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Losing My Religion

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When somebody asked him where he would have pictured himself within ten years, fifteen year old Robb would have thought straight about some law or medicine university. Or maybe engineering. Something complicated, basically, because since he was a teenager he really cared about his future. He wanted to create himself a relevant career, have a nice house, study a lot and getting rewarded for it. He had excellent grades at school, and his parents had always encouraged him with everything, so getting used to the idea of having a happy future had come naturally. After all, he had always lived in a family that did not accept any form of prejudice, and even his homosexuality had been greeted with ease, so much that, as a matter of fact, Robb wasn't even afraid to tell his parents. A perfect life, enviable, so damn enviable to result almost detestable to the ones who had only received kicks in the ass, from life. It seemed like Robb didn't even know what bad luck was: graduated with full marks, beautiful, kind, would you even want to ask for more? The problem is that bad luck, or karma, call it whatever you want, comes anyway, for everyone, and it slaps you in the face with the same strength a hurricane puts on a small new born flower. So, while Robb at fifteen imagined himself between books, parties and exams, the truth wanted that Robb at twenty-five had dropped out of college and had found himself looking after his three younger brothers.

Everything happened all of sudden: the accident, law courts, heritage, the custody. Arya and Sansa had gotten adopted before Robb could even manage to move a muscle; not that he wanted to bring them back, his sisters had a way to know their adoptive family and Robb had realized that their new parents could have given them way more then he could've ever had. Five kids to look after would have been too many and Arya and Sansa had by now got attached. And who was he to take that chance away from them? They had the opportunity to be fine, after all.

Regarding the boys instead, the situation was a bit more complicated: the youngest one, Rickon, was in the car with his parents the day of the crash, and Robb couldn't help but thanking God that the kid did not remember anything about the incident. He was alive by a miracle, and Robb would have fallen to pieces if he had lost him too: Rickon was the sunshine of the family, always happy and running around the house. Clearly, with their parents' loss he had suffered, but he was still too young to comprehend the situation. After all he was only three and a half the night of the accident, and now that he was five he seemed to have gotten his light-heartedness back.

Then there was Bran, who was by far the most sensitive and smart ten year old boy Robb had ever had the pleasure to meet: shy and silent, there was nothing little Bran couldn't do, except maybe for soccer: he had fallen to the ground so disastrously that even if he wouldn’t end up breaking his leg, which he did, Robb would have forced him to stop anyway. Now he had to stay on a wheelchair for a while and keep a plaster on his leg for while and he had to wait at least six months to fully recover, so now Robb was obliged to go up and down the stairs twice, first carrying the kid and then the wheelchair.

And finally there was Jon, and Jon was what worried Robb the most: taking care of two kids was already hard, but add a teen and things become impossible. Robb loved Jon with all his heart, that's why he didn't want him to find a job to help him with bills or something else, because he wanted him to live his teenage years in peace, even if that meant being dad and mom to three kids that were sixteen, ten and five years old. But somehow, Robb would have made it, that’s what he repeated himself everyday when he woke up and every night before falling asleep.

Oh man, if only he could have seen it coming.

Chapter Text

-Hey champ.-

The bell had rang already five minutes ago, but Robb knew that with all the chaos in the hallway during the exit of the students from school, Bran would have entered the elevator a little bit late.

A young woman had escorted him, she had long brown hair tied up in a ponytail and two big blue glasses upon her nose, too small in comparison. Robb had smiled at her as a greeting and he ruffled his little brother’s hair: -How did it go today?- he grabbed the wheelchair’s handles as Ban shrugged, distractedly: -As usual.- 

-Did the cast bother you?- Robb always asked him that, and he always got the same answer: -Just a little bit.-

He sighed: -How did you sleep tonight, instead? I forgot to ask you, at breakfast.- this was also a rhetoric question: Robb had on his back more experience with casts than Bran had, he obviously never ended up finding himself on a wheelchair, but he knew damn well the terrible itching that seemed to grow twice as irritating as it should have been normally, at night.

Bran hadn’t slept well in several days, indeed, after his injury Robb had always found him already awake when he started his usual tour where he opened the curtains in his brothers’ rooms.

Not even Robb slept that much, whether it was because of Rickon’s nightmares or because Bran had to use the bathroom, but to be honest, it was since the day of the accident that he didn’t sleep anymore: the only reason why he felt more tired now was because he continuously had to get up from the bed and he couldn’t no longer stay and watch the ceiling as he usually did, lost in his thoughts. 

-The cast bothers me at night, I can’t turn around.- there it was. The nice way to say “I did not sleep at all”. Robb refrained from pronouncing phrases such as “you’ll see that you’ll get used to it with time”, because they wouldn’t have been helpful at all. Of course, with time he would have gotten used to it, but that meant he would have stayed with a his leg in a cast for a long long time. That’s why he left the conversation open and he changed topic: -I have to take Jon downtown tomorrow, he said he has to buy something and that’s pretty urgent... can you keep an eye on Rickon for a couple hours?-

Robb knew he shouldn’t leave two kids home alone, of course he knew, ad it was like getting punched in the stomach every time he found himself thinking about what would’ve happened if social assistants would have found out. Still, Robb had to admit that dumping a few responsibilities on Bran made the kid feel better: he wouldn’t have walked well for the next six months, and knowing that despite that Robb trusted him with Rickon didn’t make him feel useless. As long as they didn’t go out of the house, wandering around alone, of course

-Robb, that’s today.- 

Robb stopped himself so violently that he almost dragged Bran’s wheelchair upon his feet. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Today he had the shift at the bar til seven, Blair granted him a salary increase only thanks to all his working overtime, but still he hadn’t been able to take Jon to the movies about two weeks ago and right yesterday he couldn’t have gone and pick him up from school after the principal had called him to inform him the boy wasn’t feeling good.

You’re neglecting him, he kept on repeating himself. No that’s not true, and we need those money. But still he had to tell him no once again, anyway.

He sighed: -Today? Are you really that sure?- he asked his little brother, who nodded vigorously: -Today’s Tuesday, isn’t it?- yeah, it was Tuesday. Fuck. 

He stopped in front of his car, he opened the door and picked Bran up: -You’re getting heavy, little brother.- he joked, careful not to clash Bran’s invalid leg too violently against the car.

-Believe me, it’s not a pleasure for me either.- Bran said softly, buckling up his seatbelt and keeping his glance down. Robb’s stare softened, it was so unfair that such a kind soul like Bran had to find himself in such a situation, and he gently stroked his cheek: -I know.- he whispered, kissing him softly on the forehead.

-But try to look on the bright side: you’re going to get your cast removed on November, it would have been worse if you had to keep it dusing summer, don’t you think?-

Bran shrugged and Robb got the wheelchair in the car. He couldn’t blame him: all your friends run, do sports, go anywhere they want, and you have to spend half of the year sitting or limping. Ad certainly things don’t get any better when you have a hurricane as a younger brother who never manages to stay still and all that you can do is watching him breaking something or listening to his brothers telling him not to run on the stairs. Bran couldn’t run on the stairs, Bran couldn’t even climb the stairs alone, and he wouldn’t have been able to do it well for the next six months. And Robb knew it was hard.

Once they got home, the first thing Robb thought was that once Jon and Rickon would have come too, he should have gone to work about half an hour later. It would have been a bold move to call and taking a day off because of an “unforeseen event” like that, at the last minute, but frankly Robb had not decided what to do yet: Jon was a sensitive boy, he would have been upset if he couldn’t take him, and it had been days, maybe months since they last spent time together. And Robb knew Jon was stressed out, not just because he had failed his driving test, but also because he did not spoke that much and he almost never went out. 

Robb stared at his watch: they where fifteen minutes late than usual, so Jon and Rickon would have probably been already home. Therefore, that meant Robb had to make a decision right here, right now. And after he had helped Bran getting out of the car he was about to call Blair and tell her Bran wasn’t feeling good and it was not a good idea to leave him alone without an adult, if it wouldn’t have been for Rickon jumping towards the house with his blue and yellow backpack on his back. Nothing strange, beside the fact that he was alone.

-Rickon!- exclaimed Robb, running to the kid, who smiled once he saw his older brother.

-Robb!- he laughed, throwing his arms up to be held up. Robb satisfied him, worried: -Rickon, what are you doing here alone? Where’s Jon?- he walked to the door and opened it, but still neither him or Bran seemed to be willing to enter. Not yet, at least.

-Jon wasn’t there. I waited for him for hooooours!- Rickon exclaimed, placing his head on Robb’s shoulder. Robb bit his tongue to keep himself from screaming: he understood that Rickon was just a kid, and even though the thought of his little brother walking alone on the street terrified him, he couldn’t help but being furious with Jon: what the hell was he thinking? Where the hell was he?! Why did he leave his little brother alone? Did he know the situation they were into or not?

-Rickon, you must not go around alone, you know that.- he said softly, trying to temper his tone.

-I know, but Jon wasn’t coming!- the little boy started gesturing, nervously. -And I wanted to go home.-

Robb sighed: -You did’t talk to anyone, did you?-

Rickon looked up and made his big blue eyes meet Robb’s, shaking his head. Robb felt a little bit lighter almost immediately.

-And nobody tried talking to you?-

The little boy shook his head once again. Robb closed his eyes. Thank God. He kissed Rickon on the cheek many times, affectionately, and the little one started laughing, letting himself being put back on the ground and running in the house right after.

-Robb?- The young man turned to Bran.

-Yes?-

-Is Jon in trouble?- little, sweet Bran. He made questions with such innocence that Robb always ended up convincing himself he would have never scolded him. He smiled at him softly: -A bit, yes.-

Bran stared at the door still opened: -But Rickon’s fine.-

Robb shocked his head and kneeled at his height: -I know, sweetheart, but something could have happened to him anyway. He’s too young to go around alone, and if somebody had seen him they could take you all away from me. And this is the last thing I want.- he felt a lump in his throat as he pronounced those words, because admitting them out loud was like making the thing a little bit more real. Because yes, just one misstep and they would have removed him the custody of the boys, besides all the social assistants considered him too young to look after three boys. And hell, he was, he was too young, but they still were his brothers and he wouldn’t have let them go. With Arya and Sansa it had been different: the family they had been assigned to right after their parents’ death was amazing since the very beginning. Hell, they had spent months in there. Jon had found himself in a boarding school where students treated orphans like shit, he had come back to Robb with a black eye and a bleeding lip, while Bran and Rickon’s foster parents had been arrested for animal cruelty. Arya and Sansa basically had begged Robb to let them stay where they were, and Robb had agreed. They wrote and saw each other very often, and his sisters’ new parents had always tried to help Robb and the boys the best they could. Arya and Sansa were alright now, but he couldn’t let Jon, Bran and Rickon being put in such places again, and his brothers knew how much they were risking. That was why he would have gladly ripped Jon’s head off his body, in that moment.

He did not have the time to listen to Bran’s answer, because his phone started ringing: it was Jon.

-Where the heck are you?!- he yelled, and Bran took that explosion of rage as the sign to go inside.

On the other side of the phone, Jon seemed to be on the edge of a panic attack: -R-Robb, R-Rickon’s not... I-I did... I...-

-Rickon’s home. You, instead, where the fuck are you?!-

-Rickon is... how did he get there?-

Annoyed by the way his brother had ignored his question for the second time in a row, Robb fought with all his strength against the impulse of throwing the phone on the floor.

-How do you think he got here, Jon?! Alone! Cause he didn’t know. Where the fuck. You were!-

-I’m sorry, Robb, I had an...-

-Get home, now!-

He hung up the phone and suffocated a scream. The kids could get scared if they saw you like this. Rickon’s laugh came clear to his ears, thanks to the front door that was still open wide, and that was the only thing that managed to calm him down. In the end, he said to himself, he would have called Blair anyway to tell her he would have been really really late. 

He finally entered into his house, he ran a hand over his face and helped Bran sitting on the couch, holding him against his side.

The ten year old was worried, and Robb had realized that. Rickon jumped on his lap right after: -When is Jon coming home?- he asked him.

Robb gave him a sloppy kiss on the forehead: -Very very soon, love.-

-Can we watch TV?- Bran proposed. Rickon beamed, happy, while Robb only nodded. Bran turned the TV on some kids channel, and Robb instinctively pulled his little brothers a little bit closer to him: he had sacrificed everything for them, nobody knew how much effort he had put in everything he did to make things resolve in the best way possible, and nobody would have taken his family away from him. He had always been tolerant and understanding with Jon, specially since he had his custody, but right now the thing was getting out of control: he had to make Jon understand that was no good. That he had fucked up. He had to get mad, scold him, ground him, be a parent, in short. He couldn’t no longer be just an older brother to him only because he was older than Bran and Rickon. And Jon had to listen to Robb, whether he was his father, his mother or his brother. The easy way or the hard way.

 

Chapter Text

-We agreed on thirty, Roy!- exclaimed Jon, looking disconsolate at the fifteen pounds that the freckled boy in front of him had put in his hand.

-I'll give you the rest when Mrs Adams will rate the essays.-

Jon looked up to the ceiling, exasperated: -This essay is worth even a B! You asked for a C+, didn't you?- 

Roy looked at him with a raised eyebrow. He was a very tall guy, he had short red hair and he still had braces on his teeth, but despise that, he had his ways to look threatening: his enormous hands and arms, for example. Although, when it came to business, Jon cared little about his client's strength. Not that this didn't end up turning against him.

-The grades are up to the teacher, Stark. Not you.- Roy spit, crossing his arms to his chest

-Oh come on, like it takes who knows what kind of superhuman intelligence to write better than you do!- Jon ranted, shoving the money in the pocket of his jeans. He was so irritated that he didn't even realize he had just teased one of Roy's most sensitive nerves: -Excuse me?- the redhead said.

-Christ Roy, your level of grammar is equal to a little kid who's just learning how to write, it would be enough even if you just wrote a single coherent phrase for your teacher to give you a C to encourage you!-

Jon could barely end his sentence that he found himself tossed against a bunch of lockers he had behind; a lock sticked against his back and forced him to close his eyes tight.

-If I was you I'd keep that mouth shut. If you don't want me to break all your teeth and take back the money I already gave you.- Roy hissed, throwing a fist at the locker, right next to Jon's face. He didn't add anything else: after all, he had his good grade and moreover, half-price. Roy left the school hallway leaving Jon slumped against the locker, his lips twisted in a grimace of rage and humiliation. Jon needed money, his family needed money. And instead, he was there with fifteen miserable dollars and a bruise on his back that would have kept him from sleeping on his back for that night. 

He ran a hand all over his face and pushed himself back up, ignoring the pain on his back. He looked at his phone: Rickon had gotten out of school at least fifteen minutes ago.

-Shit.-

 

 

Rickon wasn't there. The school gate was closed and Rickon wasn't there waiting for him. Usually Jon was not late, and if that ever happened, it was a matter of five minutes, not more. Today he was fifteen minutes late because fucking Roy didn't pay him what they had established, and Jon in trying to get what he deserved ended up with a sore back, less money than he expected and one brother less. He tried to calm down and take a deep breath but anxiety and fear were leading the way inside of him quicker and quicker: Rickon knew he should never walk away alone. Sure, it never happened that Jon did not make it after school let out, but he was smart enough to wait for him. Rickon was a smart kid, he really was. But right now Jon hoped he was not: he hoped he had decided to ignore his and Robb's warnings and that he had gotten home on his own. He prayed for it to be like that.

-Rickon!- he called his brother out loud many and many times, but he did not get a response not even a single time, except from an old school janitor: she had came out of the building and was looking at Jon from behind the gate. She was small and curved, grey hair tied up in a tiny bun, two deep dark circles underneath her eyes and a pair of small and arching hands.

-What are you yelling about, young man?- she asked him. Jon clenched his fits, as if to held a panic attack inside his body. 

-Have you seen my little brother? He attends this school, he has blonde, reddish hair, he's little...- he started but he was shortly interrupted: -If you knew how many kids like that I see everyday. How did you lose the sight of him? You shouldn't leave a kid alone, these days.-

-I...- words died in his throat. He had screwed up.

-I was late. He's not... he's gone.- he put his hands in his hair. Rickon was gone.

-And are you often late, young man?-

Jon shook his head repeatedly: -No. No, this is the first time in almost two years, I...-

-Then maybe he went home alone.- the woman shrugged, disinterested.

-No, he can'... he knows he can't...-

-Is anybody at your home right now, young man?- she was looking at him impassive and with cold eyes. Although, she didn't seem to be annoyed because of him. Jon nodded: -My brother should be back by now.-

-Then call him and if your brother's not with him go to the police.-

Robb would have killed him, that was for sure.

He had lost their little brother, he would have probably taken him back in who knows which orphanage. But calling him was the right thing to do: Robb always knew what to do, he was the oldest, the strongest, the smartest. Jon had always wanted to be like him, but he knew he would have never been. And now he was absolutely sure of that, because Robb certainly would have never lost his youngest brother. Sure, he always payed more attention on Bran and Rickon than Jon, but that was understandable: Jon knew how to take care of himself most of the times, but Rickon was too young and Bran had a broken leg. Jon had to help him with their little brothers, not losing one of them, that was why he was getting paid for doing other people's homework, wasn't it? That was exactly the reason why he was late, that day. He just wanted to help.

He grabbed his phone and called Robb. After two rings, he immediately regretted doing so.

 

 

 

When Jon got home, Robb was still sitting on the couch with Bran on his side and Rickon on his lap. Jon's face was sweaty and he was pale as a sheet, Robb noticed.

-Jon!- clearly, the oldest brother thought, Rickon was happy to see Jon, after all the baby of the house considered all of his older brothers his heroes. To tell the truth, Rickon more or less considered everyone his hero.

He got up from the couch right after his littlest brother ran towards Jon. Robb noticed how the relief in the latter's eyes was evident, as he kneeled down and held the little boy in a tight hug.

-Rickon you can't leave on your own when I'm late...-

However, the irritation Robb felt increased enormously when Jon pronounced those words: it wasn't Rickon the one who had to be scolded. Not now, at least. 

-No, Jon. No.- he said strictly, shaking his head.

Still kneeled down, Jon stared up at him with sad and scared eyes. Robb rested his hand on Rickon's head: -Go watch TV with Bran, come on.-

At that point, also Rickon realized that something was wrong and that it was better not to interfere: Robb was using the voice he always used when he was angry at Jon, the calm but strict voice, the one that slowly would have turned into a scream. 

Rickon hoped that Robb wouldn't scold him like that, some day. He quietly ran back to the couch, right in the moment where Jon was getting back up and Robb ordered: -Upstairs.-

 

 

-Now, you tell me what the hell has gotten in your mind!- as soon as they arrived in Jon's room, Robb started screaming, hitting his brother on the head.

-Ow! Robb, something came up, I'm sorry!- exclaimed the boy, looking down.

-What fucking sort of thing is more important than your brother, Jon?!- Robb closed the door with a sharp hit and stared at his brother, who did not seem to be willing to return the glance.

-Jon!-

-I didn't want to! I didn't want to, I had a problem, I know, I made a mistake, but stop yelling!- Jon sat on the bed, covering his ears.

Jon's room was way smaller than Robb's or the one Bran and Rickon shared. That was because before their parents' accident, Robb's house only had one guest room that later on had become the two littlest Stark's room. Jon's bedroom was nothing more than Robb's small studio, the one where he worked when he still attended university. Jon didn't mind his room dimensions, but Robb did: he seemed to him that his younger brother was even more withdrawn than ever, inside such a small space.

-Explain to me what's this "enormous problem" and maybe I'll stop!- Robb responded, folding his arms to his chest.

Jon blinked a few times, trying to held back the tears: he had to tell him, he was obliged to, but Robb wouldn't have stopped yelling, he would have gotten angrier.

-Jon.- 

-I can make mistakes too, sometimes, okay?! Why when Rickon breaks the neighbor's vases with a football you start laughing while if I stumble in the garden gnomes she keeps outside her gate it's the end of the world?! Why if Bran is coughing he has to see a doctor but if I have the flu I'm just trying to find a pretext to miss school? And why when you can't come and pick me up from school when I feel sick I can't even try to complain but if I'm late once at picking up my brother you treat me like I've killed someone?! That's not fair!-

Jon was in tears and almost Robb was: his brother was right, after all, he treated him different than Bran and Rickon, but not out of meanness. Absolutely not. Bran and Rickon made mistakes just like Jon did, but Jon... he had a more complicated attitude. Maybe it was because of his age. Maybe Robb had gotten in his head a useless prejudice. Maybe it was Robb that didn't know how to deal with a teen. Maybe it was all of these three things, but they were moving away from the actual problem. 

-Now you listen to me, Jon.- Robb started, strict. Act like a parent with him too.

-You could have called the school, inform them that you were late and ask if some teacher could keep an eye on Rickon while you were on your way there. You could have called me and asked me to go and pick him up. You could have also called our neighbor, Christ. You did have options, Jon.- he had kneeled in front of him and Jon had finally managed to look at him in the eyes.

-But Robb...- he started, but the oldest shut him up by resting a hand on his cheek: -I know you're sorry, Jon. I see it, believe me. But it's your little brother we're talking about. Something could have happened to him and you know, you know that at the slightest thing they'll try to take you away from me. What did came up, Jon? Did someone bother you? Did something bad happen? Jon, if it's none of these things then what you did is not excusable.- 

Robb's tone was now calm. Sure, the message was still the same it was from the beginning, but Robb was proud of himself for not yelling. However, Jon looked away once again and Robb figured out that argument wouldn't have ended peacefully. 

-If I tell you then you'll get mad.- the boy whispered.

Robb sighed deeply and tried not to smack a hand on his forehead: -Now you do have to tell me.- he stated. 

Jon's dark chocolate eyes still didn't want to meet Robb's, that were stuck on the teen's face and scanned vigilantly every movement of his. 

Jon suppressed a sob: he had to get it over with as soon as possible, Robb would not have let him go without an answer, as it should have been.

He would have yelled more, in all likelihood, but that would have happened anyway, no matter what he said. Slowly, he turned to looked at him: Robb's eyes were so blue that he barely could believe he was his real brother. He was there, knelt down, and beside the stern attitude, Jon could catch the worry in his eyes. 

-Some guy owed me money.- 

Jon had expected fire and brimstone: talks about all the times he had told him that Robb and only Robb had to worry about money, that if he wanted to help him he had to assist him with Bran and Rickon and that his salary was enough to support them all. But he did not get any of this: Robb had sort of frozen up right after having grabbed Jon's wrists. Jon realized that Robb wasn't no longer pissed: he was terrified.

-What the fuck did you sell him, Jon?- he asked him.

Jon frowned, but he understood: his brother thought he was dealing something.

-No, no, Robb. I...- he got up from the bed and was quickly joined by his brother, who could not keep his eyes off of him. He got to his desk and grabbed some older guys' essays.

-I make other people's homework. So they can pay... Ow!- 

Robb had hit him on the arm, hard: -Be more specific when you talk, for fuck's sake! You scared the hell out of me!-

-I know, I know! Because otherwise social workers will take Bran and Rickon away from you, I know. You always say that.- Jon crossed his arms, upset.

-I'm saying this because I care about you, you idiot! I care about you, Bran and Rickon because you all are my brothers, okay?! And it's up to me to look after you! That's why the least you can do, if you really want to help, is not leaving your baby brother alone in front of school!- Robb was yelling once again. Jon rolled his eyes. Typical. 

-Do not roll your eyes at me when I'm talking to you! Just because mom and dad are dead it doesn't mean you can do what you want, am I clear?! I've got the same rights they had on you now, so listen to me carefully because from now on you're going to change that attitude! You're grounded, you hear me?-

There it was, he had done it. He had acted like a parent. Robb supposed he had done the right thing.

-You can't ground me!- Jon protested, stomping his feet on the pavement. -You said you'd take me...-

-You should have thought of that before! I'll take you there when I'll consider you responsabile enough. Now I have to go to work.- Robb was about to open the door and finally go to the bar, but Jon's words blocked him: -I can't believe it, you forgot.-

-Jon...-

-No “Jon”, you're doing this grounding thing just because you don't want...-

-I'm doing this because a thing like that must not happen again. It's useless for you trying to justify yourself! Take your responsibilities and accept the consequences to the mistakes you make.-

Robb finally expected some silence, but Jon was more stubborn than he had been when he was his age: -You know what, fine. I was stupid to think that you could actually take a day off for me. I'm going alone, I'm taking the bus.-

Robb started shaking his head: -Quit it Jon, you're not going out of this house. If you really want to help me, watch the kids until I come back and avoid acting careless. You're sixteen, for God's sake.- 

Robb was sure Jon was crying again but he decided to ignore him: the good way wasn't working? Fine. Up to the hard way.

 

He reached downstairs trying to look calm, but he already knew that even if he would have convinced Rickon that everything was fine, with Bran he would have not succeeded: you couldn't fool that kid. Bran was so mature for his age that it was impossible for Robb to keep the truth from him. Yet, that day, also little Rickon seemed to him a little bit older.

-Hey.- Robb drafted a smile and lovingly tickled Rickon's side.

-I'm going to work. I'll see you this evening, uhm?-

-How can you still have your voice after you yelled so much?- Rickon stood up on the couch and stared at Robb with eyes full of curiosity. Robb found himself smiling at him and running a hand through his hair: -Oh buddy, I can yell way more than that.-

He grinned when Rickon widened his blue eyes in surprise, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. 

-Robb, don't you think you were a bit too harsh?- Bran made him notice.

-Oh well, next time you're talking to him, if you want to, uhm, smarty pants?- Robb gave him a half smile and ruffled his hair.

-Be good. Jon's grounded but he's not your slave. If something's wrong call me.- he pointed then.

-Grounded?- Rickon seemed even more surprised that Robb could ground someone than he was about his yelling and that made Robb's smile grow wider in front of so much cuteness. 

-Yes, sweetheart. Now I really have to go. See you tonight!-

-Bye Robb!- said the two kids in unison.

Once he entered his car Robb wrote a quick "on my way there" to Blair and started the engine, hoping she wouldn't fire him unceremoniously. He ran a hand on his face: sooner or later, that day would have come to an end.

 

 

 

Robb never understood a thing and he would have never. Was it so hard to comprehend that it wasn't his intention to do that? That he was really sorry and that it would not happen again? Apparently it was, and that made Jon suffer. Since his brother had gone to work he had not stopped crying; it was not a desperate cry, but he wasn't able to make the tears stop flowing on his cheeks. Jon didn't want to go back in a foster home, damn, nobody would. He did admit his mistakes but Robb could avoid making him feel like that: he was his brother too, after all, and yes, Jon was older than Bran and Rickon, and that meant he obviously had to be more mature and responsible, but he was tired of being the least favorite brother.

-Jon?- Rickon gently knocked on the door and waited for his brother to give him the permission to get in. That managed to steal a smile from Jon: Rickon was a little scamp, a real life mini tornado running around the house, but still he never tried entering somebody's room without having their permission first.

Jon quickly wiped the tears away from his face: -Come in, Rickon.-

Once his request was granted, the little boy launched himself on Jon's lap with such energy that the older one almost fell on his back on the bed.

-Hey, careful there, tiger: you're not so light anymore.- Jon joked, but inside himself he felt a mind-blowing tingle: Robb had sent him to his room before he could do anything, but now that their argument was over, or at least on hold, Jon started feeling that reassuring sensation of relief by seeing Rickon there, safe and sound. 

-Bran needs the bathroom.- his little brother said, and Jon nodded: -Okay. Tell him I'm coming.-

Rickon jumped off his older brother's knees and ran to the door.

-Rickon I'm sorry about before. For being late, I mean.- Jon whispered, before Rickon could leave the room.

God, I’m apologizing to a five year old.

Rickon shrugged: -Is it a really bad thing? Robb yelled a lot but I'm okay.-

At that point Jon started analyzing the facts: Robb had been way too much of an asshole with him, but in the end there was the safety of a five year old little boy involved, and Jon was late because he had had the great idea to have an argument with a guy that was twice his size. And yes, Rickon was still fit as a fiddle, but who guaranteed him that was not just a stroke of luck? Even if Rickon had stayed alone waiting for him, there was the same risk he encountered some pervert. Actually, maybe a kid alone in front of an elementary school had even more possibilities to be seen by some pedophile. 

So, in the end, things were clear: Jon was an idiot. 

-Yes Rickon, I did a really bad thing. You will understand better once you're older, just... don't hate me too much, that is.- the teen admitted.

Rickon frowned adorably: -But... but you're Jon! You always make Robb angry and you let us do what Robb do not want us to do. You're super cool!-

Jon started laughing so spontaneously that he almost started sobbing for the tenth time that day; he opened his arms: -Can you give me a hug?- 

He let himself being held by Rickon's small and slim arms for a few seconds, before telling him gently: -Please, tell Bran I'm coming. I have something to finish.-

Rickon nodded vigorously and toddled off with the happiness every five year old should have. Jon waited for the kid's small steps to wane and grabbed his phone from his pocket: Mr Harris's chat was the first one on the list. 

He started writing:

Good afternoon. I'm sorry to inform you that due to a family emergency I won't be able to attend my job interview today. Is it possible to posticipate it at some other day? Thank you in advance, goodbye.

Jon couldn't help but rolling his eyes as he got up form his bed: yeah, of course, family emergency. Because "my brother's a total douchebag" sounds unprofessional.

Chapter Text

-I know you have many responsibilities at home, okay? But if you want to keep this job, you better be on time.- that was basically what Blair had told him. Still better than getting fired.

Robb worked in the same bar where, a while back, he hid himself studying with a small group of friends in sight of the exams. Left university he had asked the owner, Blair, if she was willing to assume someone and she had accepted after a short trial period.

The place was pretty cosy: calm and quiet, it was full of his peers, all focused in highlighting books and typing on their laptop. 

Sometimes there was also a small group of teenagers, but they never stopped by for studying, the boys usually spent time talking about sport and females while the girls where constantly looking at Robb, convinced he would not notice anything. Sometimes Robb asked himself how Jon acted when he went out with his friends: there were times he told him "I'm going to the movies with Sam and the other boys" or, "I'm staying with Grenn and the guys for a pizza", but most of the times he just said "I'm going out". Indeed, lately he just stayed at home.

Damn Robb, you’re really getting old. Yes, he was getting old, and way sooner than expected. But the fact was that at first he wasn't worried about Jon's companies because Jon had never gave him a good reason not to trust him. Now that they had argued, now that Jon had showed him he was not so reliable as he hoped he was, Robb couldn't help but worrying he had fallen into some bad stuff.

Taking advantage of the empty counter, Robb warded off a second to check his phone, in case one of his brothers had a problem, but nobody had searched for him. He only hoped Jon was acting good. He was about to toss the phone back in his pocket when Jon called him.

-Jon, did something happen?- he asked, heading to the bar's kitchen. 

-I'm at the supermarket with the kids, you need something?- was his brother's answer.

Robb looked up with his eyes, exasperated: -I told you not to leave home.-

-Well, the fridge's empty at home, you never went grocery shopping.- Jon replied, and Robb could imagine him as he rolled his eyes. He was about to argue with him once again, since he seemed to have forgotten half the things they had talked about that day, but he avoided that: he was still at work.

-I don't need anything. How are the kids? Everything's alright?-

-Uh, Rickon was a little bit frustrated because he couldn't spell "banana", but for the rest everything's good.-

Robb held back an amused smile: -Okay. What about Bran?-

There was a small pause at the other side of the phone: -Bran's fine. So, you don't need anything?-

-No, but thank you for asking.- Robb turned to the counter and saw a group of girls waiting for him.

-I have to go no...- he started, but Jon had already hung up the phone. He wondered if he should have let him keep his phone, since he was grounded. He shoved the phone back into his pocket and approached the girls in front of the counter: -Sorry for the waiting, how can I help you?-

All three girls blushed and stared at each other to decide who should have been the first one to talk. Robb wanted to hit his head against the wall: Teenagers he thought I’m done with them.

 

 

 

-So Robb really grounded you? Since when he grounds?-

Jon pursed his lips, embarrassed, and stared at the young girl behind the computer screen: Arya was growing up more every day, she still had her usual short and messy hair and she had kept her typical bright-eyed glance, but Jon could notice how she was about to become a young woman.

-Yeah, I think it's some sort of treatment he has in store just for me...- Jon admitted, rolling his eyes as he thought about the previous argument.

-Well, you surely can't blame him: you lost our brother.-

-Don't you start too: I thought you were on my side!- Jon looked at his twelve year old little sister whike pouting and she smiled at him. -I'm always on your side, Jon. Even when you do something stupid, like right now. But hey, look on the bright side: we're grounded together!-

Jon, until then leaning against the chair's backrest, pulled himself forward and put his elbows on the desk, intensely staring at the screen: -What did you do, young lady?-

Arya looked up to the ceiling, if Robb had seen her he would have had a heart attack by seeing how much her and Jon looked alike: -Do not act like you're the responsible brother, you're worse than I am.-

-Come on, are you going to tell me what you did or not? You know, I'm always on your side too.-

Arya shrugged: -Food fight at school. Not the one who started but according to what the principal says "I was the most aggressive one".-

Jon let a smile grow on his lips: -Hm, and what does Raven say about this?-

-Raven says she did worse when she was my age; Lola thinks it was an inappropriate behavior.- Arya explained.

-Well, it was an inappropriate behavior. Or it wasn't?- Jon teased her and, as he expected, his little sister jump attacked: -Oh quit it, still better than leaving Rickon alone!-

-I'm kidding, princess.-

-Don't call me princess!-

-Okay okay!- Jon raised his hands to surrender, grinning. -How's Sansa? And the twins?-

Rowan and Connor were seven and they were the children Lola had with Raven's brother, who had been their sperm donor. According to what Arya said they were happy and playful kids, but according to Sansa's version they were two little monsters.

-Like always: they get in trouble more often than I do. Sansa's still the same too.- Arya said, as a big white cat jumped on her lap.

-Jon, say hi to Pearl!- exclaimed the girl.

-Hi Pearl.- Jon lightly waved.

-How long is your grounding?- he added.

-About a week. No tv or phone or going out with my friends.-

-But they let you use your laptop.- Jon made her notice, and Arya nodded at that: -Only when I ask to call one of you: they say they can't forbid me such a thing, as long as I ask for it. What about you? What did Robb ban you?-

Jon shrugged: Robb had not banned him a shit, despite staying at home for the day. He would have certainly thought about that during work and once he was back home he would have taken away his phone, laptop and bike for the rest of his days.

-I think he's planning something particularly evil.- 

Arya grinned: -Robb's not so mean as you want him to be, Jon.-

-You were on my side or am I wrong?-

-Of course I am, but I do recognise that Robb is an overprotective brother, let alone now that he has to be a parent. You should do something nice for him, so you can have your sentence reduced.- like usual, his little twelve year old sister had understood more than he did. Jon looked curiously at her: -Like what?-

-I don't know, clean the house, or just Rickon's bedroom.- she suggested.

That was a solution. Sure, he had to spend about two hours between dust and dirty dishes but he could do that. He was about to tell Arya he was going to vacuum the living room, when he saw his fifteen pounds on the desk.

-I think I'll go grocery shopping: the fridge's been half empty for days, by now.- he stated.

Arya nodded, she seemed pretty convinced: -That seems fine too. Now I have to go, Lola will get mad if she doesn't see me doing my homework.-

Jon made a sing of approval with his head: -Fine. Say hello to everyone, the twins, Raven and Lola. And give Sansa a kiss.- 

-Ew, you kiss her!- Arya exclaimed, as she stuck up her nose.

Jon bursted out laughing. The two siblings said bye for the last time then, just as Arya had started the video call, she ended it.

Jon leaned back on the chair's back once again: he still didn't know what was Robb's idea of "grounding", but he had told him to take care of Bran and Rickon and making sure they didn't eat some spoiled tuna was taking care of them, right? And then, a little bit of fresh air would have been good. For all of them.

He grabbed the money, left the room and happily ran to his younger brothers' one: -Out of bed, out of bed. We have to go grocery shopping.- he exclaimed, as Bran raised his eyes from his book and Rickon stopped playing with his plastic dinos.

-Can we get milk?- Rickon asked, jumping off the bed and running to wear his shoes.

-I only have fifteen pounds: we are going to take what we need for dinner and if there's some money left we're getting milk too, how does that sound?- Jon proposed, scooping Bran up from the bed.

-Robb lets you go out?- asked the ten year old, staring doubtful at his older brother.

-No, but...-

-Isn't he going to get mad if you don't do as he says?-

Jon snorted loudly and got the boy comfortable in his arms: -I'm doing him a favour: the fridge is almost completely empty and the few things left in there are spoiled. Hey, little one, could you bring the wheelchair next to the stairs?-

Glad to help his older brothers, Rickon pushed the wheelchair out the room in the best way he could, since he could barely grab the handles and couldn't see that much in front of him. Jon carefully followed the kid's steps and told him to stop once he was near enough the first step. Rickon ran downstairs with a big smile printed on his face and started jumping up and down in front of the door, repeating happily "let's go let's go let's go".

-Just a moment, Rickon.- Jon tried to calm him down, making Bran sit on the couch so he could quickly climb the stairs once again. He bent the wheelchair and he climbed down. How the hell does Robb manage to do this everyday?

He helped Bran sitting on the wheelchair, with Rickon in the background that kept on encouraging them to leave the house.

-Yeah, Rickon, now we're living. Open the door, please.- with a last jump, Rickon obeyed his older brother and dashed out of the house. Jon was assaulted by panic right away: what if he lost him again? He couldn't hold him by the hand, he had to push Bran's wheelchair, and who knew if...

-No, no, Rickon, Rickon come here.- Jon stopped his pace and waited for the little boy to approach him so that he could bend down to his level.

-What do you say about staying on my shoulders, hm? Sounds good?- he proposed him, hoping he would say yes right away so that he did not have to find who knows which sort of strategy to convince him. Lucky for him, Rickon seemed more than enthusiastic about it: -Yes Yes! I want to be tall!-

Jon let him get comfortable on his shoulders and stood up, grabbing Bran's wheelchair's handles.

-Hold on but do not pull my hair that much, understood, young man?- Jon warned, getting a genuine laugh in response.

They walked (well, Jon walked) for about fifteen minutes, Rickon waved more or less at every person he saw in the street and Bran and Jon gave them all an apologetic smile.

The supermarket was full of middle aged women that Jon had never seen before but they could not stop making comments about how cute Rickon and Bran were and how much of a good young man he was, going grocery shopping and looking after his little brothers at the same time.

Could you tell that to my brother, instead of your bingo friend? Jon wanted to tell them.

-Jon! Jon milk, milk!- Rickon held his hand out to grab a carton of milk, but Jon blocked him before he could lean over too much by pulling his pants' limb lightly.

-We have to get food for supper first, Rickon. If there's something left we will also get milk.- he reminded him gently. It was right after his little brother resigned puff that Jon realised there were a pair of dark eyes looking at him: a guy not much taller than him, around Robb's age, with dark hair and a short beard on his face, was staring at Jon and his brothers up and down, before giving Rickon a friendly smile.

Jon held his lips in a half smile in response, then he quickly got away from the boy (attractive, if he could add) that in the meantime was back at observing the shelves.

-Isn't he a bit to ol...- Bran started, frowning, but Jon interrupted him immediately, visibly blushing: -Shut up Bran.-

 

 

 

-Can't we have fries instead of carrots?- Rickon asked, still on Jon's shoulders, pouting. 

-We're buying food for Robb: how can he be less angry at Jon if we get all the things he would never buy?- Bran explained to him patiently, grabbing the bags of carrots and peas that his older brother handed him. Jon looked at him with his eyes open wide, surprised.

-How did you...-

-I know you, Jon.- 

Bran chuckled when Jon started ruffling his hair, and his smiled widened even more when the older one ordered: -Not a word with Robb.-

They wandered around the supermarket for about half an hour, Jon had called Robb to hear if he had some request (and also to hear him say "thank you for doing something I should have done" but unsuccessfully) and it turned out Jon did not have enough money for milk.

-I'm sorry Rickon.- he whispered, as he waited for his turn at checkout.

-Tomorrow after school we're getting back here and we'll get it, alright?- he decided then, caressing the kid's leg, who sighed disconsolate and rested his chin upon Jon's head.

Once he was done paying Jon put everything into a bag that Bran rapidly placed on his knees. He grabbed his three cents change and quickly moved to the exit: Rickon had been on his shoulders all day long, he neck was starting to feel sore.

-Hey.- Jon heard himself being called. He guessed it was one of his schoolmates, or some of his brother's friends, but when the three Stark brothers turned around to see the dark eyed guy of the milk department, Jon was about to hyper ventilate: the guy, or I mean, the man (he’ll be like your brother’s age, damn Jon) was handing him a plastic bag with a smirk. 

-What am I supposed to do with this?- asked Jon, wired.

-For the little one.- the other guy said. Jon grabbed the bag and saw it contained a carton of milk. He began shaking his head: -Oh no, I can't...-

-I was glad to do it, don't worry. It's no problem.- the guy insisted, reassuringly.

-I cannot accept this, really.- Jon continued, blushing: how much could a boy with red cheeks, a carton of milk and a kid on his shoulders pulling his hair look pathetic in front of a guy like that?

-Just accept it. Please.- the guy insisted, looking at him even more intensely.

-Accept it Jon...- Rickon whispered at his ear.

-Yeah Jon, accept it!- Bran's tone was instead more provocative and teasing, as Jon could see from his smirk. The young man bursted out laughing: -Well, I say we're the majority.-

-I...- Jon resigned and shook his head. -I don't know how to thank you. Really.-

The guy gave him a pat on his shoulder: -That's fine, no problem. See you, come here more often, hm?- he winked at him.

The three Starks stared at him getting away, Jon with his mouth open wide, Bran with the typical look of who was about to start laughing at any moment, and Rickon seemed to have just met his new favorite superhero. They stayed in silence looking at the generous stranger until Bran decided to say: -Pretty hm, Jon?-

-Quit it, Bran!-

 

 

 

Rickon leaving his shoulders free to rest was the most relaxing thing of that day: Jon let the little boy throw himself on the couch and turn on the TV, as he asked Bran where he wanted him to bring him.

-You want me to get you in your room, so you can finish reading your book?- he asked him, taking his brother's shoe off.

-You can bring it here, if you want: so you don't have to climb the stairs four times.- Brand responded, calmly.

At first Jon was tamen by surprise: -Bran, it's no problem, if you want to go upstairs I'm more than willing to do it.- he insisted, not wanting the kid to feel like a burden to his older brother or to the family in general. When Jon had seen him falling, during the game, he had seen his little brother screaming and not getting back up on his feet. Robb had stood up the moment Bran had reached the ground and Jon had found himself with his youngest brother in his arms as Robb screamed at him "stay with Rickon!" and ran towards Bran. And now Bran had his leg in a cast but he would have never been a burden, for none of them. Bran was Bran, he was their little brother. He was only ten but Jon safely revealed himself to him when he had a problem, just like he did with Arya, who was twelve... Jon supposed that was one of his qualities, letting it all out in front of two kids. Maybe he still was a little bit of a child, that's why he got along well with them. And maybe, they also were a little bit too adult.

-I know you're tired Jon. Let me stay here.-

Jon kneeled in front of Bran: -You...- he began, pointing his index against him and barely holding a back a grin.

-You have to stop entering other people's mind.- he ruffled his hair and helped him getting comfortable on the armchair. He turned to Rickon right after: -Hey, no shoes on the couch: you know Robb doesn't like it.-

With a particularly dramatic sigh, Rickon laid down on the couch and held his legs up, so that Jon could remove his shoes.

-You're not becoming like Robb too, right Jon?-

Jon tickled his foot and tried the best he could to take off the other shoe when Rickon curled up in a ball, chuckling.

-Not even in a million years.- he reassured him.

-But why do you care? You adore Robb!-

Rickon opened his arms and stared at the ceiling, theatrically: -Yes, but Robb is Robb and you are Jon! I don't want two Robbs or two Jons, I want Robb and Jon!-

For the umpteenth time, Jon found himself observing how special his little brothers where: Bran was so mature and understanding, Rickon was sweet and he loved everyone that got near him. He arched above the little boy and gave him a loud tummy raspberry: Rickon started laughing and kicking, until Bran got his brother attention back.

-Jon, when is Robb coming back?-

Jon set Rickon free from his grip and stared at the clock on the wall: it was 6:30 p.m.

-He quits work at seven, so... 7:15? 20?- he answered. Bran looked at him sadly: -So we're eating late tonight too?-

Jon returned the kid's stare with the same expression: with Robb's overtime shifts that he worked exclusively to stop Jon from finding a job, they always had dinner late in the evening. And that was bad, if you consider that Rickon risked all the nights to fall asleep on his mashed potatoes. In that exact moment Jon was hit by the one that, according to him, was the idea of the century: -Not necessarily.- he answered, finally.

Bran's eyes widened: -You can't cook!-

Jon grabbed a pillow from the couch and playfully threw it at Bran's face: -I see you have much faith in me, little brother!-

-It's a matter of fact!-

Jon pointed a finger at him, making his way to the kitchen: -I'll surprise you!-

In the end, he surprised himself most of all: for Jon, the main task was not to burn anything down, but when he found out the food was well done and tasty too, he smiled like a twelve year old girl dealing with her first crush. Robb would have been back at any moment, dinner was ready, they would have eaten and then they would have gone to bed. And that shitty day would have ended.

 

 

 

Robb had only one thought inside his mind as he opened his house's front door: going to sleep. He had worked all morning and some extra hours in the afternoon, he was a wreck. He also needed a shower but he did not have the strength for it: he just wanted to hide in his room, fall into the bed and sleep until tomorrow night. But instead, he had to make dinner, give Rickon a bath, put him to bed, put Bran to bed and have a talk with Jon. That meant he would have climbed the stairs up and down for at least forty times. He had thought about it all day and he had come to the conclusion that he had been too harsh with Jon: the boy had made a mistake and there was no doubt about that, but Robb was wrong too by yelling at him in such way: Jon was a very sensitive boy, and since when Robb stayed impassive in front of one of his brothers in tears? He would have apologised to him and they would have civilly talked about it. Then they would have finally gone to sleep.

Rickon jumped around him right when he stepped a feet inside the house: -Robb Robb Robb! Jon made dinner! And it's not stinky!-

Robb picked Rickon up and looked at him in confusion: -He did?-

-We went to the supermarket today! Jon told you, didn't he?- Bran informed him, as Robb approached him to give him a kiss on his head.

-Yeah, but I thought he would have just went grocery shopping. Did he cook something healthy at least or did he...-

-Chicken breast, carrots and peas. Healthy enough, I think.- Jon answered, entering in the living room from the kitchen. Robb started at him in surprise: he didn't seem to be expecting a compliment or else, he was staring at him with dull and sad eyes. 

Robb made a small sign of approval with his head: -Thank you, Jon.-

Jon pursed his lips, unsure: -It's... it's ready.-

Dinner was even better than Robb had expected: Rickon ate his vegetables without complaining, something that happened a very few times, and for once he managed not to spill the water into the tablecloth.

-Since when you can cook, Jon?- Robb asked at some point, as he helped Rickon, sitting next to him, with cleaning his face with a napkin.

His brother shrugged and bit his lips: -I don't know. I was there and... I cooked, that is.-

Robb nodded: -That was really good.-

-Thank you.- Jon looked away. The situation was getting embarrassing, that's why Robb decided to completely change subject and he slapped his hands on his thighs, turning to face Rickon: -Little man, is it bath-time?-  

Robb scooped Rickon up from the chair as if he was a feather, and that made the little boy chuckle.

-Jon, Bran, could you please clear the table if you don't mind?- Robb gently asked his brothers.

Jon nodded and stood up in turn: -I can also do the dishes if you want me to.-

-You'd do me a huge favour. Thank you.- Robb was taken back by such kindness but he should have expected it: he had forbidden him to work and he had yelled at him to help him with the kids and that was what Jon was doing. And he was really good at it.

-Rickon, do you want some milk when you finish your bath?- Jon asked him starting, along with Bran, to pick up the dirty dishes from the table.

-Yes please!- the little boy beamed.

-What about you, Bran?- Jon turned on the tap as Bran handed him the last glasses and cutlery.

-No, thank you.-

-Robb?- Jon's eyes rested on his older brother's ones, but he lightly shook his head: -No, it doesn't matter. Come on, little scamp, let's go.- he fixed his grip on Rickon between his arms and he went upstairs. 

At that point, Jon and Bran were left alone in the kitchen.

-I think he appreciated it.- Bran confirmed.

Jon reluctantly looked at him: -You say so?-

-I think he did.-

Jon loosened his grip on the terry and placed the dish in the sink, still staring at Bran: -You sure you don't want anything else? Some hot chocolate? Some tea, tisane?-

-No I'm good.-

-A tisane could help you with your sleep: it is good for you with the little problem you have.- Jon tired again, but Bran stayed inflexible: -I'm okay like this.-

-Hm.- Jon stared suspiciously at him. -You know, it's no bother for me making you some...-

-Did you know that guy at the supermarket?-

-Bran!- Jon felt his cheeks on fire and he was forced to restart washing the dishes to not make it noticeable.

-He was a little bit old, in my opinion, but he was really pretty. Would you go on a date with him?- continued the kid, his eyes firmly looking at his brother.

Jon closed his eyes, sighed and turned to face him: -He just did a very nice thing for us. Nothing more.-

-Because he's interested in you.- Bran insisted. No, because he probably saw how desperate I look.

-Bran...-

-You should go back there and see if he will talk to you again. Don't worry, I won't tell Robb.-

Jon's mouth became a large O: -Excuse me, what should you tell Robb, if I'm allowed to know?-

He noticed Bran shrugging: -I don't know, that a man hit on you at some market and he asked you to go there more often so you two can see each other?-

-He did not hit on me!- Jon exclaimed, underneath the kid's perky stare. I’m letting myself being embarrassed by a little kid!

-I don't even like boys, Bran!-

And then, Bran started laughing.

 

 

 

-Was Jon good, today?- Robb asked, as he washed Rickon's hair, who screamed a "yes" with way more enthusiasm Robb's ears would have wanted.

-And you were good too, am I right?- the boy told him yes, this time with a calmer tone.

-Jon told me you had trouble with spelling the word "banana".- Robb said out of nowhere, but he regretted that the instant he saw his baby brother's trembling lip: -Bananas are stupid!- Rickon huffed.

-It's B and then A N and A N and A N and I never know when to stop!-

Robb couldn't hold his laughing back, so he took his little brother's face between his hands: -You're the cutest little boy on Earth, you know that?- he whispered him.

-Bananas are stupid.- Rickon whispered in response.

Robb chuckled once again and got him out of the bathtub, wrapping him in a towel too big for his small body. He dried his hair and put him in his undies and in a white pj's with some small blue drawings.

-Look at how cute this little tummy is!- Robb exclaimed, before pressing a kiss on Rickon's belly. 

-Hm, I'm going to eat you!- Robb wrapped his arms around his body and started kissing him all over his face. He went on for an indefinite time, until he decided to set him free to look him in the eyes: -You're my baby boy, you know that?-

Rickon rested his head on his shoulder: -Yes. You always say that.-

-Because it's true.- Robb scooped him up and brought him back to the kitchen, glimpsing Bran on the couch. Jon was there with a cup of milk ready in his hands and he carefully handed it to the child. Rickon thanked him and went sitting next to Bran, not running but walking, as Robb had told him. 

Once they were left alone, Robb looked at Jon: he still had those fearful eyes, Robb's heart was about to break.

-Thank you for what you did tonight.- he started. 

-Once I've put the kids to bed we're going to talk a bit, alright?-

-What else do you want to talk about?- Jon lowered his glance and Robb went near him: -About your grounding. And what happened today.-

He saw Jon huffing lightly: -Didn't we already talk about it enough?-

Robb began caressing his back: -We're talking about it once again, calmly. It's going to be alright, I promise.-

But judging by his pale face and his wet eyes, he doubted Jon believed him.

 

 

 

 

Once Rickon had finished drinking his milk, Jon offered to take him to bed, so that Robb could deal with Bran. Jon gave Rickon a caress on his hair and said goodnight to Bran with a wave of the hand, informing Robb that he would have waited for him in the living room.

-Robb, you won't scream again, will you?- Bran pleased, resting his head on the pillow. 

-No Bran, don't worry about that. Call me if you need the bathroom or you don't feel good, okay?- Robb kissed him on his forehead. -Sleep well.-

Then he went to Rickon and tucked him in the sheets: -Now you sleep, baby boy, do not stay with the light on under the sheets because I'll find out.- he kissed him on the cheek and gently closed the door. Halfway down the stairs he realized Bran's wheelchair was still in the living room. He cursed.

-Leave it there, he won't be needing it til tomorrow morning.- Jon said to him, sitting on the couch.

-I hope so.- Robb mumbled, sitting next to him.

Jon seemed pretty well convinced not to look at him in the face, so Robb decided that the sooner he started talking, the sooner the conversation would have ended. Hopefully well. 

-I appreciate what you did tonight, Jon. A lot.-

Jon nodded but stayed silent.

-How much did you spend? There should be enough money in the emergency jar, right?- Robb added.

-I did not... I did not use that money.- Jon gulped and Robb realised that his brother had just spent the money he had gained to do the groceries he still had not been able to do.

-Jon, those were your money...-

-No, those money were for the family. That's why I'm doing this, Robb.- replied the boy. Robb rested a hand on his shoulder: -Listen to me, I can let you do this thing where you make other people's homework. But only if you are going to keep the money for yourself, okay?-

Finally, Jon looked at him in the face: -What?-

-Jon, you are sixteen: I don't want you spending your money to do the grocery or some other things like this, even though I really appreciate it. That's my job. You have to spend your own money to buy yourself the things you like, am I clear?- Robb definitely preferred this discussion way more that the one they had in the afternoon: now he was able to keep his tone calm, and Jon was visibly more relaxed by that.

-Fine.- Jon whispered softly.

-I'm sorry for yelling at you in such way. And for assuming you were selling drugs or something.- Robb admitted, giving his brother and apologetic look.

Jon leaned against the back of the couch: -Do you really consider me capable of selling drugs?-

Robb shook his head and ran a hand on his eyes: -I didn't even think you could leave Rickon alone, I panicked.-

-It was an accident.-

-It was a mistake.- Robb corrected Jon, but he still did that with kindness. -I do know that you're a good and kind boy, and that you would have never done it on purpose, but it happened. And yes, I was right to get angry, but there are plenty of ways to scold someone and the one I used was not the right one.-

He paused.

-Something bad could have happened to him. But it didn't, and for now I want to concentrate on this aspect. What matters is that it won't happen again, okay?-

Jon nodded a couple times, he had tears in his eyes. Robb knew it was important for him to let it all out, but he had to finish his speech first: -Good. Listen, you're staying at home for a week and I won't let you use your phone either, okay? But not when you're at school: you never know, if something might happen. I hope not. I say you can do this, what about you?-

It was not a strict punishment, and Jon knew this: he had expected worse even after he had gone buying dinner for him.

-That's fine, I guess.- he said, quietly.

Robb opened his arms: -Now come here.- 

Jon needed not to be told twice: it had been quite a long time since the last time his brother had hugged him, and he wanted to enjoy that moment. He let himself be held by his older brother and buried his face against his neck.

-Robb?- he said, after a few minutes of total silence.

-Hm?- Robb was tenderly stroking his black hair.

-You do love me, right?-

Robb kissed him on the head: -Of course I love you. I will always love you, Jon. Just as much as I love Bran and Rickon.- he said, then he started kissing his forehead a few times with sloppy kisses, forcing Jon to step away, annoyed.

-Ew no, you're exaggerating!- exclaimed the teen.

-But you're my little boy!- Robb replied, trying to catch him once again.

-You sound like mom when you do that.- Jon let him notice. Robb smiled sadly at him: -Well, technically I am, after all.-

-Yeah but you're my older brother, too.-

-I'm your brother, your mom and your dad. How am I doing? Well enough?- Robb looked at him, hopeful.

-I would say so.- Jon admitted, and Robb held him tight another time.

-I miss mom and dad. And Arya and Sansa.- he heard Robb sighing at his confession and Jon took it as a "me too".

-We are going to make it, Jon.- he said softly.

-My neck is so damn sore: I spent all day with Rickon on my shoulders because I was scared I could lose him again. How can I have been so stupid, Robb? Rickon was with mom and dad the day they... if something happened to him I would have never forgiven myself.- Jon had started crying and he huddled against Robb's chest, who had just kissed his temple.

-Shh... no more crying Jon. You've been crying all day, no more now, it's alright. It's alright.- Robb stayed there, rubbing his back and comforting him until Jon was completely calmed down. After that, he cupped his face in his hands and wiped away the last tears: -Now go to bed and get some sleep, alright? It has been a very long and stressful day and you need to rest. It's all okay, I promise.-

Jon was more than happy to obey: he went to his room, slipped into a T-shirt and a pair of old sweatpants and hid himself underneath the covers. The lump in his throat and the feeling of emptiness in his stomach had finally left. That shitty day was over.

Chapter Text

Theon hated little kids. And teenagers. And everyone who was younger than him. That was weird, if you consider his job as illustrator of books for young people (especially fantasy ones), usually over twelve years of age. The fact was that he did not feel comfortable in the company of a little monster with drool on their mouth who destroyed everything they touched but started crying when they just stumbled. And he hated those brats who believed to know everything and "rebel" teenagers convinced to be conquering the world or doing something nobody had ever done before. That's why he had tried to do whatever it takes to make his boss change his mind and make someone else do that damn project at high school: he had to take an illustration class to a bunch of snob repellent kids. Over explaining his job to them, he had to make them draw and give them advices and constructive criticisms. But Theon was not the type: he would have ended up scoffing and offending everyone that could not draw a straight line with a ruler, and something told him that many of them wouldn't have been able to. And surprise surprise, the class lasted ten lessons and guaranteed the students extra credits, so that meant that the class would have been full.

-Come on Bronn, can't Mis do it? Or Margery, since she's so good with... people-

His boss stared at him, bored: he was sprawled on his swivel chair like he was about to fall asleep at any minute and talking with someone was the last thing he wanted.

-Theon, you illustrated the most anticipated book for teenagers of the year, it's going to be a honor for them, to have you there.- he tried to explain his employee, joining his hands in a prayer, patiently.

-Margery illustrates Tyrion Lannister's books!- Theon exclaimed, opening his arms wide.

-...which are books for little kids.- Bronn observed, as if it was obvious. -Listen here Theon, if this was about some elementary school I would have sent Margery. But it's a high school we're talking about and since you are the one drawing for Davos Seaworth, it's up to you to accomplish this small assignment. Nothing bad will happen to you, plus you adore being at the center of attention, don't you?-

-Yeah, but not with a bunch of teens in the middle of their hormonal crisis!- Theon was almost offended. No, he was definitely offended. He had been a teen, of course, but he would have never regretted those days: he did not miss school, he did not miss his old friends, he preferred the new ones way more. He liked his job, besides some small disadvantages, and he had a good relationship with a few of his colleagues. But he really was horrible with the young ones: they were always in search of advices, tormenting you with their problems that, to be honest, were not real problems at all. Theon was not the kind of guy made to listen and talk: Theon was born to take action, and kids never took action. And if they did, they did it wrong.

-Theon, you'll have a pretty nice pay raise for this, you know? Just be cool about it and don't be such a drama queen: it's, how much, ten lessons? You'll survive. You're starting in two days, if I were you I'd prepare one or two small programs, Mr Teacher.- and with that last order, Bronn definitely ended the conversation.

 

 

 

-Wake up, come on! Get up!- Robb entered Bran and Rickon's room with more energy that usual that morning, maybe because that had been the first night in a while where he had gotten a nice and peaceful sleep. He had gotten up from the bed without swearing and he had made breakfast in total tranquillity: today he had a feeling that everything would have been fine.

-I can't get up, Robb.- Bran whined, burying his face on the pillow and turning on the other side of the bed. Robb rolled his eyes: -Very funny, Bran. Wake up, Rickon.- he scooped the little boy up and got him out of bed to let him stand on the ground.

-Breakfast's ready, we're coming in a minute.- he pressed a kiss on his nose and let him go downstairs with a still shaky pace. Right after that, he sat Bran in his wheelchair and set a place for him on the table. He let his brothers start eating as he climbed the stairs once again to wake Jon up: he usually was the first one being awakened but under the circumstances (Robb would have not forgotten those sad and tired eyes for a long time) he decided to let him sleep a little bit more.

-Jon, it's time to wake up.- he said softly, stroking his hair. In response, Jon let out a whine.

-Does your neck still hurt?-

-Uhm, I can handle it.- Jon got up grudgingly and rubbed his sleepy eyes, flinching at the energetic pat Robb gave him on his shoulder: his brother was too perky for his taste, that morning.

-If it's still hurting today, we're going to see a doctor, okay? I'll be downstairs.-

That morning went quicker than the others had ever gone: in the blink of an eye Jon had taken Rickon by the hand and Robb was helping Bran to get in the car, they had waved goodbye and Robb had gone to work. Everything had lasted like a heartbeat. He was on time at work and there was also the possibility that Blair had stared at him somehow satisfied, and being early in the morning, university students passed by just for a quick coffee and the bar was mostly full of old people. Basically, everything was calm.

-Coffee.- 

Robb had just said goodbye to his last costumer, an old man with a contagious smile, when he recognized the owner of that voice without even needing to turn around: -Social worker Lannister!- he exclaimed, with a super fake smile on his face. 

Cersei had the longest hair Robb had ever seen, and they were always so perfectly tidy that they almost pissed him off. She was beautiful as a sunshine but Robb couldn't stand the grin that came up in her lips every time she talked to him, like right in that moment. He tried to look away from that smile and he started making her coffee.

-How are you doing?- Cersei asked him, in the moment Robb handed her the coffee on the counter.

-Fine.- he answered, quickly.

-The kids are fine, and Jon... he's fine too.- he held a hysterical sigh back.

Cersei raised a brow: -Oh, I hope so.- she wished him and in that moment Robb saw that grin growing wider.

-But I'll have the opportunity to see that with my own eyes. Today at four.- and as Robb clenched his fists, she began drinking her coffee.

 

 

-Okay, so, now that you have the anatomical model here and the story has been read, you will have to try and create a character. Clear?-

Theon rested the remote of the projector on the teacher's desk and sat down. It had gone better than he expected: sure, the students where the same know-it-all brats, but at least they did not disturb him. A big boy that Theon was sure was the football team captain (sixth sense) had fallen asleep with his head on the desk fifteen minutes later the beginning of the lesson, and a red haired girl was staring at her phone not worrying about getting caught. The guys in the front row stared at him, bored, but they did not have the possibility to get distracted during the lesson, being the first ones to be seen by the teacher, while, in the last rows, there seemed to be more attention. Theon noticed four boys in particular, all of them in the very last row: the first one, a big guy with a kind big chubby face stared at the pictures on the projector with sparkling eyes, while the one sitting next to him, small and skinny, seemed to be about to break into hysterics. But his friends next to him was a little bit harder to interpret: besides the fact that he already had a small blond goatee (and that irritated Theon, because when he was his age he did not even have hair under his armpits), he kept his eyes on the screen, but Theon had no idea of what his ears were listening. Finally, the last boy, a little guy with black curly hair and big dark eyes, looked like he wanted to be everywhere but there: he listened to Theon's words, and there was no doubt about that, but he rolled his eyes every time he talked about his personal experiences and he stared and the works Theon showed (the ones he had made, the illustrations of "the most anticipated book for teenagers of the year") frowning and with a grimace on his mouth. And here he is, ladies and gentlemen, Theon thought, staring at the boy as he grabbed his pencil like it was the first time in his life, the typical teen I fucking hate.

 

 

About twenty minutes later, Theon felt the teacher tapping a finger on his shoulder.

-I think you should check on them.- she suggested him, smiling lightly.

-Should I?- Theon repeated, as he hadn't already done enough: he was proud of the arguments he had studied, he had prepared a speech about being an illistrator, he had prepared a power point full of picutres, and then he had asked the teacher to read a passage from Seaworth's last book. Then, he had showed the class a drawing that represented the typical body proportions he applied on his works and he had asked the students to create one of the characters of the story. Easy and funny, right? Now that he had done it, stop, mission accomplished, see you next Wednesday. But not, instead. 

The teacher nodded and Theon was forced to get up.

As he figured, almost nobody was able to use a pencil: the probably captain of the football team had given up before even staring and the only thing on the paper was a rivulet of drool. The red haired girl was still scrolling pictures on her phone and most of the students erasing what they were drawing.

Next lesson, Theon thought, I’m removing everyone their eraser.

-Banal.-

-Terrible.-

-Mediocre.-

-What the hell is this supposed to be?-

This were the comments he had repeated the most. Though, once he arrived on the last row, his opinion changed: the boy with the chubby face had drawn the female main character. He had an unsure stroke, inaccurate, he did obviously not have a personal style, maybe it was just a matter of luck that he had done right on the first try. But overall, it was the best drawing he had seen in the class.

Theon rested his hands on the boy's desk: -You, what's your name?-

The boy had his mouth open wide for a while, and all of his classmates turned to stare at him, before he answered: -Sam.-

Theon stared at the paper one last time: -Not bad.-

Sam's eyes lightened even more, as he smiled and whispered a shy "thanks".

Theon rested his attention on the other boy, the skinny one, now that the whole class was following him with their eyes: -Is that supposed to be a man or a monkey?-

The boy seemed to be about to burst out laughing: -Actually, that's a girl.-

Everybody laughed, to the disadvantage of Theon's ears. It was obvious: somebody says some bullshit and every one is laughing like it‘s the joke of the century. Somebody screamed "you're a moron Pyp" and then it was up to the teacher to bring order back.

Theon patiently waited for the silence to fall, to look at the last two drawings: unfortunately for him, the guy with the blond goatee was actually pretty good. He had drawn the male main character with a quick and strong stroke, Theon supposed he did not only already knew the whole story Seaworth had written, but that he also drew quite often.

-What's your name?-

-Grenn.- said the boy. 

-Do you attend some drawing class?- he asked him. Grenn shook his head.

-You should.- Theon told him. -You're quite good.-

Finally, it was the last boy's turn. Theon was about to say something but he was preceded: -It sucks, I know.-

Theon clenched his teeth: that kid irritated him. Not just because he was young and naive, but because he seemed to have all the characteristics that made Theon's head go mad: he was an observant type, one that judged everything that passed in front of him, but still he did not have faith in himself at all. Theon hated people like that: Theon was arrogant, selfish and terribly irritating, but he hadn't gotten where he was because he had rolled his eyes and criticized everything he did. He had managed to get the job he wanted because he knew he had the qualities to do it. Not just because "he knew it sucked". At all, to be honest, the drawing that boy had made didn't suck at all.

-Oh, if you realize that, it's a start.- he spit, and he was about to sit back down on his chair, but he stopped halfway, when he heard a female voice saying: -You're such a dickhead.-

-Ygritte!- the teacher exclaimed, standing up. When Theon turned around, he noticed that the red haired girl was no longer using his phone because she was staring at him as you usually look at pigeon's poop on your new car.

-Ygritte my ass! He's done nothing but offending everyone, when he should be giving constructive criticisms! That's disrespectful!- she yelled, knocking her hand on the desk. 

Theon shook his head and sighed noisily, sensing the typical fight that always came up every time he was put in the same room with somebody younger.

-Like staring at your phone during the whole lesson.- he said back, and then everybody started screaming "ooh" so that the teacher had to shut her students by spitting a set of "shhh!".

-Kid, once you're out of here nobody will be there to give you the ones you call "constructive criticisms". No one will be there to tell you you're good not even if you are the new Caravaggio. At least, I am sincere.- Theon couldn't give a shit about some kids' opinion: he didn't even want to be there. His green eyes stared disinterestedly at Ygritte as she stood up: the girl seemed to be wanting to yell at him for a while and he would have been fine with it, since that it would have been a loss of time for her only.

-Ygritte.- said the black haired boy, and Theon stared at him: judging by how the girl had sat back down on her chair, he supposed the two where a couple or something like that. He almost threw up: the badass girl and the insecure eye-rolling kid. The typical perfect teenage couple.

Luckily for Theon, the bell rang.

-See you next Wednesday.- he waved ironically and gave a fake smile. A few moments before everyone had left the class, Theon saw Ygritte approaching the boy: -Try to do that once again and I'll smash your face, Jon Stark.-

 

 

A few hours later, Theon was about to laugh when he thought about her words, because so-called Jon Stark's face was about to be smashed for real. Not by Ygritte, but by a guy with the same red hair as her: the last bell had just rang and Theon believed he had seen enough action for that day. He should have headed home once he had finished his lesson but the teacher had asked him to join him for a coffee and who was Theon to refuse a free coffee? He almost expected the woman to scold him for what he had done but she did not, and that made Theon think that maybe the sweet face the woman showed him was not a glance that she showed to everyone. He wondered how he should have told her he preferred men, but then he realized that there would have been time for that and if she kept offering him coffees he would have taken advantage of that. He was almost out of the gate, when he saw that the boy (enormous, if you want to know), had grabbed Jon by his throat. 

Theon hated teenagers. That's why he would have gladly let him there getting punched. Still, saving him would have guaranteed him a "thank you" from Jon, and that meant that the boy would have felt humiliated and Theon praised. The redhead was bigger than him but in that moment Theon was like a teacher: he would have done nothing to him and Theon wanted to have some fun.

-Hey, Hey!- he exclaimed, approaching the two boys.

-Let him go.- he ordered and the redhead obeyed, but he protested instantly: -He got me a F!-

Theon frowned: -He got you a F? It's his fault that you're stupid?-

The boy seemed to be taken by surprise and turned white as a sheet: -No, sir, I...-

Theon was about to grin: that idiot really thought he was a teacher. This was getting even funnier.

-What's your name again?- he asked him.

The boy gulped: -Roy... Johnson. Roy Johnson.- 

-Roy Johnson, if I were you I would try not to beat the shit out of a kid in the middle of the school yard. That's full of teachers. That's stupid, don't you think?- Theon suggested him, before shaking his head and announcing: -Now get out of my way, if you don't want to end up in detention or somewhere else.-

Roy obeyed like a puppy. Once he was out of sight Theon let out a well deserved laugh. Then he turned to the other boy: -So, kid. Don't you think you...- but Jon Stark was no longer there.

 

 

 

-And she said she would have come here at four. I should tell you to be good, but you're always good, you're not the problem, the problem is me, I don't want to panic!- Robb had parked the car and was now walking the small path that led home with Bran.

-I have to finish doing the dishes, cleaning the living room, I have to convince Rickon to clean up his room, I have to...- 

-Robb chill out!- Bran exclaimed, exasperated.

-It always went good, it's going to be no different this time.-

Robb ran a hand through his hair and tried to convince himself it was like that: -Yeah, you're right. Everything's going to be okay, also this time. More or less. There shouldn't be any problems. Then I'll show her how good Rickon is at reading and... God, I hope Jon didn't forget him at school...-

Bran opened the door and let himself being pushed in. He almost could hear Robb's heart stopping beating: Jon was sitting on the armchair, terribly uncomfortable, as he stared at Rickon playing on the carpet. Just a second ago she was sitting on the couch but Cersei had stood up right on time to greet the last two Starks: -Robb, Bran! I decided to come by a little bit earlier, to surprise you.-

Chapter Text

-Be good at school, I'll see you later.- Jon let go of Rickon's hand and ruffled his hair, getting a loud "bye!" in return. He stayed in front of the gate for a moment, just to make sure the kid entered the school, and he spotted the old janitor from the day before as she slowly climbed the stairs. He quickly started down the path to school but he was still listless: Miss Harris had the brilliant idea to include them all to a ten-classes illustration course, something that Jon couldn't really care less. But it guaranteed credits, so he was forced to go: after all, a few hours enduring a man talking and talking were not the end of the world. Still better than a full lesson with Miss Harris, basically.

-So, he's going to be the one teaching the illustration class?- Sam, with his usual innocent look and eyes that always observed everything, pointed with a small gesture at a man talking with Miss Harris right behind the school gate. The teacher was speaking to him with a wide smile on her face, and she was extremely gesturing, more than she did usually. The man nodded, smoking a cigarette and answering her every once in a while. He was incredibly young, according to Jon: he should have been about Robb's age. He was the classic rock 'n roll guy you saw in the movies: he had blonde hair that ended above his shoulders, a thin and lean body, and his clothes were dark.

-His behaviour is kind of irritating.- Jon admitted, scanning the man's sprawled out posture, in total conflict with Harris' rigid and accurate one. Now that he looked at him more carefully, he seemed to be nodding at the teacher just to be polite, but in reality he wasn't listening a damn thing.

-All artists are crazy, he will be no different.- Pyp confirmed, shrugging.

-You're a douchebag, Pyp.- Grenn hit him on the head. Jon and Sam ignored them, still focusing on the two figures behind the gate: -Why would you say he's irritating?- Sam asked, fixing his bag on his shoulders. 

-I don't know. Sixth sense, maybe, but there's something telling me next ten Miss Harris's lessons will be a total torture.- maybe it was because of the long hair, or maybe because of the second cigarette he had lit up within ten minutes, or because of his relaxed attitude, or maybe because of the simple fact that he had a backpack on, but that guy was stressing Jon's poor nerves.

-He's got a backpack on. Like he's some kind of student.- Jon pointed out, adding a justification that could somehow answer Sam's question. The boy, instead, stared at him in confusion: -What’s this has to do with it?- 

Jon opened up his hands, trying to explain himself: -He's... I mean, shouldn't... shouldn't he try to look a bit more professional?-

-He's not a teacher, he's not supposed to be dressing up with a suit and tie. What's up with him that you don't like?- 

Jon wondered if he really was such an open book. If so, if the answer was affermative, he should have done something to resolve it. At that point, he decided to focus his attention on something else: -Robb grounded me, you know that? I can't stay at Grenn's on Saturday.-

Sam's eyes widened: -Robb grounded you? Is he capable of it?-

In that moment also Grenn and Pyp, that until then were busy bickering with each other, turned to face the two guys with their mouths open wide: -Jon! You said you would have been there! It's our night!- Pyp exclaimed, getting hit by Grenn once again.

-That's not the point, douchebag!- the blond said, only to ask Jon: -What about the interview for the job at the mall?-

Jon shrugged: -I cancelled it. At first I tried to posticipate it but Robb... he would never let me get a job, if he found out I'd be in serious trouble. And then, now he decided to work sometimes during the afternoon too and I have to watch over Bran and Rickon.-

Sam smiled at him sadly: -You were so proud of that job...-

-I know, but I would have ended up doing nothing but fighting with Robb and that's no good.- Jon stared at his feet.

-Brothers always fight among themselves; if I were you, I'd do that interview anyway.- Pyp suggested, whereupon Jon sprinted his glance up, his voice suddenly trembling and insecure: -You don't understand.- he started.

-Fighting with Robb is not like fighting with my brother. Not anymore, at least. It's like... it's like when you're little and you do something wrong and you don't want your parents to find out because you've always been the perfect kid and you don't want them to change their minds...- he admitted, feeling cold sweat on his back. He did not like talking about himself: he was always up to listen to everybody, he gave advices when he could, but when it was about him, he locked himself. He was not able to explain why exactly, maybe because he didn't even know himself that much and therefore it was even harder for him to believe that somebody that could understand him would really exist. But occasionally he broke down, and one of those times was right in that moment. Just that when he broke down, it was never in front of school, in front of everyone. It usually was on Sam's couch, or in Grenn's garage, or in Pyp's loft. Those places that connected him to his best friends and no one else. Not in a school. That's why he tried his best not to break down more: he blinked a couple times and ran a hand through his hair.

-Are we going in? Johnson still owes me fifteen pounds.-

 

 

In the end Theon Greyjoy, or whatever was his name, was exactly like he expected him to be: he didn't even say good morning, nor taken attendance, and he didn't even introduce himself, Miss Harris had done that for him. He had turned on the projector and showed some works he had done and to Jon, the thing was way too narcissist. He talked about his job like it was the hardest in the world and his way of bragging annoyed him. The strangest thing was that he had already seen those illustrations: he did not remember where or when but he knew he had already seen that red dragon somewhere. He raised his brow, wondering why, in his life, he should have ever seen the drawing of a red dragon standing on a mountaintop in the sunset, but the thought slipped away behind the curtains when Greyjoy asked the whole class to create something: Jon didn't know how to draw, and what had happened later, the fact that Greyjoy had confirmed him how much his work sucked, had barely touched him. Especially because he had other things to think of. And then there was Ygritte, and Jon would have preferred way more if she had kept those words for herself.

-Jon, tell her something or she'll get in trouble.- Jon heard Sam's voice loud and clear beside the two of them being three desks apart. He stared at him like he had lost his mind: his friends were convinced that Ygritte had a crush on him. And that was absolutely impossible, because Ygritte would have never had a crush on nobody, ever, and certainly she wouldn't have had it for him. On the contrary, Jon was almost one hundred percent sure Ygritte hated him.

-She already is in trouble.- he replied, but Grenn hit him on his arm and shoot him a dirty look. And that's how Jon did it, he called Ygritte by her name and she calmed down. Immediately, he found Theon Greyjoy's eyes staring still at him. He didn't know precisely what the illustrator was thinking in that moment, but he knew he returned his dislike. He was sure of that.

 

 

 

-I'll say it again: she's head over hills for you. You should take her on a date.- Sam exclaimed, once they could finally get out of school.

-She said she would have smashed my face.- Jon let him notice, as he spotted the red haired girl walking away with a quick pace, not looking at anyone.

-That's the way girls want you to understand they're into you!- the boy continued, making Pyp burst out laughing: -Sure, because you're an expert!-

-Well, I am, since I'm the only one who...-

-Sam!- suddenly everybody stared at their friend, amused and surprised.

-You found someone? Before I did?!- Grenn laughed and gave his friend an affectionate pat on his shoulder, asking for some more details.

-Her name's Gilly... she's really pretty.- Sam had suddenly blushed after pronouncing the lucky girl's name.

-Gilly like, the one in biology class? Holy shit my friend, you settled in!- Pyp started making questions too. Jon would have wanted to make sone too, but Roy still had to give him the money and then he had to go and pick up Rickon as fast as he could, that's why he said bye to his friends and waited for the redhead to show up. But when he did, he did not have the expression of someone who just got a B or a C+: his face was almost the same color as his hair, and Jon had understood that was the time to runaway, but he did not have the time, because Roy was way too faster than him and too stronger and he had his hand around his neck in a heartbeat.

-I should break all your teeth!- Roy yelled at him.

-What did I do?- Jon asked him, finding difficult to talk, feeling the hand around his throat tightening.

-What did you do?! Mrs Adams fucking found out! She gave me a F! I swear I'm going to kill you!-

Jon didn't know Roy, that's why he was not able to tell why he was so pissed for getting a bad grade. After all, when Jon had asked him some of his writings to see how to write down the essay, he had realized that Roy had many difficulties with writing and that was certainly not his first F. Still, he had never seen him so pissed.

-You said she wouldn't notice! That it was worth a B! That...-

-Hey, Hey! Let him go!-

Jon had waited for a teacher to come more than anything else, in that moment: despite the pain because of the strong grip, he was about to be late to pick Rickon from school once again. At a distance of one single damned day. And he hadn’t spent the whole day crying to be yelled at another time. That’s the reason why when Theon Greyjoy made Roy Johnson loosen his grip, he was more than grateful for that. But it was late, and Rickon would have been out of school at any minute, and he couldn’t leave him alone. He would have thanked him next Wednesday: now he had to run. 

 

He was just four minutes late and thank god Rickon was there waiting for him. With Jon’s surprise the kid was not alone: he was with the janitor Jon had talked to the day before. Rickon was obviously all smiles and chattering, and Jon noticed how the old woman’s face had unbelievably softened since the last time he had seen her.

He called for his little brother and took him by the hand, then he said to the woman: -Thank you, Mrs.-

She huffed, lightly: -You said you were never late, didn’t you?-

-Something came up... also this time.- it basically was the same problem of the day before, but this was something Jon wasn’t willing to point out.

-Is everything alright?- she asked him, and right there she seemed worried. Jon blushed, embarrassed, but he answered her anyway: -Yeah, everything’s... good. Just some issues at school. Now we really have to go, our brothers will be home soon. Thank you once again.-

Rickon waved at the woman as he was dragged away by Jon: -Bye Mrs Agatha!-

The woman smiled lightly at him, she waved at the kid and then said to Jon: -If I were you I’d talk with your brother, about your problems at school. He seems like a smart guy.-

Jon didn’t answer that: he just excused with a gesture of his head and he walked away. She was a woman working with kids, Rickon’s elementary school’s employee, and yes, Jon would have preferred that his brother had stayed with a teacher instead of her, but she was still a janitor that worked close to children. What upset him was that she had talked with Rickon about their family: who knows what she was thinking now, a twenty five year old young man with three brothers to look after, one of them that was never on time to pick up the youngest one from school. Maybe she would have called someone. Social workers, the police, somebody that made sure Robb was not ruining three kids’ lives.

-Rickon, what did you and the Mrs talk about?- Jon started the conversation leaving it up to Rickon to explain everything, without asking too many questions: he knew that when Rickon started talking he never stopped. Not by chance, the kid started jumping around, smiling, obliging Jon to tighten his grip on his hand, so that the little boy could move but not run away from him.

-She said her daughter works on planes! But not like her husband, she doesn’t drive ‘em, but she can speak many languages! Her husband died in a plane crash so I asked her if she was sad and she said that it’s been a veeery looong time, so I told her that my parents are gone and now Robb’s our parents and she told me she has a cat named Butter that keeps her company and so I told her I don’t have a cat but I have two other brothers and she said Robb’s a good guy and that...- Rickon’s high spirits seemed to be turned off. Jon really couldn’t blame him: if he still had something to be happy about that morning, he had lost it too. Because Cersei Lannister was standing in front of their house.

-Jon, Rickon. It’s such a pleasure to see you again. It’s been a while.- said the woman.

“Can’t say the same” wanted to answer Jon, but he knew he would have screwed up. He responded to the woman’s smile with one forced just as much: he had to be polite, kind, behaved, basically he had to make a million of little things that could convince her that Robb was an amazing guardian.

-Good afternoon, Miss Lannister. You’re waiting for Robb, am I right? He should be here within a minute, get comfortable.-

He opened the door and let the woman entering the house first, suggesting her to sit on the couch. Once she was out of reach, Jon kneeled at Rickon’s height: -Hey...- he told him softly, tapping him on the cheek with one finger.

-It’s alright. Show the witch what a good boy you are, okay?-

If Robb, Jon and Bran detested Cersei, Rickon was frightened by her: he didn’t see Cersei as the woman who wanted to throw up roadblocks and that showed up when she wanted to catch them off guard; to Rickon, Cersei’s visits meant that things were not fine and that she was the one who would have taken him away. The one that would have divided them all.

The little boy reluctantly obeyed his older brother and laid on the carpet, grabbing a puzzle: it was the only quiet game he had, and he didn’t feel like starting a battle between unicorns and dinosaurs in front of the social worker.

-Would you like something to drink?- Jon asked, swinging on his tiptoes and hoping that Robb would have come there fast: he felt uncomfortable with her, he felt manipulated.

-Oh come on Jon, Robb forces you to be a butler to anyone who enters this house?-

Jon bit his tongue: now she was manipulating him. He sat on the armchair, next no Rickon, and he waited, as a ritual, for Cersei to start with uncomfortable questions. 

-How’s Bran doing? Is he still on a wheelchair?- she asked, staring at him fully, in search of weakness.

-His cast will be removed in a month and half. Then therapies will start. He should begin using crutches in a few, anyway.- Jon answered, clearing his voice with a cough. In that instant, they heard the ticking of a set of keys and the door opening: Jon read the discouragement in Robb and Bran’s eyes immediately, and so did Cersei because she stood up, satisfied, and approached them:-Robb, Bran! I decided to come by a little bit earlier, to surprise you.-

-Hello, social worker Lannister. We can set up in the kitchen, if you’d like. Jon, could you please help Bran, if you don’t mind?- Robb was rigid, but he was trying to keep his control. Jon nodded steadily and was about to stand up from the armchair, but Cersei blocked him by raising her hand: -Actually, I would like to ask you a question, Robb. And I want your brothers to be present.-

Jon held his breath and so did Robb and Bran. Rickon just held onto the brother nearest him, and Jon made him sit on his lap: his little heart was beating so fast, and the last thing Rickon had to do was crying in front of the social worker. He tried to comfort him by caressing his back, as Robb said: -Go on.- 

Cersei crossed her arms and made one of her typical satisfied smiles: -How long have you been abusing your brother?-

Jon felt the ground missing underneath his feet. Bran paled and Rickon had stayed where he was, since he probably did not understand the meaning of the sentence. Robb had set up his mind, trying to understand if the words he had heard were the same she had pronounced. Then he exploded.

-How dare you to think I’m abusing my brothers?! I love them, and I wouldn’t be doing all this if I didn’t love them! I would never hurt them, I would never even tap them!-

Robb was now pale too and Cersei was happier than ever. She looked at Jon: -Then, can you tell me why your brother has red bruises on his neck? They seem pretty recent.-

Robb turned to Jon with his eyes open wide and Jon rested a hand on his neck just to remove it right after: Roy had left him bruises for holding that tight and Cersei believed his brother had done that.

-Robb does not hit me!- he yelled.

-It was some guy at school! One that punches everyone!-

Jon was trying to help his brother, to tell the truth, but Cersei turned the thing to her advantage: -You don’t know your brother’s being bullied, Robb?-

Robb began shaking his head: -I don’t...-

-I’m not being bullied!- Jon stepped in once again. -This guy decides someone to punch everyday! Robb has nothing to do with it, he’s a good parent, I swear! Look the house: everything’s fine! Bran is so good at school and Rickon is full of friends! Robb is...-

He was going to say “an amazing dad”, but Cersei interrupted him. Or, better, she totally ignored him, because she remained focused on Robb: -In case you’ve been wondering, Robb Stark, it did not go well. From now on you might expect visits anytime without a warning. I could be here tomorrow. In a month. Or maybe tonight. Goodbye.-

And in the same way she entered (proud, satisfied and suddenly) Cersei left, and the living room fell silent.

-Robb...- Jon tried to say, but his brother rushed in front of him and grabbed his face between his hands.

-Who did this to you, Jon?- he asked him, lightly making him raise his face with one hand and touching his throat softly with the other.

-Does it hurt?-

Jon nodded but tried to take the conversation back it where it was: -Robb, Cersei...-

-I don’t care about her, Jon! At least, not right now! You’re hurt and that’s the only thing I want to worry about! Let’s go to the bathroom.- Jon followed Robb with a reluctant pace. He noticed how his brother was running his hands on his hair and face and how pale he still was, and he got that: Cersei had now found the motivation that would have managed to take Robb’s brother away from him. Violence. She had accused Robb of hitting Jon. The most absurd thing Jon had ever heard: Robb never hurt anyone, Robb was the overprotective big brother that right now was spreading lotion on his bruises. 

-They won’t take you away from me.- said Robb, firmly, staring at Jon right in the eyes.

-Robb, I didn’t think she could end up saying that you... I’m so sorry...- Jon was about to cry again. He felt like a child, a useless suckling that always cried and never took action when there were problems. He hated himself. Robb took his face between his hands: -Don’t you even try to blame yourself, Jon: you’ve been hurt. It was a misunderstanding. Our family is working and if Cersei wants to come and visit us whenever she likes, well she can do that: my work is stable and it maintains us, and you are three amazing boys. She has no reason to take you away from me, alright?-

And as Robb held him, gently because of the bruises on his throat, Jon tried with all his strength to believe him.

Chapter Text

Bran asked to be put to bed earlier, that night: his excuse was that he really wanted to finish reading his book, but Robb knew that the kid wanted him and Jon to be left alone. After all, Robb and Jon had much to discuss, in that period. So he tucked him in and left the lamp on the nightstand on, then he handed him his book.

-Robb, why do you think Cersei wants us to leave so bad?-

Bran asked that question all the times Cersei showed up, and Robb still had not been able to find an answer that could give him a valid explanation: the point was that he didn't know how to explain it either. Robb was not a bad brother, he had a job and he didn't have any criminal history. The boys never got in serious trouble. He was twenty-five, he was an adult, and they lived in their own house, not in some flat. He understood how hard it would have seemed for a boy his age to dive into the role of full-time parent, but he wasn't struggling: the kids were alright. So why did Cersei have to be so obsessed with him and try to take away from him what was left of his family? Sansa and Arya were away, and that already hurt him. Robb kept on repeating himself that if the judge had given him his brothers' custody, it was because he had considered him worthy of it. And Robb was worth it. He didn't answer Bran's question: he fixed the pillow behind his head and kissed him on his forehead.

-Don't switch the light off too late, okay?-

Bran nodded, already completely dived in his book. Robb had noticed for quite a while how Bran had begun reading more than he usually did: with the leg injury there were not so many things he could still do, so that was why Robb supposed that the most exiting one was taking refuge in another world, a world where maybe things went better than in the real one. Or at least, in the book the dragon was killed, while on the other side the dragon had decided to attack repeatedly and all of sudden. Robb was not able to kill a dragon, but he was able to raise three kids with no parents, and that made him valiant just as much as all the heroes in the world: he didn't have superpowers, but he was terribly close. No superhero, for example, would have ever managed to convince Rickon to go to bed after only one episode of his favorite cartoon, and not after two, like it happened every night. But that was also a particular night: Rickon was a bit down in the dumps, and that didn't suit him at all. He was lying down with his head on Jon's thigh, who was distractedly stroking his hair, him also watching the TV: Jon was getting through a lot right now, and he had come to a point where only children shows seemed to distract him, in Robb's opinion.

Rickon was already almost asleep, so it was easier for Robb to pick him up. Instinctively, the little boy rested his head on his shoulder, as Robb and Jon exchanged a sad look. Robb really wanted to hold Rickon tight and never let him go. He wanted to do so with all of his brothers and he hated that his arms weren't big enough to enclose them all. On the verge of his room's door, Robb heard Rickon sniffing: the baby of the family was crying. The little earthquake, the little boy that constantly smiled and laughed. His sweetheart, his baby boy, was crying on his shoulder.

-Rickon. Hey, hey...- he tried to look him in the face, but the kid was forcing his head on his shoulder and Robb succeeded just after the third try, and still, Rickon kept his eyes elsewhere. 

-What's going on?- he whispered him, but the question was obvious even to a five year-old like the little one: Rickon clenched his hands in two small fists and admitted: -The social worker scares me.-

If it had been Bran, Jon, Arya, Sansa, anybody, Robb would have answered "me too". Because Cersei scared the hell out of him. But if a five year old little boy thought that his older brother, in this case his main reference point, his major influence, was scared by the same thing that scared him, Rickon would have been even more frightened. 

Robb tried to comfort him, but he realized the words he was saying were also for himself, and not just for his youngest brother: -Rickon, she did not say she'll take you away.-

-But she said it went bad! And that she'll come back...- Rickon let a sob escape his mouth, and Robb responded to it with a caress on his arm: -That is because, as you already know, she kind of likes to annoy other people. But she has no reason to make you leave.-

Rickon's lower lip started trembling: -But... but she said you're using Jon, and... and that's a bad thing, isn't it? But is it true?- 

Robb didn't lose time with correcting the kid's grammar, because in the deep of his heart he hoped he never had to know the meaning of that word. He just stated the facts: -No, Rickon. I didn't do anything to Jon. Cersei misunderstood. And since what she thinks of me is not true, this means that everything is alright. You, Jon and Bran will stay with me, even if she has to come here everyday. Do you understand me?-

-I don't want her here everyday, can't you send her away?- Rickon wiped one of his blue eyes, which was a good sign: he was calming down.

Robb lightly smiled at him: -No honey, unfortunately I can't, even though I'd be really pleasured to do that.-

-She said you make Jon do the butler...- Rickon revealed, as if he could somehow convince his brother to change his mind. Robb stared at the little boy with eyes open wide and he opened his mouth, faking shock: -I'm not making Jon do anything!- he protested. -You know too that he never listens to me!-

Luckily, that sentence managed to rip a small laugh away from Rickon. That clear and joyful sound was music for Robb's ears: even when his parents were still alive, he had thought often that the hardest thing a parent had to do was comforting their kids. When it was about a skinned knee, or a broken leg (as it had happened) Robb knew what to do. When Bran had fallen and was screaming because of the amount of pain, Robb had ran by his side and kept on repeating him "look at me, don't look at your leg, just look at me. The ambulance is coming.". Robb knew what to do when serious injuries were involved, he was able to calm Rickon down with a kiss on his cut and a blue bandage with dinosaurs, and he knew how to take care of Jon when he had the flu and spent the night throwing up (something that happened only once and that Robb really hoped it would not repeat again). But if one of his little boys was down in the dumps, or sad, or scared, well, it was way harder: Robb didn't know how Bran could feel with not being able to walk; he didn't know what to do, still knowing how much Rickon was suffering whenever he saw Cersei entering their house, this woman that had their lives in the palm of her hand and all the older ones were talking and talking but he didn't understand. Robb never knew what to say, because the truth was uncomfortable but he could not keep it away from him. Making it sound fun and encouraging him to look on the bright side were the only things he could do. And at least it worked with Rickon, because he was still young.

The little boy yawned, and Robb took that as the chance to finally put him to bed: -All right, it's time for bed, sweet boy.- he quickly kissed his cheek, as Rickon nodded.

Bran was still awake when Robb opened the door and he was still focused on his book. Robb tucked Rickon in and was happy to see that the little boy was already about to fall asleep: every time he was about to doze off he blinked a few times and curled up.

-Do you want your plush, baby?- Rickon nodded, burying his face against the pillow. Robb handed him his favorite stuffed animal, an old teddy bear full of patches that Rickon held tight to his chest. Softened, as it happened all the times he stared at his little brother, Robb kissed him on his forehead: -Goodnight sweetie. I love you.-

-I love you too...- Rickon whispered.

Robb caressed his cheek, smiling: -Say goodnight to Bran, come on.- he told him. Rickon whispered a "night Bran" that was returned distractedly, then he closed his eyes. Robb sighed: finally he was alright.

He approached Bran with a little less stress on his body: -Don't switch the light off too late.-

Bran's eyes did not leave the book, but he still answered: -You already said that.-

Robb resisted the urge to ruffle his hair, because otherwise the both of them would have ended up laughing and Rickon would have woken up. So he nodded and pointed at the book: -Tell me when you're done with it, so we'll go to the book store and get you another one.-

Bran completely removed his attention from the book and turned to his brothers, eyes bright as a pair of stars: -Thank you, Robb!-

-For what?- Robb told him goodnight with a smile on his face but when he entered the living room the smile disappeared: that scene reminded him the night before too much, with Jon on the couch, head down and an uncomfortable conversation about to happen. He sat next to his brother and stared intensely at him, pronouncing one single question: -What's his name?- 

Jon sighed, lingering for a bit, before answering: -Roy Johnson.- 

-Can you explain me what happened?- Robb patiently waited for an explanation from his brother but it seemed that it would have never come out. Jon was silent, and the bruises on his neck where still in sight.

-I can't be cool if you come home filled with bruises. Not even if you tell me it won't happen again because that asshole will find someone else to beat up tomorrow. I have to take measures, Jon.-

Finally, Jon found the words to say: -He does... he doesn't beat up someone different everyday. I said that because otherwise the homework thing would have come up and... Roy held his hand around my neck because the teacher found out it was someone else who wrote the essay.-

-And when did this happen?- Robb asked: he knew bullying was frequent in high schools, but he also knew that it never went unnoticed, and he wished that somebody, some older student, a teacher, or even some beginners, would have intervened: in a high school the hallways are never empty, you just need to be brave enough too step up for the victim's own good. And yes, maybe the students were scared of such a strong boy, but it was a teacher and janitor's duty to make sure no violence happened at school.

-Right after the bell rang.- Jon answered, crossing his legs upon the couch.

-In or out the gates?- Robb wanted to know: if the thing had happened out of the school's walls, the principal could have told him that that was none of his business. If it had happened inside, instead, even though the bell had already rang, it was. 

-In.-

-And nobody saw you? Nobody tried to stop him?- Say yes. Do it for my mental sanity and for my patience.

Jon nodded: -The man of the illustration class. The one who taught us this morning. He came to us and yelled at Roy to let me go. I don't know what he told him later, I ran to Rickon.-

Robb didn't know if he had to feel relieved or less: he was grateful for that teacher for making sure Jon wouldn't have gotten more hurt. What worried him was the fact that if this man didn't step in, who knows how his brother would have come home. He couldn't stay impassive in front of something like that.

-Jon, I want to talk with this man. Ask him what happened. And then I want to talk with the parents of the boy who did this to you. And then I'll talk with the principal, to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Do you think this teacher will be fine with coming with me to the principal? So he can say what he's seen.- Robb grabbed the remoter and switched the tv off because Jon seemed to be paying more attention to it than to him. Not that the thing surprised him that much: Jon never liked tasking about himself, not even when Robb asked him how his day had school went or the afternoon with his friends, so he imagined him to be closing up like a hedgehog when the conversation wanted him a victim of bullying.

-It's a little bit weird, actually...- the boy started.

-I mean, he's not a teacher, and... he teaches only on Wednesday, with Miss Harris. And... he seems like an asshole.-

Robb laughed and that sudden excess of sincerity: he ruffled Jon's hair and checked the bruises on his neck once again.

-Well, I still have to talk with this asshole. Can you get his number from some other teacher?- he insisted, and was happy to see Jon nodding.

-Now can I watch TV?-

Robb handed him the remote with a smirk on his lips: -Only If you're watching something for your age.-

Immediately, Jon slapped him on the shoulder: -It's Mr Bean! Nobody's too old for Mr Bean!-

Jon turned the tv on, so that the cartoon could show up to Robb's amused eyes.

-Stay with me?- Jon asked, his big sweet eyes on sight. He was sixteen, but Robb was not able to tell him no when he put up that cute face. He agreed with an "If I have to" and Jon threw his arms around his neck within a second. He huffed, faking irritation, and got comfortable with him in his arms: -You're the clingiest teenage of the world.-

-You're only saying this because you never saw Grenn with his little sister.- Jon replied, eyes stuck on the television.

Robb kissed his hair: -I'm sorry if I didn't devote enough time to you, in this last period.- he apologized, but Jon looked at him in confusion: -You always devote me enough time. It's just that this last two days have kicked our asses. Don't blame yourself, I was sincere when I told Cersei you're a good parent, you know?-

Maybe those words where what Robb needed to hear for a year and a half by now, and the fact that it was Jon, the oldest, the brother he considered the hardest one to raise, to say that, fulfilled his heart with tenderness and admiration.

-Jon, If you'd like tomorrow I'll leave the kids to our neighbor and we're going to the mall downtown. What do you say? Just you and me.- Robb suggested: he trusted their neighbor, he had left Bran and Rickon at her house a few times before and they never complained, because as it seemed, she had a dog and old women don't have dogs, they have cats. According to Rickon, she was instead the "coolest one". The kids would have been fine with spending the afternoon with her, and Robb needed to spend some time alone with Jon.

-Are you sure, Robb? And if Cersei shows up?- Jon said, reluctantly.

Robb shrugged: -She would find something wrong anyway. Perhaps, it's better than leaving them home alone. Come on, you can get what you couldn't get yesterday.-

Jon bit his lip and his muscles suddenly tensed, in Robb's arms. The older boy looked up to the ceiling and waited for Jon to tell him what he had done this time: the fact of staying motionless when he had done something wrong was a thing Jon did since he was a kid, when Robb was fifteen and he caught the six year old in his room. Those times were totally different from now, if Robb thought about it: he was a teen, Jon a shy little boy, Sansa was a little princess, Arya a small baby with one hell of an attitude and their mother was carrying Bran in her womb. Rickon would have made his first step into the world no earlier than five years later. Everything was so different now: mom and dad were gone, Sansa and Arya had another family and Rickon probably did not remember his parents' faces. 

Robb shook his head to get away from those thoughts and called Jon to tell him to spit it out: the boy curled up in a small ball.

-It was a job interview but I canceled it.-

For a second, Robb was about to add five more days to his grounding: it was always the same story, he never learnt. Still, he had just asked him to spend an afternoon out with him and one of the main rules of his grounding was "staying home". So fuck the punishment, fuck work, fuck Cersei and fuck it all.

Robb playfully pulled his brother's curls, whispering a "you must start listening to me", followed right after by a: -We're going anyway and that's it: I want to buy you a new sweater, the one you have always on sucks.-

Still staying next to Jon, Robb called Blair to tell her that he could have not worked the extra hours in the afternoon: he was expecting the end of the world, but Blair ended up being more understanding than he thought. "Hope he'll get better soon" she said, thinking one of Robb's brothers had the flu or wasn't feeling well. And that understandable, she had probably heard Robb talking with some colleague about not being able to go and pick Jon from school when he wasn't feeling good.

He put the phone back in his pocket and stared at the television: in the end Jon was right, nobody was too old for Mr Bean.

 

 

-Behave to Mrs Danvers, okay? Rickon, be careful with the gnomes.- Robb said the day after, while busy fixing Rickon's t-shirt the best he could, since the little boy had stumbled on the ground about five seconds before.

-It happened once!- the youngest kid exclaimed, on his own defense. Robb pursed his lips: -And once is enough.- he reminded him.

He kissed the kids goodbye and waved at Mrs Danvers, as Jon smiled to them all. They were surrounded by a weird sensation once the two brothers got in the car: they were doing what two brothers that get along well usually do; going to the mall, spending time together. Jon did not remember the last time that happened, or at least the last time it was him and Robb alone. Not that he disliked his younger brothers' company, at all, but when their parents were still alive Jon remembered that when Robb came home for holidays or when they went to his place for the weekend, the two of them always took a day for them alone. They were the two oldest brothers after all and besides Robb benigma nine years older than him, Jon considered him the closest to his age, or the most suitable one to give him advices. 

Robb started the engine and turned on the radio.

-Hey Robb.- Jon said.

-hm?- his brother turned down the radio, stopping at a red light.

-I know that I'm technically grounded, but... everybody's going to be at Grenn's on Saturday and it's been a while since I've spent some time with them...- Jon tired that hoping to convince him: yes, he was grounded, but Robb was carrying him around. He would have not insisted if Robb had told him no, but it was worth a try.

Robb carefully stared at him, then he nodded: -You can go, Jon.-

Once he said those words, the teen's face lit up: -Seriously? But... I'm grounded.-

Robb shrugged: -I've noticed too that you're not spending so much time with Grenn and the others. And I'm worried about you, so I want you to be with your friends.-

Jon dangerously leaned forward to thank Robb with a kiss on his cheek, which his brother responded to by looking up: -Somebody will end up thinking we're a couple if you don't stop being clingy, are you aware of that?- he told him, starting to drive when the green light flashed.

-Who, old middle aged women? Fuck them all.- Jon hissed, flopping back on his seat.

-Oi!- exclaimed Robb, once he heard the swear word.

-What? Bran and Rickon are not here and you curse all the time!- Jon defended himself, chuckling and resting his feet above the glove compartment.

-I only curse when I'm angry and get your feet off!- Robb playfully hit him on the knee, ending up making his brother obey.

-Why should old women go the hell?- he asked then.

Jon put on a grossed out face, as if he had just bit a lemon: -They believe things that aren't real. Every time I'm with Bran or Rickon there's always one of them hypothesizing my life.-

-Like?-

-Like "look at that young man taking care of his little brothers".-

Robb's eyes were firmly staring at the street but his ears were listening: -But this is a true thing.-

-I know but I'd like it better if they stopped: mind your own business, Jesus Christ. I hear them saying things like "he probably is their babysitter" or "he's grounded and has to look after the younger brother" and these things annoy me: they know nothing. Nothing. Why can't they stay home watching their soap operas instead of imagining my life?!- the boy snapped, not being able to stop that river of words. 

Robb frowned: -Easy there, Jon: it's okay.- he told him.

-Just ignore them, Jon. It's not hard.-

-It bothers me anyway.- Jon crossed his arms on his chest and Robb smiled at him: -I know buddy, but these people will have nothing to do with you. So why should you care about what they say?-

Jon didn't reply, so Robb turned the radio up once again. For the rest of the way, they talked about music, their brothers and their sisters. 

It was in the moment they arrived at the mall that things started getting surprisingly funny for Robb and embarrassing of Jon: -Do I really have to try this on?-

Robb handed him a tan sweatshirt, trying not to drop the stack of clothes he was holding, and nodded vigorously: -Absolutely yes.-

Jon groaned: -You said we would have picked one!-

-I lied: all of your sweaters suck. Now come on, try that one too.- Robb didn't care about his brother's complains, and he stared amused at his brother as he pulled the dressing room curtain.

When Jon came back with the tan sweatshirt on, Robb's eyes softened and he almost let all the clothes fall into the ground: -You look so cute in that!- he exclaimed.

Jon closed his eyes and pursed his lips: -You're so gay when you act like this.- he complained.

In response, Robb winked at him.

-Can we go to eat now, please?- Jon pleased, taking off the sweatshirt. Robb stared at him in astonishment: Jon was a simple and shy boy, and to his older brother's eyes he would have always looked small. Yet, now Robb had to admit that his sixteen year old little brother had one hell of a body.

-Hey little bro, where did you get that pretty body from?- 

Jon's skin was quite pale, that's why Robb smiled when he saw how red his face had become in comparison to it.

-Robb! Quit it and let's go eat!- exclaimed the boy, stretching out to grab his usual grey sweatshirt. Robb stopped him before he could wear it and rested the stack of clothes in his arms: -Just one last thing!- he decided, and then he started wandering around the shop beneath Jon's eyes, who was fighting a very hard battle against the will to hit his head against the dressing room wall. Robb came back a few minutes later with a white shirt and a proud smile on his face.

-Forget it.- Jon spoke.

-Don't make a fuss, I'm sure you'll look great in it!- Robb said, grabbing the clothes from Jon's hands and handing him the shirt.

-Robb, I don't want it!- Jon insisted, staring at the shirt in disdain: he didn't wear that kind of clothes, they were far too fancy for him.

-Come on Jon, what do you wear when you're with your friends?-

-Not a shirt.-

Robb sighed: -You try this. For me.-

Jon didn't dress like that. Wearing the shirt would have made him feel different, too much elegant. And Jon was not elegant. Jon wore sweatshirts or t-shirts and shabby sneakers. That thing wasn't made for him, that was made for Robb.

As if he was reading his mind, Robb stood up on his toes: -You just have to try it on, we're not going to take it if you don't like how it looks on you.-

Jon knew Robb. He knew that if Robb had liked how the shirt looked on him he would have bought it anyway and he would eventually have forced him to wear that. Damn if he knew it, he did that specially with Bran and Rickon. That was why the right thing to do was saying a final "no" and ending it. But Jon was hungry and Robb knew how to be annoying when he really wanted to. So he closed the blue dressing room curtain and put the shirt on: he felt like he was someone else. The shirt was light, and it fully hugged his body: Jon was not used to see himself like that, he wasn't ashamed of his body but he was used to see it in other clothes. He was not used to that, but after all the thing wasn't bothering him: it was just a weird feeling, different from the ordinary. Maybe, if he and his friends had started visiting more "cool" places he would have dressed like that way before.

-Jon, you done?- Robb's voice came unexpected to his ears and he stopped staring at his reflection in the mirror. He opened the curtain and shrugged, feeling his brother's eyes all over him.

-Look at how beautiful you are!- Jon could imagine Robb's tender smile even with his eyes looking firmly on the tip of his shoes.

Robb approached him to adjust the collar of the shirt and roll the sleeves up: -We're taking it, aren't we? Shit Jon, how come you still haven't introduced me to someone? You're so pretty!-

-Robb...- Jon's blush spread on his cheeks and on the tip of his nose.

-Robb what? Come on, take it off so we can pay and then we can go eat something.- Robb walked away from the dressing room spot with that proud smile on his face, as Jon looked at the mirror one last time and thought of his brother's words: he didn't like anyone, right now. Like, nobody liked him: Jon was too shy to make the first move and then, he didn't even know what he liked exactly.

He started unbuttoning his shirt.

 

 

-Jon, do you like boys or girls?-

The teen almost choked on his milkshake: they were sitting on one of the external tables of a bar inside the mall, when Robb had asked him such an uncomfortable question.

-Robb!- exclaimed Jon, shocked.

-What?- Robb took a sip of his cappuccino, calm as if he had asked his brother whether he preferred strawberries or pears.

-Not now, not here!- Jon pointed out, covering his face with his hands.

-But it's a normal question. And I can help you, if you're unsure or you're having a crisis.- the older brother said, but to be honest Jon only wanted to bury himself alive.

-Yeah, but it's personal!- he yelled.

Robb rolled his eyes: -I get it, I get it. At some other time, then. But you won't get away from it. You want some fries?-

Jon shook his head and Robb stood up from the table with a huff: -I'll get them anyway: that cute body of yours will survive, don't worry.- and he poked his side.

-Robb!- Jon exclaimed, flinching.

His brother ruffled his hair, laughing: -I like to annoy you, little brother.- he announced, stepping away, towards the counter.

Jon crossed his arms on the table and buried his face against them: how did Robb find out he still was not sure about his sexual preferences? Jon had never had a relationship with anybody, nor some experience with boys or girls of any kind. He didn't even have had his first kiss yet, goddamnit. When he was his age, Robb had probably had the chance to experiment any form of love and in a thousand of different ways. But Jon was not like Robb, Jon was insecure. Even with "that cute body of his".

-...I already told you: yes. I got this, tomorrow morning you'll get the complete sketches and the...-

Despite he only had one occasion to hear that voice, Jon remembered how Theon Greyjoy spoke. That's why when he heard him near him, his head stood up in a second: Greyjoy was wearing an unbuttoned checked shirt and a white t-shirt, a pair of red Converse on his feet and he was holding his phone in one hand and a bunch of enormous canvas in the other. There was just something about him that made him look like a VIP, Jon wouldn't have been surprised if some paparazzi or a crowd of girls gone wild would have appeared. But despite his (their) dislike, Jon owed him one. So let’s get it over with quick.

He stood up from the table, leaving there his shopping bags, and quickly approached the illustrator: -Mr Greyjoy!- he called him, embarrassed.

The young man stopped his pace and turned to face the voice that had called him: once he saw the kid, he let out a "ugh" that made Jon feel even more awkward. 

-What? Can't you see I'm on the phone?- he told him, annoyed.

Not intending the sentence as a "get lost", as Greyjoy would have wanted, Jon whispered a: -I...-

Impatient, Greyjoy groaned and told the voice on the other side of the phone: -Listen, I'll call you later.-

He ended the call, settled the canvas underneath his arm and looked at Jon in the same way people look at mosquitos on full summer: -I'm in a rush.-

Jon clenched his fists, deciding to go straight to the point: after all, he would have done his part.

-I wanted to thank you for yesterday.- he threw out, victim of a total embarrassment, and noticed how on Greyjoy's mouth a smirk terribly similar to Cersei's had appeared. He reminded him of her so much that a feeling of antipathy replaced the discomfort.

-You shouldn't be wandering around busting people’s balls, especially if they're bigger than you, you know that? What's your name? Jack?- said Greyjoy.

-My name is Jon.- the boy made clear, irritated. But then he added, with a calmer tone: -I did not bust his balls. It's more complicated than that.-

Theon Greyjoy clicked with his tongue and raised both of his brows: -Yep. Too bad that I don't give a shit.- he replied, and was about to leave.

Hell no Jon thought. Robb already has to take a morning and an afternoon off to talk with the principal and with Roy’s parents, he won’t lose any other work hour if you’re here, now. 

-My brother would like to talk to you. Because you helped me.- he said, but Theon Greyjoy rolled his eyes: -Listen. Talk with Miss Harris. I have to go no...-

-Please, could you sit with us for a moment? It won't take more than five minutes.- Jon insisted. He did not want to throw away that chance: like Robb had said, he had to talk with that asshole.

-Please, he... Roy hurt me and my brother is really worried about me.- Jon rested his hand on the collar of his sweatshirt and lightly pulled it down, so that he could show Theon the red marks on his throat: they were not as red as the day before, bless the lotion Robb had given him, but they were still clearly visible and, most of all, they still hurt.

Luckily for him, Theon's stare seemed a little bit less irritated, so much that he looked at the red marks more than Jon had expected. 

-Then let's sit.- he said, in the end.

With a relieved sigh, Jon guided him towards the table where they sat in front of each other. Robb still hadn't come back.

-Do we have to stay here and look at each other in the eyes for some other time, or...- Theon started. Jon turned his head to the bar and pointed at Robb, still in line, talking on the phone, probably with their neighbor to be sure Bran and Rickon were doing fine.

-That's my brother. He should be back soon.- Jon supposed. Theon tapped his right hand's fingers on the table, then decided to begin the conversation alone: -Does he often beat you?- 

Taken by surprise, Jon raised and lowered his glance, starting to play with his sweatshirt laces: -It was just yesterday.-

-He said you got him a F. Why, you didn't let him copy?- the illustrator guessed.

Jon shook his head: -No, I wrote an essay for him and I got paid for that, but his teacher found out.-

Theon Greyjoy raised his brows, surprised: -Well Jon, you're not the nerd I thought you were. Not completely, at least.-

Jon ignored him, so Theon said, in a lower tone: -Aren't you afraid that now, after what happened, he might start beating you daily?-

Of course he was: Jon was small and short, Roy was a half giant. And what terrified him the most was that Roy had managed to hurt him without trying that much. That's why Jon nodded, slowly.

-Never thought about taking some self-defense lessons or something like that?- Theon wrote something on his phone, typing surprisingly fast, then he put the phone back on the table.

-He's too much bigger than me.- Jon said, avoiding to say "and I can't do it".

Theon rolled his eyes: -Then be sure not to do stupid things for some stupid gorilla that you can't handle. Easy, isn't it?-

-You don't get it, it's the first time it happens! Nobody has ever told me their teacher found out...- Jon started, exasperated, but Theon bursted out laughing, preventing him from finishing: -So you're doing this homework thing for other people like... like for a living! You're... like some essay dealer or something!-

The comparison with drugs made Jon feel the vomit coming up his throat, but he repressed it with all his might: it loiled like he was talking to Robb when he was pissed. But this was not Theon Greyjoy's pissed off behavior, that was Theon Greyjoy's behavior and that was that. Actually, in some ways, Theon Greyjoy did remind him of Robb: before their parents' accident, Robb always had that relaxed, confident, ironic attitude. Of course, Robb stayed the best person that Jon had ever had the pleasure to spend time with, whether it was before or later he became his legal guardian, but damn.

Suddenly, Jon wished that Theon Greyjoy and Robb didn't have to meet anymore.

He was distracted from his thoughts and taken violently back on Earth when he felt a strong arm wrapping protectively around his shoulders: Robb had sat on the chair next to him and he had urgently tossed the fries on the table, only to hold Jon to his side and look at Theon deadly in the eyes.

Jon's glance moved from Theon Greyjoy to Robb a few times: Robb looked like he wanted to punch him straight in the face, but Theon was smiling, instead. Not a Cersei smile, because his intentions did not seem bad, but to Jon, that smile didn't sound good at all, especially because it did not disappear not even when his brother opened his mouth for the first time, saying: -Hi, I'm Robb. May I know why you're talking to my underage little brother?-

Chapter Text

Theon was almost about to reconsider the kid, that Jon. After all, it was just thanks to him if he was in front of the hottest guy he had ever seen, right now: he had always been a sucker for men with auburn hair, and those eyes, oh those blue eyes where gorgeous, even though they were staring at him with more disdain than he had ever looked at Jon. But then again the man thought he was hitting on his younger brother (ah! can you imagine?), so he could accept that. 

Robb, that was his name, didn't remind him of Jon, much of anything: Robb was way more attractive. And oh, Theon would have gladly slinked with him for a quickie right in that moment, whether the boy was gay or not. And then, fuck, he had a pair of flashy lips that even the straightest men would have wanted to kiss them, just to make sure they were as soft as they looked.

Theon noticed how Jon was staring at him, with those dark eyes always on alert, and suddenly he remembered the reason why he decided to sit on the same table of a kid he didn't like and his good looking brother: when he had stopped the red haired ape, Jon had ran away before Theon could enjoy his more well deserved words of thank, so he had not noticed that something was wrong with the kid. Sure, Theon had seen with his own eyes that Roy hadn't punched him, or kicked him, but he had a set of bruises on his body that would have worried even a heartless man like Theon: how fucking tight did that fucking bully held him to hurt him that much? Maybe, Theon said to himself, if he hadn't arrived on time the boy would have ended up suffocating. He suddenly felt weird when he realized that, even if for entirely selfish reasons, he had done the right thing.

With one single cough, Jon looked at his brother: -No Robb, he's...-

Extending his hand and giving him his most charming smile, Theon interrupted the kid: -Theon Greyjoy. I taught an illustration course to your brother's class just yesterday. He told me you wanted to talk to me.-

Realization made Robb's eyes look even brighter. Since he was a good artist, Theon paid attention to details and movements of the subjects that interested him, and although he really wanted to paint a portrait of this Robb guy (preferably naked, on a bed) it didn't escape him the way he still kept his arm around his brother, when he shook his hand: he was a protective guy. Not possessive, but loving: he got that because he was holding his brother to him with worry, not in rage. His handshake was strong, and he was looking at Theon straight in the eyes. Clean clothes, perfectly styled beard, curly hair but neat. Pale skin, firm look, composed posture. Reassuring smile, even when embarrassed. A nice person, in short. A guy made for steady, stable and lasting relationships. Theon was sure of that: he had learnt to recognize a person on the first impact, by now. He had observed a lot, gone wrong a lot and understood a lot. Now he was certain of what he saw and thought.

-I'm sorry for that, Mr Greyjoy. I'm Robb Stark.- said the young man, with a small hint of remorse in his voice.

Theon smiled at him: -Call me Theon, I'm not an old man.-

Robb answered with a nod: -Okay then, Theon: I would like to know what happened to Jon. He came back home filled with bruises, he said a guy named Roy Johnson did that.-

Theon led the eye from the pretty boy to quickly stare at Jon, whose eyes where wandering around everywhere but on the two people sitting next to him.

-Yes.- Theon confirmed.

-He also told me that you were the one who stopped the guy. And I wanted to thank you.- Robb added, and his tone was scarily serious: he must have been really close to his brother, and that lightly irritated Theon, if he thought about the type of relationship he had with his siblings.

He shrugged: -I couldn't leave him there.- he answered, honestly. And that was true: he couldn't have left him there. Theon was an asshole, but he wasn't cruel. Jon wasn't exactly his kind of favorite person but he couldn't leave him there being punched or chocked. At least, that was what his head was telling him in the presence of Robb Stark: Theon was almost convinced that if Jon alone had been sat on that table, the reason of his good action would have only been egoism: Theon wanted be thanked, that was it.

It was Robb to satisfy him: -I'm really grateful for what you did. If it's no bother, could you tell me how it went? Jon doesn't like talking about it and I wouldn't want him to hide something from me...-

Theon stared at Jon as the boy raised his brow; normal reaction, in Theon's opinion, since Robb was talking as if his brother wasn't there next to them. Still, Jon did not say a word and kept on bouncing his glance from Robb to Theon.

-I didn't see that much, honestly.- Theon started. The truth was that he had completely removed that scene from his mind. He ran a hand through his hair and stared right into Robb's concentrated eyes: -There was this enormous guy who had grabbed a kid by his throat. I realized I had seen the kid something like a few hours before in my class and I ran to him.-

Said like that, Theon thought, he could have passed for a good person.

-He told me Jon had got him a F.- he added.

-I told him to leave him alone and threatened him to bring him to the principal if he had done it again. I couldn't actually bring him there because I'm not a teacher, I don't know how that works, maybe I wouldn't have made things any better. Anyway, he had never seen me, he thought I was a real teacher.-

Robb sighed and ran a hand on his face, turning to his brother: -If that asshole dares to get near you even after I took measures, you have to tell me. Am I clear?-

Theon hated teens and children. Consequently, he found irritating also the people who, unlike him, adored them. Robb, instead, had something charming and sexy while being so protective: maybe it was because of his frown, or his mouth reduced into a strict line or those stinging eyes. This Robb guy was the most beautiful man Theon had ever talked with without the aim to slink with him right after into some toilet to fuck or have some oral sex. He was even more beautiful than him.

Casting out those thoughts from his head (he had no time to get lost in his memories), Theon brought his attention back on the pretty duet in front of him and saw Jon nodding shyly, head down.

He couldn't resist: -You shouldn't keep on doing what you do, you know? Doing other people's homework, I mean. Not anymore, after what happened yesterday.-

He could barely held back a laugh when Jon rested his eyes on him: oh man, if looks could kill Theon would have died burned alive in less than a second.

-No teacher had ever noticed, alright?! It was just a case!- the boy blurted out, crossing his arms to his chest.

-But who told you this boy will not mention your name to the principal? He's surely not willing to get in trouble because of you, or at least, not alone.- Theon let him notice. His eyes didn’t miss the way Robb's grip had become stronger on the teen's shoulders, despite the man's expression was still calm.

-I'm the one who was beaten up, not him.- Jon huffed, being scolded right away by his brother with an "oi" and a pat on his shoulder. But the phrase did not bother Theon at all, it contributed to entertain him even more: -Yeah, but think about it: it's your fault if he's in this mess. He'll end up in detention for hitting you and for brining the essays you have written: do you really think that some ape like him can handle being in detention while you're having a good time? You, the reason why he's there?-

Theon was almost sure Jon was clenching his fists from under the table, but he couldn't change that: dislike on one side, it was better to be realist in some cases. The marks Jon had on his neck where disturbing, and nobody guaranteed some more would not have been added to them, during the following days.

-I won't end up in detention with him.- Jon said.

Theon shook his head: -You're doing other people's homework, of course you could.-

The teen took a deep breath: -He hit me.- he said, through his teeth.

At that point, Theon would have gladly added that despite he had finished high school by now years ago, he remembered how things went and yes, he could have ended up in detention with that mammoth guy. The thing was annoying him: he was trying to help him, or at least, to show him all the possibilities. Sure, he was doing this just to please the hot brother, but he wasn't doing a bad thing. Why the fuck did that kid have to act like a primadonna even in such a situation?!

Robb, that had meanwhile noticed the upcoming tension, decided to calm things down by barging in the conversation, holding Jon close to him and talking to Theon: -So you think I shouldn't do anything? That I shouldn't talk with the principal or with the guy's parents?-

Theon shrugged: the things was more complicated than that. He didn't know how to explain it, but those were not things that could have been fixed with a scolding or with some extra hours of school.

-I'm not saying this.- Theon started, indulging, in search of the right words to say. He pointed at Jon with his head: -He got hurt and you have to take measures anyway. The thing is that: who tells you that things are going to be okay after that?- 

-What do you mean?- the two brothers said in chorus, making Theon shiver: physically, the similarity was almost nothing, but now he started to catch a few behaviors that they both had in common. And he didn't like it at all, specially because he had labeled Jon as the "pain in the ass on duty" and he had put his eyes on Robb.

-I mean that he could pick on Jon anyway, out of school. Or catch him when he's alone.- said Theon. He didn't even know himself what he exactly meant: it surely was not that reassuring. The fact was that somehow he wanted to warn that boy about what would have happened next, the unavoidable. Theon knew how it worked. And he was no good with words, that was a fact, but sometimes he wanted to act like a good man. Or try to.

-What should I do then?- surprisingly, Robb Stark didn't seem mad. Therefore, Theon had started flying with his imagination: he could already see a teen Robb Stark idolized by all the girls at school and envied by the skinny and nerdy boys with glasses. He probably was some team captain. A young Robb Stark was perfect to play the stereotype typical of every stupid comedy movie. The popular jock. The one with good grades. The usual cliche that everybody likes because fuck, just look at those eyes. He obviously didn't know how to handle a bullying situation, how could somebody like him have experimented something like that?

Theon shrugged once again: -Make sure your brother's never left alone, first of all. Or you could just punch that asshole in the face, maybe you could actually knock him out.-

He bit his tongue: did he just pulled out some courtship strategy in the middle of a serious conversation? Did he just unintentionally complimented his body?

Fun Theon, how long it’s been since you’ve talked normally with someone pretty?

Too much. Lately Theon just fucked or let himself being fucked. There was almost never an intermediate stage, a small initial conversation, unless the man was particularly good looking, both of them usually went straight to the action. If it happened, they talked a bit when it was over. Talking with a beautiful man that he didn't know in a mall was almost a new experience. And somehow it was, because he had never had the opportunity to talk with a beautiful man and his brother. Brother that, by the way, was staring at him with excessive hate: if Robb hadn't caught his attempt at flirting, Jon fucking did.

-Robb's not a violent man. And then, Roy wasn't even at school today.- made clear the teen, and Theon wondered who was the protective one between the two. Theon rested his eyes from Jon to Robb, who added: -No, that's true. That's why I would like to talk with the principal about what happened. And I'd owe you one if you'd go with me: some teacher's opinion could make a difference.-

No. It couldn't. Like, at all. But if "Robb was not a violent man" maybe he could have said yes. Fuck it, I’m doing this because I hope to hook up with him.

-I can do that. But I'm not a teacher.- he admitted, pointing on the canvas next to him, on the ground: -I'm an illustrator. I'm at school only on Wednesday, I'm working on the other days.-

Robb took a moment to consider. During that small fraction of time, Theon and Jon's eyes exchanged more words than their mouths could have ever pronounced.

"I hate you" said Jon's.

"Your brother's hot and look at how I enjoy annoying you" Theon ones screamed. Nothing confirmed him that Robb was into men or less, after all he did show no kind of interest in him, but Theon had already analyzed him, and at the moment Robb seemed too concerned for his brother to realize the hot little piece of candy in front of him.

-Hey.- Robb said finally. The two boys' eyes immediately rested on him, who was unaware of their indirect chat, and Theon noticed with pleasant surprise that Robb had let go of Jon's shoulders.

-Is it okay for you if we exchange our numbers? To work this out.- said the blue eyed man. Theon's "sure" did not come out of his lips too quickly, thank God he was not that rusty, but an evil smirk appeared anyway: he enjoyed hitting on the brother of a kid he couldn't stand and he was going terribly easy on him, just to enjoy the thing a little bit more. God, how he would have wanted to grab his phone and take a picture of Jon's face: he looked on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and the situation got heavier when, once Theon and Robb had exchanged their numbers, his brother said: -Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your time. Can I offer you something to drink?-

Theon was an artist, and artist paid a lot of attention to what surrounded them. And then, Theon had gone through a lot. If there was one thing he had learnt to do was comprehending someone's personality by their  acquaintances' words and actions: Jon didn't know about Theon's sexuality, but still he seemed to have understood that the illustrator was somehow attracted to Robb. And how did he find out then? Why was he so annoyed by the looks and words Theon and Robb exchanged? Why did Jon pale when Robb had offered Theon something to drink? Could it be that Robb was into men and he didn’t want his big brother to hook up with the annoying illustration class dude? Bingo.

Theon gave Robb one of his most seductive smiles: -If you insist.-

And for the first time since he had sat there, Robb started looking at Theon with interest: the smile he gave him had nothing to do with being polite, neither it was a friendly smile. Theon knew that smile: it was the "I'm into it" smile. Robb wetted his lips for a second (much to Theon's pleasure) and spoke to his brother: -Jon, you're not eating?-

The teen stared at the fries on the table with disdain: -I told you I didn't wan 'em.- he said.

-Then do you mind going to get Theon something to drink?-

Jon answered the question staring straight at Theon in the eyes: -Yes.-

Ignoring Theon's chuckle, Robb tried to convince his brother by using another tactic: -Then you're staying here and you're eating your fries.-

-But I don't want them.- 

-You haven't eaten anything during the day: you're either eating these or you're going to grab something else. And while you're there, you're getting something for the man who helped you when you were in trouble, okay?- uh, he made him feel in debt. Nice move. Theon thought, as he stared at the scene with more interest than he could imagine: it was pretty obvious that Robb was searching for a pretext to stay alone with him for a moment. And Theon couldn't help but being thrilled by that. 

Jon snorted loudly and rolled his eyes (he did that terribly often), but obeyed his older brother anyway: -What would you like, Mr Greyjoy?- he asked, irony pouring down his tongue.

Theon ran a hand through his hair: -A Coke's fine.-

Robb grabbed his wallet and pulled out a twenty pounds banknote, handing it to his brother right after: -Make that two. Three if you want one too. And grab something for you to eat.-

Jon took the money with a tug and left with one last puff, followed by Robb's vigilant eyes. It took another moment before Robb decided to turn once again towards Theon, this time with a small reddish shade coloring his cheeks: -I'm sorry about before. For assuming you were... you know.- 

Theon felt like smiling: not just because Robb was damnably sexy even when he blushed and he would have gladly bitten those red cheeks, but mostly because the thought of him hitting on Jon was... surreal.

-I would never hit on a kid, don't worry.- he said.

Robb shrugged: -The fact is that I'm worrying about him. After what happened yesterday, then...-

-You're quite protective.- Theon said, and Robb couldn't do other than nodding. At that point, Theon decided to change the subject: -So: what do you do for a living?- he crossed his arms on the table and reached forward, ready to listen to the young man's answer. He had already a few theories: Robb should have been around his age, maybe a year older, he imagined him fresh out of college, with some degree or master in who knows what (maybe medicine), and maybe right now he was doing some internship somewhere. But he also had something more common in him, maybe he had a history as a waiter on his back. 

-I work in a bar, nothing special.- Robb answered.

-You said you're an illustrator?-

Theon nodded, distractedly: -It's a little bit stressful, between deadlines and my boss breathing down my neck all the time, but I'm doing fine.-

-But you also like that type of art that is more... classical, let's say.- Robb supposed, pointing at the huge canvas with a movement of his head.

-Well, yes.- Theon replied. -My neighbor commissioned me a painting, you know, like people did centuries ago... but I'm not complaining. She pays me pretty well.-

Actually Mrs Winkers wasn't exactly his neighbor: she was the owner of the condo he lived in and she was richer than Theon would have ever wished to be. It was good for him that she was deeply in love with art and his talent had guaranteed him some well profitable works and a small discount on rent.

-And you never paint for yourself?- Robb had placed his elbow on the table and rested his chin on the palm of his hand: he was interested.

-Sometimes.- Theon answered, but it was a lie.

-I tend to sketch more than painting. I really don't have much time with work in the middle.- complete bullshit.

-I would like to see some of your works, you know?- Robb admitted. Theon was about to tell him "then leave your brother here and let's go to my place this instant" and he would have really done it, if Jon hadn't come back with a tray with three bottles of Coca Cola, a slice of pizza and the rest of the money on it. The teen plopped down on his chair and took a chunk out of the pizza with a pout on his face. The seducing atmosphere that was created between Theon and Robb (and that maybe only Theon perceived but who cares), had turned off with the arrival of the young Stark. Robb cleared his throat with a light cough: -Thank you, buddy.- he told his brother, putting the money back inside his wallet.

-So, Theon? What is this illustration class about?- he asked.

Theon took a sip of his Coca Cola: -Not much, to be honest. I teach them how to draw, more or less.-

Robb stared at Jon: -And do your classmates like that?-

Jon shrugged, answering with his mouth full: -I can't draw.-

Give him some dozens of kilos more and this brat becomes Augustus Gloop Theon wanted to say, because Jon really reminded him of him: he was pouting, acted like some spoiled little shit and spent his time eating. But still, Augustus Gloop rolled down a chocolate river and pissed off more or less immediately. Jon was still there, instead.

-You can draw, indeed.- Robb exclaimed.

-You have good grades in art. I had them too, and you've always been better than me.-

Jon rolled his eyes: -Well then I can't draw illustrations.-

-Maybe you should pay attention in class and practice a lot, then.- Theon intruded, biting his tongue right after. Since when you’re on the teacher’s side? Christ, I’m gonna ruin Bronn.

Robb frowned and looked strictly at his brother: -You don't pay attention in class?-

-Of course I do!- Jon defended himself, giving Theon another flaming look.

-It's just that I'm not good at that. Not everybody can be good at everything like you, Robb.-

Theon turned to Robb with a smirk, while the other man blushed once again: -You're good at everything?-

Robb pursed his lips, embarrassed: -Not quite everything.-

-Quit it, you graduated with full marks.- Jon mumbled, latching in his bottle of coke. 

Theon's smirk widened: -You also said you're not that bad at drawing, didn't you?-

Robb shrugged with his cheeks still painted red: -I had an A in art.-

-A good boy, in short.- Theon supposed, taking a long sip from the bottle, without stopping staring at Robb. Theon noticed with enormous pleasure that not even the redhead seemed to be willing to stop looking at him.

-Nah, I can be rough when it's called for.- after that statement, Theon didn't even remotely hear Jon's coughs: could it be that he had seen it right? That Robb Stark was into men? He just had to keep on trying to find out.

-And isn't it hard? I mean, you have to commit a lot to be rough... a good boy like you...- Theon said, pulling a lock of dirty blond hair alway from his face.

Robb smiled at him, staring at him intensely and completely ignoring Jon's "quit it, you two".

-Yeah, it's a bit hard. What about you? Is it hard?- he whispered. 

With the corner of his eye, Theon saw Jon hiding his face between his hands, mumbling something that sounded like "I'm here, you know", and he couldn't resist: -Oh, it's usually not so hard but right now it's so fucking hard.-

Jon's chair produced a disturbing squeal when the boy moved it to runaway, hands pressed tight against his ears and a few curls hiding his red face. The two adults couldn't help but burst out laughing: Theon laughed heartily, both because of Jon's embarrassment and because he had just received an actual confirm of his suppositions, as Robb still had a light sprinkle of red on his face and the tip of his nose.

-We might have exaggerated a little bit.- he admitted, standing up from the chair.

Theon stood up too: -He's sixteen, come on.-

Robb looked at his brother getting away and shook his head, lost in who knows what kind of thoughts, but then he looked at Theon: -So we're keeping in touch? For this bullying situation...-

Theon fixed the canvas underneath his arm and winked at him: -Not only for that, if you'd like.-

Robb gifted him with the most sensual smirk Theon had ever had the honor to see since then: -I'll think about it.- he said, but to Theon's ears that was definitely a yes.

The two men exchanged one last flirty glance, then Robb started his way quickly towards Jon. Theon wanted to laugh but he held it back: Jon Stark was a motherfucking little punk, but holy shit he was so fucking glad he had defended him from that stupid ape.

Chapter Text

If only Robb hadn't taken his phone away, Jon would have by now called Grenn to beg him to meet for a beer. Or maybe two. Or five. Jon didn't drink often, not to the point of getting drunk, at least, but right now he would have chugged a whole bar, if that could have made him forget what he had just seen: Robb had had relationships, before their parents died and an army of kids invaded his house, and Jon remembered all of them, one by one. There had been Connor, by far the prettiest of them all, and the only one Jon never had the pleasure to meet in the flesh because his story with Robb had ended in a flash. Jon remembered his aspect because of their Skype chats and he still remembered the boy's dark hair and oriental features, since he was the son of an Arabian woman. If he wasn't wrong, the two of them had met in a gay pub and split because Robb was too busy with studying, during that period.

Right after, there had been Stuart, whose Robb had met since they where in the same class during college. He was a nice guy, friendly with everyone and probably Rickon's favorite because in the end he was nothing more than a too grown up child. Then it had been Loras' turn, who had been the last boyfriend that Robb had introduced to his family: he was a beautiful boy with blond curly hair, but he had cheated on Robb with some Renly guy about two weeks later meeting everyone. From that moment on Jon believed Robb had had enough of stable relationships, or at least, maybe he just couldn't find one that convinced him enough: it happened quite often that when Jon visited him for the weekend or just a day, some pretty guy came out of his room but it was never the same guy. Jon knew Robb was a quite romantic guy, maybe even too romantic. And since a year and a half before he admired the way Robb was able to steal so many men's hearts, whether it was for a serious relationship or for a one night stand, but now things were different: Robb was basically a single parent. And yes, Jon comprehended that he was twenty-five and damn, his big brother deserved all the love in the world, but was it really necessary to flirt with Theon Greyjoy in front of him?! Theon fucking Greyjoy. If at first he only considered him a pain in the ass, now he would have wanted to see him dead.

He heard some quick steps approaching him and, rolling his eyes, he turned to face his brother: -Jon!- Robb exclaimed, chuckling and moving to hug him, despite the bags full of clothes in his hands.

Jon retracted: -Don't touch me!-

-We were just kidding! Come on, Jon!- Robb tired once again to win his brother's affection back, but Jon backed away even more, upset: -You were flirting!-

Robb's eyes widened in surprise: -We were not flirting!- he defended himself. Jon wondered if his brother was really that stupid or if he was just somehow trying not to talk about that so openly with him who, according to Robb, was his little boy. 

-You were talking about your hard dicks! That looks like flirting to me!- Jon exclaimed, violently grabbing a bag and walking towards the exit of the mall.

-Jon! Watch your mouth!- Robb scolded him, immediately: Robb had started to see Jon exactly like a parent sees their son and no, he didn't like when Jon talked so rudely.

-Come on Robb, are you really denying it?- Jon searched for the car with his eyes, inside the enormous parking lot and approached it once he had found it.

-I'm not denying anything, Jon! We were just kidding!- Robb tried to justify himself but he did not obtain the reaction he hoped from Jon: Robb would have wanted to end the conversation there, but Jon was a hothead, or else, a boiling-head, and he wouldn't have stopped discussing about it until he had gotten the last word.

-Just kidding?! Jesus Christ Robb, when was the last time you fucked someone?!- Jon yelled. It was a terrible move: Robb rarely got angry in public; if it happened, it was generally because one of his brothers had done something stupid, risking to get hurt or injured. Jon had never provoked him like that, neither at home nor in public, maybe because he still knew little about sex. But the stare Robb had now on his face was tremendously similar to the one he had when Jon had been late to pick up Rickon and that was no good. That's why he decided to remain silent when Robb started talking: -First of all, I told you to watch your mouth. Secondly, my sex life is none of your business. I am the adult here, and it should be me asking you this kind of questions.-

-Don't be mad, I'm sorry...- Jon whispered, lowering his glance and putting his hands in his pockets: that had to be a nice day, but still there they were, about to fight once again.

Robb sighed: -I'm not mad, but some of your behavior has been really annoying to me.- he started.

-You've been rude to Theon, and he helped you when you needed to. Do you think you have behaved well with him?-

He's rude to me, too. He just saved me from Roy so that he could bully me personally. Jon clenched his fists and shook his head.

-He didn't seem to me the asshole you said he was. On the contrary.- Robb informed him, opening the back seat door of the car and resting the bags on the seats.

-Of course he didn't, he made goo-goo eyes at you all the time!- Jon huffed, dropping the bag he had in his hands in the car, ungracefully. Robb shut the door close just as much nonchalantly and stared at his younger brother straight in the eyes: -Alright, there has been a small courtship. But it was just a joke. Or at least, it was for me.-

Jon rolled his eyes, slowly, and let a long sigh escape his mouth: -Robb, I know that at twenty-five you might want to find someone to be with, okay?! Just... not him.-

Robb violently blushed, but his expression was more confused than awkward: -What? Jon, we just met!-

-You exchanged your numbers!- the teen accused the older brother by pointing a finger at him.

Robb widened his eyes: -It's for a school matter about you. You and only you. I didn't do it for any other reason.-

Jon crossed his arms to his chest, skeptical: -So you're telling me that if he asked you out you would not accept it?-

-No!- Robb exclaimed, exasperated. -He's a good looking man, I'm not denying that, but I don't want a relationship at the moment!-

Jon looked at his brother as if a unicorn horn had just grew in the middle of his head: Robb did want a relationship. I mean, it had been years since he had had one. And if not, if he didn't want a relationship, he still would have wanted to have sex: in the last year and a half Robb had kept many of his long time friends, but he never went out with them that much, it only happened sometimes in the afternoon and never in the evening: Robb would have never left Bran, Rickon and Jon home alone for the night. So, Jon wondered for the first time in his whole life, since when his brother's, the amazing Robb Stark, sexual life was so fucked up? 

Judging by his face, Robb felt the urge to explain Jon his opinion a little bit more: -I have a five year-old little boy to raise.- he started.

-And a kid with a broken leg to assist. And a younger brother who's making me worry so much I'll grow grey hair before I turn thirty! How can I even think about a relationship, with my family needing me?-

Jon should have expected an answer like that: Robb always put family first, even if that meant not finding a partner to love.

-I don't want to be a burden to you, Robb.- he admitted. 

He didn't want Robb to feel hindered because of him: Robb could find someone, and even though the change would have affected Jon and his little brothers, they would have accepted it. Jon could help Robb, offering to look after Bran and Rickon once Robb had found someone special. He could even invite one of his friends home to help him, maybe Grenn, since he was good with kids in general, but also Sam and Pyp were good, the first one because he constantly talked about books with Bran and the second one because got along really well with little Rickon.

-You are not.- Robb answered, readily, as if he hadn't already had to repeat that a million times.

-But you deserve someone to be with, and...-

-Right now I only want to take care of you. There will be time for that too, someday.- Robb didn't want to talk about it. Okay, that was understandable: it was not an easy topic. Jon decided to make things a little bit funnier: -Just as long as he's not Theon Greyjoy.-

Robb's hand ruffled his hair with particular energy, as the young man started laughing: -You're so obsessed with that, uhm?-

It was not about being obsessed, it was about reciprocal dislike: after what had happened that day, Jon would have struggled with watching Theon Greyjoy in the face the following Wednesday, let alone if that asshole had the amazing idea to go further with his brother. Sure, it would have only been one night stand, a man with a face like that didn't deserve someone like Robb, but just the thought of that irritated Jon anyway: it wouldn't have been that good to see Robb with any man, right now, let alone with Theon Greyjoy.

-I hate him.- Jon huffed, hoping that, even if not that much, his opinion about it could somehow affect Robb's choice. But why was he being so paranoid? Robb had told him he did not want a relationship. That those stupid mince words were just a joke. And Robb was the closest thing to a parent Jon had, he had to trust him, hadn't he? Then why was he so sure there was something fishy underneath it all?

Robb smiled at him: -He got you out of trouble, Jon. A bad man wouldn't have done that.- he made him notice.

-Yeah, but he's the most annoying person on Earth and he's hitting on you! So, if somebody really has to barge in our family, please, let him be anybody but him!- the teen begged him, receiving just another ruffle on his hair, in return.

-Get in the car, Jon.- Robb incited him, getting comfortable on the driver's seat. 

-Hey! Answer me!- the boy protested, sitting on his seat with a puff: he didn't like the fact that his brother had avoided his speech.

Robb started the engine with a smirk on his face: -Do we want to talk about your sex life, instead?- he suggested.

Jon blushed instantly, not just because the argument was and would have always been embarrassing, specially now that Robb was his legal guardian, but more because of the fact that Jon did not have a sexual life yet.

-I mean, you know how many things I hid mom and dad when I was your age?- Robb went on, to look at his brother with sneaky eyes: -What are you hiding?-

If Jon had the same hair color as Robb's, probably no one would have been able to catch the difference between his hair and face, in that moment, since his cheeks had become so damn red: -Alright, alright, I'll stop! I'll stop, let's talk about something else!-

-You know, you can talk to me about such things.- Robb pressured, and Jon wondered why sex had to be the principal argument of the one that should have been a totally normal day. He sighed, deeply, and tried to ignore his brother, but Robb insisted: -I've been there before you. And we're not so far in age, I can understand you well.-

Jon knew Robb wanted an answer, even though a concrete answer didn't exists. That's why he took a deep breath and told the truth: -Robb, I'm not interested in anyone. Like, nobody. I still don't know if I like girls or boys, or if I could ever like them, but it makes me uncomfortable to talk about these things.-

He paused for a while; Robb still hadn't gotten away from the parking lot, the car was still and all of his attention was on Jon. 

-So, since you have embarrassed me enough for today, can we talk about something else? I swear I'll come to you when I'll have a question or a problem, but now... not now.- 

Robb stared at his brother for a moment: he didn't like talking with Jon about sex either, but it was one of the uncomfortable conversations included in the "parent package" that had been thrown at his feet a few times ago. Sooner or later they would have had to talk about it: Jon wasn't stupid, at all, he had never been, but Robb knew that despite his salty attitude, Jon was mostly an innocent boy. He knew that if Jon had liked girls he would have treated his partner with kindness and respect. He knew that if he had liked boys, he would have been way shyer. It was hard for Robb to think that such a beautiful and smart boy like Jon still had not found somebody to be with at sixteen. Or somebody to experiment sex with. When he was his age, Robb had done everything and more. But Jon was different from him and frankly Robb appreciated that more: the more time passed by, the more Robb stopped feeling like Jon's brother and started identifying himself as a parent figure: no parent wants their son to grow up too soon. No relationship, no too-grown-up Jon.

Geez, you're getting old.

Robb nodded: -That's okay, Jon. That's okay.-

 

 

 

The first thing Robb noticed once they had put their feet on Mrs Denvers's yard was the smashed garden gnome filled with dirt in full sight. Disconsolate, he glanced at his brother with tired eyes: -I don't feel like getting angry.- he admitted.

-He surely didn't to that on purpose: knowing Rickon, he just tripped on it.- Jon answered.

Robb thought at how Rickon had stumbled to the ground in his own feet before getting to their neighbour's house, and found the thing absolutely possible. But still, he had told him to be careful and he was not. He only hoped he didn't got hurt. If that was his fault, obviously.

Jon moved a bag of clothes on his other hand (already full of other bags) and rang the doorbell for him: the two boys heard Rickon's small steps and high-pitched voice even before the door was fully opened. 

Rickon toddled at their feet along with a small black Scottish terrier, way too happy to have done something wrong, in Robb's opinion.

-Young man, what is that thing I see over there?- he said with a scolding tone, even though still calm, pointing at the broken gnome.

Rickon opened his mouth to answer but he was preceded by Mrs Denvers, who was holding the handles of Bran's wheelchair: -Oh don't get mad at him: it was my fault, actually.- she admitted. 

Robb stared curiously at the old woman, as Rickon hugged his leg.

-We were playing in the garden with my dog. When we decided to get back in I ended up clashing the back of Bran's wheelchair on the garden gnome.- she added.

Rickon looked up to his older brother and stuck his tongue out at him. Robb playfully responded him with the same face and let the little boy let go of his leg; when he noticed the kid had started running towards their house, he immediately warned him: -Be careful on the street, Rickon! Jon...- he turned to his brother, in search of help.

-I got his.- said the boy, quickly approaching his little brother, exclaiming: -Calm down, tiger! You're too fast!-

Robb kept his look on his two brothers for another heartbeat, just to see Jon playfully grabbing Rickon and taking him by the hand, then he faced his neighbour and his younger brother: -There he is, my smart boy!- he beamed, kneeling down to give Bran a hug.

He looked up to the woman: -It's useless asking if he has been good, isn't it?-

In response, Mrs Denvers smiled: -He's a wonderful boy.-

-What about Rickon, instead?- Robb wanted to know, and there he doubted Mrs Denvers would have given him the same answer: Rickon was a good kid, but he was way too fun-loving. And Robb knew that he wasn't really easy to handle, for an old woman.

-Oh, there's so much energy in such a tiny body!- the woman exclaimed.

-But don't worry about it, he's a really sweet and gentle boy. He didn't do anything wrong.-

Robb smiled and stood back up, shaking his neighbour's hand: -Can I leave them at your care once again, if something unexpected ever happened?-

Mrs Denvers nodded: -Whenever you want.-

At that point, Robb grabbed the handles of Bran's wheelchair and accompanied the young Stark home: -Did you finish your book, Bran?- he asked, opening the door.

Bran nodded, energetically: -Yes! Right before you came back!-

Robb smiled down at him: -Then, tomorrow we're going to get a new o...-

-Robb Robb Robb!- Rickon was jumping at his feet before he could finish his sentence: faking impatience, Robb kneeled down and embraced the little boy in a hug.

-What? What do you want?- he asked him, gently lying down on the pavement and above Rickon.

-Robb! You're suffocating me! Robb!- the little boy chuckled, starting to throw small kicks.

-Oh really?- Robb asked, seeing with the corner of his eye that meanwhile Jon was taking care of Bran.

-Yes!- exclaimed the child.

-It doesn't feel like it.-

-Yes, you're suffocating me!- still laughing, Rickon started throwing fists at Robb's chest. The older brother decided to release the little one, standing up and letting Rickon run around the house once again. Meanwhile, Jon had picked Bran up after the latter had asked him to be taken to the bathroom: -Jesus, when are you going to start using crutches?- Jon asked, exasperated.

-Next week.- Robb answered, happily, approaching the duo and resting a kiss on Bran's hair.

-Then you're going to climb the stairs on your own and that wheelchair is going down in the basement. Happy?-

Bran nodded: -Once I'll be walking again I don't ever want to see a soccer game in my life.-

Robb was about to reply, by telling him something like "don't be so negative", but Jon preceded him: -Don't say that.- he began.

-Do you remember when Rickon felt sick for eating too much chocolate, a few Christmases ago?-

-Who can forget it?- said Bran, causing Robb to chuckle: nobody would have ever forgotten that. Specially because everybody had took turns, from their father to Bran, to assist their baby brother as he was throwing up, Sansa and Arya included.

-Yeah, exactly. Does it seem like this thing has stopped him somehow?-

At that very moment, Rickon appeared from the kitchen with a snack on his hands and his mouth covered in chocolate: -Robb! Did we run out of Oreos?- he asked, out loud. 

All his three older brothers bursted out laughing, but Robb's was a little bit more of a tired laugh than an amused one. But still, he couldn't help but staring at the little one with tenderness: -No sweetheart, but I think you've had enough sweets for today.-

And while Robb followed Rickon in the kitchen to help him get cleaned, Jon started to carefully climb the stairs with Bran in his arms: -You got what I meant, didn't you?- he asked the kid. 

-I think so.-

Jon smiled: -Of course you did, you're too smart for not getting it. I know that right now you might be scared, but we will fix everything, you'll see.-

As he waited for Bran to be done with using the bathroom, an episode happened a few days before popped up into Jon's mind: Bran that laughed out loud when Jon expressly told him he wasn't interested in boys. Bran was a little genius, and there was no doubt about that. But how could he be so sure about something that not even Jon himself knew exactly?

-Hey Bran.- he said finally, once he had picked the kid up once again.

-Yes?-

Jon stopped at the top of the stairs, waiting for a moment so that he could formulate the question right: -What makes you think I like boys and not girls?-

Bran answered straight away, shrugging: -It was pretty obvious you liked that guy at the supermarket.-

No, he didn't like him. Or at least, he didn't pay attention to that? Did he like him? He barely remembered his face.

Jon sat on the first step of the stairs, letting Bran rest on his lap: -So you think that... I'm not attracted to girls?-

-Only you can know that, Jon.- Bran answered.

-I only know that, from what I've seen, you liked that boy.-

-Okay, so you think that...- Jon wetted his lips, trying to find a way to continue his phrase, but he couldn't find anything to say.

-Jon, maybe you should talk to Robb about this...- Bran suggested. And fuck, he was right: Bran could have been the most mature boy in the world, but he was still a child. Jon shouldn't nor felt like he was able to talk about sex with him. Not right now. Sexuality was a thing, he knew that Bran would have accepted him no matter his sexual orientation, just like he had done with Robb, but Jon didn't know exactly his own sexual orientation. Consequently, at sixteen, he needed to deepen his knowledge of sex. And he couldn't talk about that with a ten year old boy. His older brother would have been a great candidate, if only he hadn't started seeing him as a dad. And this thing blocked Jon, and it probably blocked Robb too. 

Jon sighed: -Yeah, you're right. Like always.-

Bran looked at him in the eyes: -So you don't deny that you liked that supermarket guy?- 

-Shut it, Bran!- Jon chucked, standing up and heading downstairs.

-I can't wait for you to be my age, so that I can annoy you with the same things you're telling me right now!-

 

 

-Robb Robb Robb!- 

Robb's head was about to explode: he loved his baby brother to death, but he couldn't stand anymore being called every second.

-Rickon, Rickon, Rickon.- he sighed, kneeling at the little boy's height and cupping his face between his hands: -May I ask you how much sugar you had today?- 

Obviously Rickon never answered him, but Robb supposed the neighbour had fun with spoiling him pretty well, that day. The little boy started laughing, so that the only solution Robb found to calm him down (he was noisier and more agitated than usual, and that was definitely no good) was scooping him up.

-No! I want down!- the child protested.

Surprised, Robb stared at Rickon with a fake pout on his lips: -But you love it when I pick you up!-

-Nooo! Down, down!- Rickon went on. But Robb didn't care, he fixed his grip on the boy in his arms and said gently: -Now you're staying here with me for a second. I'm letting you go, I promise.-

In response, Rickon crossed his arms and looked down, pouting. Robb chuckled: -Look at me for a moment. Rickon? Can you look at me?-

After a few tries and a little bit of tickling him on his neck, Rickon moved his bright blue eyes to look at his brother, who smiled at him: -How about this: now I'll make you something healthy for supper and then we're all going to watch a movie, okay?-

Super happy about the offer, Rickon's eyes seemed brighter than the Sun: -With Bran and Jon too?-

Smiling, Robb brushed away some curls from his forehead. Obviously some of them fell back down, but he let it go: -Yes love, with Bran and Jon too. All of us, together. Now go pick up a movie, come on. One that we all like.-

Robb put Rickon down on the ground and encouraged him to go to the living room with an affectionate pat on his bum.

And that was how, some time later, all the Stark boys were sprawled on the couch with a bowl of pop corn ("there is no way that we're going to watch a movie without pop corns, Robb!", "you're the one putting Rickon to bed later, Jon.", "challenge accepted") and "Matilda" playing on the tv. Rickon adored that movie, most of all the part where the abominable Miss Trunchbull forced that poor kid into eating an enormous chocolate cake.

-Come on Rickon! Aren't you tired of candies?- Jon teased him, smiling. He was almost completely lying down on the couch, his back leaning against the arm of the sofa and Bran between his legs, his head against his older brother's chest. Robb was sitting up straight on the other side of the couch, and Rickon was in the middle, like all the times.

-Rooobb! Jon is making fun of me!- Rickon complained, not really annoyed, because his eyes were mainly focused on the tv.

Robb rolled his eyes and addressed the older of his younger brothers with the same tone the little one in the house had used: -Jooon, stop making fun of Rickon.-

Saying so, he earned a laugh from Bran and Rickon and a raspberry from Jon.

He shook his head, amused, and was about to go back to the movie, when he felt his phone in his pocket vibrating: he had received a few messages. All of them from Theon Greyjoy, to be exact.

 

Hey Robb, I thought about showing up at your bar tomorrow morning

 

So that we can talk about that small thing we have to do for your troublemaker little brother. 

 

And about some other things, if you want to.

 

So can you text me where you're working at and your shift?

 

;)

 

Robb didn't want a relationship at the moment, and he knew that this Theon Greyjoy guy was hitting on him, like Jon had told him. But it was exactly for Jon's good that he was doing all of this, and in the end, he didn't mind Theon's company. It would have been fun, to be wooed once again. It had been years since it happened the last time, or maybe Robb just didn't realise the other times because he had too many problems on his mind. 

Nothing serious, nothing at all, he only wanted to resolve the "Jon and bullying" question and talk with someone his age that he still didn't know. It would have been good for him, come on.

 

I work at the Mirage, I start at 8:30. See you tomorrow ;).

Chapter Text

-So, what about this one?-

With a grunt, Theon stared at the Facebook profile picture of some guy and distractedly read his name and informations.

-He's in a relationship.- he commented, lighting up a cigarette and resting his back on the couch.

Daario Naharis wasn't so much friends with Theon, the illustrator considered him more of an acquaintance whose he knew particularly a lot about. Anyway, for quite a while now, Daario had decided to take the job of Theon's personal Cupid, blame it on some bet Theon probably had done when he was dead drunk (and that he had most certainly lost). After his last relationship failure, Daario still hadn’t given in, and after a well deserved break period, he had come back wearing Theon down, claiming that it was time to move on and find a new partner.

-Since when do you care?!- he exclaimed in fact, spreading his arms.

He didn't care, actually. Theon didn't give a shit if the boy he was interested into was in a relationship or not. It was just that...

-I like men with a beard better.-

Daario huffed at that information: -Just be satisfied with it, Theon! Try to get to know him, at least!-

Theon blew the smoke out of his mouth and tapped the ashes into one of the thousands ashtrays he had all over his house (the closest one in that moment was on the coffee table in front of the couch): -No, thank you. Listen, can we go men shopping another time? I've got some work to do.-

With a small movement of his head Theon pointed at the kitchen table, not so distant from the two men, since the young man's apartment was not so big. The table was full of papers and watercolour boxes, and Theon had been forced to abandon his usual location to unlock the door for Daario, who had rushed into his apartment with impatience, declaring that Theon absolutely had to find a boyfriend.

-Forget about work, Theon! It's time for you to start fucking again. Regularly.- Daario sat on the couch and showed Theon the computer screen once again.

-I do fuck regularly.- Theon huffed.

Daario grabbed his hair with his hands: -Yeah, but if you find someone you could start having a stable sexual life with no risk of catching HIV.-

-I never have sex without a condom!- Theon rubbed two fingers on his forehead, closing his eyes: -Do you want me to remind you what happened last time you introduced me to someone?- he said, with the tone of who had already repeated that sentence at least a million times.

-Hey, in my defence, I thought Ramsay was a good person.- Daario rested his arms on the back of the couch, looking at the small, turned off, tv.

-Yeah, try to imagine my face when I found out he was not.- Theon reiterated, roughing putting the butt of the cigarette on the ashtray.

He had spent two years of his life with Ramsay Bolton, a man with hair black as coal and eyes blue as an apatite stone. He was beautiful. Beautiful. And he had made Theon go through the best years of his life: he was loving, jealous enough, and the sex with him was wonderful. Theon had thought everything was great. Theon saw Ramsay in his future because, fuck yes, Theon was in love with Ramsay. Because he made him feel good when everyone else made him feel bad. He had been the first one for which he had more than a simple teenage crush, the first one Theon completely gave himself up to, the first one Theon would have wanted to stay forever.

He spent more time at Ramsay's that at his own house and how could Theon imagine that he was cheating on him day and night? How could he, with the kisses his boyfriend gave him every time he woke up, and all the times he told him he was beautiful? Simply, he couldn't.

-You cannot base your life on what happened with Ramsay, Theon!- Daario exclaimed, lighting up a cigarette too.

Theon answered with a simple shrug: -I don't.-

-Yes you do! You never wanted to date again after you two broke up, don't...-

-Why don't you think about your dick instead of mine? You don't seem romantically busy either.- Theon wondered why the hell he had let Daario Naharis entering his house in the first place: they weren't friends, they didn't go out with the same group of people. They had met in a pub, dead drunk, and they had kept in touch only because Daario had introduced him to Ramsay. And now there he was again, making him the same offer, like years ago. He could go fuck himself.

-It's not the same thing!- said the older man.

-I like pussy, Theon, while you like dick instead. Do you know how hard it is to find someone openly gay that can go well with you, Theon?!-

Theon stared at the guy with surprise and confusion, before standing up from the couch: -Nobody asked you to do it!-

He went to the table and started ordering the papers to somehow get distracted from all of that: he didn't think of Ramsay anymore, he couldn't really care less about him. But he couldn't really care less about finding someone to "start fucking again regularly" either.

-Ramsay's not single anymore.- Daario said suddenly.

Theon couldn't hide that the new had created a small knot on his stomach (he knew Ramsay had kept his sexual life amazingly active even after their split), but he had expected to feel worse, to be honest. Because yes, he could deny it as much as he wanted, but he still was attached to Ramsay. Not that it was about love, but two years where a lot, especially for someone like Theon.

-I'm sorry for the unlucky guy.- he said, avoiding looking at Daario in the eyes.

-His name's Viserys Targaryen, and he just turned twenty-six.-

Turning around a little bit, Theon noticed that Daario had searched for Ramsay's Facebook profile.

Deciding to get a little closer, Theon saw how his ex boyfriend had changed his status from "single" to "officially in a relationship".

He gulped: -Does he still have our photos?- he asked.

Daario ran through a few cover photos of Ramsay: they were still there. All of them. Ramsay kissing him on the cheek as Theon was taking the selfie, and oh, Theon remembered that day so clearly, Ramsay hadn't done anything but teasing him because he said the sunglasses he had on made him look like a spy in disguise.

Ramsay giving Theon a piggyback ride. Ramsay's stepmother had took that picture when the two of them had spent a week in the field with Ramsay's family, during the holidays. Walda Bolton was a nice woman, always so kind. Theon missed her a little bit too.

Theon and Ramsay holding hands, both of them in a suit and tie, on the day of Ramsay's baby brother's baptism.

He had kept them all.

-I don't want to see them. Exit from there.- Theon ordered, shaking his head.

Daario did as he was told, but stared at the illustrator with worry: -You said you don't think about him anymore.-

-And I don't!- Theon snapped, but he calmed down almost instantly: -It's just that, seeing such things again... just a little bit of nostalgia, you know?-

Daario huffed: -Pff, nostalgic over an idiot who cheated on you. Come on, sit down and let's see who's the unlucky guy who has do deal with him now.-

Forcing a smile, Theon sat back down on the couch: Viserys Targaryen had really soft features. Straight nose, green eyes and his hair were so blond that they almost looked white. He kept them tied up in a bun in almost all the pictures. There was often a girl with him in the photos, surely his sister, since she had the same hair color as his.

-Holy shit, this dude's sister is hot!- Daario screamed, beaming suddenly. He clicked on the girl's (Daenerys Targaryen) tag and, in simple terms, started minding her own business: she was twenty-three, owned three scary-looking dogs and, for Daario's happiness, she was single.

-You should text her.- Theon suggested chuckling, after assisting Daario's loud "fuck yeah!".

But the man shook his head and pointed a finger at him, smirking: -I'm doing this if you text the dude I showed you earlier.-

Ah, no way. Nope. Absolutely not: he hadn't send those messages to Robb Stark only to have fun in some public toilet with some random guy.

When Daario easily dodged the pillow he had thrown at him, Theon said: -I already laid my eyes on someone else.-

Daario's eyes widened and he threw the pillow back at him more violently, hitting him right in the face: -And when were you going to tell me?! Who is he? What's his name? Do I know him?-

Theon hugged the pillow and laid on the couch on his back: -Do not interrogate me, I only want to have a one night stand with him.-

Daario hit him on his leg, eyes on the laptop: -Can you tell me what's his name?-

Theon huffed: -Robb Stark.- he answered. He heard Daario's fingertips typing quickly on the keyboard and the touchpad's light click. He was about to laugh: Daario was charming, smart and attractive, but when he acted like that he reminded Theon of a teenage girl. He was such a stalker when he wanted to.

-Theon, you do know I'm straight.- Daario started, calmly.

-"I like pussy and you like dick instead".- Theon mocked him, then started playing Sudoku on his phone, uninterested. 

Daario waited a second, before adding: -Fuck Theon, do you really want to have sex with someone like him for just one night?-

Daario rarely complimented other men: every time he did that, Theon made fun of him and called him a pussy. That's why he got intrigued when Daario said those words, and he sat back up: Robb's profile picture was probably dated a few years before, because his beard and hair were shorter. 

He had seen those blue eyes for the first time right a few hours earlier, but he already wanted to meet them again. And then, Robb was beautiful in that photo: he was at the beach, turning his back on the sea, and the light reflecting on him made his hair look even more auburn.

Daario scrolled a few photos, and the most recent ones were dated a year and a half ago: Robb with a cocktail on his hand, Robb in the woods with a big smile on his face, a backpack on, black sunglasses on his nose and a green cap on his head. There was also a picture of him ruffling a really young Jon's hair, and Theon had to bit his tongue to hold back a laugh at the sight of the teen: he was, obviously, rolling his eyes. Theon shook his head, amused.

-Where did you find him, Theon?- Daario asked him.

-Without my help, then!-

Theon smiled: -He's got one idiot of a brother. I helped him with some bully at school, you know, because now Bronn forces me to go to school.-

Daario raised his eyebrow: -Explain yourself.-

Theon shrugged and explained, rapidly: -Robb is particularly protective towards his brother.-

-Which leads to a loss of something like ten points, knowing you.- Daario joked, and Theon threw the pillow at him once again: -Who cares about his brother, have you seen him?!- he exclaimed.

-Okay, okay. Go on.- Daario chuckled.

Theon crossed his legs upon the couch, getting back on his story: -I was saying, that when Robb found out his beloved brother had been bullied, he got pissed.-

-Which means...?-

-Which means that he wanted to talk to the principal and the parents of the gorilla who had laid a finger on his brother. And to me too, to thank me for helping Jon.-

Daario nodded, and reached his conclusions: -So he... called you? His brother, this Jon, he asked for your number and then...-

-No no, none of that!- Theon waved his hands, realizing just in that moment how weird everything that happened that day had been: Robb wanted to talk to him and they had randomly met at some mall? Destiny? No, weird. 

-So, may I know how did you get to meet him?- Daario asked, smiling but still frowning (if that was possible).

-It was a coincidence! A weird coincidence!- Theon yelled, getting up from the couch: he needed a beer. He opened the small fridge, grabbed two bottles and handed one to Daario, who opened it with the small opener Theon rigorously kept on the coffe table, next to the ashtray (beer and cigarette were always the best remedy). 

-I was at the mall because I had to buy some canvas when that douchebag of Jon Stark comes up out of nowhere and starts blabbing about ridiculous things and asking me to sit with him.- Theon explained, flopping back down on his seat.

Daario nodded once again: -And why did you sit with him?-

-Because he was in bad shape! I mean, not bad bad, but... bad. He was filled with bruises.- the imagine of the necklace of bruises around Jon's neck popped up inside Theon's mind and gave him a stomachache: motherfucking redheaded ape.

Daario looked at him in surprise: -You were worried about a kid?-

Daario knew about Theon's dislike towards people who were too young. To be true, everybody was, more or less: when he complained to Ramsay every time his little brother cried his little heart out, his boyfriend purposely picked the baby up and started wandering around him with a slobbery toddler in his arms. Sure, the joke never lasted more than five minutes, and right after Ramsay made sure to kiss him and cuddle him, telling him the only baby boy in there was him, but that brat was disgusting anyway.

Jon wasn't some toddler who still shitted in his diaper, but maybe he was even worse: Jon was aware of his actions, and that was probably why Theon hated teens more than he hated babies. Although, that day at the mall, Jon had looked like a boy in need of help, not like a mangy teen. That's why Theon nodded and handled Daario's laugh without saying a word.

-And then, what happened?- said the older one, wanting to know how the story went on.

Theon shrugged: -I sat and Robb showed up. We started talking and then I might have hit on him. And he could have hit on me too. And with the excuse of talking about his brother I asked him to meet at the bar he works at.-

The pat Daario gave him on his shoulder was so ungraceful that Theon spilled a nice quantity of the beer all over himself, as the man exulted: -Well done, Theon!-

After that, Daario started babbling something else about Daenerys, about how beautiful her hair was and that if he had managed to end up somewhere with her, Daario swore that he would have not been so friendly with Ramsay Bolton, if he ever had to meet him again. 

But Theon barely listened to him, because he kept on staring at Robb's picture on the screen: Daario was right, it was such a shame to spend just one night with such a beautiful man. And he was right about him basing his life on his previous relationship too: Robb looked so different from Ramsay, with those auburn hair and that smile.

But who told him that, in the end, he wasn’t just like him?

Chapter Text

It was colder than usual, that morning. And no surprisingly Robb had started searching for hoodies and jackets inside everybody's closets: even though they were just in the middle of September, the last thing Robb wanted was one of his brothers catching a chill or just a simple cold.

He dressed Rickon in a t-shirt and a zippered hoodie and encouraged Bran to do the same: -Today's cold outside, you might cover yourselves.- he said.

Even once Bran and Rickon sat at the table and started eating their breakfast, Robb couldn't help but staring out the window and at how the sky was becoming more grey: he only hoped it wouldn't rain. Not when his brothers were around: Robb still didn't know how to deal with them when they caught a fever. It had happened once with Jon, and damn if Robb would have wanted to forget it: he hadn't done anything but throwing up day and night. It always happened with him, but that had been the first time it was up to Robb to handle him. 

Exactly in that moment, Jon showed up downstairs with the beige sweatshirt they had got the day before. Robb really wanted to greet him with a "hi cutie" because dressed up like that Jon reached a level of cuteness equal to Bran and Rickon's, but he decided to let go: like Jon had said, he had embarrassed him enough. Although, he felt compelled to warn him too: -Jon, put something on when you go out: it's cold.-

Jon nodded with a yawn, then he sat next to Bran.

They spent a nice and silent breakfast together: they were all still too sleepy to chat. Robb smiled in seeing Jon putting on one of Robb's old jean jacket, but a shiver of concern assaulted him: it had been a few days and he was still wondering how and when he should have had that talk with Jon. I mean, maybe Jon already knew everything, but he had to warn him anyway.

Robb was so worried about Jon: the Cersei matter and all the other social workers had gone fuck itself when his brother's wellness had started decreasing. Robb had yelled at him, then he had been bullied, and if Robb only tried to name the "sexuality" subject, Jon panicked. The situation was more serious than expected. Maybe he should have called Sam, to talk to him for a little bit, to ask him if Jon was okay when he was around his friends. Maybe he should have...

-Hey Robb, if me and Rickon are not home when you and Bran come back, that's because we went out for an ice-cream.- Jon took him back to reality, causing those big brown eyes to meet Robb's.

While Robb, Sansa and Rickon had inherited their mother's blue eyes and Arya their father's grey ones, Jon and Bran where the only two of six children who had brown eyes just like their aunt Lyanna. To be true, Jon also had Lyanna's dark hair, and he looked more like her son than Catelyn's. Maybe even Robb would have suspected that, if he hadn't been remembering perfectly the first time his parents had announced him he would have soon had a little brother or a little sister: he remembered how he hugged his mother and how he retracted right away, afraid he had hurt the baby. He remembered his parents smiling at him. He remembered when Jon had come to the world and how not only his parents had stopped sleeping at night but he did too, because Jon made one hell of a noise. He remembered how Jon had become shyer with time and how he had become an older brother for two, three, four other times. He was nine when Jon was born, a small baby with a small head already full of dark hair. He was eleven the first time he had a little sister: Sansa was a little princess, that had been Robb's first thought and would have always been. He was thirteen when the real first earthquake had arrived, Arya, small like a little mouse but as strong as a wolf. He was fifteen when his parents had gifted him with another little boy: Bran was so quiet. Robb was in the middle of teenage hood back then, and maybe a baby yelling all night long wouldn't have been good for him. But Bran was different, different from everyone, and Robb adored holding him to his chest. Finally, Rickon had come into the world when Robb had turned twenty. Twenty. He could have been his son. Back then, Robb was still attending college, but he usually took a break to visit his family and make sure the newest (and preferably last) baby of house Stark got to know him well. 

And now there they were. Grown up, but still too young to Robb's eyes.

-Alright, but only if it doesn't rain.- Robb kissed Jon on his forehead and adjusted the collar of his jacket: his brother had the strange characteristic of not being able to wear jacket and shirts the right way. 

Jon looked at him as if he was stupid: -That's obvious, you dumbass.-

Robb gave him a playful pat on his head, smiling: -Oh, look at him, smarty pants is talking. Now go, before it gets late.-

Obediently, Jon took Rickon by the hand, waved at Bran and got out of the house only to run over a cold breeze of wind.

-Do you want a scarf? I'll get you one, if it's too cold.- Robb said right away, causing Jon to shook his head: -It's a metter of five minutes, mom, and it's nothing unbearable. And then, I am the reason why you're growing grey hair...-

-Hey!- hit personally, Robb pointed a finger at him.

-I never said I'm growing grey hair, I said I will grow grey hair. Now shoo, go to school! It's late.-

Once they were gone, Robb worried about helping Bran to get inside the car: surely that would have been the thing he would have missed less, once Bran had started using crutches, except for the stairs, obviously. Although, Bran still would have needed assistance, at least during the first times, with the stairs: he still could have fallen and gotten hurt, and it was necessary for Robb to make sure he had learnt how to climb the stairs well, before letting him do that alone. With the car, instead, it was a whole different story: Bran could have sat normally and threw his crutches in the backseat once he had gotten comfortable, and he could have done that all by himself.

-Come on, resist: just one more week.- Robb said, sitting on the driving seat, addressed to both of them.

Bran looked out of the window: -I can't take it anymore, Robb.-

-It won't be long, come on.- he reassured his brother, but Bran looked sad anyway. He didn't like when Bran was sad, especially because the kid's mind was too sensitive even for Robb himself, at times. Bran wondered things that Robb never wondered when he was his age, but it was normal, if you checked on the books he read. Robb had never read so much in twenty five years, and Bran was still ten.

-Bran. Sweetheart, what's wrong?- he asked him.

He saw the kid sighing deeply, his eyes still glued on the landscape out of the window. His heart tightened.

-I'll be able to walk normally only in November. And the doctor said it will take six months for me to fully recover, so I won't be able to do anything until March and...-

-You'll be able to do everything you want, instead.- Robb said, immediately.

-The doctor said there's a possibility of encountering difficulties once in a while, but once your cast will be removed and therapies will be over, it's just a matter of a week before you start walking like you did before. What matters is you being careful, but why am I telling you this in the first place?- 

Sometimes Robb seemed to forget that, despite his maturity, Bran was still a kid and, like one, he was scared of many things.

And it was up to moments like that, to remind him.

Robb wanted to smash his head against something: nothing was going right. Jon was getting beaten up at school, Rickon was terrified by the social worker and Bran was sad because he wanted to go back walking. And he was alone taking care of them all. Sometimes he thought he would have never made it. But not making it meant letting Cersei win. Not making it meant throwing Jon back into a foster home where some asshole of a kid would have beaten him more than he was getting beaten now, not making it meant that Bran and Rickon would have been sent who knows where. And Robb couldn't allow that.

He cleared his throat: -You'll be like new by December. You know what this means?-

Bran didn't answer.

-It means that when we'll go on holiday with Sansa and Arya, we will all play in the snow. Don't let it get you down, Bran.- Robb added.

Right the year before Raven and Lola had invited them all to spend a week in their mountain chalet with them, a few weeks before Christmas, and that year it wouldn't have been different. It was an opportunity to see the girls again and spend some time together, and everybody in the Stark family loved snow. 

Bran shyly stared at Robb: -Are you sure?-

Robb smiled at him: -Of course, buddy.-

He parked the car next to Bran's school: the bell still hadn't rang and the school yard was crawling with kids. Robb saw Jojen, Bran's best friend, sitting on the stairs, alone. He looked at his brother, once he had helped Bran sitting on his wheelchair: -Now you try to have a nice day at school, you're going to learn a lot of new things and you'll spend time with Jojen. Then I'll come and pick you up and we'll go to the bookstore. And stay calm.-

He popped a loud kiss on his forehead and waited for Jojen to reach them running and smiling: -Hey there, little man! You're taking care of him?- Robb greeted him.

-Don't worry Mr Stark, I got this!- exclaimed the kid, grabbing Bran's wheelchair and heading to the school. 

Robb stared at them with a smile on his face, then he got back to his car: he had to go to work.

 

 

When Theon Greyjoy arrived at the Mirage, Robb didn't even notice that: his mind was lost in a thousand of directions. There was Jon's problem, Bran who was starting to grow insecurities and Rickon was a kid to constantly keep an eye on and then there were all the motherfucking teenage girls who had skipped the first hour of school just to wander around him and God, he was about to grab a beer from the fridge and start drinking at 8:30 on a Friday morning. 

He had just told for the third time that week, to the same girl, where the hell the toilet was at, when he found a pair of winking green eyes in front of him: -A long coffe, please.-

The gap Theon had between his teeth was adorable, in Robb's opinion.

He smiled: -Only if it's on me.-

Theon's eyes widened a little bit, and the young man huffed lightly in surprise: -You already offered me a drink yesterday, if I'm not wrong.-

-No, you're not wrong, but let me be kind to you.- there was something in that smirk that lit up a spark inside of Robb: Theon didn't look like an asshole, but he was definitely a hothead. And he had never had a chance to have a relationship or sex with a hothead: even though it might have seemed strange, everything had always been black and white, sweethearts or assholes. The possibility to do something funny with a middle way interested him. Even though Robb didn't want a relationship. And he didn't want it. At all. He didn't want it but Theon Greyjoy... well, he still hadn't seen him from behind. Maybe, if from that perspective he was not that attractive like he was in the front, Robb's little dirty desires would have calmed down. And finally he would have stopped thinking about something he couldn't allow, not in that moment, at least: with Cersei after him, a love life would have only been a burden. Why? Because he would have spent a lot of time away from home, and he didn't want to leave the kids alone for too long. And Cersei had told him she would have showed up more often: what if she had come by when the kids were somewhere with their friends and he was home with someone? Or, if she had come when he wasn't home and Jon, who was underage, was watching the kids? He couldn't. No. He couldn't.

-Do you manage to take five minutes off to sit with me? So we can talk.- Theon leaned forward the counter, with the same smirk he had on during their last and super interesting conversation.

Smirking back at him, Robb moved towards the coffe machine, his eyes still on Theon's: -Sure. Go find a seat.-

Theon winked at him: -I'm waiting for you.- 

They had to talk about Jon. Only about Jon. Still, when Theon turned around to go sit at the nearest table, Robb couldn't help but staring.

Fuck.

 

 

-Alright Rickon, behave at school.- Jon kneeled to the ground to press a quick kiss on his little brother's head, and Rickon huffed: -You always say that!-

-That's because you're a little hurricane. I love you.- Jon hugged Rickon, who obviously screamed "love you too"' and hugged him back. Jon let him run to the school yard to meet his friends. At only five, Rickon had more friends Jon had ever had in his whole life. He could already picture him ten years in the future, as the member of the group who always managed to make everyone smile, just like Pyp but a little bit less idiot.

With a soft smile on his lips, still lost watching his little brother chatting with another smiling kid, he stood back up. He was so lost in his thoughts (about his five year-old little brother being highly more popular than him), that when he turned around to start walking to school he didn't even notice the guy walking in the opposite direction.

He landed on him ungracefully, and almost fell backwards, if the guy's arms weren't there to support him.

-Oh shit. I'm sorry!- he exclaimed, removing his hands form the stranger's chest.

But actually, he wasn't a complete stranger: Jon stared at the straight nose, his well kept hair and beard, and those brown eyes and thick eyelashes, and he could reconnect everything to the guy he had met a few days before at the supermarket, the one who had bought milk for Rickon and had winked at Jon. And that Bran thought he was hitting on him.

-Well, hi.- said the supermarket guy. 

Jon paled, but the other guy smiled: -Chill out, I won't bite you.- he reassured him.

Jon didn't know what to say, and from pale he became strawberry red: he had never found himself so close to a boy, and he felt relieved when the supermarket guy let him go, now that he was able to stand up on his own feet.

-How's the little one? The one who likes milk.- asked the supermarket guy.

Why the hell was he going on with the conversation? They didn't even know each other. 

Maybe he's just a big talker, Rickon would act like that too.

Without even knowing how, Jon found the courage to respond: -F-fine. Actually, thank you again for uhm, for...-

-You don't have to thank me all the time, I told you it was no problem.- the supermarket guy smiled at him. His teeth were ivory white and none of them was an inch out of place.

Jon shrugged: -I still owe you.-

The supermarket guy put his hands in his pockets and stared fondly at him: -What's your name?-

Jon didn't exactly knew what his heart had done in that moment: if it had jumped down a high, if it had done a backflip or if it had just simply disastrously fallen into the ground, but that feeling completely hit him. Hard.

-J...Jon. Stark. My name is Jon Stark.-

The supermarket guy's smile widened even more: it was a gentle smile, maybe his embarrassment softened him, or maybe he was just trying to reassure him.

-Ian Cornell.- the supermarket guy, that now owned an identity, extended his hand. His grip was particularly stronger than Jon's. When the contact between their hands was interrupted, Jon looked away.

-How old are you?-

Why is he keeping on talking? What does he want from me?

-Sixteen.-

And why do I keep on answering him? Can't I just tell him I have to go?

-Do you have to go to school?- and no, the supermarket... Ian didn't seem to be willing to stop talking. And Jon didn't seem to be willing to stop answering him. And there was not an actual reason why, he simply answered: -Yes.-

-Do you mind me going with you?- woah. Okay. The thing was getting creepy. It was fine if he wanted to do something nice to him, but now he wanted to accompany him to school? Uhm... nope.

Now it was Ian's turn to blush: -Okay okay, I'm sorry. It came out creepy. It's just that you're pretty.- he confessed.

Jon felt the ground disappearing from underneath his feet: it was the first time ever that somebody who wasn't Robb told him he was pretty. And Robb only called him that to annoy him. This guy here was serious. Maybe. Or maybe he was just some creep, I mean...

-But you're like, twenty-five!- Jon exclaimed, cold sweat dripping down his neck.

Ian frowned, an expression in between surprised and amused: -Uhm, what? I'm twenty one!-

Everything had suddenly become funnier. Jon felt a little bit lighter: -Seriously? You look older.-

Ian gaped his mouth, faking offence: -Say that again, I dare you!-

Jon laughed. Ian laughed too. And Jon didn't know what the fuck was happening.

Ian shrugged: -Listen, I know that courtship kind of sucked, but would you like... letting me try again and pretend all of this never happened? Saturday at The Wall, the club.-

He didn't look like a bad person. But how could he know if he was a maniac or not? Or a killer? 

Come on Jon, how do you think people get to know each other?

At the answer was: by chance. Probably Ian had really chosen the wrong approach: after all, Jon would have been even worse than him. They had met by accidentally, that didn't mean Ian was a criminal. Even Theon and Robb had met completely by chance. Not that Theon and Robb were a couple, not that Jon and Ian were. No, absolutely not. No.

He was panicking.

-I-I'm with some friends, on Saturday...- he stuttered.

Ian smiled and shrugged: -Better. So that if I'm boring you or the situation gets weird like right now, you have someone to run to.-

Jon chuckled, Ian did too. 

Ian went back staring at him intensely: -So, are you in?-

Was he in?

There's only one way to understand if you're into boys or girls, Jon.

-Sure.-

Chapter Text

-Here's your coffee.-

Robb sat in front of Theon and handed him the cup with a smile.

-Are you really sure it's on you?- asked Theon, pouring just one sugar packet into the coffee (Robb almost turned up his nose: he liked coffee too, but he could have never drunk it with so little sugar), but the other man smiled at him: -Don't worry, it's my pleasure.-

-Or is it because you feel like you owe me?- Theon raised his brow.

Of course Robb felt like he owed him, and he would have felt like that even after offering him a thousand coffees: he had helped his brother when he wasn't there, and that didn't happen everyday. But if he had to be one hundred per cent sincere, Robb was keeping on offering him things just for the pleasure of seeing that smirk on his lips: -I'm doing this because I want to.-

And there it was, the smirk.

Theon drank a sip of his coffee right from the spoon: -Okay. Let's talk about Jon: what do you want to do, exactly?-

Robb was a little surprised by that question: he expected a little more courtship from Theon, not because he wanted it, but because the boy hadn't done anything but winking at him for two days straight. Even in the texts, for hell's sake. What Robb didn't know, obviously, was that the only reason why Theon had already brought up the Jon argument was because the sooner they had started talking about it, the sooner they would have gotten over with it, and the sooner the conversation would have taken a way more appealing turn.

-I want to talk to the principal personally. I already sent him an email, and Roy Johnson's parents should have been already informed, but I need to see them all in the face.- Robb confessed.

Theon frowned and scanned him for a while: he had noticed that something was wrong with him. His eyes were sad, lost who knows where. He was beautiful anyway, but seeing him happy would have been better.

-Robb, are you moping?- he dared asking.

Robb bit his lip, embarrassed, and sighed a lot: -Is it that obvious?-

Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was just Theon staring at him too accurately because he didn't want to miss not even a single detail. But Robb's eyes were so bright and right now they seemed so... dull.

-Is it about Jon?- Theon guessed and, as he had imagined, Robb nodded: -Let's say that is one of the problems...-

-You two are very close.- Theon wondered how it was possible to live in the same house as Jon without going crazy. He would have lost his mind at Jon's first breath, and that was for sure.

-I'd do anything for him.- Robb stated, and there Theon understood that there was something more than only parentage that made them so close: maybe they shared a secret, or maybe something bad had happened to Jon. Otherwise Robb wouldn't have been that protective: siblings were never protective just because they loved you. Actually, siblings were not protective and that was it.

-My siblings didn't even bring me the toilet paper when it ran out. And it was their fault we were out of it.- Theon confessed, shrugging.

Robb chuckled, but his expression was sorry for him: -They were jerks!- he exclaimed.

And they were. Rodrik, Maron and Yara were jerks, and they had been for his whole life. Nowadays, they saw each other only during festivities and somehow they always managed to fight over something. Sometimes  Theon had thrown the first fist, sometimes Maron did that (and there had been occasions in which Yara had done that) but somehow Theon always ended up being the most beaten up.

-Yeah, they were jerks.- he repeated, in a low voice.

-Are you the youngest one?- Robb asked him, a kind smile on his lips.

Theon nodded slowly, looking half resigned and half amused: -Youngest of four. My sister's the closest to my age, and she's thirty-two.-

-You're the little one in the family, in short.-

-I'd say the little snag.- after that last statement an embarrassing atmosphere surrounded them: Robb's gentle smile had cracked lightly and Theon had gritted his teeth.

He took a deep breath: -Okay, this is what we're doing: we're going to take an appointment with the principal right on Monday.- he decided.

Robb raised an eyebrow, perplexed: -You told me you're at work.- 

With a movement of his hand, Theon let him know that it wasn't important: -I have never been late with presenting a project or a sketch and now I even have to teach to teens: Bronn basically owes me.-

Actually, he had to kiss Bronn's ass for hours, but he would have made it anyway.

-Are you sure?- Robb's eyes were getting their brightness back. Theon smiled at him: -Of course. And then, we have to kick that bastard's ass: I hate jocks like him.-

Jocks like Roy Johnson, the ones Theon had fun in annoying when he was a teen. Theon was small and skinny and nobody, himself included, knew why insisted on wanting to be punched everyday. But he had found a hobby in stealing cigarettes and wallets from their bags, and he didn't always got away unnoticed. So yeah, he hated jocks like Roy Johnson.

-Everybody hates them.- Robb sighed, clenching his fist on the table: -God, how did you manage to stay calm? I... would have smashed his face.-

Theon shrugged: -That's excusable: he's your little brother.-

To be honest, none of his brothers would have acted the same way as Robb would have done, if the thing happened to him (well, maybe Yara would have), at all: they would have made fun of him for the rest of his life.

Robb smiled lightly: -Probably. God, you didn't see him when he came back home, he was... I swear if that piece of shit won't be expelled I'm going to sue the school.-

Theon drank the cold coffe with just one single sip: -Easy there. I'm sure he'll pay the right consequences. And if not, you can still punch him in the face.-

Robb chuckled, but Theon was more or less convinced that he would have taken his advice literally. Why? Because Theon had understood what he was all about. And if he had to be honest, he was hating Jon more than ever: because Theon would have killed to have a brother like Robb.

They talked for another few minutes about Jon, until Robb decided to call the principal to take the final appointment.

At that point, now that they finally didn't have to talk about it anymore and the question was over, Theon decided to take action: -So Robb: what else do you do, despite serving coffee to girls drooling all over you?-

Robb laughed, lowering his head: -You noticed that too, didn't you?-

-Oh you can bet on it. There's one behind you who's slicing me up with her eyes.- Theon couldn't help but sanding a challenging look to the blond haired girl sitting a few tables away from them: she was standing right in front of Theon in line for the counter, and once she had seen that some guy had been the only one able to talk with Robb for more than three seconds, she had looked at him the same way a girl looks at her new boyfriend's ex girlfriend. When Robb had later sat next to him, the girl never took her eyes off of him, even when she was whispering to her friend. And Theon was amused by that, who wouldn't?

-Yup, sooner or later they will get it that they are not my type.- Robb shook his head, huffing.

Those words were music to Theon's ears: a man like that, he couldn't let him go so easily. No way.

-Anyway, I don't do much. It's not true that I'm good at everything, like Jon says.- Robb started playing with the string of the leather bracelet on his wrist, staring a Theon straight in the eye.

Theon smirked: -Oh, so the incredible Robb Stark, the good boy who graduated with full marks, has a pretty monotonous life?-

Robb was so damn beautiful when he smiled.

-Yes and no. What about you? You draw all the time or do you have some other hobby that I still don't know about?- he incited him.

Theon rested his chin against his knuckles, pretending to be thinking about it: that was the moment, the moment to see if Robb was really into him.

-Uhm, let me see... I actually do draw most of the time, yes. It's just that, lately, I like visiting pretty men in the bars they work at.-

Robb's skin was pale. That's why the blushing on his cheeks and the tip of his nose looked adorable, to Theon's eyes. Although, that shy smile quickly turned into a cheeky smirk: -And do you visit lots of men?- he asked him.

Theon saw the girl behind Robb whispering furiously at her friend sitting in front of her. The other girl began staring at them too. That was even better: it was nice to have spectators staring at him as he managed to get a date with the most beautiful man in town.

-Well, actually, I laid my eyes on some guy in particular.- Theon leaned forward, to have a better look on those blue eyes who had started checking him out. And oh yes, Robb Stark was totally checking him out and oh yes, Theon was definitely satisfied by that: oh yes, you stupid chicks, he likes dick and I am the one sitting here with him.

-And how does he look like, if I'm allowed to know?- Robb had decided to play the card of the fake naive guy, and Theon was more than okay with that: that meant they would have talked more.

-Oh well, you know.- he started.

-He's got auburn hair and a pair of beautiful blue eyes.- 

Robb distractedly bit his lip: -He looks like a good-looking man.-

Theon nodded vigorously: -Oh, you're damn right, he is. He just has one flaw.-

Immediately, Robb raised his brow and failed in hiding a smile. Theon smiled too, slightly biting his tongue.

-And that would be?- Robb asked him.

Theon shrugged, running a hand through his hair: -Well, his brother is pretty stupid, but for the re...-

He saw Robb chuckling, before being hit on his arm: -Idiot. You're lucky you're pretty.-

Theon smiled wildly, starting to feel on his back not only the two girls' eyes but the eyes of every girl in the bar. And it was hilarious.

-I'm pretty?- Theon repeated.

Robb leaned forward, too: -Yeah. Yeah, you are. And honestly I would like to get to know you more.-

And... there it was!

Theon could have jumped on his lap at any minute: it all almost looked like a new feeling. They were not in some club, they didn't have to hide inside one of their cars for a quickie. Theon was simply talking with a good-looking man he had met without even needing Daario's help. And that good-looking man had just told him he would have liked to get to know him better. Theon was so proud of himself he could have kissed himself.

-So, let's hear it.- Theon crossed his arms to his chest, realizing he was face-to-face with Robb.

-You would like to know me and then what do you want to do?-

It wasn't the right place nor the right time for such a question (Robb was technically still at work and they had just finished talking about his brother's problems with bullies), but embarrassment on Robb's face made him look even prettier and Theon only wanted to bite those red cheeks. 

Robb lowered his head, biting his tongue with his teeth: -Honestly, I would really like to see your paintings. Or illustrations. Or whatever else you're doing.-

Theon felt something warm swimming all over his body: it had been a really long time since the last time a man was interested in what he was doing, beside sex. It had been more than two years, to tel tell the truth.

-Well, once you get off work... I could text you my address and you could visit me.- Theon suggested, and hoped with every organ of his body that Robb would have said yes. But everything was going strangely weird, so he wasn't that surprised, when the boy shook his head: -I'm pretty busy this afternoon.-

Theon nodded and threw again the offer: -What about Saturday?-

But Robb shook his head once again: -Actually, I'll be pretty busy for all the weekend.-

-Even tonight? Once you've finished doing what you have to do today?-

Robb fell silent and took his time to think about it. Theon was good at observing, but he couldn't read other people's mind, and all he could do was hoping the young man would have said yes as quickly as possible, but Robb seemed pretty lost in his thoughts.

Theon noticed how the same fucking girl was looking at him with her arms crossed as she huffed loudly. Last thing he needed was her blowing smoke out of her nostrils or casting a spell on him to turn him into a frog. Suddenly all those attentions on him weren't so enjoyable anymore.

-I can't stay long. But I'll stop by.- Robb decided finally, winking in the end. 

Theon found himself smiling like an idiot: -That's perfect! I'll text you my address, okay?-

Robb was about to answer him, when the girl behind the counter (a pretty black girl with super curly black hair) asked for his attention: -Robb! Blair is coming!-

-Shit.- Robb said, keeping his voice down and standing up.

He gave Theon a sweet and apologetic smile: -The boss is coming. I have to go back to work, I'm sorry.-

Theon shook his head and stoop up too: -No, I'm sorry, I've kept you for too much. So, see you tonight?-

-Yeah. See you tonight.-

Theon was tempted to kiss him goodbye on his cheek, but it felt too sappy. So he decided to go for his usual wink, smirking when Robb winked back. He got out of the bar the exact moment a blond haired woman got inside, exclaiming "here comes the boss, ladies and gentlemen!". 

He was so happy that he drove so fast he got to work fifteen minutes earlier.

He surely couldn't know that Robb, now that he was gone, was wondering what the fuck he had just done.

Chapter Text

History classes were always an unbearable bore, but that morning Jon couldn't hear half a word the teacher was saying: he still couldn't believe he had managed to get a date with a boy.

Well, actually it wasn't a real date, since they wouldn't have been alone, but hey, if everything would have gone fine maybe there would have been a second time and maybe that time they would have actually been alone.

But... was this really what Jon wanted? Or was it something else? I mean, that guy was twenty-one and had a life full of experiences behind his back, while Jon was just... Jon.

Still, despite all his current uncertainties, he really had to admit that Ian was a very good-looking man. He hadn't noticed it at the supermarket, but now he had. And he was somehow amazed by that. It wasn't just because Ian showed him he was into him, if Jon had it all figured out before he would have probably peered him from the beginning. 

And now, one way or another, he had managed to get a pseudo-date with him. Sure, he had no idea where the club Ian had mentioned was, and he highly doubted his friends would have wanted to go there: Sam and the guys were not the type of people who frequented clubs. Jon least of all. But he had to find a way to convince them all, otherwise he would have found an excuse, he would have bailed them and he would have gone alone: between a night dedicated to the old same video games and a night with a pretty man, Jon preferred the second one by far. Even though he still had his fears: again, Ian was an adult. Again, Ian had experience. Maybe he had been expecting from Jon something he couldn't have given him. Not yet, at least.

But if he thought about Saturday, something inside of him started dancing and Jon felt thrilled and nervous: maybe he would have had his first kiss, or maybe not, maybe Ian only wanted to have some fun, or maybe he wanted to spend time with him because he felt sorry for him, or maybe not, maybe he really found him pretty and maybe Jon really had a chance with him.

He didn't think of anything else all morning: even during the school break, Jon distractedly saw how Pyp was telling something, incredibly dramatising the situation with gestures and theatrical sounds Jon couldn't even barely hear or connect in any way.

Maybe he was talking about video games, or a girl he had just talked to, since the two things were on the same level of importance to him.

The only one that maybe was actually listening to him was Sam, because even Grenn did nothing but looking away, but just because he did not want to hear Pyp's stupid monologues. In fact, when he turned to Jon and saw the boy had his mind everywhere else but set on Pyp, Grenn decided to seize the opportunity with both hands: -Jon!- he exclaimed, clapping his hands once. 

-What's new with you? You've been quiet all along!-

And as Pyp stopped his tale to agree with Grenn and Sam imitated him, Jon found himself letting words slip out of his mouth without even connecting his tongue to his brain, specifically revealing everything that was going on inside his mind: -I think I might be gay.-

His three friends' eyes widened so much they almost fell out of their orbits, as Jon pursed his lips and got shrank. 

He just hoped they wouldn't have judged him. None of them had ever judged him for having a gay brother, Sam and Robb were almost friends and Grenn and Pyp never missed the chance to listen to Jon's most awkward adventures Robb told them, that's why it shouldn't have been a problem, if he had liked boys too. I mean, he was still Jon, right? Same old Jon. Just with his mind a little bit made up. More or less.

-You're gay?- Pyp, who was the only one standing up, repeated. Grenn and Sam were sitting in the last steps of the entrance stairs, Jon was a few steps above them and nodded slowly: -Yes, more or less. I mean, I don't know. Maybe.-

In unison, his three best friends raised their brows and looked at him even with more confusion in their eyes.

-What do you mean "yes, I don't know, maybe"?- Pyp exclaimed.

Jon shrugged his shoulders, admitting: -I mean, I could like boys. But I'm not sure of that.-

He saw Grenn sighing, and for a minute he thought his friend was about to say something offensive to him. Until he saw his gentle smile: -Who is he? Do we know him?- he asked him.

This time it was Jon's turn to widen his eyes: -What? Who?- he said quickly, blushing from his head to the tip of his toes.

Grenn stared at him as if the question was obvious and Jon was a stupid small kid: -Well, there has to be some guy you're into, if you're having problems with comprehending your sexuality.- 

Before Jon could answer him and vaguely mention Ian, Pyp gaped and exclaimed: -Is it Theon Greyjoy?-

If right now Jon would have decided to take a sip of water or a bite from a sandwich, he would have probably chocked to death in less than ten seconds: why the fuck did Theon Greyjoy always had to be in the way?! Even when he was talking to his friends! 

He vigorously shook his head, disgusted, and rushed to dispel that crazy myth: -Jesus Christ, no! Never ever! Never say that again!-

Pyp sat on the ground, in front of his friends, and maintained his voice absurdly calm in comparison to Jon's: -As a straight guy, I must tell you he doesn't look bad. And then, who else could he be? He's the only new face around!- 

Sam and Grenn went along with him, and Jon couldn't believe his ears: -Guys, seriously?! Theon Greyjoy?! You know I can't stand him!-

Sam shrugged and suggested: -Well, maybe you're just like Ygritte and you try to get noticed through antipathy.-

-Ygritte doesn't want to get noticed by me!- Jon protested, tired of always hearing the same old story.

-Oh quit it Jon, she keeps on staring at you, it's just that you're too stupid to realise it.- Pyp added, crossing his legs and leaning backwards with his back, resting his weight upon his arms on the ground.

Grenn nodded: -Exactly. And then, we would get it, if you liked Greyjoy: I mean, he helped you with that asshole of Johnson and...-

-Knock it off, stop saying that!- Jon yelled, grabbing his hair with his hands. Tight. 

-I hate Greyjoy, especially now that he's hitting on Robb and thinks he...-

-He's hitting on Robb?- Pyp repeated, weirded out. 

-Theon Greyjoy is gay?- Sam said. 

Jon huffed: -Definitely.- he said, thinking about the way the illustrator had put his hungry eyes on his brother, at the mall. And most of all, he thought about the way he had put his eyes on him, as if he was saying all of that crap and those innuendos just to annoy him. 

-We met him at the mall and he couldn't stop talking about his hard dick with Robb. It was disgusting.-

Pyp stuck up his nose and twisted his mouth, he shit his eyes and pretended to be throwing up, grossed out by the simple thought of their conversation.

Indeed, Sam remained down-on-earth and asked: -And what did Robb do?-

Reviving the scene where his brother smiled and went on with Greyjoy's dirty talk, Jon huffed even more loudly: -Robb was fine with it! You should have heard them, they were gross.-

-I think I'll survive anyway.- mumbled Pyp. 

Sam scowled, but you could see the surprise in his eyes: -So now Mr Greyjoy is in touch with your brother?-

Jon frowned too, with a vexed face: -What? No, gross! Robb said he doesn't want a relationship right now because he's too busy taking care of me, Bran and Rickon.-

Grenn, that until then had stayed silent listening, finally decided to speak up only to scold Jon: -Stop avoiding the actual argument and answer us!- he exclaimed.

Jon rested his head on his knees and hugged his legs, wishing he could disappear: he didn't want to talk to them about Ian. Keeping it for himself made it almost look like a dream about to come true, if he had talked about that with somebody he feared the magic could have ended.

He mentally cursed himself for not shutting up. 

-That's not important, guys...- he tried, but Grenn stared deadly at him: -Of fucking course it is! We're friends and we always share everything!-

-Is he pretty at least?- Sam asked him, and somehow the question made Jon smile and nod shyly.

Grenn and Sam smiled, Pyp smirked and whistled, before saying: -What's pretty boy's name?-

Jon, whom after their friends' reaction had once again buried his face against his knees, raised his head enough to let his eyes be visible: -Ian.- he answered.

In that moment the bell that marked the end of their break rang, much to Jon's happiness and Pyp's dislike: -Right at the climax!-

They stood up rapidly to not be standing in the way of students' transition and to avoid being offended in the worst ways since they were standing in the middle of the stairs, when Jon decided: -We can talk about it today, if you want to. I'm taking Rickon to get an ice cream if it's not rainy, we can meet at the ice cream parlour at the park.-

Sam put his backpack on and stared at him in confusion: -Aren’t you grounded?-

Jon shrugged: -Robb's terrible with punishments, I'm basically not grounded anymore. So, see you today? I don't know if I'll ever be able to talk about it again, otherwise.-

Jon was happy when all of his three best friends hurried to confirm their presence: now he was sure he could have counted on them anyway, whatever happened Saturday or next times. Ian or not Ian. 

He reached his classroom with one less thought and, weird but true, he even managed to listen to the lesson.

 

 

 

 

-Robb, when were you going to tell us you had a boyfriend?- playfully, Tabitha grabbed a dishcloth from the sink and threw it against Robb.

-He's not my boyfriend.- he replied, throwing the cloth back in the sink.

Tabitha looked at him skeptical, her arms crossed: -Well, he's going to be soon, judging by the way you stare at each other.-

Robb blushed: actually he had enormously fucked up by telling Theon he would have stopped by that night. Robb had kids, he couldn't leave them home alone just because he wanted to see a man: he was no longer seventeen. He had too many responsibilities at the moment. And then, if Jon would have found out, he wouldn't have talked to him anymore: he couldn't understand why he was so annoyed by Theon, but still his feeling seemed to be returned. What if Bran felt sick? What if Rickon started crying again? He couldn't leave all of that on Jon's shoulders, he couldn't.

-I screwed up, Tabi.- he confessed.

The girl frowned: -Robb, you're worrying me.-

Quickly, he showed her the situation: how Theon had invited him over and how he had accepted, and how scared he was now of leaving his brothers home alone.

Tabitha smiled gently at him: -You know, you got to think of yourself too, sometimes.-

-I can't. Not when it's about the kids, Tabi.- Robb replied.

-But Jon's not a kid, and I'm sure he can handle it for a few hours.- she went on, adding: -And then, if you leave after dinner, the kids will go to bed early and there won't be much to look after, will it?-

No, that was true. But he didn't want to give Jon a responsibility he himself should have handled: he had never left his brothers alone at night, and it was Jon's duty to take care of them when Robb was at work, not when he had to go to some man's place.

Tabitha perfectly understood his thought, but still she did not change her opinion: -Go and have some fun, Robb. You got to, every once in a while.-

But in the end, if he had told Theon yes, that was because he did want to go. He wanted to go because he liked Theon, and maybe because deep down he deserved a little bit of pleasure. And then, as Tabitha had said, it would have been only for a few hours. He would have come back home before midnight, and Jon didn't even have to go to school, the following day. He could even call one of his friends to stay the night.

-Just, don't tell Talisa. Not right now.- Tabitha almost begged him. And she was right.

Oh shit.

Talisa was one of Robb's colleagues at the bar. She was really nice, in the early days Robb really enjoyed her company. But then she had revealed her feelings towards him and he had to reject her because he was gay. Talisa hadn't taken it well. Robb had tired to remain on good terms with her, but she had began to get her distance. And knowing that now Robb had a "suitor" wouldn't have certainly improved the delicate relationship they had. 

Most of all because Talisa could have told Blair about all of Robb's inappropriate breaks that he was lately taking, whether it was because he had to call his family or talk with Theon.

He had to be careful, if the Theon thing would have went on, otherwise he would have been screwed.

 

 

 

 

Maybe it was too cold for an ice cream, but Rickon did not want the hot chocolate Jon had suggested him as an alternative. So there he was, sitting on the table with all of Jon's friends, as he ate his ice cream, messing up his face with chocolate.

Rickon liked being with older boys, with Jon's friends: they were cool, and they always played with him. Jon played with him as well, but then he always said he had to do homework. And with Bran on the wheelchair and a Robb at work, Rickon remained alone. But with Jon's friends it was different: Pyp was his favorite, because he always let him stay on his shoulders and started running, wherever they were. He liked Sam and Grenn too, but they were too serious for his taste, right now. Pyp was the only one laughing.

-Pyp, stop laughing, he's a babe: it's normal that he’s making a mess.- Jon lectured him, grabbing a paper towel and starting to clean up Rickon's face, cheeks and the tip of his nose.

Pyp smashed his hand on the table: -Doesn't it make you laugh that only chocolate ice cream messes up your face? Why it doesn't work with other flavours?-

Jon rolled his eyes: -Idiot.- he said, low.

-Bad word!- yelled Rickon and Pyp at the same time, pointing a finger against him. Once again the two kids bursted out laughing, and Jon had to fight against the incredible willing to throw a punch at Pyp's face. 

Fortunately, Sam managed to distract him: -Jon, when... when are we talking about that?-

Jon looked at Rickon in response: it was obvious that he would have not talked about that in front of him.

Grenn was about to say something, but he was stopped by Pyp, who stood up from the table: -I get it, I get it: I'll handle this. Come here, mini-man.- 

He moved towards Rickon and scooped him up, resting him upon his shoulders: Rickon laughed so much Jon was afraid he could roll his ice cream on Pyp's head.

-We're going to play at the park, but be aware that I want to know everything, on Saturday.- the teen announced, and was about to leave, when Jon warned him: -Pyp, stay nearby: I don't want to lose the sight of him.-

In response, Pyp gave him a thumbs up and left the ice cream parlour.

Once they were finally alone, Grenn and Sam gave Jon a pressing look.

-Well?- Grenn asked.

Jon sighed, and started his tale: -I met Ian for the first time at the supermarket.-

-At the supermarket?-

-Yeah Grenn, at the supermarket. I was there with Bran and Rickon was on my shoulders, ...-

-Why were you in a supermarket alone with Bran and Rickon without Robb?-

-Grenn. Do you want to know what happened or you don't?!- Jon panted: he wanted that conversation to be over soon, and his friend there wasn't helping. Grenn apologised and shut up, so that Jon could go on.

-I was saying, that I had to go grocery shopping. But I was out of money for milk. And Rickon wanted milk. And you know how cute is his face when he's sad and apparently Ian saw that too because he bought milk for hI’m and told me to show up there more often.- he reported, then he stopped for a minute.

Sam was confused: -Snow up more often... in a supermarket?

Grenn nodded: -Man, that doesn't make any sense.-

-I know!- Jon exclaimed. -I know but... I met him again this morning. Well, I actually almost fell above him, but... we started talking. And... he said other creepy things, like "can I get you to school", and... I was... embarrassed?-

Jon stared at Grenn and Sam's faces: they were confused, maybe even skeptical. And now that he had said that out loud, it really seemed far-fetched: how the hell can you meet someone like that? In a supermarket and then in the middle of the street, and he offers you milk and asks you to get you to school. It was crazy.

Sam smiled kindly at him: -Go on, Jon.-

The boy took a deep breath: -Well, then he apologised and told me that courtship sucked.-

Grenn's eyes lit up: -He said courtship?-

-Yes...- Jon admitted, blushing.

-He asked me if I wanted to pretend none of that ever happened and to meet again at The Wall. And I told him that I would have been with my friends, that day...-

-You're an idiot, Stark!- Grenn exclaimed, laughing out loud. Sam chuckled too.

Jon's eyes widened: -No I'm not! You assholes. He told me to come with you, so that if things won't go as I expected I won't be alone.- 

Sam's eyes lit up too: -That's amazing, Jon! We're so going to be there and we will support you, right Grenn?- the blond haired boy winked at him.

Jon blushed. Again.

-You said he's pretty, didn't you?- Sam asked him. 

Jon thought of Ian's perfect beard, his black hair, at his thin lips, his small and dark eyes, and his eye-catching smile.

-He's beautiful.- he said, sounding almost desperate.

Sam smiled, as Grenn laughed: -God, you're so gay.-

Yeah, maybe he was.

 

 

 

 

 

It was the fourth time that month that Robb had taken Bran to the bookstore. It surely wasn't the kid's fault if he could read long books so fast at such a young age: Robb adored that his little brother loved reading so much. With his accident during the soccer game, Bran read most of the time: tv bored him, they always passed on the same things. Books didn't bore him, instead.

Bran was able to move on his own with the wheelchair if he pushed the wheels, that's why Robb let him wandering around the bookstore alone, as he stared at the other shelves: Bran would have called him if he would have needed help with reaching a book that was in one of the high shelves and meanwhile Robb, as it had already happened a few times, had the possibility to find a book that he could have liked.

He ran away in a hurry form the "guide books" department when he saw a book called "Family: how to raise your children", just to find himself in the art and photography section. There were famous artists' biographies, from Frida Kahlo to Marina Abramović, books about history of art, while some other books were for children and introduced them to artistic techniques. But only one book managed to catch his eye: it was a very small book, the cover full of painting stains mixed up. It was called "The Colours In The World". He grabbed the book: a little bit of art culture would have been healthy for him. He was definitely not doing that for Theon. Maybe a little, but not completely.

He wandered for some other time inside the bookstore with the small book in his hands, then he decided to look for Bran: he already knew the little Stark was hidden in the fantasy section, and he found him exactly there, with an adorable pout on his lips and two books between his hands.

-Sweetheart, is everything okay?- Robb asked him. 

Bran looked up to him: -I don't know which one to pick.- 

Smiling tenderly at him, Robb kneeled to his side: -Take both of them, Bran.-

The kid tried to protest, but Robb stopped him by shaking his head and raising one finger: -Ah ah. I would have had to take you here within a week anyway. Actually, you know what? Take as many as you want.-

Bran's eyes widened out of all proportion, as the kid whispered: -Robb, have you gone mad?-

Robb chuckled and affectionately kissed him on the cheek: -No buddy, I'm serious. Take as many as you want: three, ten. All the ones you like.-

Bran threw his arms around him instantly, holding him tight. Robb ended up being crushed against the wheel of the wheelchair but he couldn't care less.

-You're the best big brother in the world but don't tell Jon.- the kid confessed him.

Robb bursted out laughing and ruffled his hair: -Why not? His face would be priceless.-

Seeing such a genuine smile on Bran's face made Robb fly up on cloud nine: he didn't even care about spending almost a hundred pounds in books, that day, because for Bran, he would have done that and more. Much more. Way more. His little brother was suffering a lot lately, and if reading was the only thing that made him feel less down, Robb would have got him a whole bookstore.

Once they had gotten home they found Jon and Rickon snuggled together on the couch: Rickon obviously ran to greet them and Robb took a mental note to take his baby boy to get some new toys, in the last few days: it wouldn't have been fair to him, since he had bought Bran so many books and had basically restored Jon's wardrobe.

He helped Bran sitting on the armchair, smiling in seeing him so undecided on which book he had to start reading first, then he turned to Jon: he was laying on the couch with his phone in his hands, writing a text to somebody. Next to him there was a Harry Potter book, and Robb supposed by that and by the fact that Jon was wearing his reading glasses, that his brother had decided to read something to Rickon while they were waiting for him and Bran to get back home.

-Hey.- he called him.

Jon looked away from the screen and looked up to his brother.

-Uhm?-

Robb rested his hands above his knees, lightly bending over him: -Listen, uhm... Blair asked me to do the night shift. I'm leaving right after dinner.-

Scowling at him and turning off his phone, Jon sat back up: -But... you never work extra shifts on Fridays.- he reminded him.

-I know, but I didn't go yesterday and Blair needs a hand because Talisa called out last minute... can you look after the children and put them to bed?- Robb hated lying to his brothers, especially for selfish reasons: this wasn't about Rickon asking him where did babies come from, this was about Robb wanting to do that thing that made possible that babies even existed. And he hated himself for that.

-Yeah, yes, I can do that, just... you're not coming home late, right?- uncertainty and worry in Jon's big brown eyes made Robb feel even more guilty: Jon wasn't used to be left alone with the kids late in the evening. It had never happened. Never.

Robb ran a hand through his curls: -Of course buddy: it's just for a couple hours.-

Jon nodded and Robb took that as the sign to retire in the kitchen and start making dinner: he opened the fridge to admire the options, but the sound of two new texts distracted him: Theon had sent him his address, followed by an "I'm waiting for you ;)".

Not fully convinced to be doing the right thing, Robb answered with a: "be there by 9pm ;)".

Robb tried once again to begin cooking something, but Theon still wasn't willing to let him go anytime soon: he had just sent him a picture of himself laying on the bed, his clothes still on, with one of his typical smirks on his pretty face.

In return, Robb send him a selfie next to the open fridge, followed by an "I have to start making dinner, stop it."

Theon send him a shocked emoji: "uuuh you can cook too, what a good boy". With a smile on his face, Robb decided to ignore him.

He still felt guilty, sure, but at least the feeling was a little bit lighter right now. Okay, a lot.

Chapter Text

I'm on my way ;)

 

Robb sent the message without holding back a smile, but he felt absolutely dreadful: he had just lied to his brothers for a man. But he was trying to remind himself that with all that he was doing, between extra shifts, days at the mall and at the bookstore, appointments with the principal and much, very much, more, he fucking deserved spending a few hours thinking about himself only.

 

Third floor, room 312. Waiting for u ;)

 

Robb smiled in seeing how winks were always there, even when they were texting, and he started the engine.

He had told Jon to put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, even though it was Friday night. He had left him something pre-cooked to eat in the fridge, in case he'd gotten hungry, and he had obviously told him he was allowed to have a friend over, but Jon had said Sam had a date with his girlfriend, Grenn had to look after his little sister and Pyp was somewhere with his step-brother. Robb was sorry he had forced his brother to stay home during the weekend as he went out, but at least the following day Jon would have gone out with his friends, Bran would have spent the night at Jojen's and Robb would have stayed home with Rickon watching movies after movies until the kid dozed off on the couch. It was enough balanced, wasn't it?

He found out Theon's apartment was not so far from the Mirage, about fifteen minutes away from Robb's place. Normally, he preferred the stairs over elevators (he was a little claustrophobic), and walking til the third floor wouldn't have been a burden. Although, he had to admit that there was always a mirror inside elevators, and he did want to make sure he looked presentable: at home, he didn't really cared about fixing his hair or wearing cologne, because otherwise Bran and Jon would have certainly started suspecting something.

That's why he had wore cologne in the car and now, inside the elevator, he was fixing his hair the best he could.

Still because he didn't want his brothers to get strange ideas, he had decided to dress up pretty casual, wearing a pair of dark jeans, a white t-shirt and a leather jacket. Theon didn't seem the elegant kind of guy either, not for a night at his apartment, at least.

Room 312 was at the end of the hallway and Robb avoided running a hand through his hair once more, before knocking on the door: it was just a couple hours. Nothing more. Maybe they wouldn't even have had the time to... do something else apart from talking.

When Theon opened the door he was wearing a dark t-shirt, a pair of Converse on his feet and a pair of tight jeans. Very tight jeans.

-Well hi there.- he greeted him.

Robb smiled at him: -Hi to you too.-

-How pretty, Stark. Come here, give me that jacket.- Robb couldn't even step a foot into the apartment that Theon had already took out his jacket.

Theon's hOuse was small, but it was enough for somebody who lived alone: the bedroom, living room and the kitchen were all an only room, but everything looked pretty comfortable.

Robb noticed immediately the enormous painting at the end of the room, and was stoked by it: still incomplete, it represented a tiny house on the beach, even though the majority of the painting was occupied with the sea. Robb got closer to it, to have a better look, amazed: -Wow, did you do this?-

Theon put his hands in his pockets and stood next to him: -Remember when I told you about my neighbor commissioning me a painting? That's it.-

-It's beautiful.- Robb informed him, carefully staring at the painting: the house was still a sketch but, no matter how little he knew about art, the sea looked so realistic Robb felt like being right there.

Theon smiled and lightly pushed him with his hip: -You should wait til it's over before saying that.-

-Shut up and accept the compliment.- Robb joked, pushing him too.

Theon chuckled, before he clapped his hands: -Beer?-

-Yes please.-

Robb did not revert his eyes from Theon's backside not even for a second, when he got to the fridge, not even when he bent over to grab the beers. He did that extremely slowly, but Robb didn't care at all: it was evident that Theon was doing all of that on purpose. And it was evident that Robb did not know how long he could have resisted.

-You can have a seat on the couch, you know: it's just you and me, nobody is going to judge you if you do that without me telling you to.- Theon teased him, standing back up and winking at him.

Robb raised both of his eyebrows: -Well, it's actually a pretty nice view. Your kitchen is really nice.-

Theon held a laugh back, handing him his beer and sitting on the couch, mumbling a "sure, my kitchen". Robb sat by his side and waited for Theon to handle him the bottle opener.

-You mind me smoking?- asked Theon.

Robb noticed that there was an ashtray on the coffee table. Robb didn't smoke anymore, when the kids had moved into his house he had decided to quit, and strangely it had been easier than he expected: with all those new responsibilities Robb thought that he would have ended up exploding without cigarettes there to help him alleviate stress, but instead, he had been so busy with everything that he had completely stopped thinking about cigarettes. 

-Go ahead.-

Theon stared at him in surprise, a shadow of amusement tarnishing his eyes: -You're such a good boy, you don't even smoke? Come on Robb, you disappoint me: everybody smokes nowadays.-

-I quit.- Robb confessed, as the other man lit up a cigarette.

Taking a long puff, Theon nodded, even though Robb could smell the teasing in the bud.

-You're really a real good boy, Robb.- he said, in fact.

But Robb shook his head: -No, I'm not.-

Theon frowned: -Did you do something you shouldn't have done?-

-Forget it. It's nothing.-

He had lied to his brothers, that's what he had done wrong. And despite how much he liked being there with Theon, he couldn't stop thinking about it: why hadn't he just told Jon the truth? After all, it had been Jon himself telling him he got it, that at twenty-five Robb needed somebody to be with. Because fuck yes, Robb was only twenty-five. He was still so young, but it wouldn't have lasted long, if he didn't hurry up. Breaking a few rules from time to time was okay, if nobody got hurt. And nobody would have gotten hurt just because he had been away from home a few hours on a Friday night.

-I do really want to see them, your drawings, you know that?- Robb said, causing Theon to huff and lower his head.

-Do I really have to?- he told him, visibly bored.

Robb grinned and nodded, shrugging right after: -That's the reason why I'm here or am I wrong?-

With the cigarette between his lips, Theon huffed a "I wish you were wrong", and Robb couldn't help but smile at that.

He followed Theon (and his nice ass) with his eyes, as he saw him opening a drawer and grabbing an enormous electronic device similar to a tablet but way too bigger to be one.

-What the hell is that thing?- asked Robb, amused.

-It's a Wacom tablet, you ignorant.- Theon chuckled, sitting next to him once again.

Now that it was closer, Robb could have a better look on the mysterious object: it had a screen, so it still looked like a tablet, but it had some weird buttons of which Robb didn't know the use of.

-Can you explain yourself better, smarty-pants?- he asked him.

In response, Theon stuck his tongue at him and turned the "Wacom tablet" on.

-Very mature, I must say.- Robb teased him, earning a punch on his knee in return.

-Shut up, I'm about to show you some unreleased material.- Theon gloated, moving even closer to Robb, making their thighs brush. Robb held his breath for a second: Theon smelled like cigarettes and mints. He really wanted do dive a hand into his hair, encouraging that pretty face to turn around and kiss him on his beautiful lips.

But he didn't, he limited himself to ask: -So you draw there?-

Theon nodded: -Yep, when I work from home or when I'm around. I use a bigger one at work.-

Right after, he pressed a finger to his chest, scowling at him: -What you're about to see are some good illustrations that you won't find in any books for a while, so make sure you feel lucky.-

-Oh, I feel lucky, believe me.- Robb informed him, instinctively slipping a hand on Theon's thigh. He retracted it once he realized the gesture and also because Theon had frozen up. But still the illustrator hurried to grab him by the wrist and reassured him: -No, no, that's okay. You just took me by surprise.-

Robb saw the cheeky smile and rested his hand once again on Theon's thigh. His jeans prevented him from feeling how soft Theon's skin was really, but he accepted that anyway.

-There, this is Typhon.- Theon announced, showing him the drawing of an enormous white dragon standing above a pile of corpses. 

-That's pretty creepy, Theon. Beautiful drawing but really creepy.- Robb admitted, holding back a laugh.

Theon hit him on the shoulder: -Oh quit it! Typhon is the real cliffhanger of the whole story: everybody believed he was dead and gone but still here he is saving everyone's ass.- he informed him.

Robb smiled in seeing how proud he was of the book and his work: -Oh really?-

-Yeah well, apart from this.- Theon showed him another drawing: a boy holding a dying girl in armor in his arms.

-I really can't understand how Seaworth could kill her: she was everybody's favorite character! A real fury, consider that...- Theon shut up when he saw Robb keeping his eyes on him and not in the screen: -Sorry, I'm boring you...- 

He wasn't boring him at all, it was just that he was beautiful and Robb couldn't help but staring at those green eyes and blond hair.

-You're not boring me, don't worry. What's her name again?- Robb asked him, moving his thumb on Theon's thigh, caressing it gently.

With a weak smile, Theon started talking to him about the book he was illustrating: he showed him all his drawings, even the ones he still had to finish and the small sketches that consisted in just three lines. He told him about his job, about his boss, Bronn, and Robb told him about Blair and in the end they came to the conclusion the two of them would have been an amazing couple. Theon told him about his colleagues at work, about Missandei, who could speak seven languages perfectly and that was why she always got international writers, who were, most of the times, the most interesting ones. Robb told him about Talisa, of how embarrassing it had been for both of them to refuse her, and then Theon named Margery Tyrell.

-Margery Tyrell? Are you kidding me?- said Robb, astonished.

-No why?- meanwhile Theon had rested his hand above the one Robb was using to caress his thigh. None of them knew how long they had been talking, none of them had worried about glancing at the clock once.

-She's my ex's sister! Loras Tyrell!- Robb exclaimed, bursting out laughing: Loras had been his last official boyfriend and the first one to ever cheat on him. He wasn't so bad as a boyfriend, it was just that between the "sweethearts and assholes" categories, Loras was definitely an asshole. He was spoiled, but Robb liked him anyway, even though, he had to admit that, he had not felt so bad once they had said goodbye.

-Whaaat? Do you have any clue of how many times Margery tried to introduce me to him?!- even Theon bursted out laughing, and rested his head on Robb's shoulder.

-Really?-

-Yes!-

Robb stared at him in confusion: -But isn't he dating some dude named Renly for... something like two years?-

Theon nodded vigorously: -Oh yes but they break up and make up constantly! Do you know how they got to meet?-

Robb was not the kind of man who was particularly informed about his exes: Loras was an exception because he had cheated on him. Or maybe he had cheated on Renly. He didn't know it. And he didn't care.

He shook his head and Theon patted him on the shoulder, laughing out loud: it took a nice five minutes for the boy to take a breath and manage to speak.

-Renly was... oh my goodness... Renly was Margery's boyfriend!- he yelled, looking like he could die from all the laughters. 

Robb's eyes widened: -What?! Seriously?!-

-Yes! But Margery's not stupid, she knew it all along. I'm sorry for her, but it's pretty funny though.- Theon had to remove his hand from Robb's to wipe away the tears from his eyes: he had been laughing too much. 

-Ugh, I need another beer. You want one?- Theon got up and Robb had to remove his hand from his thigh with a heavy heart. 

He shook his head but stood up anyway: -I have to drive.- he informed him.

-Oh, I get that.- said Theon, with provocative attitude, grabbing a beer from the fridge and resting it upon the table.

-There's no way you can stay the night, uhm?- he whispered, faking innocence.

Robb grinned: -I have to work, tomorrow.-

Theon pouted: -Uhm, too bad. You know, I sleep with only boxers on and I was so comfortable with your warm hand on my thigh.-

Little teasing shit. Robb adored that man. Why the hell hadn't he already slammed him against the fridge?! 

-I'm happy you never got to meet Loras, you know?- Robb whispered, looking intensely at the young man in front of him.

Theon, instead, rested both of his hands on his hips: -And I hate the fact that Loras is your ex.- he spat.

Robb wanted to chuckle: Theon had suddenly became annoyed and he looked good even when he looked at him with disdain.

-What, are you jealous?- Robb got closer to him, grinning.

-Of fucking course I am!- Theon exclaimed, extending his arms.

Robb raised his brow, tempted: -Why? We're not a couple.-

-No, you're right, but he still had a chance to see you naked while I still don't.- Theon rattled off the truth without having to mince words and his distinctive smirk appeared on his lips once again. 

And at that point, Robb could not resist anymore: -You just have to ask for that.-

He didn't even wait for Theon to answer him, he acted impulsively: he grabbed Theon by his hips and kissed him with such passion the boy had to take a few steps back to keep balance.

Robb smiled when Theon started kissing him back, about a second later his sudden attack, running his hands through Robb's hair.

Theon was an amazing kisser. Maybe it was because it had been a really long time since the last time Robb had kissed someone, but Theon moved that tongue as if he was the God of Kisses himself. 

They kissed until the both of them were out of breath and they were forced to stare at each other's eyes, both of them with red and puffy lips.

Theon's green eyes were open wide, but he didn't dare to stop smiling: -Fuck Robb, you almost ate me alive, how long has it been since you last kissed someone?- he asked him.

The way Theon was sexy even while making fun of him was too much for Robb's heart (and some other organ too): -Too much.- he whispered quickly, before grabbing his face between his hands and assaulting his lips once again.

Theon found himself pushed against the table, the bottle of beer fell on it with a dry sound but it didn't break. Jumping, Theon sat upon the table, hosting Robb between his legs. He rested one hand on his shoulder, as the other one caressed his neck.

-You know,- he said, panting, as Robb gave him a sloppy kiss on his lips. 

-I could let you fuck me right here on this table.-

He saw Robb smiling between pleasured sighs and he let him bit his earlobe: -And I would be fine with that.-

Robb's mouth sensually moved to Theon's neck, leaving a trail of kisses and soft bites. The young man found himself opening his mouth with pleasure, moaning, as he pulled his head back to let Robb have a better access on his skin. 

-Even with that nice bed over there?- Theon tired again. 

Robb stopped torturing his neck just to brush his nose against his: -Fine. Just, one more thing.- 

He made Theon get off the table and smashed his lips against his once again, his hands wandering down to Theon's ass, squeezing it.

Theon started laughing, breaking the kiss and moaning with pleasure.

-I've been wanting to do that since I entered here.- Robb confessed to him, his hands still firm on his ass.

Theon smirked: -Nobody told you to stop.- 

He jumped on him ungracefully and let himself be carried to the bed. Robb was above him in no time: Theon's t-shirt flew away and his neck was newly attacked. He could feel Robb's body, still dressed, against his bare upper body, and finally their erections brushed against each other. Theon moved his hands to grab the edges of Robb's t-shirt and remove it, but then a phone rang.

Robb immediately stopped what he was doing, even his boner seemed to sag, and he rushed to the couch to answer his phone, yelling: -Fuck!-

What the fuck is he doing? Theon wondered.

-Fuck, it's late!- Robb shouted, staring at the time on the phone: it was 1:35 am and Jon was obviously calling him. He hadn't noticed the time: Robb and Theon had been so busy with talking that he didn't even realise it was getting late.

Holy shit.

He answered the phone with a hand on his forehead, under Theon's surprised glare: -Hello, Jon? Everything okay?-

On the other side of the phone, Jon seemed terribly anxious: -We're fine, the boys are asleep... what about you? Are you okay? I'm sorry but... I know it's stupid but... I got worried.-

Robb wanted to punch himself: it was late and who knows what Jon would have thought, not seeing him coming back home. He had fucked up.

-Everything's fine sweetie, I'm just a little bit late. Go to sleep buddy, I'm coming home.- Robb reassured him.

After a shy "okay" the two brothers said bye to each other and Robb ended the phone call. Theon was still staring at him in confusion: Good job Robb, you fucked up twice.

-Theon, I'm sorry but...- he started, but the other boy was smiling, amused: -Robb, are you engaged with Jon or something?-

Robb frowned, taken by surprise: -What?! He's my brother!- he exclaimed.

-Yeah, that's called incest.- Theon replied, getting up from the bed and grinning. He brushed his nose against Robb's: -Listen, I understand if you have to go home.- he started.

-But I like you and I don't want to pretend none of this ever happened, on Monday.-

Hearing those words was a relief: Robb was sure he had ruined everything, but there he was, Theon Greyjoy, believing Robb wasn't no longer into him. He adored him so much.

-Theon, if it was up to me you'd be fully naked on that bed and we'd be too busy going on with what we were doing before to think of anything else.- Robb reassured him.

-But it's late and I have to go home. I like you too, a lot, so don't worry about it.- he kissed him one last time, first on the lips and then on his forehead.

Theon smiled, this time gently: -Do you fancy me texting or calling you, in an hour or so?-

Robb nodded: -Of course.- he told him, and winked at him. Theon's smile widened as he winked back: by now, that was their thing. 

Robb kissed him once again, softly, on his lips, as if to say bye. Then he left.

 

 

 

He got home at two in the morning. He closed the front door as silently as possible, he took off his shoes and went upstairs: he wanted to check on the kids, first of all, and make sure they were all fine. But right before he could open the door to Bran and Rickon's bedroom, Jon got out of his room: -Robb...- he whispered.

Robb's heart almost fell to pieces: Jon was as white as a sheet, and he had launched himself into his arms within a second, trying to hold back the tears, as he said, his voice trembling: -It was late, and... you weren't coming back... I was scared.-

Robb held him so tight he feared he could break him: what the hell had he just done? Jon had thought something had happened to him, that he was gone, just like their mom and dad. Just because he wanted to...

-Shh... my sweet darling, shh... I'm here, I got you, it's alright.- he reassured him. 

-Go to sleep Jon, I'm right here. I'm fine. It's all okay.- Robb caressed his back and kissed his curls, but Jon held him even tighter: -One more minute, please...-

Robb kept on massaging his back with one hand, while the other gently moved on his nape.

-Jon, go lay down, I'm staying with you.- he told him finally.

Jon seemed to be okay with that compromise: he got under the covers and let Robb lay next to him. Once the older one had threw his jacket on the ground and had gotten comfortable, Jon hid his face against his chest. They remained like that, Jon busy letting his brother's heartbeat lull him and Robb tormented by guilt, until the youngest one fell asleep.

Robb didn't want to answer, when he heard the sound of a new text, but in the end he could not resist: Theon had sent him a selfie on the bed, he was still shirtless and Robb could barely see his face because the two main characters of that photo were Theon’s erection, still covered in his jeans, and the hand next to it.

 

Now I have to take care of it myself.

 

Robb smiled lightly: next time I'll make it up to you, I swear, he answered, then he sent him a picture of himself as he hugged Jon, who was now deeply asleep.

 

Incest... wrote Theon.

 

Brotherly love replied Robb.

 

They started to offend each other playfully for a few minutes, then they decided to say goodnight with the promise of talking again in the morning: Robb would have had to get up in a few hours. He slid his phone in his pocket and decided he would have slept with Jon, for that night: he didn't feel like leaving him alone, and he had the feeling that if he tired to move away Jon would have woken up. 

That’s why he drowned his face into his little brother's curls, thinking about one single thing: apologising.

Chapter Text

With all the anxiety and pressure he had found on his back that night, the only thing Robb hoped was that the alarm would never ring. But instead, always on time at seven o'clock in the morning, the usual annoying sound started pounding in his ears.

It was just once he couldn't reach for the nightstand, that he remembered he had slept with Jon that night, and that he still had his phone inside his pocket.

Jon, who was now turning his back at him, curled up against his older brother's chest, whimpered like a hurt puppy.

Robb turned the alarm off immediately, his eyes still sleepy and his brain not fully awake, as he petted Jon's curls: -Shh... go back to sleep.- he told him kindly.

He was squished in between Jon and the wall, so Robb tired the best he could to get up without disturbing his younger brother. Once he had succeeded, he picked his leather jacket from the ground and stared at his dozed off brother: he didn't seem much different from the previous night, his muscles where still tense and he was as white as a ghost.

Robb's back felt numb like never before, because he had remained in the same position all night long: Jon's bed was too small for two people, because his room was too small for a larger bed. 

He stretched distractedly, leaving the rooms on his tip toes: he still had to check on his children.

He was relieved in seeing how Bran was sleeping peacefully, hidden in the covers up to his neck. Rickon was the exact opposite: he was laying down on his belly with his mouth open, the sheets forgotten at his feet and his head dangerously sticking out the bed. Gently, he worried about helping him resting his head back on the pillow without waking him up, adjusting his sheets.

He sighed: in the end, his youngest ones seemed calm and peaceful, it was Jon the only one who got that worried. And that was definitely no good, if added to what had happened to him during those days: how many times had Jon cried? How many bad things had happened to him, recently? He had yelled at him and he had cried, they had made up and he had cried, he'd gotten beaten up at school, Cersei's arrival had stressed him and now this. All Robb could do was hoping he would have had fun, that night with his friends, and that he would have forgotten everything he had gone through. God, he almost hoped he got that drunk he had to throw up, if that would have made him feel better.

He got into his own room: it was exactly like he had left it the previous evening, the bed tidy and the small abat-jour on the edge of the nightstand. He rapidly got dressed and had breakfast with a granola bar, he slipped into the same shoes he had left in the hall and got in the car with the awareness of never having spent so little time in his house: he had come back at two in the morning and left at seven and a half. 

If there was one thing he hated about Blair, that was she obligating him to open the bar at 8:00am on Saturday, instead of letting him get there by 8:30pm like any other day: "kids don't go to school on Saturday" she always told him, and Robb really wanted to tell her that if she would have had kids, she would have realized they not always things went as planned, and Robb had to compromise a lot to please his boss and make sure his little brother went to school.

Thinking about the obnoxious day waiting for him, he decided to call Theon: a part of his brain was telling him to let go, that seeing someone would have just complicated things, especially if he had kept on hiding it to everyone (and look at how that ended) but there was another one who wanted him to go on. It was probably his selfish side, and Robb was not selfish, he hadn't been for a while. That's why, that part of his little self kept on telling him, nobody will blame you if you do whatever the fuck you want, for once.

-Hmmm?- said a sleepy voice on the other side of the phone, as Robb pressed the speaker button and started driving.

-Did I just wake you?- he told Theon, with a smile on his face.

-Mhm, no...-

-Liar.- Robb teased him, hearing Theon yawing loudly: -Good morning to you too.- he told him.

-Good morning.-

-How's your brother? Still alive?- while Theon asked him that question, Robb imagined him as he took the sheets off him, revealing his nice body only covered in boxer, just like he had told him the night before.

-He was worried, Theon: I told him I would have been home by midnight.- Robb revealed him, but the illustrator was all but softened or sorry: -Oh boo-hoo, he could've just sent you a text.- 

Robb sighed: -Jon's a bit... complicated, that is.- 

-Oh I know that. But I don't want to talk about him, now: when will I see you again? Do I have to wait until Monday?-

Robb wanted to see Theon too, and that was strange, since they barley knew each other. But there was an amount of sexual tension and, again, Robb could fuck up a few rules, every once in a while.

-If you get dressed quickly I'll pick you up and take you to the Mirage.- Robb suggested him, since Theon's home was basically on the way to the bar.

-Stark, you don't just show up at my house, kiss me and then leave me alone with a boner, you even wake me up early on a Saturday morning and tell me to hurry up?- Theon scolded him, but Robb smiled anyway, because he could hear the sound of the drawers opening and closing.

-I'll offer you breakfast.- he tried again.

-Sounds like a plan. Hurry up before I doze off again.- Theon said tight away, the sound of an opening tap in the background.

-Don't you work on Saturday?- Robb asked him: he knew how much time at work an illustrator could spend, now that he had seen the drawings Theon made, and he didn't understand how he could be so lazy on Saturday morning.

-Yeah but I work from home. And now I'm well underway. Hurry up.- Theon hastily incited him, before hanging up abruptly: Robb suspected he wanted to annoy him for leaving him unsatisfied. Maybe he would have decided to play the part of the cold one for all morning, until Robb found a way to make it up to him. But he could play that game too, and Robb would have remembered of that, once he had slid his hands inside those tight jeans.

 

  

Jon woke up at eight in the morning with a tremendous headache and his brothers' screams in his ears: 

-Jon! Jon! JON!-

-Rickon stop it, it's nothing!-

-Jon! Jon you have to get up!-

-Rickon, quit it!-

Rubbing his eyes, Jon focused the image of his youngest brother shaking him by his shoulder. He raised his hand and gently tapped him on his nose, as if by doing so he could turn him off like an alarm clock: -Rickon, what are you doing awake?- he asked him, yawning.

-Jon! Someone's a the door!- exclaimed the child. Jon would have gladly answered him with a "nobody cares", because he was too tired to get up and invite someone into having a seat, but then Rickon added: -And Bran fell!-

Jon's sleepy eyes opened wide instantly and his legs made him stand up on his feet violently, as if he had been controlled by someone else: -Bran fell?!-

He rushed into the other room without even bothering to stare at Rickon, too worried about Bran: what the hell was supposed to mean that he fell?! How was it even possible?!

-Bran!- he exclaimed, before getting into the room.

The door was half-open, and once he had entered inside he found his little brother on the ground. Next to his wheelchair.

-Jesus fucking Christ, Bran! What the hell are you doing?!- Jon yelled, kneeling down to help him.

But Bran pushed him away, leaving him blinking in surprise: -Leave it, I got this!- 

Jon frowned so hard he thought all his nerves were about to explode, from how tense they were: -You can barely hold onto the windowsill when you have to pee! Have you gone insane?!-

He nimbly picked Bran up and laid him on the bed, as Rickon ran back to him, screaming: -Jon, the doorbell, the doorbell!-

-Say that one more time, I dare you!- Jon huffed: sleeping little made him cranky, and a little brother yelling in his ears wasn't helping at all to get his good humor back.

-Sit on the bed and be quiet!- 

Rickon was visibly hurt by that sudden excess of rage, but he only half obeyed: he sat on the bed with his lower lip trembling dangerously (tears were near, good job Jon) and he stuttered: -B-But... what if it's the Witch?-

Cersei, obviously. Who else could be knocking on his door at eight in the morning on a Saturday, if not the woman who had said she would have showed up whenever the fuck she wanted?!

-I'm going to see that.- he said, trying to calm down. 

-But you have to stay calm. And you,- he turned to Bran.

-we're talking about this, later.-

Don't get him wrong, Jon loved his little brothers. But how else should he react with five hours of sleep on his back and a full night spent biting his nails and waiting for his brother who never seemed to come back? It was clear that there was something underneath it all, Bran would have never tired to get up on his own. Although, whatever the circumstances were, he shouldn't have done that anyway, because anything that could have happened, to Bran or Rickon, was Jon's fault and if that person at the door was really the social worker, what would have she told him? What would have Robb done to him and fuck, where was Robb when he needed him?!

That fucking doorbell didn't stop ringing.

-I'm coming!- Jon yelled, one step away from throwing a shoe in the head of the mysterious guest.

He opened the door with a puff, so irritated that even if it had been Cersei herself he could have spit on her face. But instead, he faced the familiar face of a man with blond hair and blue eyes.

-Well, it's about time.- said the man, chocking a laugh inside his throat. 

Jon took a deep breath: -Social worker Jaime Lannister, may I ask you why right on Saturday morning?!-

 

 

 

-Can I kiss you?- was the first thing Robb asked Theon once the latter got in the car.

Theon turned to face him, his seatbelt still between his hands, and raised his brow: -I'm not sure you deserve it.-

-Oh come on! I'm even offering you breakfast!- Robb protested, wishing he could smash his lips against those pretty ones. 

Theon smiled at him, getting closer: -I'm just teasing you, stupid head.-

Their lips touched gently, before they curled up into a smile: -You're surprisingly sweet compared to yesterday night, Stark.- Theon whispered, his eyes half closed.

Robb caressed his cheek with two fingers: -It's still early in the morning.- he justified.

-If you had spent the night at my place we would have woken up together, nice and satisfied and before you went to work there would have even been time for a blowjob.- Theon scolded him playfully, still between whispers, pressing a kiss on his nose.

-Actually, maybe we would have overslept, said fuck to work and had sex all day long.- 

-Theon, I'm going to get hard.- said Robb, making the other man smile: -Oh but that's exactly my intention.-

Theon's hand slipped right upon Robb's crotch, causing the young man to wince in surprise.

-I want to get you hard and then leave you high and dry.- Theon whispered in his ear, removing his hand once he had seen Robb's eyes were starting to close, and biting his cheek.

Suddenly opening his eyes back again and blinking a few times, Robb stared deadly at Theon: -Asshole.-

-Always and forever, Stark. Learn it.-

 

 

 

-Robb's at work, Cersei didn't tell you?-

If there was one positive thing about Jaime Lannister was that, despite being Cersei Lannister's twin brother, he was not like her at all. Jon and Robb could talk to him without the tremendous feeling of wanting to put the word "fucking" into every sentence, and if little Rickon was terrified by Cersei, when it was about Jaime he just acted shy.

-We don't know all your brother's shifts by heart, Jon.- Jaime told him, sitting on the kitchen table, as Jon had invited him to do.

The teen shrugged: -Cersei seems to know 'em perfectly.-

He opened the fridge: -Do you want some orange juice?- he asked: Robb didn't keep alcohol in the fridge, there were just bottles of water and juice for kids. And that, maybe, was good to a social worker's eyes.

-I think I'll pass.- Jaime told him, before resting a hand on the table, near the chair next to his place: -Why don't you sit?-

Sighing, Jon did as he was asked: -Well?-

-I have to ask you and the children a few questions, Jon.- the social worker revealed.

-Robb's not home: it's pretty dishonest towards him, don't you think?- Jon replied, looking at the man straight in the eye.

Jaime remained calm and gentle: -Robb's at work, and that's good. Listen Jon, answer a couple question and I'll be gone in half an hour, okay?-

He wouldn't have left in half an hour, not even if Robb had been there, because if Cersei had the habit of asking uncomfortable questions, Jaime always wanted to check on everything. And he talked. A lot.

-How would you describe your relationship with Robb?- asked the social worker Jaime Lannister.

Jon started playing with his thumbs, aware that the only way out of that was answering honestly: -Nice. I mean, sometimes he gets mad at me, but... we love each other.-

-He gets mad at you? Does he ever do something that gets you mad?-

Jon shrugged and shook his head: -Maybe it's a bit annoying when he scolds me, but that's because I've done something wrong.- he confessed.

Jaime nodded, pronouncing a small "okay".

-Jon, you don't have to do all this to protect your brother. You have to be sincere, when you answer.- Jaime grabbed a notebook from the inside pocket of his jacket: Jon guessed he wrote down all the wrong things.

-I am sincere: me and Robb get along amazingly and I know how to be stubborn.- Jon replied.

-Robb is really young: twenty-five years old are just nine years more than your age, after all. Do you feel somehow submitted to him? Do you think he's patronizing you?- Jaime never looked away from his face and Jon felt uneasy. 

-No.- answered the teen.

-Robb is understanding, but he knows how to be strict when he needs to. God he grounded me something around three days ago.- he was about to smack a hand on his mouth when he realized he had just named the "famous" accident with Rickon.

If Cersei had been there with him, she would have made one of those smirks and she would have started with her disgusting questions. He could almost hear her voice asking him "does Robb hurt you? Does he yell a lot? Is he particularly strict?" and Jon would have exploded, giving Cersei what she wanted: a sixteen year old kid with rage problems, whose only parent was his older brother.

But Jaime worried about looking things the way they really were and his voice was always neutral: -May I know what have you done, to be grounded? You don't have to answer me.-

But if he wouldn't, Jaime would have had strange ideas, that's why Jon said the first thing that popped into his mind: -I had a fight with Lola, my sisters’ adoptive mother. I snapped at her and I accidentally broke a vase.-

Jaime nodded, scribbling something.

-How are your sisters doing, Jon? Do you miss them?-

-Of course I miss them.- 

-Listen, your grounding consisted in what, precisely?- Jaime added. Jon gestured, distractedly: -No tv, no phone. A week at home alone watching my brothers full time.-

Jaime kept on scribbling: -Uhm, and while you were watching over the children, where did he go?-

-To work.- Jon said quickly.

-Robb often works extra shifts, he took advantage of that to do more.-

-One last thing.- Jaime said in the end.

-Cersei told me you got bullied at school. How did Robb handle that?- he should have expected a question like that, definitely.

-He took an appointment with the principal and with the boy's parents.- he answered.

Jaimes wrote something on the notepad one last time. Maybe it didn't go that bad.

-Okay Jon, I should talk with the children now.-

 

 

 

-Why the hell all the pretty ones have to be gay?!-

-Shh, Tabitha! He could hear you!- Robb whispered, glancing quickly at Theon, sitting a few tables away.

-Like he wasn't already aware of that! You got one pretty confident with himself, mate.- the girl exclaimed, putting a dirty glass in the sink.

-I did not got him Tabi, we're not a couple.- Robb replied.

She shrugged: -No, but you're fucking.-

Robb shook his head: -Not yet.-

-What do you mean "not yet"?! Didn't you go to his place?!- Tabitha asked, exasperated. Embarrassed, Robb told her about what had happened that night, obviously leaving out certain details, such as Theon's lovely ass and the dirty pictures he had sent him.

Once he was done, Tabitha commented everything with a simple: -You're an idiot.-

Robb was about to tell her what had happened with Jon, when Theon approached them at the counter: -Robb, you can't expect me to stay here until you finish your shift, you know that right?-

Robb raised his brow: -It will take you five minutes to get home, you drama queen.-

-You're such a gentleman, Stark.- Theon complained, sticking his tongue out at him.

Tabitha chuckled: -Your boyfriend is right, Robb.-

Theon and Robb were about to say something like "we're not a couple", but Tabitha didn't let them speak, because she told Robb: -I'll cover you. You two can go to Blair's office.-

Robb blushed to the tip of his ears: Blair worked from home most of the time, but she had an office at the bar for emergencies. The office was access free for her workers, if they ever had to answer an important call or other things. But Robb was sure that the "other things" did not include having oral sex with a man he had just met. Although, Theon seemed to be fine with it, as he should have expected: -Oh I like it: lead the way, Stark.-

 

 

 

Jon entered his brothers' room once they allowed him in. 

-Boys, Mr Lannister would like to ask you a few question. It won't be long.- he announced, as Jaime Lannister entered the room.  

Jon noticed right away how Rickon had paled, and he was relieved when Jaime said: -Okay Bran: are you good if I start with you?-

When the kid nodded Jon rushed to the littlest one, reassuring him wit’s a whisper: -I'll stay here with you, that's okay. It's nothing bad.-

Jaime sat on the edge of Bran's bed, starting with simple questions to break the ice, the usual "how are you", "how's your leg", to which Bran answered politely. 

Then it was the time for the questionary to begin: -Is Robb able to handle your injury, Bran?-

The child nodded: -He always helps me.-

Jaime wrote something on his notepad: -And how about school? With homework, I mean.-

-I never have problems with homework, but he always make sure I do it.-

Jaime nodded again, this time focusing on Rickon: -And what about you , buddy? How is Robb with you?-

But Rickon didn't answer. He didn't answer that question nor all the other questions Jaime asked him: -Does Robb take care of you?-

-What time does Robb get you to bed?-

-Does Robb help you with reading?-

Rickon didn't answer and all he did was holding onto Jon's arm.

Sighing, Jaime stood up from the bed: -Jon, can we talk a minute?-

There he is, he's probably thinking Rickon is scared of Robb. And that's ridiculous because Rickon adores Robb, he's just scared of all the motherfucking social workers.

Jon stood up, his hands were sweaty, and followed the social worker in the hallway. Jaime put the notepad back in his pocket: -Is the little one always so shy?-

Jon shook his head: -He's never shy, but he fears you'll take him away.-

Jaime sighed, and Jon feared he was about to receive a bad new. But he was wrong: -Jon, it went good, today.- said the social worker.

-Really?- 

-Yes. But I still need to talk to Robb. And that means I'll text him to tell him when I'll show up. You obviously don't know a thing about this. For now, everything's good.-

Jon could have hugged Jaime Fucking Lannister within a minute: everything was fine. He had told him everything was good.

Fuck, Jaime Lannister was so not like Cersei Lannister.

 

 

 

-I never made a quickie in an office, you know?- with a push, Theon made Robb sit on the Blair's swivel chair: once they had stepped their feet inside the small room, Theon had jumped on him, kissing him deadly. 

-By the way, I adore your curly friend.- he added, kneeling down.

Robb stared at him, hypnotized by the way Theon's fingers lowered his pants' zipper.  

Robb bent forward to kiss him on the lips: -I should be the one rewarding you, Thee.-

Theon smiled at the nickname: -Uhm, you can always take me out on a date.-

Robb kissed him again: -That's fine.-

-Can we talk about it later? I want to suck your dick.- Theon went back focusing on Robb's crotch, when the latter one started laughing.

Soon enough Robb found out Theon was a little teasing shit in other situations too: he started kissing and licking the tip of his dick so gently that Robb had to grab the chair's arms. 

-Theon...- he panted, when the man started licking his cock, nice and slow.

Robb started caressing Theon's hair with both his hands: -I can't believe we're doing this in Bla... ah!- he jumped and his hands clenched around the blond locks, once Theon had lightly drowned his teeth on the tip of his cock.

-Would you shut up?- he scolded him.

-Make me.- Robb dared him, winking. Theon smirked in response, and Robb could not hold back a moan when he took all his length in his mouth. Theon started sucking slowly, so slowly Robb wouldn't have called that a quickie anymore.

When Theon's tongue started moving faster, Robb held his hair even tighter: -Thee...- he whispered, closing his eyes.

-Thee, just like that... fuck... yes.-

The boy had an amazing mouth, and Robb had forgotten how good and pleasuring it was to have someone kneeling in front of him, with his lips around his penis. He couldn't remember the last time somebody had given him a blowjob, but after this experience he would have forgotten even all the other ones the had stuck inside his mind.

-Fuck Theon... I'm 'bout... I'm coming...-

Theon handled Robb's cum perfectly: he swallowed it with ease, raising his eyes to look at Robb, as he ran his tongue all around the contour of his lips, slowly and sensually.

-Come here, now.- Robb ordered him, taking him by the hand and guiding him on his lap. 

They shared a long and wet kiss, until Robb started slipping his hand on Theon's lower back: -I can't wait for my turn.- he whispered, resting his hand on Theon's backside.

-So I can see if this ass is really as lovely as it seems.- he smacked Theon's asscheek while chuckling, as the other guy moaned and smiled too. 

-You do love touching my ass, don't you?- Theon accused him, placing a kiss on his jaw.

-And you like it when I touch it.- Robb replied.

-Oh you can betcha.- Theon confirmed, so that Robb could smack his ass once again.

Robb smiled: it was weird and awkward thinking he had just got a blowjob inside his boss' office, and during his shift, as well. 

But despite that, for once, it was good to think of something new.

Chapter Text

-If Ty was here he would have complimented you, Stark.- Tabitha nodded in satisfaction, once Theon had waved both her and Robb goodbye. 

Robb smiled: Ty Lewis, his ex high school and university mate, pansexual and by far the most pervert person on Earth, was his best friend since a few years. 

-God, I haven't seen him in three months.- Robb sighed: Ty had in fact left for Mexico that Summer, but since he was so eccentric (and rich), he had decided at the last minute to stay abroad for another while, until he would have wanted to come back to his hometown: the last time Robb had talked to him, Ty had told him he would have come back on December.

-Ty is mad as a hatter, if he really wants to stay in Mexico until further notice, while his boyfriend is here waiting for him.- stated Tabitha.

-Ty is mad and that's it.- Robb chuckled, thinking about that time Ty had managed to get a free dinner from a straight guy he had met by chance in a pub. Now Ty and his boyfriend David shared a three years relationship, lived together for a year and a half and Ty obviously never lost the chance to tell Robb about his sexual life in great detail. A few minutes before leaving for Mexico, at the airport, Ty had pointed a finger at him, commending: -When I come back you better tell me you got laid with someone, have I made myself clear?-

So yeah, if Ty had been there, he would have definitely been proud of him.

 

 

Once his shift was over, Robb was greeted by his younger brothers' yelling perfectly audible from the hall, despite originating from upstairs.

It was unusual for his brothers to fight, actually only Jon and Robb himself were the most inclined ones to yell at each other, but in that moment all the Stark boys seemed to be involved in a heated argument.

-What is happening in here?!- he exclaimed, rushing into the youngest Starks' room, being shocked by the scene in front of his eyes: Rickon was keeping his head down and Bran and Jon were yelling at him. 

Outrageous. Impossible. Absurd. What the fuck. 

-Hey, hey! Silence!- he scolded them, but Bran and Jon didn't listen to him: Jon kept on ranting against Rickon, while Bran, Robb noticed, was saying things such as "it's nothing".

Robb scowled at his brothers, when Rickon ran to hug him: they must have been out of their minds to be screaming that way in front (and to) a little child.

-I said silence! You're scaring him!- Robb lectured his brothers again, gently petting Rickon's head. 

Bran obeyed, but Jon rolled his eyes, whispering: -Of course.-

Robb clenched his teeth and stared at him with the most strict glare he had: -What?- he spurred him to talk. 

-Come on, say it.- 

Jon raised his hands only to let them fall back into his legs with a snap: -You always defend him.- 

-I always defend him?! Jon, he's a child!- Robb was stunned by his brother's words, to say the least: Rickon was five. Wasn't that enough information to establish he had to be treated kindly?! No? No.

-Has anybody ever yelled at you in such way, when you were his age?- feeling the child's thin arms folding around his leg, Robb crossed his arms to his chest, staring at Jon, waiting for an answer.

-That's not the poi...- started the teen.

-Wait, what did you say? They didn't? Then hush.- Robb thought he had managed to calm him down, but Jon decided that was the perfect moment to put up the stubborn mood Robb detested: -He made Bran fall!-

In a flash, Robb's eyes filled with worry, and the oldest of the four brothers turned to face the ten-year-old: -You fell?!- he exclaimed, rushing towards him, leaving Rickon in the middle of the room.

-Did you hurt yourself? How did you do that, how is that possible?- Robb sat by his little brother's side, searching for any sort of bruise or injury, as Rickon ran to him and held his hand.

Jon rested his hand clenched into a fist on his mouth, as if to hold back a scream: -It's his fault, that...- but another deadly glare from Robb and Rickon's sudden cry shut him up.

-Hey, hey...- Robb whispered, softening, scooping the child up and letting him sit on his lap.

-What's wrong? What's wrong, baby? Jon is being mean to you?- he massaged his back with the palm of his hand, slowly drawing wide and soft circles, as the child nodded between tears. 

Jon huffed, but Robb decided to ignore him: -Is it because you've been naughty, Rickon?- he asked him, hoping the kid could explain with his own words what had happened. But Rickon didn't seem to be willing to talk anytime soon, nor letting go of his older brother.

-May I know what you did to him to scare him so much?- Robb scolded his brothers once again, but Bran started shaking his head: -It wasn't us! He hasn't been talking since Mr Lannister's arrival!-

-Jaime Lannister was here?!- Robb stared at all his three brothers with his eyes open wide: Jaime Lannister was definitely his favorite social worker, if compared to his sister, but he remained a social worker anyway. Why had he spoken to his kids but not to him? Why did he come home when Robb was at work?

-Okay okay.- Robb sighed and pointed Rickon's bed to Jon: -One thing at a time. Sit.- 

Jon obeyed, reluctantly, and Robb spoke to Bran: -Can you tell me how you fell, buddy?-

Bran shrugged, as if he didn't know what to say: -Rickon had started screaming, he said the doorbell was ringing. It was early, eight in the morning, I think.- he began.

Robb nodded, caressing the hair of the little boy on his lap: -And then?-

-I don't know, he kept on screaming, he said he had to open the door, and I told him to call Jon, but Jon wasn't answering...-

Jon interrupted Bran's story with a loud: -I was sleeping!-

-Shh..- Robb told him gently, nodding in sympathy: he would have never forgotten what had happened the previous night, and that was his way to tell Jon he understood him, that once he had managed to fall asleep it was normal that not even cannonballs could have woken him up.

-Rickon wanted to open the door at any cost, but he can't do it! So I thought I'd...- Bran blocked himself, and for a moment, everything was quiet: Rickon had stopped fussing and Jon was slowly calming down.

Robb spoke up: -You thought?-

Bran lowered his glance: -About Getting up and sitting on the wheelchair on my own. And going to call Jon. But I fell...-

His older brother sighed: -Bran, you must not do that again. Never again, do you understand? You could hurt yourself.- he scolded him: apart from not being able to afford another medical bill in case he would have injured bad, Robb couldn't stand the fact that his little Bran had risked to get hurt again. He was an extraordinary kid, but he could make mistakes too: Robb was just glad he was fine.

-I know Robb, I'm sorry...- Bran apologized, and Robb couldn't help but smiling at him and ruffling his hair: -I'm not mad, buddy.- he reassured him, then he looked at Jon.

-I'm not mad at you either, chill out.- he said.

-But you must not yell at your baby brother in such way again, okay?- he warned him.

Jon nodded shyly, curling up with his shoulders: -I know, I'm sorry. It's just that I'm stressed out, I hardly got to sleep and...-

Robb nodded, wishing he could hug him: nobody was ever happy and friendly after a sleepless night, and the situation didn't get any better if your little brother fell off his bed and the social worker showed up at your door when your legal guardian wasn't home. And a little boy who decided to play mime did not help either.

-Rickon, baby mine, why did you start screaming?- Rickon seemed to be fine by now, staying cuddled up against his older brother, now that all the yelling had finally stopped, but still the only thing he managed to say was: -Bad dream.- 

Robb kissed him upon his head: -You had a bad dream?- he asked him.

Rickon nodded.

-What did you dream of, my little treasure?- Robb started talking to the kid with soft and kind words, calling him by loving nicknames, to make him feel safe and restore a little faith in him.

-...evil witch...- Rickon rested his other cheek against Robb's chest, turning around.

Robb started to figure it out: he probably had dreamt one of Cersei's visits, and when he had heard the doorbell ringing he had panicked. After all, that woman frightened him to death. 

-You dreamt of the social worker, pup?- Robb tired to spill the truth of of the little boy by asking him questions he could have answered with a yes or a no, and luckily for him, Rickon answered: he nodded again.

-I wanted to make her leave.-

Robb felt something dying inside of him, at that statement: Rickon was still a child, but he had still perfectly understood that social workers (or better, the social worker) did not want him to stay with Robb. Rickon was still a child, but he knew where he would have ended up if they would have taken him away: and he did not want to go back there. He had already lost his mommy and daddy and his sisters were far away. He didn't want to be alone and let them take his brothers away from him too.

-Listen to me, little monkey.- Robb grabbed Rickon by his armpits and made him rest his small feet upon his legs: -I will never let the Evil Witch take this cute little boy away. Never ever. You'll stay here with me for a very looong time and the Evil Witch will have to find another kid to grab. Even though she'll never find one cuter than you.-

The little boy seemed to cheer up a little, because he turned on one side to hide a smile and the blush on the cheeks Robb hurried to kiss: -You're going to stay here with me, with Bran and with Jon.-

Once he heard his second older brother's name, Rickon pouted and shook his head: he still didn't feel like talking but he found a way to make his feeling towards him clear anyway.

Robb tired to hold back a smile, exchanging a glance with Bran, while Jon stood up from the bed and hugged Rickon from behind: -I'm sorry Rickon, for real. I'm a bit annoying, at times.- he apologized.

Robb let Jon pick the little boy up in his arms, so that they could make up personally, and he took advantage of that to lean forward to Bran and press a kiss on his temple: -You sure you didn't hurt yourself?- he asked him, again. 

Bran nodded: -I'm fine.-

-You've been lucky.- Robb pointed out.

-Think If you'd got hurt: you'll be using crutches soon, sweetie, don't do these stupid things.-

Robb laid down next to him when the kid whispered another "I'm sorry" to which Robb responded with the same "I know you are".

-Hey Jon.- Robb focused once again on the teen, who seemed to be fine with Rickon by now, since he had just started to tickle him.

-Yes?- Jon let Rickon jump on Bran's bed and sat down too.

-Can you explain me what happened with Jaime Lannister?- 

With Robb's surprise, Jon did not seem stressed or angry: -He said it went good. He asked us a few questions about you: how you doing, how much you work, if we get along with you... oh, he also said he wants to talk to you in person, but with no sudden visits: he'll text you when.-

Robb raised his brow and gaped: -I adore that man.- he admitted. Physical similarity seemed to be the only thing the Lannister siblings had in common, luckily. 

-Eeew.- exclaimed Jon and Bran, as Rickon stared at them in confusion. Robb rolled his eyes: that was why he had to be careful with Theon, because those two brats saw a potential partner in every guy Robb talked to.

-Quit it, I should be the one asking you questions about this thing! Actually, I'm really curious to know what you told Mr Lannister about me!- 

Robb had just changed the topic that he found Jon's foot lying on his face. The littlest ones' laughter filled the room within a second, as Robb smacked the foot away and Jon chuckled cheekily. 

-You little brat, I'll show you!- in a flash, Robb jumped upon Jon, and they both fell into the ground: Robb started tickling his brother, especially on his feet, Jon's weak spot. He kept on annoying him for a few minutes more, making Jon kick and laugh. Robb stopped only when Jon managed to reach for his ear and whisper him: -You're disgusting, fasten your zipper.- 

Robb blushed instantly: -Jon!- he exclaimed, alluding at the kids' presence: before being his guardian, Robb was not ashamed to talk with Jon about oral sex. God, Jon had even seen men coming out his room. But now things were different, and, on the contrary of what Jon was probably thinking, Robb hadn't been masturbating at all: it had been his illustration teacher's duty to make him feel good. Fuck, that was hilarious.

He stood back up from the floor, pulling up his jeans' zip. Jon stood up too, asking him: -Hey Robb, can you help me later? I don't know which pants can fit the shirt you forced me to get...-

Robb smiled: Jon was as pretty as a bloomed flower with that shirt on. And Jon would have never wore that shirt of his own free will, if that wasn't a special occasion: he couldn't have worn the shirt to play video games. Maybe he had a crush on someone and wanted to look good. Maybe he had a crush on Grenn, or Sam, or Pyp, or some other girl or boy he had just met. Either way, his little brother was adorable, and he would have gladly turned into "mama fangirl", if the bell hadn't rang.

-It's not the Evil Witch, isn't it?- Rickon asked right away.

-I'll go and see.-

Robb headed downstairs, wondering who could be showing up at lunchtime: the social worker had already stopped by, Tabitha had gone home, Theon still didn't know where he lived. Could it be that they were Arya and Sansa wanting to surprise them? Impossible, they always called them. Maybe it was just the postman.

But when he opened the door, only to find himself in front of a young man of his age, with a piercing on his nose and a t-shirt he had stolen directly from 1970s, Robb's mouth hosted such a large and surprised smile he almost felt like an idiot.

-Guess who's back, amigo?- the man asked him, spreading his arms, theatrically.

-Ty!-

Chapter Text

-What the hell are you doing here?-

Robb welcomed his friend in his arms with enthusiasm and confusion. Ty hadn't changed a bit, he was just a little more tanned.

-Well,- Ty shrugged and put up an innocent face: Robb prepared himself to hear one of his crazy stories.

-There was this girl back in Mexico, she couldn't stop mooning over me. She was gorgeous and so damn sexy, I would have fucked with her in a second, if I didn't have a more gorgeous and sexier boyfriend waiting for me at home.- Ty gestured like crazy when he talked, it was one of his habits: when he was nervous, for examples, he continuously touched his earring.

-She kept on hitting on me for all Summer and I've always rejected her. But then, something like five days ago, a huge doubt assaulted me!- Ty clapped his hands once, noisily, looking upward, as if he was lost telling who knows which Greek tragedy. 

-And what's that?- Robb was intrigued to know the reason why Ty had decided to pack his bags and come back home all of a sudden, but at the same time he was afraid to know the answer.

-What if David cheated on me?- Ty dropped the bomb with absurd drama, so much that Robb was about to burst out laughing straight in his face: he had missed his ridiculously crazy friend.

-I mean, we haven't seen each other in three months and yes, masturbating during the video chat is a new and pretty experience, but...-

Robb turned his head to one side and bit his tongue at that statement: -Skip the details, Ty. Please.-

Ty rolled his eyes: -You'll have to stop being such a goody-two-shoes. Anyway, I love David with all my heart, that's why I've thought it through really clearly and I decided to come back here to make sure he wasn't cheating on me.-

Robb wasn't even surprised: Ty had done even worse, like paying the majority of the expenses Robb had to face once he had obtained the custody of the kids, lawyer included. Ty would have done anything for his best friend, let alone for the man he loved.

That's why Robb didn't waste his time asking him if he had lost his mind, because Ty had lost his mind ages ago, or he had never had one, and asked him: -For how long? Half an hour?-

-Forty-five minutes.- Ty corrected him, as if that changed things.

Robb's teasing glare stared him from head to toe: -And how did it turn out?- he asked him, already aware that there would have been a happy ending: if not, Ty would have showed up to his place in tears, not all smiles and hugs.

-It turned out that I'm an idiot!- Ty exclaimed, surprisingly happy, showing Robb the back of his left hand: on his annular, a white gold ring with a small diamond nestled in the middle sticked out. 

Robb smiled widely: -Ty.-

-He proposed!- the man yelled, jumping into his best friend's open arms.

-Congratulations, mate! That's wonderful!- exclaimed Robb: that rowdy dude of Ty Lewis was engaged. The same Ty Lewis Robb had spent the best years of his life with. He was so happy for him.

-I know, right? He said he wanted to do it as a Christmas present but I took him by surprise and he was so happy he proposed right away!- Robb could see Ty's eyes glowing with happiness: he was sure his best friend would have started to cry in joy within a minute, even if that wouldn't have stopped him from talking.

-I landed yesterday. I would have showed up right away, but I made love to David all day...- Ty apologized, once they dissolved their hug, wiping a tear from his eyes with the tip of his thumb.

-Too much information, mate.- Robb repeated, chuckling.

Ty showed him the palm of his hands: -Okay, I'll stop. One last thing: are you willing to be my best man, along with Tabitha? She already said yes and...- 

Robb crossed his arms, staring at Ty falsely angry: -You went to Tabitha's first than your best friend's?!- 

In response, Ty popped a loud kiss on his forehead, standing on his toes: -I'm sorry, sweetie, but if I showed up here first I would have stayed for too long and I wouldn't have been able to get to her place. So, will you be my best man?-

Ty showed up his lower lip and fluttered his eyelashes, with those puppy dog eyes Robb had by now learnt to resist but for which he decided to make an "exception", that time: -Of course I'll be your best man, you dick.- 

Robb accepted with an amused huff the sloppy kiss Ty printed on his cheek.

His friend patted his shoulders with both hands: -Now: were are the cutie pies?- he asked him, alluding to his brothers.

Jon, Bran and Rickon knew Ty perfectly, and they all obviously adored him: he was so eccentric that there were times Robb thought he could have had a different personality for every person he talked to, because he became extraordinarily smart around Bran, particularly childish and fun-loving with Rickon, while with Jon he looked like one of his classmates. 

Robb pointed at the stairs with a nod: -They're all upstairs.-

-I absolutely need to see them!- Ty specified, climbing two steps at time with the same agility of a gazelle, exclaiming, during the small path, things such as "oh Robb, it's been so long since the last time I've been here, I'm about to cry!"

Robb shook his head at his theatrics, smiling in seeing Ty opening the children's room and exclaiming: -Come give Uncle Ty a kiss right now!-

The kids yelled the man's name out loud, and Ty scooped Rickon up unceremoniously, showering his face with kisses: -Sweet child of mine, you're still the same little scamp, I adore you so much!- he yelled all in one breath, as Rickon laughed. 

Ty let go of him only after having ruffled his hair energetically, and Rickon went back sitting on his bed with a smile on his face. Once Ty saw how Bran looked, Robb could swear he had seen his eyes darkening in worry: Ty considered Robb and his brothers more or less like a second family, and he had obviously wanted to be informed about everyone's health, even when being millions of miles away, and he had broke down and cried once he had know about Bran's injury. But now that he could see him in person, Robb was afraid Ty could even pass out. 

-Oh my God, my sweet treasure, how are you feeling? Does it hurt?- he carefully approached Bran (and being careful was definitely not Ty's thing), holding him only once the kid had wrapped his arms around his neck: -Everything's good, Uncle Ty. I'm fine.-

Ty kissed him repeatedly on the cheek, in response.

Robb turned around when he heard the bathroom's door opening and Jon showed up with a hint of confusion clouding his eyes: -What's going on?-

Robb smiled at him: -Ty is back.- 

The cloud of confusion was immediately replaced by a glow of happiness: -Uncle Ty is back?!-

Of course, Ty, Bran and Jon knew each other when Ty and Robb were still in high school, while Ty had the chance to see Rickon only a few times, before Robb had to become their legal guardian. Although, once he had obtained custody, Ty had been more and more present into his brothers' lives, and he had grown a strong friendship with Rickon in a second. At some time, he had openly asked the boys to call him "Uncle Ty". It didn't took long for Robb's brothers to get used to it.

When Ty saw Jon, Robb couldn't believe his eyes could light up more than that, but they did: the two of them shared such a tight hug that Ty ended up lifting Jon from the ground and spinning him around.

-Look at you! You got even prettier! Do you have a girlfriend already?- Ty smacked a loud kiss upon his forehead, and despite him holding his cheeks between his palms, everyone could see Jon's blush: -No, grandma.- the teen teased him, earning another kiss in return.

-I get it, it's a family thing.- Ty replied, staring intensely at Robb, as if to say "your sex life sucks".

-Okay my sweet boys, I'd pamper you all day, but me and your big brother have a lot to talk about. I'll see you soon, okay?- Ty gave everyone one last kiss, then he placed his hands on Robb's shoulders, guiding him out of the room, til they reached the kitchen.

-We had a deal.- he reminded him, as the both of them took a seat at the table.

Robb huffed, amusingly: -Actually you did all by yourself.-

-Robb, it's not healthy for you to stay sexless. I mean it.- Ty switched from immeasurably happy to desperately worried so quickly that it looked almost funny.

Robb grinned: -Calm down, it won't last any longer.- 

Ty, previously leaned forward to look at his friend, straightened his back as a puppy who had just heard another dog barking: -Tell me you're not fucking with me.-

Robb shook his head slowly.

Ty jumped on his lap in an instant, laughing and cheering at the top of his lungs with joy. Man, this guy came directly from Wonderland.

-I can't believe you! Robb! What's his name? How old is he? Is he good in the sack? I'm so proud of you!- Ty asked him all those questions while peppering his face with wet and sloppy kisses, as he usually did with everyone: Robb was sure he fucked with David every second when they were alone, if that was his behavior with his friends. 

-Don't yell, Ty: the kids still don't know.- Robb whispered.

Ty raised an eyebrow: -Why not?-

-Because we've been seeing each other for something like three days and I don't even know what to do.- Robb confessed, as Ty went back sitting on his chair.

-Did you two have sex, at least?-

Robb shook his head: -We were going to, yesterday at his place, but then Jon called.-

-Why should he?- Ty was scowling.

-Because I was an hour and a half late and he panicked.- Robb ran a hand through his hair as Ty, realizing Jon's fear, rested a hand upon his mouth: -Oh my God, that poor little thing...-

Robb nodded sadly: -I felt to bad. I was so stupid. Wanting to fuck a man I barely even know.-

Ty hit him on his thigh, going back to his usual cheeky voice pitch: -Come on Robb, what are you? Seventeen? You're an adult: you can fuck whoever you want, you know how it goes.-

Robb chuckled, because in the end his friend was right: he was no beginner, he wasn't underage and he did no longer live with his parents. He was twenty-five and had sexual desires, he wasn't obliged to find the right guy and wait for the proper moment, to achieve them.

-There's time for this, before it gets serious, Robb. Have fun.- Ty suggested him, understanding. 

Robb nodded: after all him and Theon didn't know each other. They could go on between quickies and fucking for a while, then maybe dates and romantic walks would have stepped in and who knows, maybe they would have become a thing, once they had gotten to know each other better.

-But If you already feel you like him a lot you gotta tell him about the kids.- Ty reminded him.

-I don't know if it will ever be serious, Ty.- Robb told him, but the boy with the pieced nose didn't want to hear a word against it: -I know you, Robb: now that you're a single dad it will look dirty to be with someone new every weekend. You want someone to be with officially.-

-Maybe you're right.- Robb sighed: fucking around with random guys meant spending a lot of time away from home and leaving the boys alone. Having a full time relationship with someone meant introducing him to his family and having him over at his place, even at night. It meant having a steady sex life without being away for too long from his major responsibilities.

-Best friends are always right, Robb.- Ty gloated.

-Listen, get to know this guy, fuck him a lot and if you two like each other, get together.-

Robb shook his head: -Seeing each other is hard, between the kids and work, and extra shifts...-

Ty shut him up right away: -Robb, I'm here now: I have to catch up with the Cupcakes, so every time you want to see him, you tell me and I'll be more than happy to babysit.-

-Ty...-

-You have a life too, Robb: I know you love the boys, but you gotta start loving yourself as well.-

Robb had never met someone who could understand him like Ty did: Tabitha was pretty damn near to it, but Ty was and would have always been his crazy best friend. And Robb was so happy he had come back right now.

-Jon feels bad if I come home late, let alone spending the night away without him even knowing why.- Robb remembered Jon's trembling arms holding him in the middle of the night.

-I'll take care of him. I'll reassure him: we can tell him you're at Tabitha's or something else. Besides, Jon spends the night at his friends' during the weekend, doesn't he?- said Ty.

Robb nodded.

-That's perfect, then: I'll stay here with the little ones and you make sure to come back before they wake up. We'll find a way. Now, can you tell me about him?- Ty smiled at him, somehow impatiently, and Robb sighed: -His name is Theon. And he's got one hell of a butt.- 

Ty wiggled his eyebrows: -Perfect for role plays.-

-Ty!- Robb blushed to the tip of his ears. 

-Oh come on! Like you never spanked anyone...- exclaimed Ty, bringing back to Robb's mind all the times where they were drunk and found it funny to reveal each other's sexual fantasies out loud.

-Ty...-

Ty looked at the clock, completely forgetting about the conversation they were having: -Robb, it's lunchtime! Why you still haven't made something for the kids?! Do you want to starve them?-

Rolling his eyes, Robb stood up from the chair: -Do you fancy staying for lunch?-

As if he had read his mind, Ty hugged him from behind and kissed him on the cheek: -Yes please. Hey, listen here.-

Robb almost forze: it was never a good sign, whenever Ty had an idea.

-We're celebrating my engagement with David. Me, you and Tabitha. I'll bring my fiancée, Tabitha will bring her boyfriend and you will bring your fuck buddy. Tomorrow. Amazing, isn't it?-

Robb shook his head: -I can't introduce him to my dearest friends, Ty: we're not together.-

Ty pushed him lightly: -Think about it. The offer will remain valid until the last minute.-

He ruffled his hair and in the end he even helped him with lunch. But Robb already knew his answer.

 

 

 

 

-You still haven't had sex?!- Daario's eyes were scarily out of his orbits and he was looking at Theon with a mix of unbelief and disappointment.

-Not my fault his brother's a pain in the ass.-

Theon harshly threw the butt of the cigarette in the nearest garbage can: him and Daario were at the park, and when the older boy had asked him how things with Robb were going, Theon's nerves exploded. Sure, he liked the boy, fuck he liked him, but he would have liked him more if they could have done what they wanted to do the previous night: wasn't that the only reason why Theon was trying so hard? Fucking with him and then seeing if the thing was good enough to go on despite Robb being the brother of the most obnoxious kid on Earth?

-You said yourself that they're close.- Daario took a puff of his cigarette and Theon was tempted to light another one because of the stress.

-Yeah, but I didn't think Jon was his psychotic little wife.- Theon complained, hiding his hands inside the pocket of his hoodie, in rage.

Daario chuckled: -He wouldn't be fucking you if he had somebody younger to...-

-Here's the motherfucking point: he doesn't fuck me! Because that motherfucking brat ruined everything!- Theon stopped yelling when a few people stared at him in disdain.

-You've got it really bad, if you're jealous of his brother.- Daario was making fun of him, but Theon looked up to the sky: -We ain't even a thing. I don't even know him.-

-So, let me get this straight: you don't even know him but still, you're jealous of a kid?- Daario was amused by Theon's behavior, and he never lost the chance to make him notice.

Theon huffed in disdain: -I'm not jealous, Jon's odious and that's it!-

-You... sure you don't like him, like, a lot?- Daario seemed perplex.

-I mean, you're usually fine with a one night stand, but now...-

Theon shook his head: -I already told you, I don't know him. But he's so damn hot, and just like you said, I want to get laid with him for a while.- 

-Do you think you could ever start dating?- Daario asked the question kindly, but Theon could clearly see the worry in his eyes.

-I don't know. For real. We could, if he won't get bored.- Theon admitted.

-Why would he? The other night was just bad luck, and you gave him a blowjob, didn't you?- Daario shrugged, while Theon sighed: -I don't remember how to be with someone, D.-

-D? What kind of nickname is D?- Daario raised a brow and laughed, under Theon's annoyed eyes.

-How do you want me to call you? Da? Dar? Dary? Please.- the illustrator replied, with dismissive eyes.

-Well, I thought only friends had nicknames, and we're not friends, we're just... how was it? Oh yeah, "acquaintances pretty well informed about each other".- Daario bursted out laughing, when the boy pushed him harshly with his shoulder.

-Fuck it, of course you're my friend.- Theon grumbled, aware that in time of need, Daario was always there in the end, even if he knew damn well how to be annoying as hell. But friends were annoying, in a positive way. And Daario was always at his place or wandering around the park with him for a reason, wasn't he? Theon never spoke about Robb or sex to anybody but him. So yeah, whether they liked it or not, they were friends. Actually, maybe Daario was the only friend Theon had.

 

 

 

-No! Of course you can't wear sweatpants with the shirt, Jon!- Robb exclaimed, wanting to pull all his hair out: it had been ten minutes since he and Ty had entered into Jon's room, and the boy still wasn't willing to wear anything.

-But I've got nothing to wear!- the teen protested, making Robb's eyes grow wide.

-I bought you an entire wardrobe!-

Exasperated and frustrated, Jon hid his face in the sweatpants' fabric, chocking a whine.

-Sweet love of mine, wear something else or leave in your underwear.- stated Ty, whose sense of style dangerously swung between formidable and extravagant: you never knew when Ty could recommend you something that did not make you look ridiculous to everybody's eye. Ty represented an exception because whatever he put on, he was so charismatic that he looked good anyway. Unluckily, he was one of the few people in the world to own that gift.

Jon dropped his sweatpants on the ground in frustration.

-Okay okay.- said Ty, trying to reassure him.

-Where do you have to go, exactly?- 

Jon shrugged: -Around the city with my friends.-

Ty nodded: -Okay then, since you're not me, I'd suggest you not to get too fancy: it's a low-key night, isn't it?-

Avoiding Robb's questioning glare, Jon nodded: -Right.-

-Do you have a pair of dark jeans? Maybe black?- Ty asked him. Jon showed him what he got. 

-Uhm, these can go.- Ty decided, once he had taken a quick look, and handed him the less beaten-up pair of jeans.

Jon seemed relieved only for a split second, but then another problem popped into his mind: -What about shoes?-

-Your black converse will do fine, little brother.- Robb intervened, ruffling his hair.

-Your skin is quite pale, you must balance it all.- 

Jon nodded, even though he still did not look much persuaded, and the two young men decided to leave him alone getting dressed, promising they would have come back to give him their final opinion once he was done. 

-I think he's got a date.- Ty assumed, in the middle of the hall.

Robb frowned: -What? Nah.-

-Think about it: he's so nervous.- Ty insisted, deadly sure.

-Jon is always nervous. He gets paranoid over the smallest things. This is probably the first time in his life he goes around on Saturday night, instead staying at home being a nerd.- Robb replied, earning a shocked glare from the young man in front of him: -Do not make fun of him!- 

Robb smiled and Ty punched him on the shoulder: -Be nice. I have to go back to David, soon: I already miss him, the love of my life.-

Robb shook his head, chuckling: Ty Lewis would have never changed.

 

 

 

 

-So you're not going to see him, tonight?-

Theon clenched his fists at Daario's question: they had been wandering around the park for hours, more or less, and they still hadn't stopped talking about Robb and Daenerys. The fact they were head over heels for two people they barely even knew was somehow getting them even closer.

-He said he's busy, this weekend.-

Daario nodded, not knowing what to add. The sun was going down, and him and Theon were the only two men in the park, except for a couple holding hands in the distance.

Daario scowled when he saw one of the two men had almost white hair; he waited until they got closer before rushing to the wrong conclusion, but in the end his suspicions were well-founded: Ramsay Bolton and Viserys Targaryen didn't seem to have noticed them, but they were heading towards them.

-Shit, Theon.- Daario whispered, causing the illustrator to look at the new couple.

Theon's muscles froze: even when far away, Ramsay was still beautiful as the sun. He felt deeply offended in seeing how Ramsay's fascinated, connected and sweet smile, the one he reserved for Theon only, was now addressed to some other guy.

-Theon, let's change direction.- Daario said, keeping his voice low, but Theon couldn't move. And Ramsay was too near to ignore him, now.

-Daario, Theon. Hey.- 

It had been two years since the last time Theon had heard Ramsay's voice. It has gotten huskier: maybe he had been smoking more.

-Hi Ramsay.- said Daario politely, as Theon struggled to smile.

-This is my boyfriend, Viserys.- the white haired man forced a smile and shook both of their hands: his grip was weak and listless, and Theon hated him right away.

Luckily, Ramsay didn't care about staying any longer, and he said goodbye with a simple: -It was nice seeing you again. Have a nice day.-

Between the general embarrassment, Ramsay locked his arm around Viserys' waist and left. Daario pronounced a shy goodbye, while Theon decided to ignore him completely. Once he was far enough, Daario sighed: -That Viserys dude has no idea what he's running into.-

But Theon didn't answer, and preferred lighting up another cigarette.

 

 

 

-At school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley's gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley's gang.- Robb slipped the bookmark at the beginning of the third chapter and closed the book. He and Rickon had spent a nice night together, between children movies and tickle fights, but no matter what, Rickon was still not tired: that's why Robb decided to get him to bed and read him another chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, just like Jon did.

-Sleep now, sweetheart: it's late.-

It was already eleven o'clock, scarily late for a five year old little boy, and Robb was happy to see the child yawn. He kissed him goodnight and silently turned off the light, leaving his little treasure immersed in his sleep.

Theon called him once he had reached for the living room.

-Hey.- said Robb, a spontaneous smile on his face. But on the other side of the phone, Theon was all but happy: -Robb, please, can we meet?-

His voice was raspy and Robb was almost sure he was crying.

-Theon, what's going on?- Robb frowned, worried.

-I need someone to talk to. I've been driving for hours, can I come to your place?-

Robb bit his lip: he couldn't leave Rickon alone, but he wouldn't if Theon was inside his house. He could do that. He gave him his address and was surprised to see how near the man already was: he parked his car on his driveway less than five minutes later.

Robb heard the sound of a text: I don't feel like getting inside, can you come out?

Robb thought about it: he wouldn't have left the house, he was right in front of it. For how long, then? Rickon was sleeping, he shouldn't have been worried about it.

He got out of his house with a quick pace, and got inside Theon's car with a leap: the young man was keeping his hood above his head, and kept on wiping away the tears from his eyes.

-Hey...- Robb whispered to him, gently taking him by the hand. Theon's sobs ceased for a moment, and his green eyes stared deeply at Robb's blue one for an infinite heartbeat: he was so hurt that it was natural for Robb to hold him tight, inviting him to sit on his lap.

-I got you, I got you.- he told him lovingly, pressing a soft kiss on his temple.

-What happened?-

It took Theon a while before answering, but he managed to let the words come out: -I saw my ex. With his new boyfriend. It sucked.-

Robb stroked his hair, as if to say "go on". And Theon did: -I've spent two years of my life with Ramsay. That was my longest relationship, actually. I left him when I found out he was cheating on me and... Jesus, Robb, I like you but I don't want you to turn out like him. I'm scared.-

Robb was shocked by those words: Theon hoped in something serious with him. And Robb was willing to give him that, following Ty's advice to take it slow. 

-I could never cheat on you, Theon.- he reassured him.

-Listen, if we will ever become serious, you can be sure I'll never hurt you.-

Theon looked at him in the eye, sniffing: -You want this thing to be serious?-

Robb shrugged: -I'd like to meet you. Because I really like you and it would be wonderful to like you even more. I want to know how it will end.-

Theon's hand moved to his face, caressing Robb's beard and cheeks: -Can I kiss you?-

Robb smiled at him: -Since when you ask for it?-

Managing to steal a smile from Theon's lips, Robb let himself be kissed: it was a desperate kiss, needful of attention. Theon's muscles where incredibly tense, and Robb started caressing his arms, pulling away: -Let me take care of you.-

Robb pushed the level that made the seat move away as much as possible: somehow, a little clumsy because of the small space they had (they were way out their comfort zone), Robb managed to kneel in the small space on the ground between the seat and the glove compartment, as Theon lowered the seat down, showing Robb a beautiful view of his pretty backside, as he kneeled on all fours in front of him.

Robb slowly unbuttoned his jeans, lowering them under his thighs, revealing a lovely pair of black underwear perfectly circling Theon's round ass.

-Wait.- Theon stooped him, trying the best he could to look at him without breaking his neck.

-There's a cloth underneath the driver's seat.-

Blindly, Robb grabbed the object, fixing it on Theon's seat the best he could.

-Do you often do dirty things in the car?- he teased him, pinching his butt.

Theon huffed, amused: -More than you can imagine.-

Robb grabbed the edge of his underwear between his teeth, slipping them down until they met his jeans. 

He started biting and kissing his asscheeks, leaving a line of red marks that would have stayed there for a few days, and smiled against Theon's ass' soft skin, when he heard the man's adorable moans.

He shoved his tongue against his hole once he had gently licked enough around there: Theon was moaning and whimpering, wanting more. Robb licked him patiently and sensually, stopping to press a few sweet kisses on Theon's buttocks every once in a while.

-Fuck, Robb. Don't stop.-

Theon's moans where so high-pitched that Robb almost feared they could have woken Rickon up. But it didn't last long: Theon came right on the cloth a few minutes later, panting.

Robb leaned forward, tolerating the uncomfortable position, and he stroked the young man's back: -You good?-

Theon nodded: -I don't usually come so soon, I swear.-

Robb smiled at him, pressing a kiss on his shoulder and helping him to pull his pants back on. He opened the car door, managing to get out of it like a perfect contortionist, so that Theon could get comfortable. Once the seat was straightened, Robb poked his head and upper body back inside the car, kissing Theon's lips chastely.

-Better?-

Theon nodded: -Thank you.-

-Always call me when something's wrong, okay? I can't promise you I'll always be there, but we can talk on the phone anyway.- Robb made it clear, caressing that beautiful man’s cheek.

-Thank you.- Theon repeated again, before shaking his head and moving to the driver's seat: -I'd better get going.-

Robb stopped him: -Wait.-

Theon stared at him, insecure.

-A friend of mine just got engaged and wants to celebrate. Tomorrow night. Tabitha and her boyfriend will be there too. Do you want to go with me?- Robb suggested him that hoping he didn't think they were going too far, but Theon smiled lightly: -And how will you introduce me, as your quickie mate?-

Robb smirked, but shook his head: -As the guy I'm seeing. You up?-

-Yeah.-

-Goodnight, Theon.-

-Night, Robb.-

-Drive safe.-

-Will do.-

Within a second, the black car disappeared from the street, and Theon with it. Robb got back inside his house, texting Ty: you win. Me and Theon are in.

The response came immediately:

Robb Stark, you're making me more and more proud.

Chapter Text

Grenn was already out of his house waiting for him, when Robb stopped Jon to have the usual little talk: -I won't be tormenting you with texts all night, but call me when you get back to Grenn's house, okay? If you want to have a beer or something else that's fine with me, but if I hear Grenn took even a sip of something I'll get mad. Have fun but do not hurt yourself, okay?-

Jon knew Robb would have preferred him staying dehydrated all night way more, but that was one of those situations where his older brother couldn't ignore he had already done certain things in the past: therefore he let him free to drink, even if he was underage. It had never happened that Jon had come back home dead drunk and puked all over the bathroom all night long, nor that he had done some shit around that hurt somebody else: in that case yes, Robb would have been mad. But as long as he knew Jon drank responsibly, he was good with that.

-Fine.- Jon put on his backpack with his pajamas and change of clothes inside, answering his brother with a roll of his eyes.

Robb opened his arms: -Now give me a kiss: I won't see you until tomorrow.-

Jon allowed himself being held for a second, before quickly kissing his brother bye on the cheek. Robb gave him fifty quid right after. He left the house with one last "have fun!" from Robb, and was greeted by Grenn, who honked and exclaimed: -You look stunning, Stark.- 

Jon rolled his eyes, getting into Grenn's old 1990s Jeep: -Don't you start too.-

Between Ty, Robb and now Grenn, he had enough of everybody's embarrassing compliments.

Grenn ignored him, raising one arm to wave at Robb, who had just gotten out of the house with Bran and Rickon, since the ten-year-old would have spent the night at Jojen Reed's. Robb waved back with a smile.

-He'll kill you if he finds out you had a drink, I'm warning you.- Jon mumbled, fixing the backpack between his feet and buckling up.

Grenn chuckled: -I think Pyp's going to be the only drunk ass, tonight: Sam hates most of the drinks and you never want to drink anything.-

Jon shrugged: -I think I'll make an exception if it won't go as I expect.-

Grenn started driving, heading to Sam's place: -If so, I'll offer you a drink. So make sure it's good.- he declared, turning the radio on.

Grenn's car was an old wreck that everyone would have noticed at The Wall's parking lot, in the middle of all the other fancy and brand new cars. Although, despite it being dated years before they both were born and not even having the the aux cable, Jon, Grenn, Sam and Pyp had spent so much time between those seats that by now they had grown attached: Grenn was the only one having his own car, that's why he almost always was the one who played chauffeur, to go to the movies or at the arcade or downtown at the mall. Or to the lake. 

-Why didn't we make Sam drive?- Jon asked him, since Sam had always been the most responsible one of the four boys. 

-Because he panics whenever somebody is drunk in the car.- Grenn answered him with no hesitating, just to huff: -You really had to fail your driving test, hadn't you?-

Jon was the only one in his group who still hadn't received his driving license: even Pyp, who was more reckless than a Formula 1 racer when driving, managed to get it. Instead, Jon was a total disaster even when he was alone with Robb, and his brother always struggled to be as reassuring as possible. But it never worked, and Jon always ended up maneuvering in the wrong way and turning off the car.

-Once you'll get your license I'll drink so much the smell of alcohol will stay in your car for at least a week, and that’s for sure.- Grenn joked, but the thing was all but funny for Jon: if Sam panicked at the thought of driving with someone drunk in the backseats, Jon would have ended up causing so much trouble, instead.

 

 

 

-Are you sure they'll let us in?-

Jon didn't know what to answer Sam, once they had gotten out the cat: the outside of the pub was full of people around Robb and Ian's age, some of them much older. There was no high schooler, around there.

-Jon, can you ask your friend if he knows some older chick to introduce me?- asked Pyp with a smirk on his face, staring pretty interested at a group of young women wearing short and fancy clothes.

-He should find his friend, first.- Grenn replied.

Jon was suddenly so nervous he could barely move: what if Ian wasn't there? What if they didn't let them in? How could he know that was no joke?

-Didn't you get his number?- Pyp was talking to him, but Jon shook his head: -Uh-huh.-

-Great. You're seeing him in the crowd?-

Jon started searching for the twenty-one year-old but there were too many people: they were all united in groups of seven or eight, and in each one of those at least two people were holding a cigarette between their fingers.

Did Ian smoke? Who knew. How did it feel to kiss a smoker? Who knew. Was Ian even there?! Who knew. 

-Jon, that guy over there keeps staring at you: is that him?- Sam whispered to his ear.

Jumping, Jon turned to his right: there was a group of men, all dressed up in dark clothes, busy in some sort of conversation. They were all laughing but a guh on the far right, who was keeping his hands buried inside his pockets and stared at Jon as if to make sure that was actually him.

Even when far away, Jon recognized Ian's pretty face and his cheeks colored scarlet red: -Fuck, that's him.-

Grenn, Pyp and Sam turned around simultaneously towards the young man, directing their eyes all over him.

-He's... pretty, I think. For all I know.- mumbled Pyp.

Jon turned around something like one hundred and eighty degrees: -Stop staring at him, guys, that's embarrassing!- he exclaimed, covering his face with his hands.

Mechanically, the three boys imitated Jon's movements.

-You should go talk to him.- Grenn suggested him, but Jon shook his head: -I'm shy.-

Pyp scowled at him, disgruntled: -Stark, you do realise that we gave up to a Saturday night and we came all the way to this pub for you to talk with this dude, don't you?- 

Jon didn't have the time to answer him that he felt a caress on his arm: he turned around with a jump, loosing a few heartbeats once Ian's face was in front of him, and he choked a scream.

-Ian!- he exclaimed, noticing with the corner of his eye how all his friends were trying not to laugh. 

-Hi, Jon! I'm glad you came.- the guy's smile was so bright Jon could almost go blind. 

Jon wondered how it could be possible that all the times he talked to him, Ian was calm and comfortable while Jon looked awkward.

-These are your friends?- Ian waited for Jon to nod before shaking all of his friends' hand with a smile.

-Follow me, they won't let you in if you're underage.- with Sam's "told ya" in the background, Ian gently grabbed Jon's hand, dragging him to the back of the pub. Jon could hear his friends whispering behind him but he preferred to focus on the nice feeling of Ian's hand interlaced in his.

A girl opened the door once Ian had sent her a text: The Wall was a fancy pub, decorated with purple soft lights and black tables and chairs.

Jon was happy at how Ian had decided to take it all slow: they had all sat at the same table, and Ian managed to talk to everyone: it turned out he worked part-time as a waiter to afford university one day, and he lived alone in a very small apartment. Ian seemed to enjoy Grenn, Sam and Pyp's company, and they seemed to enjoy his as well. The best thing above all was Ian's arm around Jon's waist: it was a friendly gesture, he wasn't holding him as if he was his property or else. Jon felt at ease, as if Ian was some long-time friend who had fun in offering him to drink: Jon was at his second drink but he was okay. Sam still had his first beer in his hands, Pyp had lost his count and Grenn was holding onto his bottle of water.

-Hey Jon, you mind coming with me for a cig?- asked Ian suddenly, softly tapping the teen's side.

-Of course he doesn't mind!- yelled Pyp, bursting out laughing. He was dead drunk, and Jon tried to ignore his winks and the strage dance his eyebrows were making as he stood up from the chair. Just when they had gotten closer to the back door, Jon turned to look behind him and saw Grenn hitting Pyp on his nape.

When Ian closed the door behind him, the two guys were almost alone, with the exception of a lonely smoker speaking on his phone not too far from them. Jon felt a shiver of adrenaline running up his spine. He didn't know if that was good or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Guys, those two are so gonna make out. I feel that.- Pyp hummed, spinning his straw inside his last drink. 

-Ian seems like an okay guy.- Sam stated with a shrug.

Grenn played with the bottle cap: -There's something too perfect in him, don't you think?-

-What do you mean?- Pyp stopped doing what he was doing when the plastic cup fell upon the table.

Grenn frowned, searching for the words to say: -First he buys him milk, then he invites him at some pub. He gets us in for free and offers him to drink. And now they're alone.-

-Ian wanted to see Jon, not us, Grenn.- Sam reminded him.

-And despite that, he was gentle with us.-

-Yeah, don't be paranoid, Grenn.- Pyp replied, before burping out loud.

Grenn shrugged: -I don't know, it's just that it's Jon we're talking about: it's normal to be worried about him, after all he's been through. Maybe I'm exaggerating.-

Grenn, Pyp and Sam stayed silent for a second.

Then they all rushed to the back door. 

 

 

 

-You having fun?- Ian still hadn't taken his pack of cigarettes out, and he was keeping his hands in his pockets.

Jon nodded shyly: -You're not smoking?-

Ian smiled at him: -Actually, I wanted some alone time with you.- he admitted, making the teen blush. 

-Don't get me wrong: your friends are super cool. I adore the one who drinks like a fish. Pyp, is that right?-

Jon laughed, nodding his head: -Yeah, Pyp: the crazy one.-

Ian laughed too, but stopped to fully look at Jon: -Shirts really suit you.-

-Thank you.- the boy said, shyly lowering his glance.

-Tell me something about you.- Ian said, all of a sudden.

Jon stared at him in confusion: -Uhm?-

Ian shrugged, a gentle light glowing in his eyes as he looked at Jon: -I can tell you're shy. But I told you I like you and if you're here and not somewhere else there must be a reason.-

Jon felt his cheeks going on fire: was he really so easy to interpret?

-So... how about you tell me something about you and I tell you something about me? To get to know each other.-

Jon wondered how the hell Ian could be so understating with a boy he didn't even barely know: he had no flaw. Not even one. He was beautiful, sweet, gentle, calm and... why the fuck was he interest in Jon who was stubborn, anxious, annoying and shy?!

-There's not much nice to know.- Jon admitted, fondling his arms with his hands: it was getting colder outside.

-It doesn't matter.- Ian encouraged him. 

Jon took a deep breath: he didn't know why he had decided to tell him about that, but that was the only "important" thing that had happened to him in his whole life. 

-Both my parents died, more than a year ago.- he confessed, wanting to take it all back a second later.

He didn't look at Ian's expression, he wasn't brave enough to, but he heard the man's deep sigh. They remained silent for a while, until Ian whispered: -I'm... so sorry. Shit.-

Jon looked up to him: Ian's eyebrows were furrowed and he couldn't keep his eyes away from him. His beautiful smile had now become a worried line.

-You said you're sixteen. Who... who are you living with, now? Who's taking care of you?- Ian's tone was serious and rushed, and he placed a hand upon Jon's arm, gently caressing it, as if to comfort him.

Jon sighed, running a hand through his curls: -My older brother is my legal guardian. Me and my little brothers are staying with him.-

Ian started caressing his other arm too, carefully trying to change the topic: -You've got younger brothers?-

Jon nodded: -Bran and Rickon. Ten and five year-olds.-

Ian smiled at him: -Two little scamps?-

-Oh Rickon is definitely a little scamp, you can betcha. Bran is really calm, instead, he's the wisest kid I know.- Jon admitted, a small smile on his face at the thought of his little brothers.

Ian raised his hand to stroke Jon's curls, tenderly: -I'd like to meet them: they seem two interesting little guys.-

Jon chuckled: -Oh, they'd adore you: don't ask me why, but I've got a feeling you're pretty good with kids.- he admitted.

-You got any brothers or sisters?-

Ian shook his head: -I'm all alone.-

Jon pursed his lips: -Maybe you could get along with Robb too. Actually, you could already know him, he's probably already been here, with Ty or some other friend of his... when he still left the house.-

Ian was keeping on massaging Jon's hair: he had a surprisingly soft and delicate touch and Jon was about to close his eyes at the peaceful feeling.

-How come he doesn't anymore?- 

Jon shrugged: -He's got too much to look after, now.-

-I could take care of you.-

Jon noticed that Ian had gotten closer to him and now their noses could almost touch. Jon believed no one could look attractive if seen at a centimeter of distance, but still, Ian had something that made Jon think: wow. His eyes were so kind Jon felt cuddled even with just one single look. It was a nice sensation. And he didn't want to think of anything, right now: no Robb, no Cersei, no bruises who still hadn't left his body, no Pyp assuming he had a crush on Theon Greyjoy. He just wanted to feel if Ian's lips were as soft and delicate just as his eyes and hands were.

-I'd love to.- he told him, before rising on his tiptoes and kissing him.

 

 

 

-Do you see anything? Sam, do you see anything?-

-Ugh, they're talking... I think.-

-What do you mean, "I think"?!- Grenn opened the back door a little bit more, so that he and Sam could see: Jon and Ian were talking, dangerously close to each other.

-They are doing fine.- Sam said.

Grenn frowned: -Why is Jon looking sa...-

Pyp started making his way between them, pushing himself in the middle: -Why the fuck aren't they eating their faces yet?!- he exclaimed.

-Be quiet, they could hear you!- Sam whispered, bringing a finger to his lips.

-Get out the way Pyp, we can't see!- Grenn told him, annoyed.

Pyp let out a surprised sigh: -Oh, that's what I'm talking about!-

-They're making out?!- Sam leaned forward to have a better look.

-Oooh yeah!- Pyp nodded in satisfaction.

Grenn huffed: -I can't see anything, you dickheads! Open the fucking door more or tell me if that dude has his hands in an off-limit zone!-

Pyp chuckled, shaking his head: -Oh don't worry about it.- he reassured him, looking like he had just assisted the scandal of the century.

Grenn raised his brow: -What is that supposed to mean?- he asked Sam. The boy blushed and shrugged, embarrassed: -Jon's the one getting it on, mate.- 

Shocked by that revelation, Grenn leaned forward until he almost jumped on Pyp's back, his brows furrowing and his eyes desiring to know more: Jon's lips were glued to Ian's, the older guy's arms were resting gently upon the sixteen year-old's hips, while Jon, standing on his tiptoes and arched forward, had his hands lost in Ian's hair, and didn't seem to be willing to let go of his mouth anytime soon. Jon was desirous, almost aggressive, Ian was calm, almost surprised. Everything was so confusing, inside Grenn's mind: seeing Jon kissing some guy was weird. Not because he was kissing a dude instead of a girl. Well, to be honest it kind of was, but just because Grenn was deeply sure Jon would have made up his mind and made the first move with Ygritte. But there he was, making out with an older guy, in a pub, on Saturday night. And they were adorable.

-Oh God, guys, they parted: let's go before they catch us.- Sam grabbed Grenn and Pyp by the collar of their shirts and pulled them back inside the pub.

Grenn closed the door, glimpsing Jon and Ian exchanging a smile. their noses brushing, as Pyp protested: -Holy shit, that was getting hot.-

 

 

 

 

Pyp ran to the bathroom to throw up right when Grenn opened the door: lucky his parents weren't home, Jon thought.

He felt immensely happy: he didn't know what he should have expected exactly to his first kiss, but damn he was satisfied anyway. At the end of the night, he and Ian had exchanged their numbers, promising to hear from each other soon. And Jon was up on cloud nine.

He chuckled in seeing how Grenn, huffing, had rushed to help his friend, while Jon pressed his phone against his ear: -Well, it's about time: it's three in the morning.-

Luckily for him, Robb seemed more amused than angry or worried.

-It's Saturday night, Robb!- exclaimed Jon, smiling.

-Oh, look at that: he doesn't act like a nerd for once and he already thinks he's on top of the world!- Robb teased him. Jon heard the mattress' box spring squeak, and he imagined him landing tiredly on the bed.

-Everything good?-

Jon and Sam got inside the guest room, where Pyp's retching could not be heard.

-Oh yeah, all good.- he answered.

-And you don't even sound drunk. Wow.- 

-Did you just stay up all night waiting for me to call you?- Jon sat on the king sized bed, as Sam laid down and closed his eyes.

Robb made a weird amused noise: -Rickon's Disney movies entertained me, don't worry. Listen love,-

Jon stretched his ears: what did he have to tell him at three in the morning that was so important?

-Yes?-

-Ty absolutely wants me to go with him and celebrate his engagement, tomorrow. I'll come home late, that's for sure, but I want to find you in bed, you hear me?-

Jon sighed: he didn't like it when Robb came home late, he couldn't help but thinking he couldn't come back at all. Wasn't that just like it happened with their parents?

-Robb...-

-I'll be fine, Jon. Get this through your head: it's not healthy for you to be so scared of this, love.- Robb called Jon "love" just in particular occasions: that night at the hospital, the day of dad and mom's crash, the day of Bran's injury, when he had to tell him Arya and Sansa had been adopted by another family, when he had shown him his new room and apologized for the small dimensions of it.

Jon sighed but nodded: -Okay. I promise.-

-Good, love. Now get some sleep, okay?- Jon beard Robb smiling.

-Okay. Night.-

-Goodnight.-

Once the phone call was over, Jon noticed Sam was already sound asleep. In the hall, Grenn's huffs mixed to Pyp's unsteady steps: Grenn was probably dragging him to bed by force.

Jon fixed his pillow under his head, feeling a weird spark inside his belly: he had a feeling that from now on, a few things were going to change.

Chapter Text

-I left you some money on the table: order some takeout for dinner, okay? You look pretty tired to cook.- Robb held Jon in a warm embrace, that night: his little brother had come home more calm and relaxed than Robb had seen him all week and he was happy his friends had managed to cheer him up.

Jon nuzzled against Robb's neck: -Don't come home too late.- he exhorted him, but it seemed more like a supplication, according to Robb's ears.

The older brother smacked a loving kiss on top of his head, pacifying him with a few small pats on his back: -You need to take it easy, love. And I want you to bed at a decent time, understood? It's a school night.-

Once Jon nodded, Robb rushed to say bye to the youngest ones, kissing them both on their cheeks, exclaiming: -Bye my loves, see you tomorrow morning.-

He had just opened the front door, when Jon rested a hand on his arm, holding him back.

-Something wrong, love?- he asked him, noticing how Jon seemed restless and almost unsure. Robb knew that look: it was the face Jon always put up whenever he had to ask him an uncomfortable question.

Robb sent a quick glare to Bran and Rickon, completely lost watching the tv screen, and he raised his hand to caress Jon's forearm gently: -Tell me everything.- he spurred him.

Jon took a deep breath, arching his back so much he had to stand on his tiptoes: -Is there something wrong I need to know?- he blew out.

Robb's brows furrowed, as he stopped caressing Jon's arm but still keeping eye and tactile contact: -No love, why would you think that?-

Jon looked away from his eyes, trying the best he could to put a question: his hands were moving and his keens were lightly trembling, as a sign of indecision.

-You always call me "love" when you have to tell me a bad new or when something bad just happened.- Jon admitted.

Robb should have realized something at that point, but he didn't: Robb always called his brothers love, because that was what they meant to him: they were his loves. His little brothers. Maybe when things got hard, or Jon wasn't doing great, Robb called him love more often, but that was because his overprotective papa bear instinct made him act in such way. What could have been bad, now? Everything was going pretty fine, with Theon and...

Theon.

Was Jon suspecting something? Or worse, did Jon know something? Impossible: how could he? He was who knows where with his friends when Robb and Theon had done what they had done in the car, he couldn't have caught them. Unless Rickon had woken up and saw them. And then he told Jon. But no, that was not possible either, because once Theon had left Robb had gone straight to check on the little one and found him sleeping like an angel.

Quit it and answer him.

-I call you love because you are my love. You're my little brother.- Robb said, trying to look as natural as possible: he wasn't lying, absolutely not, but the thought of Jon trying to get the phrase "I'm trying to get into your teacher's pants" out of his mouth was torturing him.

Jon put his hands in his sweaters' pockets, nodding a few times and biting the inside of his cheek: Robb guessed he was trying to believe him.

-Okay.- the boy said, in the end. -Okay. Sorry, it's just that...-

-You're worried, I know: it happens to me too. All the time.- Robb reassured him with a smile, affectionately drowning his fingertips into Jon's forearm one last time, and the boy managed to show him the hint of a smile: -You look good, dressed like this.- he said shyly, alluding to the tan cardigan and beanie Robb had decided to wear, now that it was autumn.

-Thank you.- Robb told him with a sweet and genuine smile, even though he thought Jon had said that only to change the subject; Robb saddened in confronting Jon's calm and happy face once he had gotten back home after a night out with his friends, to the worried and pale one he had now. Robb got Jon's worry, because Robb was always worried. But Jon exaggerated: he always was on the edge of a panic attack, whenever something happened. Even when it wasn't his fault.

Something was wrong.

 

 

 

The concern about Jon somehow managed to step in second place once Robb got underneath Theon's flat: he didn't know how or why, but there was something about that boy, whether it was his body, his hair, his smile or his attitudes that shook a part of Robb's brain. And that part effortlessly forced him not to think about anything but what was standing in front of him in that exact moment; and in that exact moment, in front of Robb stood the most appetizing version of Theon he ever had the honor to see until then: Theon had asked him advices on what he should have worn, because in all his twenty-five years of life he never attended an engagement dinner, especially a stranger's. Robb had told him that suit and tie wouldn't have been necessary and to dress up the way he would if he had to go out with his friends for a beer. He wasn't expecting Theon to get out of his house with a black suit perfectly hugging his shoulders, and a striped black and white t-shirt underneath. It was simple, so simple. But he looked stunning.

-Hi, handsome!- Theon greeted him, approaching him with his hands in his pockets. 

They exchanged a soft and gentle kiss, Theon rested his hand on Robb's cheek, as he locked an arm around his waist.

Robb kindly pulled away, leaning on his car's door once again: -I didn't think the psychedelic and rocker artist could own such clothes.- he teased him.

Theon replied right away, whispering against his lips: -I didn't think the guy good at everything could believe such stereotypes.- 

They kissed again, before Theon ruined the nearly romantic atmosphere that had created around them to move away from Robb and wander around him: -So: how do I have to expect your friends to be?-

Robb shrugged: -Not much to say. It’s just Ty: he's a little bit out of the ordinary.-

-The groomie?- Theon playfully grabbed Robb's hand, swinging their arms as if they were two little kids holding their hands while singing a stupid song about animals. Robb drew him towards himself with a yank, so that Theon's back could touch his chest, and he wrapped his arms around his body, resting his head upon his shoulder.

-You look almost romantic like this, Stark.- Theon claimed, trying to turn around the best he could to meet Robb's gaze.

-Next time I pick you up it's going to be just you and me.- Robb whispered to his ear, and let Theon turn around completely to face him and make their lips touch again.

-I like to kiss you.- Robb smiled at Theon's words, and the hint of dimples he had on his cheeks grew almost painfully, when he added: -Your lips are so soft. So soft. It feels like I'm kissing a soufflé.-

-I think it's time to go.- with a heavy heart, Robb lost his grip around Theon's waist, so that he could open the car door for him: -After you.-

Theon raised his brow and sat without daring to keep his eyes off Robb's: -You sure we're not the ones getting married?-

With a chocked noise, Robb held his laugh back: -You wish.- he told him.

Theon showed him his palms: -I don't know, how's sex with you? Since I still haven't had the chance to try it.-

Robb, guilty, bit his lower lip and closed the door with a snap, hearing Theon sniggering anyway.

He sat on the driver's seat, sending Theon a challenging look: -We'll make it up to that soon.-

 

 

 

 

-Are you really going to spend the rest of your life with that dude?!- Tabitha's exclamation was the first thing Theon heard while exiting from the car.

In a heartbeat, Robb's hand fell on his back.

Tabitha was wearing a soft indigo dress that fit her perfectly, and there was a guy by her side, he had the same tanned skin as hers.

Theon soon found out the exclamation was headed to a black haired young man in a suit and tie, holding a younger man's hand. The two of them were a perfect example of an oxymoron: the brunet, serious and composed, and the guy with the jean jacket, carefree and all smiles. According to what Robb had told him, Theon identified the first guy as David and the second as Ty.

On David's face a smile appeared, and suddenly he looked like a completely different person, to Theon's eyes: something about him reminded him of Robb.

-Actually, I'm having second thoughts.- he joked, as Ty pouted immediately and exclaimed: -That's a lie, you love me.-

David wrapped his arm around the guy's waist and held him close, greeting with a relaxed smile his fiancée's arms around his neck. 

Just then Tabitha turned towards the only non-couple of the night: -Theon, Robb!- she welcomed them both with a quick hug to which Theon responded hesitantly, not being used to receive that kind of affection from someone different from his partner.

-He's my boyfriend, Charlie.- the girl said, completely focused on Theon. He and Charlie shook their hands: there was something that made the guy look sincere and spontaneous and Theon appreciated him from the very beginning.

-Oh, there's a new entry in here!- Ty sing-sang, quickly approaching Theon with an enormous smile tattooed on his lips: -Let me look at you... oh Robb, you always manage to surprise me!-

Ty's grip was incredibly energetic, Theon's arm resented that, and the illustrator noticed the pleased smile Ty showed to Robb. His "quickie mate" and almost fuck buddy's cheeks turned red.

-So you're Theon? I'm so pleased to meet you!- Ty kept on shaking Theon's whole arm, pleased as punch, and Theon tried the best he could, between embarrassment and indecision of the words to use, to say: -Congratulations!-

-I like you already.- Theon had to admit that despite at first impact Ty had seemed a little bit too enthusiastic and somehow clingy, there was kindness in his actions. He smiled lightly and the "congratulations" was welcomed with more moderation from David, who shook his hand with a strong grip and smiled politely at him.

-Guys, it's on David, in case you've been wondering.- Ty announced, pressing a loud kiss on his soon-to-be husband's cheek. Really not knowing how to react to that, Theon stared at Robb, Charlie and Tabitha as they exulted and David rolled his eyes, his hand steady on Ty's back: -Come on, let's get inside before Ty decides to go somewhere else.-

 

 

 

Theon wasn't expecting such a fancy restaurant: Robb did told him Ty liked to think big, but the thought of Ty and David being able to afford paying dinner to four other people as he lived in a dirty one-room flat made him feel weird.

-Theon, Robb told us you work as an illustrator!- Ty exclaimed at some point, trying to include him in their conversation.

Theon nodded to Ty with a smile just so that he could stare at Robb raising his brow: -You already speak of me? I'm flattered.-

Ty chuckled: -I actually forced him. I'm sorry, but I've been waiting for Robb to start having sex again for years.-

Theon suddenly felt a wave of friendliness towards the boy with the pierced nose, and he let out a loud laugh that couldn't help but growing even louder once he saw Robb lowering his head and facepalming. 

-Oh believe me, if we go on like this you'll have to wait for a long time.- Theon said, smiling when Ty and Tabitha joined his laugh.

-Robb, he's approved!- Ty clapped his hands, as Robb and David exchanged and awkward look, as if to say "forgive me for his behavior".

Charlie cleared his throat, trying to bring the calm back in the group, since a few people had been staring at them: -So you studied art, Theon?-

He nodded: -I attended internships when I was in Uni and high school. I basically already had a job at sixteen.-

Ty gaped, in a mixture of tenderness and incredulity: -I wanted to study art too, you know? But in the end I changed my mind and opted or medicine.-

-So, you're a doctor?- Theon asked him, trying not to look amused or upset by that: Ty seemed to him like an easily impressionable guy, he couldn't picture him as a doctor. Robb seemed to agree with him, because he huffed amusingly.

-Oh, no no no. I mean, I got my degree and all, but I decided to travel the world for a while. And now I run my father's design industries.- at Ty's hasty explanation David intervened right away, telling Theon, with his typical professional and calm smile: -As you might have noticed, Ty tends to change his mind pretty often.-

Theon chuckled at that, but Ty rested his hands on his hips, staring at his partner: -Be glad I didn't change it about my boyfriend. Oh, wait, fiancée.-

Tabitha and Charlie started a chorus of shady "oohs!" and Robb took advantage of the general chaos to begin massaging Theon's back with his hand: -You good?- he asked him. 

Theon nodded, surprising himself: -They're cool.-

And that was no lie: Tabitha was a teasing little bitch, just like Theon, and he adored her for that, but contrary to him, she had an amazingly soft spot that she wasn't ashamed to show; Charlie was a quiet guy, gentle and terribly smart (he got his degree in engineering with top marks); David was the only lawyer who didn't suffer from narcissism Theon had ever had the pleasure to meet, and the way he looked at Ty, oh God, he was so in love with him. And Ty was born to talk and be friends with everyone: he reminded Theon of a cartoon character, which made him look even more hilarious. They were a nice company, and Robb was lucky to have them.

-I'd like you to meet Daario, one day.- Theon told Robb, thinking about how and if the two of them could have gotten along.

-Your best friend?- the redhead guessed.

Theon nodded: -Sort of.- 

The clicking of an eating utensil against a glass interrupted their little conversation, and the two men brought their attention back on David: -I propose a toast.- the lawyer announced.

-Here's to our engagement, obviously.- he began, and Ty brushed his nose against his.

-To Tabitha and Charlie, may their relationship go on perfectly like it's going now.- Tabitha cuddled against Charlie's chest, who kissed her temple, lovingly.

-And to Robb and Theon, because, like Ty's been telling me for hours, they're the cutest almost-couple that ever existed.-

When Robb leaned forward to hug him, Theon tried to ignore the softened "aaws" all around him by hiding his face against his shoulder. 

-Almost-couple, hm?- he whispered to his ear.

Robb caressed his back: -Almost.-

They parted right on time to raise their glasses and cheer, so that Charlie could clap his hands, once: -Okay: the future spouses must kiss now.-

Ty was very happy about that request, and kissed David's lips so passionately that even the other costumers at the restaurant applauded them, along with Theon and the other guys.

-Well, I think it's your turn now.- David decided, locking his fingers around Ty's hand. Tabitha and Charlie exchanged a definitely softer kiss, and Theon would have stopped admiring the beautiful couple they were, if he hadn't realized that he would have had to kiss Robb, later: he had never done that before. Kissing his boyfriend in front of his friends at some restaurant. That was because when he was with Ramsay they were alone most of the times, apart from dinners with Ramsay's family, the family Theon had started to see like his own right a few weeks before he found out about the dark hole he had fallen into. He realized that Robb, still barely being a fuck buddy, was giving him something Ramsay had never gave him: a place in a group. They wouldn't have been a "couple" just because they fucked and went on holiday together, but because they had friends in common and they spent their time with them too. And being Robb's boyfriend would have been perfect, to Theon's eyes. That's why when David stared at them, smirking and claiming: -You're not here to be the fifth and sixth wheel.- Theon pressed his lips against Robb's with more happiness and affection than they both expected.

And the smile on Robb's face was breathtaking.

 

 

 

 

They went to a nightclub, right after dinner: neither Robb or David wanted to drink, Robb was already feeling guilty for drinking wine at dinner, and about an hour later they had gone out so that David could have a cigarette. Charlie had to drive too, but he had preferred staying inside dancing with Tabitha, and that looked like the perfect occasion for Ty and Theon to get to know each other.

-How are the boys doing, Robb?- David asked him, blowing the smoke and tightening his shoulder because of the cold air that started to spread all around them.

-They're doing too fine, actually.- Robb answered with half of a smile.

-You already miss them, don't you?- David didn't see the kids as often as Ty did, but he knew them well, just like he knew Robb well, so it was easy for him to make that supposition.

Robb nodded: -I'm not used to leave them alone so late at night.-

-Did Cersei show up again?- at that question, Robb clenched his teeth: -Rickon's frightened by her. And Jon hates her, I hate her: Jon got hurt and she accused me of hitting him.-

David's eyebrows curved so much that the thirty-year-old seemed to be at least five years older: -We can file a compliant against her for defamation, Robb, I could destroy her.- he suggested him.

David had been Robb's lawyer since his parents had died: Ty had insisted for a long time, because David was incredibly smart at such a young age. Robb didn't think he could have gotten his brothers' full custody if it hadn't been for David. Although, that time he had to refuse the offer: -Let her have her fun: there's nothing wrong with my family, she won't find anything.-

David nodded, throwing the roach on the nearest trashcan: -You and Theon are a cute couple.- he stated, and Robb blushed.

-We're not a couple.- he replied.

-You're going to be. Soon.- David seemed so sure about his words that it nearly was a shame for Robb to correct him: -I don't know if he's willing to be with a full time dad, Dave.-

-You haven't told him about the boys?-

Surely the last thing Robb could have asked at twenty-three was three kids to raise, and despite he had welcomed them all with open arms and had given them all the love he had, he highly doubted that a twenty-five-year-old like Theon wanted to jump in a relationship made of screaming, cartoons, social workers and groundings on groundings.

Robb shook his head: -I don't know how. I like him and I don't want him to go when he finds out I basically have three sons.-

David sighed, indulged for a second, and said finally: -He'll find out anyway, Robb. You can't keep that away from him, that's impossible: you two will end up going to your place, won't you? You can't just have sex with him while the boys are sleeping, with none of them knowing about each other's existence.-

Robb didn't know what to answer him: it was obvious that Theon had to know that along with Jon there were also Bran and Rickon, and Sansa and Arya too, even if far away. But he was scared.

Ty and Theon joined them right in that moment, the first man dead drunk. 

-Hey, love of my life. I think you had a little too much to drink, didn't you?- David knew damn well that when Ty was drunk he became even clingier and nobody, not him, nor Robb or Theon, wanted to see him as he tired to seduce his fiancée in public.

-Hey Robb.- Theon rested a hand on his shoulder: his breath smelled like vodka, but he was still sober.

-Dance with me?-

 

 

-You know what, I like you!- Ty decided in the middle of their night out, the umpteenth drink in his hand his eyes sparkling of a proud light and staring deeply at Theon. 

-You're an asshole but in the right way and you care about Robb. You might be my favorite one, above all his boyfriends.-

Under normal circumstances, Theon would have been flattered by the compliment, but now it was different: Theon did no longer feel comfortable, with relationships. 

-I'm not his boyfriend.- he just said.

Ty rolled his eyes and gaped, letting out a loud "uuugh": -He never introduced us to a guy he was barely seeing, just to his actual boyfriends. I'd feel honored, if I were you. You know, there's a pretty and uninhabited wood somewhere near, I'd give it a shot.-

Theon chuckled: Ty knew how to be funny in his own personal way. His mannerism reminded him a Hollywood star and he was so different from both Robb and David that their friendship and engagement looked even more beautiful.

-I don't want to have sex with him in the woods, our first time.- he proclaimed, earning just a pair of curios eyes: -Why not?-

Now, if Theon had to be sincere, the only reason he didn't want to have sex with him outdoors, in the woods, like he would have done with any other guy during his one night stands, that was because the thought of having sex with Robb between the sheets of a soft bed, whether it was his or Robb's, felt cleaner, more comfortable, more... romantic.

But of course, he would have never said that out loud.

-Because, I mean, have you seen Robb?! He's a fucking Greek God! I want to be comfortable as he tears my ass into two!- Ty was so drunk that at Theon's confession he laughed so hard he started tearing up: he even hugged him.

-Hell yeah, you're my favorite. Let's go.- he took him by the hand and started heading towards the exit.

-There's a motel somewhere, it should be fifteen minutes away. I'm sure if you tell Robb the same things you told me he's definitely gonna take you there.-

Theon barely had the time to get out of the nightclub that Ty had already fallen into David's arms: Robb was staring at them with a smile on his face and Theon thought that those two would have certainly fucked that night. Tabitha and Charlie would have had sex too, according to the way there were dancing. And Theon was big and strong by now and he was tired of waiting.

He rested his hand on Robb's shoulder, catching his attention: -Dance with me?- he asked him, almost sounding innocent.

In response, Robb kissed his cheek and grabbed his hand.

 

 

 

 

In a nightclub, dancing was always synonym of making out: this Robb knew. He and Theon kissed once their feet were inside the club and techno music threatened to kill their ears. Robb's hands were wandering all around Theon's body, who reacted to that by clenching his grip on Robb's hair.

-Robb...- Theon whispered at some point, his eyes nearly closed and his mouth an inch away from Robb's.

-Fuck me.-

He was so beautiful. Robb wanted to spend the rest of his days kissing him. How good would it have been, to bring him home and fuck him all night? How good would it have been, to bring him home and fuck him all nights?

If only it hadn't been for the kids. David's words were thundering in his brain: you can't just have sex with him while the boys are sleeping, with none of them knowing about each other's existence.

Of course he couldn't. But it would have been so good.

Robb hadn't had to drink at the nightclub, but he had at dinner. And it had been a very long time since the last time he got drunk, so long that now he felt tipsy with just a few glasses of wine. And the thought of fucking Theon was way too tempting.

-Theon.- he told him, hoping the guy could hear him in the middle of that noise.

-Do you want to do something stupid?-

 

 

Robb parked his car in front of his house at three in the morning: if Jon wasn't in bed it all would have gone awry, not to mention how vicious he would have felt.

He turned towards the passenger seat: for all the way back home Theon hadn't stopped slipping his hand above Robb's crotch. They even had to pull up at some point. 

-My brother hear us and I swear to God you won't be able to get up from the bed, tomorrow. And I'm not talking about sex only.- he threatened him, a light blowing with desire in his eyes.

-You're getting me all wet, Robbie.- Theon leaned forward to bite his cheek.

They entered Robb's house in the middle of the night, hand in hand, moving carefully and silently: Robb was a few steps ahead of Theon, to guide him. Once they had reached upstairs, Robb incited Theon to go on with a small pat on his bum: -It's the room down the hall. Wait for me in there.-

In response, Theon licked his cheek with the tip of his tongue, winking at him in the dark, and obeyed.

Robb wanted to make sure that all the kids were fine, and between wine and fear of getting caught, his hand was trembling on the doorknob: Bran and Rickon were sleeping peacefully, but Robb's heart cried when he saw Jon hugging his pillow in his sleep, his phone on the mattress and next to his face, ready to answer or call in case of emergency.

He was about to reach for him, kiss him on his forehead and tell him he was home and he was fine, but that meant getting hella busted: and now that Theon was at his place there was no coming back.

Theon was the one who should have been quiet, because Robb knew how to keep his mouth shut when he had to. Although, when he entered his room and saw Theon completely naked on the bed, lying on his belly, he fought with all his strength to repress a yell of joy: beautiful. Beautiful.

Theon slowly turned all around with his body, that damn smirk on his face: -Let's see if you can make me struggle with keeping my mouth shut, Stark.-

Robb was above him in a second. The mattress creaked but somehow doing all in secret made everything look hotter. 

Theon managed to keep quiet and still as Robb prepared him, but once he thrusted into him he had to press a hand against his mouth or bite down Robb's shoulder.

It was a beautiful feeling and it had been too long since the last time.

-Robb...- Theon whimpered, almost imperceptibly, as Robb moved faster.

-Shh...- he told him, and Theon rested his head above the pillow, so that the could look at each other in the face: Robb didn't know the effect he was having on Theon, standing above him, fucking him, but Theon was a goddamn vision, right now, with his mouth half open and his body sweltering with heat.

Robb never wanted to stop.

Once they had come, panting and in total silence, they took a moment to look at each other in the eye: Theon reached out to stroke Robb's cheek, and he pressed his hand above Theon's, until he decided to bring the guy's hand to his lips and kiss it softly. Theon was staring at him with adoring eyes.

Still above him, Robb bent down to leave a wet kiss upon Theon's lips. Theon tiredly returned the kiss: he was exhausted.

Robb laid down next to him, wrapping his arms around his body and pressing his chest against his warm back. 

He told him goodnight by pressing a sweet kiss behind his ear, and both of them fell asleep within minutes.

Chapter Text

Robb felt like shit when, once the alarm clock had rang at half past six in the morning, he realized he wasn't feeling guilty at all for his actions: he rushed to turn the sound of his phone off, not to wake Theon up, who was still sound asleep by his side, and silently dressed up.

He had asked Theon not to leave the room under any circumstances until Jon (and Bran and Rickon) was (were) gone to school, and it was a relief that Theon was a heavy sleeper: now he just had to make sure his brothers didn't yell too much.

He spotted his reflection on the mirror and noticed his right shoulder was carpeted in hickeys and bite marks. He turned with a small smile towards the sleeping boy: he had gotten it on, rather than screaming, the cheeky bastard.

He put on a random shirt, almost remaining upset once the marks were hidden, and climbed down the stairs to start making breakfast. He brushed his eyelids with the tip of his fingertips, still sleepy, and nearly burned the slices of bread inside the toaster: even if in total discretion and with the constant fear of Rickon having a nightmare or Bran needing the bathroom, having sex with Theon had been amazing.

Robb had meticulously organized it all: Theon stayed asleep, he persuaded the kids to be quiet and he would have taken Bran to school; after that he would have stopped by somewhere to grab Theon breakfast and he would have brought it right in the sleeping beauty's room. They would have stayed in bed for a while and at 9:45am they would have left, heading to Jon's school, and there they would have pretended they didn't know each other and finally, they would have decided together when and where to meet next time.

He just had to make the kids be quiet: Theon didn't have to know about them yet and they absolutely didn't have to know about Theon. Otherwise, Jon would have killed him. Robb was already thinking about how telling him: with Theon it was a little little little bit easier, like "hey, I lost both my parents and now I have three kids to look after", but with Jon, what was he supposed to tell him? "Love, me and the teacher you can't stand are fucking each other and you'll start seeing him more often"? Uhm.

He woke up the children first, so he could have taken Bran downstairs and woken up Jon once he had climbed back up once again to grab the wheelchair. 

He entered the room quietly, sitting on the ten-year-old's bed and gently shaking his shoulder: -Hey...-

Bran blinked a few times, stretching on the bed.

-Good morning.- Robb greeted him, pressing a kiss on his temple. Bran responded with a weak whine that made the older smile, before he got up to reach for the bed on the opposite side of the room: -Wakey wakey, little one.-

As scheduled, Rickon started whimpering out loud, stretching and kicking the covers away: Robb rushed to find a remedy, resting a finger on his lips and gently enveloping the boy's little tummy in the palm of his hand: -Shh...- he whispered to him, before giving him a kiss on the forehead.

-Guys, I don't feel so good today: could you be quieter, please?- he lied, trying to look believable: Robb was a pretty good actor, even if he didn't have to put too much effort with Rickon, since he was still very young, but Bran couldn't be fooled easily.

-What's wrong?- he asked him instead, alarmed, and Robb thought he had done a good job with looking serious. He shook his head, smiling reassuringly: -Just a headache. Nothing serious.-

He helped Rickon dressing up and Bran with getting inside his pants, proud his little brothers were so obedient and spoke softly, and once they reached downstairs he couldn't help but thanking them with a caress on their hair: Robb loved it when his brothers showed him they were worried about him the same way he worried about them, that's why he felt a knot in his stomach and the thought of lying to them. 

With Jon it was even harder: -Jon... wake up, it's time to go to school.- he shook him gently, and Jon finally let go of the pillow he had been clutching on the whole night.

-Hmm... morning.- he whined, rubbing his eyes. Robb smiled: -Good morning.-

-What time did you come back, at night?- Jon got up from the bed, letting his phone fall into the ground. He huffed and bent to pick it up with a tired sigh.

-Can't remember. Three in the morning, I think.- Robb said, indulging.

He had forgotten for a second that Jon was the king of paranoias, and that certainly didn't turn into a good thing: Jon's eyes widened, as he clenched his hands in the sweatpants he was getting off: -What do you mean you can't remember?!-

Taken by surprise by that sudden change of tone (Jon was always half asleep and quiet, in the morning), Robb tired to calm him down: -Shh, please be quiet, I've got a headache...-

He fought with all his strength not to look at his room, but once he had seen Jon's terrified and totally mad face, he completely forgot about Theon: -Were you drunk?!- he accused him.

Robb frowned, trying to find a remedy to the mistake he had just done: -No, no, Jon.-

-Did you drive drunk?!- Jon raised his voice even more and Robb rested a fist upon his mouth to avoid ripping all his hair out his head.

-No Jon, I wasn't drunk. I swear.- he added, trying to speak keeping his voice down, so that his brother could do the same.

Jon started at him in exasperation: -Then why does your head hurt?!-

-I've got a headache because people get headaches, Jon.- Robb scolded him, even thought there was nothing to be mad about: Robb had to drink that night; not much, of course, but he did drink. And if Jon got worried over the smallest things, he could lose his mind over important ones. And the thought of your older brother and legal guardian driving drunk in the middle of the night when your parents had died because of a car crash was hella important.

Jon sat on the bed, his sweatpants falling to his knees: -Never drive when you're drunk.- he begged him. 

Robb responded him by kissing him twice on his forehead and patting him lovingly on his back: -Never. Now go eat your breakfast, come on.- 

Jon got up once again to get dressed: -What time do we have the appointment with the principal?-

Robb shrugged: -Ten, a quarter past ten. It "depends on his schedule".- he answered, mocking the exact words the principal had written in response to his email.

Jon nodded, searching for something to wear in his closet, and Robb decided that was time to go: -I'll be downstairs, okay?-

Robb just wanted to grab Bran's wheelchair, but he couldn't resist his anxiety and checked on Theon, to make sure he still was offside: he slept like a log and Robb had noticed he moved a lot in his sleep; when he had gotten up he was laying on his side, but now he was laying on his back with open arms, his mouth lightly open, taking small breaths, and his belly was bare and moved up and down, in a peaceful sleep.

Robb thought for a moment he was checking on another little brother of his, because that scene looked so familiar: making sure everything was fine and nobody was bothering somebody he cared about's sleep. Robb did that continuously, even when he had to go to the bathroom he always managed to look inside his little brothers' rooms. But now that looked weird, because Robb was no longer used in seeing somebody who wasn't family (Ty & Co were obviously included in the word "family") on his bed. But it was a good feeling anyway.

The boys managed to stay quiet during breakfast and Robb didn't know how to thank them. He said goodbye to Jon with a "see ya later" and took Bran to school: the kid had a math test that day, so he wished him good luck and waited for Jojen Reed and a teacher to approach them and help Bran getting inside the elevator.

He stared at his brother one last time, before starting the car engine. He wasn't headed to work, like it happened everyday, nor to Jon's school: he was going back home.

 

 

 

Theon was woken up by a trail of wet kisses on his neck and cheek: it took him a while to figure out he hadn't dreamt anything and he really did have sex with Robb Stark, even if he should have realized that right away: that bed was definitely more comfy than his. 

-Hey, sleeping beauty, I made breakfast.- 

Robb nuzzled his nose against his cheek, as a happy and relaxed smile was born on Theon's lips.

His hands gently rested on Robb's neck. The other boy was already dressed and he smelled so fucking good: -Good morning to you too.-

Robb answered to Theon's good morning with a soft peck on his lips: -I wanted to buy you breakfast, but then I thought it would have been more romantic if I cooked it.-

Theon tried sitting back up on the bed, but the boy above him didn't let him, because he was too busy kissing his neck and massaging his chest.

-You spoil me.- he playfully scolded him, stroking those red hair.

Robb laid down by his side, keeping on showering his face with warm kisses: -Little reward for being so good and quiet, tonight.-

Theon smiled when Robb hugged him from behind and kissed him on his shoulder: he could feel the boy's soft clothes pressing gently against his naked skin and everything was so relaxing he could have ended up falling asleep again.

-I can't promise you I'll always be like that.- he joked, turning it upside down and getting comfortable, completely naked, above Robb.

-I want to scream, sometimes.-

Robb sat back up, so that Theon could sit on his lap, and wrapped his arms around his body: -Oh, but I want to hear you scream too.- he slowly kissed him on his adam's apple.

-But now we have to go, because otherwise our coffee will get cold. And cold coffee sucks. And if we're both late Jon will find out something's going on.- Robb reminded him.

Theon was almost about to ask him why he was the one bothering about his brother's issues at school and his parents didn't. Perhaps, Jon had gone crazy when Robb had come home late, a few nights ago, and Theon couldn't understand why: he guessed Robb and Jon's parents weren't so present in their sons' lives, or at least they didn't treat Jon right, and that was why the teen put his complete trust on his older brother, who returned the affection in the same way. He imagined that Jon often spent the night at Robb's because his parents were alcoholics or fucked each other all night long. That was curios, and Theon would have wanted to know more, but he preferred Robb telling him himself, when he felt ready: they still weren't an actual couple, he certainly couldn't expect him to tell him everything from the very first day. That's why he put on his clothes form the previous night (thank God he had took them off before Robb could attack him, otherwise who knew how bad they would have been that morning) and he locked himself in the bathroom to wash his face.

If he hadn't been half asleep, a little bit sore and with his head lost thinking about the beautiful man waiting for him downstairs to eat the breakfast he had made for him, maybe Theon would have noticed the four toothbrushes on the sink, and started wondering things.

 

 

 

Robb almost blushed when Jon reached them in the school hall: he was afraid that somehow, seeing him with Theon, could have made him realize something, but he knew he was exaggerating.

The school janitor offered to lead them the way to the principal's office, and Robb accepted the courtesy, wrapping an arm around Jon's shoulders. Although, he was about to run back to where he was when a couple of parents and a corpulent red headed boy appeared behind him: he had made Jon tell him everything about that Roy Johnson bastard, and that boy over there perfectly matched his brother's description.

Robb wanted to go to him, punch him in the face and spit on his parents and he would have done that, he would have fucking done that, but Jon and Theon simultaneously grabbed his arms: his potential boyfriend's eyes were yelling at him to not fuck things up, while Jon whispered to his ear: -Lannisters will find out.-

And then Robb decided to keep his energy for the principal: that would have been a long, long chat.

 

 

Petyr Baelish was an arrogant, stingy and subtle man. Robb knew that pretty well, because he was his mother's old friend, but his mother's only: he had never spoken much to his father or to everyone whose last name was Stark, except maybe for Sansa, who was her mother's carbon copy.

Once Robb had gotten the boys' full custody, he knew Baelish would have been Jon's principal, but he had considered that a small thing: they didn't even know each other, after all. But still, when Robb had phoned him to take an appointment, he could have swore he had heard more arrogance than professionalism in his voice. And Robb was afraid he could have lost his temper at the very first smallest wrong thing.

Once they had sit on the chairs next to the office door, Roy and his parents included, Baelish got them waiting for more than fifteen minutes. Robb could feel his blood pumping (and boiling) in his veins, until he got a text on his phone: chill out or you'll end up breaking someone's neck.

It was Theon.

Robb took a deep breath, trying to restrain his emotions.

When Baelish arrived, he greeted them with a charismatic smile that neither Jon, Robb or Theon believed in. For Roy's parents that seemed to be a little different. 

-Here, come in.- Baelish said. There were only four chairs in front of the principal's desk, and three of them were soon occupied by the Johnson family. Robb let Jon sit on the last free chair and rested both his hands upon his shoulders, in a protective gesture.

Baelish sat on his personal chair: -So. I've been told Mr Stark has been bullied by Mr Johnson.- he started.

-Exactly.- Robb stated, staring deadly at the sitting family: Roy Johnson's mother was the same as him, with red hair and his exact bossy face.

-May I know, Roy, why you did that?- the principal asked.

Robb's grip on Jon's shoulders clenched: if Roy had revealed Jon's "little job", and he would've, his brother would have been in trouble. Not that Jon didn't deserve to be punished if he had gotten busted, he still had done something wrong, but in that case Robb would have had problems with working extra shifts and seeing Theon, if Jon had to stay in detention and not able to watch over the kids. 

-I got mad because... he hadn't done my homework well.- Roy confessed. Robb had no idea what he meant for "not well" because Jon had probably done them too well and some teacher had connected the dots.

Baelish nodded, slowly: -Bullying is unacceptable in this school, and it has to be punished with...- he began, and Robb was amazed to see the man was on his side, but still, Mrs Johnson's sudden action ruined everything: -That's not fair! What about him then?! He's doing other students' work!- she yelled, pointing a Jon with his pink painted nail.

-Are you kidding me?!- Robb snapped, causing the woman to wince.

-Watch your tone, if you mind. You are the adults in here.- Baelish told them, annoyed. Robb felt Theon's hand lightly caressing his back before pulling away a second later, as if to try and relax him. It worked for a few seconds.

-They will both be punished, I can assure you. I was thinking that two weeks in detention for both of them will be fin...-

Robb immediately interrupted the man: he really hoped he had misunderstood.

-There's no way my bother is staying alone for two weeks with the one who beat the shit out of him!- he yelled, bringing the wrath of Mrs Johnson and her husband all around them. They all yelled simultaneously, Robb couldn't understand the Johnsons words or his own, but he was pretty sure they were all offensive. It took Baelish a while before he could manage to bring silence back again, and he declared, in the end: -I've made my decision.-

And that was unfair. And Robb was sure he was doing all that because of his dislike over Catelyn Tully's sons who were Starks and not Baelishs. He was about to start protesting again, but Theon preceded him, asking, politely: -Can I say something?-

Everyone, Roy and Jon (who had stayed silent all along) included, turned towards him. Baelish seemed to be surprised he was even there: -Mr Greyjoy, may I know what role do you play in all this?-

Theon stayed impassive at the insolent tone of the question: -I was the one who stopped Johnson from hitting Stark, and I think I know better than everyone else, other than the boys in question, how it really went.-

Robb wanted to kiss him in front of Baelish's irritated face, it would have been priceless.

-So what would you say about that?- there was a crack on the principal's voice, like the glass of professionalism covering his asshole nature was about to break.  

-The two things shouldn't be on the same level.- Theon announced.

Robb caught everyone's confused glares, Jon's especially, so he put his hands back on his shoulders again, massaging them kindly, trying to reassure both his brother and himself.

-Explain yourself, if you please.- Baelish said.

Theon sighed, almost bored: -With all due respect, but what's worse? Doing another student's homework or beating the crap out of one? I saw what Johnson was doing to Stark, he had grabbed him by his throat and who knows what else he would have done if I hadn't been there.-

Everyone in the room was left speechless, Robb didn't think anybody had ever managed to make Petyr Baelish shut his mouth. He was amazed.

-I mean, have you seen the bruises on this poor boy's neck?- Theon pointed at Jon with his head.

-Johnson could have just forced him making his homework and you think seven days sitting on a desk are the right punishment for a boy who hit his classmate? And you think it's fair to discipline a boy who's nothing but a victim?- after that statement everybody started the chaos once again, but this time Robb remained silent and let Roy, his parents and Baelish fight as much as they wanted: Theon had a future as a lawyer, and that was a fact.

He smiled lightly at him, trying not to make Jon notice, but he almost laughed when Theon answered with a wink. 

 

 

About two hours later, Baelish made his final decision: maybe he was influenced by the fact that the Starks and Theon hadn't pushed all his buttons down (that day) contrary to the Johnsons, but everything worked out pretty good. Jon would have stayed in detention that day for two hours, and Roy would have been suspended for the rest of the week.

Theon was extremely proud of himself.

-Robb, does your head still hurt? With all that screaming...- Jon asked his brother, as Robb and Theon stared with an amused glare the Johnsons leaving the school with a quick pace.

Theon raised his brow at the red haired man: Robb gestured, discreetly, as if to say "I'll tell you later". 

-A bit.- he answered.

Jon pointed at the stairs that led to the floor below: -There's a vending machine downstairs, maybe some tea could make you feel better.-

Theon bit his tongue to stop himself from commenting and accusing Jon of acting like a middle aged woman, and let Robb handle that: -You should go back to class, Jon.-

-Come on, my class is almost over, I won't miss a thing!- the boy protested, grabbing his brother by his arm and dragging him down the stairs. All Theon could do was following them.

-Do you want something, Mr Greyjoy?- Jon asked that shyly and with still a hint of dislike in the tip of his tongue, but somehow Theon believed that being careful with words was Jon's way to thank him.

-No, don't worry.- he simply said.

They went down all the countless steps of the stair, until they reached for the vending machine, standing against the wall, right in front of the stairs.

-That dude's parents are really despicable.- Robb stared, furiously sipping his tea.

Theon nodded at that, patting him once on his back: -You turned into a hyena in there.-

Robb looked at Jon, still unable to believe the words he had heard a few hours ago: -They wanted you to be disciplined the same way as him. I mean, are they nuts?-

Jon pursed his lips: -Mr Baelish was about to agree with them...-

Theon was about to add "but he didn't", when he heard the quick and soft ticking of a pair of high heels: Robb, Jon and Theon looked up to the top of the stairs, where Miss Harris was, tons of papers in her hands.

-Oh, good morning Jon! Mr Stark!- she squeaked, an enormous red smile painted on her face.

-Morning, ma'am.- Robb answered politely.

-Good morning Miss Harris.- Jon said.

The woman's smile brightened even more once she saw Theon: the young man suspected, in fact (well, he was sure of it), that she had a huge crush on him. And that was bad. She was a funny, polite and kind woman, but Theon was gay and in a pseudo-relationship with a man.

-Oh, hi Theon!-

He smiled back at the woman, but his mouth turned into a giant O that was soon covered by his hands when he saw Miss Harris' left heel cracking right when she was climbing down the second step. The woman let out a sharp and deafening scream, rolling down the stairs and stomping into the ground with a loud thud. Then she went silent.

Robb immediately ran to her, as Jon and Theon couldn't do much more than staring at each other with their eyes open wide and theirs hands on their mouths.

-Miss Harris... can you hear me?- Robb had bent to the woman's side and was now smacking her face lightly. 

-Is she dead?- Theon and Jon asked, getting in return, luckily, a painful moan from the young teacher. 

-Ma'am, stay still.- Robb gently ordered her, so he could turn to the other boys: -Could you give me a hand?-

Theon and Jon approached him, but Theon lost his breath, as if he had been kicked and punched in the stomach, in seeing the unnatural position of Miss Harris' leg. That must have been Jon's same feeling, because the teen screamed, instantly: -Oooh my god...-

Miss Harris covered her eyes with her hand, asking: -Is it so bad? I don't feel like watching that.-

Robb clenched his teeth, as if to say "of fucking course", but tried to reassure her anyway: -Don't you worry, Miss Harris, it's fine.-

-That's definitely NOT fine, holy shit!- Theon exclaimed, as Jon covered his mouth with his hand and bent down, like he was going to throw up at any moment: -Fuuck, it's...-

Robb raised his head, staring deadly at them: -You're not helping! Miss Harris, I'm going to call an ambulance, don't worry, you'll be fine. Theon, Jon's going to be sick, could you take him to the toilet or in class? I got this.-

No matter how little he liked being alone with Jon, removing that broken leg from his brain was definitely a thing that had to be done. Theon grabbed Jon by his arm, eventually resting his hand on his back when the boy's face turned green, and guided him towards the stairs, obviously reminding him to climb them slowly.

-D'you need the toilet? Feel like vomiting?- Theon asked Jon, once they had reached for the upper floor.

Jon shook his head, panting.

-Hey, hey. Breathe.- Theon told him.

-Breathe.-

Jon did, or at least he tried to, then he wiped a few tears away from his eyes. Whether they were tears of sadness or they were just caused by the initial panic, Theon didn't know that.

-It's just that... it reminded me... I'm fine.- Jon mumbled, but he wasn't fine at all and Theon didn't know what to do: it was none of his job to take care of him. They hated each other, for fuck's sake! 

-Breathe.- Theon told him once again.

-Breathe. Breathe and breathe. Sit down for a minute.- when he saw Jon still looked near to have a panic attack, he helped him sitting on the floor, back against the wall. He sat by his side, repeating him to breathe every once in a while, as the teen hugged his knees. They stayed like that, in total silence, until they heard the sirens of the ambulance getting closer. 

Theon decided to speak up: -What an idiot, isn't she?- he said. 

Jon huffed, smiling: -We should have expected that.-

Theon chuckled too.

-Mr Greyjoy?-

-Hm?-

-Does this mean it'll only be you in class on Wednesday?-

Oh shit.

Chapter Text

-So, how long will you stay in detention?- 

Jon should have already started walking towards the classroom where usually people in detention had to be, but he decided to hide in the school yard for a while to call Ian: the older boy had asked him to see each other that day, and Jon had to explain him what happened with the principal and all the rest.

-Until five.- the boy answered.

-And can't I just pick you up by then? So we can go for a walk in the park.- Ian proposed, but Jon had to refuse: -Robb must be at work at half past three and I can't leave Bran and Rickon alone.-

-But they're going to be alone anyway, if you won't get home until five.- 

-Ty's going to be with them until I come back.-

-An' can't you ask him to stop by a few hours more? How much does a babysitter cost?-

Jon shook his head: -No, no, Ty's not a babysitter, he's my brother's frien...-

-Then what's the matter? Come on Jon, I want to see you.- Jon blushed at that confession. He was lucky Ian couldn't see him, right now.

He obviously ended up calling Ty and asking him to stay with Bran and Rickon until Robb's comeback. Obviously Ty had asked him why and Jon told him he was going out with Sam and Pyp. Obviously Ty had told him it was okay and to have fun. 

Jon entered his class seven minutes later, getting a straight lecture from the teacher who had to keep an eye on him. Well, them. Jon wasn't alone in class, and if the awareness of being in detention was already embarrassing, being in detention with none other than Ygritte was definitely more.

He had to leave his phone on the teacher's desk and sat next to the girl, as the teacher ordered them to do their homework.

-What did you do, Stark?- the girl said in a whisper, scanning him with her eyes.

-Miss Wild, you're in no position to chat with Mr Stark.- the teacher (whose both Jon and Ygritte ignored the name) scolded her.

Jon spent the first hour of detention between extra maths homework he would have preferred more not to do and the teacher's continuous and irritating clicking on the pen as he corrected some students' tests. But frankly he would have liked it better if it all remained like that, because when Ygritte let a piece of paper slip to his desk, Jon was engulfed by an enormous wave of distress: Sam and Grenn and everyone else always told him Ygritte had a crush on him. Jon didn't think that was true at all, but being alone with her made him feel anxious.

What did you do to be in here?

Jon tried to find a right answer: he couldn't write a twenty pages essay about how doing Roy Johnson's homework earned him and almost-strangulation and principal Baelish had given him just one day of detention because he hated Roy's parents way more than he hated Robb and... no.

Made someone's homework. Got busted. You? He wrote, and while making sure the teacher wasn't watching, he handed Ygritte the paper. The girl wrote her response quickly: she had a fast and messy calligraphy, it almost looked aggressive, and Jon thought it perfectly matched her personality.

Miss Harris didn't like my behavior during Greyjoy's class.

Jon frowned, staring at the girl in concern: the class with Theon Greyjoy had been almost a week ago. Why was Ygritte still in detention?

How long do you have to come here?

Til Wednesday.

What a bitch.

Yup.

Jon flinched once it was his turn to write on the paper, because the professor's phone started ringing and for a moment he believed he'd gotten caught. He saw Ygritte struggling not to laugh and he sighed in relief when the teacher exited the class to respond the call, without a word.

-Stop it.- he told the girl, but she laughed even more.

-You're a weakling.- she teased him.

-That's not true.- Jon replied: he was not. A weakling would have never managed to kiss a man as beautiful as Ian. A weakling would have left right away. But Jon made sure to keep that information for himself.

-Come on, you're here because you "made somebody else's homework". They're basically punishing you for being smart.- the girl accused him, playfully shoving his shoulder. Jon blushed at the contact: if it was true Ygritte had a crush on him, she was way more spontaneous than he would have ever been with Ian. So yeah, maybe Jon was a little bit of a weakling, when it came to relationships.

-Still better than yelling at some idiot.- he replied, and this time his shoulder met Ygritte's fist.

-I did that for you, you prick. And I even had to face a week of detention, because of you.- she reiterated.

Jon scribbled on his notebook: -Such a shame she's at the hospital, isn't it?- he said.

Ygritte's eyes widened, and just then Jon noticed her eyes were blue: honestly, he had never been that close to her. She was pretty, endlessly pretty, and maybe if Ian wasn't involved in everything Jon would have liked her. Like, really liked her. Maybe he would have liked her even if Ian ever dumped him. But Jon was gay, wasn't he? Or was he just bisexual? The thought of having sex with Ygritte didn't exactly attract him, but neither thinking about doing that with Ian did. But that was just because Jon was still a virgin and the idea of going further with someone was still weird to him. He wasn't like Robb, unfortunately.

-Who, Miss Harris?!- the girl's curious and at the same time thrilled voice brought him back to normality, so he told her backwards and forwards what had happened. Actually, he ended up telling her much more he would have wanted: he told her about Roy, Theon Greyjoy helping him ("hmpf, and he didn't ask you to pay him, after that?" was Ygritte's comment at that) and the way he had started flirting with Robb when they had casually met at the mall. He had told her about the visit at the principal's, and how Theon Greyjoy had convinced Baelish to give him just one day of detention ("Jon, he'll end up asking you to give him a blowjob, you know that right?") and how he, Robb and Theon Greyjoy had gone to get something to drink a few moments before Miss Harris did her theatrical arrival on the scene, rolling down the stairs. It was weird how that seemed so funny right now, because when that had happened, Jon just wanted to lock himself into some toilet and throw up: he had never seen a broken leg, not too close, at least; the day of Bran's accident he was sitting on the bleachers, too focused on trying to calm Rickon down, and when he had seen Miss Harris's leg all he could do was asking if Bran's had been like that too.

He didn't have a reason to tell her all that, but Ygritte was happy to listen to him and she was a good company. And the Unknown teacher still hadn't come back, so they could keep on talking.

-I think Greyjoy's so nice to you because he wants to fuck your bother.- Ygritte guessed, chuckling. 

Jon shivered at just the thought of that: -Ew, that would be my brother fucking him.-

Ygritte seemed to think about that: -Uhm, yeah. Greyjoy actually looks like a slut in heat. Can you imagine him wearing stockings and garters and your brother...-

-Ygritte!- the picture of that scene was so clear to Jon's eyes that he almost had to slap himself to forget that.

-Don't say that!-

Ygritte shrugged: -Why not? Greyjoy is gay, your brother is gay, they flirt, they have each other's numbers... they could even be fucking while you're sleeping.-

Jon didn't know if he had to be happy or not when Mr Unknown got back in class: he and Ygritte could have talked of something else. Now that the argument was still unfinished, Jon couldn't help but imagining Theon Greyjoy and his brother having sex.

 

 

 

When at five o'clock detention finally ended, Ian wasn't there yet. "I'll be five minutes late" he had texted him at half past four, but Jon had the chance to see that only when he had gotten out of school.

-Such a shame I won't have you as a detention mate, next two days.- Ygritte joked, ruffling his hair.

Jon smiled: -I know, I'm amazing.-

Ygritte huffed, holding back a laugh: -You know nothing.-

Jon started at her in confusion, as if to ask her for an explanation, but she just punched his arm: -I have to go, Jon Stark. See ya, uh?-

Jon saluted her by shoving her with his shoulder, just to have the pleasure to annoy her, and she responded with another punch, definitely harder than the first one, but with a smile on her face.

Ian showed up just when Ygritte had left. Jon was hit by warmth and anxiety all at once: he wasn't expecting him to be driving. He should have, honestly, since Ian was twenty one and was an actual adult and Jon didn't even know where he lived. And now what did he have to do? Get in the car and shake his hand? Or kiss him? 

Ian's car window lowered and the boy's voice blessed Jon's ears: -How many times do I have to tell you I won't bite you? Get in, come on.-

Jon obeyed with an embarrassed smile spreading across his face, sure his cheeks were as red as a burning iron, and he could swear they burned just like one, the moment Ian softly pecked his cheek, to greet him.

-Where are we off to?- Jon asked then, trying not to look like a weakling.

Ian rested his hands upon the driving wheel: -Have you ever been to the Mirage? It's a cool place.-

Jon almost choke with the air he was breathing: -Absolutely not! I mean, yes, I've been there but that's where my brother works so, no.-

Ian laughed at Jon's behavior and caressed his hair, offering another place: -What about Meereen? They make the best milkshakes.-

Jon shrugged: -Never been there.-

-Oh we absolutely have to go then.- Ian decided, satisfied, and started driving.

Jon felt something weird all over his body: he had never been in a car with somebody who was not Robb or one of his friends, but most of all, he had never done that in secret. Robb would have had a heart attack if he knew Jon was in a car with an older stranger, headed in a place he had never been to. At least, Ian was driving safe: he was so focused on the street that Jon didn't feel like talking much, during their small trip. That and also the fact that he couldn't get the imagine of his brother and Theon Greyjoy having sex out of his mind: it was ridiculous, but there had been a small courtship between those two. And that morning at school they seemed so comfortable with each other. Jon knew Theon Greyjoy would have gladly gotten laid with his brother, and that terrified him, but at least he could have gotten some comfort in knowing Robb would have never done something like that. Jon would have found out: in the end, there was always another Stark aside from Robb in the house, and then, his brother was full of extra shifts during that time. He didn't even have the time to think of seeing someone. The thing was disgusting just because if Theon Greyjoy would have ever managed to do something with Robb, he would have made Jon know about that in all the ways possible. 

Wanting to delete those thoughts, Jon decided that he and Ian would have never gotten to Meereen. Not right away, at least.

Once Ian parked the car, Jon captured his lips within an instant. Ian's hand caressed his neck, as Jon's stroked his hair.

-Am I doing it wrong?- Jon asked suddenly, when they parted. Ian's breath smashed against his mouth: -Not at all.-

They kissed for a while: Ian was incredibly sweet that Jon could have stayed there for the rest of his life. But when Ian tighten up, whispering "no, no, stop" right after Jon decided to sink his teeth on his lower lip, he believed he'd just killed everything.

-Is it something I did?- he asked him.

Ian smiled at him, pressing a soft kiss upon his forehead: -No, honey. At all. It's just that...- he took a deep breath.

-You're a virgin, am I wrong?-

Jon blushed: he didn't think Ian could go so straight to the point. He didn't look straight at all when he kissed him.

He nodded, slowly, lowering his glance. Ian rushed to rest two fingers on his chin, gently forcing him to look him in the eyes: -I'm not, Jon. And you have a nice effect on me. But I want to respect your wellness, we both must do that. So let's take it slow, okay? You're nowhere shy as I thought, eh?-

It was the cutest way to say "you got me hard" Jon had ever heard. It actually was the only one he had ever heard, but he doubted that any other twenty-one-year-old would have been that nice, if interested into some younger kid. Jon was grateful for that.

-Okay.- he said, smiling in awkwardness.

Ian pecked him on the lips a couple times, affectionately: -Let's go get a milkshake, shall we?-

 

 

 

 

-How the hell can I, I, make a storm of brats in heat keep their mouth shut?!- Theon yelled at the phone. Right now there were only three things he desired the most: Robb, a couch and a warm blanket. Instead, there he was, headed towards the damn park where had seen Ramsay because Bronn wanted Theon to "be more detailed with the backgrounds and a little bit of exercise outdoors would have helped him". Fuck it.

He had called Robb once he had started walking in the street and for a good fifteen minutes he hadn't done anything but complaining about his boss and Miss Harris preventing them from spending some time together that morning: Robb had wanted to go to the hospital with the woman, damn he and his kind soul, and all Theon could do was going to the park drawing people passing by. Then he had gone to work and at work they told him to go back to the park to do basically  the same thing he had done all day long, that was drawing random things. And on Wednesday, he would have had to be all alone with twenty teenagers asking him questions. Ugh.

-You'll do just fine, I'm sure of that.- Robb reassured him, the clicking of glasses against plates in the background, along with people's chattering.

-I want to be with you. Can you come by, tonight? We could watch a movie.- he asked him, hopeful: sex aside (that would have happened anyway) Theon was desperate to know how good it would have been to cuddle with Robb. He was deeply upset when the auburn haired boy refused his offer: -I can't, not tonight. I'm sorry, darling.- 

Theon felt a nice tingling running all over his body when Robb pronounced that nickname: Ramsay often called him "pup", but he liked "darling" way more. Most of all, because Robb's voice was sexier. And because there were many more possibilities Robb meant what he said right now than Ramsay could have ever meant in two years.

-Well, when then?- he asked him, almost begging.

Robb chuckled: -Didn't think you were so clingy.-

-Said the one who woke me up showering my face with kisses.- Theon replied, furrowing his brows when he walked in front of the high school: Jon Stark and that red haired girl were out the gates. It was five o'clock, so Theon figured the girl had gone pick Jon up after his detention. Suddenly, she ruffled his hair and the two of them started shoving each other playfully. They were a strange couple, to Theon's opinion: she looked a thousand times more into him than he was in her, and Theon could have bet his left eye that Jon was no good in bed. Actually, maybe those two didn't even have sex. Jon was a kid, for God's sake. Did he know how sex worked, at least? Did he know what a condom was? Why did he care?!

-How about Wednesday night? So I can comfort you if your class doesn't go well.-

Robb's voice caused him to shake his head and go back to Earth: -Wonderful. Miss you already.-

Chapter Text

Despite how challenging and at times stressful the duty of a parent could be, Robb had to admit that the best part of his job was going back home to his brothers. 

Maybe Ty was the one he trusted more than everyone else, but when the kids were involved Robb always felt safer when he himself took care of them, that's why he called so often. To be honest, he was sure if he hadn't been at work but with Theon instead, Ty would have kept his phone in his pocket for a longer period, but Robb's protective side always showed up, at some time, and it wasn't just about his brothers: Robb was protective more or less over everybody, even with David who was big and strong, older than him and definitely the most independent man on Earth. 

Not by chance, he couldn't hide that a small spot of his brain got worried when, coming home from work, only Ty was there to greet him, sitting on the couch, staring at some wedding pictures on his phone.

-Hey, where is everyone?- Robb asked, as Ty stood up from the couch with a tired smile on his face, stretching his shoulders: -Taking a nap: they dozed off at some point.-

Robb's eyes widened in admiration: -All of them? Teach me.- he begged him, as the other boy chuckled.

-Rickon ran around all day and drifted off in the end. Bran fell asleep while reading his book.- Ty explained.

-You should wake them up, by the way, otherwise they won't be able to sleep tonight.-

Robb nodded, giving his friend's arm a gentle squeeze: -Thank you for staying with them, Ty. What did Jon tell you about his detention? Was it bad?- he asked him.

Jon still hadn't left him any message at five, right after coming out of school. Robb was drowning in his work and Theon's call had kept him occupied for all his break (and a little bit more), and he still hadn't found a way to get to know if everything had gone just fine or less. And if Jon had really thrown up, after his teacher got hurt.

-Jon still hasn't come back.- Ty said simply, with a shrug of his shoulders. Immediately, Robb's brows furrowed and his mouth twisted: -Why, where is he supposed to be?-

Ty seemed just as confused ad he was: -Out with his friends, didn't he tell you?-

No, he did not. Robb wasn't angry, he trusted Jon and his group of friends. But still, he would have preferred to be informed: Jon always notified him whenever he was late or stopped by somewhere with someone. Sure, what happened with Rickon had been an accident, as Jon kept on saying, but Robb almost started thinking that was beginning to become a habit. He had noticed something was wrong with Jon, he seemed more distant, detached, lost in his thoughts and even more worried than usual. He wanted to talk to him and try to get things better, ask him if that was just a misunderstanding or if something was really wrong, but things had to be faced delicately with Jon, he had learnt that at his own expense. Maybe it was just anxiety because of the appointment with the principal, and now that it was all done he would have calmed down. But still he had asked him if there was something bad he had to tell him and Robb had told him everything was just fine because yes, everything was fine on his side, and the "Theon" argument would have been brought up with time. But it was all so weird and Robb just wanted his little brother to be okay.

Jon came home before Robb could give Ty an answer: the green eyed boy genuinely smiled at him, as his older brother only stared at Jon as he took of his jacket and rested it on the coatrack.

-There he is, our scoundrel!- Ty exclaimed, pinching Jon's cheeks as if he was a small chubby baby.

-How did detention go? Some Breakfast Club scene?- 

Jon shook his head: -Unfortunately not. I spent two amazing hours making maths homework.- he responded, disconsolate.

Robb crossed his arms to his chest: -Next time you go out with your friends, warn your brother too, okay?- he reminded him, gentle but strict.

Jon paled for a moment, apologizing: -Robb, I'm sorry, I forgot.-

Robb ruffled his hair, sighing: -It's fine, don't worry. Can you go and wake the boys while I start making dinner?-

-Sure.- Jon said, nodding.

-How's Miss Harris doing?-

Robb grunted: he had known the young woman for a while but he still didn't think she could be so melodramatic. At the hospital, she hadn't done anything but whining, crying and making the nurse fix the pillow behind her head all the time, even Bran who was ten had been able to face such an accident better than her.

-I think pretty fine: she couldn't shut up, just like always. She won't come back to school for quite a while, though.- he answered.

Jon stopped on the first step of the stairs: -So is Mr Greyjoy going to teach us alone?-

Robb shrugged, trying not to make any emotion shine through at Theon's name: just the fact that Jon called Mr Greyjoy the man his brother was having sex with was awkward and uncomfortable.

-I guess so, at least until they find a substitute. Listen, I'm doing the night shift on Wednesday, okay?- Robb said: he didn't deny the fact that if he ever caught Jon lying to him about where he was he would have most certainly gotten angry and grounded him for life, but he just couldn't help it. Moreover, he couldn't tell him he had started seeing someone right away: he would have told him, of course, but only when he and Theon would have had clearer minds. Theon had to know about the kids anyway. Robb had thought of that, and the only way he had to make something good with Theon was being honest to him, and hiding two little boys from him wasn't exactly a good example of sincerity. That's why he had to tell him.

-Okay, I'll order some pizza.- Jon said distractedly, running upstairs. Robb frowned: -You just ordered fried chicken the other day, Rickon will get sick!- he exclaimed, but Jon only huffed in response, evident sign that he wouldn't have listened to his brother but he would have done as he wanted anyway.

Robb held back from telling him something like "you can cook, take advantage of that, you prick" and focused on Ty, biting down on his lip. The boy with the pierced nose recognized that glance right away: that was Robb's begging stare, the stare he usually gave him when he needed a favor to make sure he could do something stupid. Ty adored that stare.

-What do you want me to do?- he asked him with a smirk.

Robb combined his hands as if he was praying: -Were you serious when you told me you would have spent the night with the kids if I ever wanted to stay at Theon's?-

Robb sinked his teeth on his lower lip's soft and wet flesh once again, staring hopefully at Ty as he rolled his eyes: -Say when.-

With his eyes glowing and a grateful smile decorating his face, Robb did a little satisfied jump: -Friday night. Thank you Ty, I don't know what I'd do without you.- 

-You'd be lost. Definitely.- the young man stated, gladly returning Robb's hug.

-Now make sure you two fuck each other, okay?- he told him, pinching his shoulder. 

Robb parted the hug, staring at his best friend with his cheeks suddenly turning scarlet red and sweat running down his spine: Ty was still sure he and Theon hadn't done anything.

He rested a hand on his nape, scratching distractedly: -Oh, you didn't know?-

 

 

 

On Wednesday morning, Theon almost smoked half of the cigarette pack during the small car trip from his house to the high school: Robb and principal Baelish had unfortunately assured him that Miss Harris wouldn't have come back to work for a still indefinite but surely long time frame. And while the school searched for an eventual substitute teacher, that they would have hopefully found by next week, Theon had to handle a bunch of twenty Juniors all alone.

There was a park saved exclusively for teachers in front of the school yard, and when Theon got out of his car he had a way to time travel back in 2009, when he still was a sixteen-year-old like the majority of kids around him, who were too busy talking to each other to notice him. There still were enormous differences between sixteen year old Theon and that generation's teenagers: for example, Theon always skipped classes to smoke a cigarette. Many times he didn't even go to school, and he risked to be held back every year. Theon doubted that the typical teen of that year, for example Jon Stark, was brave enough to ask if he could go the bathroom just to get in the school yard for a smoke. Theon highly doubted Jon could even have had an after-school job: he had seen Robb's house, and a twenty-five year old young man working in a simple bar would have rarely been able to afford such a big house like that one, without his parents' help. Jon Stark was surely living well: he didn't need to find a job, his parents made sure to give him everything he needed. Assuming Jon and his parents were in good terms, that was still a mystery to Theon, and it probably would have remained that until Robb wouldn't have decided to tell his brother they fucked: what was the difference? Sure, Theon was Jon's teacher (just for nine more classes), but their school relationship wouldn't have changed a thing: Theon would have barely stood him anyway, and he would have filled him with homework just because he liked being an authority over him.

And then, Jon spent the weekend at Robb's every once in a while, but they didn't live together, did they?

He felt the boy's eyes all over him as he climbed the school stairs and he almost bursted out laughing: Jon was with the red haired girl, again, and both of them were staring at him.

Theon wouldn't have handled the girl's complains once again, now that Miss Harris wasn't there to scold her: Theon could have even ended up saying offensive things to her.

One of the privileges Theon would have never thought he ended up obtaining was getting inside the school building before the bell rang: when he was a teen, he always got surprised by seeing his most hated teachers already sitting on their desk about thirty seconds after the first ring of the bell. Frankly, he didn't want to be one of them. And he wouldn't, not that time at least, because Theon had no idea where his class was. He didn't wander around for fifteen minutes searching for it, but he did ask a janitor for help because he knew what happened in a class when the teacher was five minutes late: paper airplanes started flying, students started climbing on desks, the blackboard was filled with bad words and phones started filming. And Theon wasn't ready to face all of hat on his own.

He luckily managed to get to class the moment just a few students still had to sit. He noticed that they were all more or less sitting in the same places of the last Wednesday: the last row, for example, was still occupied by Jon and his crew, all of them already sitting and with their books (book? did they need a book?) open.

Theon shook his head, sighing deeply: let's do this. 

-Okay, you better listen to me now.- he said out loud, taking his backpack off and resting it upon the teacher's desk. He sat upon that desk, staring at all of the students one by one once he had gotten their attention: -As some of you might know, Miss Harris got injured pretty bad.-

-What happened to her?- a blonde girl asked right away, and Theon thought she looked happier than sad.

-She fell from the stairs and broke her leg.- the illustrator answered quickly, trying not to look at Jon's direction: he still hadn't forgotten how that idiot had suddenly panicked who knows because of what, last thing he needed was him feeling sick again.

Once he had pronounced those words, he found himself smashing his hand upon the table a few times to make everybody shut up, since it looked like the end of the world was about to come, between stupid jokes and surprised noises.

Look at me. This sucks.

-Class has started, if you don't mind.- Theon said loudly, when he saw Jon and the red haired girl (Ingrid? Kristine?) sharing an amused smile. His eyes made it look like he was talking to everyone, but Theon just wanted those two to stop making goo-goo eyes at each other.

He grabbed his phone from his pocket, selecting the timer app: -Since I realized none of you, except for one or two people, has got an idea of how a human body looks like, I'm gonna be giving you some anatomy lessons, today.- he announced, and almost everybody huffed, Maybe-Ingrid louder than everyone.

-But first, I'm gonna give you twenty minutes to draw a human body. Naked. Male or female, that's up to you.- Theon grinned in seeing the teenagers' faces go pale and he admired the boy who raised his hand, asking: -Why do they have to be naked?-

Theon crossed his legs, still sitting on the desk, shrugging: -How are you supposed to notice a body's anatomy well if it's covered in clothes? Listen, do this.- he said, running a hand through his hair.

-If you have never seen a naked man or woman, or you feel embarrassed, just draw someone of your same gender. I’m sure you do shower and know how your private parts look like. If you don’t, then you’re disgusting. Once you're done, we're gonna put your drawings in a row and analyze them all together to see your mistakes, alright? You have twenty minutes, starting from now.-

Theon started the timer and stared at the students in front of him trying to make something good out of a hard picture in little time: Theon looked from his spot on the desk at how most of them were drawing with a heavy sign, as if they wanted everything to look fine on their first try just to end up consuming their eraser. The only one who looked sure of what he was doing was Jon's blond friend.

With Theon's surprise, also Robb's brother more or less seemed focused on his work: maybe he felt grateful for what he had done with principal Baelish, but it was weird anyway.

Theon believed it would have been hilarious: Jon staring deadly at him as he had to held his tongue and not reveal him he had let his brother fuck him all night long as he was sleeping on the room next door, but now he couldn't find anything funny in that: he still couldn't understand why only Robb was worried for Jon's problems with bullying and his parents didn't even show up at school, the day of their appointment with the principal. If Jon's parents were bad and not so present in their son's life, to Theon, who had spent his childhood surrounded by bad people, the fact of having sex with his brother, the only family member Jon felt comfortable with, behind his back, looked despicable.

When the twenty minutes were over and the phone started ringing, Theon told all the guys to write their names on the paper, before getting up and collecting all the drawings. He picked a tape from his backpack and sticked the drawing to the wall, next to the projector. Successively, he turned the electronic device on, showing the class the anatomical drawings he had done of the standards proportions of both a male and female body, seen by front, back and side view. 

He examined all the students' works, focusing on positive aspects (that rarely appeared) and negative ones (and he should have said lots of things about those but yeah, maybe not today): some of the heads were too big and the shoulders were too thin, others were too short or too tall, let alone the obvious insecurity everyone had with drawing breasts, penis and vaginas.

All the red haired girl, Ygritte Wild (what kind of name was that?), had done was drawing a stupid stylised man with a microscopic penis, but Theon had expected that.

Jon's friend, Grenn, had obviously made the better drawing above them all, because he was the only one who had drawn a female body in a natural position, and not the usual static one, and Theon was impressed.

Jon's wasn't bad either, in the end: there were a few mistakes here and there, but it was normal. Theon had expected way worse than that.

-Obviously, body proportions can change: that depends on your style of drawing but it all has to look balanced.- Theon explained finally, showing a bunch of cartoons characters he guessed everyone knew.

-We're gonna talk about cartoon proportions next time, alright? Hopefully with a substitute teacher.- Theon turned the projector off and slid his beloved IPad inside his backpack: a few students looked interested all of sudden, maybe Miss Harris' absence made everything look more interesting, and Theon never went out without his electronic canvas to draw, so he had shown the guys some of his sketches that he usually drew to entertain himself or relax, along with the ones Bronn had forced him to do at the park: he almost smiled when some of the random people he had selected to draw were recognised by a few guys.

Once the bell rang, Ygritte Wild ran out the classroom, but a few students stopped to say bye to their pseudo-teacher. Theon replied with a nod of his head. When he saw Robb's brother heading towards the door along with his friends, something made Theon block him: -Jon.- he called him.

Jon stopped and his cheeks pale as snow coloured pink. He whispered something like "I'll be right behind you" to his friends and approached the teacher's desk, holding onto his backpack's shoulder straps: -Yes, Mr Greyjoy?-

Theon inflated his cheeks, not really knowing what to say: he just couldn't ask him if his parents cared about him or not.

He sighed noisily and told the first bullshit that came to his brain: -You should make Grenn attend a real illustration class. He's talented.-

That wasn't an actual bullshit to be honest, the boy really was talented, but he had no reason to tell Jon about that. Not by coincidence, the boy stared at him in confusion: -Why can't you just tell him yourself?-

Theon shrugged: -Teens never follow teachers' advices. But they do follow their friends'.-

Jon nodded, embarrassed: -Okay, I'll tell him.-

Only silence followed that answer, because none of them knew what to say. Jon looked uncomfortable as fuck and really willing to leave, but Theon wasn't done with him yet: -How are you?- he asked him.  

The pink upon Jon's cheeks turned brighter: -Fine, I think.- he answered, hesitating.

-Did Johnson told you or did something?- Theon added, but Jon shook his head: every inch of his body seemed to be begging "can I go now?"

But Theon decided to try anyway: curiosity killed the cat, but cats had nine lives for a reason, didn't they?

-Did your parents get mad? Because of your detention, I mean.- he said, but he wanted to take that back immediately: Jon's pink shade on his cheeks disappeared and Theon almost thought he was back to the time right after Miss Harris had broken her leg. 

-M-My parents aren't... they...- he stuttered, and Theon rushed to get up from the chair and wave his hands: -Sorry, sorry, I didn't want to be intrusive. You're free to go.-

Jon didn't need to be told twice: he ran out the classroom at the speed of light, leaving Theon alone with a thousand more of other thoughts in his head: was Jon feeling scared? He wanted to talk about that with Robb, but that was none of his business. And then, that day had been way too nice, he didn't want to ruin it.

 

 

 

 

 

Robb got to Theon's flat a few minutes earlier: this thing of making Rickon take a nap for an hour a day was incredibly useful, because the little boy felt more relaxed and now Robb had an hour more for himself. 

Fixing his hair inside the elevator was becoming a weird habit, and Robb still was sure that by the way Theon looked at him, he could have even showed up to his house wearing a crocodile pajama and Theon would have been fine with that.

Robb wasn't a jealous man. He was a protective and loving man most of the times, but still, when he saw a tall and illegally attractive man leaving his almost-boyfriend's flat, he felt a strange presence pushing all his buttons down: who the hell was that?

Robb couldn't look threatening in front of a dude a foot taller than him, but the man winced when he saw him and raised his hands, justifying himself with a tense: -I like pussy, I swear!-

Robb frowned, as the man walked pass him and got inside the elevator. Still as confused as if he had just seen a flying pig, Robb saw Theon's beautiful face popping out his apartment's open door: he approached him.

-Who's your friend?- he asked him, and his words came out with a sharper and more impatient tone he expected.

Theon chuckled: -That was Daario. He's my best friend and he's a hundred per cent straight.- he reassured him.

-Oh, I noticed that.- Robb answered, staring deadly at the elevator, as if Daario was still there with them.

Theon rested his hands above his chest, grinning: -Then what are you worrying about?-

Robb answered him with an aggressive kiss on his lips and God only knows how much it lasted: it was more or less the same feeling Robb had felt the first time he had seen Theon, when he thought he was hitting on his baby brother, but now it all looked even more heightened, and he just needed to touch those soft lips and feel Theon's tongue against his.

-Don't you want to come in?- Theon whispered, pulling away from the kiss.

Robb shook his head right away: -No.-

Theon chuckled, affectionately kissing him upon his nose: -My jealous boy.-

Eventually Robb ended up getting inside the house, and him and Theon found themselves lying on the couch, holding onto each other, a warm blanket covering their bodies. Theon wasn't even sitting in the couch: his arse was on Robb's lap and his legs were curled around the auburn haired boy's waist.

-How did it go at school, in the end?- Robb gently asked Theon, sprinkling his face with sweet kisses. Theon smiled, relaxing more and more every time Robb's lips touched his skin: -Good.-

Robb smiled too, brushing his nose against the boy's cheek: -Told you.-

-Don't brag.- Theon replied, softly kissing his lips.

Robb lightly bit Theon's lower lip: -I'll brag on Friday, then.-

Theon raised his brow, his hands still caressing Robb's neck, and a smirk appeared on his face: -Friday?-

-Yeah. I'm taking you out to dinner at some cool restaurant and then we're coming back here. So you can show me how much that beautiful mouth can scream.- he stared kissing his jaw, as Theon's smile grew wider.

Robb felt Theon's hips pushing against his crotch and he whimpered: -What if I told you I don't want no fancy restaurant and I'd be more than happy to just share a burger with you?- Theon asked him, pressing a wet sloppy kiss on his neck.

Robb smiled as his hands started venturing underneath the illustrator's white t-shirt: -I'd ask you where have you been all this time.-

The two young men laughed at each other, nose to nose, and kissed once again, before Robb started unbuttoning Theon's jeans.

He wanted to tell him about Jon, Bran and Rickon, and Theon wanted to know if Jon's parents weren't treating him right and if the only reason the boy spent so much time at Robb's place was because he didn't like being alone with them. 

But when both of their jeans slipped down and their tongues touched, they completely forgot everything that didn't involve their naked bodies in that exact moment.

Chapter Text

-Why at least one of us has to end up with a boner when we're in your car?!- Theon bursted out laughing when Robb winced the moment his hand clenched around his dick, causing him to slam his head against the window: it was nothing new that Theon and Robb were having oral sex in the car. Theon had realized that happened more than he expected.

-Maybe you should keep your questions for later.- Robb retorted, his teeth clenched and his muscles fully tense: he had pulled his car over in the first free spot once Theon had rested his hand on his thigh. A totally natural gesture that the both of them had started making more and more often, but in that moment he ended up getting him hard. The thing that made everything look more embarrassing to Robb (and hotter to Theon) was the possibility of someone passing by and busting them at any moment.

-Maybe I should stop, since it's getting quite late.- Theon suggested, shrugging innocently, enjoying with a teasing smile Robb's fiery glare.

-Mr Greyjoy didn't want to go to any nice restaurant, we have plenty of time if we want to grab a burger.- he protested as a matter of fact, holding out a hand to playfully pull at Theon's hair: -And don't start something you can't finish.-

Theon ended what he had started, there was no doubt about that. Actually, for all Theon cared, he and Robb could have stayed inside that car endlessly, and the other man seemed to agree with him: Theon imagined that his consistent desire of traveling his hands all over Robb was caused by the fact that he no longer had a way to touch many times a body he yearned, for a long time. Even Robb had revealed him it had been quite a while since the last time he had had sex, but he didn't think that every time they met there would have always been the time and desire to do something dirty.

If that was a fairytale, one where the main character started singing according to their emotions, one where there was a perfect happy ending despite the initial chaos, Theon could have said he had fallen in love. Because that was what happened in fairytales, it was love at first sight and 90% of the times it ended up you had found the love of your life.

Theon wanted it to be a fairytale: him, Robb and a castle where to spend the rest of their lives fucking in every corner.

But Robb was no prince, there was no castle apart from him car and Theon didn't have a clue of what his feelings wanted him to understand: sex, whether it was oral or anal, with Robb happened basically all the time. But that was not what made Theon want to see the boy again right when his small flat's door closed and he was left all alone: Theon wanted Robb near him because Robb made him happy, feel comfortable. And in his heart he hoped Robb felt the same.

-Seriously, how can you eat that?- Robb had started making fun of him once the two of them had decided to stop at some hot dogs seller before taking a walk around the park.

-You're the stupid one if you don't like mustard, blame yourself.- Theon replied, leaning forward to give Robb a friendly shove.

The man chuckled, locking an arm around his neck to push him near him: Theon almost risked to splatter his hot dog on his shirt, but he relaxed once he felt Robb's soft and ketchup-flavored lips cuddling his own.

-You get sappier at every date, Stark.- Theon blew against the other man's lips, just to bite down his lower lip, gently.

-Let me spoil you.- Theon let Robb keep on kissing him softly on his lips, ignoring the thought of how much they actually smelled because of all that mustard, and he couldn't help but smiling a little bit more at every kiss that was added to the collection Robb was giving him.

When the young man pulled away, Theon raised on his tiptoes, leaning his head forward and keeping his mouth ajar, as if to invite Robb to go on and never stop again. But he went back to normal at the sight of Robb's smile: it was a beautiful smile, like everything that involved Robb, moreover. But it was a sad smile, a melancholic one.

-Hey...- he whispered to him, his fingertips gently running to caress his lightly bristly cheek. 

-Something wrong?-

Theon felt a little bit reassured when Robb shook his head and embraced his hand inside his own, pressing a delicate kiss against his knuckles: -You make me feel like I'm twenty again.- he revealed him.

-You ate hot dogs and walked around the park at twenty? That's for old people, Robb.- Theon was teasing him just to distract himself from the compliment: Robb made him feel like he was back to twenty too, with no Ramsay and no worries.

-Are you kidding me? D'you know how many couples are hiding behind the trees doing only god knows what, right now?- Robb exclaimed, shocking Theon by the spontaneity with which he had intertwined their free hands, as they continued their walk around the park: it was better being there late in the evening, because there were less people and it all was illuminated by a more tenuous light. There were no children brawling around, nor old women stopping you to spend hours and hours talking to you about their younger years, nor Ramsay with his arms wrapped around his new boyfriend's waist. It was just Robb and Theon. 

-Why? You came here often with your boyfriends?-

Robb shrugged at the provocative tone that was used to ask the question: -Why, you didn't?-

Theon sinked his teeth against his hot dog, answering with his mouth full: -I like cars better than trees.-

Theon felt a nice shiver tingling his whole backbone: Robb had bursted out laughing, and while doing that his grip around his hand tightened. 

It had been a really long time since the last time Theon had felt so comfortable with a guy: Ramsay always took him by the hand, he always made him stay close to him, but now it was different, with Robb it was all more... intimate. He didn't know if he was thinking all those things just because he had a completely new and negative opinion on Ramsay and he just wanted to make the good memories abandon his head, but now that he was thinking about it, Ramsay held his hand as if to declare him his property, as if to say that if Theon ever left him, if he had lost his grip on his hand, Theon would have never survived. And yes, maybe Theon felt the same way as Ramsay, back in the day, but still there he was a year later, alive and well, with a man holding his hand just because he wanted to feel him close.

He shook his head: fuck Ramsay, that was the past. It was time to focus on the present.

-And then, we're not that old: being twenty-five is not so different from being twenty.- he said, stretching his neck up to give Robb a quick kiss on his jaw.

-Sure, lots of things will change in somebody's life, and...-

Robb interrupted him, Theon almost flinched by the way his hand was holding onto his even tighter: it was like he was searching for help. 

-A thousand things can change in just one night, let alone five years.-

Theon was no good at comforting people, nor making them talk to him: he only knew how to listen, give a shoulder to cry onto, but he didn't know how to give useful advices. The only thing he could do in that moment with Robb was making everything a little less stressful and a little funnier. Or hotter.

-Well, from what I've seen these days, you're still in great shape.- he stated, letting go of Robb's hand to playfully pinch his ass. Robb winced at the touch, huffing in amusement, and grabbed Theon's hand once again with a calmer smile on his face: -So are you.-

The two of them shared another deep kiss, risking once again to make their dinner fall to the ground or smash against each other. And in that moment, no matter how much Theon hated teenage kids, he had to admit he was feeling just like one: being with Robb, even just staring at each other, made him feel good.  He still hadn't realized how much he had missed that, how much he needed someone like him in his life. And he felt like a teen because bloody hell, how long had that been going on? Too short. And he was already seeing the stars.

-Okay, let's go grab a drink.- Theon decided, pulling away from the kiss and throwing the rest of his dinner in a dumpster.

-This time it's on me.-

 

 

 

 

 

Ty nodded one last time, close by David's side: -So, you're gonna stay the night at this "friend" of yours, this Grenn guy, and you're coming back tomorrow after lunch?- 

Ty knew how to be protective just as Robb was, when he should've: Jon knew that pretty well.

The twenty-five-year-old was sitting in the HOuse Stark's couch next to his fiancée, staring at his nephew the same way Robb looked at him when he had to make the same recommendations all over again.  

-Yes, Uncle Ty.- Jon answered for the umpteenth time.

-Is there something Robb doesn't want you to do that you still have to tell me?- Ty added, crossing his arms up to his chest and staring suspiciously at the young Stark boy. 

Jon chuckled: -No, I don't think so. Can I go now?-

-Of course you can; let the boy breathe, Ty.- David took action and succored the teen, pressing a soft kiss on his partner's cheek. 

Ty huffed and rolled his eyes, still fully focused on his best friend's little brother: -Go and have fun. I'll call you once Robb gets back from work, okay?-

-Okay, thank you Uncle Ty. Bye David!- Jon waved at the two adults, before leaving home with his black backpack on.

David couldn't help but smiling and pinching Ty's side, lovingly: -You don't want one too, do you?- he joked.

His fiancée hit his arm lightly: -Absolutely not. I want at least five of them, and they all must have your smile.-

Ty extended his feet on the couch, greeting with a smile David's fingertips driving along his jaw and his lips upon his own.

-Hmm...- he whimpered in satisfaction, feeling his fiancée's arms wrapping around his body.

-It's nice to see they're doing fine.- David said, in a low voice, fearing one of the youngest Starks could hear him: Ty knew what he was talking about, that was Robb's brothers getting by even after losing their parents.

Living again all that had happened that tragic night inside his mind, Ty nodded slowly: -Robb is handling all this better than I thought. And my expectations were already high.- he stated.

David kissed him quickly on his temple: -And then, look at Jon: it makes me happy to see he managed to make some new friends. If I think 'bout his little face that day...-

-Don't wanna think about it, Dave. Hurts too much.- Ty curled up even closed against his future husband's side and closed his eyes, breathing in and out. David started brushing his light brown hair tenderly, as if to apologize. Ty slowly opened his eyes once again: -Where's the little boy?- he asked.

He knew Bran was in his room, reading, because Robb had bought him so many books Bran would have had to spend at least six months locked inside his bedroom til late at night to read them all, but Rickon didn't have his leg in a cast and he was free to wander all round the house however he pleased, and Ty had to admit he had lost the sight of him for a minute.

He saw David turning towards the kitchen, smiling shyly, and he relaxed, allowing himself to rest his head on his fiancée's thighs: -He's still drawing at the kitchen table.-

Ty nodded, eyes half open, feeling a wave of tiredness crashing all over his body, until he heard David say: -Maybe I should start making dinner.- 

He didn't have to think twice when he grabbed his hand, holding the man back near him: -Five more minutes.-

He felt David's full and soft lips pressing tenderly upon his forehead, as the older boy whispered to his ear: -You're never too old for a nap, you know that? Get some rest.- 

Ty whined, displeased, once he felt David's body abandoning him, but he no longer care about it when he found himself covered in a warm blanket: David kissed his forehead once again, and his steps heading to the kitchen lulled Ty like no lullaby had ever done before. He felt right: he was happy to know Robb was doing fine, and so were his little brothers.

Most of all, it was nice to know that Jon, after all he'd been through, had found some friends to lean on. And to spent Friday nights with.

 

 

 

 

When Ian had told him to "come here more often" referring to the supermarket, Jon didn't think that was because Ian literally lived next to the supermarket. Once the older boy welcomed him at the front door of the whole building, Jon was surprised to be kissed on the mouth and not on his cheek, like it happened the last time. Still, he couldn't help but blushing and smiling: -Hi.-

Ian smiled back: -Hi to you.- 

He started brushing his hand against Jon's arms, lowering his glance to make their eyes meet: -Is it me or you're a bit nervous?-

Jon didn't know how useful it could be to deny it all: if Ian had already realized something was wrong (he absolutely had to do something to hide his emotions better) it was pointless to pretend.

-A little, yeah.- he confessed, shrugging shyly.

Ian winked at him, going back to caress his arms: -I told you I wanted to take it slow for a reason, didn't I?-

-It's not that.- the youngest one rushed to say.

-You know, Robb doesn't know I'm here and...-

-Lying to him is upsetting you. I can imagine that. Come here.- Jon found himself being held by two strong but gentle arms: it wasn't that different from being held by Robb, even if with Ian there was some sort of still-unknown-what-kind-of attraction mixed to it all. And then, Jon didn't feel his heart pirouetting when Robb hugged him, but with Ian he did. But still there was something about Ian, in the sudden hug and the kiss on the forehead he had just gave him, that scarily reminded Jon of his brother. Maybe that was what he was searching for: someone that acted like Robb but who wasn't Robb. So maybe his older brother would have had less problems and more time for himself, if Jon had found someone else to talk to or cry to.

-Let's get inside, how about that? I promise you it's going to be alright.- Ian suggested, but he didn't let Jon the time to answer: he grabbed his hand and guided him inside the building, up to his small apartment. Ian had suggested a nice night, a homemade simple dinner and a stupid movie they would have watched on the "tiniest tv ever", and then maybe they would have even had the time to talk about themselves and get to know each other better. Pyp, Sam and Grenn would have spent the night together, and Grenn would have gone and pick him up with his Jeep just when Jon would have called him. And then Jon would have talked to his best friends about his night.

Jon knew he didn't have to trust Ian that much, because he was an adult and which kind of twenty-one-year-old wants to watch a movie with a sixteen-year-old kid? But he felt fine with Ian: he knew he would have never tried to slip his hands who knows where.

What was bothering him was the awareness of being lying to Robb: if something had happened, even if the smallest thing went wrong, and Jon had to call him, not only Robb would have gotten scared to death, but he could have probably lost his trust on him. And that was the last thing Jon wanted. He would have told him right away, "hey Robb, I've got a date", and then he would have ran away from all the uncomfortable questions with a smile on his face, if his date had been Ygritte or any other boy or girl around his own age. Ian was five years older than Jon and four years younger than Robb. His brother would have never accepted that, he would have gone mad.

-Jon? Relax.- Ian's hands started massaging his shoulders, as Jon started looking around the one-room flat in front of his eyes: small and simple, almost completely occupied by the king size bed in the middle of the room, all the furniture was so small it looked like a hobbit was living in there: the kitchen, the tiny fridge, a tv just a few inches bigger than a tablet, a squared table and a couch that could handle no more than two people. But it was all so tidy that Jon liked that anyway.

-I know, it's not so...-

Jon interrupted the young man with a peck on his lips: -Shut it. I like it. And I like you too.-

At that point, Ian kissed him back.

 

 

 

-Everybody's looking at us sideways, you know?- Theon settled himself between Robb's leg, who was sitting on the barstool, to grab his face in between his hands and give him long, sloppy and drunk kiss. He had noticed how people around there, old men playing pool or darts and teenagers struggling with their first beer and cigarette, were staring at them and commenting, and he had to tell Robb.

-Fuck them all.- he answered himself, welcoming Robb's hand around his waist with a smile and a satisfied moan.

-That's just because you're on your fourth beer, darling.- Robb's lips murmured, pressed against his cheek.

-You're drunk too!- Theon replied, happily hitting the other man's chest with a laugh.

-I'm just buzzed.- Robb defended himself, holding him even closer.

-Liar, you're drunk.-

Robb bursted out laughing, probably at the sight of Theon's wasted smile, and nodded: -Maybe a little.-

Theon kept on drinking and popping a multitude of kisses on Robb's cheeks for a period of time that the illustrator couldn't establish: it could have been seconds, minutes, or maybe even hours, because he was in that mental state when nothing mattered more than the funny tingle running all over his body and the way everything around him looked blurrier.

He moved away from Robb only when some random old man yelled at them to get a room, but he started laughing with tears in his eyes when both himself and Robb replied to that with a loud: -Go fuck yourself!-

-I need another beer!- Theon exclaimed, clicking his fingers to get the bartender's attention and sitting back on his stool. 

Robb leaned towards him to bite his ear: -You're exaggerating, my darling.-

Theon drowned his teeth down his own lower lip, chuckling both because of the nickname and the light tickle of Robb's breath against his neck: -I like it when you call me like that.- he admitted.

Robb nuzzled his nose against the slope of his neckline: -Like what, darling?- 

-Mhm mhm.- Theon nodded, pleased, thanking the bartender with a smile when she handed him his beer.

-I'll call you darling more often, then.- Robb grinned, biting down the soft flesh of Theon's neck, causing him to wince.

That was the moment when Theon turned to the left, towards the front door, and saw him entering the bar: Ramsay with his new boyfriend and an enormous group of friends Theon didn't know. Even with the awareness that Robb's eyes would have glowed brighter, Theon noticed Ramsay's baby blue iris from the other side of the bar anyway: his green eyes were the first thing his ex had seen, and he didn't dare to look away not even for a second. Theon recognized that look: those dilated pupils, his jaw clenching, as he was breathing slowly. It was the glare Ramsay had all the times they had a huge fight, the glare that was always followed by a harsh fuck right after. A glare of which Theon, years before, couldn't resist.

Maybe he'll follow me, if I go to the toilet. Theon thought. His drunk side, actually. 

But what if he did? What if Ramsay really followed him? What would have happened then? Theon was with Robb and that was way better. But he felt plenty of curiosity to know what would have happened, even more with all the alcohol Theon had inside his body, encouraging him to "seize the moment".

Still with Ramsay's ice eyes on him, Theon turned to face Robb, still busy kissing his neck: -Hey, I gotta go to the toilet. Gotta pee. Had too much to drink.- 

Robb nodded with one last bite on the illustrator's neck: -Don't leave me here waiting for too long.-

Theon grinned when Robb patted his arse the moment he walked past him, heading to the toilets: his eyes immediately started searching for Ramsay's, and Theon felt an enormous sensation of amusement when he saw his ex boyfriend boiling into rage.

When he closed the toilet door, still looking behind him, Ramsay had just started to move. It didn't take long before he joined him inside the empty bar's toilet: now that he was looking at him without being petrified (God bless the alcohol), Theon realized that almost nothing had changed in him: same hairstyle, same beautiful body, same elegant-on-his-own-way style. Still charismatic. Their breakup hadn't marked him the same way it had done with Theon, who had lost weight and left his hair grow longer. But after all, he shouldn't have been surprised, since he had been the one and only to suffer.

-I see you're already busy with someone else.- was the first thing Ramsay told him, his eyes running all over Theon's figure, judging him.

-I apologize for not being as fast as you.- Theon replied. 

It was a moment. Ramsay grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and violently smashed him against one of the toilets' green door. Theon held back a painful groan, clenching his teeth and fists.

-Who the fuck is him?!- the brunet growled, his face a few inches away from the blond man's. 

-Why do you care?- Theon replied.

-You do have your new slut.-

Ramsay smashed him more against the door, pressing his crotch against Theon's. Ramsay's boner pushing down his body almost made him go back to being sober: he wasn't no longer curios to know how Ramsay would have reacted at the sight of this ex having fun. Right now, Theon was so fucking pissed off, but he just couldn't release himself from Ramsay's grip: he had always been stronger than him.

-You do know I could fuck you right here, harder like never before, with the risk of everybody seeing us, don't you?! I wouldn't give a shit, I'd fuck you senseless, without even getting one single finger inside that bitch hole of yours. And you'd fucking like it. You'd like it, because you're nothing but a slut. My old slut.- Ramsay's words were mean, cruel. If he had pronounced them when they still were a couple, Theon would have bursted into tears and ended up doing everything he wanted: he would have really let himself being fucked like a slut, just as long as he could have been called "puppy" again. But now Theon and Ramsay were no longer a couple, they were nothing at all. 

I fucked up.

Ramsay bent his head, deeply sniffing at the scent on Theon's neck, still rigid as a trunk: -This is not your scent. You smell like that asshole. It disgusts me.- he growled.

Everything that doesn't involve you, disgusts you.

That was what Theon wanted to tell him. If he thought about all the years he had spent with him, in his bed, madly in love, head over heels for him, so sure that blue eyed man was the love of his life, when  all Ramsay was doing was going to work and fucking his colleagues, going clubbing and fucking random dudes, going everywhere and fucking everyone, while Theon was waiting for him at home, believing every lie, every stupid excuse his boyfriend had come up with, he would have cried til he passed out.  

But he wouldn't, because that meant giving Ramsay another reason to make fun of him: if he had really done that, if he had started to cry, Ramsay would have really raped him, in the public eye, in Robb's eye. Robb waiting for him a few meters away, unaware of what was going on, only wanting to spend time with him and only him. It was thanks to Robb that Theon managed to shake his head, giving Ramsay a disdainful smile: -You disgust me.-he told him.

Suddenly, he was endlessly happy that his penis was erected, in that moment: his knee violently smashing against Ramsay's crotch hurt his ex boyfriend even more and Theon absolutely loved the way Ramsay's face twitched from the pain, as he bent down. 

-Touch me again and I'll kill you.- Theon pointed a finger at him, giving him one last warning, and the effect of the alcohol was giving him so much adrenaline he could have seriously killed him, if he dared to approach him again. 

He exited the toilet, leaving there both Ramsay and a part of himself, one that, honestly, he wouldn't have missed at all.

 

 

 

 

 

-Jesus, I knew horror movies sucked nowadays, but this is too much.- Ian stated, turning off the small tv in the middle of the ending credits. Jon chuckled: the one they had just seen, while cuddling on the couch, had been more or less the worst movie in cinema history ever. Jon hoped a few scene were intentionally stupid and pathetic, because the more he thought about that, the more he felt like laughing, and Jon wasn't exactly the kind of guy who had fun while watching a horror movie, that is.

-At least dinner was good.- Jon decided to comfort the older boy, lightly shoving him on the shoulder. 

-What was your first impression about me?- he asked suddenly: it wasn't so usual that a twenty-one-year-old grown ass man laid his eyes on a teenager, let alone in a supermarket. Jon was curious.

Ian shrugged: -Honestly, I thought you worked as a babysitter.-

He explained himself once he had seen the teen's confused face: -You softened me, you were so cute: you had a little boy on your shoulders and a kid on a wheelchair to look after and you were handling it damn good. I guess those were your little brothers.- 

Jon nodded, smiling at the thought of Rickon's cheeky smile and Bran's wise brown eyes: -Rickon already adores you for what you did with milk. Actually he adores everyone.-

-Looks like a wonderful kid.- Ian guessed, his hands running all over Jon's curly hair.

The youngest one nodded, enjoying the massage: -He is. He's so sweet, and kind, and funny... and then there's Bran. He's... God, he's too much for this world.-

Ian fixed the blanket covering both of them better around Jon's body, interested: -Really?-

Jon hesitated, trying to find the right words to say: describing his little brother wasn't that easy as it seemed.

-He's smart and... sensitive and... have you ever met someone and thought "they are going to go far someday"? That's the same with Bran: he could find a cure to cancer, or become the new Tolkien, or both... I don't know how to explain it.-

-You're so sweet.- Ian smiled widely at the boy's speech, and couldn't resist the temptation of popping a loud kiss upon his nose.

-My sisters say that too. Arya always says she's more manly than I am.- Jon chuckled.

Ian frowned, and Jon remembered he had never talked to him about his younger sisters, not even once: -Oh yeah, I've got two younger sisters. Sansa and Arya. Fourteen and twelve. They don't live with us.-

-Then where?-

Jon shrugged: -They've been adopted before Robb obtained our full custody, back when I still lived in a foster home and Bran and Rickon changed foster family every week.-

He wetted his lips, who had suddenly become dry: -We adore their new family, and they adore us too. Sure, we miss the girls so much, but... at least we can see them whenever we want to. Somehow it could have been worse.- 

Only silence spoke, after that last comment. Ian stayed there, petting Jon's hair for a few more minutes, before he found the courage to say: -Would you like to stay the night?-

Jon held his breath: sleeping at some older boy's place? He, a virgin, staying the night with an older boy attracted to him? He didn't like that option very much: Ian could have touched him, forcing him into something he didn't want to do. Jon knew none of this would have happened, but it could have. It could have.

-We're just going to sleep, Jon. I know you're young, and I know I'm older than you, and I'm aware of the weird situation we're into, so I'm not going to touch you anywhere until you feel ready for it. I promise. But I don't feel like letting you go tonight.-

Ian seemed to be begging him, and Jon didn't know what to do: he wanted to sleep with him, because he trusted him, somehow he did. But despite his young age, Jon still owned a shred of common sense, and he knew he could have fucked up. But anyway, if something had gone wrong, the door was a foot away from the bed and Ian's house wasn't that far away from his: if something happened, Jon would have come back home to Robb, he would have took a well deserved scolding and then Robb would have reassured him like he always did. And fuck Ian. If something happened. But there was nothing wrong going on, right now. 

-Okay.- Jon whispered, relaxing underneath the touch of Ian's lips against his. 

-Let me text Grenn.-

 

 

 

 

Robb's sobriety had gone right into the toilet about four beers ago: now the only not blurry thing he was able to see was Theon's face smiling at him. He felt the boy's hands touching him all over his face and heard his drunken laugh, and apart from all the noise and the awareness that he would have drunk at least ten bottles of water the following day, Robb was relaxed.

-Kissing you when drunk it's even better.- Theon exclaimed, biting down Robb's lip for the umpteenth time that night. The redhead kissed him back, holding the other man's body as closer as possible. Robb was so drunk he could barely keep his eyes open, not that he did that when he was kissing someone: who knew what Theon did instead, when he was kissing him, if his eyes were closed as Robb's or not. They probably weren't closed right in that moment, because he abruptly ended the kiss, clearly irritated.

-What's happening, darling?- Robb complained, not fully realizing how pathetic his voice sounded.

Theon crossed his arms to his chest, pouting in such a way that Robb believed he was home with Rickon, for a minute: -I want him to stop watching us.-

-Who?- Robb raised his brow, and Theon pointed with his head towards a man behind them: Robb couldn't really see that much, but he deduced he was a little bit older than him and his hair were black. Oh, and he was holding a man with white hair tied up in a bun tight against his side.

-You know him?-

Theon nodded, so mad Robb feared that smoke could come out his nostrils: -He's my ex.- 

Robb gaped, finally understanding the connection between that stranger and Theon's rage, and he turned his head once again to look at the boy: it was stronger than him. He started laughing.

-What's so funny?!- Theon huffed, and he didn't even look drunk anymore.

But Robb just couldn't help himself: it was too funny. How could a man like that cheat on someone like Theon? That was ridiculous, so fucking ridiculous that it made him laugh. 

-I mean, have you seen him? I thought he was some sort of Greek God!- Robb exclaimed, cupping Theon's face and giving him a sloppy kiss on his mouth. 

-What do you mean?- 

Robb smiled at Theon's question, and kissed him again: -I mean he's ugly, darling. And that subspecies of albino is his new boyfriend? You're more beautiful than him, Theon. We're better than them.- 

Theon stayed silent, an old rock 'n roll song entered Robb's head, as the illustrator's eyes stared at the hated couple. Then he started laughing too: he looked at Robb with such a happy and spontaneous smile that all the butterflies inside the auburn haired man’s belly tripled.

-You're right! We're better!- Theon hugged him tight, still laughing at the top of his lungs. Robb joined his laugh immediately. He nuzzled his face against Theon's neck, kissing him here and there every now and then, but it all was so funny he couldn't really focus on what he was doing. It was just when Theon took his hand between his that he got back to planet Earth: the young man in front of him had red cheeks, a wide grin and his eyes were sparkling. To Robb, he was still beautiful even when all he could see was a blurry silhouette.

Theon pronounced his words keeping his voice low, but Robb heard them loud and clear, as if all the alcohol had stopped his effect on him all of sudden: -I want you to fuck me, Robb. Let's go home.-

 

 

 

 

 

Grenn's text appeared and disappeared inside Jon's mind repeatedly: that's fine with me, but call me if something goes wrong.

Nothing wrong would have happened: Jon wouldn't have stayed at Ian’s, otherwise. He trusted him, he had to let it be and let go a little: he had to believe him. Ian said he wouldn't have touched him, he wouldn't have done anything and that was it. 

Ian's mattress was way softer and more comfortable than Jon's, so softer that the boy was about to doze off and let every fear and insecurity behind, but he tensed up when the older boy's chest rested against his back, as his arms wrapped around Jon's body. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Of course Ian would have touched him, of course he would have tried to: he was twenty one and he was single. He wanted to do something, he did, and Jon had fallen for it like an idiot, like a...

-Is this okay? Hugging you.- Ian's husky and sleepy voice somehow managed to pacify him: hearing him talking reminded him he wasn't hanging out with a bad guy. 

Shyly, Jon rested his hand upon Ian's: -Sure.- 

Ian's breath tickled his neck, but Jon handled it anyway: how could he think he could have tried to make him do something dirty with him? He hadn't even changed his clothes in front of him, he had made Jon borrow one of his sweater and a pair of his sweatpants and let him go to the bathroom to change as he got into his pajama, that was basically the same as Jon's: he smelled Ian's scent all over him and it was all so comfortable and sweet that Jon finally managed to relax. 

-You had fun, tonight?- Ian said softly, pecking the boy upon his curls. 

Jon nodded, smiling lightly: -Yeah.- 

-Then sleep. Sleep and get some rest. It's all okay.- Ian held him even tighter, gently, but Jon didn't fall asleep right away: he had to grab his phone from the nightstand to read the message Ty had sent him: Robb's home. Goodnight buddy.

It was 1:15am. Late, but still better than last time.

He answered with a "thanks uncle Ty, night" and cuddled up against Ian's chest.

-All good?-

Jon nodded, finally relaxing and turning around to press a kiss upon those soft lips: -Yeah. Goodnight.-

 

 

 

 

 

Bran didn't usually wake up in the middle of the night. When that happened, it was generally because he had a bad feeling over something. That night, instead, he just seemed to be needing to use the bathroom. He checked on the digital clock on his nightstand, and those bright red numbers caused him to shut his still sleepy eyes: it was two in the morning. Robb had surely come home, so all he had to do was calling him out loud and hoping he heard him before he had to shout his name a hundred times and making inevitable for him to handle also a 60% awake Rickon (which was hard enough). 

He sat up, his cast always felt heavier at night, and it itched like hell, so much that the first nights after the day of his injury he always ended up screaming against his pillow, and it was up to Robb to calm him down or tell him some kind of story that could distract him from the itching until he finally managed to close his eyes.

-Robb?- he called, not really expecting an answer on his first try. 

-Robb?- he tried again, but all he got was a protesting whine from Rickon on the other side of the room, who was snoozing while hugging both his pillow and teddy bear.

-Robb? Robb, I need the bathroom!-

It was all pretty weird: usually Robb could hear him after the third time, and rushed into his room still sleepy and stumbling all over his own feet. Now Bran still hadn't been answered back, and the kid had already started to speculate: what if Robb had come home drunk and dozed off on the bed or on the couch? Impossible, Robb didn't drink, and he hadn't gone out to have fun, but to go to work. Maybe he was just tired and his sleep was so heavy he couldn't hear him and all Bran had to do was just insisting a little bit more, right? Still not really believable: Bran knew Robb, since the day he had become their legal guardian his sleep was light as a feather.

That lead to the last option, and Bran's heart seemed to jump up to his throat, threatening him to come out at any moment: what if something bad had happened to him?

-Robb?!- he called again, needing his big brother to show up as soon as possible and get rid of all those stupid hypothesis running inside his ten-year-old mind.

He heard a few steps walking down the hallway, and his heart seemed to calm down. Then he realized those weren't just someone's step, those were two people's steps. His head started spinning and his stomach started hurting.

When he saw Ty and David entering his room, Bran held his breath, waiting for the worse to come: something had happened to Robb and they were alone again. Robb had left, Robb was gone. Robb was dead.

-Bran, honey, is something wrong?- Ty's voice was calm and gentle, but Bran could clearly see how the man was trying to control his emotions, he had realized that from the way his movements were all tense and from the straight line his mouth had become: there was no way in Hell that Ty Lewis could be serious and not all smiles and cuddles. What the hell was going on?

-Where's Robb?- asked the ten-year-old, his eyes traveling from Ty to David.

Ty shrugged: -He's at work, buddy.-

Bran gasped: was he kidding him? It was two in the morning!

-But... but it's late!- he exclaimed, but the only answer he got were two pair of raised eyebrows.

-It's barely even midnight, Bran.- David told him.

This time it was the kid's turn to look confused: -But...- he looked at his alarm clock, and waited for David to examine it, scowling at it. 

The man scratched his black and messy hair: -Maybe it ran out of batteries. It's midnight, buddy, and Robb's still at work.- he reassured him, turning the alarm clock off. The red numbers disappeared, and Bran decided to believe him: it didn't happen really often that Robb had to stay at work until late at night, maybe that was the reason why he was so worried. 

-D'you need something, Bran? Or did y'just have a bad dream?- Ty asked him, approaching him to caress his hair.

Rickon mumbled something incomprehensible once again, and David kneeled to his side to help him fall back asleep.

Bran shook his head: -I just have to pee.-

Ty nodded a couple times: -Alright, baby, come here.- 

Ty picked Bran up with more difficulty than Robb, but that was because Robb was able to lift him up from the bed/couch/armchair/seat as if his whole body was made of feathers, and once they had made their way to the bathroom Bran had to wash his face: he had panicked, just like Jon did all the time.

That wasn't like him.

Ty waited for him to be done, then carried him back to his room, where they found David sitting on Rickon's bed, caressing the sleeping little boy's hair. Once they entered inside the room, David couldn't keep his eyes off them.

Ty tucked Bran in, kissing him on the cheek: -Get your sleep now, okay?-

Bran nodded, resting his head on the pillow: -Night, Uncle Ty.-

Ty caressed his hair with one had, as the other one grabbed David's: -Night, sweetie.-

-Night David.- the little boy whispered, staring to feel his eyelids getting heavy. 

-Goodnight buddy.- the lawyer answered with a tired smile on his face, heading towards the hallway while holding hands with his fiancée. The two of them got out the room, closing the door behind them slowly, as their shadows disappeared.

That was the moment Bran sat back up once again, confused and scared after noticing a weird detail about both Ty and David: if it was really midnight and Robb was still at work, why were they in their pajamas, as if they were spending the night at his place?

 

 

 

 

 

-Hurry up and open that door if you don't want me to fuck you in here.- Robb had already started unbuttoning the other man's jeans and wandering his hands in places they should have been only when they were alone in a bedroom and not in the middle of a hallway, as Theon tired the best he could to enter the key inside the keyhole. 

-I can't do it.- he chuckled, wincing when Robb stopped moving his hands around his lower body and grabbed the set of keys from his hand: -Jesus, no wonder you're a bottom.-

Robb managed to open the door on his first try (of course, he's a fucking expert Theon thought), and didn't waste time: he grabbed Theon by his arm and pushed him to the bed within a heartbeat. The illustrator's clothes disappeared, Robb almost tore them all off his body, and it almost looked weird to be naked and vulnerable underneath a fully dressed man. Weird, but terribly hot. 

Robb got rid of his shirt, throwing it on the ground along with Theon's clothes, and slowly leaned towards his face until their lips brushed against each other: -What's his name?-

Theon almost shivered at the sensuality of Robb's voice as he pronounced those words and licked his lips, observing him as he grabbed the bottle of lube from the nightstand, as he answered: -Ramsay.-

The bottle's click as it closed was the only sound Theon heard, mixed to both his and Robb's breaths. He arched his back and held his breath when a finger suddenly poked his hole.

Robb smiled at him, brushing his nose against Theon's cheek: -I'm grateful he left me all this.- he confessed.

-But I want you to know he was a dickhead, for doing all that to you.- 

Theon gasped and moaned at the entrance of a second finger inside him, sure that if Heaven ever existed, it would have had Robb's features: that man above him had become incredibly gentler, if compared to how he was feeling just a second ago. It was like the hunger of sex had become a desire of making love to Theon. 

That was improbable, since Robb didn't love him (not yet, Theon hoped) but the kindness in his tone and the delicate way his hands and body were moving were donating Theon a moment he never thought he could live again.

-How couldn't you be enough for him?- Robb's fingers started moving, but his eyes were still looking straight into Theon's green ones, full of a light Theon had never seen before, neither in Ramsay's eyes nor anybody else's.

-Look at you. You're so beautiful.- 

Theon could have bursted into tears at any minute: sex with Robb had always been good, intimate and addictive. Different from the others. 

But still that night, even if they didn't make proper love, Theon believed he had just made the first step towards a long-lasting relationship with someone who, for the first time, would have treated him the way he deserved. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-So, really? Nothing at all?- Pyp asked the question for the thirtieth time in five minutes.

Jon shook his head, trying not to laugh in the middle of the embarrassment: -He was gentle and honest: he said he can't wait to see me again.-

He thought about that morning, about Ian waking him up with a big smooch on his cheek, claiming that breakfast was ready, and about how they had cuddled all morning on the couch, right after eating their breakfast. Everything had been quiet and funny, and Jon was looking forward to his next date with him.

-That's amazing, Jon!- Sam exclaimed, a big happy grin printed on his cute chubby face. 

-Our good boy!- Grenn gave him a nice pat on his shoulder and ruffled his hair: Jon had come to his place around noon, right on time to help his friends making lunch, since he was the only one who could use the stove without risking to burn the house down.

Grenn's parents and his younger sister had spent the weekend at his grandparents, so, how it happened all Saturday mornings, it was just the four of them with an empty house, and they could chat all they wanted about everything: Jon had told them backwards and forwards about his night with Ian, even if there wasn't much to talk about, then the argument slipped on the second place when Jon encouraged Sam to talk about his relationship with Gilly. They all teased each other, laughing and joking until Jon realized it was almost four in the afternoon. 

-Shit, gotta go.- even Jon himself couldn't understand his rush, because he had told Robb he would have stayed at Grenn's for lunch. Maybe it was because his brother still hadn't texted him back, or just the fact that he hadn't seen Robb for almost twenty-four hours and his older brother probably wanted him to go back home anyway. 

He said bye to Sam and Pyp, put his black backpack on and waited for Grenn to grab his Jeep keys, for once happy he was doing just fine.

 

 

 

Robb opened his eyes only when he heard his phone buzzing upon the nightstand: daylight was blinding his blue iris, his head hurt like hell and he doubted he would have been able to grab his phone without crashing it to the floor. 

The only nice feeling was Theon's arms wrapped all around him and his head resting on his chest, but Robb's arm was smashed underneath the other man's body and it was all numb.

Robb answered the phone without even checking the name of the contact calling him: -Uhm, hello?-

-Robert fucking Stark, where the fucking fuck are you?!- Ty's pissed off and high pitched voice caused him to fully wake up: even the headache seemed to fade.

He checked the time on his phone: it was three and a half in the afternoon.

Shit.

-Holy shit!- he yelled, as Theon woke up, still cuddling to his side, mumbling in the background: -Why the fuck do you always have to yell when you're on the phone?-

Robb ignored him, focusing on his best friend's words only: -I told the boys you had an emergency at work, that Talisa was sick and you called us to make sure they didn't stay alone. But you have to come home. Now.-

Robb ran a hand through his hair and face: -Yeah. Coming right now. Shit.-

Ty hung up without even saying bye, something that never happened, but Robb figured it was all because of Bran's voice in the background searching for his uncle. 

Robb should have dressed up the quickest he could and drive back home instantly, but he felt the terrible urge to throw his head back on the pillow and sigh loudly.

-What time did we fall asleep, tonight?- he asked Theon.

-Tonight? You mean this morning.- Theon grunted, breaking away from his body and stretching out.

-And good morning, by the way.-

Robb sat up once again, kissing Theon good morning on his lips: -Family emergency, really gotta go.- he apologized.

-Uhm, why am I not surprised?- 

Robb stared at Theon with pleading eyes, begging him not got get mad at him because that was the last thing he needed: he didn't have a clue of how many more family emergencies would have happened, if they would have ever become an actual couple. 

Theon rolled his eyes, exasperated: -You calling me tonight?- 

Robb smiled at him, grateful, and popped a loud smooch upon his cheek: -Sure.-

He dressed up the faster he could, still being careful not to put his shirt backwards (Bran or Jon would have noticed that) and it was almost four int he afternoon when he finally got inside his car.

He started the engine.

The car didn't make a sound.

Terrified, Robb stared at the dashboard.

-Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck!- 

He punched the steering wheel, refusing to look back at the lancet pointing at the last red gas bar line, and typed Theon's number on his phone: -Darling? Could you do me a favor?-

 

 

 

 

Theon could feel the tension between him and Robb: he had felt it the moment they had woken up and now he could feel it as he was driving his almost-boyfriend back home. 

He tapped his thumb on the steering wheel of his car: there was something Robb wasn't telling him.

Why there always had to be somebody calling him and he always had to leave right after? It was always because of family matters: Jon getting scared because Robb was coming home later than usual and now? What else?

Theon couldn't really care less about Jon's personal problems, that was his own business, but if Robb really wanted to keep on seeing him it was better for him to start telling him what was going on: he would have accepted it, if Jon ever had some sort of physical disease or problems with his parents and Robb had to be there for him in times of needs. Of course he would have been fine with that. When he was young, all Theon had ever wanted was having an older sibling who gave a shit about him when he was in trouble or not doing fine, and Jon had the fortune of having one, he couldn't keep that privilege away from him.

Still, he needed to know.

So, when Robb got out of his car, thanking him, all Theon did was getting out the car too and closing the door with a loud smash: -What's that you won't tell me?!-

Robb frowned, not really knowing what to answer: Theon had caught him by surprise. 

-What do I have to deal with, your parents' judgement? You still haven't told them you're gay?!- Theon exclaimed.

Robb sighed and shook his head, finally deciding to talk: -No, it's way more complicated than that.-

-Then tell me! Tell me and let's see if I can understand!- the illustrator yelled, and Robb clenched his teeth.

-Can we talk about it another time?- he asked him, but Theon wasn't willing to let go: he had to tell him what was going on.

-Is it about Jon? I noticed something's wrong with him, but I...-

-It's about Jon and a hundred thousand other things that you don't really want to know right now, Theon!- Robb had raised his voice as well, catching the illustrator off guard.

But Theon stayed still: -Of course I want to know them! Don't you want this to work out?!-

-Of course I do!-

-Then talk to me!-

Robb's hands tightened up in fists on his hair: that was the first time Theon saw him so uneasy. Totally different from the melancholic smile of the previous night, this was a whole different story: Robb was scared.

He decided to talk again and give him time to make his answers: -Is there something wrong with Jon? With your parents? Do they mistreat him?-

-Absolutely not!- Robb snapped, but he regretted that immediately: -Sorry, it wasn't my intention...-

Theon approached him, taking his hands between his; he pressed his lips against his knuckles, softly, a few times: -Tell me what's going on, Robb. Let's get inside and talk: for once that Jon's not around.- 

Robb started shaking his head, trying to release his hands from Theon's, who only hold him tighter in response: -No, you don't understand, Jon is always going to be around!-

At that point, Theon couldn't help but huffing: he was trying to figure something out of all that and he was more than willing to help, but he needed a little collaboration too in return.

-Oh come on, this is your house, how long is he going to visit his brother, a month?!-

Robb shook his head again, white as a ghost, on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Theon understood right away that he had to unburden himself, that he had to reveal him something, but when he finally decided to do that, Theon regretted everything: -You don't get it, this is his house too! I'm his legal guardian, Theon!-

Everything should have made sense, by then. And it did, actually: the reason why only Robb worried about what was happening to Jon at school, Jon panicking when Theon had named his parents, Jon being terrified because Robb hadn't come home at the time they had decided, Robb who didn't want Jon to know about them not because Theon was the teen's pseudo-teacher but because to Jon it would have been like meeting his dad's new boyfriend. It all fitted. But Theon didn't really want to believe any of that.

-His what?- he repeated, blinking and inclining his ears, in his heart hoping he had just misunderstood it all. 

Robb stopped talking again, staring right behind Theon: the other man heard the sound of a car pulling up and a door closing, and his eyes widened when, turning around, he found Jon's curly head in front of him. 

-What's going on? What is he doing here?- the teen asked, clenching his fists on his backpack's straps.

An intense play of glances followed that question: Jon looked at Theon, Theon looked at Robb, Robb looked at Theon and at Jon, and then Theon realized that none of the shirts him and Robb were wearing were hiding the trail of hickeys they had left on each other: Theon's on the left side of his neck and Robb on the right one.

Jon followed Theon's eyes over Robb's neck: once he saw the marks, he turned his attention back on his teacher, his eyes open wide, and he saw the same love bites all over his neck too. 

-Tell me that's not true.- he only said. 

Theon remained silent, staring at the boy: Robb was in charge of raising that brat. All by himself. Jon lived in the same house as him. Not because he liked to visit his older brother or because he didn't get along with his parents, but because Robb was his parents. And being with Robb would have only meant one thing: being with Jon too. Driving him where he wanted when Robb couldn't, helping him with homework, grounding him, having silent sex because they could have woken him up, I mean, helping Robb being a parent. And Theon wasn't ready at all for all that. 

-Jon...- Robb spoke first, but Jon exploded before he could add anything else: -What the fuck Robb, are you kidding me?! Are you fucking kidding me?!-

He had become so pale Theon was sure he would have passed out in front of them within a second, his eyes where so out of his orbits that they could have rolled down and Jesus Christ, Robb's face was just the same as his brother's.

-Where's everyone?!- Jon yelled.

-Who's "everyone"?!- Theon exclaimed back: was there something else he needed to know? Why should "everyone" have been at Robb's place?!

-Did you really fuck him?! Him?!- Jon pointed at Theon with the palm of his hands open, and the illustrator had to hold back with all his strength from yelling him "if you only knew how much we fucked".

Fortunately, Robb took action, putting up a strict and angry face almost immediately: -Watch your tone, young man! Who I'm seeing is none of your business.- 

Jon blinked, incredulous: -It's none of my business?! Did you tell him you're basically my dad?! Did he tell you?!-

Theon found himself crossing his arms to his chest, suddenly feeling al his dislike towards Jon multiply by a thousand: -Yeah he did, even though I would have liked it better if he didn't.- he answered him. 

-Shut up!- Jon squealed, going from corpse white to tomato red.

-Jon!- Robb scolded him again, but Theon only huffed, amused: -Oh yeah, or else you're gonna tell your redhead girlfriend?-

-Your what?!- Robb turned to Jon, furious, and the "Theon&Robb" topic seemed to be forgotten, as the teen, visibly caught off guard, looked terrified as he yelled: -She's not my girlfriend! And that's not the point! Robb, I told you I was fine with everyone but him!-

-Excuse me?!- Theon replied.

Robb shook his head, talking to his brother: -That’s it, that's enough: you crossed every line. Up to your room, now.-

-Gladly! And don't expect a different reaction from our siblings, big brother.- Jon stomped inside the house, without daring to look at the two adults one more time. 

Once they were alone, finally with silence surrounding them, Theon stared at Robb with his brow raised: -Siblings?- he repeated.

Robb sighed and ran a hand all over his face: -If it helps, my sisters would react way better than him.-

-Sisters?!- Theon yelled. He wanted to rip all his hair out of his head: there were other Starks?! Others like Jon?! Girls like Jon?! Older or younger?! Oh God.

Carefully, Robb approached him and grabbed his hand: Theon detested the way it all felt good anyway, even after finding out Robb had kids to look after.

-Let's get inside, maybe it's better if you see it all by yourself.- 

Theon would have wanted to tell him no, that kids weren't exactly for him, and they would have eventually spoken on the phone later that evening, but his legs seemed to be moving on their own.

He honestly hoped to find two teenage girls in the living room, maybe a seventeen-year-old and a fourteen or thirteen-year-old, but all he saw (and believe me, to Theon that was too much to see) was a little boy around ten with light brown hair and a pair of brown eyes, sitting on the couch with his leg in a cast and a book on his lap.

Everyone, even a blind man, would have said that kid was adorable. Everyone but Theon.

-Oh Jesus.- he said, facepalming, turning on the other side.

-What's happening, Robb? Why did Jon come home yelling?- the kid asked, innocently. 

Theon stared at Robb letting go of his hand and kneeling down to face the kid, caressing his head and pressing a gentle kiss on his forehead: -Can I introduce you to someone?- he asked him.

Oh no.

The kid's deep brown eyes rested upon Theon's: they weren't judging him, but they were careful, curious, and they seemed to know more than a kid of that age should have. Theon had to admit from the very start that there was something different in that kid. 

-This is Theon, a dear friend of mine. Theon, he's my little brother, Bran.- Robb politely introduced them, and in normal circumstances (if there hadn't been a kid in there), Theon would have been offended in being called a friend, because you didn't have sex with your friends. 

Bran nodded, staring at the stranger: -Hi.- he said politely, and Theon had a feeling that kid had already understood Theon was no friend of Robb but something more.

-Hi.- Theon mumbled, looking everywhere but on Bran's face. 

He felt Robb resting a gentle hand on his back: -Let's go to the kitchen, shall we?-

Theon nodded and Robb gave one last kiss on his younger brother's forehead: Theon almost vomited at the thought Robb had kissed him (had done him things) with the same mouth he used to kiss a kid.

-You should have told me.- Theon stated, once they reached the kitchen, ungracefully sitting down on a chair.

-Sure, then you'd be gone.- Robb mumbled, sitting in front of him. 

-The only reason why I'm considering to runaway is because you lied to me, Robb. Exactly like Ramsay did: he was hiding whores and you were hiding kids!- Theon replied, trying not to punch the table: all of that didn't make any sense. The man he liked the most was forced to handle the thing Theon hated the most. 

Kill me.

-I did that because I like you a lot! I wanted to wait for the right time before telling you!- Robb justified, and his beautiful blue eyes suddenly started watering.

-You could have been honest from the very start, Robb, I did ask you many times to tell me about y...- Theon's words died in his throat when he saw a kid, another one, entering the kitchen.

He had blond hair, just like his own, so it probably had a few red shades underneath the sunlight. He was tiny and had the same blue eyes as Robb's. Seeing him in the same room as Robb and Theon could have made people think he was both their biological son. In other words, he was Theon's worst fucking nightmare.

-What is that thing?!- Theon asked, jumping up from the chair, backing off as further as he could form the little child, as if he had been an enormously giant spider.

Despite the terror and his dislike towards the little monster, Theon noticed immediately the way Robb's eyes softened and his lips curved into a smile, at the sight of the child rubbing his eyes: -He's my baby!- he exclaimed, extending his arms and helping the child, who looked like he had just woken up, climbing on his lap. 

Theon blinked, hoping he hadn't heard right, even if by now he did no longer know what to believe in: -Is he yours?!-

If at first Robb looked scared, anxious and insecure, now that he had that little boy in his arms, he was a totally different person: he smiled at Theon, softly, and shook his head in amusement. 

-No, he's my baby brother, Rickon.- he informed him, before setting a big kiss on the little boy's cheek, he had such a wide smile on his face that his dimples seemed to be threatening to open up.

On the contrary, Theon was anything but happy: -Oh my  god there's another one... he's even younger than the other one... please tell me your sisters are older than him.-

He was begging him, as if his sisters' age was something Robb could have chosen himself. But one thing was sure: if Robb's sisters were infants who still had to wear a diaper, Theon would have ran away and nobody would have ever heard of him again. He would have suffered because of Robb, not having him by his side any longer, but it would have been too much for him anyway. 

But Robb was still smiling at him, even more amused than he was before: -Youngest Of Four, let me introduce you to the Youngest Of Six.-

Well, that's a start. Theon thought, as Robb kept on showering the little boy's face with kisses: -This precious little boy!- with one last kiss on the tip of his nose, Robb managed to make Rickon burst out in a loud and childish laugh that almost made Theon's ears bleed.

-Yeah, precious...- he murmured, ironically.

That would have been harder than he expected.

Chapter Text

-I don't know if I want to talk to you.- 

Right after Robb had told the little boy to go and watch tv along with his brother, addressing him by the nickname "love" (love?! Love?!), Theon stood up from the table with the intention to leave Robb's place. Well, it actually wasn't just Robb's place, it was also Jon's, and Bran and Rickon's, and two still unknown girls'.

He felt betrayed, he couldn't find any explanation for what Robb had done: okay, they were not an actual couple, but he hadn't done anything but repeating to Theon that he did want them to become one. Both of them wanted that, for God's sake, and even if Theon had never been in a situation such as his (thank God), he believed that was an argument to be put in first place, in a relationship: how could a couple work things out if one of them kept a whole family living in the same house as his to the other one?!

-Please, don't leave.- Robb begged him, standing up too and being quick enough to grab his hand: Theon felt that warmth once again, and hated the fact that despite being so fucking pissed off at Robb for all the things he had hidden from him, his feelings weren't changing. Just a couple more of them were added, but the attraction and desire to sleep and wake up next to him were still there, just like always.

-Robb, I'm no good with kids.- Theon said, almost sounding desperate, not being able not to hold he boy's hand tight: how was it even possible that even when the problem was Robb himself, Theon still needed him to calm down?

-It doesn't matter, that's not what I'm asking you.- Robb gave his cheek a gentle stroke with his free hand.

-But it's what you'll be asking me someday. And I can't do that, Robb.- Theon replied.

He wasn't ready to be a parent, and he would have never: he couldn't even imagine how hard it had to be, to look after a teen like Jon, but if you added two little boys to that, well then let me wish you good luck.

Theon didn't want kids, and he never would have had them, so that could only mean he didn't even want Robb's brothers in his life.

-Please, Theon. Don't go.- Robb pleased him again, and Theon had tears in his eyes: he terribly reminded him a young version of himself, of years ago, a version of himself that he had tried to forget with all the possible dedication ever, and Robb had brought that memory back to life with just one single sentence.

Theon let go of Robb's hand: -It might seem selfish to you, but I'm tired to be involved in relationships where I'll never be somebody's first priority.- 

He knew what he had just said was the perfect example of cruelty, selfishness and hypocrisy, but he had to try with all himself to make Robb hate him: he would have never had the courage to leave him, so it was up to Robb to leave Theon. But Robb was the perfect guy, the guy Theon had always searched for and never found, the guy he had hoped to be but he couldn't become: Robb was the kind of guy who never gave up.  

-You wanted a relationship different from the one you shared with Ramsay.- he told him, grabbing his hand once again to hold it tight against his own. 

-The one we have has nothing to do with that kind of relationship.-

He was right. He was so damn right and Theon was nothing but a coward. He was scared of three little kids, of his ex, he was afraid to fall in love with Robb and get hurt once there would have come a time he had to put his family before him. It was a stupid and selfish thought, so selfish that Theon hated himself too, but he wasn't used to it, putting family first, not anymore. Because nobody in his family had ever put him first.

He thought about how Robb had been strict with Jon, and the cuddles and kisses he had given his little brothers, and he was about to kick him in his balls exactly like he had done with Ramsay, if that would have made him let go of his hand, so that he could runaway. But then he remembered Robb's car was still at his place, and that in the end he would have never been able to runaway from Robb. Not right now, not now that Theon had started to feel good once again.

Once he felt his phone buzzing, Robb paled in reading the name of the person calling him: -It's the social worker.- he told Theon, as a justification.

For a moment, questioning about why a social worker would have called him passed through Theon's brain, but it all was soon covered by exasperation: that would have happen constantly. Social worker calling, Jon calling, one of his other siblings calling, fucking babysitter calling, everybody calling and interrupting the only few nice moments in Theon's life.

He was about to pull back once again, but Robb pulled him over to his chest, locking an arm around his hips, as if to keep him steady more easily: -Listen to this phone call with me: I'll tell you something later. Then you'll be free to go.-

Theon could have left whenever he wanted when Robb responded the call and putting the person on speaker, but something held him back: whether it was the warm sensation caused by the arm around his body or simply the urge to find a pretext to convince himself to stay with him, he didn't know. 

-Mr Lannister, hi.- Robb said, talking to the voice on the other side of the phone.

-Hello, Robb. Jon already told you a few days ago I would have called, didn't he?- said the social worker's voice.

-Yeah, he mentioned something. I knew that your last visit to the kids went good.-

While the two men went on with their phone call, Theon couldn't find anything to do other than resting his head on Robb's chest and listen.

-I'd like to come by tomorrow, if that's possible.- the social worker said, but Robb shook his head, sighing: -I have to take Bran to the hospital, tomorrow.-

-On Sunday? Did something happen?-

-He only has to start using crutches, sir. Hospitals are open seven days a week.-

A long and hoarse sigh could be heard through the phone: the social worker was probably thinking on some other day where he could show up at Robb's place. In fact: -Then what about Monday, is that okay?-

-Sure. Monday's good.- 

The phone call ended just once the two of them had politely said their goodbyes, and Robb ran a hand through his face. Theon didn't know what to say: he only knew that there was no longer need for him to keep on resting his head against Robb's chest, but he barely could even move away.

-So?- the illustrator asked, expecting a well detailed answer in return.

Robb took a deep breath, and Theon felt his body tensing up: -When my parents died, six kids were orphaned, including myself.- he started.

-All my dad's siblings live in America. My mother and her sister Lysa didn't have such a nice relationship and I would have turned twenty-four in a few months, so I thought: why not?-

Theon didn't want to hear that story, he didn't care about that, he couldn't see how that could have made things better. But he heard it anyway.

-I couldn't leave my little brothers and sisters, my kids, go and live in America. And aunt Lysa is the most hateful woman on Earth. And my uncle Edmure had just started a family on his own. We didn't have a family anymore, but we needed each other.-

Theon sighed: if Robb really thought he could have been moved by the typical grief heart-wrenching story, he had completely choose the wrong option. Theon wasn't angry because Robb had kids, Theon was furious because Robb had kids and he didn't tell him. 

-Fuck Theon, don't look at me like that and listen!- Robb yelled, not because he was getting mad, but more likely because he was about to burst into tears: -Once they'd known what happened, social workers landed on me like fucking vultures! My sisters had been adopted and I couldn't do anything to have them back, and it took me three months to get my brothers' custody, three months!-

"Don't cry" Theon wanted to scream, "don't fucking cry", but the sight of tears slipping down that beautiful man's cheeks, almost as if all the blue in his eyes was melting away, left him paralyzed.

-I dropped out of uni, found a job, I did everything to have my brothers with me and not who knows where. When I finally managed to do that, my whole life was exclusively based on them.-

Did that have to make him feel better? Rubbing in his face once again that he would have never been somebody's first choice, not even of the man who had kept on repeating him how beautiful he was and how much he deserved right the night before?

-It had been almost two years since the last time I spent the night with someone, Theon. Ty always told me I needed somebody to be with. Not someone to help me with the kids, but somebody to make love with and that made me feel good. And that's what I'm thinking too right now, because I'm selfish too.-

It was like Theon and Robb could talk to each other with their minds, because despite the red haired boy had just finished his sentence, Theon could swear he had heard him asking: "don't you think I deserve it?" And the answer was easy. Of course he did. Robb deserved everything except being a parent too soon. And judging by the clean house, the youngest kids' at first sight nice behaviors (Jon was definitely a special case), and the extraordinary self control Robb had shown with Jon (Theon would have slapped him right away, even if he was in Robb’s shoes), he seemed to be perfectly able to handle it all.

Theon hated little kids, but he admired Robb: he himself, for example, would have never been able to face such a thing. If he had been in Jon's same situation, instead, only his sister Yara would have worried about not letting him starve, but she would have never treated him the same way Robb treated his brothers. She would have been his "legal guardian" just in the papers, but otherwise she would have never took the role of full time parent like Robb seemed to be doing, but at least Theon was sure she would have tried to. Rodrik and Maron, instead, they would have left him alone who knows where doing who knows what. So, even thought he didn't really want to, even though he wanted his selfish side to take over, he agreed with Ty: Robb deserved somebody to love.

-Robb,- he started, not really knowing what to say later. Lucky that Robb interrupted him right away, holding his hands tight and resting them both upon his own heart: -I promise you I'll try my best, Theon. You deserve all the love in the world. And if this things work, if we work, that means you'll be part of my family. And you'll be my first priority too.-

Theon just wanted him to shut up: he didn't want to start crying too. It was almost funny how in just two weeks both of them had seen each other looking pathetic, with tears in their eyes. And it was beautiful just as much as that, the way both of them had come to the rescue with a kiss: Theon had never felt Robb so vulnerable, as their lips were touching; it almost looked like he was submitting and giving up to him.

Robb was exhausted, and Theon could see that: too many emotions in just one single day. All the fun of the night before, and he hadn't even had the time to complain about his hangover that he had to rush home. His car was out of gas, they had started arguing, Jon had gotten in the way, they had fought and now he had exploded.

-You're still way too beautiful. Even when you're crying. I hate you.- Theon huffed, once the kiss was over, admiring the boy's rosy and puffy lips.

Finally, Robb smiled lightly, staring at him right in the eye: -Tell me you're not leaving.-

Theon stood up on his tiptoes to give him a comforting kiss on his forehead: -Of course I'm not leaving: I like you too much to not even try. But I can't promise you anything.-

Theon was aware that everything depended on that choice: if he said no, that would have been no forever, but he said yes. And only God knew how much that yes would have lasted.

Robb smiled at him, again, this time a real smile, happy, over the moon: he kissed him with so much enthusiasm that Theon could barely even breathe, and he had to pull away with a huff and a chuckle: -Calm down, tiger.-

Robb pecked his lips in return.

Theon decided that was time to go home and reflect on what had just happened: -I should be going. Call me, so you can come and get your car back, okay?-

He let Robb rest a hand on his back and guide him to the front door, obviously walking pass the living room and in front of the two kids, the youngest one completely focused on some cartoon on the tv. The other kid, Bran, had his eyes steady on Robb, instead, and that was pretty unusual, if considered that Theon was the stranger one. But, again, there was something weird in that kid.

The goodbye at the front door was eccentric: with the kids a few feet away (and Jon upstairs), neither Robb or Theon felt like kissing again, something that the illustrator would have never thought in his whole life, being ashamed of kissing his almost-boyfriend in front of some little children. But that's how the story went.

And when Theon jumped in his car, leaving Robb's house for that day, he realized his neighbors would have thought he was insane, if they heard him yelling on his own. That's why he grabbed his phone and waited for his "best friend" to answer him: -Did something so important just happened that you even call me on the phone, now?- Daario teased him.

Theon rolled his eyes: -Come to my place now: I need to blow off steam.-

-Oh shit, that ain't good.-

 

 

 

 

For a year and a half (even more, actually), Robb had worried about how he would have reacted when his younger siblings, like Jon or Sansa, would have told him they were in a relationship with someone. A year ago, he could only imagine their embarrassment, when that day would have come. Right now, he understood it perfectly.

He decided to talk with Jon first: it was better to get over with it soon, because if things ever ended up in screams, groundings and slammed doors, it would have been up to Bran and Rickon's more mature reactions to make the twenty-five-year-old keep his cool. 

Now that he had arrived to his teen brother's door, he was about to knock, when he heard his sister Sansa's curios and excited voice exclaiming: -So now Robb has a boyfriend?-

-It was about time...- that was Arya.

-Yeah, too bad his pretty boyfriend's a huge pice of...-

Robb decided to enter the room without even knocking first: something inside him had flashed. He was irritated, he was pissed that Jon had called Sansa and Arya and started telling them about their brother's personal life: sure, they had the right to know, just like the boys, but exactly like he would have done with the kids, it was up to Robb to inform his baby sisters. The fact that Jon had done what he wanted for something that didn't involve him, but his older brother and legal guardian, was a great example of what could have been called a rude, wrong and fickle behavior.

-Okay, I'm taking this.- was the first thing Robb said once he stepped into the small room, violently closing the laptop but still not really wanting to: he would have really appreciated to talk a little with his baby sisters and he didn't like to interrupt conversations between them and Jon, but a certain someone had to be scolded.

-Robb!- Jon exclaimed, surprisingly shocked, getting up from the bed and gluing his big brown eyes on his older brother's figure.

-"Robb" my ass, Jon. Give me your phone.- the older boy ordered, extending the palm of his hand.

-You're cra...-

-Now, Jon.-

Surprising himself too by the strictness of the tone he had used to pronounce those words, Robb slipped the phone Jon had rested in his hands in his jeans back pocket. He had to be careful with what he said: Jon had tried to hide his head between his shoulders and had lowered his glance, like puppies did when they got yelled at, and knowing the boy's sensitive soul, if he wanted to avoid cries and tears, Robb had to think before speaking.

-Do you think you behaved well?- he asked him.

Jon shrugged, restoring his brassy attitude: -I could ask you the same thing.-

-Stop it: that's no way to behave, Jon. I know I'll never be mom and dad, but they raised you better than this.- Robb stated, resting Jon's laptop on the desk and crossing his arms over his chest.

Jon shook his head: -Don't mention mom and dad.-

-How can I not do that, Jon? You would have never talked to someone the same way you did to Theon, if they were still here.- Robb began, trying the best he could not to yell.

-Like it or not, you have to start behaving the way you did with them, with me too: what would have happened if Cersei showed up? You thought of that?-

-Don't fucking blame it on me! I feel too much pressure, it's not possible that it's always my fault!- and that was the moment Robb knew that in the middle of an argument with Jon, tears would have always been there.

He took a deep breath: -You reacted badly.-

-Because you lied to me! You said you were at work, that you would have come back, and I found you out of our house with Greyjoy and both of your necks full of...- Jon covered his face with both his hands, sitting down on the bed; he still didn't look like crying yet, but his brother knew the teen wouldn't have lasted any longer.

Robb sat next to him, biting his own lower lip: Jon wasn't completely wrong. 

After all, his reaction had just been spontaneous: apart from the returned dislike between him and Theon, Jon had to face a situation where his older brother lied to him about what he was doing, using the work excuse to make him stay home watching over the children as he went out having fun like a teen, which he was not.

-I made a mistake, I know that. And I'm asking you to forgive me, but understand that things aren't easy for me.-

-It's not easy for me either!-

-I know! But we have to collabora...-

-You can't allow yourself to lie to us. Not about such a thing. Listen, you're right to tell me it's none of my business to decide who you can fuck with, but you can't get mad because you got caught!- Jon had started yelling at the top of his lungs, even louder than before, when he had surprised Robb outside with Theon. Surprisingly, though, he wasn't crying yet.

-Jon...- the older brother started, trying to find a compromise, but the younger one didn't want to talk about it any longer: -Leave. Please, leave.-

Jon laid down on the bed, hiding his face on the pillow. Normally, Robb would have grabbed that pillow and thrown it away, forcing Jon to talk to him, to listen to his lecture. But that time he had to recognize the fact that it was him, and not Jon, the one who was wrong: Robb had lied, drove when drunk, and he was in no position to do either of the two things. That's why he left. 

 

 

 

 

-Why the hell are you laughing?!-

Drinking a beer at 5:30 in the afternoon on Saturday wasn't really something Theon would have usually done, not after such a giant hangover, but after he had just accepted to go on with a relationship with a guy who owned a house full of kids, he thought he could allow himself to do that.

Meanwhile, Daario had risked to fall from the couch, after he had heard the illustrator's story: -Did you really say yes to a guy who has kids?!-

-They're his brothers, not his sons.- Theon mumbled.

-Yeah, but it's like they are. And you hate kids. Try to tell me that's not funny.- Daario had to say no to a coffee with Daenerys and her three terrifying dogs to listen to Theon's drama queen speeches, and he looked incredibly relieved in seeing that wasn't just a report about how amazing sex with Robb was.

On the other side, Theon would have wanted to kick Daario out of his house immediately: -I didn't ask you to come here just to shit me.-

-You sure? You're drinking a beer during your hangover, you're basically begging me to assist you while you're vomiting.-

-Quit it. I needed comfort.- 

Daario chuckled, again: -For something you asked for? Who knows, maybe you'll like it, hanging out with kids, I mean.-

In response, Theon let his beer fall on the table and thanked heaven that his house was small: at least he didn't have to run that much to get to the bathroom and throw up everything he had in his stomach.

 

 

 

 

-Rickon, I know we interrupted your nap, but you have to eat something.- Robb placed two fingers underneath the little boy's chin, since he dangerously risked to end up with his face upon his plate of peas.

-'m sleepy....- Rickon complained, looking up to his oldest brother. Robb wasn't able to resist such cuteness, and kissed the little boy on the cheek: -Finish your dinner and then you can go to bed. Otherwise you won't feel good.-

The child closed his eyes, completely abandoning his chin on the palm of Robb's hand. 

-Come on, sweetheart. You have to eat.- he insisted. It took him hours to convince Rickon to finish almost all his dinner, and that included Robb personally feeding the little boy, leaving his own plate half empty to cool next to him. In a way, it was better that way: Robb and Jon always sat at the table in front of each other, and looking in their eyes would have been extremely embarrassing, right now.

Jon ate half of his dinner, Robb realized that only thanks to the sound of the plate being pushed towards him and the chair moving: the teen went to his room without a word, and Robb would have normally scolded him, reminding him nobody left the table until everybody was done eating, or that he should have at least asked to be excused, but he held it all back.

He put Rickon to bed right after, promising Bran he would have come back within five minutes: he still hadn't found a way to talk to his littlest brothers about Theon, and he felt like doing that separately more.

-Rickon, d'you remember Theon, the guy from today?- he asked the little boy, tucking him in. Rickon nodded, holding onto his plush: of course he did, it had happened that day.

Why was Robb so nervous in front of his five-year-old treasure?

-Well, you see, he's gonna start coming over more often. Maybe he'll stay for dinner, or he'll show up during the day. To spend some time with me. Are you okay with that?- he asked, carefully.

Rickon smiled in return, holding his teddy bear even tighter, nodding: -He's got funny teeth.-

Robb smiled, chuckling, and leaned towards the child to kiss him goodnight: -I love you so.-

-Love you too.- Rickon whispered, closing his eyes.

-Sleep well.- Robb fixed the sheets around the little boy's tiny body once more, turning the light on the nightstand off.

When he got back to the kitchen, Bran was still there, his dinner still unfinished. Robb stared at his own half empty plate and connected the dots: -Did you just eat slowly to stay with me while I finish my dinner?-

Bran shrugged: -Maybe.-

Robb sighed, holding out a hand: -At least let me heat it up.-

Bran handed him his plate, which Robb shoved inside the microwave along with his. 

He thanked heaven that Bran was a smart boy, because he had this feeling that above all his younger brothers, the ten-year-old would have been the one to understand him better.

-Did you spend the night at Theon's?- Bran asked once Robb had sat next to him, on Jon's chair.

Robb nodded shyly, avoiding to look at his little brother in the eye.

-Is he your boyfriend, now?-

-Sort of.-

Bran crossed his arms upon the table, resting his chin on them: -And couldn't you just say that, instead of lying?-

Robb sighed: -I don't know why I did that. I just know I made a mistake.-

-I thought something bad happened to you, yesterday night.-

Robb's brow furrowed once his ears heard such words: -How come?-

-You weren't answering me.-

-Why were you up? Did your cast hurt? You weren't feeling good?-

Bran shook his head, starting playing with his fork: -I just needed the bathroom. I guess neither you, or Ty or David considered that.-

Actually, I just forgot you were a little too smart. Robb thought, not really knowing what to say next apart from the umpteenth: -I'm sorry for lying to you. But Theon's not a bad guy: I wouldn't like him so much, otherwise.-

-I know he's not, this is just not his native habitat.- Bran joked, managing to make a laugh escape from Robb's lips: how much more could he love that kid? 

-He just has to get used to all of this.- Robb admitted.

-He didn't know about you either.-

Bran's brown eyes widened, making that one of those rare times in which Robb actually managed to surprise him: -Really?-

Robb nodded: -I made a mess, I'm aware of that.-

He stood up and grabbed their dishes: he wasn't that hungry, he just needed to drink some water to get rid of the smell and feeling of alcohol in his nostrils and stomach, and he was sure he would have thrown up, if he ate more. But he didn't care: there was no way more half of the food he had prepared was going straight in the trash. 

-He likes you a lot too.- Bran said suddenly, and Robb almost choked himself with his peas: -What did you say, buddy?- he asked him, cleaning his face with a napkin: he was very well aware of Bran's maturity, he damn was, but he didn't believe his little brother could also know something about love relationships.

-Theon. He looks at you almost the same way mom and dad looked at each other. It’s just that there's something different with him, like something is holding something else back. Maybe that's because you haven't been together as much as mom and dad.- Bran explained, incredibly calm: he was the only one, along with Robb, who could talk about their parents without his voice trembling. Rickon was learning to do that too, but Robb imagined that was just because Rickon was still too young to fully understand what they had lost.

-I wouldn't say he looks at me that way, Bran.- Robb said, remembering all the loving glances his mother and father addressed not only to each other but also to every other member of the family. He missed them so much.

-I said almost, indeed.- Bran replied, and Robb had to ruffle his hair, happy his buddy had reacted just fine.

-So are you okay with that? About me and Theon.- the young man wanted to hear him say that, actually. 

Bran shrugged: -I trust you, even though you lied: everybody makes mistakes, you would never forgive yourself if I got mad. You don't deserve that.-

Robb could have bursted into tears at any moment: he didn't know form which family member Bran had inherited his intelligence from (surely not their aunt Lysa), and maybe that was just all in his wheelhouse, but the world needed kids, adults, like Bran. Robb needed Bran.

-Thank you.- he whispered and Bran just gave a shrug of his shoulders: -For what?-

-For being my smart boy.-

That was the reaction Robb needed: he didn't want his mistakes to go unnoticed, but he didn't even want his relationship to be hated. And Bran had fully satisfied him, and he was only ten. Jon was sixteen.

It didn't take long for Robb to scoop Bran up from his chair and rest him on his lap, complaining out loud of how much it had been since the last time he had picked him up without the purpose of helping him climbing the stairs.

-You're gonna start using crutches tomorrow, you happy?- Robb kissed Bran on his head a couple times.

-Very.- the kid answered.

Robb smiled fondly at him: -Well, we have to celebrate: movie night?-

Bran nodded.

Chapter Text

One way or another, Robb ended up waking up early even on Sunday morning. If during a normal working day his alarm clock forced him to get up from the bed at seven o'clock, when it was turned off, Robb slept only an hour and a half more.

Bran usually woke up at ten, sometimes at half past nine, and every once in a while, when Saturday night had been particularly "intense", he ended up sleeping until half past ten. With Jon and Rickon, instead, it all worked differently: for the youngest one, half past ten was the earliest time he could have woken up to, however his Saturday night had been.

Since they lived together, Robb had never seen Rickon getting up from the bed at some time that was not late morning. Jon instead, but that was more understandable according to the boy's age, woke up at eleven even after spending all his day doing nothing. Most of the times, anyway, it was up to Robb to go and wake him up, telling him breakfast was ready and it wouldn't have stayed on the table for a very long time, with Rickon being there.

Getting up from his bed, Robb carefully selected the right hoodie to wear, one that didn't let the red marks Theon had left all over his neck show up. He sat on the couch, once he had reached for the living room, and turned the tv on, still keeping the volume low; he got lost zapping channels for a few minutes, before he picked a channel that showed a documentary about savannah animals. 

If Rickon sees this, he’ll ask me to play The Lion King.

Robb smiled: he would have gladly watched a movie with his baby brother, maybe not The Lion King, because despite it being his favorite cartoon as a child (and still was today, most certainly), he believed that seeing the death of a parent in an animated movie could somehow affect Rickon, remembering him of their parents, traumatizing him in a way. But there wouldn't have been time for that anyway: Robb had to take Bran to the hospital, so that the kid could finally get rid of that damn wheelchair and start using crutches.

Their appointment was at half past three: that meant Jon had to take care of Rickon, which would have brought Robb to have to talk with his brother (that right now was furious at him), to ask him to make sure Rickon didn't get hurt and took his nap at four in the afternoon. Bran and Robb wouldn't have stayed away for too long, the oldest one hoped, after all they only had to grab a pair of crutches, and the only thing they had to hope for was that the waiting before their turn wasn't too long. The hospital wasn't so distant from their place either, Robb didn't even have to drive that much.

-Shit!-

Robb slapped a hand on his forehead, rushing to grab his phone: his car was offside, at Theon's place.

Don't want to wake you up, can you call me as soon as you can? Pretty urgent. he wrote, but just a second later he had pressed sent, he got a video call from his sister: with a spontaneous smile on his face, even if aware of the upcoming conversation that would have showed up within a second, Robb opened the video call so that he could find himself in front of a beautiful girl soon to be a young woman: at only fourteen, Sansa was already as tall as Jon and taller than Robb had been when he was her age. Her red hair was so long it looked in flames, and she had Robb and Rickon's same blue eyes. And their mother's, of course. She already was a rare beauty at such a young age: Robb was terrified by the thought that now that Sansa was finally in high school, older boys could have stared at her. Jesus, even Robb would have stared at her, if he had been eighteen and they were not related.

He only hoped nothing bad ever happened, because with everything going more shitty as the days went on (looked like bad news never stopped coming) Robb didn't really want to add "break a few necks" to his to-do list.

-My princess! How are you?-

-Don't change the subject!-

-We don't even have a subject.- Robb didn't think he could have ended up laughing: he had imagined embarrassing questions, typical of a teen who was in love with love, just like Sansa was, and they would have come up at some point. It was just that it was weirdly funny.

-What's his name? How old is he?-

Robb rolled his eyes at the sight of Sansa's inquiring glare, but answered her anyway: -It's Theon, and he's twenty-five, just like me. We're only seeing each other, it's still nothing official.- 

-I want a picture. Can you give me his surname? I'll search him on Facebook!- 

-Don't you start being a stalker, young lady. For me, you're too young to even have a Facebook account.- Robb warned her: he was protective over his sisters just as much as he was over his brothers. He made no distinctions, neither of gender nor age, if there was something he didn't like, Papa Bear Robb took action instantly. 

-Oh come on, all the girls my age have it!- the girl exclaimed, brushing her long red hair behind her back.

-You have to be careful, you never know who could text you.-

-Come on Robb, I didn't think blokes of '93 could act so old.- Sansa was grinning, completely ignoring her older brother's warnings, and Robb really wanted to hug her: her new home was two hours away from Robb's, three from their parents' old one, and if he thought about all the fuel and time he had wasted to visit Sansa and Arya, he felt sick: when his siblings had been welcomed by foster families, Robb made a daily tour of all those houses to reassure every little sibling of his that sooner or later he would have managed to obtain their custody. Unfortunately, with Arya and Sansa, things didn't work out: on one side, he was furious at Raven and Lola for taking his little girls away from him, but on the other he hated himself, because Sansa and Arya looked so fucking happy that Robb was sure he could have never been able to give them that kind of wellness.

-Robb, are you listening to me?- his baby sister's impatient, but still amused, voice took him back to Earth. 

He shook his head lightly, focusing on her: -Sorry sweetie, I got lost: you were saying?-

Sansa sighed, pretending to be annoyed: -I asked you why Jon was so angry, once he found about your boyfriend.-

Robb shrugged: -That's the reason: he found out. He got angry because I didn't tell him: Theon works with his class and...-

-You're in a relationship with Jon's teacher?!-

Robb rolled his eyes: Sansa loved gossip, he was sure she knew everything about everyone at school.

-He's not his teacher, he just leads a ten class course and two are already...-

-We have to meet him.-

-Would you stop interrupting me?-

Sansa bursted out laughing once she saw her bother's pouting face: somehow, she reminded Robb a young version of himself. Calm, carefree, head up in the clouds, a huge dreamer, super smart and good at everything. Still, he was sure his little sister's future would have been way brighter than his: she would have become someone, she would have had a successful career, married the perfect man and had perfect children. Robb was willing to kill, to make sure that happened.

Sansa had started talking again, keeping on tormenting him with questions about Theon, but Robb was forced to turn around once he heard small steps coming down the stairs: -Hey, sweetheart.- he exclaimed, after seeing the figure of the baby of the house who was, barefoot and still in his pajamas, making his way to the couch.

-Come here, look who's there.- with just one arm, Robb managed to grab Rickon behind his backside and let him sit on his lap: the kid's eyes widened and lit up at the sight of his sister's face on the screen.

-Sansa!- he beamed, a big smile on his lips.

-Hi Rickon!- she yelled, just as enthusiastic.

-What are you two doing up at nine on Sunday morning?- Robb asked, brushing a few rebel locks away from Rickon's forehead.

-Went to sleep early, yesterday.- the kid reminded him. Robb almost scrunched his nose, remembering the way Jon had left the table in the middle of dinner, and frankly he didn't really want to see him just to end up arguing with him again. He still had his phone and laptop, Jon would have probably wanted them back, since he didn't look like he felt guilty for what he had done.

-I have an appointment with the beautician.- Sansa answered, distractedly staring at her nails.

Robb frowned: -Beautician? To do what?-

She shrugged: -School organizes a "back to school prom" to raise money to give to charity.-

-And you need a beautician.-

-You're not going to ask me why the prom's on Sunday?-

-No, I'm asking you why you need to go to a beautician.-

Sansa chuckled, as Robb wanted to rip all his hair off  his head: fuck, Sansa was growing up so fast.

-Actually, it's better if it's tonight.- the girl added, ignoring her older brother's question.

-If they decided to make it next Saturday, as everybody wanted, I would have had my period and can you imagine...-

-Period?!- Robb was that close to let Rickon fall from his knees: since when Sansa, his little girl, had started menstruating?

How old was she? Fourteen? And what was the average age for a girl to have her first period? Twelve? But Sansa had always been a little late, she had hit her first steps when she was one year and a half, let alone her first words. So, in a certain way, it was normal for her to have her first period when she was older than twelve; she had been adopted at thirteen and Robb was more than sure she still hadn't become a "woman", as people said, during that time.

Jesus, but now Arya was twelve!

-Yes, Robb. I know you know little or nothing about women, but...- Robb interrupted the girl by shaking his head a couple times, so exasperated that his face had to be so funny even little Rickon had started laughing: -Since when you talk about it so nonchalantly? It terrified you, not even a year ago.-

"I don't want to lose blood from... down there." she whined constantly. She repeated that sentence so often that Robb almost felt sad about not seeing that moment happening. But then he told himself that if he had, he would have had to handle a panic situation probably about the most important and at the same time embarrassing topic between a brother who was forced to be a parent and his little sister.

Not to mention that he would have also had to deal with a bathroom full of bloody tampons. 

There, that was one of the reasons why he was happy Sansa and Arya had been adopted by a couple of women: Raven and Lola were able to understand the two girls about certain girls matters in a way Robb could have never competed with. 

-I guess I realized that's a totally normal thing. I have to go now, or I'll be late.- Sansa shrugged again, grabbing her purse from the floor.

-Say hi to everyone, okay? Call me once you and Jon sort things out.- 

Robb nodded slowly, hoping that a clarification with Jon happened as soon as possible: -Sure, my sweet girl. Send kisses and cuddles to everyone, okay? To my little troublemaker in particular.-

Sansa smiled, giving him a thumbs up: -Will do. Gotta go now.-

Robb smiled in return, looking at Rickon: -Say bye to Sansa, love.-

Rickon waved enthusiastically, then the video call ended.

Robb pressed a loud kiss on Rickon's cheek, right after having released a long sigh: -You hungry?-

The kid nodded and Robb smiled at him, both his hands around the small body, feeling such an affectionate emotion just as intense but in the same time different from the one he felt when he held Theon that way: -That's good, because today's Sunday: and do you know what's for breakfast on Sunday?-

Rickon raised his hands to the sky, exclaiming, happy: -Pancakes!- 

-Good job, sweetheart!- Robb praises him with a surprised gasp and another kiss upon his nose: exactly on Sunday, on June 22nd 2017, all of Robb's brother had packed their bags and left their foster families (and foster home) and had finally moved in their new home.

Robb had gone and picked them up one by one on early morning, (he had showed up at Jon's at six o'clock after a long sleepless night), and once they had arrived home he had made pancakes for everyone. From that day on, that was every Sunday's typical breakfast: to remind everyone that despite Cersei and all the rest, they were still together.

He told the little boy to watch tv as he prepared everything, but it didn't take long for Rickon, while Robb was busy beating the eggs (still sleepy) to join him in the kitchen: -Robb, Bran is calling you.-

Robb thanked the little boy with a caress on his head, he rubbed his eyes and climbed upstairs: Bran was sitting on the bed, stretching out, tousled hair and sheets covering only half of his body.

-Good morning, buddy.- Robb greeted him.

-Morning Robb.- the kid answered, extending his arms towards his older brother, so that it could be easier for him to scoop him up. 

Robb settled the kid between his arms, yawning: -Bathroom?-

Bran nodded. 

Robb was so happy to know that was the last morning where he had to climb the stairs twice the time he should, because of that bloody wheelchair. And he would have been even happier once that it all would have actually happened: sure, Bran still couldn't walk, but at least he could move on his own, and Robb looked forward to see that smiling face.

Once Bran was settled on the couch and Robb started cooking again, Theon called: his voice was husky and dry, as if he had spent one hell of a night. It didn't take long for Robb to know why. 

-Hey, darling.-

-Robb, is there something important you have to tell me?-

-Thee, everything okay?-

-Sure. Just realized I have a small drinking problem.- 

Robb chuckled: Theon had whined in such way to sound like a lost puppy, and he couldn't help but imagining his cute face.

-Well?- the blond man added, impatiently.

Robb stared quickly at the living room, where Bran and Rickon were watching cartoons, not minding their older brother, and answered: -I have to take my little brother to the hospital, he has to take his crutches.-

-...and your car is down and you need a ride.- Theon finished. 

Robb nodded: -Exactly.- 

-So, what you're telling me is that now I have to get up, call a tow truck, tell 'em to bring your car to the nearest gas station and then I have to come and pick you and your brother up and take you to the hospital?-

Robb bit his lip: said like that, it really sounded pathetic and selfish. Theon was probably hating him right now, since he had just asked his pseudo-boyfriend to get up from the bed while he was in the middle of an hangover.

-Well... if that can comfort you, the appointment is at half past three.- Robb justified.

Theon huffed: -Fuck you Stark, I'm only doing this because you're good in bed.-

-You're an angel. Tell me whatever you want in return and I'll give it to you.- Robb thanked him, smiling once he heard the illustrator's interested "uhm": -Like, everything?-

-Everything.-

-I'll think about it. See you later, you prick.-

-See ya later, darling.-

Theon ended the call and Robb bit the inside of his cheek: Theon had told him he was no good with kids, that it wasn't something meant for him. That all he wanted was being the first priority of somebody who loved him. But he had also told him he would have tried, to handle it all, because he liked Robb too much.

Robb didn't think he deserved a guy like him, after lying and hiding things (people) from too many people. But still, there he was, helping him: blushing like a teen during their first date had come spontaneous, for Robb.

He shook his head lightly, grabbing a bowl of fruits from the fridge; he rested it on the table, next to the enormous pile of pancakes, and moved to the living room: -Boys, breakfast is ready.-

He rushed to help Bran sitting on his wheelchair (actually the kid had already started doing that by himself, Robb only made sure he didn't trip), ad Rickon jumped down the couch: -What about Jon?-

Robb stared at the clock on the wall: it was almost ten in the morning. A bit early to wake a teen up on Sunday, especially if the day before hadn't been that good, but Robb had a feeling that Jon would have had to spent another couple of bad days, if he still didn't want to talk to him.

-Could you go and wake him up, please?- he asked the kid. Rickon nodded happily, disappearing at the top of the stairs before Robb could even have the time to say "thanks love" and "don't run".

-He'll end up falling, some day.- Bran mumbled, pushing the wheel of his chair to reach the kitchen. 

Robb's eyes widened, terrified: -Don't even joke like that.-

The thought of another little boy with a broken leg (and having to climb the stairs at least fifty times a day) made him feel sick. 

He sat on his usual spot and poured a glass of juice: -Do you remember the first time I made you this kind of breakfast?- he asked Bran. 

The kid nodded: -Who can forget that?-

-Yeah, who can forget that?-

Jon showed up a few moments later silence had filled the room: Rickon wandered around him all happy, but the sixteen-year-old didn't seem very pleased to be there. He sat in front of Robb without saying a word, under his older brother's stare: -Well, good morning.-

Jon mumbled something in response, rolling his eyes.

-Are you going to eat or not?- Robb pointed at his still empty plate, while the younger ones had already started eating their breakfast.

-'m not hungry.- 

Robb was scarily near to throw a fist against the table: -You ate nothing yesterday at dinner. Stop it and eat your breakfast.-

Jon raised his brow, crossing his arms upon the table: he had put up an irritating and cocky face, so blatant that if Robb hadn't been his guardian he would have slapped it away immediately.

-Think you can buy me off with some pancakes?- the boy spat, his brown eyes steady on Robb's: only in rare occasions Jon was able to stare at his brother deep in the eye when they argued, and the twenty-five-year-old realized that, that time, Jon would have resisted longer.

-It's Sunday, Jon, we always have pancakes on Sunday.- Robb reminded him, trying to be gentle. Or at least, not to yell in front of the kids.

-Well, I don't want them.-

-Then eat something else.-

Jon huffed so noisily that Robb couldn't help but huffing in return. Meanwhile, Bran was eating quietly, clearly nervous, and Rickon had started bingeing so much that Robb had to give up and let his younger brother win their game to hold each other's stares.

-Rickon, less Nutella and more fruit. And eat slowly.- Robb told him, maybe a little too harshly, as he grabbed a napkin with one hand and handed it to the child. 

-Just because you're mad at me, doesn't mean you have to begin a hunger-strike. I'm not going to talk nor look at you, but make sure you eat something because I'll breathe down your neck until you fill that plate with food.- Robb made clear: no matter their disagreements, Jon was still his younger brother and his major responsibility. 

He was still constantly worried about him, it was obvious that if the boy would have gotten in trouble within the next two hours he would have rushed to help him, even if Jon was certainly believing the opposite. And Robb could lose his mind if one of his brothers wasn't eating: whether it was because of the flu, or some kind of diet they decided to try (that happened pretty often with Jon too, motherfucking teenage-hood), or, like right now, because of a stupid fight, Robb demanded that at least something, even the smallest thing, had to be eaten whenever it was time to eat. And Jon wouldn't have gotten away with that so easily. 

-I told you I'm not hungry.- the boy insisted, clenching both his fists on the table.

-And I told you I couldn't care less: you won't leave this table until you've eaten something, even if I had to feed you personally.- and he was lucky Jon grabbed a pancake from the plate in the middle of the table, because if he decided not to listen to him one more time, Robb would have stood up and fed him for real. 

-Happy now?- Jon huffed, ferociously biting down his food.

-Very.- Robb responded, coldly. -Me and Bran have to go to the hospital: you're in charge of the child.- he reminded him. 

Jon rolled his eyes: -I know.-

-He has to rest and take a nap at four, usually for an hour, but he already had a lot to sleep tonight, so half an hour or forty minutes should be enou...-

-I know.-

-Do you also know you must not leave him alone like you did last week, right?- Robb snapped, staring at his brother with eyes that were clearly yelling at him to stop it with that behaviour. It worked: at the mention of what had happened that damn Thursday, Jon winced and his eyes seemed to get scared. He had offended him, hurt him, he thought they had forgotten that mistake, but now it wall all brought back, and Robb knew his move was unfair, he knew he shouldn't have taken advantage of his brother's sensitivity. But he had no choice: sometimes, bratty Jon was so unbearable that Robb preferred hurt Jon more. 

Jon stayed silent for the rest of breakfast, but at least, even if very slowly, he managed to eat something. He hid inside his room right after, while the kids went back watching tv. The rest of the morning was monotonous: Robb cleaning here and there, in a house drowned in such an unusual silence, making lunch and doing the dishes: when it was time to leave, Robb felt relieved. He had obviously already told Bran about their "plus-one", but the kid seemed to be just fine with that: after all, Bran and Theon had to know each other anyway, didn't they?

Robb and Bran waited for their ride in the yard, but they didn't have to wait long: Robb's car, (driven by Theon, whose bags underneath his eyes seemed to be threatening to fall to the ground) stopped into the driveway. 

-Need a hand?- Theon asked, getting out the car, pointing at Bran with his head. 

Robb smiled at him: -Don't worry, we're used to it.-

Theon nodded, hiding his hands in his pockets and staring at the kid as Robb pushed him towards the car: -Hi Theon.- Bran said, politely. 

-Hey.- the illustrator answered only. 

Now, if Bran could get up from the couch and sit on the wheelchair alone, he surely couldn't do that in the small place of the car, so it was up to Robb to pick him up and settle him in. Once he had put the wheelchair inside the trunk, Robb turned towards Theon: -I could never thank you enough.-

Theon smiled lightly, pecking him softly on his lips: -It's okay: I should have brought it back to you anyway, otherwise how could you go to work tomorrow?- 

Robb kissed him back gently: -True. But thank you anyway.- he whispered, stopping to stare at the beautiful boy in front of him: there wasn't nothing actually beautiful in his face right now, but he was so cute. His darks circles were scary and he really needed to wash his hair because they were all knotted, and he looked like a fucking alcoholic, but Robb found him adorable anyway.

-You look horrible.- he exclaimed, softened, earning a pair of raised eyebrows in response: -Wow, thank you so much.-

Robb kissed Theon again: -You're a wreck, aren't you?-

-Just a little.- the illustrator admitted, shrugging.

-Then, how about staying at my place for a while, later, uhm? I don't trust you home alone.- Robb suggested, holding his hand. 

Theon bent his head on one side: -I can take care of myself, Stark.-

-I don't care: you come over, sleep for a while, and once you feel better you can go home. You could stay the night, if you want to.-

Theon squeezed his hand, smiling at him, but refused the offer: -I don't really feel like staying the night at your place right away. Not with knowing not only Jon's there, apart from us. I need a little time.-

Robb got that: he still needed time to take the news, after all he had reassured him by telling him they would have kept on seeing each other, but it was still better to take it slow. And Theon not acting like Jon did was enough for Robb.

-Alright.- Robb answered, a half smile on his lips. 

-Let me drive, you already done too mu...-

Theon interrupted him before he could finish his sentence, raising his finger and pressing it upon his lips: -It's all pretty embarrassing, to me: let me focus on the street and not on the kid that I just found out existed.- 

Guilty, Robb let go of Theon's hand and nodded. Thankfully, the illustrator's reassuring smile let him know nothing was about to end, and they would have gotten used to it all with time. 

Robb winked at him: -Just don't fall asleep, will you?-

 

 

 

Theon didn't think such a cliffhanger could have come up with Robb: he had always told himself that one of the things that distinguished him from Ramsay was the pleasure of not having an infant brother. Robb didn't have a sibling who still needed diapers, but he did have a five and a ten-year old to look after, all alone. At the very least, Ramsay was just a big brother, and there were his father and his step-mother to take care of the baby: they left him at his care every once in a while when they had to go out of town or something like that, but that happened rarely. With Robb, Theon had come to the conclusion that no matter under which circumstances, there would have always been a little Stark around the house, and that was no god. The little boy, for example: why did Theon hate little kids? Because they were curious, they asked millions of questions and they never minded their own business. And they were clingy. Let's assume that brat wanted to play and entered Robb's room while him and Theon were in the middle of sex: he would have started with the questions, he wouldn't have understood a thing anyway, Robb would have lost his boner and Theon would have been left high and dry. 

And that was just one of the disadvantages: the other one was the kid with the broken leg. How many other visits did he have to go to? How many times Robb would have told him "sorry, not today, I have to take my brother to the hospital"? How long would have Theon handled that?

He still didn't understand how he could have decided to give them a ride, but then he remembered that it was because of Robb, and it all made sense: normally, with Ramsay he would have made a scene, they would have fought, he wouldn't have brought him there, or he would've but kept pouting all the time. Then, once they had gotten home, Ramsay would have rushed above him and started kissing his neck to be forgiven, they would have fucked and Theon would have forgotten everything. 

With Robb it was all weirder: despite Theon being irritated, which he was, he wanted to fall in love so bad that he had ended up realizing that if his car was down and his little brother had a cast, that wasn't really Robb's fault. 

So there he was, at the hospital's waiting room, waiting for twenty minutes, sitting on a bloody uncomfortable blue chair, with a beautiful man on his side and his ten-year-old little brother on his wheelchair in front of them.

-What the hell is taking so long?- Robb grumbled, leaning forward to brush a few locks away from the kid's face, who seemed to be just as bored as Theon was.

-It's a hospital, they always take ages.- Theon answered him, drowning his hands inside the pocket of his hoodie. 

-You should know this better than us, with all your internships in here.- Bran replied, yawning.

Theon raised an eyebrow, staring at the red haired man: Robb. Hospital internship. Why?

-Yeah, I... studied medicine at uni, for a few years. Before I... yeah.- the man said.

Theon imagined him inside a white uniform, a stethoscope around his neck and a reassuring smile upon his lips and, oh dear Jesus, he had to be careful otherwise he would have ended up with a boner in front of an innocent kid. 

Robb had studied medicine, before dropping out and take three kids under his wing: Robb did have the chance to have a nice future, but it all turned to dust when his parents had died. And Robb was such a good person that he had put his dreams aside and focused completely on his family. 

Theon thought of Jon, of his exaggerated reaction once he had caught them together, at how the teen couldn't really care less of his older brother's feelings: Robb had given everything to provide him the life he had now. And how did he repay him? Acting like a fickle little toddler. 

Yeah, that was a huge, fucking no: Theon promised to himself to hold Jon back in class again, on Wednesday, and have a long, full of cursing, talk with him. He was going to change that bratty attitude, that was sure as hell. 

They stayed in the waiting room for about forty minutes, and Theon remained silent most of the time: sometimes Robb and Bran started talking about small things, the kid had complained about not brining his book along, and Robb spent half of the time fixing his little brother's shirt and trousers around his cast. 

Theon had spent a shitty night, a few hours ago: he had gotten dead drunk with Daario in his apartment, both of them complaining about how complicated their love lives where: Theon was overacting because he had just thrown himself inside an episode of Shameless, and Daario was scared shitless because Daenerys' Doberman, Rottweiler ad Boxer didn't like him that much. 

Theon had drunk so much he had spent the rest of the night (and morning) throwing up in his bathroom, and he still hadn't slept. He was this close to fall asleep, when the doctor called Bran's name.

Blinking to wake his mind up, Theon saw Robb standing up and moving to the visit room, just to stop on the edge of the door, staring at him: -Well, what are you doing? You coming or not?-

Theon shrugged: -Maybe it's a family thing, I don't know.-

Robb rolled his eyes: -He has to grab a pair of crutches, what's personal in that?-

Reluctantly, Theon followed his almost-boyfriend inside the hospital room. The first thing he noticed was the doctor: although he already looked in his forties, he had something incredibly charming: maybe it was his dark eyes, or the typical Latin American features, sun kissed skin included, or all of it. 

-Robb, what a pleasure to see you!- the man exclaimed, embracing the auburn haired man in a tight hug. Actually, it was such a tight hug that Theon almost punched him in the nose.

With the corner of his eye, he saw Bran rolling his eyes. 

Theon tried to take deep breaths, as Robb answered the man, smiling: -The pleasure is mine, Doctor Martell.-

Finally pulling away from Robb's body, for Theon's sake, Doctor Martell focused his attention towards Bran with a smile, if possible, even brighter: -We're going to get rid of that wheelchair, aren't we, little man?-

Bran gave him a forced smile in return, and Theon couldn't help but agreeing with the kid: there was no need to be so affectionate. Specially, not in front of him, who had a thing with Robb.

-You can obviously keep it home. The wheelchair, I mean, Robb.- the doctor started, grabbing a pair of crutches. Theon wondered why dear and egregious Doctor Martell had to call Robb not even by his first name, Robert, but by his fucking nickname.

-The boy's still not used to walk with one foot and his cast. He had been using his wheelchair for about three weeks, he may get tired and need to use it again for a little bit.- 

-Not going to happen.- Bran assured, shaking his head. 

Doctor Martell bursted out lashing so loud that Theon almost felt all his beers coming up his throat, threatening to splash all over the floor. 

-Try to walk with these, then.- the doctor handed him his crutches, and Robb was immediately there by his side. 

-Slowly, honey, be careful.- he told him, closely staring at the boy who tried to stand up on his on, using the crutches. Robb was right behind him, ready to catch him if he stumbled, and he caressed his hair once Bran had managed to stand up independently. 

-Good job, buddy.- Doctor Martell congratulated him, that wide grin still steady on his face. 

-Try to take a few steps.- 

Bran started walking, Robb there behind him, a worried scowl painting his eyes and eyebrows.

-You're very good at it, little man.-

Jesus, one more word and I'll beat the shit out of him.

Theon had always been a jealous guy. He had been so bad with Ramsay and now, with Robb, maybe he was even more: if with Ramsay he was annoyed by other people wandering around him, after being cheated on a thousand times and more, with Robb he was afraid that this man could look more interesting than him.

-Okay. If there are any problems, don't esitate to come here.- Doctor Martell said, energetically ruffling Bran's hair. 

-Oh there are surely going to be problems, if you keep him waiting that long again.- Theon mumbled, but nobody, except for Bran, heard him: Doctor Martell had just complimented Robb for his hair, and the other man was busy with responding him. 

Bran chuckled, and all Theon could do was pointing at the doctor with his head and roll his eyes, pretending to throw up. 

-Robb, can I talk to you alone for a second?- said Doctor Martell suddenly. Theon opened his eyes wide: say what? Who the hell did he think he was, that damn hunk, that motherfu...

-Uh, sure. Boys, wait for me outside?-

Theon's eyebrow flew up so high it almost fell off his face: there was no way Robb had just told him to stay alone with a semi-crippled brat. But still, there he was: back on that fucking blue chair once again, this time with no handsome man next to him.

-How long have you and Robb been dating?- Bran asked suddenly, causing him to wince.

-Hm?-

-How long have you and Robb been dating?- the kid repeated, incredibly patiently. 

Theon shrugged: was he really going to talk about that to a kid?

-We aren't dating.- he said. He was starting to feel sweat on his back and armpits: he shouldn't be talking about his relationship to the little brother of the man he was having sex with. It was... sick.

-How... how did you get that?- he changed the subject, pointing at the boy's broken leg. He shrugged only: -Soccer game.-

-You play soccer?-

-I did.- 

Theon nodded: having a conversation with a little kid wasn't exactly in Theon's plans, but at least it kept his mind too busy to think about Robb in another room with Doctor Martell.

-And... how long are you going to stay like this?-

Bran sighed: -Til November.-

-November? That's... a lot.-

-I know.-

Okay, that wasn't exactly the right argument he had to bring up in a talk with a kid: walking with crutches was more or less the most annoying thing on Earth, but this little guy seemed to be over the moon to be able to walk again, even if with just one foot.

A scene ran through Theon's head: Jon panicking after seeing Miss Harris' broken leg. That was what it reminded him: his little brother's accident. How bad must it have been? It had happened recently: Robb had to handle it all by himself. And Robb was all that kid could look up to: not a mom, not a dad, just a young older brother who had to take too many responsibilities way too soon.

-You know, I... I really care about Robb, okay?- Theon started, blushing.

Bran nodded.

Theon tried to formulate his words: -But don't... don't think I want to take him away from you. He's your older brother, and he loves you a lot.-

-I already know that.- said the kid, completely comfortable with that conversation. 

Theon was confused: that kid, thank God, was more similar to Robb than Jon. If the youngest one was like him too, maybe it would have been a little bit easier for Theon.

-Well, that's good. It's good to hear that. Because your other brother doesn't really like this. I don't know, maybe he thinks I'll ask Robb tho choose between him and me, and... I know I'm no good with kids, but that's definitely not my intention.- Theon confessed, without even feeling too embarrassed: that kid knew how to listen. And how to answer, too. 

-Jon's got a pretty low self-esteem: he's scared to be left alone, to be a burden for Robb... he's scared of many things.- 

-Did Robb try to make up with him?- it was none of his business, but Theon wanted to know anyway. Especially because Robb was still there, talking with that doctor.

-They don't really talk much, honestly: if they try to, they fight.- Bran answered. 

Theon nodded: -Okay, and what about your little brother? Did he... I mean, is he okay with all this?-

Bran chuckled: -You don't have to worry about him, Rickon adores everyone: he says you have funny teeth.-

Theon scowled at that typical childish (and irritating, if he may add) comment: maybe he would have had to struggle with Rickon most of all, learning how to stand him.

-Funny teeth?- he repeated, the exact moment where the door of the room Robb and Doctor Martell were inside opened, revealing the two men shaking their hands one last time. At some point, the older man kissed Robb on his cheek, causing the boy to blush up to the tip of his ears.

-Don't worry, Oberyn always does that.- Bran reassured him.

-He's married and has lots of daughters.-

Theon didn't think that was the right moment to tell Bran about cheating and polyamory, but he appreciated the effort anyway. He stood up from the uncomfortable chair and ran to grab Robb's hand, basically pushing him away from the charming doctor.

-Is your invitation at your place still valid?- he asked him, as Bran tried the best he could to stand up on his own.

Robb frowned: -Of course.- he said, and Theon kissed him once on his lips: -Perfect.-

 

 

 

 

When they got home, Robb noticed instantly that all Theon wanted was just a pillow where to rest his head: the waiting at the hospital had crushed him, and Oberyn keeping them all for another while just to ask Robb if everything was fine and if he needed help had just got things worse.

When Robb still attended university, Oberyn had been some kind of mentor, during his visits and internships at the hospital. Obviously, there had been a small flirt between the two of them, right when Robb had started deepening his relationship with Loras Tyrell: they had snogged a few times and exchanged a couple of hand jobs in between hospital beds, but they had never gone too far.

Oberyn was married, but his relationship with his wife allowed him to have lovers, since they believed in polyamory and other things Robb really didn't understand, and he had also asked him to join him and his wife, a few times, if he wanted to. Too bad Robb was only attracted by males and didn't really like the idea of having sex with a married couple. 

If he thought about his small adventure with Oberyn, Robb felt like a stupid idiotic kid. Oberyn was just a mistake he never had to make again, and he had noticed Theon had realized something: he had stared at the doctor as if he wanted to kill him all the time.

And of course, jealous Theon was even prettier than exhausted Theon.

-Slow down Bran, no need to rush.- Robb told his little brother, who was trying to reach for the front door as fast as he could.

-You're not the one who couldn't walk for three weeks.- the kid replied, as Robb chuckled and wrapped his arm around Theon's waist.

-Slow down anyway: you could trip and hurt yourself.- he said, but Bran had already reached the door. 

Once they got inside the house, Bran settled on the couch, happy to do all of that faster and by himself. Robb left him reading his book after pressing a quick kiss on his cheek, right before guiding Theon upstairs: -You're exhausted.- he stated, as the other man could barely manage to keep his eyes open.  

-Well you know, I couldn't stay in bed all day because somebody had an emergency.- the green-eyed illustrator said back, holding onto the red haired man.

Robb kissed his head: -I could never thank you enough.- 

-Yeah, about that: I still have to think about what I want you to do. You got any idea?- Theon smiled maliciously at him, convincing Robb that he had to make it up to him in some way that included a sexy outfit or a sexy location.

Robb was about to tell him that the sex shop wasn't that far from home and they could have gone personally, if he wanted to clear his head, when Jon got out of his room: his eyes grew wide at the sight of Robb and Theon together, and for a moment Robb believed they were back in the yard, the day before.

Jon barely opened his mouth, but only an half sigh escaped from it. 

Theon huffed: -Oh for fuck's sake, don't say a word or I'll slap you.- 

And with that, he went and hid himself inside Robb's room, leaving the two brothers alone. The mattress springs' squeaking under his weight could be heard from the hallway, and Robb guessed Theon had let himself violently fall upon the bed. 

Robb sighed, staring at his younger brother: -Where's Rickon?- he asked him: it was half past five, and the little boy was usually watching tv by then.

-He's sleeping.- Jon said, crossing his arms over his chest.

Robb's eyes widened: "I know, I know and I know" looked like that was all Jon could say, but still, he knew nothing.

-I told you.- he began, feeling irritation swimming all over his body.

-That he had to go to sleep from four til twenty to five, and no more.-

Jon huffed: -He wasn't sleepy, at four.-

-Then you shouldn't have let him sleep later!- the older one snapped: it was like Jon had fun in making fun of him, because it wasn't him the one who had to take care of a Rickon who was too awake at eleven at night and a Rickon who was too sleepy at seven in the morning: it was Robb. 

-You didn't tell me!- Jon said in his defense, starting to yell too. 

-Oh wait, did I have to tell you? You looked so sure to know everything, this morning!- Robb had to rub it in his face, exasperated: it wasn't easy to take care of a five-year old, God only knows if Robb knew that. But if Robb could take care of a five year-old little boy, a ten-year-old with his leg in a cast and a sixteen-year-old idiot, Jon could definitely watch over Rickon for a couple hours. 

Long story short, it all could be summarised in just one sentence: Jon was mad at Robb and wanted to annoy him. And man, he succeeded brilliantly.

-I'm not the one who shou...- Jon was about to respond in kind, but Robb's words, louder above his voice, shut him up: -Theon's right, I should slap you!-

Jon winced, assuming his hurt puppy face: eyes full of tears, pale face, lower lip trembling. But Robb was angry anyway, and he didn't really care if his brother was sad because he had yelled too much: there were times he deserved it.

Unfortunately for him, instead, the main problem wasn't the yelling, but the meaning of his words, because when Jon stared at him straight in the eye, he whispered: -You'd hit me?-

Robb felt a shiver running down his spine: of course he wouldn't hit him. Never ever ever. Not even in a million years. But Jon was Jon and... God, he should have expected him overreacting. He had to pick his words carefully when it was about Jon, but he didn't. And now Jon was crying, convinced that his older brother and only parent figure he had left, wanted to slap him.

-Jon, love.- he started, moving closer to him, but the boy retracted right away: -Leave me alone, leave me alone!- he sobbed, running back to his room.

Robb grabbed the doorknob right when the key turned inside the ignition-lock: since when there was a key to Jon's room?

-Jon, let me in.- Robb said, trying to open the door, in vain.

-Go away.-

Robb sighed and rested his fist against the wooden door: -I can't leave you alone while you're crying, Jon.-

-I said: go away.- the teen insisted.

-Jon, we have to talk about it, at some point.- the older brother reminded him, obtaining just another sob in response: he had fucked up so bad.

-I know that too. Just, not now. I want to be alone. Please.- his little brother was begging him.

Robb was aware that Jon didn't want to stay alone: hell, Jon never wanted to stay alone. The truth was that right now, Jon was afraid of him. And the feeling wouldn't have disappeared, if Robb stayed knocking on his door. So, all the twenty-five-year-old could do was losing his grip on the doorknob and go into his own room, admiring Theon sleeping on his bed for a moment just so that he could lay down by his side a second later, wrapping his arms around his body, cuddling him.

Robb sighed: he had to meet Jaime Lannister the following day to talk about his role as a parent figure and legal guardian, and all he could think about was him scaring his little brother into crying.

Chapter Text

Robb had almost forgot he had slept with Theon by his side, if it hadn’t been for his death threats when, the following morning, the alarm rang punctual at six in the morning: -Turn off that thing or I’ll break your neck.-

Smiling, still sleepy and with his eyes closed, Robb fulfilled that request. Theon had stayed in bad all the time, the previous evening, and he was so tired he hadn’t even reached him downstairs for dinner. Neither Jon had showed up, but that was for other reasons: Robb had had his dinner with his little boys only, he had made sure Bran promised him he wouldn’t have tried to climb the stairs on his own and that they would have started to figure it out within the next couple days, and after giving Rickon a bath he had had to read and tell him a hundred stories, before he could finally manage to get him to sleep.

-You feeling better?- Robb asked Theon, sitting up to caress his hair and look at him in the face.

Theon answered with a whine that caused Robb to rest a warm hand upon his forehead: he wasn’t burning up, but he was still quite pale, and he probably shouldn’t have gone to work either.

-Do you wake up at six all the time?- the still half asleep boy complained, turning on the other side and yanking the cover up to his chin.

-I have to make the boys breakfast.- Robb explained him, making his way out of the bed.

-You can sleep a little more: I’ll wake you up later.- 

With relief, Theon accepted both his offer and the following kiss on his temple. 

Robb did his best to change his clothes as quietly as possible, and it was strange for him to make more coffee: Robb usually had breakfast on his own, because he didn’t want to risk Rickon ending up drinking his coffee, because if he did he would have been unmanageable and it was already hard enough to keep an eye on him.

Robb stared at the table: the little boy liked to sit next to him, so Theon had to sit tabletop: he could have just stayed next to Bran and in front of Robb, but that meant he had to sit on Jon’s spot, and Robb thought it was a risky move. 

He started heating the milk after having rubbed his eyes: Jaime Lannister would have showed up to his place that afternoon.

Obviously, he was still better than Cersei, but Robb was assaulted by anxiety every time social workers were named in a normal conversation. And then he didn’t understand how come Cersei had never showed up since the last time: the thought of her sudden visits scared him, especially if Jaime ever joined her.

-Hey.- a husky voice behind his back almost made the redhead hiss: Theon, still wearing his yesterday clothes, since there had been no way to make him stand up for thirty seconds to wear one of Robb’s old hoodies, was now next to the kitchen door, stretching out. 

Smiling softly at the sight of a grown up man, with a small beard all over his face, dark circles under his eyes and messy hair (sooner or later he would have found out what was adorable in that), Robb couldn’t help but asking him: -What are you doing up?-

Theon shrugged, scratching his nape: -It’s rude to stay in bed after you just hosted me: you need a hand?-

Grinning, Robb moved closer to the man and gently rested his hands on his arms, pressing a small kiss upon his thin lips: -I’m almost done, but thanks for the thought. Did you sleep well?-

Theon nodded, huddling in between his clothes, slightly trembling: -You’re warm.-

Robb smiled at that statement: he wasn’t the first one telling him. Letting alone all his boyfriends and one night stands, even his siblings had a way to remind him how nice it was to doze off by his side when it was cold, Rickon especially.

Ty said that often too, when they were teens.

-Have a seat, how about a coffee?- the redhead offered him, his hands caressing Theon’s arms, trying to warm him up.

Rolling his eyes, Theon sat down on the chair Robb had pointed him with a nod of his head: -Even when you’re at home, it looks like you’re at work.-

-Why do you care? You wouldn’t pay for a shit anyway.- Robb replied, handing him a cup of coffee with a kiss on his cheekbone.

-You want something to eat? Cereals, toast, chocolate bar... is there anything in particular you want?-

Theon raised one eyebrow, spinning his spoon of sugar in the cup, underneath Robb’s confused eyes: -Do you spoil you brothers as much as you’re spoiling me?-

Robb chuckled because yes, he spoiled them. Maybe not in food terms, but he did spoil them: because he wanted them to be fine. 

-We have a schedule, for breakfast.- he said, pointing at an orange paper on the fridge.

-A schedule?- Theon seemed even more amused, as he started at the paper from his chair.

Robb nodded: -Yeah, at least it’s not always the same boring breakfast. Look: pancakes on Sunday, cereals or a toast on Monday, croissants on Tuesday, a bar or some yogurt on Wednesday, cookies with jam on Thursday, fruit on Friday and again cereals or toast on Saturday. Even if sometimes I get them donuts...-

Robb and Bran had come to the solution to make a breakfast schedule when Rickon had started asking for pancakes everyday: Robb had obviously allowed the sweet for just a day of the week, but for the other ones he had tried to find a solution by alternating days with healthier foods to the others. 

-And... it works?- Theon finished his coffee, so he could get up and cuddle onto Robb’s side, staring closer at the schedule stuck on the fridge thanks to a blue magnet.

Robb nodded, shrugging: -At least they won’t complain about eating the same things.-

-Really? They don’t?- Theon was staring at the schedule as if it was who knows what kind of priceless ancient manuscript, stunned.

-Does... does it look weird?- Robb asked, blushing.

-What? No! It’s just... how can you manage that?- the illustrator rushed to answer.

-Manage what?-

-To not to make them complain! Maron always complained about food, our mother didn’t know what to do with him anymore!- Robb was surprised by that confession: if Theon ever thought about his family, he only named his brothers and sister: it was the first time he talked about his mother. Robb didn’t even think he had one. But after all, who was he to want Theon to talk to him about his family?

-And then my father got pissed and started yelling. I didn’t like him yelling.- Theon added, his eyes still stuck on the schedule, even though they seemed to be looking at everything but that: he was remembering, Robb thought, his family. His childhood. But it didn’t last long: Theon shook his head and moved away from Robb’s chest, glancing quickly at the clock on the wall: -It’s seven.- he mumbled.

Robb sighed: -I’ll go and wake everybody up.- he stated, leaving the kitchen just after Theon had nodded at him.

Fully sure that if Jon refused to eat once again he would have started yelling louder than a newborn baby, Robb decided that it was better to wake the youngest ones first, without risking to make them have a heart attack in their sleep because of his hysterical yelling. 

It took him five minutes to dress Rickon up and take Bran downstairs: as much as enthusiastic the kid was about his new crutches, he was still too tired to try and climb down the stairs on his own, in the morning.

Theon was leaning against the kitchen counter, looking down. 

-Good morning Theon.- Bran said, taking a seat.

-Hi Theon!- Rickon exclaimed.

Theon pursed his lips: Robb wasn’t sure that was a smile, and it didn’t even look like he was trying to make one. 

-Hi.- he said, detached.

Robb wasn’t expecting a warm greeting like Ty and Rickon’s, not after the embarrassment of finding out about his two little brothers just two days before, so he accepted the flat tone Theon had used to talk to Bran and Rickon without complaining: he hadn’t been impolite. There was just a small tension around them, but it was completely normal.

-Rickon, could you go and wake Jon up for me? Please.- Robb caressed the kid’s hair, asking him gently. 

Being happy as he always was when he had the chance to help his brothers, Rickon started running upstairs, laughing and screaming his teen brother’s name, leaving both Robb and Theon surprised: -Is that supposed to be a kid or a hurricane?-

-Both.- Bran and Robb said, simultaneously. 

Theon gritted his teeth, disconsolate, and rubbed his eyes with his knuckles.

-Do you think you’ll have a hard day at school, honey?- Robb asked Bran, sitting on his chair and pouring himself a cup of coffee: he chugged it the same way he chugged a row of shots on his eighteenth birthday, hoping to wake up a little bit. 

Bran nodded: -Me and Jojen have to talk about our essay, today.- 

Robb nodded, interested: -Well, break a leg.-

After a small conversation between Bran and Robb (“seriously Robb?!” “I’m sorry, baby, I didn’t mean it that way”, “you’re the worst”), Theon remained against the kitchen counter, still in a limbo between reality and his dreams. 

Robb turned towards Rickon’s quick steps once they had made their way into the room, and his thick eyebrows furrowed at the sight of the little boy back from upstairs completely alone: -Love, I told you to go and wake Jon up.-

The child sat next to his older brother, grabbing the cereal box to pour some cereals inside his cup of milk: -I did, he’s awake: he says he’s not coming because he’s not hungry.-

And that was a complete bullshit, but Robb couldn’t just say that in front of two kids: the last time Robb had seen Jon eating properly had been on Friday afternoon, and it was just a snack. 

Robb had been a teenager, and now that he was over that phase, he could recognize that was one of the most difficult moments in somebody’s life. Still, since Robb had been through it all and somehow he knew how he might have felt (it had happened a thousand times that Ty had dated people he didn’t like), he knew that being angry at his own self was the worst way to handle it all: Robb and Jon had two different personalities, yeah, but why did he have to stop eating if he was mad at his brother? How were food and Robb’s relationship with Theon connected?

Clenching a fit upon the table to keep himself from cursing, Robb was forced to grab a napkin right after his youngest brother spilled milk all over his chin and shirt.

-Rickon, for god’s sake, how many times do I have to tell you?! Eat slowly!- he snapped, rushing to help the kid clean himself up. 

-Sorry...- Rickon said, pouting.

Realizing he had been too hard with him (all kids make a mess when they’re eating, Robb, what the fuck do you think you’re doing), Robb ruffled his hair and kissed his cheek: -Eat slowly.- he repeated, this time gentler. 

Once he had seen his little brother’s smile growing back on his face while, as the good boy he was, he obeyed him, Robb took that as the time to stand up form the table and reach for the stairs: he wouldn’t have climbed up, not after Jon had let him understand that, at least for a while, he didn’t feel like being in a room alone with him. Robb got him, even if he was deadly mad at him: Jon worried him. Jon wasn’t eating, Jon cried constantly and that couldn’t be just because Robb and Theon were having sex. 

He loved Jon with his whole entire heart, but when Jon didn’t want to take care of himself, Robb got angry:

-Jon, if you’re not coming downstairs in three seconds I swear you won’t see your phone until you turn eighteen!- he snapped out loud, from the bottom of the stairs.

He didn’t get an answer, but one way or another, it was like he had seen his brother rolling his eyes anyway. 

He was about to go upstairs, grab his arm and bring him to the kitchen, but Theon’s arms wrapping around his body from behind managed to appease half of his anger: -Leave him be, he’s a pain in the ass and you can’t change that.-

-He’s really testing my patience.- Robb huffed, turning around to hug Theon back and make their lips meet: if one thing could calm him down right now, that thing was a kiss.

A sweet and still sleepy kiss, a couple-like kiss: two lovers who had just woken up together and that were now cuddling against each other. If there hadn’t been two kids in the other room, Jon in his room and the awareness they still weren’t in a relationship, Rob would have believed that thought and let himself abandon onto it.

-That’s fucking gross.- 

Robb pulled away from Theon at the sound of Jon’s voice: the boy was coming down the stairs with his hands inside his old grey hoodie’s pockets, the same hoodie Robb hated and was tired to see on him, the reason why he had decided to buy him a whole knew wardrobe.

-Jon Stark.- Robb started, ready to scold him with the same sentences, such as “watch your tone” and “I told you to behave”, but the boy superimposed his own voice above his brother’s, walking past the two adults without staring at them: -Let’s go Rickon.-

Jon grabbed the kid by his arms as he still was finishing his breakfast, and Rickon obviously ended up spilling milk on his shirt again.

Robb lost his temper immediately: -Do not shove your brother!-

Jon, as he always did, rolled his eyes, losing his grip around the kid’s arm just to grab his hand: -I’m not shoving him. And it’s late, we have to go to school.-

-You did shove him, young man, and it’s not time to leave yet. Eat something first.- Robb replied, pointing at the kitchen with his head: he couldn’t handle that one minute more.

Jon sighed, as if Robb had wanted to force him into doing something disgusting, like grabbing dog shit with bare hands. As if eating wasn’t necessary for a human being to survive.

-It’s already late, Robb, I’ll stop at some bar.-

They both knew that was not true: Robb was about to start yelling, but Jon left the house, dragging Rickon along with him before he could manage to say anything.

-I really don’t know how you haven’t slapped him yet.- Theon mumbled, turning his nose up.

-He’s my little brother, Thee.- he explained, not wanting to talk about what had happened the previous evening.

-With his attitude, it’d be good for him.-

It wouldn’t have been good, instead, for none of them.

Even though Robb had to admit that the temptation to make Jon go back to his normal self with a slap on his head was growing bigger every day: that boy had stopped caring about himself, and it wasn’t possible that it was just because of a fight with Robb. It had been going on for a while now. And they really needed to talk about it.

 

 

 

After having left Rickon at his school, Jon should have started making his way to high school. But he obviously didn’t: who would have been able to concentrate, after such a terrible weekend like that?

He had noticed since the very first time that Theon Greyjoy had put his eyes on Robb. But when his brother had told him he didn’t want to have a relationship yet he had believed him, because that’s what brothers do, they believe each other. But Robb had been lying all along: Jon had caught him with Theon Greyjoy out of his own house, both of them with their necks and even their jaws marked with hickeys. 

Jon couldn’t stand Theon Greyjoy: he was rude, annoying, crude and way too full of himself. Let alone that time he had had the nerve to ask him about his parents: hadn’t Robb told him anything? Every teacher at school knew Jon no longer had parents, why he didn’t? Shouldn’t he be informed? Did he do that on purpose? Even if he didn’t, Jon had felt the ground missing underneath his feet at the mention of his mom and dad, that day: he couldn’t understand why Theon Greyjoy had felt the need to keep him in class and ask him how his parents had reacted about his detention, but he guessed he just wanted to be thanked for making him spend just one day in detention and not two weeks, along with his own personal bully. The same bully who would have come back to school after his suspension right on that day (thank you so much Mr Greyjoy, now he probably hates me even more).

And if there was one thing Jon didn’t understand, it was why, once he had seen his reaction, Robb had decided anyway, a day later, to let Theon Greyjoy stay the night at their place. Robb had completely ignored his feelings: couldn’t he just ask him first, or just tell him things would have stayed like that and he wouldn’t have stopped seeing his brother’s teacher so it was better for everyone if Jon just accepted it the way it was and started getting used to the fact that from then he wouldn’t have seen Mr Greyjoy only at school but inside his house too? But fuck, why did it always had to be like Robb wanted? Just because he was older and he was his guardian, did that mean he could take all the decision he wanted without consulting his brothers? Hell no, that wasn’t only Robb’s house, legal guardian or not.

So, Jon had come to an easy and painful conclusion: Robb, simply, didn’t care about him anymore.

It was the only logic explanation he could find: Robb would have never told him, meaning it, that he would have slapped him to make him behave, whether their parents were alive or not. He knew he had made him angry, because Robb couldn’t stand such attitudes, and Jon was aware he had been rude and childish and that he could have reacted better, but then Robb could have just told Jon about the new and not letting him find out on his own.

The fact was that they were both wrong and right at the same time and Jon was ready to take his part of blame. If only Robb would have stopped yelling at him every time their eyes met and avoided staring at him with those angry and disappointed eyes that made Jon feel so bad...

When Jon arrived at Ian’s place, tears had already started poking his eyes, but he was tired to always play the part of the cry baby: this time he decided he would have let it all out in some other way.

He didn’t even let Ian have the time to realize why the hell a teen was at school on Monday morning but at his front door instead, and he jumped on him immediately: Ian kissed him back, at first with his eyes wide open because of the sudden surprise, but once he could feel the desperation in Jon’s gestures, it was up to him to take control and try the best he could to reassure him: he helf him tight, pulling away from the kiss only to press his lips once again against the other boy’s, gently and slowly. 

-What happened?- the older boy asked, as his moth kissed the the teen again, this time on his forehead.

Jon shrugged, wandering his hands around Ian’s hair: -Nothing. I just wanted to see you.- 

-You should be at school.- the twenty-one-year-old replied, perplexed.

-Fuck school, you’re better.-

Jon went back to kissing him again: he wanted to think of something else, anything else that didn’t involve Robb and Mr Greyjoy, and pushing his body against Ian’s seemed to be the only thing able to get his complete attention. 

-Jon...- Ian said between kisses.

-Jon, may-...-

Everybody always told him to relax and let go: and that was Jon would have done. He decided to live a little bit and let his hand slide down slowly upon Ian’s crotch: that was okay, you did that with... people you kissed regularly. 

They had slept together, he could allow himself to touch him a little.

Or at least, that was what he thought: Ian seemed to be completely against it. He had flinched the moment Jon’s hand had reached his pants, and he had roughly pulled away from the kiss, panting: -Okay okay, what are you doing?-

Blushing and with puffy lips, Jon only wished he could disappear: -Isn’t... isn’t that how you do it?-

-No... I mean, yes, of course that’s how you do it, but... why?-

That was not the reaction Jon was hoping to obtain: he wanted Ian to feel good, to... feel pleasure, and all thanks to Jon. But now Ian only looked confused and nothing more. 

-Because... because I’m ready. And then you... you’ve already done everything, I guess you wanted to forep...- he started, but he realized he had fucked up the moment he couldn’t even say the word “foreplay” without blushing.

-Jon, I told you I wanted to take it slow for a reason. We’re not talking about my pleasure only, but also yours. And you’re not ready. Small steps, Jon.- at that point Ian had completely moved away from him and crossed his arms around his chest.

Jon didn’t know how to feel: why did he have to complain? Everybody liked those things!

-No! I... I am ready, I want to make you feel good and...-

-You’re not ready, Jon! And that’s okay, my beautiful boy, that’s normal. Can you tell me what’s wrong?- Ian was worried, so damn worried that for a moment it reminded Jon of Robb. But the comparison disappeared in a heartbeat, because it seemed like it had been years since the last time his brother had looked at him with so much tenderness and concern.

-I think...- Jon sighed: there they were, those bitches, those fucking bitches. Tears were about to come down once again.

-I think Robb doesn’t love me anymore.-

Saying it out loud hurt more than he thought, because it had been like making it final, a fact.

Jon felt Ian’s thumbs wiping a few tears away from his cheeks, as he gulped and tried not to sob: -Hey, hey. Why are you saying this?-

-Because now he’s... now he’s in a relationship.- Jon revealed, wishing that the warmth of Ian’s hands could accompany him for the rest of his days. 

Ian scowled at him: -And what does this have to do with you?-

-I’m scared he could forget about me. Or that he thinks I don’t need him anymore. I’ll always need him. I only have him.- Jon had to wipe his tears away from his eyes on his own and push Ian’s away, but that was just because he was crying so hard he could have ended up soaking his sleeves. 

-He wouldn’t have chosen to look after you if he didn’t want to, Jon. His relationship with you and the one with his girlfriend are two whole different things.- Ian tried to reassure him, but Jon felt even worse: he wished Robb the best, but he doubted Theon Greyjoy could give it to him. And he just wanted Robb to stop scolding him.

-Robb’s gay...- he whispered, not really knowing what to say.

Ian couldn’t help but laughing lightly: -Is he gay too?- he asked, amused.

But Jon wasn’t smiling: there was no “too” in that. Jon didn’t even know if he liked boys or girls: he knew that kissing Ian was nice and he liked that, but who could tell him he couldn’t have lost his mind over some girl? Over Ygritte maybe? Or, could it be that Jon just wanted to find out what sex was just because it was considered normal at that age? Maybe Jon couldn’t care less about sex but he wanted to know how it was like. Maybe Jon didn’t even like boys and girls, and maybe he liked them both. He didn’t know. He knew nothing.

-I... I don’t think I’m gay.- coming out with his friends had been easier. Even though right now he wasn’t coming out. I mean, you come out when you’re gay and Jon had just confessed he wasn’t gay, but why did he feel like he had just told his over-religious grandma he liked boys?

-You don’t think? Are you... are you going through a crisis?-

I don’t know. I don’t know.

Before Ian came into his life, Jon had never really paid much attention to anyone. Maybe because that had been the first time somebody had stared at him with interest and, somehow, with desire too. Ygritte didn’t look at him the same way Ian did, that was why Jon had never believed his friends when they told him she had a crush on him. But Ygritte and Ian had two completely different personalities, and maybe Ian’s was easier to understand, to Jon: of course it was, he had gone straight to the point, with Ygritte he always had to live of theories and suppositions. 

-I... don’t know what’s happening to me.- Jon confessed, lowering his glance.

-I mean, you... I like you a lot, but I don’t know if this means I’m attracted to males or it’s just you. And suddenly it all seems so complicated, more than it usually is. I get angry over the smallest things and I always seem to cry.-

Ian kissed his forehead again, holding him tight to his chest, and Jon understood that was the only thing he needed: a hug. 

He sobbed on the older boy’s shoulder for a few seconds, listening to Ian’s sweet “shh”s, as he had started caressing his hair.

-I’ve been there too, when I was your age.- Ian said suddenly. Jon raised his head, staring at him straight in the eyes, hopeful and desirous to listen what somebody who could understand him had to tell him: -Really?-

-Yes: I always felt weird whenever me and my friends watched The Avengers because while everybody drooled all over Black Widow, I couldn’t help but being hypnotized by Thor’s hair.- Ian chuckled, staring at Jon with so much kindness that the boy didn’t think he could deserve him: after all, he was nothing but a cry baby. 

-Don’t worry about it so much, Jon: you’re going to understand who you are with time. And I’m not just talking about your sexual orientation. Everything’s gonna be okay, whoever you’ll decide to be. And your brother will be on your side anyway. You just don’t have to rush into anything.- with one last kiss on his cheek and a gentle tickle on his side, Ian finally manage to make Jon smile. 

Jon wanted to thank him, but Ian spoke first: -Good. I have to be at work by eleven. Do you want to stay in here until school time is over?-

Honestly, Ian had already done too much for him, and Jon was feeling ridiculous: letting go didn’t necessarily mean touching some boy’s penis, but having a good time with him forgetting about the rest was just fine. And Jon had learned this just after doing the first one of these two things.

-Don’t worry, I think I’ll go back home and leave once again to go and pick Rickon up from school: Robb’s at work, so that’s okay.- Jon said with a wave of his hand.

As long as he didn’t call off work and stayed home to fuck Mr Greyjoy’s ass.

Ian nodded: -Alright, but don’t skip school again, okay? And call me, when you’re feeling down and want to spend time with me: you’ve been lucky I was home, but I don’t want to think of what could’ve happened if I hadn’t.- 

He was so caring that Jon could have lived of his warnings as meals: the more he heard them, the more he convinced himself he was important for someone. 

-But meanwhile... we have some time to be alone and cuddle, don’t we?- Jon started hopefully towards the couch, showing Ian his best pair of puppy eyes, the ones not even Robb could resist.

Ian smiled down at him: -Of course.- 

When Jon stretched his neck to kiss him softly, as the other boy bent his head, he relaxed at the touch of Ian’s hand sliding down his back. This, until that hand passed Jon’s back, coming down to rest upon his backside covered in sweatpants. 

Jon winced suddenly, risking to sink his teeth on Ian’s tongue, once the twenty-one-year-old had given his arse a gentle squeeze: nobody had ever touched him there. And that made him feel even more stupid: he was a sixteen-year-old whose arse has never been touched by anyone who had tried to give a fully experienced man a hand job. 

It sounded so gross.

Ian removed his hand, a friendly smile on his face: -See? Small steps.-

And they kissed again.

 

 

 

At eleven in the morning, Jon hadn’t come home: he didn’t want to risk to find Robb and Theon Greyjoy there, because who knows what else Robb was hiding him. He should have felt incoherent, after all he was seeing someone behind his back, but it wasn’t Jon the one who had kids to look after, and it looked like Jon was taking justice into his own hands. 

He had gone to the park, so that he could sit under a tree and finally being reading the book Sam had got him for his birthday a few months ago, but it was the first day of October, and it was starting to get cold.

-If Robb cared, he would have told me to grab a jacket.- Jon mumbled, not really wanting to admit that if Robb ever did, he would have ignored him anyway. 

Trembling with his fists inside his hoodie’s pockets, Jon turned around to go back home: if Robb was there, he could have pretended he had skipped a few hours because he wasn’t feeling good. Robb would have certainly connected that to the fact that he wasn’t eating anymore, but Jon would have accepted the lecture anyway. 

If only it hadn’t been for the man in the distance: a few miles away, Jaime Lannister was talking on the phone. His hair was so blond he seemed to be shining in the middle of such a dark and grey crowd, with no kid yelling around. 

Violently biting down his lower lip, Jon put his hood on, turned his back at the social worker and started walking in his opposite direction: if Jaime Lannister caught him skipping school, Robb would have been considered a bad parent, and they wouldn’t have let him keep his brothers’ custody. 

Jon had to be careful, because he couldn’t let himself getting caught.

Almost running, Jon ended up hiding behind a slide for kids, far enough from Jaime but still near enough to see when he could have been free to go. 

-Who the Hell are you hiding from?-

Jon screamed in fear, at the sound of that voice: he hadn’t realized he wasn’t alone. Cupping his mouth with his hands because of the shock, with his eyes open wide and dark curls poking out of his hood, Jon saw Theon Greyjoy sitting on a bench with a sketchbook on his lap and a pencil in his hand. 

-Mr Greyjoy! Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me!- he exclaimed, irritation already starting to fill his body. 

Theon rolled his eyes: -Meh, you’d deserve worse.- he said.

Jon narrowed his eyes: -Excuse me?-

Theon ignored him completely and asked him another question: -Why aren’t you at school?-

Make an excuse. Actually, Jon could have just answered with a simple “it’s none of your business”, but he already could imagine what would have happened if Robb found out he had been rude again. Realizing Theon Greyjoy had just caught him missing school and that he would have most certainly told Robb, Jon opted to play victim: -Roy Johnson is back after his suspension. Didn’t feel like seeing him.-

-Bullshit.- the illustrator replied, taking him by surprise.

-Listen to me carefully, we don’t like each other and that’s a fact.- he added, under Jon’s intimidated eyes.

-But it just so happens that your brother is making a huge effort to look after you and your other brothers. And you have absolutely no right to act like an asshole.- 

Jon felt like somebody had just kicked him in his stomach: no adult had ever called him “asshole” before, and no adult had ever told him his actions were causing problems to some member of his family. 

-I didn’t act like an ass...-

-Finish that sentence and I’ll hit you so hard you’re going to lose three teeth.- Theon Greyjoy pointed a finger at him, tossing his sketchbook and pencil aside. 

Jon shrugged, feeling threatened and irritated at the same time: -You’re threatening me and then you come and tell me not to be an asshole?- 

Mr Greyjoy looked at him so bad that Jon felt like he had just killed his dog with those words: -You have to respect your brother’s decisions and that’s it! I know he doesn’t deserve somebody like me, but you can be sure he doesn’t deserve somebody like you either.-

Jon bit the inside of his cheek and stared at the tip of his shoes: he was right, Robb didn’t deserve to have Jon in his life. Jon was just a burden. But just like Ian had said, it had been Robb’s decision to take care of him.

-It’s not my fault my parents died, Mr Greyjoy.- he said, blinking twice to avoid starting crying again: like hell he would have let himself being called a cry baby by that dickhead.

-I didn’t say that.- the adult replied.

-Looks like you did, instead.-

-Well, you’re wrong.- Theon Greyjoy moved closer and Jon closed his eyes, afraid he could hit him. But he didn’t: -I don’t give a fuck about you and the other brats. But I care about Robb, and since he deserves to be happy and the two other kids seem to be more mature than you, make sure you stop it with your comments and faces, otherwise I’ll make you stop myself.-

-Wow, Mr Greyjoy, you’re giving me such a good example of a right beha...-

-Would you stop calling me that, I suck your brother’s dick!-

Jon didn’t really know if he had blushed or paled at the sound of Theon Greyjoy’s words, who seemed to be more bored than Jon had ever seen. 

-Stop being an idiot and maybe we can manage not to think about killing each other.- the illustrator added, grabbing a packet of cigarettes from the pocket of his jacket.

-We are both going to try not to offend anyone and we’ll try to stand each other when Robb’s in the same room as our. Do that for him.- Theon Greyjoy was staring carefully at him, lighting up a cigarette: his glance was clearly telling he wouldn’t have heard any other protest. 

Jon sighed: in the end, Mr Greyjoy would have showed up at his place anyway. What mattered was that Robb, with all the responsibilities he already had on his back, didn’t have to also worry about his brother and his boyfriend not getting along. And maybe, if Jon would have showed him he was mature as everyone kept on telling him to be, their relationship would have gone back to the point it was before, and Jon wouldn’t have no longer had to be frightened by the enormous change that was about to come. 

-I’m only doing this if you promise me that if we’ll ever be in the same room without him, you’re not going to make fun of me.- Jon stated, holding out a hand and shivering when a wave of cold breeze crashed all over him: if he had to learn to stand Theon Greyjoy, then Theon Greyjoy had to learn how to be bearable. 

Mr Greyjoy raised both his eyebrows, staring at the teen’s pale hand with disdain: -There’s no way I’m shaking it, but I’m in. See ya, little dickhead.-

And with that, he picked his backpack, pencil and sketchbook and left Jon there alone with their new deal. 

Jon looked around to see if Jaime Lannister was still there, and when he couldn’t see him, he decided he could leave. Somehow he hoped to find Robb home, even though it was kind of obvious that he hadn’t taken a day off to stay with Theon. Jon felt his heart shivering at the thought: Robb not going to work to stay at home with his boyfriend was equivalent to Robb stopping taking care of them to spend time with his boyfriend. 

No, that wasn’t true, Jon was only good at exaggerating things, and this was one of the things he was sure he knew. That’s why it was better to make things clear as soon as possible, and try to resolve that whole situation once for all. 

Not by coincidence, after Jon had picked Rickon up from school and Robb and Bran had come back home, the teen shyly approached his older brother, making an extraordinary effort to look at him in the face: -Robb, can we talk?-

Chapter Text

More than any other thing in the world, Robb wished that Jon could have revealed himself to him spontaneously, without it being up to the older one to induce him into talking to him. 

Now that Jon was finally listening to him and looked willing to start a personal conversation, Robb cursed Jaime Lannister and his damn job.

-The social worker is coming, and I need you to be with Rickon.- he said, sighing, his voice sterner than he would have wanted: a part of him was still angry at Jon because of his behavior, after all.

Jon nodded, lowering his glare.

-Once he has left we're talking, okay?- Robb added: he knew that look, and it meant lack of attention. Jon needed to talk and they would have, just not before the arrival of the social worker: for everybody's sake, it was better for him not to listen to their conversations, because they could have ended up in screams, groundings and offenses, and at that point Robb could have said goodbye to the custody. 

When Rickon, Bran and Jon holed up in Jon's room to watch a movie like the teen had suggested (Robb had to give him his laptop back while huffing, but he did admit that was a good activity that could keep the boys busy and calm), the oldest brother sat on the couch with his face between his hands: he hated those meetings. He hated that social workers didn't consider him able at all to watch over the boys, and they showed up not to make sure everything was fine, but to surprise him while it all was going bad.

And if only three days ago Robb thought it was all okay, apart from Cersei's threats that only wanted to scare them and make them be cautious, now the panic had started to attack him: why did Jaime want to talk to him? Why did Cersei's last visit turned out a total disaster? Did he want to take the boys away from him? Was he going to give him a week to prove him wrong and show him how good he was at being a mom and a dad?

If one one side he wanted it all to end up soon, on the other he just wished it would never happen. But it did happen: Jaime rang his bell at four o'clock, and Robb's hands were so sweaty they almost slipped off the doorknob, keeping him from opening the door.

In all his glory (he was already in his forties, but Robb just couldn't deny he was pretty good-looking), Jaime Lannister was standing at his front door, a hard-to-interpret smile on his face.

-Hi Robb.- he said.

Robb scratched his nape, nervous: -Hello, Mr Lannister.-

 

 

 

Once they had settled in the kitchen, Robb offered to make some tea, but Jaime politely refused the offer: maybe that meant their conversation wouldn't have lasted long. He just needed to know if the words would have been positive or not.

-So, brass tacks, Robb.- said Jaime, grabbing his notepad and opening it.

-The boys are polite, your house is clean, Jon knows how to take care of the kids when you're at work.-

Robb waited for the "but" like a convict on his way to the gallows: only wishing that the anguish could abandon him as soon as possible.

-But Rickon seems to become unmanageable whenever he sees me or Cersei.-

Robb was about to open his mouth and immediately make clear that Rickon was nothing more than a five-year-old little boy who was scared by the thought that somebody could take him away, but Jaime raised one finger, as if to invite him to let him finish, and added: -We are aware that he does act differently with you and your brothers.-

-Rickon is an amazing kid.- Robb said, not being able to hold back his tongue: social workers always had to worry about the smallest things, and he felt the urge to deny any lie and supposition.

-He's got a wonderful imagination, he's always kind to everyone, he has the biggest heart in the world. He lost his parents, he's scared of social workers because he thinks they'll make him be alone.- 

Jaime pursed his lips, nodding: -I do know he's a good kid, Robb. I see it from the drawings on his wall.-

There was another "but" coming up and Robb wasn't sure he could handle it: what was wrong with Rickon? He was a perfect child, they couldn't have found something wrong with him. 

-What are you trying to tell me?- Robb asked, running a hand through his hair, wishing it all could be over soon.

Jaime sighed, avoiding to look at him in the face, and said: -I have to make sure you won't try and interrupt me.-

At that point, it had to be obvious that the new couldn't have been good. Although, Robb just couldn't understand how Rickon could have been involved, somehow: he had always thought that if there had to be problems, they would have been about all his boys, not only one of them. The only one who didn't even have a broken leg and wasn't bullied at school, actually. 

He nodded, reluctant anyway, and listened to Jaime's words with his teeth gritted: -Jon is sixteen, and he's already independent enough. Bran is a very smart and mature kid, he knows how to take care of himself and he has proved us you do know how to raise him.-

So that was what they were thinking? That Robb wasn't able to raise Rickon? Just because a little boy was afraid of them?

Robb remained silent, feeling his heartbeat growing faster as Jaime Lannister went back to talking: -With Rickon, it's a little more complicated: he's too young to be left alone without an adult's supervision, not to mention that he was in the same car as your parents, the day of the crash.-

-Come to the point, please.- Robb was staring at the man straight in the eye, unable to feel particular feelings: he should have had to be scared of what would have been added later, angry because of the way social workers showed up to his place, establishing if Robb's breathing was a bad influence over his kids, but he just couldn't feel anything. It was like his whole body had stopped working.

Jaime Lannister sighed: -It's Cersei the one who thinks this, not me. I want you to know this.- he confessed.

Robb shook his head: -Just say it.-

The social worker looked away, and his tone lowered suddenly, as he pronounced the new out loud: -She thinks Rickon needs a mom and dad.-

Words burned Robb like boiling water all over a naked body, as he started shaking his head repeatedly, still keeping his eyes steady on the man in front of him: he had always thought that they would have let him keep the boys, if they considered him a good parent. Robb was afraid he could lose them all, because he would have lost them all if he would have done something wrong.

But he never expected they could have tried to take only one away from him even if nothing was wrong.

-No.- he said, simply.

Jaime ran a hand through his face, abandoning his professional behavior and looking even embarrassed: -She claims that Rickon is too young for you: says he need two parents.- 

-Everybody needs parents.- Robb snapped, feeling he was this close to exploding. He wondered how, however, he would have actually exploded, if he would have gotten angry or bursted into tears.

-We lost them. And Rickon already sees me as his new parent figure. He wants to stay in here with his brothers and he could never have a similar relationship in any adoptive family. He will only feel worse, if you'll take him from us.-

Rickon needed Robb, Jon and Bran, to be fine: Rickon loved his older brothers and he missed his sisters. He didn't need substitute parents, because otherwise Rickon would have missed his real ones even more: Rickon just had to stay with Robb and his other brothers, in a home where he would have been cuddled and loved day and night with no interruption. 

They couldn't take Rickon away from him: he was five, he was small and fragile, and he had lost his parents, not his family. They couldn't take him away. 

-I know this, Robb, I feel the same way.- Jaime tried to reassure him, but he already knew he wouldn't have succeeded: protective as he was, Robb wasn't that easy to calm down.

-You can't take him away from me.- the redhead's voice had started trembling, and Robb thought he seriously was about to start crying in front of the social worker. But he couldn't: Jaime could have thought he was trying to make him pity him. Cersei would have thought that.

-We're not going to take him from you.- Mr Lannister said.

-Cersei has no valid motivation to do so: you have a job, a nice house, you don't have debts and the boys adore you. What I'm asking you is to be careful, because she could show up here at any moment and search even for the smallest thing.-

Robb admired Jaime Lannister's courage and him being there to warn him, because he highly doubted that any other social worker would have done the same. But he just couldn't look grateful, at least on the outside, because the desire of killing Cersei with his own two hands was growing bigger than any other emotion: why did she only want Rickon? Why did she want to take only his baby boy away and not also Jon and Bran?

If Robb was a bad parent, he was for all his three kids, not just for the youngest one.

-Rickon is my little boy, he's mine. She has no right to take him away. Rickon is mine.-

He was exaggerating: it was exactly Cersei's job to take the child away from him if Robb wasn't able to raise him, but he couldn't find anything else to say.

First Cersei didn't want Robb to obtain the custody. But then Robb had got it. First they didn't want to let him have the kids, now they wanted to take them away. He couldn't let that happen.

-She won't take him away if you keep going like you always did: you just have to keep your eyes open. I'll try to help you when I can, you know too I think you're a great guardian for the kids.- 

Jaime's words couldn't comfort him: between the man and Cersei, the woman would have looked more dangerous even if Robb would have had an entire army on his side and she would have been alone. 

He walked the social worker to the door with legs that didn't belong to him: his body wasn't working, his brain was disconnected from his limbs and it was focusing only on the face of that bitch who just wanted to see him suffer. Why was she trying so hard, though? Robb knew how to take care of his boys and that was it. Just leave, then. Why insist? What did she really want?

-Robb, I was only warning you: nothing has been decided. You're the child's guardian and Cersei only wants to get in your way. There's nothing new in this, don't distress yourself too much.- Jaime said, while Robb was opening the door.

He did have a point, after all: from the very first day, Cersei had acted like an harpy whose only purpose was making Robb's life impossible. The only difference now was that she wanted to take only one boy away from him, not three. But if she couldn't do it before, she couldn't do it now. 

-I'll be careful. Thank you for your help, Jaime.- he answered, nodding.

Jaime smiled sadly: -I hope I'll see you in a very long time, Robb.-

Almost huffing, Robb replied: -I do too.-

Once the social worker had left, Robb had to wipe a tear away from his face and ran a hand all over his hair: everything was falling apart. He had to be careful about every movement of his, every word, every behavior: for his boys' own good. 

He couldn't let them take Rickon away: the little boy couldn't do all that all alone. Rickon hated to be alone, Rickon needed his brothers.

-Robb?- 

Jon's voice caused the older brother to look up: the teen was standing in front of the stairs, playing with his grey hoodie's wristbands, white as a sheet and scared as a gnat in a spider web.

-Jon, not now.- Robb sighed: he didn't have the time to argue once again, he already had too much to think about.

But Jon had a completely different opinion, so different that he even ended up begging him: -Please Robb, I need someone to talk to.-

In that moment, Robb remembered that if Jon needed to talk to him, that was because he had a serious problem: Jon didn't like to talk about his feelings. If he did, that meant he was deep in trouble with himself.

-I'm not doing fine, Robb.- the boy said. 

Robb frowned, his worried and concerned expression immediately coming up: -What do you mean?-

He approached his little brother, extending his hands to caress his face, but Jon bursted into tears and sobs so hard that Robb almost winced in surprise: -I'm sorry, m'sorry, m'sorry!- the boy cried, and when Robb actually rested his hands on his cheeks, the older man thought the teen had begun crying even harder.

-Jon. Jon, my love.- Robb said, confused: he couldn't find a reason to that sudden crisis, but he had to put an end to it right now.

-My love. My love, sit down. Sit on the couch.- 

Robb guided the teen until he settled onto the couch's soft pillows, still in tears, while he bent down to press a kiss to his forehead.

-What happened? What happened, love? Talk to me.- 

Robb had started kissing Jon all over his cheeks, because that usually managed to calm Rickon down whenever he had a nightmare or during one of Cersei's visits: he just hoped that could have worked with Jon as well.

Jon had to try a few times to take a deep breath and start talking, but he succeeded to talk without sobbing only after his third try: -I'm sorry for my bad behavior. For being rude to Theon and to you. For shoving Rickon... but you'd never hit me, would you?-

From worried, Robb's eyes softened: -Oh, my little boy...-

He kissed his forehead once again: -Of course I'd never hit you. You know that, my sweet darling. It all happened too quickly and I should've been honest to you.-  

Jon sniffled: -So, you still love me?-

Robb caressed his hair, risking to start crying another time: -I love you with my whole entire heart, baby brother. I'm sorry I made you think I didn't: it's all my fault, if you felt like that.-

Jon closed his eyes, relaxing as his older brother's warm hands moved all over his face: -I'm okay with you being with Mr Greyjoy. You can invite him to dinner whenever you want, I promise I'll be go...-

-Shh...- Robb kneeled down in front of him: he didn't want to talk about Theon, that was the only problem he knew about. He wanted to know about the other ones.

-Theon's not what matters right now, Jon: you stopped taking care of yourself.- 

Jon said nothing, but a few tears were still slipping over his pale cheeks. 

-You don't eat, you don't speak, you don't smile. That can't be just because of Theon, love. Do you sleep at night?-

Robb stared at his little brother, wondering why such a smart and kind boy like him had to live in such way: Jon's sensitivity was one of his most beautiful qualities, but it was also the most dangerous one, and Robb needed to find out what the problem was, so that he could resolve it as soon as possible.

Jon wiped a tear away from his face and shook his head: -I can't sleep. I'm afraid everything might change.-

Robb bit down his lower lip: it was absolutely normal that after his parents' death, Jon feared another sudden change. And to be honest, Theon alone was a sudden change, and whether Jon and the illustrator got along or not, the new was hard to accept: his reckless and rude reaction was even more understandable, if seen on that point of view. Jon was an orphaned teen with just an older brother taking care of him, of course he was afraid of changes: he had lost both his parents in just one night.

-Nothing's going to change, buddy: you, Bran and Rickon will always come first, whoever my boyfriend is. But you can't decide when to feel attracted by someone, me and Theon just happened. But I promise you I'll try my best to work this out: I'd never do anything that could make you feel uncomfortable.- Robb sat next to his brother, holding him to his side.

Jon nuzzled his face against him, really grateful he was getting a hug: -Sometimes so many things are happening all at once that I feel like I can't breathe... and I can't sleep.-

Robb drew wide circles on Jon's back with the palm of his hand, glad he had studied medicine long enough to knew an efficient solution: -Well, we have to fix this, love: I'll prepare you a hot bath tonight, then you'll go to bed and read a book. I'll even make you an infusion. You will fall asleep in no time, you'll see.- 

That wasn't a medical solution, he knew that, but all Jon needed was to relax a little. If that wouldn't have worked, then they would have seen a doctor, but for now it was better to take it slow. 

-Let's try and make this a habit: you're going to bed early to get some rest and you'll see you'll turn the lights off at a decent time.-

Jon cuddled against Robb's side, sighing: -Thank you, Robb.-

The older brother smiled softly, seeing how right in that moment the boy was fighting against the willing to close his eyes and get some sleep. 

-You're welcome, sunshine. And don't you ever think I could hit you, okay?- he replied, massaging Jon's curls. 

The teen nodded, finally explaining why he had thought such an absurd thing: -It's just that you went straight on his side. It hurt me.- 

Robb couldn't help but holding him a little tighter: -I'm sorry: I'll try to be more careful with words when I'm scolding you. I didn't want you to feel unloved: I love you so, Jon. I'm worried about you, starving is not healthy.-

-I'm sorry.- Jon blinked to fight other tears away and rested his head on Robb's chest. 

-I'm sorry too. And I really appreciate that you're okay with my feelings about Theon: you're a wonderful boy.- 

Robb and Jon stayed silent after that last sentence, the older one focused on feeling the teen's muscles relaxing underneath his touch. Robb could have closed his eyes already: he was tired. So much he didn't even have the time to think about Cersei's threats any longer.

-Robb?- Jon asked him at some point, causing the young man to shook his head, trying to open his eyes.

-Yeah?-

-I'm hungry...-

Chapter Text

-What do you mean she'd like to take him away?!-

After Robb had managed to calm Jon down, the boy had gone straight to his room, claiming he had to finish his homework. Robb would have wanted to talk to him about his conversation with Jaime, and not keeping him from knowing things even though the new wouldn't have been that good, but he decided Jon had already suffered enough that day.

Anyway, right once he had remained alone, the first thing Robb did was calling David, inviting him over as soon as possible. He explained the situation the best he could (Robb had come to that point where, once the sadness was over, the desire of breaking everything was beginning to take over), and remained observing his lawyer's shocked and pretty pissed off face: -You should know very well that when it's about a child custody it's a matter of conditions, not wishes.-

Of course Robb knew it: good intentions and a bright smile weren't certainly enough for him to get the custody of three boys.

But still, something about Cersei terrified him: Robb would have normally put every fear aside if his family was in trouble, but something about that woman just wasn't right. She was always looking at him as if she already knew that, in the end, everything would have turned against him and she would have won it all.

-Do you have an idea of what she would have to prove to take the child from you? Neglecting, abuse, you not giving a shit about him. All serious things that you never did and never will.- 

Robb had rarely seen David losing his temper: if that happened, it was because he had fought with Ty over something stupid. In professional occasions, the lawyer had always been able to keep more than a controlled attitude: although, the idiocy of Cersei's idea seemed to have made him lose his mind.

-You can sue her. Make a complaint: a social worker's job is to make sure things are going okay, not trying to take your kid away from you.-

Robb said no with a shook of his head: -We wouldn't work anything out: she never showed up here to investigate me.-

-But she did accuse you of hitting Jon. Without any proof.-

Robb shrugged: -She saw his bruises on his neck, she came to a conclusion. But once Jon had told her what happened she believed him. And she was right, I should have noticed sooner that Jon was bullied.-

David tapped his foot on the ground, simultaneously thinking about a solution and trying to go back to his usual professional self: -You're not wrapped around her finger, Robb. She can't take Rickon away only because she would like to. She's basically threatening you!- 

Robb agreed with David, he really did. But he just couldn't deny Cersei was definitely ahead of him: firstly, she was a pretty important authority, while Robb was just a kid who had just dropped out of college. Second, her father was a famous lawyer of whose only God knew all his friendships inside the court: just one wrong word with him and you were living in the street even with your record so clean it could have made you go blind. 

-I'd like not to see a court for a while, Dave.- he admitted, omitting the part where he was scared shitless of trials. 

His lawyer sighed, but he fully understood the hidden meaning behind Robb's words: -Whether her father is Tywin Lannister or Queen Elizabeth, I couldn't care less: her motivation to take Rickon away doesn't mean squat.- 

Right when Robb was about to tell him it had been David himself to warn him about Tywin Lannister, Rickon walked into the kitchen, trying to get Robb's attention by pulling his sleeve: -Robb?- 

At the sight of his mother's blue eyes in a round, kind and unfairly cute face, Robb found himself smiling lovingly: -Tell me anything, love.- 

As the little boy grabbed his hand, Robb noticed his baby brother's small hand was cold: -Can we have Mac and Cheese tonight, please?- 

David was softened by that request too: Rickon was a reckless kid who loved to play, but you had to remember that he also was scarily polite and kind. Rickon never got inside Jon or Robb's room without asking for their permission first, and he always worried about saying "please" and "thank you", when he asked for something. Leave alone all the times Rickon drew them pictures: Robb had an album full of all the characters he liked to create, inside his closet, and that album updated about everyday.

-Of course we can, sweetheart.- Robb answered, grabbing his brother's other hand and enclosing them both between his own, trying to warm them up. 

-If you give me a hug and a kiss I'll even go get ice cream.- 

On October, maybe he shouldn't have made a kid eat ice cream, especially after dinner, but Rickon never seemed to be too cold, when it was about ice cream: not by coincidence, he didn't think twice and wrapped his arms around his older brother's neck, pressing a loud kiss on his cheek right after.

Robb enjoyed the warmth coming from that small body while keeping his eyes closed: his little boy, his beautiful little boy. He loved him with all his heart, he would have done anything for him: that was why Cersei would have never managed to take him away from him. 

Realising he needed some time alone with his little brother, Robb asked Rickon if he wanted to go to the supermarket with him, and the kid answered with a loud (super loud) yes. 

-We're living in about half an hour, okay? Go play.- 

Sadly, Robb let go of Rickon and watched him running upstairs: it was obvious that he wouldn't have told him anything, not even a single word, of what Cersei wanted to do. Rickon was happy and loving as he always was, but he had been through mourning too: losing his parents had changed him, and Robb wasn't surprised by that. He would have been worried if it didn't, but Rickon was doing fine.

Clearly, he was only five, and he still couldn't understand how serious it all was: he still believed his mommy and daddy were in a better place, that was why it was easier for him to think positive.

-See? That's why Cersei can't do a shit.- David said, smiling softly.

-You're a wonderful parent.-

It was clear that David wasn't telling him all that just to make him happy: if there was one thing Robb was sure of, it was that Ty had decided to be with David also for his ability to spit facts in your face without deceiving anyone.

And since David also was the lawyer who had helped him getting his kids' custody, Robb started feeling better.

 

 

Rickon was holding his older brother's hand firmly, staying by his side: Robb struggled a little with pushing the shopping cart with just one hand, but he could manage that.

Since they were there, he had decided to buy groceries as well, writing on a piece of paper to get eggs. 

Rickon kept on asking curious questions about everything he saw, about how could short people reach for the highest shelves, and why old women liked to get their small doggies inside the shopping cart. 

Robb noticed that those old women just couldn't keep their loving eyes away from him and the little boy, and he suddenly understood why Jon was irritated by them: it didn't mean they had bad intentions, but Robb was feeling uncomfortable anyway. He didn't need anybody's pity. 

-Excuse me sir, you're tying up traffic.- 

Recognising the voice of the man behind him, Robb let the cereal box he was holding fall into the shopping cart and turned around with a smile dancing on his lips: it was completely normal to meet someone you knew at the supermarket, everybody knew each other in town, but meeting Theon by coincidence was a pleasure Robb would have never gotten tired of: he liked the surprise of finding that beautiful face in front of him when he wasn't expecting it, that is. 

-Oh, I beg you pardon. Is there anything I can do to make up for it?- Robb decided to play along.

He stared at Theon's cart: there were only a few things inside, but Robb wasn't surprised, since he owned such a small fridge.

-Uhm, I guess you'll have to offer me a drink.- 

Robb pointed at the bottles of beer in the cart with a nod of his head: -I say you already have enough to drink.- 

Theon huffed, shrugging: -I guess you're right. How did it go with...?- his eyes pointed at Rickon.

Remembering his talk with the social worker, Robb stared at the man in front of him, disheartened: -Honestly? I don't know.-

He saw Theon scowling and bending his head: -Do you want to talk about it, one of these days? I don't know a thing about it, but I do know how to listen.-

Robb admired Theon's will to do all that: he had told him he was no good with kids but he was offering to hear him talk maybe for hours about being a parent at twenty-five.

-I think I'd prefer to forget everything, to be honest.- he confessed, earning a understanding smile in response.

-Is there anything I can do to distract you, then?-

Robb smiled at him, feeling Rickon's small hand tightening his grip around his palm: -You could come to dinner.- 

For a small fraction of second, Theon's eyes stared at Rickon's figure: -You're already introducing me to your whole family?-

-You already know them. And I think it'll make things a little less weird, after all that happened.-

Realising he was in fact tying up traffic, Robb moved his shopping cart away, so that an old woman could walk past them. She smiled at him and the kid, completely ignoring Theon who had stayed still where he was. 

-What about Jon, then? He didn't seem very happy about us, last time I checked.-

Robb shrugged at Theon's question: -Jon's cool with that, now: we talked a bit, today.- 

Glad Theon hadn't asked him about their conversation in details (he really wasn't feeling like talking to anybody about his little boy going through such a desperate crisis), the redhead listened to the illustrator's words with pleasure: -Cool. I'm in, then.-

-Cool. When are you free?-

Theon shook his head, indifferent: -Whenever you want, just not tonight: I have to meet this dude for a drink...-

Opening his eyes wide and frowning right after, Robb found himself gritting his teeth and holding onto Rickon's hand tighter than he should have: why in the world did Theon have to meet with some dude for a drink? What the hell was that supposed to mean?

Easily noticing jealousy in the eyes of the boy standing next to him, Theon begun grinning: -Don't worry, he's just Miss Harris' substitute teacher.- he reassured him.  

-He looks like a weird dude on the phone, I hope I can get along with him.-

Robb bit the inside of his cheek, before talking without thinking first: -Well, I hope you don't.-

Theon's smirk widened, and his green eyes stared straight into Robb's blue ones, full of amusement: -Not everyone's gay.-

-Have you seen yourself?!- Robb exclaimed, pointing at Theon's whole figure with his free hand.

-Literally everyone would want you.- 

And in that moment, Theon's smirk softened, til it almost looked like an embarrassed smile, and Robb could even see a small hint of blush on his cheeks: he wasn't expecting such a compliment. And that was weird because, in Robb's opinion, everyone would have stared at him.

-Too bad I only care about one guy in particular wanting me.-

Robb raised his eyebrow, but inside his stomach millions of butterfly had started flying: -Oh really?-

-Yes.-

-The feeling is mutual, then.-

Theon distractedly bit down his lower lip: -I'd like to know the context you mean.-

Hearing the double entendre (of course Robb wanted him also for sex), he pointed at Rickon, who was (thank god) distracted staring at the pictures in cereals boxes: -In every context: even in the one I can't say right now.-

Robb smirked too: -But I could tell you tomorrow, after dinner.-

Theon leaned forward, his eyes narrowed and his mouth wanting to say too many things that in that exact moment he had to keep for himself: -This means I'll have to stay the night.-

Robb shrugged: -That's not a problem, for me. Is it for you?-

Theon shook his head: -Not at all.-

-Perfect. Let me know how it goes tonight, alright? I want details.-

Theon moved away from his shopping cart until his face was right in front of Robb's: -Alright, daddy.- he said maliciously, biting down his cheek. 

Robb's eyes widened at the nickname, and he rushed to grab Theon's arm and whisper in his ear: -Not in front of the kid, Thee.-

The other boy chuckled in response, saying bye to him with a wink and moving towards the cash desk. All Robb could do was watching him with narrowed eyes, as if to say "be careful", but he couldn't manage to hold back a grin. 

He kept on staring at Theon's back and ass as he slowly walked away, until Rickon pulled his hand a couple times to get his attention: -What is it, little monkey?- 

The little boy pointed at a cereal box with his finger: -Jon likes those, can we get them for him?-

Smiling at the way his baby brother was already worrying about what his brothers liked at only five, Robb nodded: -Of course we can. Good boy.- 

 

 

Robb still felt the need and urge to keep Rickon next to him all night long: right after they both had finished their dinner, the older one had dragged the youngest one in his arms, lulling him and caressing his back until the little boy ended up falling asleep with his head on his shoulder. 

Once he had put Rickon to bed, Robb walked back downstairs in the kitchen to clear the table and do the dishes, when Bran approached him: he had already learnt how to walk with his crutches just fine, the following day Robb would have given up to his extra shift to help him climb the stairs. Bran was watching his older brother scowling and with narrowed eyes, and it didn't take long for Robb to understand he was suspecting something: -Robb, is everything okay?-

Deciding it was useless to lie to him and that it would have actually made him worry even more, Robb only shrugged: -I'm just a little stressed, pup.- 

-Is it because of the social worker?- 

Lightly bending forward to stare into those smart eyes, Robb nodded slowly.

-Did it go bad?-

-No, love.- Robb rushed to reassure the kid with a kiss upon his cheek.

-He didn't say anything new: Jaime says everything's okay while Cersei would want everything to be not okay.-

Robb avoided talking about Rickon's situation, and he was really grateful when Bran didn't want to know more, except for: -But she can't do anything, can she?-

Robb sighed: -David says she can't.-

-And do you trust David?-

Of course he trusted David: he had never given him a good reason not to. He was so young, but he was incredibly professional and clever in his job. And he was always there for him.

-Yes.- Robb answered, and Bran shrugged: -Then it means it's all okay, doesn't it?-

Robb rested his hands on the kid's cheeks and kissed the top of his head: Bran's self-control and smartness were out of this world. He wasn't saying that just because he was his little brother: there were kids who had one amazing skill, Bran had at least four or five. And despite the thought of him growing up someday terrified him, Robb was sure he would have gone far anyway. 

-What would I do without you?- he whispered to him, smiling.

Bran smiled too, not able to hug him back since he was holding onto his crutches, but he still rested his head upon Robb's chest.

-Now go watch tv or read your book, come on.- Robb decided after a while, releasing Bran and letting him go back into the living room.

Jon walked pass him right after, his eyes focused on his phone's screen (Robb had decided to give it back to him the moment he had realised that everything that happened was mostly his fault) and a pair of socks with holes in them on his feet.

-Sweetheart.- Robb called him.

Jon looked away from his phone, staring at his older brother: -Yeah?-

-It would be better if you didn't stay on your phone or laptop, before bed. Or at least, try not to do it too much.- Robb explained.

Nodding, Jon slid his phone in his pocket. That caused Robb to smile: he was happy to see Jon had understood that taking care of himself was important.

-I invited Theon over for dinner, tomorrow. I know, I should have asked you first, but...- there actually was no "but", but lucky for him, Jon nodded indifferently.

Robb checked on the time on the clock upon the wall, and decided it was time to begin the operation "relaxing Jon": -I'll go prepare your bath, okay? Why don't you go find a book to read for later? Infuse or milk?- 

Jon drowned his hands in his pockets, shrugging: -An infuse's just fine.-

Nodding one last time, Robb reached for the bathroom: he carefully prepared the tub, trying to regulate the water at a normal temperature from the start, and then added some Lavender Essential Oil: the scent of lavender had helped him relaxing when he still hadn't received his kids' custody, or when he was stressed out for an exam, let alone how it all looked more romantic when he wasn't bathing alone. He had to try and take a bath with Theon, he thought.

-Jon? Come here, sweetheart.- Robb said, calling his younger brother from the top of the stairs.

Jon shyly reached for him, and he couldn't help but widening his eyes once he entered the bathroom and smelled the soft scent of lavender: -Thank you, Robb.-

Robb kissed his forehead: -Anything for my little brother.- he told him, then he left him alone to take his bath.

He came back to his room just once he had heard the bathroom door opening and closing again, sign that Jon was done: he handed him his infuse, telling him to watch out because it was still hot, and sat on the bed by his side.

-Is it better now?- he asked him.

Jon was already under the sheets, a book upturned on his lap and he was wearing a heavier pyjamas.

The teen nodded, blowing against the cup.

-Good, I'm glad. And remember, when something's wrong, don't be afraid to come and tell me: we'll work it out together.- Robb affectionately patted his knee, and stared at Jon with half of a smile upon his lips. 

-I'll leave you to your book, okay? I'll come and say goodnight later, if you won't be sleeping already.- 

Jon nodded: -I hope I am.-

Once he had reached downstairs, completely alone, since all three of his brothers had gone to bed, Robb considered to call Theon: he had never been what you call an excessively jealous boyfriend, and he shouldn't have been that worried about a meeting with a substitute teacher and colleague, but still he just couldn't understand how those two could talk about school at some bar, at night, in front of an alcoholic drink. 

He also had to add that despite it all him and Theon, he repeated that in his head a thousand times a day but it hadn't gotten into his mind yet, weren't together. And it would have been sick and obsessive to call him as he was in the middle of a work conversation, because that was what Theon was doing: talking about work. Hadn't he just parked under his place in tears, thinking about how much of an asshole his ex boyfriend had been by cheating on him, barely a week before?

You're getting paranoid.

Robb didn't even have the time to end up thinking of that, when Theon called him: Robb was assaulted by panic. Why was he calling him? Did something happen? Did that bastard try to put his hands on him?

-Theon, my darling, are you okay?- he asked him, muscles suddenly tense.

But Theon was chuckling: -Calm down, papa bear, you were the one who wanted details.- 

Robb frowned: -Are you already done? It's not even half past ten!-

-We had to talk about work, it wasn't a date, silly head. And it went just fine, by the way, thanks for asking.- it was right there when a Robb realised that one of Theon's favorite hobbies was to tease him. And Robb was happy to know he was having fun with it.

-Sorry, you're right. How's he?-

Theon laughed: -He's so weird, his last name is horrible. His favorite art movements are Dadaism and post-Impressionism, which was pretty obvious since he's the reincarnation of Vincent Van Gogh.-

Robb laughed too, finding out how little he remembered of history of art, and that the book he had bought when he had took Bran at the bookstore hadn't been opened yet: -I got a book about colours, y'know?-

Theon made a small interested noise: -Oh, really?-

-Yep.-

-Watch out, I'll test you.-

Robb smiled: -I'd like you to teach me something, first.- 

There was a pause.

-Are you for real, Stark?- Theon asked, melting.

-Yes.- 

-I like that you care about my interests.- the illustrator confessed, and Robb could swear he was staring at the tip of his shoes, between the four small wall of his apartment.

-I don't just care, they really do fascinate me, too.- Robb replied: all of his previous boyfriends were so different from Theon. Despite how much he had loved them all, Theon was much of a simpler guy, with hobbies that went beyond people's expectations: Robb had thought many times that one of the reasons why Theon didn't talk about his family was because they had never really accepted his artistic side. Robb found it wonderful, instead: that made him look even more sexy, he was such a strong and stubborn man, who knew a thousand things and was incredibly talented in drawing.

-You're too much for me, fucking Stark.-

Robb laughed at that comment: -You'd deserve the perfect man, Theon.-

-Maybe I've already found him.-

Robb blushed, unaware that Theon, sitting on his bed with a hand clenching his own hair, was doing the exact same: something was already born between them, and that phone call was the sign that that something had started growing. 

Robb didn't know exactly how long they remained talking to each other, but their conversation included many topics: from the sexier ones about the dirty things they would have done to each other the following day, to the simpler and domestic ones, such as Robb asking Theon if he wanted something in particular to eat, or if he had any kind of allergy, which was something they had never discussed about.

Once they had finally said goodnight to each other, Robb was already looking forward the following night. 

As silently as he could, he climbed up the stairs and opened the door that led to Jon's room: the boy still had his reading glasses on, but the book was lying abandoned and open on his lap. The cup was upon the nightstand, empty, the light of the abat-jour still on. But Jon was sleeping so tight Robb believed not even a cannonball could have woken him up. There was such a calm and relaxed expression on his face that it made Robb almost tear up: he turned the light off, removed the glasses from Jon's face, rested the book on the nightstand and fixed the pillow so that his brother wouldn't have woken up with a stiff neck. He adjusted his sheets and kissed his forehead. Jon didn't seem to have noticed a thing.

-Sweet dreams, my little boy.- Robb whispered, almost inaudibly. 

After checking on the youngest ones too, Robb went into his own room: he had hung a corkboard above his bed and he filled it with notes whenever he had something to do. He opened the nightstand drawer, he wanted to write "make a lemon cake" and "tell Blair you won't do the extra shift", when he bumped into an old picture of his parents: it was there, next to the stack of notes, and Robb didn't even know how it got there. 

He took it in between his hands, sitting on the bed and not really sure on how to feel: he remembered that picture, he himself had taken it the day his parents had told him he would have had another baby brother or sister, five years ago. Testifying for that, were his mother's hand gently resting on her belly, the wedding ring shining, and his father's warm smile as he hugged his wife. How beautiful his parents were.

Robb almost laughed at the thought that there had been a time when a Rickon was smaller than he was now. 

His mother was his own female version, Sansa was exactly like her when she was young, Rickon was her young, small, blue-eyed carbon copy. His father and Bran had the same facial features, but his eyes' were just like Arya's. But his parents' sensibility, empathy and yes, stubbornness too because damn yes, his parents had been stubborn in the best way possible, well they had passed all of that to Jon. 

Don't you worry. Robb thought.

I'm taking care of them: they're alright. I'm alright, finally. We're all alright. I swear.