Robert got up and stumbled away from the table. Cersei gave him a dirty look. Gods, but he wanted to hit her. But he couldn't, not in front of the children. Not in front of his children.
The camp was noisy, the men getting ready to turn in for the night. The sound of them arguing over who got which camp follower brought back memories, memories of a simpler time. They were still almost a week from Winterfell, and he was going mad. He just needed to get there, to see Ned again. A friend, that was what he needed, someone who wouldn't bow and scrape and lie to his face. Jon Arryn had been as close to a friend as he had had in the whole damned keep, and now he was gone, too, thanks to his own meddling.
It had been painfully obvious to Robert what his Hand had been doing. Reading that damned book, off visiting his bastard offspring. He had wanted to grab the man and shake him, tell him to mind his own business...
Robert was not blind. He saw nothing of himself in the children. Nothing of his father, or his brothers, nor the traits that showed up in all of his natural children. They were little Lannisters, of that he was certain. Nor was he so oblivious that he did not notice all the time his queen spent with her brother. He was not as stupid as his whore of a wife liked to assume. He knew damn well what was going on... And there was not a thing he could do.
He took a flagon of wine, and drained it in one go. Cersei would be executed if he revealed what he knew, and though he would have loved to expose her and her pompous ass of a brother... He had to think of the children.
They were the Kingslayer's bastards, abominations of incest, their very existence was treason... And they were his children. He had not committed his seed to their creation, true, but dammit, they hadn't done anything wrong. It wasn't their fault that their mother was filthy, brotherfucking whore.
That Joffrey, he was turning into a right little demon, but that wasn't his fault, wasn't the boys fault. It was Cersei again, all Cersei. Gods be good, he wanted to kill that woman. She coddled the boy, gave him everything he wanted, and turned him into a monster. Tommen was better and worse. Kind, to be sure, but as soft and any girl, already fat at such a young age. Myrcella was vain, but also the sweetest girl anyone could hope to meet. She had none of her mother's shrewd cruelty, and Robert hoped to send her away before Cersei's vile nature could rub off on her. Perhaps poor Joffrey was a lost cause, too tainted by his mother to be saved, but dammit, he needed to help the other two. But every time he tried to take them away, she acted like he was trying to kill them.
From where he was sitting, he could see Jaime standing guard. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to cry. He wanted to punch that man in the face. The Kingslayer...
He had suspected since Joff had come out, looking exactly like his uncle, but he hadn't been certain until she had told him she was pregnant with Tommen. He hadn't fucked her properly for more than half a year, but the whore had thought him too drunk to realize. She had probably thought herself terribly clever, pulling the wool over stupid, drunk Robert's eyes.
Gods, but he wanted to fuck her. He wanted to hurt her. He wanted to kill her. That bitch, that slut, that whore, she had ruined everything. If it weren't for her, Jon Arryn would still be alive, that much was certain. It was no coincidence that the old man had fallen ill just as he had reached the truth.
'The seed is strong'. Those had been his last words. Hopefully, they were cryptic enough that no one would uncover the true meaning behind them.
Cersei had had the nerve to request that her twin be named the next hand. He had laughed in her face. Even if he had like the man, Jaime Lannister was not hand material. No more than Robert was King material. So he had made plans to head for the North, to bring back the pone man in all the realm he truly felt he would be able to trust.
But he could not tell Ned the truth, either. Ned was an honourable man. Too honourable. There was no way he would be able to overlook such a thing. They children would die. His children would die. Because, dammit, they were his children.
Gods, but he wanted to kill that woman.