(1941-06-17) I Call It the Half-Blood Blues
Details for I Call It the Half-Blood Blues
Summary: Morrow corners Oscar to find out more about his recent spat.
Date: June 17th, 1941
Location: Library, Hogwarts Castle
Related: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Little Lion Man

It's the middle of exams. Students are crammed into every nook and cranny of the Library, textbooks splayed out before them. It's rare to find a silent spot, a place away from the others, but Oscar has managed it. He sits in an isolated corner, sealed off on three sides by bookshelves, reading 'Dueling and the Limits of Magic' avidly. Every few moments, he licks a finger and turns the page. The heavily-muscled Hufflepuff seems fascinated by some of the illustrations.

A noise makes him look up sharply. No, that's just a book flying across the room. Another. There must be someone studying Care of Magical Creatures, to judge by the sounds emanating from them. He smiles slightly and ducks back to his work. After a few moments, when a shadow falls across his station, he risks breaking the rules to cast "Lumos" and stick a ball of light just over his shoulder.

"Are you just looking at the pictures? Because I'd recommend the engravings in the books on nymphs. Wood, not water." That shadow belongs to someone. And that someone is Morrow Selwyn. Calmly returning a copy of 'Everyday Transfiguration' to the shelves, she speaks from just behind the Hufflepuff Beater, unabashedly peeking down over his shoulder at his choice of reading material. With a vaguely wolfish smile playing about her lips, the Ravenclaw then folds her arms, turning and leaning her shoulders back against the bookcase. Apparently she's decided to hang around. So much for his quiet spot.

The brunette isn't a particular bigot when it comes to purism. She does, however, tend to stick to her 'own kind' when it comes to social standing. Rich. Popular. Whathaveyou. Maybe she's just bored and decided to amuse herself for a while, away from judgemental eyes?

Oscar's reply is unsurprised. He doesn't even look up from the book. "I don't need pictures of wood-nymphs." And from his reputation, he really doesn't. The big Hufflepuff closes the book after a few moments and spins his chair around, facing Morrow. "Especially not with you around." His smile is quick and broad, bright in his dark face, the come-hither line blatantly bait, perhaps a distraction from what he was reading. He smiles and pats the desk before him. "Come and sit down, Morrow."

A year older, Oscar might be one of those valuable assets Morrow collects — a former Prefect, demoted by Flint, a Quidditch player, and rumored to be feuding with Slytherin of late. But the ease with which he treats her, the confident self-assurance, doesn't belong on a Half-Breed at all. Nor on a Hufflepuff.

"Oh, I believe you." replies the young lady, obligingly drifting forward, though she only leans her hip to the edge of the desk, not actually perching upon it. "Becoming quite the ladies' man, aren't we? Poor Audra.. I don't think she'll ever entirely get over her crush on you." If Morrow's really interested in what the boy was reading it certainly doesn't show - she doesn't so much as glance at the book now that she has Oscar's attention; meeting his gaze with a pleasant smile. She even relents to a hushed laugh for his flattery. "Don't be trying your wiles on me, Foxhall. I know better than to be be charmed by that silver-tongue." Playfully, she reaches to bop a knuckle at his chin, chucking it in a good natured gesture. "..I've been hearing interesting things about yooou.." she drawls, in a manner deliberately designed to invite further questioning; her brows arching a fraction to emphasise an expression of mischief and devilment.

"That's a shame, Selwyn. My tongue does more than wag, unlike some I could name." But Oscar's grinning, even flushing just a little at the mention of Audra — perhaps he's given her reason to hang on to hope. He keeps his dark eyes on hers, playfully, the object of his desire quite clear. If she's hoping to manipulate him, it'll never be easier. He turns his head slightly as that knuckle comes, trying to plant a kiss on it, his gaze sardonic rather than inflamed. "I hope they're good things," he says mildly. "But I expect they're not." There's a faint tone of resignation now, and the desire is fading — replaced by something approaching wariness. "Have you come to ask me about my guitar?"

"Yes, I've heard that, too." replies the brunette in amusement. No doubt Audra shared all kinds of tidbits, as girls are wont to do. But still, Morrow ducks the flirtation for the most part, that hand withdrawn in time to avoid the brush of lips. Manipulate? Her? As if. Besides, by the unspoken laws of womankind, he's off-limits, having dated one of her 'best friends'. "You know me, I don't much care about the good or the bad or even the whys. I just find certain stories intriguing." A meditative pause, her vivid blue eyes regarding Oscar with a new, different calibre of interest. "..like the tale of the Hufflepuff almost coming to blows with a Slytherin. Who, I'm guessing, was the one who 'embellished' his beloved guitar." Observant creature.

Raising the fingertips of one hand in a staying motion, Morrow half-smiles, canting her head ever so slightly toward the older boy, implying some degree of privacy. "Don't worry, I'm not going to run off and report anyone. I've just never noticed you having much of a fiery disposition before."

"I'm not saying that what you heard is true," Oscar says quietly. If he's disappointed by the lack of response, he doesn't show it. Flirtation is more of a hobby than an avocation, to him. But he doesn't give up, either, absently bumping his knee against Morrow's leg as he shifts in his chair. "But if it were, there would be two things that give me a fiery disposition." And suddenly, his eyes are blazing, fierce as any Gryffindor's. "Ruin my guitar? And pick on my friends." He pauses, eyeing Morrow curiously, his features going from angry to suspicious. "And you can tell your friends I say so."

What? Does he not trust her motives? The muscular Beater smiles suddenly, relenting. "I know you don't care about me, Morrow." He quirks a brow. "You just want the best gossip, right? Well. Tell Antonin that he better watch for me in Dueling Club. It's easy enough to scare a girl in a hallway. It's another to face a man," — does he really think of himself as a man? — "with a wand in his hand."

"..But you don't have to rush off." And that smile's back, this time warmer. "I hear you have a singing voice."

"Who said anything about my 'friends'? The gossip's all over the school, Oscar. I just thought I'd find out what actually happened rather than believe the conjecture. And or slander." Morrow, likewise, flashes a sudden smile; looking quite unabashed. "There's no shame in standing up for yourself, or your friends. No need to get all weird about it." She is, of course, taking in all this information, and every nuance he reveals as he spins his version of events. So, there's a girl involved?

Isn't there always.

Nodding her apparently unhesitating acceptance of the boy's words - isn't she a trusting, benevolent little thing? - the brunette rests herself more fully against the edge of the desk, enough to settle her weight and cross her legs comfortably at the knee, anyway. Moving away from that bump, or unconsciously responding to it? Who knows. "No.. afraid you've caught me out there. I don't care much for singing." Flipping her glossy tresses back behind her shoulder in an airy mannerism, she neglects to admit she actually sounds like a bag of cats being swung against a wall when she tries. "Dancing, yes. Singing, no."

"Last I heard, you were getting all cuddly with Oberon Lestrange." Oscar grins — he's hardly one to condemn anyone for getting cuddly. "So you can tell him what I said." There's amusement rather than condemnation in his voice. After all, here she is, settling down onto his desk. Oscar has nothing to be nervous about, right?

"You dance, huh? That's swell. I play." The change of topics — the return to a friendlier topic — is blatant. He leans back in his seat and smiles up at Morrow, taking her in with a rather obvious up-and-down. "I'll play for you, if you like. Blues, jazz. All American, I'm afraid. They're so much better at those things than we are." The older boy seems beyond confident — he's downright familiar, leaning forward slightly to impose his closeness on Morrow.

"I don't do 'cuddly'." There's no malice in the girl's tone - the words are matter-of-fact and accompanied by a grin. Though that's all she'll be drawn to say on the matter of the Slytherin. Interesting. Maybe. And.. there likely is something to be nervous about, if Morrow Selwyn is hanging out at your desk. That's a fair generalisation.

"Unlike you, I hear." Okay, she can't help that little dig. Everyone knows he's a flirt. Or is she referring to something more specific? The Ravenclaw doesn't elaborate. "Sure, I wouldn't mind hearing you play sometime." Oscar's not the only master of the quick-topic-shift, here. Though he's certainly the master of 'almost falling at a girl's feet', whether he likes it or not. Unthinkingly, the girl whips out a hand, pressing three fingertips to his broad shoulder and pushing him idly back. Hardly enough to have stopped him if he'd really been falling, but a kind reflex, all the same.

Oscar flashes a grateful smile at the gesture, absently curling his shoulder into the touch, as though to prolong it — any intimacy at all seems to be an invitation to the big Beater. He settles back in his chair, careful not to fall this time. "I hear you don't," he agrees, in regards to Morrow's cuddliness. "You ought to try sometime," he continues, the invitation blatant. "It's quite pleasant. Relaxing."

But now they're on the subject of music, and his whole manner changes, losing that languid 'coolness' that he'd been trying to project. "If you want to come by the Greenhouse later today, I'll play for you. I've been working on my own song." It's a goofy, vulnerable, confession. He blushes harder saying this than when Audra came up as a topic of conversation. "It's, uh. It's a Blues song." What does the cheerful Hufflepuff have to sing the Blues about?

"Mmm, yes. I'll do that." No she won't. Cuddling is, in Morrow's mind, bracketed along with sappy love poems and a dozen red roses. Chintzy, tacky and an unnecessary preamble to the ultimate intent. Why bother? Folding her arms again - comfortably low across her midsection rather than in a defensive manner - the girl watches with idle interest as Oscar's demeanour transforms. Which does she prefer, the macho jock or the sensitive muso? Maybe she likes both. Maybe neither. But his blushing certainly seems to amuse her, judging by the grin tugging at her lips. "A blues song? Having girl trouble, Foxhall? Surely not.."

The mockery is gentle, given the scathing heights she's capable of. Maybe, despite the opinions of some, Morrow isn't actually a heartless ice queen at all? "If you want an avid audience, then very well. But I'm not coming to the greenhouse." The subtle wrinkle of her nose suggests she's not exactly a Herbology fan. Actually, maybe the perfectly manicured fingernails betray that more clearly.

"What? Girl trouble? Why, no.." Oscar seems genuinely surprised at the notion that he might have girl trouble. He considers Morrow, tilting his head as he observes the attention she pays to him. And then he smiles — it's the same slow, confident, grin that he's displayed before. "I don't really have girl troubles. No, this is something else." The smile slips a bit. "I call it the Half-Blood Blues."

He's watching Morrow closely now — even keenly, reading her reaction with an acute attention. Perhaps the song is a test of Morrow's 'virtue' — will she shy away, at the reminder that the Hufflepuff is no more than a 'breed'? There's a hint of anxiety in the way he continues on. "It's not quite finished."

"Well, that's a fair thing to be blue about, I suppose. If someone keeps bringing it up." Morrow's reaction is unfaltering. She doesn't need a reminder that he's only a half-breed, and nor, apparently, does he. While distinctly proud of her own heritage, the Ravenclaw doesn't have the same reputation as some notable others when it comes to insulting someone's lineage. Yes, she probably judges… but if so, she does it privately.

"It can wait til you're happy with it, if you like." offers the brunette, with an answering, charismatic smile for Oscar's confident grin. "Believe me, I know how pernickety artistic types can be, when it comes to their work. Perfectionism is a virtue, in my opinion!" Pushing upward to a proper stand and her full height once more, the girl unfolds her arms and glances past the Hufflepuff to the Library proper. "..I'm still not coming to the greenhouse, though. We'll figure something else out, when you're ready. Yes?" The enquiry is an afterthought, of course. Morrow fully expects to get her own way; in this and everything else.

"..Well, actually, I have a better place anyhow. There's a quiet spot in the gardens that I go to, sometimes." Oscar grins again, reaching to brush his dark hair back off his forehead and into its habitual part. Apparently, he's found whatever reaction he hoped to see in Morrow's expression — at the least, marked indifference. And really, he couldn't hope for more than that, could he? "Let's hold off on Half-Blood Blues, then. But there are some wonderful American songs I could play."

He considers Morrow for a few moments, head tilting to the side, and smiles. "Perfection should be pursued, I agree. But you have to be careful. Especially with music — if you make it magic-perfect, you lose something. Feeling. Emotion. Something like that. I don't have the right word for it." Oscar's honest, sun-darkened features twist for a moment. "Maybe there's not a word for it. But.. Do you know what I'm on about? Genuine feeling."

"Mmm.." Morrow looks vaguely dubious, but decides to humour the boy, seeing as he's clearly so earnest about the topic. "..I suppose it's similar to acting, in a way. Anyone can recite lines, but it takes heart to put feeling into them and bring a character to life." She flits him a glance up and aside, gauging his expression to ascertain whether that was the 'right' response. Or at least, that's the impression she gives. Who knows if she actually gives even the slightest damn what Oscar Foxhall - or anyone else, for that matter - thinks?

Drifting away from the boy's desk now, though only a few steps at first, the young lady adapts her usual facade of amused interest, settling the 'mask' firmly back in place. "Well, I'd best get back to the dorm. I promised Harriet I'd help her get ready for a big date tonight." Relenting to a faint, faux-grimace, she quirks a brow before strolling off. "..wish me luck?"

"Heart. Yes, that's the word I wanted." Oscar absently begins moving his fingers across his lap, exactly as though he were working the frets of a guitar as he talks, his eyes still sparkling with the excitement of the subject. Inarticulate he may be, when it comes to theory, but he knows how to talk to a girl. "I'm sure Harriet'll do fine." He allows just enough doubt — just enough condescension — to show that while Harriet might be perfectly alright on a date, there are others in the vicinity who would do better. As if Morrow needed to hear that.

"But good luck. As if you'll need it." Oscar's fingers are still working the imaginary frets and he finally tears his gaze away from Morrow's to glance down at a blank parchment in front of him. And then back to Morrow, smiling suddenly. "Maybe I'll see you in Hogsmeade?" Despite his surface assurance, there's the faintest hint of anxiety as he voices the question. Not, perhaps, at Morrow's answer — but at having said it at all.

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