No one needs to know that Robb came up with the brilliant necklace idea while looking at Sansa and Jeyne Poole. Actually, the necklace in question was Jeyne’s present for Sansa’s latest birthday – Sansa had absolutely-fucking-overtly adored it, and they’ve been wearing it ever since, not minding that some colors actually do clash with the necklace’s sparkling pink. Sansa has the left half, a pink punch in the eye with a best written vertically on the side – Jeyne’s half has friends.
So, the necklace is ugly. But the idea, well, the idea isn’t as bad as it might seem like. Also, the closer Theon’s birthday is (and it’s two days left until it comes when Robb decides to go for the necklace thing), the more he seems – not detached, not exactly, but lately he’s not looking good whenever Robb sees him. Whenever Robb asks he gets some half-assed reply about Theon’s father that doesn’t give him any useful information, and you would notice it when your best friend has been feeling down for a long while. Robb’s getting worried, but you can talk to me whenever you want isn’t apparently working, and – right. He’s known Theon for years and he knows how he ticks – he’s worried about something other than whatever’s going on with his father, and if he doesn’t want to share then it probably concerns Robb as well and – right. The necklace thing was a spur of the moment idea, and it had seemed a good idea until he found a cheap jewelry store selling a number of them.
Now that he looks at them, he starts thinking back on it – he’s not going to buy a pink one, and there isn’t one in the entire shop that isn’t heart-shaped. But the principle still stands, and so he picks a half-red and half-blue one that has best friends written horizontally – be fri on the left red half, st ends on the right blue one.
He pays for it before he can think back on it and hopes that it doesn’t blow up in his face.
He brings it to school on the day, but Theon’s not there. Robb isn’t surprised – when he asks Theon he’s sure he’ll receive and why should I waste precious hours of my birthday in there anyway. Maybe it’s better – he isn’t sure he should have given him the damn thing in front of witnesses.
What surprises him is that Theon is actually waiting for him outside after the last bell rings. And he has to be waiting for him, there’s no other reason why he’d even be here.
“You’re about six hours late,” Robb tells him as he climbs down the stairs before sitting next to Theon on one of the last steps.
Theon shrugs and takes a drag from a half-smoked cigarette he had between his fingers. “Details, Stark, details.” He cracks a smile at Robb, but anyone can see that it doesn’t reach his eyes. Robb decides that dragging this would be ridiculous. Also, Theon looks a tad disappointed right now. Robb can guess the reasons well enough.
“Happy birthday, you idiot,” he says instead of inquiring about where he’s been until now. He grabs the packet from his backpack and places it next to Theon without ceremonies, hoping all over again that this does not blow up in his face.
Theon grabs the small box wordlessly – it’s wrapped in plain blue paper, but it’s obvious that it’s not a comic book or any other kind of acceptable birthday present for someone who does not wear jewelry.
Considering that Robb is pretty sure that he’s never heard Theon speaking nicely of any birthday present he might have received, he can guess why he’s looking at it strangely.
“It won’t bite you, you know.”
“As if.” Theon takes the last drag from the cigarette before throwing it on the sidewalk. Then he rips the paper and opens the box.
Robb is pretty sure that he’s never seen Theon’s eyes go that wide in the… ten years or so they’ve known each other.
“It’s not a joke,” he clarifies before the obligatory question is asked.
“… how did you know I was about to ask that?”
“What possibly could your first reaction be? Please, give me a little credit.” Then he moves closer – before, someone could have passed between them if they were going down the stairs, right now they couldn’t. “Really. It’s not.”
There’s a moment when Theon looks down at the necklace again, and for a moment Robb is tempted to take it back and say that he’ll get him something else and shit, it was a really stupid idea, but then Theon takes the necklace out of the box and grabs the blue half of it. When he turns to his right to look at Robb he’s obviously fighting a grin and his cheeks are slightly flushed, and there’s something very soft in the way he’s looking up at him. Most of all, the grin actually reaches his eyes for once.
“If you were thinking about calling dibs on the half that isn’t a fucking punch in the eyes then you were wrong,” he says, but if it was meant to sound sarcastic, then it was a poor attempt at it.
Robb grins back and snatches the red half from Theon’s grasp. He’s right – while the blue half could reasonably blend in, the red one would stand out regardless. Same thing as Sansa’s fucking pink necklace, except that Sansa has the excuse of being barely fourteen.
Robb decides that he doesn’t give a damn. “Fine with me,” he replies before putting the necklace on. After he’s done fussing with the clasp, he looks back at Theon and sees the blue half around his neck, too, and Theon’s looking down at it as if he kind of really digs having that thing on.
Robb doesn’t even try to mention it. “At least tell me you haven’t been here for hours waiting for me to get out.”
Theon’s flush gets slightly darker.
Robb takes pity on him. “I’m not even going to mention this. Get up, I’m buying you lunch at least.”
“You are? Your generosity is overwhelming,” Theon replies, but he’s also not trying to stop grinning anymore, and his fingers are brushing over the necklace even as he looks back towards Robb.
Well then, Robb isn’t regretting his present anytime soon.
Robb doesn’t think much of it when Theon calls him and asks if he can drop by around eleven thirty on a Saturday evening. Actually, he’s more than happy to say yes – he hasn’t seen much of Theon in the last month or so, since he more or less got involved with this guy named Ramsay Bolton who’s in the year after theirs. They haven’t hung out in weeks and there’s also the part where Robb instantly disliked Bolton since they were introduced. And it wouldn’t be the first time Theon calls him at weird hours.
So he doesn’t see anything weird in it until he gets the door and sees that Theon is currently sporting a black eye and a purple bruise on his cheek, and by the way, his lower lip is split in two.
“What the fuck happened to you?” Robb almost shouts before even letting him in.
“Long story. Do you happen to have some ice? This is starting to hurt,” Theon mutters without looking at Robb in the eye.
Robb lets him in and tells him to go straight for his room, he’ll be back in a moment - then, feeling thankful because for some miracle he’s alone in the house on a Saturday, he goes to grab the first aid kit from the bathroom and an ice pack from the kitchen. When he steps into his room, Theon is sitting on the bed, looking down at his hands – damn, are his knuckles bruised?
“Here,” Robb says handing him the ice – Theon groans in relief as he puts it on his eye, not that it won’t swell later.
“So,” he says as he searches through the first aid kit, “care to tell me what happened now?”
“There’s been a break up?” Theon answers half-heartedly.
Robb doesn’t know how he doesn’t drop the kit on the ground when he hears that. “You mean that –”
“I mean that he did that, yes. But his nose isn’t looking great right now, either.”
“For fuck’s sake,” Robb mutters as he finally finds the disinfectant he had been searching for, “I always thought the guy was a creep, but why would he do that?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Theon replies. He doesn’t sound too convinced of it though.
“Right. I barely see you for a month because you’re all about getting laid with someone I really don’t like, then you show up here like this and I don’t have to worry about it? Please.” He sighs, then he puts some disinfectant on a piece of cotton and moves closer so that he can at least clean dried blood from Theon’s split lip.
Theon lets him do that before sighing and looking back down at his hands. Then he uses his free hand to grab the blue half of the necklace Robb gave him for his birthday a few months ago.
“It was about this,” he sighs.
“He started suggesting that I kindly take it off because it looks ridiculous. I refused. Then he insisted and I asked why was it such a big deal, I could have put it under my shirt at most. Compromising and all, if it looked so ugly that he couldn’t be seen around with me wearing it. Then he insisted some more and it wasn’t pretty, and then I said that if it was such a big deal then we obviously had a problem, and then – well, I have ice on my eye, don’t I?”
“He punched you hard enough to do that because of a stupid necklace? Jesus.” He throws the bloodied piece of cotton in the trash – at least it seems like the bleeding has stopped. “And if – I mean, you didn’t have to get punched for it. You could have –”
“I wasn’t going to take it off,” Theon cuts him, and he looks half-embarrassed now. He’s definitely not looking at Robb either. “It’s just – I hadn’t even realized until I was coming here that I’ve barely talked to you in weeks. And whenever I mentioned you he always had that strange look and – well, fuck him. Not worth the effort.” He doesn’t elaborate further, but Robb has more or less understood the gist of it, and – he can’t help feeling slightly awed that the idiot would get punched in the face like that just because he didn’t want to take the bloody thing off. And the two of them have been getting their share of comments about it since they actually showed up in school wearing that necklace. Robb hasn’t even considered hiding it or taking it off because really, he doesn’t give a shit about what everyone else thinks, but this is an entire other league.
He doesn’t even know he’s reached out to touch his own half of the necklace until he has his fingers curled around it.
“Do I have to feel flattered about it?”
Theon snorts and throws the ice pack on the ground – it’s probably half-warm by now. The skin around his eye is turning into some interesting shade of deep purple. “Don’t get too much ahead of yourself, Stark.”
“Well, you know what, you were right, fuck him. If he can’t see behind that thing then he’s even more stupid than I thought.”
“There’s a lot more to you than that, and sorry but if he can’t deal with the fact that we’re friends, fuck him. Seriously. You can do a lot better than that.”
“Doubt it,” Theon mutters, but he sounds at least slightly pleased to hear it.
“Seriously? How many other people you remember me getting cozy with in the last five years or so? Seems like I can’t do better anyway.”
Not many people, actually. Robb’s lost the count of Theon’s one night stands, but now that he thinks about it, this thing with Ramsay Bolton was the first time he knew that he might have been with the same person more than twice.
Not that Theon ever had close friends other than him, which might seem a tad unhealthy, but it never felt that way.
“Their loss,” Robb settles on. Theon turns to look at him, his eyes getting slightly wider.
“You still deserve better than that. Gosh, this is turning into some kind of chick flick conversation, isn’t it?”
Theon snorts and looks down at his half of the necklace, but he looks – pleased to have heard it? “I’ll forgive you this once,” he answers, and Robb doesn’t think when he reaches out with his free hand and brushes his fingertip against the swell under Theon’s left eye.
Theon does not move away, though.
“You know,” Robb breathes, his heart suddenly beating a bit faster, “I think you really could do better than that.”
“Could I?” It’s spoken so low that Robb can barely hear it. But hear it he did, and Robb can as well admit to himself that you don’t buy your male best friend heart-shaped girly necklaces just because. He can also admit to himself that he wants to punch Ramsay Bolton in the face hard enough to break his nose all over again, and not just because the guy is a jerk – fine, fine, maybe he wasn’t pissed about Theon spending more time him than with Robb just because they’re friends.
Also, Theon isn’t punching him in the face yet, and the position’s compromising enough – fine. He’s doing it.
He moves his hand so that it’s touching Theon’s cheek rather than his mouth, and then he moves forward.
When their lips meet and Theon doesn’t push him away but opens up to him with a sigh, Robb doesn’t waste time. He keeps the kiss slow, his other hand going to Theon’s other cheek, making a point of taking his time with it. He runs his tongue over Theon’s lips and doesn’t go past them until Theon’s hands go around his waist and tug him closer, and even at that he doesn’t fall into the temptation of going faster. There’ll be time for it later. When it ends, Robb doesn’t move away though – he places another kiss at the still swollen part of Theon’s bottom lip, and he can’t help smirking when he hears a small, pleasured moan. He leans back so that they can look at each other – Theon’s cheeks are flushed, but Robb doesn’t think he’s ever seen him looking that hopeful in the entire time they’ve known each other.
“If you want it,” Robb says then, but he knows he sounds more smug than he’d have any right to.
“What if I do?”
“Then you’re already doing better than that.”
They’re both grinning hard enough that it hurts when they kiss again a moment later, and as Robb’s mouth finds Theon’s again with the intentions of making him completely forget anyone else he’s ever kissed, he can feel his half of the necklace pressing up against Theon’s – they must have ended up next to each other when Theon pulled him closer.
Robb doesn’t think that either of them is going to take it off anytime soon.