“What did Dad and Catelyn want from you?” Jon asked without looking at Robb as he entered the room the both of them shared. Robb’s half-brother Jon Snow was lying on their bed with his laptop on his knee doing whatever. Robb sighed and fell down next to him and answered after roling onto his back “They just wanted to explain everything again. About how Aunt Lysa and Robert are needing us right now. How we are a family and all this stuff. You know it.”
Jon hesitated a second but then shook his head “No Robb. Actually I don’t. You think being here sucks. Don’t tell me otherwise I’ve known you all my life. You are angry that we stay here even longer and you want back home to your friends but have you ever thought about how it is for the rest of us being here? Bran and Rickon aren’t allowed to do anything. Yesterday Aunt Lysa yelled at them because they were drawing battling knights and she thought this might be inappropriate for her delicate son. Sansa is actually getting along with Lysa but she also misses her friends and is having a hard time with just us as company. She and Arya are fighting all the time. Arya has never been liked by Lysa. She’s not a Lady Lysa always said and despite the fact that Arya doesn’t want to be a Lady it still hurts hearing your aunt say that it would be better if you were a bastard too. “Jon’s eyes never left Robb and even though Robb knew Jon wasn’t telling him all this to get his sympathy it still worked. Jon continued “And I’m not too happy as well. You are too wrapped up in you self-pity that you probably haven’t even noticed that neither Lysa nor Hoster have spoken a single word with me yet. I get it. I’m not a Tully. I’m not even a real Stark but still…” he took a deep breath before he spoke again “You don’t want to hear that but it’s true nevertheless. You should be happy to be in the position you are. You are treated well by all of our family. You are the good son. You have all every other kid could wish for so please stop making a face as if you’d be here in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. You are not.”
“A zombie apocalypse would be more fun.” Robb muttered but Jon’s words had gone deep. He was right wasn’t he?
“And It’s not that bad.” Jon smiles a little at Robb. “I mean our family is still better than Sam’s or Theon’s.”
Robb said nothing. As if this was the first time this chain of thoughts had occurred to him. Of course he should be happy, of course he had a life others don’t even dream about and of course he should be grateful but even though it was wrong he still felt the same way. He felt prisoner.
A prisoner of his own life. He never told someone about this thoughts, because he was ashamed. He should not feel that way. He must not feel that way. But he did so one night he had told Theon. Theon hadn’t judged him. He had just shrugged and said “It doesn’t ease your pain that millions are worse off. It’s still yours and it still hurts.”
God what was wrong with him? His brother had just lectured him and all he could think of was how much he missed Theon.
It’s been a bad day. Even worse than the past two since he had the phone call with Theon.
There was nothing to do here. This big house was so full of people but felt so empty at the same time. It was sickening. Demure and Roslin had left yesterday under the excuse of Roslin not feeling well . And with demure the only funny and entertaining part of the Tully family was gone- but Robb had survived, counting till his return home. But then today had come.
It had begun like any other day. They had had breakfast together when aunt Lysa had announced “Father is feeling better today and he desires to speak with Robb.” Immediately everyone’s eyes focused on Robb who just sat there a bit stunned with a toast half in his mouth and a cup of coffee in his hand. “Ouay?” Robb asked before he swallowed the bite under aunt Lysa’s dunning gaze and repeated “Why?”
His mother looked a bit confused as well and a sharp line of concern had appeared between her eyebrows. “Right, Lysa. Why does father wants to talk with my son?”
“How should I know?” Lysa snapped stroking her sons thin brittle hair. “I’m just being a dutiful daughter deliver our father’s order.”
“Order?” Arya wrinkled her nose ignoring the gaze Sansa shot in her direction. “What is Robb? A soldier? He doesn’t have to follow ‘orders’! If grandpa wants to talk to Robb he could at least ask nicely instead of just giving orders.” She underlined the last word with an especially grumpy face that caused bran and Rickon to burst into laughter.
“Arya.” Ned said severely but his eyes were laughing as well. Before aunt Lysa could give Arya a talk off or something in that terribly sharp annoying voice Robb answered her. He wasn’t in the mood for an argument so early in the morning. “It’s alright. I’ll go and find out what grandfather wants.”
Lysa nodded briefly and his mother gave him a thankful smile. He could see that the current situation was pulling at her nerves too, considering that she had an argument with her sister just this morning.
“But I’m allowed to finish my breakfast first, aren’t I?”
“Grandfather?” Robb asked, slowly opening the door. He had knocked three times without receiving an answer by his grandfather so he just decided to enter.
Hoster Tully was sitting in a wheelchair near the big elegant glass door to the balcony. He was buried under a pile of blankets which made his head and hands appear oddly small and fragile. His grandfather’s milky eyes were looking outside the window but Robb wasn’t sure how much Hoster Tully was really able to see.
Despite the bright winter sun shining inside the room was strangely dark and it smelled like sickness, sour and heavy. As Robb closed the heavy door behind himself Hoster Tully raised his head looking in the direction of his grandson. “Robb.” He greeted him briefly with his brittle voice. Robb couldn’t help himself but shiver and for the first time since he arrived at Riverrun he felt cold.
“Aunt Lysa said you-“
“I know what I said to my daughter.” Hoster Tully cut him off. “Now come closer, boy. Sit down. I can barely see you over there.” Robb hesitated for a second but then stepped closer, sitting down on the chair his grandfather had offered him. “Ahh boy…” he said reaching out for Robb’s hand. Robb resisted the urge to pull his hand away and let the old man touch him.
“You look exactly like Edmure when he was your age. A true Tully.”
This time Robb flinched as the old man moved to touch his auburn curls. The old man didn’t seem to notice. Or maybe he just didn’t care.
I’m not a Tully.” Robb said. “I’m a Stark.” In response his grandfather grabbed his hand harder. “It’s your name, yes. But you are a Tully. I can see it in your eyes, boy. There is nothing of a Stark in it.”
Robb pulled his hand back. His mind was racing. What was all this about? He was a Stark! He knew this. What wanted his grandfather from him?
“Grandfather…That’s- That’s not true. I am a Stark. I might look like a Tully but I’m not- I-“he breathed in one time before he continued “What do you want from me grandfather?”
Hoster Tully’s milky eyes focused on Robb. His voice was steadier than before. In fact it wasn’t shaky at all anymore. “Listen boy. You are seventeen now. Almost a grown man.” Robb nodded. Still confused. “I’m going to get straight to the point, boy. I want you to become heir of Riverrun. I’m old and weak and soon I’ll be gone. I don’t want to see Riverrun get lost upon my death.
What the fuck?? Robb just stared at his grandfather, waiting for his mind to comprehend the full meaning of his words. “W-what about Edmure? And aunt Lysa? I mean they are your rightful heirs.”
Hoster Tully just shook his head “Edmure is still just a kid. At least he behaves like one. He doesn’t understand the things I tell him. He doesn’t know what responsibility means. And your aunt is a woman. She is not suitable to lead Riverrun. Not to mention that son of hers. He is weak and sick. Even more than me. Riverrun needs a strong heir, dutiful and responsible. Someone like you Robb.”
No no no no! He felt sick all of sudden. That’s not me! He wanted to scream. He wasn’t the dutiful, perfect son they thought he was. He wasn’t grown yet! He wanted to be a boy a bit longer. He wanted to skip classes and smoke in the parking lot. He wanted to come home late after midnight and sleep till afternoon. He wanted to kiss Theon.
He definitely didn’t want to become heir of Riverrun!
“No, grandfather.” Robb answered trying to keep his voice from breaking away. “I don’t want to be the heir of riverrun. I want to go back north. Where I belong. My apologies, but you’ll have to find someone else for the job. I’m- I’m not the kind of heir you want.” Or would you like a gay heir? Considering you didn’t want your own daughter because she is female I guess not.
Before Hoster Tully could response Robb turned around a basically fled from his grandfather’s bed chambers. His throat felt tight and his heart was racing. Just now he noticed that his hands were shaking. “God…” he whispered trying to calm himself down by running his hand through his hair. Auburn hair. Tully hair.
His head snapped up, just to see his half-brother Jon standing in the hallway looking at him.
“Hey are you alright? You look sick.”
“Yes. No. I mean I’m alright. I’m okay.” Robb said but he could see that Jon who was stepping closer didn’t believe him. He had always sucked at lying. “It’s just …grandfather. He…he said basically…he wants to take me away from Winterfell. He wants to make me a Tully, but I’m-“
And then Jon was there, pulling Robb closer into a hug. “You aren’t a Tully. You are a Stark. As much as me, as Arya and the others. Even though you have the Tully looks.”
“I know. I know.” Robb whispered, still upset but slightly calmed by the comfort Jon gave him. “I know.”
So this had been two hours ago. After that Robb had stayed in his room waiting patiently for his mind to calm down.
Jon and Arya were sitting on the floor playing some kind of card game called ‘Magic’ and apparently Arya was winning. She yelled at Jon triumphantly: “Ha! Take that! You that you could beat my Naya Deck? Not a chance!”
Robb just lay on the bed half listening to his siblings and half being sunken in his own thoughts. This was the moment when his cell phone rang.
“Where the hell?” he mumbled searching his pockets for his phone.
“Here!” Arya said grinning grabbing Robb’s phone from under the bed and throwing it at him. Robb caught it and answered immediately: “Hello?”
The voice from the other side of the line was familiar. In fact it was Theon answering with a simple “Hey.”
Totally stunned Robb asked “Theon? Is that you?” It was an absolutely strange thing for Theon to call him. Normally it was Robb who called first. Theon was more the texting type. In the background, unnoticed by Robb, Jon gathered the cards and lead Arya silently out of the room.
“Who else should I be?” Theon asked obviously slightly annoyed “Don’t you have a call ID? Idiot…”
“It’s just rare that YOU call ME.” Robb pointed out in order to defend himself.
“Is it?” Theon’s voice was blank.
“Yes. Yes it is. But why are you calling? Everything alright?” Robb couldn’t help himself but worry a bit. The last time Theon had called him had been after his mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer.
“I hope soon it will.”
“And you could help me.” Theon continued without bothering Robb’s increasing worry.
“How?” he asked. If Theon was in trouble…But apparently Theon’s ‘problems’ were of a different kind.
“Make sure you are somewhere alone.”
Suddenly Robb felt numb.
“Theon what are you planning?” he asked with a blank voice himself. Theon didn’t seem to notice.
“What do you think I am planning?”
Robb could feel the anger building up inside him and as he spoke his voice trembled “I think you are not calling to talk and by the way making me damn worried but only to have phone sex! As if my day haven’t’ been bad enough already.”
“Oh but phone sex involves talking, Robb.”
Robb could almost see this arrogant on Theon’s face he put on when he was mocking someone. It made him sick. Today had been bad enough already. “That is not the kind of talking I meant. I thought we could actually talk a bit, you know? It’s been a rough day, everything that’s been going on here-“
Stop, Robb.” Theon cut him off. “You want phone sex or not?”
“That’s NOT the point!” Robb had been louder than he had actually planned to be and felt immediately sorry as the silence from the other side of the line continued.
“Theon? Ok listen. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy having phone sex with you, because I do like it, but- I just need some to talk to right now. Someone who understands me. I-“
“So you don’t want to.”
“I guess I can hang up then.”
For a second Robb’s mind refused to comprehend what Theon had just said. “What? Theon are you…Are you kidding me?! You call me just because you are horny and because I don’t want right now you just HANG UP? Are you gonna go and fuck Ros again now or what?” Fuck. The topic Ros was forbidden between them. Just like Jeyne.
“I never said THAT! And yes, I called you because I wanted sex! So what? Sue me!!”
“That is not why I am angry! I am angry because you NEVER seem to care about anything else than sex! You never listen to me and-“
“Oh don’t be such a girl, Robb! I never listen to you? Who are you? Fucking Bridget jones or what?”
Now Robb was definitely yelling and he didn’t even care “Sure! Make your damn jokes again! That’s SO typical. This is serious Theon and all you do is making fun of me. That’s the thing with you! You never take anything seriously. Nothing! All you care about is whether you get laid or not!”
“Shut the fuck up!” Theon was yelling as well. “You knew it! You knew how I am! You knew it from the start so don’t fucking act like I promised you anything else, because I didn’t!!”
“God I know! But I thought you would-”
“I would what? Change? For you?” there was hurt in Theon’s voice Robb hadn’t expected and he wasn’t even sure it was really there. “Fuck you Stark! Fuck you! And don’t call me again.”
“Theon I-“ *peep* call ended* I love you.
Could this day get any worse?