(1941-06-13) This Particular Fire
Details for This Particular Fire
Summary: Erica's just trying to get some cleaning done — but Oscar's there, with his guitar. What's a girl to do?
Date: June 13th, 1941
Location: Hufflepuff Common Room

"There is a house in New Orleans.. They call the Rising Sun.. And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy.. and God, I know I'm one." The song is low and melancholy, drifting from one of the corner tables. Of course it's Oscar playing. The guitar interludes are surprisingly complex, rising and falling, but they're definitely the Blues — or at least, they're so similar to the other tunes he's been playing lately as to be indistinguishable.

Oscar himself seems to be in a rapture of music, his feet up on the table, his eyes half-closed as his fingers slide up and down the neck of his guitar. There are textbooks on the table. The Sixth-Year really ought to be boning up on his Herbology or something, but then, he's earned a break, right? He spent all morning in the Greenhouses.

We all have ways to pass the time. For Oscar, it's music. For Erica? Cleaning tables, apparently. She's been absentmindedly listening to the older boy practice as she works, taking advantage of the largely deserted Common Room to test out a concoction in a spritz bottle. Whatever it is, it's leaving a lovely high shine and a pleasant, florally-herbal scent upon the tabletops as she works it in with a cloth. Some things you really just have to do with elbow grease, in her opinion. With her shirt an jumper sleeves rolled neatly up to the elbow, the blonde looks perfectly content with this little domestic chore. Anyone who knows her well wouldn't think twice about it.. the compulsion for cleaning obviously soothes her, and that's preferable to the times she's an emotional wreck over boys, or missing home, or any story in which an animal gets hurt.

Eventually, though, she's reaching the corner of the room where Oscar is camped out, unable to help surreptitious, sidelong glances at his feet up on the table. "Sounds good." she offers, picking a lull rather than interrupting him mid-bar or anything, and smiling shyly at her older teammate. Rumor has it that she and Mateo Lovegood are now an official 'item'. Not that she's the sort to respond to gossips. Coming to a halt beside his table, she arches a brow enquiringly. "..do you mind if I..?" A gesture with the bottle implies what she wants. Feet off the table, you heathen!

"What? Oh. Oh!" Oscar snaps upright in his chair, laying his guitar against its leg as he grabs the books off the table. "I'm so sorry," he says sheepishly. "I was sort of.." He trails off, gesturing to the guitar. "Away." He clears his throat, looking up at Erica. There's a trace of curiousity in his friendly gaze, as though he wants to indulge in a bit of gossipy questioning himself. But he swallows whatever he was about to say, instead looking at the spray bottle. And then back up to Erica's face.

"Erica?" The big Beater's voice is rather hesitant. He searches her face, frowning a bit, cradling the textbooks to his chest. "..Are you alright?" Compulsive cleaning, compulsive guitar-playing, both have their roots in the same place. And then, after a moment, "Would you like to have a seat?"

"No, no, it's fine!" Erica is quick to reassure the boy, despite the last flit of her brown eyes as his feet and books are moved. "I just want to finish them all. Not like I own the table, don't apologise." But everyone knows, there's no stopping her once she's on a mission. OCD much? Briskly spritzing the table's surface, the girl stoops over it and buffs it up firmly with her cloth, working in circular motions out to the edge. Gradually though, she becomes aware of eyes upon her and looks up at Oscar, her expression becoming uncertain. "..whaaaat." She's probably expecting him to tease her.. it wouldn't be the first time someone has poked fun at her for being such a little housewitch.

When he explains the questioning sort of look, the blonde sighs, allowing that relentless good cheer to slip just a touch. "I'm fine." Well, she doesn't have a future in poker, that's for sure. "..to be honest, I'm still sort of upset about Dolohov." Despite standing up stubbornly for her friend, it's clear the Slytherin boy intimidates her. More than a little, too.

Finishing her polishing, Erica politely accepts the invitation, easing wearily down into the vacant chair. "And I really hope Mateo makes the team. He seems rather hell-bent on it, I'd hate for him to be disappointed. And I'm worried he'll get in trouble, if Dolohov snitches. And I've got my D.A.D.A exam tomorrow and…" Halting the flow of worries, she forces a wan smile and shrugs. "..nevermind. It's almost summer."

Oscar watches Erica closely now, his head canting to one side. He lays the textbooks back on the table, absently tonguing the side of his cheek. "I'll help Mateo make the team," he finally says. There's no hint of grudge in his voice, but the words are a bit slow to come. His dark eyes stay on Erica's. "He's a swell fella, and I owe him for what he did for me. So that's something you don't need to worry about. He's not a bad player." A pause. "It's nice you're so worried that he's not hurt, though, innit?"

Absently, he sweeps a hand across the tabletop, lifting it up and examining it for dirt. Nothing, of course. He smiles. "Dolohov won't snitch. I played a pickup game last night with Malfoy, and he didn't say a word. So Dolohov hasn't even told him about it. So Mateo won't get in trouble, either." There. That's the boyfriend issues set aside.

"About what happened the other day.." He clears his throat. "I know that you said I oughtn't be upset about it. And I'm not anymore. But you oughtn't be, either. You were magnificent." His smile widens somewhat. "I know you were scared. But you stood up to them. And.. and I won't let him have the chance to send a Bludger at you. I'm going to practice, and practice, and practice."

"..I wasn't trying to pressure you." Picking an invisible speck of dust from her sleeve and flicking it away, Erica then looks up at Oscar again. "Whoever does the best at tryouts will get the spots. But.. if you're up for helping him train over the summer, I think that'd really help." Blushing a pretty pink hue as he notes her concern for the absent lad, the blonde smiles and lowers her eyes again, checking the tightness of the cap on her spray bottle.

"Probably Dolohov doesn't want to admit he got knocked on his arse." she ventures, at length, a smirk beginning to play about her lips when she ventures to meet Oscar's dark eyes again. "I'm glad you've gotten over being upset, though you had every right to be. As for the ganme.. well, Bludgers are always going to be a threat!" She relaxes suddenly, relenting to a laugh that chases away the lingering clouds from her expression. "..but thanks. I know you'll have my back." There's a confidence in the camraderie, the sort that only comes after a couple years of playing on a team together, and she offers the boy one of her grins. "I can't wait for Quidditch Camp, either.. I'm so looking forward to it."

Oscar's eyes widen. She said 'arse'. His mouth opens, as though he's going to comment on it, but he thinks better of it. "I'm not feeling pressured," he says instead. His eyes sparkle as he watches Erica, head canting to one side. "We're going to have such fun this summer." A beat. "The three of us, I mean. Quidditch Camp, practices, music." He takes in that blush, smiling slowly. It's another opportunity to poke fun, but he doesn't seize on it. Instead, he says, "Maybe Mat will teach you to play guitar, and the three of us can start a band."

His eyebrows raise. "I bet you can sing. Better than I can, probably." He gestures down to the guitar. "We could try something, if you wanted to? Something nice and light, if you like." Somehow, Erica doesn't strike him as a person who sings the blues. "You Are My Sunshine?"

"Nooooo…" The very idea of singing in front of Oscar has the girl looking comically horrified, even leaning back and away from him in her chair, shaking her head vehemently. "No, I wouldn't bbe any good at that. Sorry." She's much too shy for that kind of thing.. here and now, anyway. Settling her cleaning stuff down one side of the chair, Erica folds her hands prinly in her lap and suddenly finds her shoes to be fascinating, apparently; gazing down at them for a long, awkward moment. "Thank for the offer, though. Maybe I could get a tambourine or something."

If she weren't so polite, she'd probably tell him to stop staring. Or at least to stop smiling at her like a cat eyeing a bowl of cream. But she doesn't. Trying to ignore the fact that even the tips of her ears have turned pink, she twines her fingers into a clasp and raises her head, trying for an unabashed smile. She's so infuriatingly clean, in every sense. Her shirt collar is starchy and pristine, her shoulder-length honey-blonde tresses are in finger-waves without a hair out of place, even her complexion is annoyingly flawless. Nobody likes a paragon. Maybe it's just as well she said 'arse', or he'd already be making excuses to be elsewhere. Good is boring. Or so it seems to her, given how people have a tendency to avoid her. "Why don't you play something?" she suggests. "Something cheerful." Much as she adores the same sort of music, it can't be blues all the time.

Oscar brings up the guitar to his lap as though he's been waiting on the invitation. "I think I know something cheerful," he agrees. There's the mischief in his dark eyes again as he takes in Erica. She's still blushing. "Let's see.." He closes his eyes. When he begins to play, it's a ballad, strangely moving, his words crooned out. "…I don't want to set the world…on…fire…"

His guitar sings. This is far from the Blues, that's certain. There's a pluckiness to the beat, a humorous uplift to the corners of Oscar's mouth. He's not watching Erica. He's not watching anything. His eyes are closed. But that cat-ate-the-canary smile is still on his lips. Maybe he just can't help himself. "I just want to start.. a flame in your heart. In my heart I have but oooooone de-siiire.." He tilts his head back, casting his chin toward the ceiling as he plays, exposing his neck. It's an entirely affected pose. "And that one is you, no other will do!"

Well, if she was pleasantly pink before, Erica's now a fetching shade of scarlet. She glances about herself, as if to make sure nobody's witnessing this impromptu serenade. If that's what it is..? It's certainly a rather pointed choice of song, in her opinion. But maybe she's just reading too much into things. She's made an idiot of herself with such notions in the past, after all.

She needs something to busy herself with. Impulsively, she reaches acros and quietly takes up the textbook at the top of Oscar's pile, opening it to a random page and splaying it on the tabletop. There. Now she can prop her elbows either side, let her hair fall forward about her face and very simply disguise the blush she can feel heating her cheeks. One hand rests at her nape, as if her contrastingly cool fingers might help. Still.. beneath the table, her uppermost foot bounces gently in time with song.

"I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim; I just want to be the one you love.." Oscar opens his eyes, taking in Erica's absolutely carmine features, and grins. And there behind her is a Sixth-Year girl who's slowed to listen to him, her smile warming, and he gives her a wink. It really is as though he can't turn it off. The girl blushes scarlet and hurries off.

Oscar continues to play, not seeming too bothered by her departure. After all, he has an audience of one right here. But at least he's decent enough to lower his voice and turn his head slightly, so that he's gazing off into the distance. He might be just practicing, right? Certainly he's not sticking his hand into this particular fire. What sixteen-year-old would do that?

"And with your admission that you feel the same.. I'll have the dream that I'm dreamin' of, believe me." He goes off on a tangent now with his guitar, playing variations on the same theme again and again, each one slightly different. And then, back to the refrain. "I don't want to set the world on fire…"

Oh no. He's not stirring trouble at all. Because no fifteen year old girl is a sucker for a boy with a guitar, right? Erica doesn't notice the other girl, or the wink, having her gaze studiously down upon the Herbology book in front of her. She doesn't even like Herbology, particularly. Potions are her thing.. she's more interested in ingredients than tending the plants themselves. But it's the only distraction she's got to hand.

Eventually, once her flushed features have cooled sufficiently, Erica raises her eyes warily toward Oscar, casting him a vague smile. "..doesn't seem like the sound was affected after all. That's good." The fingers at her nape ruffle upwards through her hair, then smooth it immediately. Then she simply clasps her hands again, this time atop the textbook. "What kind of plant is this?" A finger jabs gently at one of the diagrams. Doesn't it probably have a note beneath it? What a transparent diversion, come on Erica.

Oscar half-rises out of his seat to lean over the desk, peering down at the plant, his features keen and suddenly wide-awake, their lazy flirtatiousness dropping away with the question. Plants are serious business, after all. Surely the sudden proximity of the big Beater is just a coincidence. "..Huh," he says after a moment. "That's Lady's Mantle." He points down at the page, toward its distinctive leaves. "See the saw-tooth edge of the leaves? And the little buds?"

He smiles slightly. "Used in all sorts of, um.." And for once, it's Oscar who blushes. "Well, romantic sorts of potions. Has an association with beauty glamers." He looks up at Erica and falls silent.

Damnit! The girl looks awkward again as Oscar half-rises and looms over her, but she's not going to jump back and make it even more obvious. So she remains where she is, keeping her eyes, for the most part, on the diagram. Well, okay, she steals a couple of glances upward, eventually catching his eye inadvertently. Luckily, she seems to have managed to pick a topic she's actually interested in. Oh, happy day! "Really??" Brightening, she picks up the book and peers more closely at the plant, likely making a mental note. "I don't think we've covered that one yet.."

Belatedly, she realises why the rather ironic use of the herb might have coaxed a blush - finally! - out of the older boy. Oh. Oh dear. Does he think she's going to spike his pumpkin juice with a love potion or something? Change the subject, change the subject! Fumbling momentarily, she grasps at a snippet of gossip out of thin air. "..I heard Juniper Nott has a crush on you."

Oscar eases back into his chair as Erica moves the book, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. "Yeah, I learned about it over the summer. A lot of girls came in to buy it." He dampens his lower lip, opens his mouth to say something else, and then closes it again. Perhaps it was just a random plant. Slowly, he smiles at the young woman as he listens to her gossip, reaching up to rub the back of his neck. "Well, I don't have a crush on Juniper Nott," he reassures Erica.

"Maybe that's how Slytherin's show they like you." offers Erica, visibly relaxing in increments as Oscar withdraws again, even managing a genuine smile as the topic moves on and the undeniably hypnotic singing seems done with for now. "..maybe Antonin Dolohov is secretly in love with you, too." Warming to her topic - and to having the vague upper hand - the pretty little blonde rests her chin on the knuckles of one hand, elbow daintily propped, and waggles her brows across at poor Oscar. "..and which one would you snog, then, hmm?" The question is voiced in all-innocence, she being the master of butter-wouldn't-melt. Did he think he'd get away with dropping that in there? She loves tidbits like this!

"Oh, right, because I'm going to tell you. Next thing I know, Mattie's going to be daring me to sing love songs in potions class to get her attention." But something that Erica said seems to have caught Oscar's attention. "…That actually makes sense. Slytherins being mean to show affection. Maybe poor Antonin was just angry that I didn't sing to him." The oversized Sixth-Year leans back in his chair, smiling as he continues to rap a beat against the soundboard of his guitar. "What a swell idea. I should start singing him love ballads. Real crooners. Sinatra."

"So Mattie knows?" Erica brightens, arching her brows again with a faux-innocent smile. "Why not tell me? Maybe I could put in a good word for you!" As if he needs the help. Girls swoon over Oscar all day long, especially when he has that guitar in hand. It must be the hair. Girls love dark, floppy hair.

The new ploy to get revenge on Antonin elicits a sparkling laugh from the blonde, her sunny demeanour firmly back in place now, and she leans back in her chair, posture relaxing as she chortles. "Brilliant. Oh, you could send him love letters over summer, too. I'm sure that would cheer his face up!" It's not in her nature to be genuinely unkind. But Oscar deserves a little fun at the Slytherin's expense, surely? Still grinning, she reaches to close the boy's herbology textbook.. though not before her eyes linger upon that diagram one last time. Could that be a Very Bad Idea (tm) forming, behind those angelic features?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License