Chapter Twenty::Secrets

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Given half the chance, the small squad that Raina had managed to acquire, made for the river, desperate to seek some peace and quiet before the evening tribute meal. Robb had made sure they had seats close to the head table, and so they were all grateful, but the inevitable loud rows from fellow soldiers were something they needed preparation for. The trio sat quietly on the bank of the long river, playing with strands of grass and intertwining them in their fingers, relaxed by the simplicity of the moment. The last time Raina had gotten a moment to just think was when her and Robb headed back to his camp, when he'd first found her some months back, they'd stopped and stared at the Twins at night, and were able to just stand in the silence for a while. Raina cherished moments like these, especially with the hectic life of the war, it was a rarity to ever get a break. Raina knew she was luckier than the others, never having to fight on the front line, or actually be in battle at all, but that could change soon, and it would be times like these she'd be lucky to have. Finn lay with his head on her lap, a single daisy gripped between his fingers as he merely stared up at it. Rodrik lent against a nearby tree, head hung forward as he titled a small figurine upon his lap. And Raina, sat with her legs crossed, and with a perfect view of the river, gripped a single object in her hand, thinking over 6 words in her head, and 6 only. She still hadn't told anyone about the letter from Asher, or the coin, or that she knew that he had to be alive. She couldn't face bringing it up to Rodrik, not yet. She knew he had always worried about his little brother getting hurt in Essos, but he was forced into pushing those thoughts aside, by his father, and Raina bringing that up now would do no favours to him or the family.

They had not spoken much since they'd sat down, but the trio were pleasantly enjoying one another's company, though the conversation was limited, they were given some free time, with one another, that was all that mattered. The silence would have continued had Finn not grown restless, clearly something eating at his mind as they sat in the quiet. "Why don't you tell him?" He blurted out, evidently wanting to know so that his mind would not formulate answers of his own. "Who Robb?" Rodrik questioned, knowing that the older of the two Glovers had contemplated this matter for sometime, always stumbling at why his sister had not confided in her once closest friend. "Yes." Finn said simply, his eyes now looking past the matter of the flower and to the young girl above him, who's face gave no indication to what she was thinking. "It's complicated," Was all she gave in answer, her eyes looking to the glistening water instead of her brother, trying to find a decent enough excuse of her own to give. In all honesty, she didn't know. It was what seemed logical, she had always trusted him with her life, this should have been no different, but for some reason she just couldn't bring herself to tell him. She was too scared of what would happen to her and her friendship with him that she'd found herself wanted anything, the tiniest scrap of a second chance, even if it had meant lying to him. But since then she'd had plenty of occasions to spill the secret, and hadn't. For those times she had no answer. Fear? Cautiousness? Lack of trust? She had never been scared of Robb's reaction or judgement before, nor had she ever considered it a risk of telling him anything, and the thought of not trusting him now made her feel sick. There was no honest answer to why she'd lied to her King and close friend for all these months, or why she was still so concerned about him finding out the truth, yet she still wouldn't. Maybe now it was because she had lied, and she didn't want Robb to think her a liar, or be disappointed in her, but that could not be certain, as all she knew was that she just couldn't do it.

"How? What makes it so complicated? Tell me." Finn rolled over, propping himself up on his elbows so that he could look to her, and not be ignored. He shared her persistence, that was obvious, and sometimes infuriating when it came to matters such as these. And then it came again, what answer could Raina give that he could not rebut? He could easily challenge all of her arguments and come up with a much better solution to her situation than she's willing to accept. "I-" Speechless. Perhaps she had just grown so comfortable in her new life that she wasn't prepared to give it up like she had her old one. She didn't want to have to lose everything again, and start afresh like she had done already. "I don't know. I'm scared, I guess. I'm scared that he won't be happy with all I've done, or that he'll hate me because I lied to get where I am," Raina stated steadily, gripping the coin tighter in her palm for hope of solace, or anything reassuring that might come from the connection to Asher, who was always good with these issues. "But it's Robb. He's loved you since you could walk, why are you so sure he will hate you for this? If anything he will understand and protect you," Finn retorted, sounding so sure and stubborn about this, clearly not liking his sisters awkward position as much as she was. "You can't be sure of that," She mumbled, her attention maintained on the river lay before her. "Neither can you!" Finn proceeded. "I am sure Robb would understand, he always does. He's a Stark, it's in their nature. He said it himself, he even told you, that he misses you, as in the real you, that he wished you hadn't drifted apart, and that he felt something for you. Isn't that enough? What more could you possibly need to determine how he feels for you, Raina Glover? And surely, if you already knew that, then you should also know that he would move all the seven hells to keep you safe from the tiniest thing." Finn's voice rang out in the silence, making the other two thankful no one else sat near enough to hear their conversation, but also causing Raina to think. Was this just Finn being Finn, or had she truly been so oblivious to the King that she hadn't thought about this already?

"Finn-" Raina sighed, clutching the coin and replacing it back into her pocket for safekeeping, not wishing for Rodrik to see it yet. "-It's not just Robb. It's everything. I've renewed my life because of our father, I've had a fresh start, I don't want to have to do that again. And if keeping this a secret means I don't have to risk losing everyone I hold dear a second time, then I will do everything I can to keep it that way. If Robb were to find out, I'd love it, but I couldn't ask the King to keep a secret like that, not when our father  is in his council. It wouldn't be right and I am not prepared to do it anyway. I don't want to have to runand hide again and again for the rest of my life. I have something good here, with you both, I have the ones I love close to me, the only difference being who Robb sees me as now - but if it means I get to be with him too, I am more than happy to say as Ray for as long as it lasts." Raina exclaimed, finally able to express what she had been feeling for so long. If there were ever any reasons for her to withdraw such a thing from Robb, it would be these. Finn looked thoroughly displeased, but satisfied at having received an actual answer. He settled back onto his back, retrieving the daisy and proceeding to twirl it in his fingers, a grumpy look plastered across his face. "I wish things weren't so complicated," He mumbled, leaving the conversation there. The group almost went back to their relaxing silence, had it not been interrupted by unannounced company. "Ray, I was wondering if you'd care to walk with me?"

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