Chapter 7 : Hunger
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He blinked, jumping back when Gareth waved his hand over his eyes. His friend watched him calm, sitting across the table with a mix of concern and amusement on his face. Unfortunately, the concern was winning. He was not sure if he could handle the questions and hoped to stop them before they became too much or something slipped from his trembling lips. He couldn't stop the trembling no matter how hard he tried; every ounce fear he felt kept coming. But he knew he was somewhat successful in hiding it from his friends; they were yet to demand answers from him. It was just when he spoke.
"Are you okay?" Gareth asked slowly.
He nodded, holding off speaking for just a few seconds longer. "I am just tired. What were we talking about?"
"I said that I hoped your mother would let us open a present early, as we used to when we were young," Gareth replied. "Are you sure you are okay?"
"You have been unusually quiet since we came back from Hogsmeade yesterday, you act like you have seen a ghost," Daniel added. Christopher nodded in agreement. "Ever since - what did you see?"
"Nothing," he said softly. "It was only a shadow, my own imagination playing tricks on me, I promise. I really am just tired."
His three friends shared a look, one that said more than words ever could - they were family and they loved him and they wanted to help. It made the lie feel much worse. But he wouldn't tell them, he couldn't.
"Okay," Gareth answered at last. "But if you're not, you know you can talk to us?" He said yes immediately, hoping the reassurance that if it were anything else he would tell them without question was enough. "Good. Then let us talk about the issue with the presents."
It was enough to make him smile, which was exactly what Gareth seemed to want because his own smile grew. "I think that if you asked nicely, my mother would allow it," he said.
"Then I cannot wait to go home," Gareth grinned. It fell faster than it had formed. "Now I must go. Professor May will not be happy if I miss another detention. I'll see you soon."
They watched Gareth leave, then went back to their work, silent except for the slam of Daniel's book on the table.
His voice echoed in the otherwise silent library, earning him an annoyed shush from the librarian, and the stern tone, the command that came from a leader, jolted Tristan awake. He quickly scanned the room, as though trying to remember where he was, then focused on Aidan and calmed himself. He was still in the library, still in the year 2022; it had only been a dream.
Tristan rubbed his eyes, forcing himself to wake up, and moved to sit properly at the table. He grabbed his quill and glanced at his History homework, only to drop it again; he'd finish it later.
"I'd say hey back, but you sound like you want something," he muttered sleepily.
"Is Bonnie keeping you up at night?" Aidan snapped sarcastically.
"Something like that," he chuckled humorlessly, ignoring any other mention of Bonnie or any thoughts of the Room of Requirement, which he'd been trying to get into and couldn't, because the room he wanted wouldn't create a door and he didn't know why. He ignored it all, because he knew from Aidan's tone that it was time; the kid had racked his brain trying to figure Tristan out and he'd had enough. He wanted to know. Tristan had watched, finding it all mildly amusing, but he'd grew to know that he could trust Aidan in the three weeks he'd been at Hogwarts and knew he could tell him; he had been able to use the time to think of the right words.
"Ask your question, Aidan."
"What are you?"
Time seemed to freeze while Aidan stared, barely blinking, his arms tightly folded across his chest and stuck there; he was dangerous, powerful and Tristan couldn't help but respect the kid and wonder why Roxanne didn't want him. Nodding once, Tristan thought of blood and hunger, the thrill of the chase when the predator had found its prey; his eyes turned a deep red and his fangs retracted into his mouth, visible when he parted his lips.
It was just the two of them in the room, predator against predator, and for someone who had never seen a vampire before, Aidan didn't flinch, didn't move.
"Most people run, but I suppose you wouldn't feel that same fear, being a werewolf," Tristan said, sliding across the table to sit right in front of him. "We're practically on the same side. If you don't believe in all that mortal enemy crap. True, some of our kinds don't like the other, but that's mostly personal stuff. That's not me. Is it you?"
"You're a vampire?" Aidan muttered, making it sound like a question as he frowned, remembering their Defense lessons.
"Yep," he replied with a grim smile, pressing his lips together, so that he made a popping sound when he got to 'P'. "Scared?"
"Nope," Aidan said assuredly, the waver only slight, copying the popping sound. "I just wasn't expecting that. Then again, I wasn't expecting anything; I was keeping a very open mind. Why are you here?"
"I'm looking for something. It's very valuable to me and I want it back, but I can't find it," Tristan told him. He hid his fangs, knew his eyes were his normal color again. "It's not like I'm in a rush or anything; I've been searching for almost six hundred years."
Aidan's jaw dropped, his surprise evident, his lips moving automatically, mouthing the number without really realizing. "I didn't think you'd be that old," he murmured eventually.
Tristan shrugged. "Compared to some, I'm old. Compared to others, I'm a baby. With age and blood, comes power and strength; even a couple of days can make a difference."
"How where you turned?" Aidan blurted out, undeniably curious about what happened to him, but not rationally or morally sure about asking; he couldn't help the question coming out.
Tristan dropped his gaze and Aidan knew he should have tried to not ask; whatever happened, it was a sore subject and obviously not something he wanted to talk about. But he still wanted to know, he couldn't help it - Roxanne's need for information was definitely rubbing off on him. He opened his mouth, ready to share his own painful story of the night he was bitten, hoping him going first would prompt Tristan to speak, only the sound of footsteps stopped him and Tristan let out a breath of relief.
He never thought he'd be so happy to see Roxanne standing between them.
His rare, relieved smile made Roxanne step back with wide, confused eyes.
"Why is he looking at me like that?" she whispered to Aidan cautiously.
"He's probably thinking that if he's nice to you, you'll either stop glaring at him or you'll tell him why you're glaring at him," Aidan snickered, glancing at Tristan for only a second, but it was enough to convey that his secret was safe. He also knew that Aidan wasn't happy about it; he'd never kept a secret from his best friend before.
"Definitely the first suggestion," Tristan continued. "I don't really care if you never tell me why, just stop it. It's creepy and unnecessary and it makes me nervous."
"Nervous?" Roxanne seemed to be testing the word; she'd never considered that it would be an emotion that would come from him, but the small smirk told him that she was okay with it. She wanted him to be nervous, he just didn't know why.
"Yes, nervous. I'm waiting for you to hit me, it's not a nice feeling."
"I attack with words and scare with expressions, physical violence is not my style," she scoffed.
"I haven't seen you do either of those things, all you do is stare at me," Tristan goaded her, knowing that his smile was seductive and his own stare able to make any girl's knees weaken and knock together - it had happened enough times for him to know. And it worked; she may not like him or trust him, but Roxanne Weasley was not immune to him.
"I'm trying to understand you," she murmured, not exactly looking him in the eye.
"Okay, I have to go now," Aidan interrupted awkwardly, breaking whatever spell had been cast around them. Tristan stepped back, his eyes never leaving her's, and Aidan didn't bother to get his full attention. "I'll see you in the common room, you're going to help me with those Defense notes."
Ignoring the implied meaning, he wasn't going to be telling the kid about the night he was turned, Tristan said good bye.
"You're helping him with his notes?" Roxanne asked, looking skeptical about him helping anyone. He shrugged nonchalantly, not in the mood to elaborate on her friend's idea of help when her raised eye-brows and the look she gave him suggested that that was exactly what she wanted to know.
She realized quickly that he wouldn't talk, it was something she'd come to understand in the first few days - Tristan Chase only told you what he wanted you to know and she suspected that it was the same whether truth or lie. It made him too hard to properly read, to know him like she knew everyone else, and it was both infuriating and intriguing.
Until he talked, Roxanne was willing to untangle his web of lies to find the truth behind Tristan Chase.
Lies and girls.
Roxanne grimaced; he apparently had the worse taste in girls. Bonnie Kennedy was vile, just because she wasn't horrible to people it didn't mean she was a good person; she pretended she was dumb to get closer to people who could give her something, she manipulated guys into doing what she wanted. She was a user and Roxanne didn't know how Tristan had managed to keep her for the last three weeks when most guys barely lasted a weekend, but she knew he was going to join the list eventually. Every guy connected with Bonnie Kennedy joined the list.
"What's the matter?" Tristan asked, looking up from his homework. He must have moved to sit back down while she was thinking because she hadn't noticed that he'd moved that far away. He glanced for a second before he started writing again; she didn't think he was really interested and she didn't plan on telling him the truth. She did plan on seeing if girls like Bonnie where his only interest, because what kind of new friend would she be if she let Bonnie hurt him?
Roxanne took the seat across from him, pulling her own history homework out from her bag. She removed her cloak and let it drop behind her, then she removed her jumper, revealing her shirt. Her top few buttons were open, letting the tops of her breasts show without being completely inappropriate; it was a look normally reserved for Aidan, but she was willing to show Tristan just this once. It was his test.
Only he didn't look up again; he was absorbed in his essay, writing at a speed she'd never seen, and he barely had to look at his notes. When he did, he would scoff or shake his head, like he thought the textbooks were wrong.
Time to step things up.
"I'm sorry about my behavior the last couple of weeks," she murmured, starting on her own essay.
"Hmm. It's not you. Well, it is, but it's not your fault," she said, watching him frown and look up.
"Oh." It was the only thing that seemed to come out of his mouth. Tristan swallowed, his stare obvious; he didn't seem to care, he just watched. Then he finally looked into her eyes and his frown deepened. "I don't understand."
She honestly didn't know if he meant her or her words, but she pretended not to acknowledge his gaze or his lack of response and finished her speech.
"You've become friends with Aidan, who is my best friend, which means you and I are going to see each other all the time because I don't want Aidan being passed back and forth between us; I want us to be friends as well, I really do." She nodded eagerly when Tristan looked skeptical. "I mean it, we can be friends. I tried to when I told you about Bonnie, but you started to date her anyway, so I've been trying to make sure she doesn't treat you like the others. Obviously I haven't handled it very well; she just really gets to me."
"So, you've be looking out for me? And you just hate her?"
"Yes. Why is that funny?" she glared, playfully pushing his elbow and knocking it down when he started laughing at her.
"No reason, I just don't need protecting," he replied, still laughing. "I can take care of Bonnie. Her reputation doesn't scare me."
"It should, she's the devil," Roxanne muttered. Just as fast, she smiled. "Anyway, forget her. Are you coming to Hogsmeade with us this weekend?"
"That's this weekend?"
"Yeah," she nodded. "When you start being able to go in third year, you go a little later in the school year. But sixth and seventh years are allowed to go whatever weekend they want, they had this meeting about it when Digby became headmaster years ago and changed it. The best part is that sixth years have to be back by nine, but because all of the seventh years are of age and meant to be seen as adults, we have until the midnight curfew."
"So, are you coming?"
Tristan dropped his quill, making sure to keep his eyes on her face, and went through the pros and cons of leaving with them. He had to keep trying the Room of Requirement, he had to get in and see if his stone was there, but the book had only said a remote corner of Scotland, a place where a name couldn't be found. That could be Hogsmeade as well as the school; he was going to have to visit the village at some point.
"Yeah, I'll be there," he grinned. "It sounds like fun. So, how's your essay coming along?" He nodded to her parchment, changing the subject.
"Not as good as yours, I bet," she shrugged, gesturing to his almost finished essay.
"Do you want any help?"
Roxanne said yes and they both knew she was flirting just a little, but neither seemed to care. Tristan pushed his essay and books over to her side and climbed over to sit by her side. He could smell the blood pumping within her veins, could hear her heart thump in her chest, a slow, seductive rhythm that had his mouth watering. She wasn't like Bonnie, she was making him feel things he hadn't felt so strongly in a long time - he was hungry and he wanted her.
"What's going on?" Bonnie's voice came from their side, forcing them to part look up.
"We were just finishing our history essays," Tristan said smoothly, ignoring the intense desire to feed. "How was Divination, baby?"
"I wish you'd taken it, it would have been more fun," she said, venom in her words directed at Roxanne; a clear warning to stay away.
"Here," Tristan said to Roxanne, sliding her some papers before standing up and packing the rest of this things away. "My notes, feel free to use them. I'll see you later. Coming, Bonnie?"
He held out his hand for her to take and pulled her away as gently as he could; she followed willingly, knowing exactly where he was taking her. She was still angry with him, he could feel it. But he didn't care, it was only going to make it better.
He just needed to feed.
A/N: Hey, guys! I hope you enjoyed this new chapter, things will start heating up in the next chapter and the good stuff will start. :D
Please let me know what you think. :)