Death by Poltergeist
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Death by Poltergeist

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Death by Poltergeist Empty Death by Poltergeist

Post by Johnny G. Murray on Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:05 pm

Very often had Johnny feared for his grades, his reputation, his future, his parents’ expectations, his continued attendance at Hogwarts.

Rarely had he feared for his life.

He'd woken up late- overslept his alarm, forgotten by his housemates- and rushed out of bed in a frenzy, pulling on his trousers backwards and doing up his shirt wrong, tie thrown around his collar, shoes untied and socks forgone. He'd rushed up to breakfast, found the hall empty, realised he'd left his bag in the dorms, run back down, torn through the room, finally found it under Jamal's bed, clattered out of the common room and up the stairs, 45 minutes late to Transfiguration and bellyfull of dread. Not even Professor Lupin would let 3 late arrivals in 1 week go unpunished and his first assignment had been Dreadful- he couldn't afford to fall behind. Further behind.

He was only halfway there when his hastily thrown together bag had bounced too hard and a textbook had fallen out with a thud. He'd skidded to a stop and lurched back to grab it- forgetting his untied laces. In the rush and muddle he'd tripped, tumbling back down the staircase and somehow- by complete accident, he swears- his foot had connected with something that had connected with something else.

The first something was a cat.

The second something was Peeves.

He'd heard the initial yelp and the responding screech, but didn't know either of these things until the poltergeist barrelled around the corner, grappling with the terrified cat- no, kneazle, definitely a kneazle, definitely angry- and spotted him. Its mouth was full but Peeves' was not, except for an unholy shriek, illegible at first but forming words as it gained in rage and proximity.

"YOU MEASLY, LOATHSOME LITTLE TOAD!"

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to, I'm sorry-

"I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS-"

There was a snap, a whoosh, an almighty clatter- a burst of pain at one of his feet. Portraits were plummeting from the walls, their inhabitants wailing and bellowing as they fell around his head, on his head. Johnny staggered up, hands curved protectively over that same head.

He ran. Textbook abandoned, heart battering his chest, adrenaline pounding his legs like pistons against the steps.

"RUN ALL YOU WANT!"

"I'm sorry!"

"I'M COMING FOR YOU!"

He tore up the stairs and down a hall, two, but the sprint soon became a limp as his momentum flagged, the echoes of Peeves' shouts tailing him all the way. He couldn't even outfly a bludger- how long could he outrun a ghost?

He needed shelter. His eyes, bleary no more, spotted the next set of stairs and he suddenly felt- not hope, exactly, but direction. And the certainty of help, if he could find it.

Who else was probably also late?

It wasn't exactly a long shot but it felt like one at that moment, staring at his own fast-approaching end. Too late. He was hobbling up to the Ravenclaw Tower, praying desperately for it not to be empty, not to be a dead-end.

He sagged against the door. His hands were too shaky to grasp the knocker so he pounded at it with his fist, gulping down breaths in-between guttural yells.

“MARGO! OPEN UP!”

Human, but not a Being-

“IT'S URGENT! PLEASE!”

intelligent, but a Beast-

“LET ME IN- no, sorry, I’m a Hufflepuff-“

foul in the west-

“I don’t know, sorry, PLEASE!”

and fair in the east-

“HELP! MARGO! IT'S JOHNNY!”

What am I?

"MARGO! HELP!"

The knocker’s silence felt like the final knell, leaving only his last pitiful cry (“Margoooo“) to echo against the stone. In the distance, the faint crashing sound of a vengeful poltergeist upending the hallways rang out the percussive rhythms of his oncoming demise. Getting louder, closer, to where he waited, chest heaving and skin damp, for his saviour or fellow sacrifice.

Zoey was right.

He wasn't making it to his NEWTs. Not at this rate.
Johnny G. Murray
Johnny G. Murray
Fifth Year Hufflepuff
Fifth Year Hufflepuff

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Post by Margo P. Richards on Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:02 am

So. Here’s the thing.

Margo had studied for the practical demonstration. For once, she had studied. And she was pretty proud, honestly. Getting a quill to transform into a hat was... well, she wasn’t sure why that was useful. Bad hair days! That was one.

But she could do it. That was important.

She got to class, feeling pretty proud.

Longbottom went first - she always did. She took the quill, set it on the ground, and waved her wand - the wrong way too! And the words - double wrong!

And then the quill become a cat. Margo let out a laugh, causing the bulk of the class and a very irritated Ace to look at her. Professor Lupin cleared his throat. “Very good, Miss Longbottom. And it’s even a different color than the feather. Very good.”

Margo leaned over to Molly. “I thought it was supposed to be a hat.”

“Cat.”

“Yeah, but I thought-“

“Cat.”

“My notes said-“

“Cat.”

Her throat went dry. She glanced around and Molly was being called up. It would be her turn soon. And she only knew how to make a bloody hat.

Her hand shot up.

“Professor, I don’t feel very well.”

“Okay, well you can go to the hospital wing once you perform your spell.”

“No I can’t.”

The professor cocked his head and opened his mouth to speak. But Margo had the trump card.

“It’s my period, sir. And it’s a doozy. A real gusher.”

She had never heard such an uproar and she could still hear it in the quiet of common room as she jabbed her wand at a quill that refused to do anything more than twitch and meow. That class wouldn’t be forgotten for some time but she prided herself on having next to no shame. She dared someone to call her on it, to try to make her feel bad. She wouldn’t. Especially if she could master this stupid spell.

That was when she heard the banging. She looked around the empty common room, as though there were another Margo that the disembodied voice of Johnny Murray would be calling for. Finally she opened the portrait and he darted inside, while she reserved a little chiding frown for Peeves.

She closed the door behind him and let out a little sigh. “Rough day?”
Margo P. Richards
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Post by Johnny G. Murray on Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:11 pm

Johnny rushed (fell, but who's checking) past Margo into the common room the second the door opened, not stopping until he'd put a good few metres between him and the threshold. Just in time, too, because Peeves barely got in a final screech before the door was shutting again and he was safe.

Safe, tie-less, truant, and terrified. But alive. That was something.

He couldn't help pacing to the windows, checking their latches with still-shaky hands. Only when he was sure beyond doubt that the common room was secure did he quietly walk back to the door, laying his ear against it and holding a much steadier finger to his lips, wide eyes meeting Margo's above it.

Rough day? The day hadn't even started! Or it had, but it had done it without him.

Silence. He deflated, shoulders losing their tension and eyes closing in relief, breath forcing itself out in an exhale.

His re-opened eyes were full of gratitude, the slow head-shake heavy with exhaustion, confusion, and disbelief. Wonder at the disastrous fluke and the narrow escape. His now-empty bag dropped to his feet with a thud.

"You don't know how relieved I am to see you. Really thought I was a goner there. It was worse than that time with the Giant Squid!" Emphasis delivered, he trudged back to the sofa and threw himself onto it, landing on his back with an oof.

That was when the full weight of his situation hit him and he abruptly sat back up, elbows meeting knees, hands meeting the sides of his head. His already haphazard hair sprung up around his fingers.

"This is it, Margo. I'm gonna fail Transfig. Second week back and it's already over." A moment of silence as he stared at his untied shoes, absorbing the truth of the statement, the bigger disaster awaiting him. Then his head lifted slowly, hands falling away and meeting beneath his chin in a steeple. She wasn't in her pyjamas. Her uniform wasn't falling apart. But she wasn't in class.

"Did you go to breakfast?"
Johnny G. Murray
Johnny G. Murray
Fifth Year Hufflepuff
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Post by Margo P. Richards on Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:12 pm

Poot Johnny.

It was nearly every day that the thought crossed her mind, though she tried not to say it out loud. She wasn’t great at censoring herself, (Exhibit A… gusher) but she was sensitive to the needs of her friends. She knew how it felt to be underestimated and pitied. Usually she didn’t mind, it meant she got a free pass for things that took work and effort. But Johnny worried in a way she didn’t. She figured that things, more or less, worked out in the end. She could see it in his face - he wore disappointment like she wore smiles and crop tops. Often.

He gave himself one moment, one moment to deflate and feel sorry for himself… before he imploded in on himself.

She summoned the best impression of her mother, chiding look, hands on hips. “Johnathon Gary Murray.” Well, it was a good effort. “With that attitude, you just might.” But she softened - she was the furthest thing from a disciplinarian. She walked over and sat next to him, slinging an arm around him and reaching up to smooth his hair, ever affectionate, ever unaware of potential boundaries. “Look, if you’re failing, so am I. And my plan is to seduce Lupin before that happens, so I’ll make sure you’re part of the terms.” She smiled at him as reassuringly as possible.

“I did - oh, are you hungry? I have snacks! Watch - Accio snacks!

A moment later, crisps and candy pelted them. She beamed at him. “Always works with snacks, I think because I really mean it when I say it.”
Margo P. Richards
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Post by Johnny G. Murray on Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:34 pm

Johnny was confused, for the barest second, as to who Margo was addressing- and so seriously too. It wasn't the attempt at severity so much as the name that was surprising. His parents never addressed him as anything other than Johnny and his teachers went for Murray more often than not, but still. Didn't Margo know his name was John?

"Actually-"

But she was moving towards him, lecture abandoned. He tried to shift over to make more space for her only her arm came up around his shoulders and then she was stroking his hair, offering the reassurance he probably did need.

Johnny was a prolific receiver of hugs. His mum, when caught in a good mood, loved nothing more than to hold him to her, ruffling his hair and squeezing him tight, her warm laugh tickling his ear and her perfume filling his nostrils. Zoey, too, used physical touch as a way of ascertaining his presence, his health, his wholeness every time he turned up on her doorstep, sheepish and disheveled. They were rote, usually, mechanical, sometimes, but not sparse and not unexpected, her small frame protective even as his own steadily grew.

Margo had his mum's easy warmth and his sister's instinctive affection and maybe, had she been any other teenage girl- or had she been herself and he a different teenage boy (because plenty of boys would give a leg to be in his position, he knew)- it would have registered as something less platonic. But this was Margo, who'd seen him through breakdowns and battles (Giant Squid included) and vice versa. Margo, whose solution to every problem was almost as outlandish as the problem itself.

Her next words had him springing away slightly, though. Not in alarm, because that would require surprise. And not in objection, either, because was there anything he wouldn't do to pull up his grades at this point?

Whatever response was forgotten again as he was pelted with food. He tore into the packet of crisps that had landed right on his lap in a starved fashion, trying (and failing) not to spill crumbs over his trousers. Mouth full, head nodding in agreement as she spoke.

"Yeah, intent is everything. That's what Professor Smethwyck said." He swallowed too soon, coughed, shot her a choked but grateful grin.

“Thanks Margo. But listen, don't bother seducing Lupin. I don’t think he fancies you." Said with full seriousness and no hesitation. He paused in his chewing to consider, brows drawing together. "Maybe we should get tutors. Did you manage to turn that quill into a cat? 'Cause mine grew whiskers but that was it." Another pause. A peer. Dawning understanding. "That's why you skipped class?"
Johnny G. Murray
Johnny G. Murray
Fifth Year Hufflepuff
Fifth Year Hufflepuff

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Post by Margo P. Richards on Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:34 pm

Physical touch was love language one through five for her. Her family had always been affectionate and loving, but she was starved for non-sexual touching at Hogwarts. Molly wasn't touchy. The Yaxley twins refused to let her hold them. She and Ducky had to be careful to keep their hands off each other - it was already complicated enough with Molly and Bev's whatever that was. Margo was quick to hold hands and hug and squeeze, but not many people let her.

Johnny was almost like her little pet in that way. If she asked him to go somewhere, he went. He let her ruffle his hair. He came when he was called. And he at least pretended to be happy to see her most times - though she wasn't sure he'd be good at lying.

Yes, her little pet. Except... not demeaning somehow.

He seemed better, between her embrace and her crisps (or rather, her dormmate's crisps. Whoops!) She rolled her lips in amusement at his claim about Lupin. She opened her mouth to explain that whether or not he fancied her had anything to do with it... but she supposed he could figure that out some other time.

She frowned at his suggestion of tutors. "I don't think my parents would pay for a tutor in every subject. I guess we should decide which subjects we're okay with failing."

Her frown deepened at his question, her lips twisting into an awkward grimace. "Right. So... My notes said hat... So I'm pretty good at turning it into a hat." She sat for a moment, staring with bulging eyes at a point somewhere on the wall, before she sighed. "Didn't realize 'til Ace turned her quill into a tabby. So... I ran for it."
Margo P. Richards
Margo P. Richards
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Post by Johnny G. Murray on Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Johnny's mouth was still full but that didn't stop the wince that accompanied her explanation, the small frown that claimed his features. He dropped the crisp packet on the sofa (upside down, crumbs tumbling) and looked around for something to wipe his hands with, settling for a swipe on his trousers. The hand nearest to Margo met her shoulder in a reassuring pat. He leaned forward to meet her gaze.

"I'd rather know how to turn it into a hat, honestly. Bet that'd come in handy. When are we ever gonna need a cat?" His brows scrunched as he seriously considered this scenario. "I mean, you can just buy one." With a shake of his head, he turned his attention back to her. There was nothing he could say about Ace, who was unsurprisingly two steps ahead. Typical. Prefects for you.

That re-directed him to his original train of thought and his hand dropped from her shoulder, tugging her knee instead so they faced each other more.

"Not real tutors, that'd cost a mortgage." Like his parents didn't argue enough about the actual one. "Let's make a list of students who're good at each subject. Don't they have teacher assistants or whatever they're called now? We can give them something- not money, erm... Favours. Trade favours for help!"

A grin burst through at this breakthrough. Wide eyes trained on hers, willing them to see the genius in this plan. Favours! Almost free, really.
Johnny G. Murray
Johnny G. Murray
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Post by Margo P. Richards on Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:33 pm

She flung her arms out as though to say that's what I said before slumping back, eyes closing as she frowned. School was hard, harder than it should have been. She could take a nap right here, pretend there wasn't three essays do and a Potions demonstration next week...

She remembered Professor Lupin's face as she ran from the room. Her lips upturned and she snorted.

She felt him pull her knee and her eyes slid open, though she remained lazily slumped into the couch, a look of almost defiance on her face. She wanted to drop out, dammit, this was too hard.

He explained his idea and she stated at him, face unchanging. The suggestion held between them for a moment. And then.

"I'm going to kiss you full on on your beautiful, f-cking face, you genius." She sat up, eyes brightening as she grabbed him by the shoulders, shaking him. "DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, JOHNNY! This is genius! A game changer. GAME CHANGER." She was still shaking him.
Margo P. Richards
Margo P. Richards
Fifth Year Ravenclaw
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Post by Johnny G. Murray on Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:06 pm

For a second Johnny worried that Margo wasn't on board, that she hadn't seen his vision and didn't believe in its potential. But this was, as he'd said, Margo, and if anyone had ever grasped the pure unfiltered essence of his ideas it was her.

He grinned, grasping her face with his hands and nodding furiously as she shook him.

"YES! It's a new start! We're gonna smash these OWLs, Margo! Forget Ace! This is our year. OUR YEAR."

He was laughing, joy, relief, disbelief fizzing around in his chest. Could this be it? Was this what they'd been missing for the last five years? They needed to get started. There was no time to waste- this was their future!

"Accio parchment!" He waited, frowning. Tried again. "Accio parchment!" Oh, no wand. Lucky Margo was a dab hand at that one. His expression turned serious. "We need to make a list."
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Post by Christabelle Whittle on Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:45 am

A free period. A time to unwind and not focus on studies. At least, that’s what normal people did at school. Christy, far from normal was really already biting off a bit much. Captain of the Quidditch team, teacher’s aide for divination, and had been selected to be the seventh-year prefect for Ravenclaw. It was too much for normal people, but here she was getting the things she would need to catch up on some much needed studying that she had been putting off until this moment.

At least, that was until she heard yelling from the common room. She could hardly get any studying done, or complete assignments with that going on. She put her things back down on her bed and walked down towards the common room.

Seeing Margo and Johnny, she looked a bit perplexed, “You’re not a Ravenclaw.” She said standing in the common room staring at them, “And Margo, aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?” she asked her curiously.
Christabelle Whittle
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Seventh Year Ravenclaw

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