Idle fingers traced along cassette spines, considering the atmosphere of the room, what Tormund fancied himself, and how that measured up alongside Jon’s own music taste. They had the next few hours to themselves, wrapped up together in whatever peaceful morning sun his blinds would allow, and Tormund wanted to make the most of it - which meant the background music had to be right . And, considering Jon’s music taste was self-described as “Eh, whatever really”, Tormund had his work cut out for him.
“Do you even have anything post-2001?” Jon called from the bed, awkwardly reclining against the wall and completely derailing Tormund’s train of thought.
He laughed, sliding his original copy of Rumours from the rack and removing the case. “You wanna get off your arse and choose something?”
“Can’t,” Jon murmured under his breath. He stretched his arms up, biting back a yawn and twitching when goosebumps prickled on the exposed skin of his waist. Eyes glinting dangerously in the dawn’s light, he laid it on extra thick. “I’m sore .”
Tormund looked back over his shoulder, levelling Jon with a glare that was as startlingly hungry as it was exasperated. “Wonder why,” he grunted, eyes following the path of bruises blossoming above Jon’s hips, ever so tantalisingly on display, and so suspiciously similar to large handprints - until Jon caught his heated gaze, and pointedly tugged his jumper down.
“Watch it,” Jon warned through a bashful laugh, turning his attention back to the tangled drawstrings of his hoodie.
‘There it is -’ Tormund thought, admiring the pink flush crawling up Jon’s neck, ‘- that pretty blush.’
Snapping the cassette into the stereo, Tormund waited until the sound of upbeat guitar strings filled the flat before he stepped back into the kitchen to grab their breakfast off the counter, a white mug in one hand and a bowl of cereal in the other.
“Just tea? Nothing else?” Tormund checked, carefully passing the drink over to Jon, enjoying the split second their fingers brushed.
Jon smiled gratefully. “No, thank you. I know where the bread is if I want anything though, so-”
“Oh!” Tormund barked out a laugh, stirring his cornflakes. “Now you’re gonna raid my cupboards too? Making yourself at home, are ya’?”
Jon pursed his lips and blew at his tea, a self-satisfied crinkle in his eyes. “So what if I am?”
He automatically moved his legs apart to make room for Tormund to sit between them, who twisted to give Jon his full attention, still resting his left leg off the bed. A self-satisfied smirk crept onto Jon’s face, and Tormund harshly swallowed his food down.
“What a spoiled little crow you’re becoming,” he noted. From anybody else, Jon would have been offended, but the lilt of wonder and praise in Tormund’s voice told Jon otherwise. It was something to unpack another time, Tormund’s relentless desire to boost Jon’s ego. For now though, Jon was just happy to trace his toes against Tormund’s knee and embrace the calm, before the day really got going.
The two men fell into a comfortable silence, with only the sounds of their eating and drinking to be heard - apart from the rhythmic bass and drums of Dreams filtering quietly from the stereo. Their breathing seemed to match up, chests rising and falling at the same time. Jon closed his eyes, finally feeling himself come to life in the morning light, subconsciously tilting his head to feel the warmth on his neck just so.
Tormund couldn’t take his eyes off him, tracing the prominent love-bites down, down the pale column of skin. For all the unfounded guilt and loathing Jon held in that pretty head of his, Tormund took every spare moment he could to just thank his lucky stars that someone like Jon, stronger, braver and more golden-hearted than anyone, had fallen into his lap. ‘Literally,’ he recalled, smirking around a mouthful while he reminisced on the way Jon had straddled him the night before, writhing and whimpering against Tormund with abandon, so wildly desperate to press skin on skin that Jon hadn’t even noticed his phone go flying when Tormund threw his jeans across the room.
‘Like this’, Tormund mused, taking every inch of the other man in, ‘he’s a work of art.’ Tousled curls, peaceful smile, soft hands wrapped around a mug similarly to how they were want to grip the bedsheets or interlace with Tormund’s own. Amber rays painted them with horizontal light, creating an almost ethereal glow around Jon. So sleepy in his oversized hoodie and trousers from the night before, fucked out and blissfully real, tapping his foot against Tormund’s leg in time to hushed guitar strings. Tormund was left breathless.
He wanted to live in this moment forever with Jon, or at least capture its essence somehow, before the inevitable passing of time brought them a brand new moment to experience.
A light bulb went off in Tormund’s head.
“You don’t need to piss, do ya?” Tormund suddenly asked around a mouthful of cornflakes. Jon’s head snapped up in confusion, frowning at the strange glaze in Tormund’s eyes. Tormund continued chewing, apparently unfazed by the unusual question - although if his jittering leg against the bed frame was any indication, there was something else going on behind the scenes in that outrageous mind of his.
“...No?” Jon answered slowly, more a question than a statement. The corner of his mouth quirked upwards when Tormund nodded eagerly, briefly reminding Jon of Ghost’s boisterous nature (though he refrained from saying so, instead passing the hot mug between his hands and scrubbing at a tea stain on its rim).
Quick as a wink, the other man dropped his spoon back into the bowl. A splash of milk dampened Jon’s sleeve from the impact, and he rolled his eyes at his boyfriend’s hastiness. “Tormund-”
Instead of troubling to answer Jon, Tormund awkwardly clambered from the bed, balancing his bowl dangerously close to the edge of the windowsill. His focus was clearly elsewhere, not on the potential for spilled milk and a carpet mushed with cereal.
He automatically started rummaging through the drawers by the unmade bed, under the desk, amidst the bookcase, and even managed to find Jon’s phone beneath the wardrobe in his search. Tormund nonchalantly tossed it in Jon’s direction, aim annoyingly perfect considering the fact that he wasn’t even looking in the man’s direction, and Jon had to think fast to catch the device without jolting his drink and making a mess of Tormund’s duvet.
‘A bigger mess’, Jon's inner voice helpfully amended. He subtly pressing down a fold in the sheets. Suppressing memories from the night before of harsh breaths and tangled limbs, Jon cleared his throat and started to push himself from the dip in the mattress that had formed around him. Tormund apparently noticed him shift out the corner of his eye, and quickly turned his head where he was now on his knees, elbow-deep rummaging through a drawer cluttered with all sorts of art supplies.
“Stay there!” he ordered, both somehow stern and playful. Jon fell back against the wall with a laugh, doing as he was told, and thoroughly enjoying the unpredictable shift in conversation. This thing between them, so new and fragile, could be so easily dissolved if it slipped just so off the knife. Yet he and Tormund together - boyfriends; still such a fresh label that caused warmth to bloom in Jon’s chest - was simultaneously so natural and comfortable, he could barely bring himself to worry. Somewhere along the line, this unpredictableness had become something Jon embraced and made his pulse thrum in excitement, rather than put him on the edge of concern. Or maybe, Jon thought, watching Tormund putter around the flat in mismatched clothes and unkempt bed hair, this change in heart had more to do with the other man himself.
Jon shook his head, stifling a laugh. Tormund had gotten fully dressed and was so close to presentable, yet hadn’t even attempted to tame the flaming bird’s nest he called hair. Jon’s fingers twitched restlessly, and he satisfied the urge to touch and fix by just twirling the mug in his hands. He settled in against the wall, choosing to wait and see what the other man had in store for him when he eventually stopped fluttering around.
At last, Tormund was victorious, slamming his sock drawer shut. “Aha!” he crowed, waving a battered grey sketchbook in the air like an award.
“How does my favourite crow feel about modelling?”
Jon choked on the tea halfway down his esophagus. Tormund barely noticed, preoccupied with the stool he was dragging over to the side of the mattress, directly opposite where Jon was reclined - though he wouldn’t be for long, if Jon had any say in the matter. “Wha-? Why?!”
The M-Word had initiated Jon’s fight or flight response, it seemed, and he valiantly tried to dislodge his arse from Tormund’s Memory Foam to run directly for the door.
However, a firm hand stopped him from moving any further than the edge of the mattress, and Tormund gently guided him back to the exact same position he had been sitting in moments before; back curled against the wall, wisps of steam rising from the mug in his left hand - resting comfortably by Jon’s bottom lip, legs splayed just slightly.
“Don’t move, just - yeah, right there,” Tormund instructed under his breath, eyes so focused on every inch of Jon’s person that he went limp reflexively, jaw dropping open. Tormund took full advantage, and leaned forward where he now knelt on the bed to adjust Jon’s hoodie-strings with an attentive smile that Jon desperately wanted to kiss off him.
It wasn’t long before Jon felt himself relaxing into every one of Tormund’s purposeful touches, almost entranced by the admiring glaze in Tormund’s eyes, and the unconscious way his and Tormund’s breathing had synched together once more, equally deep and restrained. Aware in this moment that he was being treated more like a muse than a man, Jon found himself feeling strangely comfortable with the fact, suppressing the guilt at being treated so softly before it lodged in the base of his throat and threatened to ruin the moment.
Tormund was so focused on positioning Jon, sculpting and modelling him in his idea of a picture-perfect image, that he barely reacted to Jon’s sudden hitch in breath, caused by the not-so-subtle brushing of his knuckles along the seam of Jon’s inner-thigh. The sharp look he matched Jon with, on the other hand, suggested that his purposeful movements, bending Jon’s knee at an angle, were not solely motivated by his shaping. He kneeled back, surveying his work with a pointed wink.
Momentarily forgetting his instructions, Jon raised his free hand to grip the other man’s waist, purely because he could - because with Tormund swaying slightly toward him from the way the mattress dipped, it felt natural. Dropping a lingering kiss to Jon’s forehead, following his pull like gravity, Tormund removed Jon’s hand from his waist and placed Jon’s phone back in it, laying the hand back down on the man’s knee. “Stay.”
Climbing back off the bed with an effort, Tormund found himself rather unwilling to leave Jon’s orbit and wasted time adjusting one or two curls draped over his puppy-brown eyes. He stepped back, levelling him with a hopeful grin when he retrieved his sketchbook, expression so open and adoring that Jon could practically feel himself melt into the wall.
Tormund grabbed a few pencils from the top drawer of his desk, drumming them on the wood in tune to the soft beats trickling from the stereo. “Sit pretty for a bit while I draw you?”
With the dawn’s dying rays glinting through Tormund’s hair, creating an almost auburn aura around the other man, Jon noted in amusement, and those blue eyes fixed too intently on him, flitting, studying Jon’s face as if to map it in his mind, there was little else Jon could do in his love-struck daze but nod.
Tormund’s answering grin was so tender, Jon swore his heart skipped a beat.
The seconds ticked by, stretching from one to the next just a tad too long. Every movement, every telling glance, every single breath felt like they were moving through a syrupy daydream, but as Tormund perched himself down on the stool, running his fingers through fire-kissed hair, Jon couldn’t help feeling that maybe some of Sansa’s sickly sweet rom-coms had more to them than he'd previously given credit for.
The rickety stool wobbled when Tormund shifted in place, making himself comfortable. He rummaged through his beige cardigan pockets for an eraser, and finally settled, perching the book on his brightly spotted trouser leg.
“You good?” Tormund asked, tapping a yellow pencil against his knee.
Jon began to speak, but something about the image made him stop. Maybe it was Tormund’s cardigan pockets so obviously laden down with chalk, or his bird’s nest of a hairstyle, or perhaps it was the scattered artwork surrounding them on Tormund’s apartment walls - moments in his history lovingly crafted and immortalised forever on cream walls, badly in need of a repaint.
Whatever it was that prompted the words to stick in Jon’s throat spurred a fond chuckle out of it instead, and carried on, and on. Tormund’s brow furrowed.
Jon managed to contain himself. “You know you’re a total cliche, right?” he teased, chin resting against his mug. “An unconventional artist - with the chaotic clothes, the artwork, the -”
“ - passion?” Tormund interrupted, waggling his eyebrows.
“ - the mess.”
Tormund laughed loudly. His grin was wolfish, and Jon embraced it, deciding to let go and watch Tormund in action. Tormund set to work outlining Jon’s smile immediately, forming the curve of his full bottom lip with soft pencil brushes, then moving onto the lines of his perfect teeth.
Jon gingerly knocked his head against the wall, sipping his tea in silence whilst he did his best not to openly stare at Tormund’s practiced hands, sketching and erasing with elegant fingers, or the way his forehead crinkled in concentration. He half expected the man’s tongue to start poking out.
He forced his eyes away, turning his attention to his phone instead, yet trying to keep his movements minimal, even as he swiped open the homescreen and fired a quick text over to Robb. Although Jon felt he could easily stay in this room forever, locked away with Tormund, with nothing but cereal and decade-old cassette tapes to pass the time, he knew the outside world wouldn’t wait forever - and begging Robb to take Ghost out for a walk with a string of cringey emojis and the promise of dinner-on-him was a decent reminder of the fact.
Lulled into a sense of calm, scrolling through social media with Tormund’s humming for an accompaniment, he initially missed the other man’s quip.
“I said - don’t you mean ‘we’?” Tormund repeated, replacing his current pencil with the one slipped into the pad’s ring binder. His knowing eyes fleetingly met Jon’s. “Takes two to paint a portrait, you know.”
Jon didn’t answer, and Tormund never stopped his project. Shutting him up must have been a hidden talent of Tormund’s, Jon thought slyly.
Taking another sip of tea, he winced at the slight burn on his tongue. Tormund blew some eraser fragments away from the paper, and Jon tilted his head to watch him work, tapping his nail against the mug again. The last few piano notes from the current track faded, and the tape changed sides, causing a sharp click.
Jon smirked, feeling a spark of passion ignite in his chest.
“Yeah. Yeah, it does.”