Domeric wasn’t exactly sure why he had agreed to this. He supposed it came down to what it always did when Ramsay asked him for a favor; he loved his little brother, and he loved spoiling him, no matter how many times their father warned Domeric that indulgence would only worsen Ramsay’s bad behavior.
Whatever the reason, Domeric had agreed to drive Ramsay and his friend (boyfriend?) Theon Greyjoy to the local Taco Bell for dinner. He was sure Ramsay had raided the fridge not an hour before he had asked Domeric for a ride, but Ramsay had dismissed his big brother’s comments about that immediately.
“Come on, Domeric.” He wheedled, “Reek and I just smoked a bowl, we’ve got the munchies.”
Theon—or Reek, as Ramsay always called him, for reasons unknown—looked at Domeric apologetically. Ramsay’s eyes were red and a bit glazed, but Reek didn’t have the look of someone under the relaxing influence of marijuana. But far be it from Domeric to question his little brother’s friends, or his choices.
Domeric had barely finished parking his car before Ramsay bounded out, dragging Theon after him.
The inside of the store was decorated garishly in shades of yellow, green and purple. Ramsay and Theon were already waiting in line when Domeric joined them.
“Next!” Called the tall man behind the counter. His hair was dyed half red and half white and the plastic nameplate pined to his uniform read “Jaqen H’ghar – Store Manager.”
“Hello there, sir.” He greeted Domeric with a smile. He didn’t have the usual overly cheery air of some fast food mangers that Domeric had encountered (usually during similar trips with Ramsay). Instead, he seemed to be laughing at a secret joke—like, I won’t be around here for much longer, suckers.
“Do you know what you want?” Domeric asked, nudging Ramsay forward. He didn’t want to be rude to the staff or other patrons, but Ramsay wasn’t so socially conscious.
“Quit rushing me, Domeric.” Ramsay grumbled, but his eyes scanned the menu and he eventually settled—
“Gimme two five-layer burritos, an XXL plate of nachos, one crunchwrap, three tacos—crunchy—and… a large soda.”
Mr. Jaqen H’ghar prodded deftly at the computer screen in front of him as Ramsay rattled off his order without taking a breath.
“Will that be all?”
“Would you like something, Theon?” Domeric asked Ramsay’s “friend” kindly. Theon flinched a little and jerked his gaze up from his shoes. He seemed startled that Domeric had even remembered he was there.
“We’re sharing.” Ramsay interjected before Theon could so much as open his mouth. He threw an arm around the smaller boy’s shoulders in what seemed to Domeric to be a possessive gesture.
Domeric turned back to Jaqen, waiting patiently with that half-smile on his lips. “I guess we’re all set then.” He said.
“That’ll be $21.45.”
Domeric glanced at his brother, half hoping Ramsay might actually have money this time, but Ramsay was busy whispering in Theon’s ear. He only glanced up when he saw Domeric watching him.
“Hurry up, Domeric.”
Domeric sighed and pulled out his wallet. Who spend over twenty dollars at Taco Bell? He supposed if anyone could, it would be Ramsay. At least he’d probably eat it all. Their father would have a fit if he found Ramsay’s leftovers clogging up the fridge again.
Ramsay snatched his drink cup off the counter and darted off to the soda fountain. He would probably guzzle at least a gallon of Baja Blast before they left.
Domeric waited patiently for their—meaning Ramsay’s—order while his little brother grabbed a plastic spork and started poking Theon’s arm with its plastic prongs.
“Hold still! Would you rather I carved my name into your arm with my knife instead?”
Domeric sighed. His brother was incorrigible.
Ramsay had R-A-M-S scratched into Theon’s arm by the time a resigned-looking employee dropped a tray laden with food onto the counter.
“Order 667.” The boy looked to be a bit younger than Ramsay, with dark unruly hair that looked familiar. His nameplate read Jon.
“Thanks.” Domeric said, “Jon Snow, right? You’re Ned Stark’s—“
“Yeah.” The boy interrupted brusquely. Domeric was a bit taken back.
“I’m Domeric Bolton. Our dads work together sometimes.”
Jon didn’t seem interested in Domeric’s polite attempts at conversation. “Yeah, I know. I go to school with your half-brother. And Theon.” Jon raised in eyebrow, looking over Domeric’s shoulder at whatever Ramsay was up to now.
Ramsay looked up from his project on Theon’s arm just long enough to notice that Domeric hadn’t yet brought over his meal. “Domeric, my food’s gonna get cold!”
“Yeah…” Domeric tried giving Jon a sympathetic half-smile, “Sorry about that. Ramsay can be a bit… much… if you don’t know how to handle him.”
“Yeah, Theon ought to take some lessons.” Jon actually favored him with a small grin. Domeric grabbed the tray and took that smile as a win.
“Finally.” Ramsay sighed when Domeric presented him with his feast. He didn’t waste any time tearing open his first taco.
Watching Ramsay eat was nothing less than an experience, no matter how many times Domeric had seen it.
Domeric was almost of a height with his little brother, and Ramsay was boarder in the chest with thick, muscular thighs that Domeric often marveled over, but it was still astounding just how much his brother could consume when he set his mind to it.
Ramsay had started on his plate of nachos (which was functioning as dessert in this case) when Domeric realized Theon hadn’t gotten to try a single bite.
He cleared his throat to get Ramsay’s attention. “Ramsay, I thought you were sharing all this with Theon.”
Ramsay raised his eyes from the plate, which he was crouched over as if he feared someone would try to take it from him. “His name is Reek, Domeric. He likes that better.”
“In any case, would you like some nachos?” Domeric offered gently; Greyjoy was very twitchy.
“Oh…” Theon seemed surprised to be addressed by someone other than Ramsay. His eyes flickered to Ramsay’s face briefly. “Umm…”
“Turns out, he’s not really all that hungry.” Ramsay interjected, looking smug. “I take care of you, right, Reek?”
“Uhhh, yeah.” Theon answered quickly. He looked relieved as attention shifted back to watching Ramsay plow his way through his mass of chips heavily laden with beans and cheese.
“You can lick the plate, Reek.” Ramsay quipped when he finished. Domeric wasn’t entirely sure he was joking.
“Clean up, you’re always so messy.” Domeric ordered his younger brother. The table was splattered with congealing droplets of cheese and grease.
“Snow can get it.” Ramsay replied, waving a hand nonchalantly at Jon Snow, who was hovering nearby with a damp rag, waiting for the party to vacate. “Gotta earn that eight dollars an hour, don’t you Snow? Hey, does it ever bother you that Catelyn Stark didn’t make Robb get a job?”
“All right, that’s enough.” Domeric stood up, laying a hand on Ramsay’s shoulder. He wasn’t exactly gentle about it either.
“I was just having some fun.” Ramsay sulked as Domeric hustled him out of the store, Theon trailing behind.
“You shouldn’t have rushed me, Domeric.” Ramsay said when he sprawled in the backseat of Domeric’s car, “I might have had too much.”
Domeric could only sigh.
“Rub my belly, Reek. That’s what Domeric always does when I feel sick. And he’s such a good big brother.”
In his rearview mirror, Domeric watched as Theon tentatively slid his hand under Ramsay’s shirt and made slowly circles. It was what Domeric always did, when Ramsay inevitably overtaxed his stomach.
As often as Ramsay frustrated him, Domeric felt warmed with pleasure, thinking about Ramsay calling him a good big brother. He smiled in spite of himself. Ramsay did appreciate him, he just had trouble expressing himself. And knowing that, Domeric would drive his little brother and his odd, quiet probably-more-than friend to Taco Bell whenever Ramsay wanted.