“You can lie to yourself and to me all you want,” Snow says, “but you’re not going to convince me.”
“Won’t you just leave?” His voice is a lot less sure than he’d like, but he doesn’t care right now - as long as Snow just fucking leaves him alone.
“Fine. But you know I’ll come back.”
Theon shrugs and Snow sighs before he stands up and leaves, closing the door softly behind him. Theon wishes he had slammed it.
“It wasn’t just drunken affections, you know.”
“I would be the one knowing that, wouldn’t I?”
Jon shakes his head and doesn’t come closer - it’s not like he relishes playing this game, and the gods know that his patience is wearing thin, but he’s willing to keep on doing this until Theon stops being in denial. Not that it’s hard to find the resolve - just looking at him lately is enough to make every spark of irritation die.
“You always struck me like the kind who tends to tell the truth when drunk. I haven’t changed my mind.”
“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” Theon spits, and Jon can’t help feeling like he was two and ten all over again and trying to figure out why Theon was getting under his skin back then. Sometimes he feels like he’s wasting time, but - damn it, he survived a war against undead men, an assassination attempt and the gods know how much else, and he’ll go to the seven hells himself before he lets Theon Greyjoy have the best of this. Jon almost misses the time when he was a smug ass and he could find it in himself to think that he hated him, because as it is right now he’s not even smug about it any more.
“You’re such an idiot,” Jon sighs. “And why are you insisting on making your own life miserable even when you don’t have to?”
“Leave me,” Theon hisses, resolutely not looking at him.
“Very well. But don’t think I won’t come back.”
Theon says nothing and Jon sighs again before leaving.
“Why won’t you just stop this and let me -”
“Don’t say that,” Theon interrupts, and for a moment he’s almost sure that Jon will lose it and punch him in the mouth for having done that, but Jon just shakes his head, almost sadly, and does nothing.
“Fine, I won’t. But you can’t stop me from making it clear that I would.”
Why can’t he just leave it?
“You should hate me,” Theon retorts, and his voice sounds small rather than angry as he had hoped.
“Then it’s your luck that I really don’t. I know what really happened, and it was enough as far as I’m concerned.”
“It shouldn’t be.”
“But it is. Really, is tormenting yourself for the rest of your life what you really want?”
“And what if it was?”
Jon looks at him almost with pity before he sighs all over again, wraps his black cloak around himself and leaves the room.
Damn him, damn the disorder he’s putting into Theon’s head and damn him for being right, too, because yes, that is exactly what he wants. He just wants to be left on his own and wallow in his own entirely deserved misery, and he doesn’t need Jon to remind him that once upon a time he wasn’t the wreck of a person he is right now, that they used to tumble into the same bed at times, that they had kissed when Theon still had all his (real) teeth, that back then he used to tug at Jon’s hair with all of his fingers, that they used to think that they disliked each other for reasons less important than the ones Jon would have to detest him now.
Except that he was always a bad liar, same as every Stark that ever was, and it’s obvious that he means it, and Theon wishes that he didn’t. Because if he did then he’d have no reasons to think, at times, that maybe it would be good if he said yes at least once.
But he won’t, because regardless of what Jon thinks, he deserves none of that, and he’s not going to change his mind. And - it’s not like it was even anything that mattered, back then. They had been tipsy most times, the both of them, and even if it had felt good it really didn’t have to mean a thing, did it? He had been sure it didn’t back then, and he had kept on telling himself that they always ended up doing it because it was easy and convenient and no one paid attention.
He still thinks that. He does. He really does.
Except that Jon can’t just leave it alone and he wishes he could hate him for that.
“I still want to.”
“Guess what, Snow, I don’t.”
“Fine. Then I won’t do anything, but let me tell you something.”
“What do you want?”
“It’s nice to see that regardless of everything that happened, you still can be such an idiot.”
Theon’s shoulders twitch at that, and Jon feels a bit guilty - insulting him when he’s like this makes Jon feel like a horrible person even if logic tells him he shouldn’t, but he kind of meant it. At least something hasn’t changed.
“Glad to know that. Can’t you just drop it? I don’t - you shouldn’t, all right?”
“Why? I can take my own decisions and I happen to think that I should.”
Theon shakes his head again, resolutely not looking at him, and Jon’s fingers are twitching to reach out and touch his arm, but he keeps himself from doing it. If he wants to prove his point then he can’t be the one starting this. But maybe he hasn’t made that clear enough, so he takes a deep breath and tries another time.
“Theon, I wouldn’t be insisting if I was sure that you didn’t want any of that.”
That at least gets Theon’s attention - his eyes meet Jon’s for the first time since he came into Theon’s room, and he looks completely out of his depth. Well, better than angry.
“I have no interest in forcing you to do anything. If you really don’t want it or if you’re entirely sure that you’re not lying to me when you say that none of what we used to do meant something, then go ahead, look straight at me and say so. And I won’t bring it up again. But I’ve been through too much to even bother with pretenses. I don’t care about how you look now and for me it did mean something. I think it did for you, too, but please feel free to tell me different.”
He waits for a moment - Theon does look as if he’s going to answer that here and now, but then he closes his mouth - he grabs pieces of his cloak and his fingers clench into fists as he does and he shakes his head.
“Can’t you just leave?” he blurts a moment later, sounding as if he’s about to cry.
“Doesn’t seem to me like you just told me different.”
“What does it matter?”
“Why can’t you let me -”
“Don’t. Don’t say that.”
Jon has to fight himself from taking a step forward and reaching out, and he just wishes that this wasn’t making him feel like he used to all over again. Damn Theon for still getting under his skin even if in entirely different ways.
“Very well. I won’t. But the offer is there and if you think that I’ll change my mind, then you’re wrong.”
Jon leaves a moment later, after realizing that Theon will not look at him or answer him, and he wishes that this could be easier.
Castle Black at night lives up to its name, Theon thinks - everything is dark and damp and the torches on the walls aren’t much help. By the time he’s gotten out of his cell, walked through the yard and walked the steps up to the Lord Commander’s apartments every damn muscle that he has left is hurting, his feet most of all, and he’s half-sure that he’s going to regret this if only because he’s not in his right mind. He wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for the most upsetting nightmare he’s had in weeks - he’s still shaking from it, and he can still hear that voice whispering in his ear that they were all lies and of course Snow only wants an outlet for his urges and he’s there and convenient. And - maybe he’s feeling a need to prove it - him - wrong, and maybe he’s just too tired to pretend that Jon wasn’t right before. He could have answered no, if he had been so sure it was a bad idea all along, couldn’t he?
He knocks a couple of times, knowing that Jon will hear it - from what he gathers, he’s a light sleeper. Of course he would be.
Jon opens the door wearing a fur hastily thrown over his shoulders, and his eyes go wide for a moment when he sees Theon standing there.
“I - I might have changed my mind,” Theon blurts a moment later.
Then Jon’s eyes go a bit wide, and he looks hopeful, and that’s ridiculous because who’d hope that he was willing?
“All right. Come in then.”
“Wait.” He takes a deep breath. “I can’t - what do you want exactly? Because if it’s - if it’s what we used to do, then I can’t.”
For a moment, he expects Jon to shut the door in his face.
Jon merely moves enough that he can pass. “Fine. But I think we should discuss that inside - you’re freezing.”
Theon can’t argue on that, and so he walks inside - there’s a dying fire in the room and it’s a lot warmer than the outside had been. Jon locks the door and then looks back at him again.
“It’s fine, you know. Stop looking that surprised. That’s not what you want, right?”
Say yes, a part of him urges. Say yes or he’ll get tired soon, what else would he want you for anyway?
“No.” He’s done lying, or at least he hopes he is. “I don’t. Not now, at least. But - then what - gods, I don’t even know why I’m here. It was a mistake, I should just -”
“How about you lay down and let me do the work? If you’re not fine with whatever I do, just say it.”
Theon isn’t really having high expectations as he does that - he takes off his cloak and shoes and then lays down on Jon’s bed, which at least is a lot more comfortable than his own, and then he waits.
He isn’t expecting it when Jon pulls the covers above the two of them and climbs into the bed wearing the clothes he had on before. He isn’t expecting it either when Jon puts an arm around his waist and moves so that Theon’s head is nestled in the hollow of his neck, and then he doesn’t do anything else.
“Is this fine?” Jon asks a moment later.
It - it actually is. It feels nice. It’s nothing crowding or suffocating, and Jon isn’t holding too tight - he could get out, if he wanted.
“Yes,” he answers as he moves a bit closer. Jon’s skin is so very warm and he’s still freezing, but it doesn’t take long before it stops and he actually feels a bit warm himself. Jon’s hands don’t move until the one he had on Theon’s shoulder moves upwards - Theon breathes in sharply when Jon’s fingers start threading through his still newly growing hair. (He had shaved it a while ago and now it’s short, but clean and softer and not as dark as it used to be but still not white, so it’s all good as far as he’s concerned.)
“What about this?”
“It’s good,” he says after thinking about it a moment, a lump suddenly appearing in his throat. Jon is doing this so gently that he can barely feel the touch, and he’s turned the hand he had on Theon’s waist so that his knuckles are running over the small of Theon’s back in a soothing motion. And - Jon doesn’t do more than that for a while, and that’s when Theon realizes that he won’t go farther, and he almost wants to cry at that. He hasn’t been touched like this in so damned long, and they didn’t use to do this much back when they both lived in Winterfell, and right now he thinks that he could let Jon do this for a damned long while. It’s no use denying it - it feels good, and maybe he’s not too tense anymore as his shoulders loose tension. He barely feels it when Jon moves a bit closer, barely any space between them, his hand still carding through his hair.
“Shouldn’t I do - something?” he asks a while later though, because he just can’t not, and he should be at least reciprocating it. Jon can’t possibly be getting anything out of this, can he?
“Yes, actually. Go to sleep and stop worrying, will you?”
“But - you aren’t -”
“Don’t worry about that now,” Jon says, sounding almost amused.
Maybe it’s that he’s too tired, but he has no fight left in him and he closes his eyes, feeling his shoulder sag and worrying that things might change in the morning.
When he wakes up, Jon is asleep, one of his hands with the fingers still tangled in his hair, and they haven’t changed positions at all. For a moment he has no clue of what he should do, and then Jon stirs and opens his eyes. He blinks twice, and Theon doesn’t know what to expect - he’s almost sure that he’s going to move and press him down on the bed, which would only be the natural thing, and he’s not sure that -
His train of thought gets interrupted when Jon hums under his breath and only tightens his grip around Theon’s waist before starting to stroke his hair all over again.
“Jon?” He hates how tiny his voice sounds. “What - what are you doing?”
“It was fine yesterday, wasn’t it?”
“Well, yes, but -”
“Then it’s exactly what I’m going to do until I have to get up. I mean, if you let me, I’m not going to do anything you don’t want.”
Maybe he should think about this more. Maybe he should be more careful before trusting someone else this much, not after - no. He’s not going to think about it. He’s just not. And this feels good, and Jon is his father’s son for good and for worse, and - now that he’s gone this far, he doesn’t think that he can go back.
“It’s fine,” he says, barely hearing himself. “I mean, this is.”
“All right,” Jon answers, and pulls him a bit closer, but that’s it. Nothing more.
Theon feels it when his shoulders lose tension for good, and he can’t force himself to think that he shouldn’t let himself enjoy it, for what he can, so he curls up against Jon and closes his eyes.
He doesn’t think he can lie to himself anymore about any of this, but the good part of it, what feels better about it, is that he doesn’t think he cares, either.