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Title: Tantalus
Pairing: Ramsay/Theon
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Not mine
Word Count: 5, 921
Summary: Weeks into his captivity, Ramsay takes Theon out of the dungeons. His hands are kind and his words are sweet, and Theon soon finds himself experiencing a very confusing (and very arousing) evening with the Bastard of Bolton. There is bathing and feasting and a few unspeakable things, and Theon is very happy. Then Ramsay gives him news of a certain Red Wedding.
Warnings: Dubious consent, Dom/sub overtones, possessive behavior, mindfuck

 

It is astounding how quickly one grows accustomed to luxury. Theon had been taking it for granted all his life; he did not appreciate the value of regular baths and a steady supply of meals. Things that seemed so small, so insignificant at Winterfell, at Pyke, even on the field were heavy in their absence here, in his dungeon. He missed many things.

Windows, for instance. With no light there were no days; Theon could count the passing of time by no means save the beating of his heart. He could have been here a lifetime.

He flexed his hand, taut against his bonds. An empty joint scraped the wood of his cross and he hissed in pain. I could count time by limbs, he thought bitterly. Surely the bastard wouldn’t take more than one a day. Theon considered himself rather fortunate to have lost only the one finger; he had never seen a man torture with such enthusiasm. I should have known he was a Bolton. Their damn sigil is a flayed man.

Though not really a Bolton, he amended. It would be Ramsay Snow. Roose Bolton’s trueborn son, his only heir, was known to be dead. News of the youth’s mysterious demise was a frequent topic of conversation at Winterfell so many moons ago. When Ramsay announced himself to be the son of Lord Bolton a week or so into his captivity Theon had replied that it was not possible. That proved to be a mistake. Ramsay had been angry—truly, genuinely livid—when Theon had questioned his lineage. He had given Theon a look of such twisted, demented fury that Theon was almost grateful for the sack placed over his head, if only to avoid Ramsay’s glare.

Then the hammer had come, smashing into his face and breaking his nose with such intensity Theon nearly drowned in his own blood. He did not forget his place again.

The creak of the dungeon door brought Theon out of his thoughts. The pale form of Ramsay Bolton edged into the room. He did not look at Theon, but sidled over to the empty grate in the corner of the chamber. Strapped to his post, Theon could not see the man (reason enough to set his heart racing), but he felt the heat of the fire once it was fully lit. The room was filled with a warm glow.

Ramsay did not emerge from his place by the fire. Theon said nothing; he hung tense and strained against his bonds, apprehension bubbling up inside him. This isn’t right, he thought, panic rising. Sweat pooled in the small of his back. He heard Ramsay shift and he sucked in a breath. Gods, please, don’t let him have the fire poker. He resisted the urge to shut his eyes.

“I’ve had word from my lord father.” Ramsay’s voice was quiet. He was still out of Theon’s sight, and this unnerved him immensely. “I told him about the Stark boys, Bran and Rickon, and he passed word of their presence among the living to King Robb. He was overjoyed at the news.”

Theon swallowed. He did not allow himself to dwell on Robb, on his betrayal of the only brother he ever really had. An image of Lady Stark sobbing with joy, clasping her young sons to her breast, flashed across his mind. His stomach twisted in guilt.

Ramsay had skirted into view. He stood across from Theon, gazing up at him out of large blue eyes. “There is better news, still,” he continued. “My lord father has relented on his orders to torture you for information. You have been pardoned. You will be returned to the King’s custody tomorrow.”

Part of Theon whispered warnings—this was too good, too unlikely, he was meant to die in this dungeon. But the possibility of release was just so tantalizingly close that he quelled his doubt. As Ramsay moved forward to untie his bonds, relief spread over Theon as warm as the rays of the blazing sun.

It took time to undo the leather and rope that held Theon aloft. The bonds cut raw into his skin; Ramsay worked slowly, chatting idly with Theon as he undid knots and straps. His voice was soft but kind. “These will heal, in time. My lord father was insistent in the severity of your punishment, and in this I am sorry. You’re fortunate, though—he suggested I flay your cock, but I was able to have him settle for just the finger.” Ramsay grinned at him. Theon forced himself to smile back. It would not do to upset this man, not on the eve of his release. And if what Ramsay said was true—and gods, it had to be true—he was not to blame for Theon’s suffering. Well, not really. And what Ramsay said made sense; it’s not as if a bastard son would be allowed free reign over a trueborn heir.

As Ramsay undid the last of the restraints, Theon realized he would, in all probability, be unable to stand. Hesitantly, he began to voice his concern. “My lord—”

“Ramsay,” the man interrupted. “We’re equals here.”

I am no bastard, Theon scoffed. He did not voice this. “Of course. Ramsay, if you could give me a hand—”

Again, he was interrupted. Having undone the last of his bonds, Ramsay grasped Theon about the middle and sidled beside him, maneuvering one of Theon’s arms over his shoulder. A strong hand held Theon by the waist. For the first time Theon was grateful for Ramsay’s wiry strength. “Thank you,” he said, and he meant it. He was rewarded with a small smile, like the fluttering of a bird’s wings. Perhaps he was mistaken in his opinion of the bastard; without Lord Bolton dictating his actions, Ramsay was not a terribly bad man.

They moved out of the dungeons, the pair of them, making their way up a narrow stone stairway up to higher levels in the keep. Theon shuffled weakly, his muscles aching fiercely. He leaned heavily against Ramsay; without him, he knew he would not have even been able to stand. Theon did not ask where they were going—he was simply grateful to be out of the dank, dark chamber.

Eventually they reached a large stone room. A colossal bed heaped with furs caught his eye. What he wouldn’t give for a real bed. Ramsay glanced at him, recognizing the open longing in Theon’s face. He laughed lightly. “You can use the bed tonight, but we ought to get you cleaned up first. You wouldn’t want to dirty my sheets.”

Theon did smell awful. Dried blood and muck coated him like a second skin; a bath would be welcome.

Ramsay gripped his waist tightly, guiding him past the bed and beneath a large tapestry, through a hidden entrance into a surprisingly spacious washroom. A massive iron tub stood at the center of the room, steam rising visibly. “I had servants bring up some water,” Ramsay said. “Father doesn’t allow for warm baths, he thinks it a luxury, but I thought you would appreciate it.”

“Thank you,” he replied. A nice warm bath, a chance to soak his aching muscles and just sit and relax would be more welcome to him than a roomful of whores.

Theon expected Ramsay to leave him then, perhaps summon a servant to help him disrobe and bathe. He did not expect Ramsay’s hands to slide from his waist to the hem of his trousers, tugging them insistently downwards.

“What are you doing?” he asked, startled.

Ramsay’s hands stilled. “I thought you wanted a bath. If you don’t want a bath, I could bring you back downstairs, if that’s what you desire.”

“N-no, please,” Theon stuttered, cursing himself inwardly. “I do want a bath, I do, but surely it’s beneath you...” He trailed off, unsure.

“Caring for you tonight is my way of apologizing. I do feel awfully bad about how you’ve been treated, you know.” Ramsay fixed him with an open stare. “Let me help you, Theon.”

Their heads were close. Theon still had an arm slung over Ramsay’s shoulders. He looked at the man’s eyes, wide and blue and earnest, and he smiled weakly. “I don’t know how I’ll repay you,” Theon said. Ramsay’s mouth curled upward. He turned his attention back to Theon’s clothing, pulling the torn, dirtied material down over slim hips.

It was the only thing separating Theon from total nudity. He shivered, cold and naked.

Ramsay eased him into the tub gently. The rough woolspun fabric of his tunic irritated Theon’s skin, but as he hit the water all sensation vanished, replaced by a heavenly warmth. He groaned, shutting his eyes. He heard the shift of clothing, but he paid it no mind; Ramsay was probably bundling up his tattered rags. It wouldn’t befit Theon’s status to present him to Robb in such a state. A hand gripped the edge of the tub, right beside his ear. Theon opened his eyes then, startled, and glanced up at his companion.

The thick woolen clothes had been shrugged off, lying pooled at the man’s feet. In the dim light of the room the Bastard’s skin shone a pale, eerie white, the hand gripping the tub splayed out like a pallid spider. He was naked.

Ramsay stared at him, unblinking. He was wearing an amused half-smile, a small quirk of the lips that bared a few teeth. “You didn’t expect me to waste the water, did you? As I said, a warm bath is quite the luxury.” Theon swallowed, Adam’s apple bobbing along the column of his throat. Ramsay did not wait for a response, choosing instead to drop into the tub unceremoniously. It was a large tub, but two grown men strained its spaciousness; their knees bumped beneath the water.

Theon watched as Ramsay sunk down to his nose, eyes shut, dark hair haloing his head. After a moment he shot up, chest covered in rivulets of water. He leaned back against the rim and splayed his arms along the edge. Theon could see the slide of lean muscle along Ramsay’s biceps, and was struck with the awareness of how very weak he had become in captivity. Ramsay finally glanced at him, then, blue eyes slit like a cat’s. He grinned rakishly. “Excellent, isn’t it?”

Theon nodded. Ramsay shut his eyes again, evidently satisfied. They sat in silence for a while, basking in the heat of the water. Theon leaned his head back against the rim of the tub. He could sleep like this, just drift away in the warm lull. His eyes fluttered shut.

As if on cue, water was splashed onto his face. “Don’t fall asleep,” Ramsay ordered. There was a playful lilt to his voice. “You aren’t clean yet.” He moved closer, and Theon shrunk back. Sharing a tub was one thing—gods know he had done it enough with the boys growing up—but at a certain age young men just shouldn’t get that close beneath the water. Ramsay, though, did not seem to share his inhibitions; in a moment he was beside Theon at his end of the tub, their legs tangled together. Ramsay peered at him beneath a fringe of inky hair. A hand went up to rake through Theon’s matted curls. “I’ll wash your hair first, it’s revolting.”

“You really don’t have to do that,” Theon answered, gaze locked with the other man’s.

“I insist.”

Ramsay reached over the side of the tub, exposing more of his back, his spine. Theon very carefully averted his gaze. “I’ve got a cloth here,” he muttered. “There we are.” He sank back into the water, a small scrap of fabric grasped in his hand. Without preamble he wet it and began to clean Theon’s face. The touches were light and careful. Theon felt the material swirl across his nose, his mouth, wiping off a layer of grime.

Ramsay reached beside the bath again and grabbed a small bar of soap. It had a clean pine scent. “Bend forward a bit,” he murmured. Theon obeyed without hesitation. Deft fingers carded through his hair, massaging his scalp. Theon sighed audibly. Ramsay took his time cleaning his hair, and when he pulled his hands away Theon felt an unexpected pang of separation. It had been too long since he was touched so kindly.

“Turn around,” Ramsay said, voice soft. “I need to get your back.”

He treats you like a child, a small part of him whispered. The voice was drowned out by the euphoria of such gentle physical sensation. But it’s so nice...

The heat had softened some of his aching muscles. It did not hurt much to turn. His back to Ramsay, he did not notice the thin fingers curled about his waist until they tugged him firmly backwards. Theon was too startled (and far too tired) to resist as Ramsay settled him back against his chest. “There, that’s much better.” Theon could hear the smile in his words. He was a peculiar man, Bolton’s bastard, but it was far easier to just play along, to submit to his strange whims. Tucked against the man’s chest, snug between his legs, Theon should have felt demeaned. But he was tired, and Ramsay’s touches were kind, so he allowed it.

He felt the cloth against his back, making quick work of the dirt there. Soon it traveled to the front of Theon’s chest, cutting through dried blood and soot. “Lean back a bit,” Ramsay muttered, and Theon reclined his head, settling in the crook between Ramsay’s shoulder and neck. Theon felt him hum appreciatively. Ramsay worked diligently; he cleaned Theon’s neck, the depression of his collar bones, his pectorals. The rag danced over his nipples, and Theon felt his groin stir. He ignored it; a normal reaction, to be sure, and it’s not as if Ramsay was—

Oh.

Theon noticed, for the first time, the presence of something hard and insistent at his backside. He felt himself flush. Just ignore it, he told himself, he doesn’t mean anything by it. This sort of thing happened at war; too long without a woman’s touch will stir unnatural things in men in the baths or in the dark of tents. And Theon had seen no women in this place. If a few innocent touches by this odd man were the price of freedom, so be it.

The hand holding the cloth worked its way down his chest and past the trail of hair leading into the murky depths of the water. Fingers pressed tightly in the crevice of Theon’s hips, dotting red half-moons in sallow skin. Ramsay’s breath was hot in his ear; his breathing seemed to have picked up a faster tempo. Theon could feel the rise and fall of Ramsay’s chest against the length of his back.

The cloth ghosted over his cock and Theon had to choke back a moan. “We have to get you clean,” Ramsay said, and his mouth was so close to Theon’s ear he nearly jumped.

Theon had experience cleaning himself, and Ramsay’s ministrations did not seem to fall within that spectrum. The hand never touched his cock, staying behind the shield of the rag, but Theon felt the outline of long fingers stroke the length of him beneath the water. He hissed and grasped at Ramsay’s thighs outstretched beside him. Theon felt the breathy laugh against his neck. Ramsay said nothing, all his attention directed to Theon’s cock, his balls, the small stretch of skin between his sack and his backside. Theon had never been so thoroughly explored, nor so thoroughly cleaned, in his life.

Ramsay’s free hand drifted down to Theon’s thigh. It looked distorted beneath the water, corpse-like and ghoulish. Fingers squeezed the meat of his leg and Theon’s cock gave a heavy throb. “Gods,” Theon muttered, and Ramsay squeezed him again. “Just me,” he said. “I think you’re clean enough for dinner, now.”

Theon craned his head back to look at the man enveloping him. “Dinner?”

“You’re hungry, aren’t you? I thought you’d appreciate a good meal.”

“Definitely,” Theon rasped. His stomach clenched at the thought. He hadn’t truly eaten in what seemed an age. He’d hate to return to Robb’s camp scavenging for food like a dog. Ramsay deposited the cloth outside the tub and wrapped his arms about Theon’s middle, pulling him impossibly close. The curve of his cock rested snugly in the cleft of Theon’s ass. With legs and arms encircling him Theon felt terribly enclosed, but if Ramsay noticed the possessive intimacy of their position, he said nothing. “I’ll have the servants bring up our meal. You’ve no objections to dining in my rooms?”

“It suits me fine."

“I’m glad.” Ramsay unwound himself from Theon with quiet feline grace. Without the heat of him against his back, Theon’s felt strangely cold. When Ramsay offered him a hand, he took it without hesitation. Supported mostly by Ramsay, the men extracted themselves from the iron tub. After the heat of the water the chill of the air was like a slap to the face. Theon shivered, and Ramsay pulled him close to his side. They stood arm-in-arm, naked as newborn babes, but only Theon seemed affected by any sense of shame. On the contrary, Ramsay seemed very much in his element, standing erect with the casual grace of a man with a purpose. “I’ll help you dress,” he said, and Theon nodded minutely, ashamed at his frailty.

He glanced at his discarded trousers, stained and crumpled on the floor. They were ruined. Ramsay kicked them aside, reaching for his own clothes: clean smallclothes, woolen trousers, shirt, and tunic in dark greys and inky blacks. He dressed himself quickly, and in a moment it was only Theon who was exposed in the washroom. “You can borrow something of mine,” Ramsay told him. Theon allowed him to slide an arm around his middle and guide him back into his chambers, shivering all the while.

The window beside the bed showed a sky as dark as the midnight sea. Clouds drifted in the night, obscuring the fat of the moon. The room was very cold. Ramsay left him leaning against the stone wall as he rifled through an intricately-carved mahogany armoire. He extracted clothing matching in hue and texture to his own, bundling them beneath an arm and returning to Theon’s side.

Ramsay dressed him easily, maneuvering Theon’s limbs with a careless strength. I’ve lost weight, Theon realized with dismay. His arms seemed thinner, compared to Ramsay’s. It made dressing him easier, at any rate. He pictured Sansa dressing one of her dolls and he almost laughed; the thought of this man engaging in such child’s play was absurd. Theon skimmed the room idly while Ramsay dressed him. “That’s quite the tapestry,” he remarked, spying the ornate piece fastened against the far wall. “Is that Winterfell?”

Ramsay ceased tying the laces of Theon’s breeches, turning his head to glance at the proffered tapestry. “Oh yes,” he said. A thin smile graced his face. “That’s the sacking of Winterfell by Ryland Bolton. Do you see the men in pink?” Ramsay looked at him, face alive with glee. “They’re my ancestors, wearing the skin of their enemies. Isn’t it terribly frightening?”

Theon felt his maimed hand twitch. Ramsay barked out a laugh. “Do not fear, Theon,” he said, “you are no enemy of mine.” A moment later Theon was dressed fully. Ramsay appraised him with an obvious glance from head to toe, making Theon feel strangely naked once again. Evidently satisfied, he placed a hand at the small of Theon’s back and guided him toward a plain wooden table off to the side.

Cutlery for two was already in place. Ramsay helped ease him into a chair before calling the servants to bring dinner. Two serving maids entered at once, nearly tripping over themselves in their haste to bring out the food. Both were very young, perhaps no older than Arya. The taller girl, a thin blonde with straggly hair, kept her eyes trained on the floor. The smaller was visibly trembling; she glanced at Theon with wide, frightened eyes, but she would not hold his gaze. I am only a turncoat, he thought ruefully. I am no monster. The girls deposited covered plates and a bottle of bloodred wine upon the table. “Would his Lordship have us serve him?” the blonde asked. She kept her head down, motionless save for a small squeeze of her companion’s tiny hand.

“Not tonight,” Ramsay answered. He waved his hand in dismissal. “Leave us.” They left as quickly as they came, shutting the heavy oaken door with a resounding finality. “Wretched girls,” he remarked absently. “Always twittering about the place. Hand me your goblet, Theon.” He uncorked the wine. “An Arbor Red, from my lord father’s private stores. Oh, he won’t miss it,” Ramsay said as Theon raised his brows in surprise. “He doesn’t partake. It’s only for honored guests, and I would say you qualify.” Ramsay filled the goblets generously before moving to the covered dishes. As he pulled off their lids, the room was filled with the rich aroma of well-cooked food. Theon eyed the roasted pheasant and felt himself salivating. A bowl of plump summer peaches sat invitingly beside the bird, and a loaf of crispy black bread topped off the display. He resisted the urge to grab at the food; such behavior was rude, and he did not want to offend this man.

His host divided the food between them and settled into his meal, biting into the golden skin of the bird like a dog with a bone. Not as civilized as he pretends. Theon turned to his own dish, unsure where to start. The smell of the pheasant proved too alluring to resist. Hesitantly, he bit into the meat. His mouth ached immediately and he dropped his food in surprise.

“Seven hells,” Theon swore as he clutched his jaw. Ramsay stared at him, mouth shiny with grease. “What’s wrong?” he asked through a mouthful of meat.

“I can’t eat this.” Damn the gods. Theon could have screamed at the injustice of it—finally, mercifully out of the dungeon, clean and bathed, a breath away from food, and his damnable jaw failed him. He hastened to explain. “I was hit, in the dungeons, they hit my jaw and I think they knocked a tooth loose. I...I can’t chew.” Worthless. Even a dog could chew. He would have to drink honey like an invalid.

“That’s a shame, it’s really excellent,” Ramsay sympathized. “I could help you, if you like.” He took a swig of wine. Theon did the same; though he could not eat he could very well get good and drunk. “Move your chair by my side. And bring your plate,” he instructed. Theon did so, though it was not without confusion and a building feeling of apprehension. He settled himself at Ramsay’s side, untouched plate in front of him. He reached for Theon’s food, cutting a careful slice of meat off the bone and chewing it thoughtfully. Theon had a vague idea of where this was headed. When Ramsay grabbed the collar of his tunic and pulled him close, his suspicions were confirmed.

Ramsay’s lips tasted like wine. Theon opened his mouth to him. Their teeth clanked together, but in his hunger Theon did not care; he accepted the food from the other man’s mouth greedily, eagerly. The hot slide of a tongue against the roof of his mouth, the sweet glaze of wine, the growing fullness in his belly left him in a stupor as if drugged. Theon ate by the grace of Ramsay’s mouth, and in this manner they consumed their meal.

Despite himself, Theon felt his cock stiffen. It had been so long since he had been treated like this, he was starved for it; a warm mouth against his own, coupled with the deft touch in the bath, stirred lust hot and low in his belly.

By the time Theon finished the pheasant and moved on to the peaches, he was half in Ramsay’s lap. “This is nice,” Ramsay said quietly. His eyes were half-lidded. He looked at Theon as he had looked at his dinner. Theon swallowed a mouthful of peaches. “Your cook is really something,” he answered, and he was pleased his voice did not shake. Ramsay brought a hand up and carded fingers through Theon’s hair. His other hand snaked its way to the front of Theon’s breeches, cupping him through the fabric. “I wasn’t talking about the food,” he said, and squeezed him meaningfully. Theon felt his breath hitch.

“I noticed in the bath,” Ramsay continued. He pushed at Theon’s erection with the heel of his palm, grip tight in Theon’s hair. “And gods, this meal—it’s like our mouths have fucked already. So why don’t we? One last hurrah before you leave me for good.” Ramsay’s hand at his cock was masterful; Theon was writhing in his chair. All his blood had migrated southward, and it was very hard for him to concentrate on understanding words at the moment.

“Anything,” Theon moaned. “Just keep doing that.”

“Ask me,” Ramsay hummed. His lips were tantalizingly close, a mere breath away. “Beg me to fuck you and I’ll do it.”

“Fuck me,” he choked out, all pretense of denial or shame long gone. “Please fuck me. Fuck me, you have to fuck me, I’ll die if you don’t just fuck me—”

He was hauled bodily out of the chair and dragged to the bed with the speed of a viper. His knees buckled as he hit the mattress. He fell backwards into the bed, pressed into warm furs and smothered beneath the heavy form of Ramsay Bolton. The man no longer seemed capable of restraint; he tugged and clawed Theon out of his clothes, throwing them aside without a second glance. While Theon was stripped Ramsay mouthed at him, lips and tongue and teeth scraping along his neck, sucking at the pulse of his throat. “I knew you’d ask,” he mumbled into the flesh of Theon’s neck.

Large hands rippled down his sides. If his touches in the bath had been an exploration, this was an invasion; Ramsay was stroking him, fingering the myriad of cuts and bruises that dotted Theon’s skin with the single-mindedness of Aegon the Conqueror. Here and there Ramsay would bite down, adding marks of his own to his map of injuries.

Theon felt as though he was drowning. It was too much sensation after the depravation of the dungeons; he was being devoured, and it was all Theon could do to hold on to the man above him. He was very aware of his nudity, as Ramsay was fully clothed. He reached up and tugged on Ramsay’s tunic, desperate to level the playing field a bit, but his hand was swatted away. He tried again, and he could have sworn Ramsay actually growled.

“Take off your clothes,” Theon insisted. Ramsay finally disentangled himself, a look of frustration flashing across his pallid face. He shrugged out of his clothing quickly. His eyes never left Theon.

Theon had felt Ramsay’s cock, but he had not seen it. At the sight of it straining against Ramsay’s smallclothes he nearly trembled. Ramsay snorted. “You have one too,” he said, and he pressed a palm against Theon’s manhood as if to prove himself correct, earning a strangled groan from the man beneath him. He pulled his clothing down, joining Theon fully in his nudity; his cock hung heavy and red between his legs. He stared at Theon with open hunger, chest heaving.

It felt nice to be wanted so frankly. Better than nice, really; it felt wonderful. Theon’s hand drifted toward his own cock, which was throbbing persistently between his legs. Ramsay caught his hand before he could touch himself.

When Ramsay took him in his mouth, Theon screamed. He swallowed all of him expertly, deft tongue stroking against his slit so perfectly Theon feared he would go blind. He thrashed against the bed. Better than any woman. I ought to bring him with me, Theon thought deliriously. He felt himself tense as his cock contracted. He tugged at Ramsay’s dark hair, warning him of his release. The man did not move; he looked up at Theon out of his frozen eyes and sucked.

Theon came swearing the names of all the gods he knew.

Ramsay sat up, sweat matting his hair to his forehead. He looked feverish. “You taste good,” he said, and Theon laughed. “You’ve impressed me as well,” he returned. “I didn’t know men could be so enjoyable.”

“You’ve never been with a man?” It was asked with an affected casualness that belied the obvious importance of the question. Why Ramsay would care, Theon had no idea, but he answered honestly all the same.

“You’re the first,” Theon admitted. It was apparently the correct response, as Ramsay leaped on him with the eagerness of a dog. “The first and the greatest. You’ll always remember this, Theon,” he said. There was an edge to his voice that Theon did not understand. He ignored it.

Ramsay kissed him, then, with open mouth and heavy tongue. It was a deep thing, full of affection. Eventually Theon was forced to pull back for air. Ramsay’s face was flushed blotchily. “There’s oil by the bedside. Hand it to me.” Theon did as instructed, passing along a small tin. Theon had never done this before, with a man, but he was aware of the logistics of it and thankful for the preparation. He had tried it once with a girl, that way, without oil or grease, and she had nearly strangled him. He turned on his belly of his own volition. Behind him, he heard Ramsay slick his length.

The fingers were cool and wet against his backside. Theon pushed his face into the sheets of the bed, shivering against the cold. Long fingers penetrated him like a sword, brushing against something deep inside him and drawing out a desperate keening noise he would not have thought himself capable of. “Keep still,” Ramsay murmured. One of his hand’s gripped Theon tightly by the hips as he guided himself in, until he was fully sheathed inside the trembling body beneath him.

“Move,” Theon begged. He needed to touch that spot again.

“I’d rather take you kneeling,” he said, and in a flash Theon was brought up on hands and knees on the bed, Ramsay still seated inside him. “I like you much better this way.”

“Move, damn you,” Theon hissed through clenched teeth. He was full, too full, and if Ramsay didn’t hit that spot again he would scream.

Ramsay said nothing. An arm, pale and corded with wiry muscle, slung around his middle, holding him snugly against Ramsay’s chest. Finally, mercifully, Ramsay began to move. He rocked forward slowly at first, driving his hips forward in an agonizingly measured pace. Theon bent his head to the sheets as if in prayer. He altered the angle a bit and suddenly it was like lightning exploded in his chest. “There,” he choked out. “Fuck, right there.”

Ramsay pressed forward with greater vigor. Their fucking became erratic, jagged and fierce as the cliffs on Pyke. Theon felt like a dog rutting in the woods, reveling in the brutality, the primal essence of it. There was no hesitance as with women—Ramsay fucked him like he was at war. There was a desperation to the jerk of his hips, and with every thrust of the cock inside him Theon felt conquered.

It felt terribly right.

Ramsay’s strength was proving too much—Theon feared he would collapse beneath the weight of him. He heard Ramsay swear in his ear. “Gods, you’re tight.” His mouth fell on Theon’s shoulder, and he felt the pierce of incisors tug at his flesh. Ramsay drew blood, sucking at the stinging wound. Theon felt the throb of Ramsay’s cock as it contracted inside him and suddenly a warm, wet heat filled him. Ramsay collapsed on top of him, spent, and Theon dropped on the bed like a stone.

They lay like that for a moment, Ramsay’s cock softening inside Theon’s body, Theon crushed beneath him into the mattress, both men slick with sweat and breathing heavily. It was distressingly pleasant; Theon vowed never to dwell on why. After an age, Ramsay slid out, extracting himself with an obscenely wet sound. He rolled to his side and pulled Theon close.

Satiated, Theon dropped his head against the man’s chest. “I’ve never had such an enthusiastic send-off before,” he jested. “It almost makes me sad to leave.”

Ramsay pet his hair languidly. “It’s really too bad it has to end this way,” he said. He gave Theon a lazy grin. “Speaking of, I’ve had a letter from my lord father on the subject of the Young Wolf. You ought to read it.” Theon watched him extract a sheet of parchment from the bedside table; he hadn’t noticed it before. Ramsay passed him the letter wordlessly, and Theon accepted it without a thought. The seal, the flayed man of House Bolton, was already broken. It was addressed to Ramsay.

I’ve news of a wedding, the letter read. The script was slanted and precise, and Theon found it a dull affair until a certain line caught his attention. They will keep the wolf out. Dread crept down Theon’s spine like ice. Grey Wind, it had to be, but the direwolf was Robb’s greatest ally, his best protection, why would he be locked away? Theon bent forward, nose scraping the paper. He read quickly, and the more he read the sicker he felt. Panic shot through him like fire. Phrases jumped out at him: The Rains of Castamere is to be the signal, Bolton wrote in that efficient script, as if he were not planning a great treachery, as if he were not going to slaughter his lord, his King, in cold blood. Catelyn Stark is to die with her son. Theon’s hands were shaking against the parchment. She just wanted to see her boys. He had not killed Bran and Rickon, let her have them again. Let her know Theon did not kill them. Let them go to Robb.

“He is awfully boring, isn’t he? My father has none of the artist in him.”

Theon’s head jerked. He stared at Ramsay with wide eyes. “They’re going to kill them,” he said, and it came out a sob. “They’ll kill my family—” His voice broke. He could not stop shaking.

Ramsay’s arm was a dead weight around his shoulder. “Poor Theon,” he cooed, “you know that’s not true.”

Tears came fast and hot. “W-what do you mean?”

“I mean,” Ramsay said, fixing him with a wide grin, “that they’re not going to kill your family. You never had any family to begin with.”

Theon could have screamed and thrashed and raged, he could have grasped Ramsay about the throat and strangled him in his sheets. He could have done many things, but something had broken in him. He curled inwards, mourning for the dead he could not save with tears he could not stop. Ramsay stroked his back and murmured in his ear, a living weight pulling him to his death beneath the waves, dragging him down, down, down.

In the distance, a wolf howled



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