(1941-03-18) Spring is Springing
Details for Spring is Springing
Summary: After Erica cleans up Mateo after a practical joke, they talk about plans for Spring Break.
Date: March 18th, 1941
Location: Hogwarts - Hufflepuff Common Room

It is a winter afternoon. The weather is cool and fair.

The Hufflepuff House common room is a cosy and welcoming place. The large, earthy room is built in a circle, and rests almost entirely below ground. Near the ceiling, about nine feet up, are round windows set at exterior ground level so the grass and plants outside can be seen, with the Hogwarts Greenhouse just beyond. The outdoors makes its way indoors as many nooks, shelves and other surfaces house potted plants. Alternating rows of yellow and black bricks make up the circular walls, giving the chamber a striped appearance.

The room's entrance is a round tunnel extending from the cask lid door. Gold bricks with black mortar circle the doors that lead into the Girls and Boys Dormitories, the Head of House Chambers, and the two rooms reserved for Head Boy and Head Girl when they are Hufflepuffs. Cosy black-and-yellow patterned sofas and chairs are mostly gathered about the elliptical fireplace. Above the hearth is a portrait of Helga Hufflepuff toasting her students with a two-handled golden cup. The frame is highly polished honey-colored wood carved with a plethora of dancing, playful badgers. The dancing badger carved wood theme continues on over to a curved buffet table the Hogwarts House-elves keep stocked with enough drinks, snacks and treats that could stuff an elephant.

The mid morning break between classes finds Mateo Lovegood lounging about in the Hufflepuff Common Room. He is seated in a plush chair, his feet extended out before him and his head tilted back on the back of the chair, eyes closed. The gentle rise and fall of his chest suggests that he may be sleeping.

Erica noticed the state of her friend on her way in from class and has returned to his side with her 'cleaners kit'. Before she arrived one of the more mischevious of badgers drew on Mateo's face and he looks like Snidely Whiplash if Snidely was a pirate with a painted on eyepatch. Trying not to wake him she very gently starts to dab a soft cloth into her unctions and then ever so carefully dap and wipe at Mateo's face to get him cleaned up.

Mateo stirs sleepily as Erica wipes at his facial additions, yawning and then sinking back into slumber. After a few moments of the cleaning efforts, he does finally open his eyes and gaze in a slightly confused way at Erica, though his smile does beam her way. "Well hello there," he greets her with a chuckle. "You haven't been sneaking kisses as well as rubbing my face have you?"

Erica gives him a little squint. It's not exactly an 'eewww cooties!' look of disgust more a playfully offended that he would ever think such a thing. "No!" She protests and gives him a poking shove down into the sofa. "Just for that. I won't finish. Hmmph!" She huffs playfully as well and lifts up a mirror she uses to see the tops of high shelves up so he can see himself.

Gazing into the mirror for a few brief moments, his face devoid of a reaction, Mateo finally lets out a hearty laugh and says, "Well I don't know about you, but I think I look quite dashing as a pirate. Though perhaps the professors won't think so." His smile persists as he looks to Erica and says, "And I was just meaning that I think I would rather be awake in the event that you start trying to sneak those, is all!" He is obviously joking and he gestures for Erica to please continue, closing his one pirate eye again.

Erica nibbles on her lip and is brightly flushed in the cheeks as she goes about gently swiping his face with her rag. The good thing is, is that she does know what she's doing when it comes to cleaning things and there isn't even a faint smudge of the ink where she's given her attentions. "You know, any other Prefect would be going ballistic is anyone dared to defile their authorative figure." She smiles down at him. "Are you going to do anything about this?"

Mateo opens his eyes and peers up to Erica where she leans over top him and smiles. "No, not this time. I understand people are stressed with exams coming up, and are looking for something to brighten their spirits… I am happy to help them." His hand reaches across to rest atop Erica's and he gives it a squeeze as he says, "But if I find out who did it, they may wake up wjth more than an eye patch and mustache."

Erica giggles softly shaking her head, "Tsk, Mateo, that's not very Prefecty of you." She really doesn't seem to mind very much. With another dab of unction she leans back down and gently makes tiny circles taking great care around his eyes. "What are you doing for spring break?"

Mateo looks at Erica, allowing her to wipe around his eyes and clean the ink from his face without interruption. "I am not sure, really. I had considered going to Hogsmeade, but that doesn't sound overly exciting."

Erica is quiet as she works for several minutes but then she decides to get personal indeed. "Not going home?" She peeks up at him to judge if she's hit a sore spot before she re-focuses on the spot she's cleaning. "You have really nice skin." She muses.

Mateo shrugs his shoulders casually and says, "Well, you know my father isn't overly interested in me. What reason is there to go home? Atticus and I get on well enough here, there are people that care about us. If my options are to go home and be alone, or to hang out here with whoever stays on over the break, one seems to have more appeal." He pauses and smiles at Erica's compliment before he says, "You're cute." A beat, and then, "What are you doing over the break?"

Erica nods along as he talks about his reasons for staying. That's why she was a bit reluctant to bring it up. When he mentions that people here care about them and then calls her cute she flushes again and her answer might surprise him, because it's not anything verbal. It's a quick swoop down to give him a very shy peck before she is just as quickly sitting up again. "I could… stay?" He probably knows the answer anyways, it's always that she's going to go home and help her dad with the business. It's what she's done every break since first year. Erica is known to be someone who gets very homesick, so her offering to stay and miss going home is a bit of a big deal.

Mateo does seem a bit surprised at the sudden kiss. He doesn't have time to respond before she is sitting back upright, though the sudden beam he sends her way shows that he doesn't mind in any way. He reaches out to her hand, and if she takes it he will pull her back to his side and slip an arm around her shoulders. "You don't have to do that for me Erica… I know you miss your family. I would hate for you to stay if you don't really want to…"

Erica nestles in against his side rather easily. Her small form fitting against him very nicely indeed. Being so close does have her blushing still, but it seems she's quite comfortable with this level of affection. Under his arm her shoulders give a little shrug. "I wouldn't say I could if I didn't want to. Right?"

Mateo's hand curls around Erica's outside shoulder and he hugs her close to his side. "I suppose that is true enough. Maybe we can walk to Hogsmeade together, or you can help me with some flying stuff. I had considered going out for the Quidditch team next term."

Erica perks up, smile growing. "Really!? That would be really nice. Maybe you would be a better seeker than me." She is more than willing to not be in that spotlight next year. "I could also use the practice too. I think you have a deal. I will need to mail my parents and get their permission first. But I think they wouldn't mind since it's just Easter Break."

Mateo smiles at her excitement and he shrugs. "I was more considering going for a Chaser position, possibly. I would have to get a broom and everything, but I am sure I could get the gold for that from father. I think they will let me mail in for one, won't they?" His fingertips casually caress Erica's shoulder as he speaks, obviously quite please with her proximity himself.

Erica hmms and nods, "Or you could technically just get a days leave with permission from the Headmaster. Go to Diagon Alley and pick one out in person. Or you could just use one of the school brooms, that's what I do. Then over the summer you can buy one if you want one still. You might hate it, afterall."

Mateo nods his head slowly as he says, "I think we have our holiday plans made out, if you think you can stand to be around me for that long." The last bit is said teasingly as he lifts his free hand to cup Erica's jaw and run a thumb over her cheek.

Erica gets a bit shy again with a raging blush when he touches her face like that. "I have survived this long…" Eventually nerves get the best of her and she lowers her face to shyly pull it out of his grasp.

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