It was surprising, how Giddon softened when he thought she wasn't looking. Sometime between being disenobled and Katsa's return from the Dells, he had lost a sharpness he had to pretend to own, when she watched his face now. She didn't think it was humility; the idea of Giddon truly humbled was unfathomable to her. He had always been too proud and brash for her to think of him that way now.

Katsa understood that he was different with other people. Po had been frankly devastated after he confessed his Grace's truth to Giddon and feared he'd lost one of his two best friends. Po wasn't light with his affections. She knew that. So Giddon must have had more to recommend him now than when she was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen facing marriage proposals and the threat of being someone's wife. Raffin and Bann loved him, and Po loved him, and belatedly she realised Bitterblue loved him.

He had caught her off guard, with the softness in his movements when Bitterblue was near.

With Bitterblue, he became a man she might have loved, laughing and gentle and clever. Giddon had once protested that he loved her and would do anything for her, give her anything. Watching how he held himself around Bitterblue, Katsa guessed he had finally worked out how love felt, the sort of love that was deep enough to change a person for the better. She supposed that Bitterblue hadn't noticed-yet.

Katsa would wait. It was not her secret to tell, not even to Bitterblue. It was the least she could do for the man he had unexpectedly become, without her noticing for, probably, years.