At age 17, Theodore York knows three things about the Washington children, who basically grew up in his house after their mom left and their dad was deployed constantly.
First fact: They could all kick his ass. The fact that they were wizards/witches has nothing to do with this fact. Carolina, could take down most of the heavier privates on base, despite only being 15. Tessa, Tex, age 16, could hold her own against a lot of the seasoned soldiers. Even his best friend, Wash, could stop a fight in a few minutes if he really wanted to. He didn’t have the same skill as his younger sisters but him and York tussled enough to know York would have a hard time keeping their injuries to a minimum if they ever got into a real fight.
Second fact: They were damaged, they loved each other but they did not trust each other. Callie Washington, their mother, had left when Wash was ten years old. It wreaked him; it’s made him afraid of anyone that tried to get close. If it wasn’t for York and their friend Maine, Wash wouldn’t have any friend. Lina was terrified of being left just like Wash was. She could barely remember her mom and never saw her dad. And Tex, Tex was a daddy’s girl, she was so angry at Callie for abandoning them and their dad.
Third fact: Leonard Church is end game for them; they all have to date him. Leonard is the General’s son, same age as Tex. He’s nosy, he’s also a wizard, he’s sort of oblivious, and for a very, very long time, was in love with Tex. It doesn’t stop him from dating Carolina when the girl, 13 at the time, had gone up to him and nervously asked if he would go out with her.
It lasted 3 weeks, 4 days, 18 hours, 3 minutes and 48 seconds. At that mark, Carolina realizes how head over heels for Tex Church is and dumps him.
Wash is at work, so it falls to York to comfort the barely a teenager when she comes streaking through his living room, into the kitchen and into the backroom. York looked at the brunette girl who he’d been make out with, she gives him a coy look and tugs at his hoodie strings.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Sister, Kaikaina Grif the sluttiest girl in their age bracket, purred leaning into kiss him. Something, probably the laundry detergent, crashes. York sighed and shoved Sister off his lap.
“See you later, Sister.”
“Whatever, dude, there’s always someone to fuck me,” she says picking up her purse (expensive, stolen) and leaving. Such a lady. By the time York makes it into the backroom, Lina has herself wedged between the dryer and wall with a thick blanket pulled over her. The blanket muffles her sobs as York picks up everything she knocks over. Then he crouches in front of her and tugs the blanket off the top of her head, though she’s still hugging it.
“Wanna talk about it?” he asks. She says something into the blanket, it sounds negative, probably a no. “Alright. I’m here if you want to.”
“I just like him so much.” The words tumble out of her mouth when she calms down enough to talk. “He’s so smart and cool and I really, really like him.”
“But he’s in love with Tex,” York finished for her. She let out a wail and buried her face back in the blanket. “Oh, come on Lina. Anyone that would pick Tex over you has to have a few screws loose.” She sniffles. “I love your sister like she was my own but you can’t deny, she’s crazy and any guy unlucky enough to fall in love with her is going to get his ass kicked and probably get pushed around a lot by him. What you need is someone a lot better. Someone that’s smart, cool, funny and much more awesome then. Ugh, Leonard Church.”
“Yeah?” she asked looking up at him with red rimmed blue eyes. He smiled.
“Yep. Besides, you’re only 13; you really want to say your first ever boyfriend was in love with your sister?” Her face twisted.
“We didn’t even make out or anything. Boyfriend implies intimacy right?” Lina asked getting a nod. “Yeah, Church was just a guy I hung out with.”
“Atta girl,” York said holding out a hand to her. “Let’s go see if my mom bought Tex her mint chocolate ice cream so we can steal it and eat it all and watch all the funny videos of your brother making a fool of himself at work.”
(He ignores her blush later, when they’re sharing the tub of ice cream and their spoons cross. Having his best friend’s little sister crushing on him is a no go.)
Church and Tex turn 15 and he finally gets the balls to ask her out. They’re adorable for the two weeks they’re on base. Don’t leave each other’s side. But according to Wash, Lina and his single witch friend, Lucy, not so much when they get to school.
For one, apparently Tex ups her badassary up at school, including pushing Church. Then there are reports from Lina that Tex is hanging out with some of the seventh year boys. ‘Hanging out’ doesn’t mean anything good in her opinion and she’s only concerned because she doesn’t want to see him hurt. York agrees after Lucy writes to tell him that she saw Tex making out with another boy.
Things seem perfectly normal when they come home during the holidays. Wash whispers in the dark about the things that he knows Tex is doing behind Church’s back. Stealing from his wallet, going out with other people, and worse, sometimes it’s not even behind his back.
“Sounds like your sister is a conniving bitch,” Lavernius Tucker, Church’s York basically, says sitting inside the play castle at the park with them. “No offense, Wash.”
“I don’t know where she gets it from,” Wash says burying his hands into his coat pockets. Well, that’s a lie because they’re pretty sure it comes from Callie. That’s a different story though.
Its an on-off relationship between Tex and Church. Tex is off and Church is always on. She breaks up with him at least twice a month, bangs another guy (according to Luce, Wash and Lina) and joins back up with him when she’s done or out of allowance. (Wash is in charge of that. He’s been slowly reducing her pocket change since he’d first heard about this.)
The final break up comes when the four of them come home for a funeral of a member of Col. Washington’s and Captain York’s squad. It’s the Grif siblings’ dad. Tucker, of course, throws a party to distract Grif and Sister. He gets wasted, Tex is a conniving bitch.
Wash sends his sister home, texting his dad about what she had done. Lina escorts Tucker home, with his broken nose and guilt. Wash helps to bring Sister (who’s drunk and started sobbing) home, while Simmons (Grif’s not-boyfriend) drives. York sits on the log next to Church watching the fire die out. Everyone is gone but the two of them.
“Just because my best friend made out with my girlfriend doesn’t mean I need someone else to say I told you so,” Church snaps grouchily.
“Kid, I get updates from her siblings,” York states clearly. “And from an objective 3rd party who’s concerned about you. From what I can tell, you’re in an abusive relationship. Maybe not physically.” Lies, lies, lies, Wash has described the bruises on Church’s arms and back. Not fun ones and not ones explained away by Quidditch, which Church did not play. “But emotionally, she’s twisting you around with cheating. Mentally, obviously. And financially, I know that because I fucking live with her the two months she’s in town.”
“I’m not breaking up with her,” Church said stubbornly. Three days later, Wash sends a transcription of Church and Tex talking. Church breaks up with her with the words “I forget you.”
Two months later, while Wash is at Comic Con with his work, York gets a shaky phone call from Church, who is finishing up his final year at Hogwarts.
“Uh, hey, hey York,” Church stutters.
“Church, if you tell me that you’re dating either one of the Washington girls, I’m going to call Lucy and have her bring me there to beat you,” York says waving off North who looks interested and Tucker who looks worried.
“Wh-what? No, no, it’s nothing to do with Tex and Carolina,” the boy says and York can just picture him biting his lip.
“What do you want then?”
“Oh, you know, just wondering… you hang out with Wash a lot right? I mean of course you do, you’re his best friend and you guys live together when he’s in the country. What I mean is… whatdoeshesmelllike?” It takes a few seconds for York to decipher that and all her can do it look at the phone confused.
“What… does Wash smell like?” York repeated getting funny looks from his friends. Church made a sort of whimpering sound.
“You know, never mind. I don’t need to know this. I don’t. Sorry for bothering you!” The line goes dead and York looks up at Tucker and North.
“I think… I think Church has a crush on Wash.”
“It's like he’s trying to collect them all,” North jokes.
“Bow chicka bow wow.”
“It’s really unfair how cute they are,” Carolina complains at a barbecue. Its at York’s new house, the one he’s sharing with his best friend’s little sister. And she’s entirely right, Church and Wash are unfairly cute, sitting moodily on one of the lawn chair couch things.
“Yeah,” York says eyeing Tex’s new boyfriend. “But at least neither of them has a creepier mustache like O’Malley over there.”