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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Every day’s a game for me, I'm always losing willingly

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

The Slytherin house table was a lot less crowded than what Ryszard was used to, especially where the third years were concerned. It was almost like his classmates were slowly disappearing, one by one, until the only people left were the ones he couldn’t stand, and @Brooklyn Shea.

 

Perhaps he just needed to pay more attention to what was going on around him, instead of being so absorbed in his own problems.

 

”Jaxon, pass me the ketchup,” he gestured to his roommate, his voice devoid of any hint of anything that went beyond ‘I’m barely tolerating you here’. No ‘please’ and there would certainly be no ‘thank you’ — things weren’t the best between them, but Ryszard was only making it worse. He just really needed that ketchup.

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Jaxon Sinclair

He could have just given him the ketchup.  Really, he probably should have just given him the ketchup, but Jack was not above trolling and, quite frankly, with the way things in his life had been going, trolling sounded pretty good right then in the moment.  At least, it was better than listening to one of the Professors giving a kumbaya speech at the Ravenclaw table.

 

Jack wrinkled his nose, however, and cast Ryszard a mischievous grin.  "Ketchup," he parroted, pushing the mustard toward him.

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

”...That’s not ketchup,” he replied, frowning. Maybe Jaxon was suffering from sudden memory loss and had confused the two, but Ryszard highly doubted it. The grin that had been thrown his way said otherwise.

 

Jaxon Sinclair was a troll.

 

Grumbling, Ryszard pushed the bottle of mustard back in the direction it had come from. “You know, you’re lucky you’re pretty,” — and dating my sister, he didn’t add.

 

...

 

The words were out of his mouth and Ryszard couldn’t believe he had just said that. Clearly, hunger was not good for his brain. >_> Just then, his stomach growled loudly in anticipation.

Edited by Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

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Jaxon Sinclair

"No," he agreed cheerfully.  "No, it is not, but it's better for you than ketchup."  Not that Jack could really talk about things being good for him.  What he was eating was practically raw, which couldn't possibly be good for him.  Neither could the cinnamon roll he fully intended to devour afterward.

 

Jack arched an eyebrow at the word 'pretty', ketchup finally in his hand, while he stared at Ryszard.

 

Ryszard Althaus-Valerio, who had just flirted with him, and who was also pretty.

 

"Are you flirting with me, Ry?" he asked, only half-teasing.  "Because it kinda sounds like you're flirting with me.  Try a little harder and I might give you this."  He dangled the ketchup like a lure on a fishing pole.  

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

”What’s good for me is that I eat,” he replied, and really, this was bordering into the precarious territory of torture. Keeping Ryszard away from his food? It was almost demonic.

 

At this point in his life, Ryszard ought to have learned that all his problems usually began when he opened his mouth. He really ought to keep it shut more often.

 

Jaxon was pretty, and the thought always left a lump in his throat, but he wouldn’t talk about that.

 

”That’s terrible, Jaxon,” he grimaced. “You’re my sister’s boyfriend.” He didn’t deny the accusation, however, as his eyes locked on the ketchup instead of Jaxon’s face. It was easier to look at and not a temptation he had to resist.

 

Except — he really wanted that ketchup. He couldn’t think straight (not that he was) while his stomach was on a crusade to murder him.

 

He sighed, resigned to his fate. “You’re incredibly pretty, Jaxon,” he rolled his eyes. “It’s no wonder Addy likes you.”

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Jaxon Sinclair

He couldn't argue that point.  It was better to eat something rather than nothing, though from what he knew, the Slytherin boys had no problem stuffing their faces with food whenever it was humanely possible to do so.  Whether or not the occasion was appropriate didn't even always matter.  Jack had been known to stuff an entire cupcake into his mouth on the dueling platform.

 

"I know!" Jack exclaimed, feigning shock.  He even put his hand on his chest like a scandalized old lady for extra measure, the other still gripping the much sought after prize.  In this case, it was ketchup.  "I can't believe you would do something so scandalous.  What will people say?"  No doubt, @Xenia Lupu-Haidei would know about this before the day was over.

 

Jack grinned widely, however, as he finally got his way, and handed the hostage ketchup over to Ryszard with a wink.  "It's Jack," he corrected casually.  "Can't call me Jaxon unless we're related or you've snogged me."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

One thing Ryszard’s parents had always made sure he knew was the importance of food. He was not to starve himself and was, in essence, a spoiled brat. Ryszard could be seen stuffing his face whenever he was at the house table. He was a growing boy and thus needed as much nutrition as possible. No one would take care of him but himself.

 

He wasn’t at all impressed by the show of dramatics — that was Ryszard’s job, and it didn’t look good on anyone else. “Oh, shut up,” he snapped, annoyed. “People already talk about us. This won’t change a thing.” He was pretty sure Jaxon had worse things to deal with than being accused of being a serial cheater who also had a thing for twins.

 

Taking the ketchup like it was a lifeline, Ryszard turned up one side of his mouth in a matching grin (he had not missed the wink). “You’ve been calling me Ry since day one,” he pointed out. “I thought that meant we were familiar. Or maybe you’re just hoping to snog me soon.”

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Jaxon Sinclair

That was true.  People did already talk about them, largely because of Xenia and her damn Howlers announcing to all and sundry that they were somehow involved.  As if that had even been likely then (or was currently likely) at all.  

 

Jack stuffed a hunk of something that was probably still bleeding a little bit into his mouth and shrugged.  "Not when you make it so easy, it won't," he pointed out.  "Act like you don't care and they'll stop doing it."  Unless you were a werewolf and who you were pretending to not give any flacks about was a set of visible-from-space bigots with chips on their shoulders the size of some of Jupiter's moons.

 

"Yeah, but I know people call you Ry," he argued.  "People don't call me Jaxon.  I'm telling you to call me Jack because we're familiar now."  He fixed him with a LookTM.  "It's an olive branch, Ryszard.  Take it or just eat your pickled tomato paste and shut your mouth."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He grimaced at whatever Jaxon had just stuffed into his mouth, choosing to take that moment to carefully coat his fries with the ketchup. It was healthy, and he was more than capable of proving it to Jaxon. He wouldn’t be stuffing his face this time, not where Jaxon could see him.

 

”I don’t care,” he replied, lowering his voice so only Jaxon could hear him. “I only care when suddenly someone’s telling my father that I like to make out with werewolves and boys,” he rolled his eyes, adding emphasis on the last word. “We all know which one he thinks is worse.” Ryszard knew that still wasn’t as big a problem as being a literal werewolf, but it was still a problem.

 

He raised an eyebrow at the boy opposite him, considering. “Are you trying to say we’re friends now?” He asked, aghast, exaggerating his reaction. “I mean, I still don’t like that you’re dating my sister — which isn’t my business anymore — but I don’t feel like punching you at the moment.” Not unless he focused on the tomato paste comment. Ryszard felt insulted.

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Jaxon Sinclair

Jack shrugged.  He was both a werewolf and a boy and, as such, probably wouldn't have been top pick if it were up to Mr. Valerio.  Fortunately, in his opinion, it wasn't.

 

Not that he was going to start snogging Ryszard anytime soon.  Contrary to the opinions of some people, he didn't have some sort of fantasy about dating (or even just snogging) both of the Althaus-Valerio twins.

 

It was probably a bad idea to point out that his sister made out with werewolves and boys.  

 

"Your father sounds like a real charmer," he drawled.  "A bigot and a misogynist?  What a catch."  He rolled his eyes.  He didn't have to know more about the man to assign him those labels than the few facts Ry and Addy had both given him.  There was the Malcolm issue, Ry not going home for Christmas, and the urgency with which he'd been told to protect his sister and then there was the fact that nobody seemed to think Addy was capable of making a decision without an XY to hold her hand and pick for her.

 

Disgusting.

 

"You like my face too much to punch me again," he countered.  "That's okay.  I have the same opinion about yours."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

“Yeah,” he said, slowly, thinking of how much more he could trust Jaxon with. “He’s been that way since we were kids.” Ryszard blinked then, all the humour draining out of him. It was probably pathetic that he was almost fourteen, far away from home, and the thought of his father still terrified him. “He’s always been harder on me, though, and I tried to protect Addy from that.”

 

Maybe that was his way of explaining his behaviour towards his sister. He didn’t know why he kept putting so much in his roommate’s hands. After all, they were still two seconds away at all times from breaking into yet another fight. It would be so easy to start something and use the ketchup thing as an excuse.

 

“Did you just flirt with me, Jack?” He asked, drawling. It was wrong, but Ryszard could still feel the way his heart had accelerated at Jaxon insinuating that he thought he was pretty, too. “You’re right, though: I wouldn’t want to disfigure that face. It makes for good viewing in the dormitories.”

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Jaxon Sinclair

"Doesn't change the fact that he's a tool," Jack answered flatly.  "Feed him to a dragon or something before he can disinherit you for kissing werewolves or boys."  He rolled his eyes.  Of course, Ry wasn't kissing werewolves.

 

Yet.

 

Jack's money was on Frost remedying that.

 

The blond snorted, propping his head up in his hand.  "Nah," he answered flippantly.  "I'm just naturally that charming, mate.  You should take notes."  And he was, to an extent, capable of quite a lot of charm when he deemed it necessary to actually socialize.  That just typically wasn't very often and this conversation was, quite frankly, too weird for him to just bail out of.  "Besides, your sister would flay me alive.  She's slapped me before.  Packs quite a punch."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

“I haven’t kissed a werewolf yet,” he replied, leaning forward on his hand. “That might happen, though,” he added, referring to the possibility of beind disinherited. “I’m not going home for the summer, either.” It was something Ryszard had been considering for a while now, and had spontaneously decided to announce his plan — to Jaxon, of all people.

 

Ryszard was fully aware of the risks: Samuel Valerio would find him, but he preferred that over going back to the same scrutiny, that would be even worse now that his father suspected that he was making out with boys. He knew he wouldn’t be disowned so easily, though — there was the family name at stake, and kicking out the oldest and only son would not sit well with a lot of people.

 

The problem was that Jaxon was pretty, and Ryszard hated himself every time he noticed it.

 

“You’re right, you are,” he said, without hesitation. It was almost as if Ryszard had been hit with either the babbling curse or had been poisoned by veritaserum. He picked up some fries and chewed on them, hoping to keep his mouth closed and quiet for even just a few seconds.

 

It didn’t work, however, as Jaxon’s next words had him swallowing quickly. “She slapped you? Why don’t I know about this?” Ryszard was sure it was because she had stopped talking to him, but he was still ecstatic. There was a wide smile spread across his lips. “I’m so proud to call her my sister.” He would definitely have to buy her a present now.

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Jaxon Sinclair

"Mhm," Jack agreed, tearing off a piece of the cinnamon roll and popping it into his mouth.  He wasn't much for sweets anymore, not really.  That craving had been replaced by something a bit more primitive, but occasionally the urge reappeared.  "My money is on Jack."  He paused, watching carefully before he finished.  "Frost, of course."

 

He was surprised by the agreement issued next.  Of all the things he'd expected from Ry, admission that he was some level of charming was certainly not among them.

 

It wasn't wrong, of course.  Jack had always been charming in an almost manipulative fashion.  It was the one part of him that rested solely (and firmly) in the realm of Slytherin.  "So kind of you to notice, Ryszard," he chirped.  "I practiced just for you."

He hadn't.

 

"Yeah, she did.  Pretty hard, too.  I had a hand print for a bit.  It was for ignoring her after the whole getting bitten by a werewolf bit," he explained.  "I tried to keep my distance, just like I told you I would, and she rang my bell for it."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He raised his eyebrows, pausing with a fry in midair. “Jack’s my friend,” he replied. “Besides,” he continued, popping the food into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. “There’s only one Jack for me.” He grinned, aiming to throw some of Jack’s flirting right back at him. This wasn’t healthy, for either of them, but Ryszard was currently munching on ketchup-covered french fries.

 

Ryszard might have choked on his food at Jack’s next words if he didn’t already have that under control.

 

”I’m so honoured,” he replied, holding his hand to his chest dramatically. “If I had known earlier, I wouldn’t have been so mean to you.”

 

He still would have.

 

@Adrina Althaus-Valerio really was his sister — now he knew. “Yeah, she does that,” he said, worrying at his bottom lip. Ryszard had been the one to create so many problems between them, and the worst part? He only felt bad about the things he had done or said directly to Jaxon.

 

“I don’t know if I should thank you for that,” he started, eyes flicking to Jaxon’s face. “Addy is...she’s not like me,” he said, his voice quiet now. “She’s really strong, but she has her limits. I don’t,” he snorted, now grabbing himself a glass of pumpkin juice. He didn’t need Jaxon’s help for that.

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Jaxon Sinclair

Jack (that one Jack, maybe?) arched an eyebrow and looked conspicuously over at the Hufflepuff table.  It was harmless flirting, right?  He didn't intend to actually act on it.  It was just nice to not be the target for Ryszard's constant animosity for once.  The brief respite had allowed him to appreciate the fact that maybe (just maybe) Addy's brother wasn't a complete dumpster fire.  Or that maybe if he was, it wasn't entirely his fault, because their father was a tyrant.  

 

"That's a lie," he pointed out, rolling his eyes.  "You enjoy being mean to me."  He couldn't say he wouldn't have enjoyed the mean parts right at that moment, either, if only because the insults would have felt like some truly twisted form of flirting that only Ryszard could have pulled off because he was sour enough.

 

Jack shrugged.  Thank him for it?  He hadn't really done it for Ryszard.  He'd done it because he thought it was the right thing to do and because he hadn't really known how to say the words to her.  It wasn't every day you found out your boyfriend was turned into a nastier version of Derek Hale.

 

"You don't, huh?  Better be careful.  That's exploitable."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

”That’s true,” he conceded, taking in the way Jaxon peered over at the Hufflepuff table. At least one of them had a working conscience to make sure their conversation wasn’t being overheard, because Ryszard had officially lost the plot. “At this point,” he said, weighing the words as he went. “I think I’m mean to you just for the sake of being mean.” He shrugged, shooting Jaxon a grin, as if to say “tough luck”.

 

Ryszard didn’t really mind the way they had picked up into this weird form of flirting, and he wondered if he could throw being mean into it as well. He liked it when Jaxon shot back equally scathing insults and tried to topple over whatever amount of ego that was spilling through Ryszard in that moment. He liked the way there was a constant push and pull between them, and he never had to take it easy with him.

 

It was also possible that he had completely lost his mind.

 

“You trying to say you would?” He asked, a teasing grin on his face. Ryszard wasn’t completely opposed to that idea, either.

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Jaxon Sinclair

For the sake of being mean.

 

Couldn't say it surprised him.

 

Jack plucked at his cinnamon roll, stuffing another bit into his mouth, chewing, and then swallowing.  At first, the mean had bothered him.  The constant fighting, punching, detention that included punching...it had all been a mess.  This though?  This was more like friendly ribbing.  Not to be taken seriously, but just irritating enough to prompt a reaction out of him should they descend into taking pot shots at each other.

 

"I do like attention," he chided, tipping his head to the side as if to indicate that he didn't quite mind the mean bits anymore.  "And I think you do, too, don't you?  Bit attention starved, both of us, yeah?"  Ryszard because his parents were awful.  Jack because he had classic middle child syndrome and lycanthropy that turned the school into a bubbling cauldron of animosity aimed to spill all over him.

 

Jack grinned widely.  "Exploit it?  I exploit all weaknesses, so...yes, absolutely."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Ryszard took a sip of the pumpkin juice he had just poured himself, thinking on the words being exchanged between them. He would never cross that line where his sister would be so easily hurt. He wouldn’t do the same thing he had been so upset with Jaxon and Malcolm over. Ryszard may be a liar and a hypocrite, but there were some things that even he wouldn’t do. This was just harmless flirting, and if it made Jaxon uncomfortable, the better.

 

“Sounds about right,” he replied, shooting Jaxon a glance. “You give me plenty of attention,” he said, matching Jaxon’s expression, mimicking. “I don’t mind giving you the attention, either.” You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Just maybe not in the same way that phrase was meant to be applied.

 

Jaxon’s grin was contagious, and Ryszard found himself abandoning all former thoughts of gloom and doom. His father could deal with  the knowledge that his son was potentially having sordid affairs with werewolves who were boys and boys who weren’t werewolves. It was a complete mess, but Ryszard was fine with that. “I’m looking forward to that, then,” he said, sipping on his juice, but his eyes stayed on Jaxon’s face.

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Jaxon Sinclair

The cinnamon roll was far more boring than Ryszard himself was.  Jack discovered that after the second bite, he'd largely taken to ignoring it in favor of watching the other Slytherin across the table.  Ryszard was pretty, so it wasn't a bad view, which was probably why he'd forgotten the cinnamon roll in the first place...that and the shameless way a boy who had broken his nose two months ago was now openly flirting with him.

 

And if you can't beat them, join them.

 

"Yeah, well," Jack drawled.  "I aim to please."  Not usually Ry, though.  In fact, typically, Jack was doing absolutely everything in his power to drive Ry absolutely mad or to work him into a furious rage that resulted in them kicking the crap out of each other.  

 

Honestly, he wouldn't have minded it then.  Mostly because he was confident he'd win.

 

His grin only widened at the claim that Ry was looking forward to it.  "You should be," he said matter-of-factly.  "I did just say that I aim to please."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Someone would spot the two Slytherins just staring at each other, and that would be an incredibly awkward situation to explain. Ryszard was no longer pretending he didn’t think Jaxon had a nice face, making things easier for himself. There was no rule against thinking your sister’s boyfriend was pretty. As twins, they were probably supposed to have some things in common.

 

He tapped his chin, pretending to be thinking on Jaxon’s words, even as his brain buzzed at the way the other boy was looking at him. This was exactly why his father had wanted Ryszard to go back home. Clearly, he was incapable of behaving himself.

 

”I can see that,” he replied. “You do please me a lot.” He wondered how much of their fights were also a compulsion for Jaxon. He didn’t think he wanted to know, but he also couldn’t not know.

 

His grin slowly spread as he put the glass of pumpkin juice down on the table, focusing on Jaxon alone. “Oh, I am, and I believe you.”

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Jaxon Sinclair

It was probably best he get out of there before Xenia ended up plastering this entire conversation (and the way that they were staring at each other) all through her bloody morning Howlers.  Also, if Ryszard kept staring at him like that, he was going to have a repeat of the spin-the-bottle game except Ry would be replacing Malcolm and that would be something Addy never recovered from.

 

And as terrible as Jack was, he didn't actually want to hurt Addy.  So all this could be was harmless flirting...just a better alternative to punching each other and constantly serving detention as a result.

 

"I'm so thrilled you're happy."  He wasn't.  Not really.  He didn't actually care if Ry was happy or not, just that he was done calling him a monster or 'non-human.'

 

Jack did notice the staring, though.  "You should take a picture, Ry.  It'll last longer.  You could even take it with you when you leave for the summer."

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

The irony was not lost on Ryszard that he was currently sat at his house table, flirting with the one person he claimed to loathe more than anyone else. It had him wondering if perhaps he had managed to confuse his own feelings right from the start. He did not like the idea of that, because of everything that entailed: not just the way it would make Adrina feel, but the implications it would have for him.

 

Ryszard mentally shied away from the idea.

 

“Oh, really?” He asked, raising his eyebrows. “What are you going to do to make sure I stay happy?” It was a loaded question, but Ryszard didn’t notice. He was too busy being as terrible as possible.

 

Crossing his arms in front of him carefully and making sure he wasn’t sitting them down in ketchup, Ryszard smirked at Jaxon. “I’ll definitely need it this summer,” he said. “Something to make me feel good when I’m far from home.”

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Jaxon Sinclair

Jack cocked his head to one side.  He did have a camera in his trunk, a gift he'd been given by one of his cousins who had encouraged him to document the way people behaved after he'd been outed as a werewolf.  In the right hands, he'd told Jack, they might prove to be worth something and, even if they weren't, maybe someday he'd write a book on it...become a radical activist like his sister and her boyfriend.

 

Unlikely, but possible.  Jack still hadn't tried it yet, of course.  He wasn't sure he could stomach looking at the photos later, but this...this was different.  Give the camera to Ryszard and let him do what he wanted with it?

 

Interesting thought.

 

Standing up and taking one last bit of cinnamon roll, Jack flashed a predatory smile and then leaned forward.  "Anything you want, of course," he answered quietly.  Then he stood up right and pushed his hair out of his eyes with his free hand, gave another wink, and continued.  "I'll see you around, Ryszard."  He popped the cinnamon roll into his mouth and walked away.

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

He hadn’t been expecting Jaxon to move any closer to him, and the other boy’s unique scent was suddenly filling up the area around him. Ryszard swallowed hard, and instead tried to focus on what he was saying.

 

”I’m holding you to that,” he said, taking back his composure and smirking. This, he could do. He watched as Jaxon stalked off, looking prettier than he had a minute ago, which was something Ryszard hadn’t thought was possible. It was probably just his own eyes adjusting to the light, dilating as they saw something they liked.

 

Oh, he would definitely be seeing him around.

 

end.

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