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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

I fell in over my head

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

After his conversation with Jaxon, Ryszard hadn’t really expected himself to be able to go back to how things had transpired between him and Malcolm. There had been a confession about the way his father was treating him, and an admission of fear. That wasn’t how Ryszard did things: he was more likely to be relentless and lacking emotion than looking like he was about to fall over and start crying. It was a pathetic mess, and Ryszard couldn’t believe all of this had taken in the space of the winter holidays.

 

Ryszard’s eyes slid over to Malcolm sitting beside him on the floor, and he wondered why it had been so easy to talk to both Jack and Jaxon, but he couldn’t find the strength to form the words around the Gryffindor. His reasoning was that they weren’t dating, so it didn’t matter if he was okay or not, as long as he was capable of kissing him.

 

“So.” A beat. “I talked to Jack.” That was the worst thing he could have said in that moment, but it was already out, and there was no taking it back now.

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Malcolm Mercer III

Cinching the edges of the parchment between his fingers, Malcolm secured a wing before flipping it over and getting to work on the other wing. The floor wasn't the most comfortable place to be, but incidentally, it was one of the most private, so if they were going to have a conversation or do whatever they did, the floor wasn't a terrible place.

 

"Hmm." For a long moment, that was all he could think to say to Ry, because he didn't really know the level of the other's relationship with Jack, and Merlin only knew what Jack was saying about him to other people. Since she seemed pretty hot-and-cold with him lately, depending on what he did or didn't do, Malcolm... honestly wasn't sure where this conversation was going. Or maybe he was talking about the other Jack, in which case, Malcolm also didn't know where that relationship was going, because Jaxon was now back with his girlfriend and no longer cared about mushing faces with him. 

 

It's okay. Ry was cuter.

 

Deftly sending the airplane flying across the room, Malcolm used his wand to levitate it slightly off the ground and watched it float. Then he turned to Ryszard and dropped his chin onto his forearms as he rested his arms on his knees. "...which Jack, and what happened?"

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He wasn’t sure if he and Malcolm had ever really talked. They were two peas in a pod when it came to feelings, and they were both probably emotionally stunted. It was a good combination for simply making out, but Ryszard knew there would be no support here if he needed it. It was easy to be reckless and throw himself headfirst into everything that was wrong for him.

 

Not that Malcolm was necessarily wrong for him; they just didn’t talk.

 

He watched the paper airplane take flight across the room, and the silence in the room was enough to make Ryszard second guess even bringing this up with the Gryffindor. They could just go back to snogging each other senseless and everything would go back to normal.

 

“Both, but I meant Frost,” he replied, turning his head to look directly at Malcolm and leaning against him slightly. “She was...mad, at first, about us,” he said, wincing as he remembered the brief assault in the Great Hall. “But then she said she’s fine with it, that you can do whatever you want. I just thought you should know,” he added, shrugging. “I do have worse things to worry about, so I’m glad,” he snorted. “Like the fact that I’ll be homeless this summer.” He rolled his eyes at that. Malcolm didn’t need to hear about that.

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Malcolm Mercer III

When it came to feelings, Malcolm's emotions often went several different directions. Sometimes he felt like he needed to employ that disconnect that was expected of him as a Mercer — nothing quite said business like being too overemotional about things — but he also found that bottling things up wasn't healthy in and of itself. His emotions towards his family, towards the disgusting display of arrogance and greed that were often directed towards him or in regards to him were often feelings of anger and annoyance, but he'd learned well to lock those down and not let them out again. 

 

He almost rolled his eyes when he heard about Jack's response. After all of her pouting and whining about what Malcolm chose to do with his mouth in regards to @Jaxon Sinclair's mouth, perhaps it was refreshing to know that she was 'fine with it', even though everything as of late seemed to be Malcolm's fault in her eyes and really, Malcolm was starting to Not Be Here for being the Object of Disdain and Perceived Cause of Suffering. "Hmm," he said again. "Good to know she's done trying to micromanage my love life," he grumbled, and left it at that. Ry didn't need to know about the weird dynamic between him and Jack. 

 

Malcolm pulled the plane back and repositioned it in his hand. Fingers poised to toss it again gently, Malcolm stopped with arm extended when he heard what Ry said, turning to him quickly enough to catch the eyeroll. "You'll be homeless? Why?"

 

And weirdly enough, he felt a pang of... something course through his chest at that very moment. But he couldn't quite place it. 

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Ryszard had always been the less emotional twin, after a certain age. He had watched his sister cry and throw as many tantrums as she pleased, and still get what she wanted. In contrast, however, whenever Ryszard tried to do the same thing, he was always cut off at the knees. The frustration had built up inside of him for years, a child’s plea to let him out of the cage he had been trapped in against his will.

 

He opened his mouth, but closed it again a second later. Ryszard wanted to know about what was going on between him and Jack. It was out of genuine concern and curiosity for the boy he currently had accompanying him, and not because he was trying to be nosy. He frowned, trying to think of something to say that didn’t sound like he was trying to intrude on something that wasn’t his to pry.

 

It was a feeling that had grown inside his chest since childhood: he did not belong.

 

“Yeah, we had...some intense conversations over the holidays. Nothing more about you, though,” he added. That wasn’t the important thing here, anyways, as Malcolm zoomed in on Ryszard’s offhand comment about being homeless. It had just slipped out — mentioning it to the other boy hadn’t been the plan, and insecurity suddenly started boiling up inside of him. It was one thing to tell Jaxon about it — they wouldn’t be seeing each other once summer came around — and quite another to lay out his secrets in front of Malcolm.

 

It was almost enough to make Ryszard take it back and pretend he had just been joking. Almost — the sincerity in Malcolm’s expression when he asked pulled him back. “It’s...kind of a long story, but,” he paused, biting his bottom lip with worry. “My father found out about, uh, us,” he gestured between them, as if it wasn’t obvious enough. “And he’s...not happy, so I won’t be going home. I’ll find somewhere,” he added, shrugging and trying not to look like he was completely miserable. 

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Malcolm Mercer III

Intense? Malcolm quirked an eyebrow at that particular word but said nothing, because it wasn't really his place to pry into people's conversations, whether they were about him or not. He wasn't the kind of person to press, especially when it seemed like the conversation wasn't something he was required to be privy to, and he and Ry seemed to still be in that stage of friendship (relationship? camaraderie? what was happening here??) where Malcolm wasn't sure if they could talk about that kind of stuff. So instead, he just looked back down at the plane in his hands, bending one of the wings gently in hopes that it would improve the flight path. 

 

Malcolm was sure that every single emotion that he felt in that next moment passed on his face: shock, sadness, and both of those quickly replaced by anger. It occurred to him that his fondness for Ryszard might have exceeded simply 'enjoying ya face on mine', because Malcolm found himself quite angry about the other's circumstances and how they had come to pass. If he was of the 'well we're just snogging' opinion, then perhaps he wouldn't care so much about what happened to the Slytherin, but the vice that wrapped itself around his heart and the twist in his gut when he heard the words 'I'll find somewhere' leave Ry indicated to Mal that that was not the case.

 

Dropping his hand to his lap, Malcolm straightened out his legs and stared at Ry, mouth opening slightly as he tried to think about what he was going to say. The look on Ry's face squeezed his heart tighter and he scooted just a little closer, as if to make his words have more meaning when they finally made their way out of his mouth. "Well," he started, and then had glance at the opposite wall to gather his thoughts. "Despite... us being the reason, that somewhere can be my house. You're more than welcome to stay with me."

 

The corner of his mouth lifted up into a half-smile. "I guess it really depends on how much you want to annoy your father."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

The odd friendship he had struck up with Jack was just that: odd. She had come barging in to get him to stop being such a jerk towards Jaxon, and somehow, she had stumbled into so much more than even Ryszard was aware of. He had spent too many hours staring into the humility mirror she had so kindly gifted him, trying to find his own image lost in everything that had been handed down to him. It had occurred to Ryszard that he wasn’t really sure who he was when he wasn’t his father’s son.

 

He watched Malcolm’s face as he delivered the news, and there was such a clear indication of empathy on his face that it made Ryszard’s stomach hurt. It happened every time someone was nice to him, every time someone spoke to him in a gentle voice. He didn’t think he was about to start crying, but Malcolm’s indignation at Ryszard’s current state sent his heart racing and he squeezed his eyes in an effort to regain control.

 

Lately, however, such things just weren’t in his hands anymore.

 

He raised an eyebrow at Malcolm’s suggestion, genuinely surprised. “Is that...” He began, stuttered and stopped. “Are you sure? Wouldn’t your family mind?” He frowned, then, realising that he didn’t even know who Malcolm lived with, and Ryszard felt like a terrible person. They really hadn’t talked about anything. He knew more about Jaxon than he did about Malcolm, and he hadn’t even snogged the former.

 

”I would love to piss him off,” he replied, trying to pull up a smile, even as the thought of making his father angrier terrified him. “But I don’t want to...impose myself or anything.” He grimaced. That would be just the thing to make him feel even worse about everything.

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Malcolm Mercer III

Watching as Ryzsard squeezed his eyes shut tightly, Malcolm leaned closer to press their shoulders together. Comfort was not something that he excelled at, just like Feelings were not exactly in his skill toolbox, but the emotion plaguing Ry was almost tangible, and Malcolm couldn't just sit there and not do anything. Even his hands were fidgeting. Probably because he really wanted to hold Ry's hand, or something like that, because that was considered comforting, right? But was this an appropriate time to do something like that? 

 

With regards to his family, Malcolm simply shook his head, turning his attention briefly to the wall opposite them again. Was there a way to delicately mention that he was pretty much given a considerable amount of free reign when it came to his 'family', given that his parents were dead, his brother didn't care about anything other than the company, and the last time that he'd had anyone look out for him that wasn't someone that was being paid an exorbitant amount of money was when both parents were still (probably) alive and (definitely) breathing?

 

Probably not.

 

"Yes, I'm sure. And it's not imposing." Malcolm turned to look at Ry again, the smile softening as he took in the other's expression. "I'm inviting you. I obviously don't know a whole lot about you, but I'd like to. And... you need a place to stay, and deserve to enjoy your summer." And as the words left him, Malcolm realized their truth. He didn't know much about Ry as a person. He knew about the people in the other's life, but he didn't know much about Ryzsard himself, and he wanted to. "Also I'm kind of an expert at pissing guardians off, so you'd be in good company."

 

The smile turned into a small grin, and Malcolm tossed the plane again, this time extending his hand to Ry with his palm up once the plane had sailed across the room. 

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He felt rather than saw Malcolm push their shoulders together, and Ryszard looked down into his lap, pulling at the corner of his robes. He didn’t know if he had said too much, revealed too much and left himself vulnerable. It didn’t feel like that, however, with the way Malcolm was suddenly propping him up in support. Literally. He didn’t think he could take it, but he didn’t turn away — he had already pushed away enough people, and Jack’s words echoed in his head and the way she had correctly guessed that he was terrified of being hurt.

 

He watched as Malcolm turned his head towards the wall at the mention of his family, and Ryszard frowned. He wanted to ask about it, maybe push a little further, but they were already standing on such a delicate edge that he didn’t want to throw them off of it already. Ryszard knew that if someone randomly decided to interrogate him on his family, he would snap, so it was no surprise that he left Malcolm with his secrets even as he carried his own.

 

Ryszard knew what it was like to go quiet every time family was mentioned, so he wouldn’t begrudge him that.

 

He opened his mouth, almost confused by what Malcolm was saying. It made sense, but he couldn’t understand why he would want to get to know Ryszard. Were they even in a proper relationship? The thought terrified him almost as much as the idea of going back home, but not quite, so he kept his mouth shut. He could feel guilty about it later — that seemed to be his life, nowadays.

 

On the other hand, he could just mention it to Malcolm.

 

Then again, maybe not.

 

“That sounds good,” he said, blinking, the words contradicting his thoughts. Ryszard told himself he would talk to Malcolm about it when they were on holiday for the summer. It would be easier to talk away from whatever was currently going on in the castle. “I’d like to get to know you, too,” he said, half smiling. That wasn’t a lie — he genuinely liked Malcolm, and he would like to be friends, if nothing else. “I imagine that would be easier if I’m staying over at yours,” he grinned, recovering some of his previous mischief.

 

The plane went soaring through the air again, but Ryszard’s eyes were looking at the hand that was being offered to him. It was a lifeline, but his eyes still flicked to Malcolm’s, uncertainty turning his stomach into a whirlpool.

 

He closed his eyes for a brief second then opened them again, the earnest expression on Malcolm’s face still there, and slipped his hand into the upturned palm. It made Ryszard feel less alone in a second, and he clasped the hand more firmly, this time, refusing to let go.

Edited by Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

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Malcolm Mercer III

  Trusting people was sort of a foreign concept to him. Deception followed him wherever he went, and Malcolm was no stranger to it. He’d learned to be wary, even while putting up a facade as being carefree and careless, because... well, people were horrible and incidentally, most of those horrible people were related to him or wanted something to do with him. 

 

So why why he was letting his guard down around his peers was questionable. Maybe it was because he was no longer under the watchful eye of his brother (not that said brother really cared anyway about anything that happened to him). Maybe it was because there was a semblance of independence here at Hogwarts, and part of that was allowing himself to have friends. 

 

Or maybe it was something else. 

 

Malcolm pulled his lips in to stifle his smile and keep it from going much further, noting the mischief in Ry’s tone. “Awesome,” he said. The thought briefly crossed his mind about how he should probably okay this with his Guardian but the guardian was kind of a garbage guardian, so... perhaps no.

 

Giving the hand now in his a squeeze, Malcolm smirked and leaned his head back against the wall. “I am sorry that you... can’t go home. But I’m really excited to have you stay at mine. It’ll be great.”

Edited by Malcolm Mercer III

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Home had always just been a building for Ryszard. Even when he was very young, when he was happier, he had never completely felt like he was allowed to exist the way he was. That had turned into a solid foundation to start with, as his father kept pushing him down with the bricks he used to build a wall between Ryszard and the rest of his family. Somehow, even @Adrina Althaus-Valerio had landed on the other side, creating a chasm between them as Ryszard felt himself assuming the responsibility to take care of her, and never burden her with anything that bothered him.

 

It wasn’t that Ryszard thought she wasn’t capable of dealing with anything. In fact, he believed her to be far more capable and deserving than him. It was perhaps why he hadn’t tried to close the gap between them: the way he saw it, she would be happier without him being around to ruin everything she tried to claim as her own.

 

The trust he was laying in Malcolm’s hands had nothing to do with home and stability — these were things Ryszard had never known — but he currently found himself in a position where he had the possibility to be selfish, for once, and choose for himself. Going home wasn’t an option, but that didn’t mean he had to be alone (even though he was coming real close to breaking his own “no strings” rule). Moving in together and holding hands? He wasn’t even old enough to understand what that meant and Ryszard wasn’t sure what terrified him more.

 

The feeling of palm to palm was a new one, but it was comforting, and Ryszard wouldn’t have complained if they stayed sitting there forever. It would delay the inevitable of facing the rest of his life until he was ready — but he would never be ready.

 

”At any rate, it’ll be better than mine,” he said, smiling at Malcolm, following the line of his mouth with his eyes. It would be so easy to simply lean in and forgo any talking. He stopped himself, however, choosing to actually try to be a good person for once. “And you’ll be there,” he added, smile slipping into a grin. “Better hope the house is still standing by the end of summer.”

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Malcolm Mercer III

Malcolm wanted to know what had transpired between Ry and the rest of his family -- past the obvious, what the other boy had told him. But Malcolm really was more than happy to help. And perhaps now wasn't the right time to ask such questions -- those were the kinds of things that friends shared after they'd gotten to know each other better. It was possible that Malcolm was doing most of it backwards, but he didn't really care. There was a small space in his heart for Ry right now, and the Gryffindor found himself not questioning his decision to invite the other over.

 

It was strange that they'd ended up here. Their whole relationship, friendship, companionship, whatever it was had started with a fist in Malcolm's face, followed by his face on Malcolm's face, and from there it was just history. It wasn't like anything Malcolm Mercer III had ecer experienced in his short few years of life, and while he was still questioning what exactly had happened there, he still wasn't opposed to it. Because it had led to this, whatever 'this' was, where he and Ry were sitting on the floor and holding hands and Malcolm really had to resist the urge to use the leverage he had on Ry's hand and get him in for a quick kiss. 

 

Were they quick kissers now? 

 

Malcolm didn't know. He was fourteen. He didn't know much, honestly.

 

Sighing, Malcolm pushed his free hand through his hair before turning to look at Ry and dropping his hand to his lap. "Well, if it's not still standing, there's another one," he said flippantly. Perhaps if it did come to destroying a house, he'd make sure that it was actually one of his brother's. Allowing the smile to rest on his face for a brief moment longer, Malcolm caught himself looking at Ry rather intently, drawing his gaze up from his lips to his eyes before letting out another soft breath. "Everything will work out," he said, the smile curling into something reassuring (and, if we're being honest here, dangerous). "I promise."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Tenderness had never been Ryszard’s strong suit. He could deal with someone yelling at him and just generally being violent, but he could not deal with the gentle calm that came with holding a hand or a simple hug that didn’t come attached with the burden to take care of the other person. Somehow, somewhere, Ryszard had neglected all the best parts of himself and effectively killed them under the watchful eye of his father. The parts of him that weren’t numb had long since bled out and been left out to dry.

 

Still, feeling Malcolm hold his hand and refuse to let go was enough to send a rush through Ryszard’s brain, as he found himself feeling the first spikes of hope pricking his spine. He shied away from the feeling. He had told Malcolm he didn’t want anything that went beyond being friends and snogging, and he was serious. Ryszard was perfectly aware of the thorns that littered his insides and the inseams of his skin; he knew how easy it would be to hurt Malcolm and run away, leave nothing but broken pieces in his wake. Ryszard had been broken before. He knew what it felt like, but he also knew the best way to go about getting it done.

 

Ryszard Althaus-Valerio was a terrible person, and Malcolm deserved so much bettet.

 

He peered up at Malcolm, a nervous fluttering going through his stomach, as he wondered what the right move would be in this situation. He could take everything back — if Ryszard wanted to, he could reserve everything — but then he would be homeless again. He had already gone through his options and come up with nothing. There was no one on the entire island that cared enough about him to give him some space to sleep, even if it was just on the floor. The thought had him in a worse state than he had been in initially, and he had had to bite the bullet and admit he needed help.

 

In that moment, he realised he would rather take the risk than to inconvenience himself. Ryszard was selfish, and he didn’t want to end up trying to find a place to sleep with the house-elves huddled up in the kitchens.

 

“Oh?” Ryszard asked, a mischievous smile playing on his lips. “How many houses are you offering me, Mercer? I thought we were just snogging and nothing else,” he snorted, even as his hand circled around the other boy’s hand. He sighed then, something aching in Ryszard’s chest at his words. “You can’t promise me that, Mal, but I appreciate it.” He smiled then, noticing the look on his face.

 

Ryszard tugged slightly at his hand, pulling the other boy into him, and moved his other hand to Malcolm’s jaw so he could pull him in for a kiss. It was softer than anything they had shared before, but Ryszard didn’t keep too much stock in it. It lacked emotion just as much as Ryszard did in that moment.

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Malcolm Mercer III

*coughs* one eternity later sry

 

"Well, I could promise that things would be okay while you're with me, but even that seems to toe the line between 'corny' and 'weird'."

 

In general, Malcolm's motivations were pretty innocent: he had the space, he had the brother that he wanted to piss off, he had a lot of time on his hands and a lot of ideas for things that could potentially annoy and ruin everything that had to do with his brother. Granted, his motivations were primarily that of annoyance and bothering, but he really did enjoy Ry's company. It just so happened that that company came coupled with the opportunity to annoy.

 

Waving his hand, Malcolm glanced to the side and shrugged. "I didn't say the houses were for you, and yes. That's exactly what we're here for. Snogging. Nothing else. Though, if you really need to, you can copy my homework too, but I'm sure that yours is done more accurately than mine, considering that most of my homework is done at the last possible minute."

 

In light of recent events, it was nice for Malcolm to be able to have... someone, because lately he felt like he didn't have a whole lot of people at all.  Even if they weren't anything real, Malcolm didn't mind just having Ry here. He allowed himself to be pulled forward and smiled softly into the kiss, pulling his lip in under his teeth when he pulled away at last. He didn't know Ry, aside from a couple of chance encounters or situational moments where they both so happened to be in same place at the same time — or, if he was coming to punch Malcolm and ended up kissing him, but that wasn't really here nor there — but Malcolm didn't want to press about things that the other hadn't divulged.

 

Pushing himself up away from the wall, Malcolm extended a hand to Ry and glanced down the hallway. "I need a snack. And by 'a snack', I don't mean you right now," he smirked. "Care to join me?"

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He didn’t trust like that.

 

Ryszard could feel the sincerity in Malcolm’s words, but things had never been okay for him, and he doubted that would be any different with a simple change of scenery. He didn’t say any of that out loud, however, and instead just sent a tight smile in the other boy’s direction. This wouldn’t turn into yet another confession’s booth, where Ryszard would talk about the things that bothered him. He had done that too often around @Jacqueline Frost and @Jaxon Sinclair — both somehow managing to pull his worst secrets out of him, taking him apart piece by piece.

 

Whatever existed between Malcolm and him, in that moment, it wasn’t enough of a draw for him to indulge himself like that. He had said no strings attached, and he meant it. He liked the Gryffindor’s company, and he liked snogging him — it was a window into things he would have to quit in the future, if he ever planned on going back home. He didn’t want to get attached, and he hoped Malcolm understood that.

 

“I think I have Jaxon for that,” he snorted. Ryszard didn’t mention his own ability at getting his homework done well and in time; it would be best if he kept everything clutched to his chest for now. He didn’t know what the summer would bring, so he would give Malcolm the benefit of the doubt, but for now, he would just enjoy the hand holding and making out with him in random classrooms. It didn’t have to mean more than that — they were thirteen, and Ryszard was well aware that he was only with the boy to bury whatever he felt for Jaxon. It was a mess, and one he’d created with his own two hands.

 

He placed one of them in Malcolm’s when he offered, and carefully stood up. Ryszard affixed a smile on his face, feeling something akin to happiness when he looked at the way he was beaming down at him. It made something spark up in his heart, but he brushed it aside. “Oh, you can have that too, but later,” he said, smirking.

 

Summer was nowhere near the corner yet, and Ryszard was already tired.

 

end.

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