(1941-07-07) The Knight and the Castle
Details for The Knight and the Castle
Summary: A brief trip on the Knight Bus soon has Mateo and Erica at his father's countryside home, which they plan to use for Quidditch practise over the summer.
Date: July 7th, 1941
Location: An old house in the woods, 30 miles outside London

It is a muggy morning in London, low hanging clouds obscuring some of the higher rooftops and causing the city below to be an environment of foggy uncertainty. Mateo Lovegood is waiting just outside of the Leaky Cauldron, one foot resting back against the wall of the pub. There had been an owl, of course, to set up a meeting time for he and Erica to get together to visit the farm outside London, and he was prompt as ever. There is a very worn and ragged looking black leather travel bag resting on the pavement near his leg.

It's so early… stifling a demure yawn behind one hand, Erica makes her way briskly toward the agreed meeting-place, a large carpet bag slung over one shoulder. That's where the practicality appears to end, however. She's attired in a pretty day-dress of pale violet - incidentally matching her subtle perfume - which falls to mid-calf, and prim, pristinely-polished Mary Janes, with a soft cardigan of cream wool wrapped about her to ward off the morning chill. Absently toying with a dainty necklace between a thumb and forefinger, the little blonde smiles warmly at the sight of the waiting figure outside the Cauldron and, having looked carefully both ways, she hurries across the street toward the taller boy, practically skipping now, her weariness forgotten. "Hiya!" Upon reaching him, she stands on tiptoe to brush a kiss across Mateo's cheek, if permitted, in greeting. "Ready to go?"

Dressed in a nice set of charcoal trousers and a white oxford that is tucked appropriately, Mateo blends easily enough into the Muggle foot traffic that makes their way to and fro before the Cauldron. As he spies Erica across the way, he is smiling broadly as she hurries toward him and she doesn't need worry of the older boy turning away her kiss as he stoops and wraps an arm around her to pull her into a warm one-armed hug. His eyes twinkle as he takes a step backward and stoops to retrieve his well worn, more appropriately described as decrepit, travel bag and then extends a hand toward Erica as he slings the bag over his other shoulder. "I am ready!" he agrees happily and then leads the girl toward a more secluded street before drawing his wand and raising it over the street. With a loud CRACK! a large purple triple decker bus appears and skids to a hault before the two Hogwarts students leaving a swirling cloud of smoke. The door opens and the conductor hops out onto the pavement, whereupon Mateo passes over some money and the destination.

The girl smiles, turning a pleasantly rosy shade of pink as she leans into that welcoming hug for a moment. Once he's retrieved his bag, she slips her smaller hand daintily into his offered one and follows after him without hesitation; hopping over a small puddle and keeping her shoes spotless. Thank goodness. Twining her fingers companionably with his, Erica keeps one eye on the uneven street underfoot as she speaks, in a cheerful tone that's less rare now that term is over. "How far out of the city is this place, then? I can't wait to see it…" While she's a city-girl, at heart, it'll be nice to spend a day away from the grey and glass and concrete in favour of greenery and fresh air.

Mateo climbs aboard the bus and leads Erica back to a comfortable couch set on the bottom level. He opens his mouth to reply when the Knight Bus launches itself forward with a BANG! and the couch skids several feet across the floor. Mateo lurches with the momentum and grabs cushions with his hand to keep him from falling completely over. He laughs aloud as he rights himself and then says, "Oh, it is about thirty miles outside of London or so, but with the Knight Bus we will be there super quick as long as there isn't a big line ahead of us. I think the Conductor said there were only about three others. Are you excited?"

Though she's no doubt traelled on the bus before, nothing ever quite prepares one for it's rather violent start-stoppiness. Erica's feet fly upward from the floor right as she takes a seat, rendering the whole motion rather unladylike and flinging her back against the cushions. Fortunately she seems to find it amusing rather than embarassing, giggling softly as Mateo laughs and attempting to shuffle to a more upright seated position. "Oh, that's not too bad at all. And yes! It was a great idea." Her expression is warm with approval as she regards the boy beside her. "Your father really doesn't mind us making it into our own little Quidditch Camp, then?" She sweeps back a strand of blonde hair that's been sent awry, flicking a glance to the road ahead to gauge whether any particularly abrupt turns are forthcoming.

Mateo shakes his head as he slips his travel bag onto the seat cushion beside him and looks to Erica with a smile, "He is locked away in his workshop in the attic. I told him we would be going, and hatching dragons and he only grunted and waved me away, so I take that as approval." His eyes twinkle beneath dark brows at the mischevious joking, lending to the idea that perhaps the Prefect is not as upright as he should be. The bus bangs and skids to a stop, and this time Mateo is ready, bracing himself with an arm against the armrest, the other clutching the back of the couch conveniently behind Erica. A stooped old woman shuffles past and disembarks and then the bus is off again, the couch skidding back into its proper place. "Have you had a good holiday so far?"

At this, Erica actually begins to laugh aloud, though she falls quiet again quickly when the bus pulls up. Clearing her throat, doing her best to appear unperturbed at the forced indignity as she's thrown about - well she's a lot smaller! - the blonde shakes her head in lingering amusement at Mateo. "You're so bad! What if he suddenly realises what you've said, three days later?" Ah, spoken with the voice of experience. She knows how it can be, getting engrossed in one's work. Not seeming to mind that clever placing of his arm, she likewise braces a hand against the armrest beside her, better prepared this time for the Knight Bus careering off again. "I have, actually. Things have been a bit quiet for Dad, what with the cost of petrol and such, so I've had more time for studying and practice.. oh, and I went shopping with Oscar and got a new maintenance kit for my broom."

Mateo nods his head and says, "I told father that I would be trying out for the Quidditch team when term starts back and would need a broom, so he gave me some gold and I went and got myself a new Cleansweep!" The careless way with which he describes his relationship with his father doesn't seem to bother the boy. "I haven't bumped into anyone from school yet. I started my apprenticeship with the Ministry, you know, so that has been keeping me busy. It is so neat working with the Oblivators. Seeing how they go about their work. I tried to talk one of them into teaching me how to do a Memory Charm but they didn't seem very willing. I guess that kind of magic isn't really given to students." He falls into another bout of laughter as the bus starts and stops once more, and then his eyes widen and he says, "OH! When we get there, I have a present for you! I forgot all about it before we got on the bus."

"You lucky thing." Erica looks suitably impressed, grinning up and aside at the boy. "..I'll maybe get a new broom if I make Seeker. But if not, I'll just stick with the old one.. there's nothing wrong with it, after all." It would be nice to have one a shiny new one, admittedly. But her determined smile implies she will be happy either way. Looking curious at the mention of Mateo's apprenticeship, the blonde turns to better face him, while still keeping that firm grip on the arm of the couch. "Ohh.. what sort of things have you been doing, so far? Is it awfully exciting? And no.. I don't suppose they want students running around Obliviating one another, do they.." She lapses into contemplation over this for a moment, before her companion's exclamation rouses her, with a blink. "A present?" Looking pleased but trying not to be too effusive about it, Erica tilts her head curiously. "..what's the occasion?"

Mateo smiles broadly and says, "There is no occasion. I have just been thinking about you and how your term ended, and when I got home I found something that shouted your name at me." He shrugs his shoulders lightly as he says, "I don't really have to have an occasion! I bought your owl on a whim, remember?" It is obvious given Mateo's expression that he is not bragging or dangling money in front of Erica, he simply has a desire to be nice. "As for my apprenticeship I have gotten to tag along on a few occasions that the Obliviators have been sent out. They are quite efficient, and so good at Glamers. I think that is what I want to do when I get out of school." He pauses as the Bus skids to a stop at a long dirt road that disappears into a thick copse of trees on either side and the conducter calls out, "Lovegood!" Mateo quickly pushes himself to his feet and says, "This is us. Don't forget anything." He grabs his bag and shoulders it before once more offering his hand to Erica and moving to disembark.

"That's true." muses Erica, in regard to the owl. And there's a subtle, shy sort of half-smile still tugging at her lips, when Mateo admits to having been thinking about her. But she gently sets all that aside, rather than ruin the moment by sticking her foot in her mouth. "Well, thank you in advance. I wish I'd known, I would have got you something, too." Starting somewhat, again, from her reverie as the bus skids to a halt, the girl looks up and around herself, looking delighted at the sight of the rolling English countryside outside the windows. "Ooh, that was quick.." Rising, she accepts Mateo's hand again and makes no move to let go as he leads her down toward the door and steps. "Is that everything.." she glances back at the couch, then down at the bag in her free hand, nodding firmly to herself. "Yes, that's everything."

Once they've alighted and the bus has stormed off once more in a swirl of dust and smoke and magic, the little blonde looks up at the taller boy again, open admiration in her expression. "You'd make a damn good Obliviator, I'd wager. I'm glad you're enjoying it." She hasn't quite decided on her own plans for the future, yet.. well, no further than spending the day with a handsome boy, anyway.

Mateo returns that warm expression with a smile and a dip of his head to press his lips softly to Erica's cheek. "Thank you, Erica. That means a lot to me that you think so." Straightening, he leads the girl onwards along the dirt road through the thick trees. He was true enough in his description of the property. The road is long and winding through the wood and there is nothing in sight through the trees other than more trees. It is a considerable hike along the road beforw finally they step out into a wide and sweeping clearing with a two story house. It isn't elaborate, but it is solid enough.
ooc mind if we pause a bit for rl?

Blushing - again - and flitting her eyes downward, Erica accepts the swift kiss to her cheek with a smile. "Well.. why wouldn't you be? You're awfully smart, and sensible.. and a prefect.." Realising she sounds a little silly, she trails off and shrugs, before reaffirming her cheerful decorum. Swinging their joined hands to and fro, she keeps up on the brisk walk relatively well, managing to cross the uneven terrain despite her poorly-chosen footwear. When they finally arrive, she comes to a halt by Mateo's side and takes in the simple house. She doesn't look dismayed or anything.. curious, perhaps. "Oh, it's better than I expected!" she admits, turning a smile toward the boy, all innocence. "I did worry you might be trapising us out to some little tumbledown shack in the woods. But I rather like it."

Mateo doesn't pause as he walks for the house. "It isn't much, but it is secluded and out of Muggle eyes. It lets father do his more… elaborite experiments without having to worry about Muggles straying too close." Once they have reached the front door, Mateo draws out his wand and directs it at the lock, a heavy mechanical thunk of the locking mechanism clunking in the door following. Pressing the heavy door inward reveals a jumble of stereotypical Lovegood outlandishness. Papers and schematics are folded and stacked haphazardly from floor to ceiling all across the room, narrow pig paths zigzagging through the towers to allow passage through the bottom level. Bookshelves full of thick volumes range the walls, and strange gizmos of Lovegood crafting are found in abundance. Mateo seems to pay no heed to any of this and moves along one path, having to let go of Erica's hand, the going is so narrow. He seems to know where he is going, because soon enough, a small wooden table is found and he places his leather bag atop it.

The smile begins to fade, slowly, as Mateo moves inside and leaves her standing on the threshold. Without his hand to guide her, the blonde instead holds her bag protectively before herself and tentatively begins to step through the doorway, eyeing the chaos and taking due care not to send anything toppling to the floor. "Oh my.. is it err.." Almost tripping over some manner of paperweight that's been left, inexplicably, on the floor, Erica winces and falters for a splitsecond before continuing. ".. always like this? Or..?" Or has an earthquake or some other full-scale disaster struck recently, is presumably what she's thinking. The books, at least, catch her interest and she gives the volumes a fleeting once over as she draws closer to Mateo. "What is all this stuff..?" Finally back beside him, she huddles in close, looking decidedly wide-eyed at the mess.

"Father works…." Mateo says as he casts an eye around at the towering clutter, "A lot," he finishes. "He is an inventor. He makes all kinds of contraptions, experiments with creating new magic and sending it to the Ministry to proof. He did a lot of traveling when he was younger. Right out of Hogwarts. That's how he met my mother." He trails away as he watches an elaborate Cookoo clock made of gold and polished blue glass strike the hour, only it isn't a bird that comes out but an enchanted miniature dragon which leaps from its perch and circles the room emiting a tiny roar before returning to disappear inside the clock.

Grasping at that thread, perhaps only to distract herself, Erica arches her brows up at Mateo. "You've never said much about your mother.. where did they meet? Was it all terribly romantic?" Following his gaze, the blonde can't help a soft 'oh' of surprise as the teeny dragon emerges and soars around the room. "..that's lovely. Did he make that?" Relaxing somewhat, she flits Mateo a curious look again, her smile warming. After another moment or two, she even dares to set her bag down next to his.. though her slender arms wrap that soft cardigan snugly around her waist. It's going to end up getting all dusty and cobwebby, isn't it…

Mateo smiles faintly and shakes his head. "My father never says much about her. From what I can gather father went on a summer abroad upon graduating Hogwarts and happened upon my mother who was working as a waitress in a bar. Her name was Margareta. He was drunk and she was looking for love." He trails away as he watches the clock begin to tic once more and then picks back up. "He went along his way and then returned to London. He didn't even know she was pregnant with me until he got word that she had died when I was born. He sent for me to be brought to him, and that is about how it has been since."

"Oh.. I'm sorry." She seems to genuinely mean it, too; regarding Mateo's features in abject sympathy and brushing her fingertips against his in an unthinking gesture of comfort. "No wonder you two are so fond, then." Not wanting to press him further on such unhappy memories, Erica looks around the room again, with a more purposeful air rather than horror. "Do you umm.. think he would take offence if we tidied up a little, while we're here? As a thank you for the use of the place?" Or, more simply, because it will drive her mad, otherwise. Still, it's a kind thought. She means well.

Mateo shrugs his shoulders and says, "I am not too concerned with if he minds or not. The place is kind of a dump. It needs a good cleaning." He trails away for a moment before his eyes return to Erica and he smiles, "And I think I know of just the girl for the job! Which reminds me of your present." He pulls the zipper on his travel bag and reaches inside. He begins pulling bottle after bottle from the inside, all of varying colors. There are blues and reds and greens and yellows, all of differing sizes and ten in total. The sprayers fixed atop the bottles are polished to a high shine and the bottles themselves look as though they could be made of hollowed out gemstones rather than glass with how they shine. "I thought this would be a suitable replacement for your cleaning solutions you make, given that Dolohov broke your other. He will have a hard time with these. They are one of father's inventions. Near unbreakable glass. I have not seen someone manage to break one yet, though I am not sure he tested it with a giant's weight."

"I'd be happy to help.." replies the girl before she settles to eyeing that bag curiously. Well, who doesn't love presents?! Looking bemused as first one.. then two.. and eventually ten bottles are set out, Erica's expression clears when the young man offers his explanation, and she stoops to better regard them on the table; not daring to touch, it seems. "Ohhh.. but they're too pretty to use!" she exclaims, her brown eyes only reluctantly looking away from them in order to glance up at Mateo. She looks undeniably thrilled; likely as much for the thought that went into it as the colourful bottles themselves. "Aw, Matty, thank you." Briefly forgetting their dusty, cluttered surroundings, the blonde moves to wrap her arms around the taller boy in a warm embrace, only tall enough for her head to settle in the hollow of his shoulder. "I love them." Chuckling softly, she turns her face up toward him, grinning broadly. "And I promise not to leave them in the path of any giants if I can help it."

Mateo slips his arms around Erica and pulls her close to him as she approaches, his part of the embrace just as warm. He smiles down at her as she turns her face upward, their faces suddenly quite close. "Well he claims them to be unbreakable, so you don't have to worry about them messing up or anything. I just thought that you would be able to make enough of your potions and if Dolohov comes along again, you can use one to break his head."

"Thank you.." she murmurs again, though the momentary down-up flit of her lashes perhaps implies that Erica's suddenly quite aware of their proximity. Biting gently at her lower lip, she summons a brighter expression. "I'd be delighted too take part in that experiment." She doesn't release him from the bearhug.. but she does shyly offer a prompt. "Umm.. what else? Show me the rest of the house..?" At times, she can be downright bashful, when it comes to Mateo. This is one of them. Though she does relent to smoothing his shirt with a sweep of her palm, still held close.

Mateo's smile persists as he holds the girl close to him, his hands clasped behind her. He stoops further and gently presses his lips to Erica's, the touch soft enough that it almost doesn't even happen. Standing back upright, Mateo nods his head and reluctantly slips away from Erica to lead her along the lower level. There are two bedrooms on the bottom floor, as well as a washroom and kitchen. The stairs are rickety and narrow, and the upper floor consists of one long and open room/workshop.

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