it had been his son, he’d be on the first boat towards Essos and wouldn’t come back until he had what he wanted. But, he supposed Mya was right. If Baelish was right, then her son was better off with a wealthy merchant family than he would be with them. It would be cruel to steal him away.
He wrapped his arms around Mya as she dissolved into tears again, resting his lips against her hair.
“No, it isn’t,” he agreed quietly. “It isn’t at all.”
For a long while the only sound in the room was her quiet, stifled sobs. Theon ran a hand up and down her back, knowing there wasn’t anything he could say. Finally she raised her head. “What must they think of me?”
Theon kept stroking her back. “For all we know, Baelish told them you were dead.” He shifted on the bed, leaning back against the headboard. Mya came with, curled against his side. “I bet if they knew you were alive, they’d be grateful you gave them a strong, healthy boy.”
He felt her smile. “He is healthy, isn’t he.”
“I’m sure he is. Except I bet he got your bony little bird hands.” Theon was flying by the seat of his pants, but imagining her son seemed to help Mya calm down. “And your hair, probably. And that crooked tooth you’ve got, I bet he has that too.”
“I got that when I fell down a flight of stairs when I was eleven. Doctor said I was lucky I had any of my teeth after that.”
“I’m sure he’ll have it soon enough, then.”
Mya shifted, draping an arm over his stomach. “‘m I a bad mother for not wanting to get him back?”
“Nah.” Theon shook his head. “You’re doin’ what’s right for him.”
Winter came fast that year. By the time the year ended, the ground was blanketed in snow that came past Theon’s knees and the wind was cold enough to freeze the breath in his lungs. The northern and western sides of his home were buried in drifts that were almost as tall as he was, but he didn’t mind. The cabin and barn were both warm and secure against the cold. After some of the bigger snowfalls, Robb would hitch the Starks’ heavy draft horses to their plow and clear a path all the way from Winterfell to Theon’s home. He appreciated it and knew Mya did too, but didn’t want to think about what sort of shape that dirt road would be in come spring.
One night just after Wintermas, he patted Smiler on the rump and shut his stall door. “Be glad we don’t have anywhere to go tomorrow, buddy,” he told his stallion. The winds had started late that morning, stiff and cold and straight off the mountains. The sky had been leaden gray for days. Mid-afternoon, the snow and sleet had come; hard icy pellets that buffeted Theon and Mya when they ventured outside. Mya had strung their laundry out to dry in the bitter winter air, and she’d scurried to pull it off the lines while Theon had stacked firewood inside the door of the cabin before the snow began to pile up too much.
After checking on their cow one last time, he turned his coat collar up against the wind and latched the barn door shut behind him. The cabin was just across the clearing, windows glowing with warm light, but on this cold, bitter night it seemed miles away. Lifting his lantern, Theon squinted into the blinding snow. He knew Mya had spent most of the afternoon cooking and baking, happily puttering around the kitchen and filling their home with strong, savory smells. His stomach rumbled just thinking about it.
There was a sudden lull in the wind, and Theon got the unshakeable feeling he was being watched. He spun, holding his lantern out in front of him as if that would somehow light the woods. They were dark, pitch black, but still. Theon held his breath, wondering if he was imagining the sound of footsteps, a branch cracking. There’s someone out there. Or something.
The wind kicked up again, howling, and Theon exhaled. Of course there’s something out there. You live in the middle of the godsdamned woods. It’s most likely a deer or fox or something. Go inside. Trudging across the clearing, he stamped snow off his boots as he climbed the steps. Pulling the door open, the warmth of the cabin washed over him and he couldn’t help but smile at the scene before him.
Shortly after Robb’s failed wedding, Sansa had taken her dog, Lady, into town when she called on Margaery Tyrell and one of her older brothers. The older brother had a dog as well, a huge loping beast, and no one had noticed that Lady was in heat until they’d found her and the Tyrell dog becoming well-acquainted in the back of the general store.
Two months later, Lady had crawled onto Ned and Catelyn’s bed while they were at church and messily delivered seven healthy, squirming puppies. Once they were old enough and Sansa was desperately trying to find homes, Theon and Mya had taken two: the biggest puppy, and the runt. Mya doted on them as she might over her own children, and Theon let her. More often than not, and despite his rule that they not sleep in their bed with them, he’d woken up to one wet, cold nose or another. Theon didn’t mind, though. Not that much. Mya had been out of sorts for weeks after he’d told her about her son. He wondered sometimes if he’d done the right thing, if honesty always was the best policy.
The puppies had helped pull Mya out of the daze. They were growing quickly, keeping her busy. Both of them were tussling in front of the fireplace now. The runt, Jenny, had pinned her brother Duncan, and was gnawing on an ear. Theon shut the door behind him, feeling it rattle as another blast of icy wind hit it. Not for the first time, he found himself silently thanking the old dead Stark who had built such a solid structure. He also knew without looking that his loaded shotgun hung above the door, ready at a moment’s notice. He thought again about that creeping feeling of being watched, and hoped he wouldn’t have to use it.
Mya was crouched before the fat pot-bellied stove, reaching into the oven to pull out a large steaming pie. Theon pulled his coat off and hung it next to the door, his mouth watering. “That better be supper for you and I.”
“Just for the pups and I if you don’t take off those wet boots.” Mya set the pie on the counter so she could cut it. “I had to use up the last of the autumn apples, so I sliced them up with some potatoes and sweet onions and that spicy sausage Catelyn gave us last month and threw it in a pie crust. It’s nothin’ fancy.”
Theon came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her and burying his cold nose against her neck. “It sounds perfect.”
She squealed and squirmed to get away. “Stop that! You’re freezing!”
Theon just chuckled and held her tighter. “Then warm me up, woman!”
Mya laughed and tilted her head back to kiss him. “After supper. Now sit down so we can eat before this gets cold.”
He let the kiss linger for a moment before sitting at their second-hand table. Everything in the cabin was second-hand, but Theon didn’t mind as much as he thought he would. Mya kept it clean and tidy, scrubbing pots and pans and chiding at Theon when he didn’t make the bed in the mornings. He thought he’d be more annoyed with it, but he wasn’t.
Theon barely had a chance to dig into his meal before three huge, booming knocks rattled the front door. The dogs paused in their roughhousing, ears pricked. Mya’s eyes were wide. “Robb wasn’t coming by tonight, was he?”
Theon was already on his feet, reaching for his gun. “Not in this weather. And Robb wouldn't bother knocking.” There was a trapdoor leading to the root cellar under the house, and he wondered for a moment if he shouldn’t send Mya down there. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s probably some poor sap who wandered off the main road.
Before he could open his mouth there was more pounding. His heart in his throat, Theon racked his shotgun and opened the door. Crowding the porch were three of the biggest men Theon had ever seen. They towered over him, all beards and bearskin wrapped around bodies like tree trunks. Wildlings. He swallowed hard, but held his gun to his shoulder. “What d’you want?”
The oldest man spoke, a gruff and gravelly voice coming out of a thick, wooly grey beard. “You Greyjoy?”
“I am.” Behind him he could hear the puppies whimpering and Mya trying to quiet them. “I’ll ask again. What do you want?”
“Stand aside, boy.” One of the other Wildlings, one who stood at least a foot taller than the old man, stomped into the cabin and easily pushed Theon’s gun aside. He looked around the room, his eyes landing on Mya. “That yer woman?”
“I am,” Mya replied before Theon could, and he gritted his teeth.
“Hush, now,” he said over his shoulder, but by then the other two men had barreled into the house. The third one pushed the door shut. He was cradling his left arm. Is he injured? Do they need help? As he watched, the third one crossed the room in a few huge strides and crouched before the fire. Jenny sniffed at him curiously, but when he looked down at her she skittered back to Mya’s feet. Theon’s guts twisted when he saw the size of the axe strapped to his back. I should’ve sent her to the cellar.
“She ain’t got no meat on her bones, that one,” the tall Wildling said. “You lost your taste for a real woman then, did ya?”
Theon was confused and angry now. “What in the hells are you talking about?”
The old man silenced the tall one with a look. “You say you’re Greyjoy. There any others of your clan in these parts?”
“No,” Theon replied tightly. “Not for hundreds of miles.”
“Good.” The old man nodded. “You remember Ygritte.”
Theon’s throat clapped shut as if a huge hand gripped it. He glanced at Mya, white-faced and terrified, and nodded. “I do,” he forced out. “Why?”
The three Wildlings looked from one to the other before the third one stood and spoke. “By rights we ought to paint the walls with your’n blood and set a torch to this place. But that warn’t her wish.”
What is he talking about? Theon reached for his gun again. “She attacked my...my brother. I had to do what I did.”
“Y'had to cut her off like ye did, after you put your child in her belly?” The old man stood up straight, his shoulders squared.
Theon went cold. “My what?”
The old man gestured to the third man, who opened his coat. Cradled under the furs was a wrapped bundle strapped to his chest. With surprising gentleness, he unstrapped it and held it out. “Your son,” he said.
Theon didn’t move, couldn’t move. All at once he was back in the clearing, and Ygritte stood before him.
I’m your family, and you’re mine, more than you know...you have no idea what you’re giving up.
“That’s impossible,” he said through numb lips.
The tall Wildling bristled and seemed to grow even taller. “Y’callin’ her a liar, then?”
“N-no, I just...she wasn’t...she never told me…” Theon’s legs were going hollow. The third Wildling still held out the wrapped baby but Theon couldn’t bring himself to take it. There was a sudden movement - Mya was taking the child and cradling it, rocking lightly. She came up to the Wildling’s ribcage, but she didn’t seem to be giving him a second thought. “It’s mine?”
“It’s yours,” the old Wildling said. “She didn’t even tell us till her time came on her. We kept askin’ and askin’ but she kept it quiet till she had to tell us.”
“Where is she?” In the corner the baby, his son, was making little noises, and Mya was trying to quiet him. It didn’t seem to matter to her that her home was filled with Wildlings that would slit her throat at the slightest inclination. “Where’s Ygritte?”
“She’s where she belongs,” the old Wildling said. “Took her three days to have that boy. By then the fever had set in. She lived another day and another night. Died this morning.”
Theon’s legs finally gave out, and he sat heavily in his kitchen chair. “Dead?”
The old Wildling nodded once. “Dead. By your seed. Last thing she wanted was for us to bring ‘im to you. By rights we should’ve kept him, raised him right, but it’s what she wanted.”
His tongue felt like it was detached from his mouth. It lay in his mouth like an old slab of meat. He couldn't have spoken if he wanted to. Fortunately, Mya could. “What’s his name?”
The third Wildling snorted derisively. “Don’t be stupid. Y’don’t name a child before its second year. ‘s a curse otherwise.”
Dimly Theon could see Mya’s cheeks redden. He wanted to stand up, to defend her, to push these men out of his house but he seemed to be made of stone. Ygritte...dead. It couldn’t be true, but at the same time Theon knew it was. She would never give away her own child unless she was dying.
“He’s hungry,” Mya was saying. She still hadn’t taken her eyes off the baby. Something in Theon’s chest twisted looking at her. She couldn’t seriously be thinking of raising a baby that wasn’t her own, could she? You were willing to raise her son.
“We didn’t bring a wet nurse with us, girl,” the tall Wildling growled. “There’s a goat on your porch for ‘im to suckle on. Midwife insisted on it when she found out we was takin’ him. He’s not like to get anything out of you, is he.”
“What’re you going to do, Greyjoy?” The old Wildling spoke. Hearing his name forced Theon out of his daze. “Y’gonna take your son, or are we?”
“I am.” He replied automatically. He hadn’t even seen the boy’s face but Theon knew to give away his own flesh and blood would be a greater sin than even he could bear. He didn’t know how he and Mya would manage, what he would tell the Starks, but he knew he wasn’t about to turn his back on his son. His eyes met Mya’s across the room, and she gave an almost imperceptible nod. “We are.”
“We’ll be keeping an eye on you. That boy’s as much Wildling as he is Southerner,” the old Wildling said.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll be shot on sight if you so much as peek over those mountains,” Theon retorted. The three Wildlings looked at each other, smirking.
“We did more than peek over them today, boy. No one laid a finger on us. You think we need our own eyes to see you?” The tall Wildling said. He laughed once, more of a humorless bark.
“We’ll leave ye now,” the old Wildling said. “You didn’t do right by my girl. You do right by your boy. If you don’t we’ll know. And you’ll pay for it.” He straightened. “Toregg. Torwynd.”
The two younger Wildlings strode across the cabin and left, the tall one having to duck. The old man lingered and for the first time Theon saw the pain in his eyes.
“You take care of that boy,” he said. His voice was quieter now, sadder. “You take good care of ‘im.”
Theon swallowed hard. He couldn’t understand why the tears welling in the old man’s eyes would make his vision blur. “I will. You have my word.”
The old man pulled off a thick glove and brushed his hand across the baby’s head one last time, then turned abruptly to go. “Don’t forget your goat.” He pulled the door open and just like that, vanished into the wintry night.
For a long moment the cabin was quiet. Theon stared at Mya, and she stared right back. Finally, at her feet, Jenny leapt on Duncan and resumed biting his ear. That seemed to break some of the tension, and Mya laughed. It was a high-pitched, nervous thing. Theon couldn’t blame her.
“I...don’t know what to say,” he said.
She shook her head, adjusting the bundle in her arms. “I don’t know what there is to say. Come over here though. See your boy.”
Crossing the cabin seemed to take years, but the second Theon laid eyes on the baby he knew it was his. He had the same pale, translucent skin Ygritte had. The faint fuzz covering his head had a distinct curl to it, but it was as black as Theon’s. He was sleeping, his rosebud mouth puckered slightly. He seemed impossibly small, like a doll that Sansa would’ve played with.
It was surreal. Just a few months ago he had been nauseated at the thought of his children. That’s different. Any child created with Ellie would’ve been created out of duty and resented right from the start. You made this boy with someone you loved.
The baby was sucking on Mya’s pinkie finger, eyes drooping into sleep. Theon was afraid to touch him. “What do we do with him?”
Mya smiled. It pierced through Theon like the sun coming over the horizon, warmed him to his core. “Feed him. Name him. Raise him. He’ll be ours, Theon. Our boy.”
“Our boy.” Theon wrapped an arm around her shoulders. They’d figure everything out soon enough. Tonight, though, was just for them. “Our boy.”
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