(1938-11-07) imPerfect Youth
Details for imPerfect Youth
Summary: After Alphard realizes he hasn't any spare time, Andromena and Julian catch Augustin on the stairwell. After he leaves they end up in the Club Room where the conversation turns dour.
Date: 7 November 1938
Location: Grand Moving Staircase, club Room
Related: Charms Before Chess

Hogwarts' stairwell is a grinding, twisting mass of controlled pandemonium. Stairs are visible above and below swinging past, students holding onto railings waiting for the arrival of their stairsteps, lifting up onto a moving stairway, dropping down onto the floor below. First-Years suffer the sting of their peers' laughter as they miss making their appointed position and are left stranded on the landing as the others continue on. A flood of activity surges in all directions, a cascading tide of humanity with students, teachers and even ghosts milling throughout the stairwell. There are waves of students from the floors above hurrying at various times to get down to the main floor, and the rushes of students hurrying upward toward their classes or research. Traffic jams are not uncommon, especially when the stairway is blocked by a hapless student caught in a stair with an appetite for sucking in the legs of the unwary. At times, confetti drifts lazily through sunbeams after someone sets off a firecracker or other magical gimmickry on a higher level, and occasional shrieks of students who've become victims of stink-bombs thrown over the railing rise above the general bedlam calling out the gross unfairness of their treatment.


Andromena was just coming from a decidedly disappointing Charms class, Julian not too far behind. Alphard Black had been apart of their little group, but realized belatedly that he had some matter to attend and could not, in fact, show Andromena a real chess master at play. For her part, Andromena did not seem too broken up about it. "…thanks for not saying I was horrible," the tail end of their conversation could overheard. As to what she may have been referring, well that was between the two of them for now!

Just yesterday, Augustin sat on this same step and sketched a girl's profile. Seems he finds not only the subject inspiring, but also the location, for here he is again, working on the same picture. Luckily, the steps are broad, so it's easy for students to ascend or descend around him. There are colored pencils arrayed next to him, in rainbow-order. As he works, he whistles, not really paying much attention to the tune.

Of course, Julian had hung back and not pushed between the two Pure-bloods and their reindeer games, as it were; their little… dance. That was the best way to define it in his mind. He had listened to the stories, and to Alphard's back, he may have given him some odd looks. Not disgusted, not even offended. Just… odd. As he had excused himself, however, he hadn't really made move to join Andromena by flanking her, either.

"It's fine," the housemate responds, his eyebrows furrowed just slightly as he watches Alphard trail off. Eventually, he moves to walk alongside Andromena and match her stride, bookbag shouldered as he moves along. "I don't make it a practice to tell anyone they're horrible, anyway. It's just not their talent. Everyone's got their own," he adds idly, smiling a little bit and shrugging his shoulders. "Yours is just something different."

He pauses in his words as he notices Gus, furrowing his eyebrows a little bit. "'Oy, Rousseau," he greets lightly…

Pausing when Julian does, Andromena cannot help but notice what it is Augustin is working on. "Oh wow," she chimes, bending slightly at the waist so that she could afford herself a better view of his artwork. "That's really good." It seemed she was just surrounded by talented young lads today! Which was something of a bummer, actually…because Andromena suddenly felt as though she were an utterly boring nerd with positively no redeeming qualities! Untrue as that may be, people are quite wont to grow despondent over even the silliest of things, teenagers perhaps more than anyone!

Gus looks up from his drawing - anyone who knows her would recognize Eibhlin's face, done in the style of Alphonse Mucha, all swirling hair, big eyes, and long neck. An intricate border of ivy vines weaves around in a circle, hiding a few well-camouflaged fairies. "Thank you, Rowle," he says to Andromena, looking up to squint at her and Julian. "What-ho, Edwards!" Just then the Staircase starts moving, so wherever they were going will have to wait until it comes back around again. "What about talent, now?" he asks them, having vaguely heard snippets of the conversation as they approached.

It doesn't take a Charms theorist-level school of thought for Julian to recognize the person in the drawing, and Julian's lips twitch slightly into a small smirk as he regards Gus, shaking his head a little bit as he crosses his arms lightly over his chest. "We were just discussing how people have different talents and the like," he remarks lightly, tilting his head toward the other boy. "I tried to teach Andromena to play the piano at one point, back… in our third or fourth year, I think it was?" he asks her lightly, before shaking his head… "It's just a matter of finding what your talent is, and embracing it."

He looks toward Andromena for a moment, smiling a little bit. "No offense," he offers her lightly.

"None taken," she tells Julian, patting the air with one hand. She too, had recognized the girl in the drawing. "Fourth year. I had wild flights of fancy," Andromena clarifies for the pair of them with a wry grin. The Ravenclaw was bright and clever, but possessed of absolutely not creative ability no matter how much she might desire otherwise. Andromena made up for it by having a healthy appreciation for it, however.

The slow moving of the staircase stirred up enough of a breeze to lightly tousle Andromena's hair, which she subsequently tucked behind an ear. "So Rousseau, are you like Jules here?" She jerked her thumb toward the other boy. "Able to pick up your art at any time, or do you need to keep in practice?"

"Oh, yeah," says Gus to Julian, regarding talents. "Take me, I'm terrible at broomflying and creature lore. If I had to fly up to a cliffside eyrie and save the last egg of the last hippogriff, the species would go extinct because of me. If I managed to get up there in the first place, I'd probably get the wrong nest and come back with a goose egg or something, eh? And drop in on the way down, most like." He shrugs. "But give me a block of wood and I'll carve you almost anything you like." He taps his pencil against the edge of the paper. "Or draw it." He looks up at Andromena and smiles. "Well, I can't go very long without doing something artistic, so I suppose I've never had the chance to find out. I'm always getting inspired by something. Or drawing on my notes to help me learn them."

"It's really not a matter of just picking it back up and running with it, honestly, Mena. Y'make it sound too easy." Julian waves his hand lightly, chuckling a little bit and tilting his head… "It's more of a… knowing your art; your skill. You get to know that piece, if you will. Nuances." He shrugs his shoulders. "I don't get to play as much at home as I do here; I'm more familiar with the piano here than I am at my mum's place, for example. I know which keys are a little sticky… What strings need replacing. I know which pedals give better reverberation." He chuckles, shrugging again and clearing his throat…

"I consider it like learning a roadmap. You remember it, and it sticks with you. The same can't always be said for a piece of music, mind you. Because that's up to the musician's interpretation. It may be notes on a piece of parchment, but it's up to you to put the emotion behind it."

She brought up a hand to her mouth as she laughed. "Well, the pair of you make it look as though it could be easy. So…" Andromena gave Augustin a sly look. "Do you ever show off these portraits to the lucky lady?" Perhaps he did, but then again, maybe he was shy! There was no way for Andromena to know unless she asked him.

"She saw it yesterday when I started it," Gus says. "Seemed a bit shy, though. I just hope I didn't scare her off." He sounds concerned. Just then the stairs catch on one of the many landings, and Gus makes a face. "Bah, I should hop on that before I'm stuck here and get distracted again." He quickly shoves everything into a book bag and jogs off. "See you around!"

As the stairs begin to shift, Julian chuckles a little bit, furrowing his eyebrows. "Give her time to warm up," Julian tells Gus lightly. "She is a shy cuss." Then, the Hufflepuff decides to hop and head out. "'Oy, toss me those notes this evenin' at supper, will you? I gotta copy 'em for Potions before I go tomorrow," he calls at the Hufflepuff's back, and he lightly lets his hand rest on the rail of the staircase as they shift. Once settled, he looks toward Andromena.

At first, there's a slightly odd look he gives the young woman, but he can't really seem to compose what he was going to say. "I've got my studying for the day done," he comments off-handedly. "D'you have any dashing plans this evenin', Mena?"

"Well…" Andromena muses, tapping her lips. "Since Alphard isn't able to play chess, then no, I haven't any plans." She utterly missed the look that had momentarily taken hold of Julian's features, busy as she was looking inward. Stepping off the staircase, Andromena turns to her fellow Ravenclaw and motions that he should follow her. "Is it dinner time, yet? I'm so hungry I could die!" This coming from a girl that typically ate like a bird in any event. "There's a game this weekend, yeah? Think you'll go?"

"I believe it's Gryffindor and Slytherin," Julian responds lightly, indeed moving to follow after the Ravenclaw, matching her stride after a moment. "I may go. Depends on how much studying I have to do and whether or not Claire has us go, in order to watch their tactics."

He drops the muggle-born's name easily. That is is best friend, after all.

"Do you want to go and mess around with the piano some? We can grab something to eat before we go," he adds. "Or, I could just meet you there."

"I can watch you mess with the piano," Andromena tells him in a soft but plainly dictating voice. She would not foist that sort of painful embarrassment upon herself by clunking out a decrepit tune to the likes of Mary Had A Little Lamb or other some such nursery rhyme. "I can wait to eat until after if you'd like." She knew some patience, after all, and it was not as if her stomach was grumbling so that others might hear it!

As for Claire? Andromena hardly bats an eye lash. Does she know how close of friends she and Julian are? It would be impossible to tell by outward appearances, but it was likely Andromena wasn't totally ignorant! There's only so much one can miss after sharing five school years together. "I might go…" If she was asked, of course. No way she was going to show up for no bloody reason. Pfah.

"Well, I've been working on composing something, so another ear that I know at least appreciates music enough is able to give me an opinion," Julian responds lightly. He simles a little bit, shrugging his shoulders. "Let's go ahead and eat," he adds, "and we can meet down at the Club Room."

As she mentions that she might go… Julian doesn't immediately take the bait. Instead, he's going to let it hang out there.

"Say… about an hour or so?" he asks her.

"Sounds good," she agrees, heading off in the direction where abundant food could be found! There they will eat until they are full before ambling their way to…the club room!


This large room has a variety of uses, and can be setup differently for each club that uses it. Large storage doors around the room each hold a different club's equipment, to be setup with the wave of a wand. When the Athletics Club is here, for example, the room is full of gymnastics, weight, and other sports equipment. When the Domestics Club is here, however, stoves and cauldrons and workstations are more likely to be found here.

Likewise, Julian had ambled off to eat. However, his own dinner was a small one… simplicity's sake. He had made his way to the Club Room far before Andromena probably would even think about leaving, in fact. He had magically moved the piano out of it's corner so that he could situate by the window.

he was sitting on the bench, fingers gently dancing over the ivories. Eventually, he takes to actually letting his fingers play at the notes… it's a soft, quiet rendition of the Moonlight Sonata. There's no actual… music in front of him, funnily enough. It's memorized.

Accusing her of grandiose tastes!? Well, Julian may not be far wrong in that if so. On the bright side, she has no true eating disorders so he need not ever worry about that. Eventually, Andromena does make her way into the Club Room, called by the sound of music. A good sign, for it meant she wouldn't be waiting alone, twiddling her thumbs for Julian to arrive.

"No music sheet - and you wonder why I thought you had it easy," she chides him in a teasing manner. The room is empty save for the two of them, and Andromena sidles up beside the piano at which Julian sits. Idly, she runs her hand along its top. "Wait long?" She asks.

Of course, Julian was aware of her presence. However, he was content to continue playing his music. Getting further into it… his body swaying slightly. His eyes were closed, his fingers continuing to dance over the keys. Eventually, he comes to a point where the music naturally pauses, and he lets his fingers come to a rest. "I was just warming up before you came in," he responds, eyes opening as he lets his fingers rest. "I've not been waiting long."

He smiles a little, clearing his throat and rolling his neck. "Maybe ten minutes or so." He tilts his head and watches her for a moment. "I've been working on that song for a while," he comments toward her at the mention of the lack of sheet music. He smiles a little, finally, chuckling…

"I see," she responds in answer to his comment about having practiced that particular piece for some time. "There!" She exclaims, pointing to Julian, features animated. "A laugh at last! You're hermit-hood has left you so serious. Not even I have been that grim…" Her lips purse thoughtfully. "Well, not for a few weeks now anyway." There are questions she would like to ask him, but since she has things she does not want to discuss, Andromena is more sensitive to the whole subject in general. If Julian is willing, he will talk to her freely. Until then, Andromena is content to fish for lighter topics to talk about.

"I have my moments of lighter thought and then I have moments where I simply don't want to worry about things. So, I turn to my music." A pause, and Julian lightly runs a hand over the piano's keys, and he looks toward her, smiling a little. He regards her, tilting his head.

"… I couldn't imagine you bein' as… grim? If you really want to use the word 'grim,'" he remarks, "to describe me… but I can't imagine you feeling that strange or out of focus." He searches her out for a moment, looking to her with a curiosity. "Somethin' been on your mind?" he asks her lightly.

A bit of scoffing escapes her throat. "I've been told now and again that I can look very severe," Andromena admits with more than a little humor. She rubs her forehead between her brows, her voice growing rueful. "It's my thinking face, apparently. I get focused and I never really noticed that while I'm walking down the hall other students imagined I was stalking off in simmering anger!" Only recently had this been shared with a very surprised Andromena. Had she something on her mind? The shake of her head said no.

"You should not trouble yourself with so much worry," said only the way more privileged person possibly could. Her intentions were meant to be good, however. Perhaps it was just naivety that drove such thinking.

"While it's true you can look rather stormy," Julian responds lightly, "and brooding… The point is that one can usually tell, if one pays enough attention, to tell when you're rightfully angry, and when you're thinking."

With that, Julian begins to lightly play out a few chords from Chopin's Nocturne. "Looks like you're trying to actually think when you get this little cloudiness in your eyes, sort of." He chuckles then, and rolls his neck a little.

"But, all right. We shant trifle our aires," he remarks, smiling a little bit.

Noticed the differences in her expressions, did he? Andromena chose not to say anything in regards to that. It could be nothing. Her eyes follow his hands as he begins to strike up another tune. Eventually, she finds herself a chair to pull beside the piano and she takes a seat, listening in silence for a time.

"What made you choose Magical Law Enforcement?" Andromena asks after a short span of time. "It just seems…the utter opposite of," she waves her hand. "This. Don't get me wrong: I understand not everyone will become some famous musician…but something musically related, surely?" For Andromena, hobbies existed as a means to an end; like her gardening. For someone like her, the concept of a hobby just for the enjoyment was nigh inconceivable. No doubt why she had never joined any clubs.

"I look at music as a form of escapism," Julian remarks softly, "a… grounding to reality, if you will." He's started his little rocking motions as he hits a more difficult spot in Nocturne… obviously another piece he's worked on for a while. No sheet music. "I can play… and the world around me makes more sense, if that makes any sense."

He started there to actually get a segway into the first question. "M'father is an Inspector for Scotland Yard… That's the Metropolitan Police in London," he explains softly, "which… think of it as the Magical Law Enforcement Squad on our side." He pauses, and when the music reaches a natural pause, he lets it linger. "He does what he does to protect the people of the Crown - those who can't readily defend themselves against the inherent evil of wrongdoing." He begins to smile a little bit, chuckling again. "I guess you could say I'm wanting to become an Auror to… to protect people that I care about. The people who can't defend themselves."

He then shrugs. "I want to just make a safer world… One where there's… no discrimination. No heckling over blood purity."

Her eyes narrow, noticeably. To Andromena Rowle, it was not a squabble over blood purity. It was something far bigger. There is a soft exhalation through her nose while she contemplates just how to reply to all Julian had just said. She could not blame him for his parentage, this much Andromena had little issue with. What she did not like was the intrinsic manner in which half-bloods clung to the weaker blood of their lineage when by rights they should shun it!

"To be sure…" She murmurs, as though talking to a skittish animal. "Making the world a safer place is a noble calling. There are those, however, that would argue just what 'safer' means." Safer for whom? For all? That would be lovely but it was bloody unlikely. For claiming to be a pacifist Andromena was definitely a glass half empty kind of girl.

"The beliefs people hold dear are not something that can just be wished away." And that was said in reference to the beliefs of all sides! People rarely changed, even when events occurred that gave them ample reason to.

"This is true," Julian remarks softly, and he watches Andromena's features change. The narrowing of the eyes… she's not just thinking, perhaps. "In my opinion? Safer means that you, or me, or any one else, can walk out of their homes at night, go down to the Three Broomsticks, or the Hog's Head… or to the Cauldron over in London, if they want… without having to worry about being hexed, cursed, or worse… because they're marked. Marked for their heritage." He pauses, pursing his lips and considering his words. "Because there're people out there who view people like me as a lesser being because I'm a half-blood… Or my friend Donovan, because he's a Muggle-born. They'd rather see neither of us here at this school, learning magic. They'd think us better off removed from the gene pool."

He furrows his eyebrows. "An American philosopher wrote in in the Harvard Law Review… which is a publication from across the pond… a very true statement. Your right to swing your arms ends where the other man's nose begins." He pauses, tilting his head. "I think that it applies just as much to us, as what should be a more civilized society of magic and witchcraft… The right to cast your hex ends where the other wizard's chest begins. Sadly, we're still human. We're going to be vicious and vile creatures to one another, no matter how civilized."

A pause. "I want to make sure that no matter which side it originates from… it's dealt with in a manner that's appropriate. The Dark Arts are classified as such for a reason." He pauses, watching her. "Am I making any sense?"

"Your life would be better if your father had been a wizard," said with the sort of dogged conviction only somebody who emphatically believed in how right they were possibly could. Yet oh, how sympathetic she looked! As though Julian were a poor creature that deserved her pity. Her pale white hands were clasped before her in her lap, and she leaned forward ever so slightly as she spoke, causing her hair to fall down her shoulders.

"It was wrong of your mother to involve herself with a man not of our kind," yes, she still included Julian amongst that group because half of him was. "She robbed you of so much." Good blood, a good name, a good upbringing. Andromena perceived his way of thinking as sadly misguided no thanks in part to his mother's gross misconduct. Well, some of it anyway, because she truly did abhor violence. There had to be a better way of solving problems than with blood, no matter what Alphard had said. It got her to thinking…

"Law is law, however," she agrees, tilting her head forward in that one small acquiescence. "No matter who breaks it, they should be punished according to their crime." For now, Andromena is content to leave be her thoughts concerning individuals like, sniff, the aforementioned Donovan.

"The whole point is that it shouldn't matter if my father's a wizard, or if he's a Muggle," Julian responds quite quickly. He watches her look of pity, and something in Julian's mind clicks quite loudly at this point. It can even be seen in his eyes, as well.

"I'll also… implore you to consider what you essentially just said, Andromena." Her full name. He's not called her by her full name since their first year. "It was wrong of my mother to believe in something… in what she felt at the time to be love. Something she still believes in… Something she's trying to repair, to bring to light."

He pauses, eyes narrowing. "My mother robbed me of nothing. Nor did my father. To imply such to me is an insult." His words are concise, and sharp… And his eyes are rather expressive at this point; heating up, a little more intense. "My blood, nor it's purity, should matter to someone else. I am, first and foremost, a wizard. We are all human, and deserve the same, mutual respect."

He begins to stand… lowering the cover over the keys of the piano, looking down at the cover and running his hand over it as he does. "— of all the people, Mena. I wouldn't have ever thought you… to be like that." He begins to wet his lips with his tongue, feeling very parched-mouthed. "You know, I was going to ask you to go to the Quidditch game with me. Because I thought I wanted to get to know you better. Because I thought —"

During the pause, he finally looks up at her, hands resting on the key-cover… and his eyes scrutinize her deeper. "… Because I thought, maybe, you were different. That… you could look past someone's… as you would put it, the misfortune or deformity of being half-blooded, or Muggle-born. But you're no different than the rest of the Hitler Youth wannabes."

He didn't expect her to get the reference, even remotely. It was a purely Muggle problem at this point. After his last remark, he had turned to gather his bookbag, slinging it over his shoulder. "I'll bid you a good evening, Mena. I'll be taking my leave."

With that, he turns to move toward the door.

She did not appear at all provoked by anything he had just said. At least on the surface of it, anyway. The truth of it was that Andromena was decidedly annoyed by Julian's outburst, most of all his declaration that he no longer had the desire to get to know her. She could not let that show, however, because it would only be detrimental to the pair of them. He needed someone like her to help him (obviously!) come to terms with the reality of the situation.

"So I have insulted you," she says rather tartly. "Know that I did not intend for such." Truly, she hadn't! "I won't take back what I said, and I won't change how I feel about it. Would you rather I had lied to you?" This last question asked with just a drop of venom; not for Julian but for the notion such a suggestion presented. Andromena stood up when Julian did, robes rustling. The young woman met his gaze unblinking - her conviction was painfully obvious.

"Have I treated you with disrespect? Have I ever even suggested I thought you or others like you were unwelcome?" She most certainly had not! As Julian snatched up his book bag, Andromena made no effort to stop him. He was right to assume that she would miss his reference, because when Andromena next spoke, she ignored it utterly. "So, for you, my beliefs are unconscionable and you must flee?" Andromena, suddenly possessed of a fierce anger that she was not prepared to discern the actual source of, flicked her hand at Julian dismissively. "Then flee, Julian. Your mutual respect obviously only applies to your little friends Claire and Donovan." Ouch. She knew they were harsh words even as she said them, but it was too late to stop it, and she would never take them back.

"You lost my conviction when you all but told me my mother was wrong for having me with a Muggle."

Julian pauses at the door, breathing in and turning around for just the briefest of moments. "As for your treatment? No. But you should consider listening to Professor Flint and his little happy band of Swastika-wearing Perfect Children," he replies to her, frowning a little bit. "And consider the fact that this line of thought - the one you have - that because I have 'bad blood,' is a disadvantage… is where it starts. One group thinks another doesn't deserve the same privileges and rights the other enjoys. So, they begin to work toward revoking those rights and privileges." He pauses, frowning. "All because we are… disadvantaged. Damaged. Deformed. Different. We don't have blue eyes, and golden hair. We aren't perfect, and we don't have pure blood."

At her last words, his eyes widen a little, then narrow. He otherwise makes no mention of hearing them… instead, he shakes his head. "I'll see you in class, Mena. Think about what I said, though… you're a very intelligent young woman. And with a little of our Ravenclaw intuition and research… I think you can put two and two together."

With that, after the challenge is issued, Julian really does turn and walk out the door.

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