Tobias Winchester

You never take advice, some day you'll pay the price

25 posts in this topic

"Hey," said Toby, arriving to his patrol with Addison with mussed hair and a loosely knotted tie, "Sorry I'm late."

 

He handed one of the mugs he was carrying to her, filled with delicious hot chocolate and topped with marshmallows, the best thing to combat a night patrolling a freezing-cold castle in the Scottish highlands. The hot chocolate was both an apology and a bribe: an apology for spending too long with Kae before the meeting time and a bribe to put her in a good mood for the conversation ahead. 

 

Taking a sip from his own cup, Toby glanced around the trophy room. He hadn't been in here before, he didn't think. Money, fame, glory - none of it interested him in the slightest. His own trophy was around here somewhere, probably dusty, from winning the Intermediate Tier Tournament that one time. He wondered where it was. Probably near the back, there were far more interesting trophies in here, he was sure. Why they had to patrol the room, he didn't know. What did Gawkrodger think would happen? A jealous Slytherin would try and destroy all the trophies so people wouldn't know someone else was better than them??

 

Turning back to Addison, Toby said, "So, I asked Silas about what happened between the two of you."

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She'd been waiting, but Addison didn't mind waiting. These days, being by herself was easier than being around other people, because being around other people only served as a reminder of how few friends she had left, while everybody else was packed to the seams with their own relationships. When she was alone, she didn't have to pretend to be happy, and put on a face and disposition like everything was okay. Being in a room full of trophies really, suited her just fine, so long as she avoided the areas that reminded her of the time she and Silas found the old picture of his mum and her friends.

 

"No big deal," she said, gratefully accepting the cup. "Thanks." Addison blew across the top, dispersing the thin ribbon of steam, and hunkered down on the base of a display.

 

They said nothing for a string of moments, which she was more than okay with. Most of her days were spent in relative silence anyway, between sitting and listening in class, to sitting and studying in the library, to sleeping in her dormitory, and to hiding away in whatever private alcoves she could find. Her main forms of social interactions were either forced groupwork in lessons, or in Team Ninja Dragon's meetings, along with whenever Reid had a moment he could throw her way.

 

But, as it tended to be whenever Tobias was around (for better or for worse), the silence was short lived.

 

"O-oh?" she croaked, staring down glumly into her hot chocolate. "... What'd he say?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toby's propensity to be brutally honest was tricky, in this situation, but he didn't see the point in lying about it.

 

"He's mad," he said, "Like, really mad. I haven't seen him that mad since - well, ever, I guess. I mean, he was angry when he tried to kill Luke with the beater's bat after Luke beat me up... but that was like... protective rage." The anger Silas had in the dorm when Toby asked him about Addison had been something colder, more detached, as if he wanted to wipe all memory of Addison from his life.

 

Toby took another drink of the hot chocolate and wondered how to word what he wanted to say next. "You really hurt him, I think. He's not good at the whole emotion thing, but he tries, I don't know what it's like for you, but sometimes I feel like I don't know him at all, have no idea what he's thinking. But I don't think he would be this mad if he didn't care, I think he's just pushed away the part of him that cares, shoved it into a tiny little box so that all that's left is his anger."

 

Toby didn't know if Silas and Addison were better off not being friends, or if there was anything to salvage from their relationship, but he hadn't liked Addison sitting there at the camp side over summer, staring into the flames and saying she was no good. Toby didn't think anyone deserved to feel that way about themselves, no matter what choices they had made, and Addison was obviously sorry for what she'd done, or she wouldn't be so upset.

 

Though the question remained whether she was sad because she'd hurt Silas or sad because Silas was mad at her. 

 

 


Edited by Tobias Winchester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She was motionless as he broke it down for her, and what he had to say at first didn't come as any surprise to her. She knew Silas was livid, and it was why she'd been so afraid to tell him the truth in the first place. She expected nothing less than unadulterated anger in return, and that was more or less what she was receiving. However, what she didn't expect was the implied bit about Silas still caring, because if he didn't care, he wouldn't have been mad.

 

Addison shook her head, and pinched the bridge of her nose. No, she couldn't allow herself the liberty of hope. To think that some part of Silas still cared about her, in some way, even if it was buried fathoms beneath the surface, was more than she could let herself seriously consider. She didn't deserve it.

 

"Yeah. I'm... yeah. If I were him, I'd be the same." But she wasn't him. She was herself. She was Addison Toft, heavily flawed and deeply troubled; she wasn't the person Silas believed she could be. He'd held on for as long as possible, given her a number of chances, and she'd wasted them all, one by one.  "I guess you think I'm a huge idiot too, which I am. It's not like I ever do myself any favors."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I think you're human," said Toby, "And flawed."

 

Addison did not seem like she wanted people to get close to her right now, putting up some sort of barrier against the world. He'd seen her in lessons, quietly keeping to herself and just focusing on the task at hand. Toby moved to sit on the plinth at the bottom of one of the statues opposite her instead, hands curled around his mug of hot chocolate.

 

"You're not... You're not malicious. You don't go out of your way to hurt people and make them miserable. You just don't..." hmm. How to word it, without coming off as judgemental? "Think. You've got that Gryffindor 'act first, think later' mentality." It was not something he understood, not with his huge streak of self-preservation. Why go running into danger and possibly die, when you could run away from it and definitely live, instead?

 

"What I don't get, is why you asked for the memory to be erased in the first place." Ethics of erasing people's memories aside and the danger of such a procedure, Toby didn't get why she'd want to get rid of that memory in particular. "Like, is it really so bad that Silas once kissed you? That he... liked you? Are you afraid of what that might mean?" He didn't understand why anyone would be so afraid of love, but Silas had explained it to him as Addison thinking she was never good enough, as she'd been given up for adoption by her own parents. It seemed Toby as if she was constantly striving for something (he didn't know what, and he wasn't sure she did either) something to make her feel like she was good enough

 

Why, then, hadn't she been able to accept that she was good enough for Silas? That Silas liked her as a person?

 

He half-smiled. "Was he a really bad kisser?"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She knew exactly why she did it. After having re-watched the memories, everything had come crashing back into her brain, including the reasons behind her actions... but, she didn't know if Tobias was the right person to be telling. The person who the explanation should be going to was Silas, but it's not as if Silas was in a conversational mood around her. 

 

"No, it's not that. It's... it's a lot to explain, and to be honest, I think the person I need to be explaining it to is... well, he's mad at me." If she'd had a moment to mull through it all, Addison would have done her best to talk Silas through it that night, but he'd been too upset, and she was still too confused with conflicting sets of memories to figure it out before he stormed off. 

 

She took a long sip of her cocoa, which had cooled enough to keep from scalding her tongue. Slurping up a few marshmallows, she finally pulled her eyes away from the mug, and towards the one Ravenclaw who would talk to her. "You know, back at camp, I... that was sort of why I avoided you. I just wanted to get away from everything for the summer, but then there you were, and you... you reminded me of Hogwarts, and especially of Silas. You still do, and it's... it makes it hard."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That's true enough," Toby said, of him not being the right person for her to talk to about it. He was glad she'd realised that too and wanted to talk to Silas about what had happened and her reasons for it. 

 

It would be hard to get Silas to sit down and talk to her, but Toby hadn't been lying earlier when he'd said that he thought Silas still cared about her. It would take a long time to repair the damage Addison had done, however. She would have to be serious about making amends and fixing things and, Toby imagined, would need to convince Silas that she had changed - or was at least willing to. 

 

"You know, back at camp, I... that was sort of why I avoided you."

 

"And there I came, refusing to leave you alone?" 

 

He didn't regret it, would bug her again, if he had to. It had been fun at the camp and he'd enjoyed the chance to get to learn new spells with her, whilst avoiding his own drama and people he didn't want to talk to. Then Kaelyn had come around and the whole world had turned on its head. The thought alone was enough to make Toby smile (ugh, sickening, he was turning into such a sap) and so he took a drink of his hot chocolate to hide the stupid expression on his face. 

 

He got where Addison was coming from, though. It would be like if he fell out with Silas, and then Grace or Columbia kept coming around, talking to him and wanting to hang out. Toby's nose wrinkled at the very thought. "This your way of asking me to leave you alone?" he asked. He leaned back so he could stretch his long legs out in front of him, slightly bent at the knee. "I mean, I can if you want." He was trying this whole redemption thing, being nice to people, doing what they wanted him to do. "Up to you."


Edited by Tobias Winchester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"What? No, I mean... if you want to leave, that's your own choice, but I'm already stuck here at Hogwarts and I have to see him in class like every day, so it's - it's whatever, you know?" She set her mug down by her feet, and hugged her knees close to her chest. "If you're going to leave, I'd expect it be because you wanted to skive off patrolling an empty room." It wasn't as if the trophy room needed two people watching it, and to her, Tobias didn't seem like the type to think it was a good use of his time to be lounging around, watching over a whole bunch of nothing.

 

But, Tobias Winchester constantly surprised her, so who was she to say what he was likely to do?

 

"It's fine if I never get a chance though, to tell him what I was thinking. I know it was dumb, I'm not going to argue that - it was stupid, and selfish, and cowardly... I ran away from my problems rather than face them. But he's better off without having to deal with me and my dumb brain; he's hanging out with Irene again, and they seem happy, so I should just leave him alone and he can live the rest of his life in peace."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"He is?" said Toby, who had not noticed this new development. 

 

But then, he'd been very focused on Kaelyn and didn't really notice much of anything else, when she was around. He felt as if he would have noticed if Silas and Irene started spending a lot more time together. 

 

It had taken a huge effort not to roll his eyes when Addison said that Silas was better off without her and she should just leave him alone and blah blah blah. It was the worst thing to say, when things were going bad - and he'd know, he'd had a pretty terrible fourth year himself, where he'd pushed all his friends away and been angry and upset about things that really wasn't worth it. He was glad Addison hadn't decided to push him away too. 

 

"It's your choice, you know, if you don't want to talk to him, if you think things are ruined forever between you." It was hard, not telling someone you thought they were an idiot and needed to make better life choices. "But he said - he thinks you gave him the memories back on purpose, like you were punishing him for dating Irene. He really liked you, I think, so I guess it feels like a bit of a slap in the face. He said..." Ugh what were Silas's exact words? Something about wanting to work through it. "He felt like the two of you should have talked about it, rather than you wiping your memories."

 

He was talking about it again, rather than leaving it to Addison and Silas. Toby finished off the last of his hot chocolate in one long drink, then set his mug down on the ground. "I'm not trying to change your mind, or anything. You do what you wanna do. I'm just telling you his opinion. You told me to go and ask him, so I did, and I figure you did that because you're too scared to talk to him yourself about what happened." There was that blunt honesty again, rather than soft edges. He wasn't very good at this, he realised. "So from what I know of Silas, I think there's hope but hey, I had no idea he even liked you or that the two of you had kissed in the first place... so..."

 

How much did he really know the true Silas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She scrunched her eyes shut - it was so wrong that it distressed her, and filled her with anguish. It wasn't a punishment!

 

"No - it... I gave it to him because... because of the same reason I told you to ask him." Didn't they get it by now? Didn't everyone understand that Addison Toft was a colossal jumble of mistakes and screwups, and that she couldn't even believe in herself to take care of important things, anymore? How had the world not recognised her for what she was, when everything and everyone seemed so ready to provide her with opportunities to fail? "It's because I... I didn't trust myself with the truth."

 

Addison shook her head slowly, and relaxed the muscles in her face. 

 

"If you wanted someone who was going to be completely honest about the situation, then Silas would be the one to ask, not me. I... I was afraid I'd try to make it... not sound so bad, or something. But I knew Silas wouldn't pull any punches. And it was the same with the remembrall." She assumed Tobias had basically the full story at this point, if he knew about the memories. "I didn't trust myself, because any time I do, I mess things up. It's been kind of a trend, you know? And yeah, if I could go back and change things, I would. I'd have talked to him about it instead, but it's a bit too late for that, isn't it? Unless I figure out how to create a spell in arithmancy that lets me send a message back in time, it's too late."

 

There was no hope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It's never too late if you care about someone," said Toby, thinking of Darcy. 

 

He'd spend the rest of his life trying to make things better after what he'd done, if that was what it took. Giving up... it just didn't seem like an option, even though she wouldn't even look at him right now or turn up to their patrols together. It didn't mean he'd suddenly decide he was right or try to get over his fears, he'd just keep doing that anyway and hope that one day he got the chance to talk to her again. 

 

And if he did, hope that he did it right. 

 

He and Addison were more alike than he thought, both making a number of mistakes without intending to, only whilst Addison was here alienating herself and beating herself up about them, Toby refused to apologise for some - and for others, was trying to make them better. Talking to Grace and being nice to her wasn't exactly easy for him, but he was doing it. Turning up to patrols with Darcy and Luke wasn't either, but he still did them. Going to the Werewolf Reserve had been the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life, but he'd done it. Those things, they were steps in the right direction. 

 

How was Addison ever going to move forwards, if she just tried to ignore everything?

 

"Some of us..." he said, trialing off as he searched for the words. "Some of us just find it harder to walk the right path. People like Silas, Kaelyn, they never wander from it. They just know what the right thing is and they do it. They might stumble, but they get themselves back up. I don't... I don't think you're a bad person, 'cause you've done bad things. It wasn't like you wanted to hurt people, but I guess there's gotta be a point where you realise the effect your actions are having and figure out what you're gonna do about it."

 

That's what he'd done, he supposed. He'd hit a point, a fork in the road, and realised there were only two ways to go. Either he carried on being an arse to everyone and everything, regardless of the consequences, and lost people like Silas and Kaelyn, or he made better choices (even if they were more boring) and found a way to keep them. 

 

"Like, you wanna stop making bad choices, or are they who you are and that's that?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Some of us just find it harder to walk the right path... It wasn't like you wanted to hurt people, but I guess there's gotta be a point where you realise the effect your actions are having and figure out what you're gonna do about it."

 

That was exactly what Addison had been trying to wrap her mind around. She was more careful now, than ever, about what the repercussions of her behavior could spell later on down the line, and if 'careful' wasn't the right word, then she was at least doing her best to take those repercussions into consideration. However, the idea of walking 'the right path' still sounded so nebulous to her, especially when she thought back on her conversation with Reid. Reid Fauchelevent and Addison Toft both did, essentially, the same thing: they followed their hearts. Yet, Reid's heart always pointed him in the correct direction, whereas Addison's took her down the dark, forgotten path through the brambles.

 

"Like, you wanna stop making bad choices, or are they who you are and that's that?"

 
That was another matter, entirely. The way Tobias presented the latter option sounded defeatist, yet Addison couldn't do anything about it, because that was what precisely what she amounted to: a never-ending string of bad choices. Clearly, her existence itself had been a mistake, else her parents wouldn't have given her up into the foster system in the first place. You didn't give away 'good decisions' as easily as they'd done; meeting them for the first time in conscious memory during last summer hadn't helped her feel any better about herself, either. Yelling at them for being responsible for how poorly she'd turned out hadn't made Addison feel any lighter, or happier; in fact, it only made her feel worse.
 
"I dunno." She retrieved her cup and resumed drinking from it in silence. "I mean, I do know, but knowing what I want, and being able to actually live it out are two different things. I tried, I really did. I've tried really hard to stop making bad choices, but it turns out that everything I try ends up being a bad choice, anyway." She also tried doing what other people told her to do, like when Silas suggested their year needed to communicate and voice their feelings more clearly, to avoid confrontations - and when Addison tried that, tried talking to Irene and calmly discussing whatever problem it was Irene was having, it failed and she ended up brawling with the Slytherin, anyway.
 
So, if she couldn't do what her own heart was telling her, and she couldn't do what other people were telling her, then what did she have left?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Maybe you're cursed," suggested Toby. 

 

It wasn't completely unheard of. Unusual that the curse would be on a child, but not impossible. People cursed each other all the time in the wizarding world, from what he'd read. Usually old purebloods, cursing each other and their property, mad about some slight or another. Fancying a muggleborn, giving up on traditional family values, all of that. 

 

"Been touching any dark magic items recently? Reading any dark books?" It was unlikely at Hogwarts that there were many dark things, but, again, not impossible. Death Eaters had once run the school, back in Voldemort's day, and the halls and staircases were so constantly shifting Toby thought it entirely possible that huge areas of the castle had been overlooked in the clean. There could feasibly be a whole house of dark objects just lying around, waiting for someone to find them and then work their magic. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.

 

Or, perhaps she should be, because then the solution would be a simple counter-curse to dispel the negative effect over her head, and then she could live out the rest of her life happily and in peace. That sounded too easy, though, and way too good to be true. "Maybe I had a cursed pacifier when I was a baby," she shrugged. Or maybe she was the curse.

 

She sighed heavily and leaned back, tilting her head so she could stare up aimlessly at the ceiling. "It's just easier to stop trying, isn't it? It'd save everyone a lot of headache, and I know I'm only going to screw up in the end, so... maybe I should just spare everyone, and..." 

 

Leave.

 

Leave Hogwarts, leave everything behind. It wasn't as if the prospect of changing schools was new to her; she was setting a new attendance record at a single institution here at Hogwarts, anyway, and she could say she'd given it her best try, but maybe it simply wasn't meant to happen. She could go to one of those foreign wizarding schools, or she could shift back into muggle society, and accept that her life was already complicated and twisted enough, without having to layer magic on top of it all. Maybe, for Addison, the only way to win the game was to not play. Then, everyone else would breath easy.

 

"... and just stop trying," she said. Addison laughed awkwardly. "Can't be any worse, right?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Yeah, it's easier. Doesn't mean it's right, though."

 

She kept making mistakes so the best thing to do was to stop trying to do better?

 

"You're a Gryffindor, man. You're not supposed to give up." If she was willing to give up and didn't think there was any way to make things better, then what hope did he have? He didn't even feel anywhere near as bad as she did about the things he'd done. Not that they could compare their past wrongs, each person to their own. "It's like you don't want to be better. You made mistakes, it sucked, people are mad at you for them so... giving up is the best option?"

 

She needed something to make her see that she wasn't as bad as she thought, something to make her believe in herself. Nothing he said was going to convince her, just as nothing Silas had done in the past few years had either. There was something broken in Addison Toft, something that had cracked in two and refused to go back together again. It had fractured when she'd been given up at an early age, and been splitting apart ever since then. 

 

She was a hard piece of work, too much work for him, though he saw the appeal of wanting to help her, to put her back together again. Addison Toft deserved to be loved - everyone deserved to be loved - but he did not think he was the boy who could do it. There was one thing he thought might help, though. 

 

A head poked out of the top of his shirt pocket, tongue flickering in the air as Jeffrey looked to see who Toby was spending so long talking to. He didn't usually bring Jeffrey with him on patrols, letting him instead investigate the Ravenclaw Tower, but Jeffrey knew Addison, had been there when Toby first broke him out of Pre-Hogwarts Primary. He thought Addison might want to see him again - or the other way around. Jeffrey didn't smile, but he did scamper a little higher, claws curled around the edge of the pocket as he pulled himself up so his other head could see Addison too. 

 

Toby really, really didn't want to do what he was thinking of. It felt like wrenching a part of himself away. 

 

But he couldn't think of any other way to help the girl in front of him. 

 

Getting to his feet, Toby plucked Jeffrey out of his shirt pocket, and then walked over to Addison. He sat down on the floor in front of her, and held Jeffrey out. The double-ended newt scampered around on his palm for a few seconds, then looked imploringly at Addison, stretching out to try and reach her knee. Toby watched him with a fond, soft smile. 

 

"I think you need to learn to love again," he said, looking at Jeffrey but speaking to Addison. "Or know that you can be loved. That you don't ruin everything in your life, that you can do good things." God he really didn't want to do this. He shifted his hand closer to Addison, close enough that Jeffrey could jump onto her knee. "You should take Jeffrey, for a bit. Look after him for me." His voice totally didn't catch at the end there, nope. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tobias was starting to sound a lot like Reid, in encouraging her that she needed to recognise she could be a positive force in the world, that not everything she touched had to fall to ruin. Addison stared in shock at the double-ended newt exploring her denim-covered kneecap, both tongues darting out and in of its mouths. The darker part of her immediately wondered if this was a twisted joke - did Tobias know how she'd bungled her salamander internship with professor QIn last year, losing a quarter of the brood she'd been entrusted to care for? 

 

No, from what she could read from his face (though, admittedly she was poor at reading faces), she could only glean an honest sincerity. He really meant it.

 

"Thanks. I'll... um, I'll try, I guess."

 

With the softest touch she could manage, Addison stroked Jeffrey down his scaled back, with a single finger. The newt shuddered with pleasure, and instantly scampered up the back of her hand, and arm, onto her shoulder, then clambered up the side of her face and perched atop her head. She held herself very still, as to not throw her passenger overboard.

 

"When did you become Mr Goodwill, anyway? Is dating Kae bringing out a different side to Tobias Winchester?" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the worst idea he'd ever had. Toby watched with a horrible sinking feeling as Jeffrey scampered straight up Addison's arm to perch on her head, like he wasn't even bothered that Toby was giving him away for a while, like he was glad to be going. 

 

He tore his gaze away from his traitorous pet when Addison spoke, and sat back, crossing his legs. When had he decided to be nicer? Somewhere around the time Ripley had told him to stop letting his fears define him, sometime after Luke had beat him up for being horrible to Darcy, sometime after Kaelyn had kissed him, sometime... A lot of things had happened. 

 

"I've always been full of goodwill," he said, and for him, it was the truth. "You guys just always seem to think I'm an arse."

 

Just because he chose who to share his goodwill with - Millie, Kaelyn, Silas - didn't mean it did not exist. He just also liked to wind people up to see what would happen, and wasn't against saying what he really thought about someone. Being nice was boring, but being good was okay, sometimes, if the person deserved it. 

 

Kae probably had a lot to do with it though, Addison was right. Toby didn't want to disappoint her, didn't want her to realise she'd made a huge mistake, though he felt sometimes as if they were seconds away from her realising and changing her mind. He didn't know why she put up with him (why she loved him) but then Kaelyn was one of the few people who saw the good in him, and knew that he wasn't rotten to the core. Addison needed someone like that, someone to believe in her. Maybe Jeffrey would do that, for a while. It wasn't the same as a human, but pets were wonderful for making people realise just how much they were loved.

 

"But yeah, I guess I'm trying to be nicer," he admitted. It felt awkward to say - and kind of dumb. "It's a work in progress."

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"You were an arse," she corrected, in a matter-of-fact tone. "I remember the first time we met, you shoved a newt down my shirt, before you even knew my name." And while that had ultimately led to a good thing, in the form of Jeffrey's liberation from captivity, it still wasn't exactly what Addison would deem a 'good first meeting'. Plus, there was the fact that had Ms McManus and Ms Blithe been more scrutinising, they would have found the stolen newt on Addison's person, and not Tobias'.

 

He was different now, though. Still just as sharp as ever, if not sharper, but these days, he was able to soften his edge. Whether or not that was truly a direct effect of dating Kaelyn, or if Tobias himself had wanted to be different, was unknown to Addison, but the change was noticeable. He was more... encouraging. And that in itself, she supposed, was encouraging, for wasn't it Tobias Winchester himself who once stated he didn't know if he could be, or if he even wanted to be, a good person?

 

So, if he could find a way to adapt himself, did that mean there was still a chance for her to do the same?

 

"I think it's working. We've gone nearly half a year without a major disagreement, so that's something." She raised her cup to clink against his. "Here's to another half?"


Edited by Addison Toft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Am," corrected Toby, "But not always."

 

It was a clear distinction to him, but not to others. That was part of why he was trying to do better, because apparently only being nice to a few people who he felt like being nice to wasn't great for making other people like him. In fact, just being an arse to them gave him a bad reputation, who knew?

 

The acknowledgement that they had actually been able to be friends for half a year was met with a smile. It was true his relationship with Addison had always seemed to stall before it began. It seemed like as soon as they were on the same page, something happened to send them ricocheting off in other directions again. The arguments and disagreements seemed stupid, now. Not worth dragging up or apologising for; he had been a different person then and, he was sure, Addison had too. 

 

He reached for his cup to tip it against hers, then realised he'd left it back over where he'd been sat before. With a shrug, he tipped an imaginary one against hers, as if in cheers. "You're alright, Toft." She wasn't nice or gentle or easy to be around, but she was always, unfailingly, herself, and Tobias liked that. You knew what you were getting, when you talked to Addison, or at least he felt as if he did now. He also didn't think she would judge him or expect him to be someone else. She didn't hold his past misdemeanours against him, just like he didn't hold hers against her. 

 

"You have got to work stuff out with Silas, though." He smiled as Jeffrey flickered a tongue at him at the familiar name. He wanted him back so bad. "Silas is a good guy, way better than me - than either of us, I think. We're lucky to have him."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tobias was lucky to have him. Addison was lucky to have had him for as long as she did.

 

The most she could manage was, "I... yeah, I'll... I'll see." Beyond that, she really couldn't make any promises. What she and Silas had shared was much like these trophies: a piece of history that would always be looked back upon fondly, but held no real weight towards the present, nor the future. Eventually, they faded away with the passage of time, to the point where people only came back after years, to re-kindle their golden years. And, maybe that was the best Addison could wish for: years from now, Silas would be able to forgive her, and they could go back and create a tentative friendship again.

 

How realistic was that future? Not very. Silas was bound for greatness. He would get some fancy, top-ranking job somewhere, with that brain and talent of his, and Addison... the years to come weren't looking particularly bright. Her grades were average, at best, and the only thing of note she could put down under her name was a beginner-level dueling championship, and two third-place finishes at an intermediate grade. Also, notoriety as one of Hogwarts' list of 'most recently undeserving people to be made prefect'.

 

Gingerly plucking Jeffrey from her head, she held him in a cupped hand, where he curled up on himself and rested. "I'm happy for you, by the way. Your thing with Kae. She seems pretty bright these days... brighter than usual, I mean." And Addison seemed all the dimmer, in contrast. "Whatever you guys have must be pretty special."

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toby's eyes followed Jeffrey - the traitor's - movements as he was happily plucked from Addison's head and curled up around on her palm instead. He was never that good for Toby, usually scuttling away up his sleeve and disappearing under his shirt, constantly on an exploration to find the best place to chill out (which was not always a comfortable place for Toby). He dragged his eyes away as Addison turned the conversation around to Kaelyn. 

 

Apparently she looked 'brighter'. He didn't know what that meant exactly (must be a girl thing), but he liked the sound of it. Addison wouldn't make that kind of thing up, would she? "Yeah?" he asked, sounding more than a little pleased. He dropped his gaze to the floor, digging the thumb of one nail into the gap between two of the stone slabs. "I think she's always bright."

 

Now that he was allowed to look, and it wasn't weird because she was his friend and friends didn't look at each other like that, Toby sometimes found it hard to do anything else. Kaelyn was the hottest girl in their year, he thought, even accounting for Baby and her veela blood. But more than that, she had that beauty of personality, the kind of person who seemed to glow with happiness. She always looked great, even when she was tired and grouchy in the mornings, or when she hadn't had time to wash her hair and it was pulled up into a messy ponytail. She'd started wearing a bit more make-up too, this year, and whilst Toby thought she was beautiful anyway, he couldn't deny how well it accentuated her features. 

 

"It's... It's good." The word was woefully inadequate, but he didn't know how to word what he felt, how she made him feel. "She's wonderful. I'll still a little amazed she thinks I'm worthwhile. I keep wanting to do stupid things for her, proper sappy like, you know? Buy her a dozen roses ... that sort of stuff."

 

Had Addison ever experienced that? Silas had told him she'd never really been dating Mercutio in the first place, and her time with Luke had been incredibly short. She might have once liked Silas too (why else remove the memory, after he started dating Irene?) but that relationship had never made it off the ground. Meanwhile, Toby was off over here on his third girlfriend...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She resisted the urge to snort - someone had finally tamed Tobias Winchester. It was sweet, though. He wanted to be the picture of a loving boyfriend and make Kaelyn as happy as she made him. Addison guessed it was doubly sweet for Kaelyn, who she thought to have had a tough time getting over Luke (if Luke's initial difficulty in getting over Kaelyn was any indication of how much they liked each other at the time). And... really, it was doubly sweet for Tobias too, who had been in a relationship with Eloise last year, but by his own admission, she hadn't truly held feelings for him. If Tobias and Kaelyn were able to find comfort in each other, that was a good thing.

 

"Her favorite color is pink," Addison said. "Or... purple? Or... rainbow. I dunno her favorite color, actually. She really likes eating meatballs, though, like it's weird how she craves them. Her favorite candy is jelly slugs, although karaoke licorice is probably a close second, and if there was a meatball candy, that would blow everything else out of the water. She used to run her own business, and was the CFO-" Whatever that meant, "-and she's got about ten million outfits in her trunk."

 

This was information he more than likely already knew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It's bright yellow," corrected Toby. "Right now anyway."

 

Kaelyn's favourites were as changeable as the wind. It had been that way ever since they were kids. One summer all she'd wanted to do was build a tree house, two weeks later it had been a boat to go out in the lake; one Christmas all she wanted to play was Cluedo and then halfway through a game wanted Monopoly. Her enthusiasm for life seemed to bleed over into her interests, constantly skipping from one thing to another, worried that if she stopped for too long she'd miss out. 

 

The meatball thing and the jelly slugs Addison was right about. "She likes milkshakes too."

 

He could talk about her for a long time, felt as if he knew everything about her, having known her for so long. He was startled that Addison knew so much, though. Perhaps she was more perceptive than she seemed. "She's got a huge collection of winged horse figurines and likes the thestrals best. Reckon that's why she liked Gary for that time, You know, the horses." Had Addison known that Kaelyn had once liked Gary and the two had kissed? She didn't always seem to take much time to be part of everything going on in their year, preferring to keep to herself and her demons. Maybe if she hung out with them all more she wouldn't feel so down about herself. 

 

"We should hang out more," he said. "Then I'll be able to list all your favourite things too, and not just a preference for the shield charm and liking dessert foods best." Addison had never really featured on his radar as someone interesting he wanted to spend all his time with, she wasn't easy to wind up like Irene or impossibly cool like Columbia, or sweet and lovely like Darcy. She was something else. He tilted his head as he looked up at her, broken and bruised and just wanting desperately to be loved.

 


Edited by Tobias Winchester

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bright yellow. Sounded like her. Gary Youdle, on the other hand? Gross. Addison couldn't initially remember if she knew whether or not Gary and Kaelyn had temporarily a thing - or not a thing, but kind of a thing, it was apparently complicated - but then she recalled overhearing Gary talking about it one time, in the common room. Something about Kaelyn visiting him in the summer, and now they were going steady. However, soon after that, all mentions of anything involving them being romantic with each other disappeared, and was never spoken of again.

 

"I dunno, having another conversation might be pushing our luck, don't you think?" Addison meant it as a joke, but she wasn't sure if her dull tone managed to convey the levity of her intentions. She coughed awkwardly, and drained the rest of her cup in a string of deep gulps. Memories of the fire in Silas' eyes still burned bright, and were hot to the touch; would mingling with Tobias bring her too close to that heat? And, if this were to happen, was she being fair with Tobias, or was some part of her only hanging out with him to use him as a substitute for the Ravenclaw she couldn't have?

 

The whole reason she detonated her relationship with Luke was due to her fear that she was just a stand-in for Kaelyn, despite his insistence that wasn't the case. How could Addison turn around and flip the table onto Tobias, when she couldn't make that same insistence herself? She wanted to be able to say it. She wanted to say that she could simply be friends with Tobias Winchester, and that was that, but the matter went too deep to be glossed over so easily.

 

"Um, maybe we can duel or something. I've been on a break from it lately, but... we could try?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toby, who loved anyone who was willing to make jokes, even in a self-deprecating way and especially if they were not saying something nice, only grinned when Addison said it might be pushing their luck to hang out again. It had every chance of failing miserably - they were fifth years now, and Toby could count their positive interactions on one hand - but for whatever reason, he didn't find himself wanting to give up or write her off. 

 

Maybe it was the pity he still felt, when he thought of how Silas had told him about her being adopted and her insecurities. Maybe it was curiosity, because no one seemed to really know who she was. Maybe it was some sort of masochism, continually coming back for more. Maybe it was Kaelyn's influence, making him want to reach out to other people and make them happy. Or maybe it was something else.

 

She suggested a duel, and his nose scrunched up. "I've been sucking at that lately." It was the thing they most had in common, however, aside from Silas. It was a good place to start, even if some of their past disagreements and arguments had stemmed from there. "But it's worth a try, yeah." What did they really have to lose? It wasn't as if their current burgeoning friendship was something that was terribly meaningful to either of them. "It's a deal."

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites