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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

We run around like we don’t care, it’s gonna leave its mark somewhere

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

The duelling tournament was still currently underway, but Ryszard had somehow managed to scrape a win in one of his duels — this, too, after losing the very first one. He was still deep in the losers’ bracket, but he wasn’t out yet. He had a feeling that part of his victory was owed to @Jacqueline Frost, for showing up for support, with the spontaneous arrival of Jaxon. That last one had been something Ryszard would not have imagined in a million years, and his brain had agreed, short circuiting at the mere sight of him.

 

His favourite part, however, had been when Jaxon had promised to teach him the lightening hex if he won. There really was no subtlety to the way they were acting around each other anymore.

 

”This looks good,” Ryszard said, pushing open the door to what looked like a virtually abandoned classroom, and walked through, expecting his roommate to do the same. They needed somewhere to practise, and that was definitely not something they could do downstairs in the duelling chamber. Ryszard had a feeling it would take them a lot more time they would be allotted down there, and if Jaxon would be the one to teach him, it wouldn’t do them any good to be in such a public place in such close proximity.

 

Ryszard had approached Jaxon after the duel, a grin stretched across his face as he arrived to claim his promise. There had been some banter and cutting insults shared between them, before a glance and a grin had them both agreeing on when they would do this. Soon, Ryszard had hoped. He figured he could just drag Jaxon to an empty space that provided enough room for it — they did live together, after all.

 

He looked back at Jaxon as they stood in the classroom, and pulled out his wand. The fir around it was always been smooth to the touch, and Ryszard found himself humming and letting a genuine and happy smile flit over his face every time he held it in his hand. It made him realise he was partly glad Winston had broken his previous wand: that one had never really worked properly for him, and he never would’ve met this one if it had persisted. Of course, he would never admit this to Winston; he would just punch him again.

 

”So,” he said, looking up at his roommate once he had stopped admiring the piece of wood in his hand. “Where do we start?”

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Jaxon Sinclair

It had been a joke.

 

Mostly a joke.

 

When he'd gone to the chamber that afternoon, he'd had no intentions of actually watching one of the ongoing tournament duels.  He'd been keen on finding a platform of his own, a partner, and getting in some practice before the next round.  Then he'd seen Ryszard on one of those platforms set aside for tourney, dueling some second year, and Jacqueline Frost had been cheering him on at the sidelines.  It had been after the nightmare episodes—after Ry had sat up with him and talked about it all...the ugliness of it, the inherent horror that existed inside of his bones, the helplessness that he felt....

 

And Jack had received no judgement for it.  There'd been no comment about how he wasn't actually human.  There'd been no urge to look in a mirror—to really look and deduce whether what he saw was what he wanted to see or what he truly was.  Nobody had done that.  Nobody had even asked about the nightmares.  Not the therapist his parents insisted on sending him to, not Margaret, not his parents themselves, and certainly not Adrina (though, in all fairness, he would have never told her about them in such great detail—she would have likely cried and he would have ended up feeling guilty.)

 

So he'd stopped at the tourney duel and he'd watched.  He'd made some offhanded comment, flippant and ill-thought out, about teaching him the lightning hex if he actually won.  He hadn't expected him to win.  Ryszard didn't spend the amount of time in the chamber that Jack did—his foray into dueling was, as far as the blond was concerned, relatively fresh, but he'd surprised him.  Pleasantly, of course.  Jack would never admit it out loud, but he'd been glad to see him win.

 

Ryszard needed the confidence boost.

 

For Jack, that meant that he had to actually follow through on his promise and that led to this moment, standing in an unused classroom, the door clicked shut and locked behind them.  Ry was smiling.  Really smiling, like there was actual joy in his features that spread over more than just his mouth—a sensation that reached his eyes.  

 

Genuine.  Surprising.

 

"Congratulations on your win," he began, retrieving his wand from the holster on his wrist.  "Really.  I'm...happy for you."  Jack cleared his throat awkwardly and flexed gloved fingers around the handle of his wand.  "I suppose we can start with incantations, unless you had other plans?"

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Looking up, Ryszard settled back into a smirk, the sincerity and realness he’d let slip for a second giving way to only mirth. “Careful, Jack,” he said. “Someone might think you actually like me,” he bit out. They were in a locked classroom and there was no one here except for them, so he was either referring to himself or it was a force of habit. It was imperative to always be the bad person; let everyone believe he was terrible (he was) and had nothing between his ears (he did). It was easier to deal with and kept people away.

 

It was kind of odd to have Jaxon there. While the two of them were no longer at each other’s throats, they still weren’t the best of friends. There were times where they would end up hanging out because of Jack, but it was never a conscious decision. Ryszard didn’t feel like seeking his roommate out when he was stuck to his sister’s side. There was so much there that could go wrong and so much that was unresolved.

 

He was also surprised the other Slytherin had even agreed to this. It would have been much easier to tell Ryszard that he had been joking and that it had only been something said in the heat of the moment; something said to encourage him — but instead, Jaxon had simply shrugged and gone along with whatever he said. It was enough to turn his stomach into a whirlpool of the strangest sensation that almost felt like satisfaction and joy.

 

Almost.

 

”Yeah...that sounds like a good idea,” he replied, frowning, as his thoughts went spinning off in different directions. His crush on Jaxon was still there, breathing in every time he took a breath with it, but Ryszard had pushed it deep down, only allowing it to surface in moments of vulnerability and every time someone would spring it on him.

 

Eventually, Ryszard knew, he would end up punching someone out of frustration.

 

He turned to his roommate, feeling anxious all of a sudden, even though he did his best to keep it under wraps. “You’ll have to teach it to me,” he said, stating the obvious. “I don’t think I’ve ever paid attention to how its cast whenever you’ve done it,” he added, grimacing. Ryszard had been busy focusing on something else entirely; mainly: Jaxon.

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