Theon swings around in surprise, freezing in shock when he sees who it is.
He shouldn’t be so dumbstruck – it’s Robb’s fucking house, of course he’d probably be here. Still, Theon hadn’t expected him to be up so late, hadn’t expected –
Hadn’t expected Robb to be speaking to him.
Even if his words sound terrifyingly ominous. The terror that fills him rivals that which he’d felt only a few hours earlier.
He rakes a trembling hand through his hair, wishing more than ever that he hadn’t come back here. He could have gotten a hotel, even a bloody B&B – Scotland was full of the things. He’d debated Alys but – no – he couldn’t see her either, not after what had just happened. The cold seems to be tightening its grip on him – Winterfell, if anything, feels ten times more frozen than outside.
“I,” he pauses to swallow thickly. What should he say? What could he say? He never thought he’d lie to Robb, but telling the truth about where he’d been wasn’t an option here. “I just…went to the gym. Then the pub. Went for a walk. Nothing special. I didn’t…”Didn’t think you’d care.
Didn’t think you’d care.
He nods weakly, feeling terrifyingly hopeless..
“I guess we do.”
There’s something in Theon’s whole body when he says that -the little hesitation in his voice, the way he avoids Robb’s eyes, the tense line of his shoulders and jaw- that makes Robb instantly know he’s lying, a certainty that strikes him deep in his gut. And for a moment Robb wants to laugh, bitter. Did Theon really think that Robb didn’t know him well enough to be able to tell? He’s been best friends with this man for ten years, almost half a year of being a couple. He almost feels insulted that Theon thinks he wouldn’t notice.
But Robb doesn’t say anything, doesn’t call him out on it. It’s not like Theon doesn’t have reasons to lie, after the way Robb treated him last night. He sighs and nods and swallows the lie like a pill, tries to give his boyfriend the space he deserves. He feels as if this is all so very fragile - if he takes one wrong step, it’s all going to fall apart. So he tries to be as careful as possible.
"Maybe this isn’t the best place to talk, though. Follow me?" And when Theon nods, Robb starts walking, almost holding his breath so as to be able to listen to Theon’s steps to make sure he’s still there. It’s not until Robb’s opened the door, until they are both inside, until he sees the height chart and the family pictures and the text books piled up on the desk, that he realises where they are.
He -somehow- took them to his childhood room. Maybe it’s a simple slip, the fact that his father’s death has left him completely lost and sometimes he finds himself going into rooms and forgetting why he did it, trying to drink from an empty glass of water, change the tv channel with his cellphone - or maybe a part of him needed them to be right here, in this place that saw them grow up. Whatever it is, Robb goes with it.
He turns around, faces Theon. He wonders if Theon could even comprehend how terrified he is right now.
"Look, about last night…" Shit, he thinks, and nervously fumbles with the sleeves of his shirt, a bit too long, always covering more of his wrists than they should. “I… don’t really know what happened last night. I understand why you did what you did, I do. And even though I don’t… exactly agree with the idea of it, like I said, I do understand it from your perspective. And I’m sorry I overreacted. None of this is your fault, everything’s that’s happened, is happening. I don’t want to take it out on you, and I didn’t mean to do or say what I did. I wasn’t me. These days, I really don’t feel like me at all.” He bites his lip, pauses. He’s not sure he can read Theon’s face, but decides to continue anyway. What is there to lose? “I love you, Theon. What I said last night about the last thing I want… I was wrong. The last thing I want is to lose you. You’re… Christ, you are everything to me.”
It’s really fucking cold and that’s about the only thought Theon can form coherently. He doesn’t even want to think about that, because it reminds him of the fire crackling in Ramsay’s room and…
He shivers. And it’s not from the cold at all.
He hasn’t gone home yet. Couldn’t quite bring himself to, couldn’t…couldn’t face anyone, not now, not after –
He feels stupid. He feels sick. Sick and humiliated and angry and the worst part, Theon feels it about himself.
How could I be such a fucking idiot. How could I – how could I think –
How could he think he’d made a friend.
Rather than go home, he’d opted instead to wander around the streets aimlessly for several hours, too fucking ashamed to show his face at Winterfell. It’s a pretty dumb idea – he really hadn’t dressed that appropriately for the weather, Scotland is ten times colder than England and even after all this time, he forgets that. And winter was coming.
In a way, Theon feels like it’s already came.
His hands are shaking badly when he finally returns, so much so that it takes several attempts to unlock the door. Again, he’s really not sure if it’s to do with the chill or not.
Pulling his hoodie tighter around him, he steps into the hallway, teeth chattering. Now that he’s here, he feels more at a loss than ever. Should he have even bothered returning? No one wanted him here now, last night had made that perfectly clear. He feels like a stranger in a strange land more than ever.
The pathetic thing was he had nowhere else.
He gazes up the stairs, wondering what the fuck to do. He’s pretty sure he should avoid the room he’d been keeping with Robb – he’s not sure he could take being told to leave, not now.
But where else could he go?
He had a lot of work to do. Eddard Stark’s death had not only been a tragedy, it had also meant more work - with the head of the Stark Group of Companies gone, it was up now to Robb to fill the gap his father had left behind. And what a huge gap it was. He was now just starting to understand why his father sometimes spent entire days in his studio, only coming back to the land of the living for breakfast and dinner, and a quick apology to his wife and kids. There were so many papers - no, not even just papers, piles of them - so many contracts and books to keep record of the deals made, lists of employees and lists of payments and -
And that was just at home, in his father’s private room. Robb shuddered just to think of the work that waited for him back at the office. He hadn’t been there yet except for one occasion, and he dreaded it. He felt as if once he crossed the doors to the headquarters, he wouldn’t get out ever again. His head had been spinning all day, and it had been a serious effort not to open the cabinet with the expensive wines his father had almost as decoration, and drink them all one by one. At least then his head would spin but he’d forget all about it. That would be an improvement, surely.
On top of that all, he had accomplished a grand total of nothing. All day he had been staring at the same paper reading the lines over and over without ever grasping its meaning. What had happened the night before would not leave his head and god, the guilt was consuming him.
Surely he could have turned Theon down more gently. When he remembered the things he had said, the way he had said them… Theon had only been trying to help. Yes, he could be a bit clumsy, a bit inappropriate, somewhat awkward at it, but Robb knew that, had always known that. Theon had never been a person of words, he preferred actions, and the things he had done the night before were clearly his way of expressing concern and love for Robb. He had told Robb ‘I love you’, and Robb had replied with icy silence.
He had looked for him, to see if they could talk about it, but Winterfell was huge and Robb could not find his boyfriend anywhere. It had been tempting to call him, or text him - anything to let him know that he wanted to see him. But he had chickened out. If Theon was not there, maybe it was because he did not want to see Robb at all, and who could blame him?
When Robb gets out of his father’s office he feels so drained of energy that he eyes the couch for a moment, wondering whether he should pass out right here, or if he should make the effort of making it to his room. He decides for the bedroom. His bed is far more comfortable, and the last thing Robb needs is waking up tomorrow with a sore neck and back from sleeping in a bad position on the couch.
He doesn’t even see Theon when he first enters the room - he’s so still. It’s only when the other man moves that Robb realises he’s not alone. His lips part in surprise and his mouth feels suddenly dry, a sense of dread takes hold of him and grips him with tight cold fingers. Theon looks like shit, and Robb is suddenly thrown back to that day in London when he all he wanted was to go to sleep and Theon had welcomed him with angry words, furious eyes, and a break-up.
"I…" He swallows hard. "I looked for you. Today. Where were you? I think we need to talk."
character: robb stark
affiliations: stark group of companies, tully inc
occupation: president of stark group of companies