Sure as hell this isn’t how I thought I’d die, Theon thinks as he realizes that there’s no way out.
Damn, he knew that this flat was crap the moment he saw it, but he had thought that in a couple months he’d manage to put together the money to get a better one. Beggars can’t be choosers and since no one related to him was an option, and like hell he was going to get back to Ramsay’s in his life, he had taken it.
And clearly now the entire floor above his own is on fire because one of his crappy neighbors didn’t realize that the walls are fucking plastic, and he wishes his problem was that there are four floors between his own and the ground and that the fire escape is on the other side of the building. His problem is that a piece concrete fell on him from a fucking hole in the ceiling, and while he did manage to move from under it, his leg is probably broken and he doubts he can stand up anytime soon.
He tries to crawl towards the window, but dragging his leg behind is hurting like hell and he’s not going to think that he’s safe from other pieces of ceiling possibly falling on him.
At least he’s pretty sure that the firefighters did get here at some point – he’s heard alarms – but he doesn’t like the noises coming from above at all, still, and fuck but this wasn’t the way he thought he’d –
“Are you all right?”
His head snaps to his left, where he sees someone hoisting himself on the windowsill.
When Theon sees the red uniform he almost wants to cry in relief. Then he looks at the man’s face and – well. He had thought the whole thing where firefighters are usually extremely good looking was some kind of urban myth, but this one? Definitely a looker, from what he can see – there’s smoke everywhere, after all. Sure as hell he has a nice voice.
“Kind of?” Damn, he sounds like he’s forty years older than he actually is, but then again he’s been inhaling smoke for twenty minutes. “I mean, something fell on my leg before and it hurts, but I can get there if –”
“Are you serious? I can see it’s broken from here. Don’t move, I’m coming in.”
He’s inside in a moment, and he walks quickly towards him – the moment he touches Theon’s leg, he can’t avoid screaming.
“Right. Don’t try to stand up, this is definitely broken.”
“So what do I –”
“Relax. The situation above is under control, or so it looked like. And you don’t have to do a thing. I’ll carry you, all right? Hold still or it’s just going to hurt more.”
“You – sorry?”
“I trained for this, you know,” the guy – Robb, that’s what his badge says – says before moving and picking him up in a bridal carry with just the slightest effort.
Theon doesn’t even have time to think – he throws his arms around Robb’s neck on automatic, and maybe he’s hanging on a bit more strongly than it would be appropriate, but blame him.
“Right. Does your leg feel worse?”
“No. Not really.”
“Good. Tell me if I’m moving too harshly. And by the way, you really don’t weigh that much.” He actually says it as if he’s worried, and Theon just swallows down and says nothing because how do you tell someone that yes, they’re right, it’s probably because he’s barely out of a relationship where the other person wanted to police his eating habits?
“I’m good,” he replies instead, and – the thing is that he is. It doesn’t feel weird and he’s not feeling the need to get out of it, which is strange itself considering how not big he is lately on strangers touching him.
“Right. We’re going to the fire escape – it’s windy outside so just hang on, all right? I’d avoid walking down but they need the crane for the people upstairs.”
“Yeah. Got it.”
Robb starts walking through his ruined apartment – damn, the smoke did get there and now he’ll have to throw out everything. Not that he had much in it in the first place, but hey, at least he’s getting out of this alive. No point in crying over his clothes.
Robb had told him it was windy, so he was ready for it, but he hadn’t taken into account that it’s almost midnight and it’s cold – he hadn’t planned on hiding his face against Robb’s neck, he hadn’t. It just was the wave of chilly air.
“Shit,” he says, moving back, and shuddering when more cold air hits his face. “I’m sorry, I –”
“Nothing to be sorry for, it’s bloody cold out here. And that was nothing. I mean, it’s not like people haven’t tried to stick their tongue in my mouth more than once.”
Theon snorts, unable to keep it in.
“That was hardly inappropriate, yes,” Robb replies drily as he starts walking down the stairs. “And you’re probably about to go into shock, do you really think I’d go and drop you because of that?”
It sounds kind of stupid now that he puts it like that.
“Well, yeah, I guess. Can’t say I don’t see why, though,” he mutters, and then he bites down on his tongue because has the smoke gone to his fucking brain?
Robb doesn’t drop him at that either, though.
Actually, he smirks in a way that would make Theon’s knees go weak, if not for his current position.
“I can’t say many of them were nice enough to pay me a few compliments before doing that,” he answers as he keeps on steadily walking down the stairs. They’re around the second floor now. “How polite of you.”
Theon wants to laugh at that. “That’s not what people usually call me.”
“Just telling the truth here.”
Damn, now that he looks at the guy up close, he can see how right he was in his assumption – in between the enormous blue eyes, the ginger hair and stubble and the way his face seems sculpted in fucking marble, he can see why people would want to be enthusiastic while thanking him.
“I wasn’t lying, for that matter,” Theon blurts out, and he has no fucking clue of why he’s spilling like this in front of someone he doesn’t even know, but – he can’t help it. Or so it seems.
Robb doesn’t answer, though he still looks sort of pleased, and then they finally are on the ground floor. There are alarms blaring everywhere, six ambulances and a crowd all around them – obviously. He half-expects Robb to dump him on the first stretcher and go back in, so he’s honestly out of his depth when Robb sits him down on one very carefully instead and tells him to wait a minute.
Theon waits a minute, looking down at his hands and wishing they’d stop shaking, and he jerks when he suddenly feels warmth around his shoulders.
He looks up to see Robb, again, who’s wrapping a shock blanket around his shoulders and obviously looking him over.
Then he hands him a bottle of water, already opened.
“Have a drink, you have to be thirsty. The paramedic said he’s getting here the moment he’s done with checking the burns on the fifth floor people.”
“Right. Right, fine.” He takes a drink, then a second. “You – you don’t have to stay here, though,” he says when he realizes that Robb isn’t leaving.
“You were the only person on the fourth floor and the others have it covered. And I did get you out, so technically you’re my responsibility until the paramedic gets here. Oh, do you want me to call someone for you?”
As if. Asha isn’t even in England right now and that’s where his list of people he could call ends.
“No one to call, but thank you.”
Robb gives him another weird look, as if he’s worried, then he shrugs, goes to the ambulance and comes back with a second shock blanket.
“You don’t have to –”
“You’re this close to really go into shock,” Robb says gently, and fuck, he hadn’t realized his hands were shaking quite this much. “I think I have to. And I don’t mind, you know. By the way, I guess you read my badge already, haven’t you?”
“That'd be me, yes.”
“Theon,” he croaks, wondering if he should hold out a hand or not. He doesn’t. “I’m sorry the circumstances weren’t that great.”
“That’s okay. I could do a lot worse. For that matter, if you don't have anyone that'll come with you… well, the call arrived just when my shift was over. So since I shouldn’t be working right now – I can go with you if you want someone to come with on the ambulance.”
“What – you’d do that?” He’s entirely aware that he sounds like some kind of hopeless schoolgirl.
“You don’t look like you want to go into it on your own. And yeah, why wouldn’t I?”
“Does that come with the job?”
“Sometimes. Not necessarily.”
He should say no. He really should say no.
“Well, if you really don’t have better plans for the night…”
“Oh, I think the ones I have right now could be a lot worse.” Fuck, Theon is pretty sure that Robb’s cheeks have just gone slightly redder, and that completely makes the sentence sound endearing rather than creepy. But then again there isn’t a single bone in Robb that screams creepy. All the contrary. Robb’s mouth curls up in a small smile, and he can’t help smiling back at him.
The moment it happens he realizes that his hands aren’t shaking anymore.