It seemed as though the world was spinning too fast and Roxanne had to stop. Her eyes closing softly, she stayed still, in the middle of the platform, and focused on her breathing. She stood in that same position until she could no longer hear the crowd's loud voices nor the low rumble of the Hogwarts train's engine as it waited for the students to board. There was nothing except the steady beat of her own heart and the gentle rise and fall of her chest as she continued to breathe in and out.
Slowly, Roxanne opened her eyes again and continued to walk along the platform until she reached the end of the train. She'd already said good bye to her parents, had the mandatory 'don't get into trouble' speech from her mother and the amended 'don't get into too much trouble' version from her dad. Other members of her family had wished her good luck in her final year, her cousins who were still going to Hogwarts were already on board. It was just her left, but she took her time; her compartment was always empty.
She wondered if James would be waiting for her or if he'd already found Emily. Her gut told her it was the latter; she'd be sitting alone today. At least until she found Aidan or he found her; he was always fun to be around.
Another student opened the carriage door, waved at Roxanne as she stepped inside. She recognized the girl, a Hufflepuff a few years younger than her and friends with her cousin, Lily. So she waved back and stepped on board the train. Her compartment, the last compartment on the right, was empty, as she knew it would be, and she shut the door behind her. She collapsed into the couch, closest to the window, and stretched her legs out in front of her. The train's rumble vibrated around her, lulled her into a gentle sleep. It was finally catching up with her and she welcomed it. Aidan wouldn't come find her for a while yet and she had hours until they got to school.
A nap sounds good.
It was her last thought before her mind went blank and everything was forgotten.
Hogwarts Express, Enroute to Scotland.
It seemed like minutes later when she was shaken awake, a gentle hand wrapped around her arm. Roxanne turned her head to the left, now leaning against a strong shoulder, and her eyes opened. She couldn't see his face, but she recognized his aftershave straight away. Her arm wrapped around his stomach, and with his fingers stroking her side softly, she felt sleep creep back and threaten to take her again. But she fought it; if things went the way it usually did, she'd wake soon enough anyway.
His other arm wrapped around her, pulling her closer to his body. His body. She knew it better than anyone. She knew all of him. "Hey, Aidan."
Her words came out as nothing more than a whisper. She barely heard his responding laugh, but she felt his chest rise and fall from under her. "Still asleep, Rox?"
"Little bit," she murmured, louder this time, and she pulled herself up to sit at his side. "I really needed that sleep. I thought I'd actually fall on my face on the platform."
"Hmm, I could tell," he chuckled. "You actually looked nice, I was shocked. I couldn't bring myself to wake you. Well, not too soon anyway," he added and winked, remembering that he had woken her. She hated it when anyone else woke her. Just not him.
"What did you wake me up for?" Roxanne asked, her eye-brow raised in suspicion. She smiled, though. She knew.
Aidan thread his fingers through her hair and pulled her to him until she was almost straddling his knee. Roxanne wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed back hard, fighting for dominance. He pulled back and pushed her down onto the compartment's couch.
He knew, too.
"How do we always end up on the floor?" Aidan laughed, his arms folded behind his head. Roxanne placed a kiss on his abdomen and sat up. "Do you think people know what we do and that's why they never come down here?"
She grinned. "Why? Do you want to get caught?"
Aidan shrugged, smirking. "Who knows? I mean, making out with you is great and all, but we both know that I'm just waiting for something better."
Her hand curled into a fist, Roxanne swung her arm back, colliding almost harshly with his chest, and stood up to fix her uniform. "You love me and you know it."
"Of course I do." Aidan rubbed at the newly formed red mark where she'd hit him and started to fasten his buttons. He showed no signs of being in pain and didn't move from his spot on the floor. "I'm just not in love with you. I'm not going to follow you around like a lovestruck fool and cherish the moments we have together. You'd hate me for it anyway."
"I would," Roxanne nodded.
She sat down on the couch, close to the door, and Aidan moved over to rest his arms on her knees. "We are best friends with benefits. Soon we'll just be best friends again. So if I want to wait for someone else to actually be with, I will bloody well wait for someone else to be with," he smirked and neither took his words harshly, but she knew how sincere his words were.
It was at this moment when Roxanne realized what everyone was talking about when they said their relationship was strange; most girls didn't like hearing someone they were seeing, whether it was fun or not, say that they were waiting for someone better. But Roxanne had known Aidan since they were seven, they knew everything about each other, did everything together. They were best friends, they enjoyed each other's company and made each other feel good. It had been an accident when it started, but it hadn't felt weird. It had felt normal; this had been another step in their friendship, yet they both knew it would never go further. They had never been able to see each other in a real relationship and that hadn't changed. Would never change. They loved each other, but as best friends only. They enjoyed the benefit, but that was all it would ever be. Some people didn't understand it, others secretly wished they had it, and neither of them cared. But when Aidan spoke, Roxanne realized why they said what they did. Why didn't she feel that way for him? Who wouldn't fall for her best friend?
When his smirk became a genuine grin, she copied and grabbed his arms so he knew to get up and sit beside her.
"But we could be sharing this benefit for a while; I have to find someone who will put up with us first," he scoffed lightheartedly.
"Obviously," she agreed, ignoring the insinuation that he would meet someone first. "Given that I am a nosy bitch and you are a werewolf, she'll have to really love you."
"It's so hard for them to get past the 'nosy bitch' part," he sighed.
Roxanne hit him again. "Hey! You can be dangerous!"
"So can you!" Aidan countered quickly. "Girls like a bit of danger in a guy, in a girl it's just scary. Besides, I'm only a wolf once a month, your curse is constant. Bitch, you're taking away potential love!" he shouted, shaking her shoulders madly.
Laughing, she slapped his hands away and stood up again. "You're an asshole wolf -"
"But I'm your asshole wolf," he continued.
"And I secretly just want you to stay with me forever," she finished. "I'm going to get something from the trolley, want anything?"
Nodding once, Roxanne left the carriage. She bought a couple of chocolate frogs for herself, Bertie Box for Aidan and made her way back, saying hello to James and Emily as she passed. She found her friend sat back against the window, his feet up on the couch. She did the same against the wall, so they were sat across from each other, and tossed him his sweets. Aidan pulled a face, moaning about how he now had to pick through them for the ones he liked (she said that he should have specified), she told him that it seemed James and Emily were officially together and his look of disgust deepened (she laughed at him).
The sky had long since grown dark, she noticed when she looked out of the window, and Hogsmeade station was getting nearer. "Want some yet to be known to the public news?" Aidan asked casually.
Roxanne sat up straighter. "Always."
"My source -"
"Your dad, the school governor," she interrupted with a smirk.
He waved his hand. "Whatever. Anyway, he says there's a new student starting school. He's in our year."
"Really?" Roxanne asked, surprised. "Why is he starting so late?"
"Dad said he was home-schooled first, but he wanted to take his NEWTs in school 'like a normal kid', so they sorted it out. Apparently his magical ability was good enough for Hogwarts to accept it, they sorted him in the Head's office yesterday so he didn't have to with the First Years. He's already there."
"He must have had a really good tutor," Roxanne mused. Aidan shrugged, said he didn't know. "What house is he in?"
"He's in the snake pit," he answered, getting the feeling he knew what she was about to say.
"Good, you can keep an eye on him for me," she said and he rolled his eyes.
"Do you know his name?" she continued.
"Er, Thomas? Trey? It definitely begins with a T," Aidan promised. "His last name is Chase. Yeah, it's Chase, I'm sure. I remember because I made a joke about you chasing him away."
Roxanne wasn't sorry for kicking him.
The moment Headmaster Digby finished his familiar speech, welcoming the students, both new and old, to Hogwarts, there seemed to be a pause. Silence fell over the Great Hall, the headmaster searching the room for a face. Roxanne found Aidan from the Slytherin table, eye-brow raised. Looking for the new kid, they guessed together. Whispers were heard, people wondering what was about to happen, and finally Digby cleared his throat, nodding his head along with the others teachers.
"And now, we'd like to welcome a new student to our school," he began, loud and clear. "He seems to have disappeared now, probably getting settled in his Slytherin dorm -"
Digby stopped suddenly, seeing the doors to the Great Hall open, and everyone turned and watched as the 'new kid' entered. Surrounded by fellow Gryffindors trying to get a better look, Roxanne stood. He was dressed casually rather than in uniform like everybody else, in loose fitting jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, yet he looked comfortable in his surroundings. Even from a distance, Roxanne could clearly see his cocky smile and the gleam in his eyes that told her he was liking the attention the students were giving him, that he was used to it.
"Ah, I'd like to welcome Tristan Chase to Hogwarts," Digby announced, either not noticing that people were no longer listening or ignoring it completely. Tristan nodded once stiffly and sat at the end of the table. He chose to be alone, Roxanne noticed. Now that he was sat with the other Slytherin students, he was starting to look uncomfortable, some sort of mask starting to slip. But only for a second, then it was gone.
The welcome feast began and Tristan didn't move to socialize with the others. The closest to him was Aidan, who was always sat near enough alone, and they were still too far to be able to have a conversation without needing to speak loud enough to hear the other. Roxanne's mind started to work on autopilot; she ate and she drank, she answered when people spoke, but she barely noticed she was doing anything. Her eyes never left Tristan Chase. He was new information, ready to be analyzed and learned.
She had to know him.
Her eyes left his for a second and met Aidan's. She nodded briefly and turned away again.
Roxanne was surprised to find Tristan's eyes now locked with her own. He looked predatory, almost dangerous. He said nothing and he didn't turn away. She didn't understand what happened at the end of the feast; the headmaster wished everyone a good night and Tristan winked, she stood up and he was gone. Not just from his place at the table, but from the entire hall. Roxanne had lost Tristan Chase.
What the hell?
The room felt exactly the same as it did back in fourteen thirty-four, but at the same time it felt completely different. There were both subtle and noticeable changes, like the furniture; there was a soft leather couch in front of the fire now. But the room itself was the same; the way your footsteps echoed around you, the constant chill even with the fire. Slytherin had an eerie presence, as though filled with unknown ghosts. And now Tristan was back.
As a vampire. Great.
"Mind if I sit?"
Tristan nodded once, his eyes on the deep red and orange flames that flickered and danced around the fireplace. "It's not like the common room belongs to me," he answered dryly.
His new companion agreed with him and sat down on his right, right at the end by the arm, so there was a noticeable gap between them. It seemed to be a habit of his, Tristan could tell, and he turned to face the boy properly, taking a good long look; fading dark circles around his eyes and fatigue. Tristan had been around long enough to understand the effects of the full moon, which had been a week ago.
"What?" his companion snapped.
He shook his head and held out his hand; he needed people on his side in this place to get what he needed, people who could make sure he wasn't bothered. And who better than a werewolf who obviously distanced himself from others, or was used to being distanced from. Except with that girl, he mused. "Hi, I'm Tristan Chase."
"Aidan Douglas," he answered, taking his hand speculatively.
Tristan raised an eye-brow in mild surprise and they dropped hands quickly. "Marc Douglas' son, the school governor. He was in Digby's office when I was sorted. He said to look out for you, if I needed anything."
Aidan snorted. "He thinks I need more friends and that I should try harder. He doesn't understand."
Tristan tried not to roll his eyes at Aidan's vague reply and remembered how Marc Douglas had looked when he'd spoken to him, the quick look of distain thrown at the headmaster, and he understood. Digby obviously wasn't a fan of werewolves; he couldn't do anything when the father of one was a school governor, but his hatred wasn't a secret to anyone. Douglas was only looking out for his son. Tristan respected the man for that. "He think he understands perfectly," he replied, giving his own vague answer.
Aidan shot him a confused look and Tristan shook his head again. This wasn't his mess to sort and he wouldn't get involved, he was only here for one thing. "Who was that girl who wouldn't stop staring at me? She looked at you as well and you both nodded. So you must be friends, or you know her at least."
"You caught that," Aidan laughed. "That's Roxanne Weasley; Hogwarts resident know-it-all. Not in the book smart sense, in the 'I know everything about everyone and everything' sense. And you, Tristan Chase, are brand new information for her. She'll come looking for you tomorrow," he warned. "If you don't want her to bother you, tell her something really boring about yourself and she'll back off. If you tell her something interesting, you're stuck with her."
"What if I want to know things from her? About school and its students and stuff," Tristan elaborated. "Since I've never been to a school before. I'm curious."
"Then ask her," Aidan answered. "She won't bother you if you don't give her something interesting, but she's there if you want something. She'll sound boastful about having all of that information, but she's alright really."
"She's your best friend," Tristan deduced from the boy's tone of voice.
"Since we were kids," Aidan said.
"You love her." Aidan nodded. "But you're not in love with her." Aidan frowned, confused again, and Tristan could only laugh. "I picked up that sort of vibe when I saw your shared look. It's easy to notice when you've been in a relationship like that yourself. You're lucky, my friend started to have feelings for me and it got a little scary."
"Really?" Aidan smirked
Tristan leaned a little further in. "Why do you think I'm here?" he whispered, then he moved and stood up before Aidan could comment on his lie. "I think it's time I went to bed, big day tomorrow and all that. Get some sleep, yeah Aidan. No offense, but I think you still need to recover from last week."
Aidan's eyes bulged and he jumped to his feet. "How did you -"
But Tristan was already gone.
A/N: Been a while since I last updated, but not as long as last time, I think. So yay. Hopefully, the next update will be quicker than this one. :)
Thanks to ValWitch21 for the chapter title. I only added to it.
Please let me know what you think. :)
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