Where is it I've read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so than to die at once. Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be! ( / )
color meme: robb stark and brandon stark + black and white, for robbstark.
Bonus ficlet of an AU where Brandon survived the Rebellion.
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“The Wild Wolf, they called me,” Brandon said with a smile, hidden partly by the cup of wine he held to his lips.
Robb smiled back. “I’ll have to disagree, Uncle. You aren’t that wild anymore.”
Brandon laughed, hearty, and warm, and drawn-out in that amiable way of his. Ned just shook his head, but a smile lingered on his lips as well, a chuckle rising low in his throat.
Brandon Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North was no longer any of those things. There had been a brief time when he was—just after Rickard Stark had died right in front of him, fed to the flames of the Mad King. He’d watched, and heard, and when the flames were next turned to him, they had been the last thing he saw before his eyes closed against the scorching heat, and when he next opened them, the flame had been chased away by the cold of the North, but the darkness remained.
The Rebellion waged before Robb was born had taken his eyes and, with it, all want to rule. Robb’s own father was saddened by it at times and Robb would see it in his old, gray eyes, and while his Uncle couldn’t see it for himself, Brandon knew. He knew, in Ned’s sudden silence, in the bated, stuttered breath that sometimes shuddered Ned’s shoulders and drew them downwards, as if that great weight of many years past had never been lifted. 
Even after the Targaryens had fallen, when Ned had rescued his brother from King’s Landing, when Lyanna had been buried in the crypts, and the Tully-Stark wedding had eventually been fulfilled—even after all that, Ned felt the loss as if nothing had been won.
“Smile, brother,” Brandon once told Ned, with a solid clap on the shoulder that barely missed Ned’s head. “We’ve survived. Scarred, yes, but alive.”
It had been on the day the entire realm celebrated the day that Robert Baratheon took the crown. A feast had been laid out and Robb, no older than Bran at the time, had been allowed his first cup of wine. He’d sipped on it, felt the burn down his throat, but still he felt like a man grown, sat with his father on his right, and his uncles on his left.
He’d expected a smile on his father’s face. What was there to be sad about, anyway? Robb thought at the time. They’d won, hadn’t they? Robb knew history from his lessons—he knew of his father’s victories, and his uncle’s injury, and his aunt’s death, and the tyranny of the Targaryens, Toppled once and for all! He’d exclaimed, startling the scrolls from Maester Cressen’s hands.
But Ned hadn’t smiled back. Instead, he turned grim, drawing the shadows onto the lines of his mouth.
“Ned,” Brandon said, placing his hand on the table, right by the cup Robb held with his small hands. “Brother, please.”
Ned sighed. “I miss her. I miss father, too. But I miss her the most.”
Brandon’s hand turned, palm upwards, fingers curling in slightly. “I miss them both, as well.” 
And Ned reached out, clasping his brother’s hand on the table, with Robb trapped between them. Tall, they were, even as they sat, and Robb felt the babe, when his head barely reached either of their shoulders. But as a Stark, he felt that it was his weight to carry too, the grief that bore down the two great men he looked up to. 
His own small hand reached forward, grasping his father’s. Ned looked down at him, eyes red and bright, and smiled.
Now that he truly was a man grown, sat with his father on the right, and his uncle on the left, all grimness gone for the moment, and both of their smiles warming Robb’s heart like the way Winterfell’s walls warmed the cold of the North—now he knew that to be wrong.
Ned, Brandon, Benjen—they’d lost much in the name of honor, and lost even more in the name of others’ glory. But all was well now, Robb thought to himself. All was well.
color meme: robb stark and brandon stark + black and white, for robbstark.

Bonus ficlet of an AU where Brandon survived the Rebellion.

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