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Broken Things

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                Jon’s about a mile out from Theon’s flat when he starts drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. It’s a Wednesday night, and Jon’s always got Thursdays off from classes. Theon doesn’t work until 3 on Thursdays. Therefore, for the past four months, they’ve been fucking on Wednesday nights.

                And sometimes watching movies. Or arguing about Theon’s taste in music. Which Jon thinks is more or less failed punk, much to Theon’s chagrin.

                Mostly they fuck and then pretend it’s too late for Jon to drive home.

                An entire pathetic, not-quite relationship built off of the one night Jon was the only one home at the Stark House when Theon came in covered in bruises. They never did talk about the bruises, but after a few shots of shitty tequila, Theon grabs a fistful of his hair and pulls him into a kiss. Jon likes to think the only reason he went along with it was the tequila. He doesn’t like to think about Theon looking so lost when he opened Robb’s door to find him missing. Or Theon startling when Jon leaned out of his own room to tell him that the Starks were off visiting the Tullys.

                They still don’t talk when Robb’s around. And Jon only ever visits Theon’s flat, because if Theon comes to the Stark House, it’s never to see him.

                It’s just good sex.

                Good sex and a weird urge to touch Theon’s hair when he starts twitching in his sleep.

                Good sex and a developing fondness for the way he smiles somehow only one side of his face.

                Just good sex, Jon reminds himself. Just because you’re fucking someone doesn’t mean you have to like them as a person.

                He pulls into a parking space across the street from Theon’s apartment and bolts through the nasty wet slush on the ground to get inside before the chill gets to him. The front door is unlocked, and he heads up the stairs to the second floor. This door is also unlocked, like it usually is on Wednesday night.

                Jon expected Theon to yell something to him from across the apartment, like usual.

                He didn’t expect to see Theon jolt awake on the couch with a heavy cough. He furrows his brow and kicks off his shoes before heading into the living room. Theon’s a bit blurry eyed and ruffling his hair back into place, surrounded by a mess of used tissues on the floor. He coughs again and then winces slightly, moving a hand to his throat and wincing again when he swallows.

                “Oh. I should have…called, probably. Texted,” Jon says.

                “Kinda sick,” Theon rasps out. Jon’s surprised by how quiet and scratched out his voice sounds.

                “Happen today?” Jon asks. Theon shakes his head and holds up three fingers.

                “Three days? Have you not seen a doctor?” Jon frowns. Theon shrugs at him. Fixes his hair again.

                “You look terrible,” Jon tells him, lightly amused when Theon’s hand goes back to his hair, “I mean, have you taken anything for it?”

                Theon sighs, gesturing to his throat. Jon takes the hint and pulls drawers open until he finds a pen and a notepad. Theon untangles himself from a blanket to grab the pen and paper, scribbles “I can take care of myself, shithead.”

                “I’m sure you can. Which is why you’re still sick.”

                Fuck off.

                “I’ll grab something from the store. Seriously. Better than being sick,” Jon tells him. Then he moves to put his fingers across Theon’s wrist and Theon gives him a look.

                “Checking your temperature. You feel like you’ve got a fever,” he explains. Theon looks down at Jon’s fingers and shrugs again.

                Jon checks the cabinets again before he leaves and shakes his head. Theon throws the pen at him to get his attention again and smiles when Jon gets hit in the shoulder and glares at him. He holds up the pad, which now says ‘You don’t have to play nurse just because we’re fucking.’

                “I could…send Robb over,” Jon offers.

                “I’m used to taking care of myself,” Theon replies, voice barely reaching Jon. He lifts his chin slightly. And there’s the damn shrug again. And that too-crooked-to-be-endearing smile.

                Jon rolls his eyes and leaves and Theon pulls the blankets back up over his head.

                He’s asleep again when Jon gets back from the grocery store. He tosses a bottle of ibuprofen at him, which makes the lump of blankets start thrashing. When Theon pokes his head out, his hair is a mess and he’s glaring at the bottle of pills.

                “For the fever. Take two,” Jon orders. He sets down a bottle of cough syrup and instructs him to take a capful. Theon’s still looking at him like he’s bullshitting him when Jon heads back to the kitchen.

                He comes back in with tea with a wedge of lemon in it and Theon starts shaking his head.

                “It’ll make your throat feel better.”

                Theon gestures pointedly to the notepad and Jon rolls his eyes before grabbing another pen for him.


                Jon’s deadpan expression makes Theon crack an honest smile and Jon reminds himself again that they’re only fucking. That they hate each other.

                I hate tea. Tastes like bitter grass.

                Jon spends a few seconds thinking about how neat Theon’s handwriting looks and how unexpected that is. Then he shakes his head to clear his thoughts and catches Theon watching his curls bounce.

                “It’s got honey in it. And lemon. It’s going to taste like honey and lemon.”

                And like shit.

                “Just drink it,” Jon sighs, and then he’s heading back to the kitchen. He hears it when Theon sets the mug back down on the table and smiles slightly to himself.

                When he’s chopping carrots, he very suddenly realizes that Theon must have meant it when he said he was used to caring for himself. From Robb, he knows Theon’s got two dead brothers. He’s never heard a word about his mother and only a handful of words about his sister. And the way Robb clenches his jaw when Theon mentions his father makes Jon pretty certain he knows where the bruises come from.

                Jon’s always had Ned, when he was sick. It’s not quite the same as the rest of the Stark kids, who usually have Catelyn sitting by their side and checking their forehead with the back of her hand. He slides the carrots into the soup he’s making and ignores the bitter taste in his mouth.

                Ned might not have made the best soup for Jon when he was sick, but he did always have medicine and extra pillows. He pictures the ten year old Theon who stole Robb’s affection away from him. And then he pictures that same kid as sick as he is now, alone and home from school.

                He frowns more when he starts to wonder if Theon ever did stay home from school or if he went even with a nasty fever. And when he peeks around the corner, Theon’s got his hands around the mug of tea and is looking at it with an unreadable expression.

                When Jon heads back to the couch, he’s got a bowl of fairly simple chicken soup to hand to Theon, who’s looking at him like he’s hiding something again.

                “It’s chicken soup. It’s supposed to make you better when you’re sick for some reason.”

                Theon’s looking at the soup again and raising an eyebrow.

                “You had canned shit in the cabinets. That’s just salty water and soggy noodles. You had the noodles in your cabinet and I just picked up….broth. Carrots. Celery. Chicken. Lemons.”

                Theon makes a sour face when Jon says lemon and Jon insists it tastes better this way. He pokes a spoon around in the bowl and lifts up a penis-shaped noodle before glancing at Jon. Jon stares back at him and Theon laughs soundlessly before setting down the bowl and grabbing the notepad again.

                I bought them online because Robb insisted on having shaped pasta for pasta salad when we went hiking.

                I hate hiking.

                He didn’t let me use the penis ones.

                Jon smiles slightly and sits down on the other side of the couch. Theon’s expression softens for a beat before he’s smiling like a shithead again. He eats the soup, even though he winces when he swallows. Jon asks if he took any of the medicine and there’s a beat of silence and stillness before Theon nods. He’s obviously lying and Jon sighs before opening the bottle and setting out two pills. He pours the capful of cold medicine and then pointedly watches Theon until he gives in and takes his medicine.

                Jon’s still smug about it even when Theon shifts to use Jon’s lap as a leg rest.

                He takes the empty bowl to the sink and returns with a refilled mug of tea. Theon’s shifted to the opposite side of the couch and when Jon sits down, Theon uses him as a pillow. He taps his fingers on his thigh for a bit before reaching for the pen again.

                Are you going to stay here and watch me sleep or something?

                “I don’t have anything better to do. I mean…I don’t mind, is all. I could watch a movie,” Jon answers. He isn’t sure where to put his hands, so he leans over Theon to grab the controller off the table and start flipping through Netflix options. He chances a look down and the corner of Theon’s mouth pulls up. Jon lets his left hand gently settle on Theon’s hair and Theon doesn’t pull away.

                “Go to sleep,” Jon tells him. Theon waits until Jon’s chosen a movie entirely so he can roll his eyes and snort at the choice. He falls asleep quickly with the movie quietly playing in the background. He starts twitching a bit and muttering in his sleep. Jon’s watching him when his eyes snap open. There’s panic there for a few seconds before his eyes go blurry and sleepy again. Jon’s got his right hand resting a bit awkwardly on Theon’s elbow and Theon shifts to grab his hand tightly before promptly passing out again.

                Jon looks up at the ceiling and deeply regrets getting invested in this.

                It’s bound to fall apart when he starts trying for something more. Because it’s Theon. And he’s never seen Theon in a relationship.

                But Theon has nightmares when he falls asleep.

                And he’s got a smile that doesn’t make Jon feel so much like punching him in the mouth anymore.