Title: if there's somethin' weird, and it don't look good
Description: who ya gonna call? Probably not Grugvor!
Grugwyn Rufford - October 16, 2011 06:55 PM (GMT)
Grugwyn Rufford was not a boy who wasted his time, as a rule. He liked to ensure that he had something to puzzle over, even when he was busy doing other things. It as almost a layering system in his brain, he needed his school work, at least one project of his own, and then several minor things that he could focus on in the mean time. One such minor point of focus was his interest in ghosts -- oh, not the entities themselves, they were tedious. He had very little interest in the spiritual world. In fact, he found it utterly banal that somebody might choose to remain posthumously in order to wander the place they had once lived; why wouldn't you have a least a passing educational interest in the beyond? Ghosts could tell him nothing he did not already know about the afterlife.
No. Grugwyn's interest was purely in the scientific. He wanted to develop a way to transport ghosts -- just to capture and remove them -- from the premises. He was hoping it would be generic enough to encompass Peeves, but as the poltergeist was easily the most difficult spirit to catch and keep in one place, he had started with actual spirits. Had Grugwyn been a remotely thoughtful boy he might have considered the Grey Lady off limits in this regard, such was the bitter torment of her existence -- but the story had never interested him, and he only vaguely knew the details.
The reason he was there looking for her was because she was, physically, usually the closest to his bedroom. It was little more than that. With him, he carried a messenger bag filled with equipment -- he had different electrodes that he could power with his wand, and he fully intended to try to find out if she could feel any of them.
Surely ghosts were just particles. They had to be carbon based, everything was. Eventually there would be something that effected them and then he would be able to contain them somehow. And then -- well, then he would be bored with it, Grugwyn did not often thing terribly laterally about such matters. He hadn't thought of patenting it or making it into a business, he just -- wanted to know if it could be done.
Standing at the foot of Ravenclaw tower, he wondered how one went about attracting a ghost.
"Ch-ch-ch-ch?" he made a noise with his mouth as though trying to summon a cat (he had used the same method on Ivor with varying results).
Ivor Dillonsby - November 2, 2011 10:14 PM (GMT)
It occurred to Ivor on occasion that he should probably stop smoking—and one of those occasions was now, as he considered the long, laborious climb up to Ravenclaw Tower from the grounds lying around Hogwarts castle. Why he had thought it would be a good idea to go smoke behind the greenhouses, he quite honestly had no idea; it had just seemed to him at the time to be one of the quieter, more abandoned places on campus, but when he had arrived he'd found it practically bustling with activity.
So he'd gone slinking off, trying to avoid catching anyone's attention; he really hadn't want to come up with an explanation as to why he wasn't in the Library, which really wasn't a very funny question after five years of people thinking that it was.
Finally he'd managed to indulge in a cigarette by the Quidditch stadium, which was a horrendously long walk now that he stopped to think about it, almost completely out of breath as he stood near the entrance to the castle, brushing a few stray flakes of ash from his pants. It was going to take a moment for him to catch his breath, it seemed; he leaned against the doorway at the bottom of the stairs, panting slightly, waiting impatiently to be able to climb the damn stairs again.
It was a good thing Grugwyn wasn't here to lecture at him about the disadvantages that accompanied smoking with asthma—or smoking in general. Grugwyn's opinion was the last thing in the world that Ivor wanted to hear right now, and—
An all-too familiar sound caught his attention as he leaned against the doorway at the bottom of the stairs and he straightened immediately as if he'd been caught doing something he hadn't. How many times had Grugwyn tried to get his attention as if he was some sort of bloody cat? He'd lost count after the time Grugwyn had gone ch-ch-ch-ch-ch a little too insistently and Ivor had thrown a book at his head.
"Merlin, Grugwyn," he said, assuming the noise was being made for him, "how many times do I have to tell you to use my name?"
As soon as the question left his mouth, he realized that he was probably going to receive a depressingly accurate answer, and most likely in the name of "science."
Grugwyn Rufford - November 5, 2011 12:15 AM (GMT)
"It hardly seems necessary to make the distinction," Grugwyn pointed out mildly, "because you appear to answer to it in spite of your own objections. But the answer to your question is 'once', as I did not intend to summon you in this instance, Ivor."
He turned to look at the other boy, eyelids flitting downwards in a brief but ultimately judgemental glance at his overall appearance. Grugwyn liked everything and everybody to look symmetrical and it was rare that Ivor, with his floppy hair and his apparent penchant for wearing his clothes very slightly askew, conformed to these aesthetics.
"Are you wheezing?" He had an unpleasant manner of phrasing his observations as questions. It was always apparent that he knew the answer even as he posed it, and it never failed to allow for an awkward pause as he waited expectantly for the other person to confirm what ultimately everybody in the room knew to be the truth. He hadn't even meant it as a form of requesting a status update on Ivor's personal health. It wasn't 'how are you' it was 'you are wheezing', laid out a little higgledy-piggledy.
He removed a quill from his pocket and dabbed the tip of it on his tongue before he began to scratch on a small notepad he kept, pausing, once, to look up and confirm his observations before committing them to the page.
Ivor Dillonsby - November 5, 2011 03:07 PM (GMT)
"No," he said, and immediately gave himself the lie when he started coughing. It took a moment for him to subdue it, and it left him rather breathless, so he added a bit weakly, "Just out of breath. It's a long walk up from the Quidditch pitch, you know."
He hated justifying himself. If there was anything Ivor absolutely couldn't stand, though, it was proving Grugwyn correct, and he did it far too often for his own comfort. It was bad enough that the other Ravenclaw stood there judging him—so what if his tie didn't ever hang quite perfectly straight? It wasn't as if he wore a bow tie, unlike some people he could mention, namely the one currently present.
It only took a moment of watching Grugwyn filling out his endless notes and observations—a surprisingly large number of them about Ivor himself, much to his constant discomfiture—before Ivor lost his patience with it. He reached out and swatted at Grugwyn's quill, fingers brushing against the feather, hoping pettily to spoil at least a single line of the notes, if not a whole page thanks to an errant link of ink or the quill leaking.
"Stop it, Grugwyn," he said shortly, breath mostly back now. Of course, it would be gone again before he got to the top of Ravenclaw Tower and he'd have to wait before answering that blasted riddling doorknob, but that was for later. "There's no possible reason you need to be taking notes."
Grugwyn Rufford - November 5, 2011 08:28 PM (GMT)
"For my own future reference," Grugwyn corrected him. "Each time you say one thing but mean another I feel the need to note the circumstances, that way I might one day discover the reason for it."
Grugwyn subscribed to the philosophy that simply asking about matters such as that one was a wasted effort, as asking someone why they lied surely only invited them to lie about why, and therefore the results were useless to him. He had allowed, of course, for a small ratio of error on his part in deducing Ivor's duplicity. As Ivor's hand smacked the top of the quill, Grugwyn pursed his lips in irritation and flipped the book shut.
"Given the smell of you I expect it would be foolhardy to suggest that you were even playing Quidditch," he added, unable to resist it. He didn't much care for the scent of tobacco. He pocketed his quill and notebook then, and adjusted his blazer with a sharp tug. "I'm looking for the Grey Lady, if you must know," he revealed. "For the purposes of conducting an experiment."
With that, he opened his satchel and removed a y-shaped stick and held it out from his body, watching the end of it intently.
Ivor Dillonsby - November 5, 2011 09:49 PM (GMT)
Ivor scowled and brushed uselessly at his jacket, as if he could wipe the smell of tobacco away without actually laundering his uniform first. Of course, his motions were in vain, and instead he looked back up at Grugwyn when he mentioned the Grey Lady, immediately forgetting what he'd going to say in his own self-defence. He hadn't been lying, he'd just been explaining to Grugwyn that he hadn't been wheezing.
Not that he would admit it aloud, Ivor was rather protective of the House ghost; he was certain that of the Ravenclaws, he was the one who spent the most time talking with her, listening to her talk about what the wizarding world had been like when she'd been alive at the founding of Hogwarts—back when Ancient Runes had been just runes and everyone had used them to write. She'd even checked some of his essays for accuracy, and been gracious enough to point him in the right direction of some historical manuscripts he'd never have thought to read on some rather fascinating topics.
"What sort of experiment?" he demanded suspiciously. "Grugwyn, you're not supposed to bother the Grey Lady for some ridiculous experiment."
He'd never quite understood Grugwyn's fascination with science; to Ivor, everything could could solved with a flick of his wand and a spell. It was the same concept he struggled with in Astronomy, the idea of tiny invisible particles crashing about and making the world run due to some inexplicable laws made up of numbers and indecipherable symbols.
Grugwyn Rufford - November 12, 2011 02:46 PM (GMT)
"You don't know whether or not she might find it bothersome," Grugwyn pointed out, though he knew the chances were that the ghost would indeed object to his idea, not because he understood socially that what he was asking set a dangerous precedent, but because prior experience dictated that hardly anyone, spectral or otherwise, appreciated Grugwyn's efforts in the name of science.
"I intend to try to discover if it would be feasible to capture and relocate a spectral presence," he explained, gesturing a box-shape with long fingers, "and I require a ghost to indicate whether or not they can feel certain frequencies and electrical charges."
He hoisted his bag up then and dug in it to remove one of his home-made cattle prods. Setting it to provide a (comparatively) low static shock, there was a loud hum as it powered (from a car battery Grugwyn lugged everywhere) and then he poked Ivor's exposed hand with it.
Ivor Dillonsby - November 12, 2011 03:26 PM (GMT)
"I'm sure she will," he said sourly, watching with ill-concealed, grudging interest as Grugwyn pulled some sort of rod from his bag. It looked like some sort of crude, metallic wand, although no wand that Ivor had ever seen hummed like that. "She'll never agree, Grugwyn, sh--"
Ivor's customary, habitual berating of Grugwyn was cut off when the end of the rod was applied to his hand, sending a jolt of electricity up his arm past his elbow that left his hand and fingers sore and tingling.
"What the hell!" he said angrily, shaking out his hand, trying to prevent the feeling of pins and needles from spreading past his wrist. It might be a Muggle phrase, but Ivor felt that it appropriately communicated his shock (pun not intended; Ivor's puns were bilingual) and displeasure. "Merlin, Grugwyn, what is that? What are you doing with it? No!" He backed up, hands held up defensively in front of him as if that would prevent another unpleasant electrical experience, although the fingers of his shocked hand curled slightly; he couldn't manage to straighten them completely. "Don't point that thing at me."
Grugwyn Rufford - November 16, 2011 08:49 PM (GMT)
"It is a rudimentary cattle prod of my own design," Grugwyn said proudly, "and it delivers electrical shocks up to several thousand volts. I intend to discover at what threshold, if any, ghosts can interact with electricity. If it transpired that they can there may be some precedence for trapping them in an electro-magnetic field."
He showed singularly no remorse for shocking Ivor, if anything he was gleeful that it had worked so well.
"Just imagine it -- if I can capture the Grey Lady I might well be able to adapt it to suit non-ghostly entities, like poltergeists."
Peeves and Grugwyn had never been on good terms. Grugwyn wouldn't have minded in the least if he had a viable weapon against the horrid little man, for it was one thing to accept abuse from every walk of life in the student body and quite another to find oneself the subject of it from a spiritual entity that had no acknowledgeable redeeming qualities.
"Do you know where she usually appears?" he asked Ivor suddenly. "It would save considerable time if I had regular haunts to visit."
Ivor Dillonsby - November 20, 2011 12:28 AM (GMT)
Ivor had very little idea what electromagnetic fields were (there was a reason he'd gotten that shameful E in Muggle Studies), but from what he'd just experienced of what he suspected might be part of one, they weren't very pleasant.
"Of course I know where she usually appears," he said irritably, unable to to deny the fact even if he did want to keep Grugwyn from crossing paths with the Grey Lady. That was the problem with constantly scraping for recognition of the things he was good at: even if he didn't feel like sharing the information, he couldn't help but tell. "But I'm not going to tell you. There's no reason to take that thing near our House ghost."
The whole idea seemed ridiculous to him, especially since it involved an attempt at capturing the Grey Lady. That struck Ivor as particularly rude: the Grey Lady was quiet and lovely and polite and was just generally not to be shocked with any sort of home-made cattle prod. It was generally accepted that she was reserved and rarely deigned to grace anyone outside of Ravenclaw with her presence; even those who were members of the House occasionally had trouble finding her.
The fact that she spoke to Ivor quite frequently and didn't seem to mind his company was a point of pride.
"Why don't you just go test it on Peeves first, then, if you're just going to adapt it for him anyway?" he demanded. Grugwyn didn't need to bother the Grey Lady.
Grugwyn Rufford - November 21, 2011 11:48 PM (GMT)
"Peeves is difficult to catch," Grugwyn said. "And the device I would have to make to launch it at him would be best used on something I might at least predict with some accuracy. Besides which, I don't see how inconveniencing Peeves is any different to inconveniencing the Grey Lady. The difference between them is a point of convenience for me."
Grugwyn sniffed, and looked at Ivor expectantly. "If you don't care to tell me where she is I will find her on my own."
Ivor Dillonsby - November 22, 2011 05:04 PM (GMT)
"The Grey Lady is far less obnoxious," Ivor said in what was possibly the year's greatest understatement thus far. "Besides," he added, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the wall, "if you can't find her, it's probably because she doesn't want you to find her. But I'll watch you look for her."
At least that would provide an afternoon's amusement, trailing Grugwyn around Hogwarts, watching him try to find the Grey Lady while Ivor himself tried to direct him away from her favourite haunts. Really, it was repayment for all the help she'd given him in History of Magic and in Ancient Runes and her patience and her willingness to read papers and theses and, for a ghost, she really was a nice... person.
Grugwyn Rufford - December 19, 2011 02:42 PM (GMT)
The notion that Ivor might be a spectrophiliac had not yet occurred to Grugwyn, but it would, eventually, and on that day Ivor's life would become infinitely less pleasant.
"Science does not recognise degrees of obnoxiousness," Grugwyn commented, though he had already switched his attention to searching once more, "and what would you possibly gain from watching me look?"
What an odd thing to say. Grugwyn fundamentally did not understand the pleasure process in humans; that people read fiction or enjoyed films or otherwise derived it from abstract concepts like seeing Grugwyn's fruitless search take place evaded him completely. He was an avid player of Gobstones, but not because it was fun, because he had a particular skill at it. He would never undertake something unless he knew he was going to be absolutely successful in the venture, save for science in which failure itself was often revelatory.
It was why history held no interest for him. He led the way down a corridor, and resumed his"Ch-ch-ch" call.
Ivor Dillonsby - December 23, 2011 02:38 AM (GMT)
"You should develop a scale for it," Ivor said nastily, "instead of shocking people without so much as an 'Excuse me, Ivor, this is for science.'" He straightened from where he leaned against the wall, following Grugwyn down the corridor while ensuring that he remained out of the other Ravenclaw's arm's reach. After all, he had no desire whatsoever to be shocked again.
Hearing the too-familiar "ch-ch-ch" directed at someone else - especially at the Grey Lady - was slightly surreal; without realising it, Ivor had almost internalised the call as something that he ought to respond to, as much as it infuriated him. But he followed Grugwyn anyway, as habit demanded, trying to decide which would be more awkward, crossing his arms again or letting them hand at his sides. In the end, he compromised and slipped his hands into his pockets, wishing he could smoke in the castle without risking points taken away by an over enthusiastic prefect or receiving detention from that same prefect.
After a moment in which the silence was filled only by their footsteps and the incessant "ch-ch-ch," which continued as if Grugwyn expected it to actually summon a ghost - much less the Grey Lady - he cleared his throat and said, scowling, "I was hoping it would at least be amusing, but this is remarkably unexciting."
Not, of course, that he was going to leave.
Grugwyn Rufford - December 30, 2011 02:56 PM (GMT)
"If warning had been provided you would have steeled yourself against it," Grugwyn said, as though it justified everything, "which would have lessened the effectiveness of the shock and delivered less accurate results for me. Now I know roughly the strength to which it is set; you might take comfort in knowing that you were at least useful for once."
Though Grugwyn's words were certainly inflammatory it was his dispassionate delivery that made him the most irritating: not only was he being unreasonable, rude and provocative, he was doing it without so much as a hint of his own emotional investment.
"Excitement is such an arbitrary measurement of an activity," he added, as an afterthought. "One might address one's own expectations instead of blaming external sources."
Grugwyn didn't like variables like 'exitement' or 'happiness', they weren't easy to measure or reproduce, and he was even more flummoxed by the fact that when one discovered a source of excitement the repetition of the same exact act often seemed each time to provide a lesser thrill. In his inimitable fashion, Grugwyn considered happiness and excitement to be ever-depleting finite resources.
Ivor Dillonsby - January 2, 2012 06:43 AM (GMT)
As nasty as Ivor could be, the flatness of Grugwyn's delivery was, perhaps, even worse, because no matter how pleased Ivor was with the sharpness of a particular comment, Grugwyn never rose to the bait, leaving Ivor the only one of the pair seething with frustration. It always seemed like things got out of hand between them more quickly than Ivor ever intended, besides.
"Oh, I apologise," he said, sounding about as insincere as it was humanly possible to sound. "Merlin forbid my personal comfort prevent you from obtaining accurate results. I'm so glad I could be useful." The last was ground out from between clenched teeth, although in his pockets his hands remained, at least, flat rather than balled into fists.
He wasn't a violent person, his own personal tendencies to slink away from anything that might end poorly for him only exacerbated by the lack of any sort of physicality involved with his particular group of friends, but if there was anyone who might one day drive Ivor to throw a punch, it was probably Grugwyn. How they'd managed to remain 'friends' was occasionally beyond his understanding; he occasionally attributed it to the fact that they merely shared a few mutual friends and were therefore forced to suffer through the other's presence - or, at least, Ivor was forced to suffer through Grugwyn's.
Grugwyn at least had his reams of notes on their interactions.
Grugwyn Rufford - January 22, 2012 01:26 PM (GMT)
"Your apology is accepted," said Grugwyn, to whom the inflection in a person's tone meant absolutely nothing. His inability to read sheet music or otherwise recognise pitch reflected this inability; Grugywn simply appeared to be missing the part of his brain that processed that sort of information. Whilst he heard with perfect clarity, he was quite unable to recognise the emotional resonance of the sound, and was unmoved by music, and often oblivious to sarcasm.
He led them around a corner and along a corridor, peering expectantly at his instruments. He had set up a small radar that was supposed to detect ghostly activity, but thus far was proving to detect very little indeed. He had been unable to test the device, naturally, as he had been unable to locate and detain a spirit at the time of its creation. A self-perpetuating problem. Suddenly it bleeped, a baleful noise that was produced by the misappropriated squeaker from a cat toy. Grugwyn jolted visibly in surprise, and then looked up.
There was nothing ahead. He paused to adjust his bowtie and then frowned, as the noise sounded a second time, then a third, and then began to repeat itself rhythmically.
"There is something up ahead," he announced. "Something that may well be a ghost, if my calculations are correct."
His calculations were not correct, and they were in fact chasing caretaker Pringle, who had a metal brace on his leg that Grugwyn was detecting with absolute clarity. Unaware of this, however, Grugwyn set off in pursuit.
Ivor Dillonsby - January 22, 2012 07:45 PM (GMT)
There were times when Grugwyn made Ivor long for nothing more than the freedom to be able to hit his head against a wall multiple times until he couldn't think straight, and this was one of them. It was always, though, difficult to tell whether Grugwyn was being serious or not, and the thought that he'd accepted Ivor's apology at face value was almost, on Ivor's worst days, enough to give him a tic. As it was, he was frustrated enough by his inability to have a cigarette and the fact that he was bored enough to follow Grugwyn on this fool's quest to find a ghost and test the cattle prod.
The beeping sound was curious; Ivor was not experienced with electronics, despite his years in Muggle Studies, and he had absolutely no idea what was causing that noise. He was just about to complain when an even louder noise followed it, and like Grugwyn he gave a start, looking around as if expecting something to happen despite the fact that he very sincerely (or so he told himself) doubted that anything would. This was the problem with tagging along with Grugwyn: sometimes things went right, and then he would have to politely congratulate his friend on his successes.
"That thing detects ghosts?" he asked incredulously, trying to hurry up enough so that he could get a decent look at it, although trying at the same time to remain outside of shocking range. "Grugwyn, it looks like shoddy bits of metal pieced together. How can it possibly detect ghosts?"
Nevertheless he followed on after his friend, curious despite himself to see whether or not Grugwyn's ramshackle thing had actually done what Ivor had doubted it would do and found a ghost without already knowing where they spent their time.
Grugwyn Rufford - February 5, 2012 12:47 PM (GMT)
"It is untested," Grugwyn admitted, with a frown. "However it appears to be detecting something."
He turned and pointed it in the opposite direction, and the bleep dissipated to a highly pitched whine before it stopped all together. Then he turned and pointed it once more in the direction that had sparked it to life, and it began at once to bleep melodramatically. Grugwyn pursed his lips and set off along the corridor with long strides.
The bleep grew more and more frantic the closer they came to the source, and it began to act as a metronome -- the faster it went, the more Grugwyn increased his pace. By the time they burst from this corridor into another they were running. It was not an impressive sight. Grugwyn was hardly in possession of any physical prowess, no matter how difficult a time he gave Ivor for being in the very same condition. He was loathe to break a sweat largely because he felt unable to control it, unless he could sweat with absolute symmetry he hated it.
His cheeks were red above his bow tie, and for a moment he had to stop and swivel the device back and forth to find the signal again.
Around the corner, Pringle wondered what the hell was making that noise.
Ivor Dillonsby - February 8, 2012 11:42 PM (GMT)
"Something," Ivor said scornfully. But even he couldn't deny that the intensity of the beeping was, in fact, alluring - only, of course, in that he had no idea what could possibly be causing it and was, in the interest of accumulating knowledge, in fact rather intrigued by it. So he followed after Grugwyn, rather surprised by the fact that his friend was willing to run.
Then again, if it was in the name of science, Ivor shouldn't really be surprised by anything that Grugwyn did.
By the time they stopped, Ivor was out of breath, although he wasn't sweating quite as profusely as Grugwyn was. He was wheezing - just a little! - as Grugwyn swung the sensor from side to side. Even so, almost despite himself (Ivor would later tell himself that it was in the spirit - pun not intended - of discovery), he said, "I think it's loudest in that direction," gesturing around the corner. He quite honestly at no idea what might be causing the sensor to actually say it sensed something, and he was curious despite the fact that he thought this whole expedition was ridiculous.
If someone had told him that it was not in fact a spirit that was around the corner, he would have masked his disappointment with laughter. If someone had been merciful and told him that it was actually Pringle, he would have turned and started walking quickly in the other direction.
Grugwyn Rufford - February 9, 2012 01:53 AM (GMT)
Had Grugwyn known it was Pringle they were chasing he might have invited him to run laps in order to best test the device, and would have spent the rest of his days dangling by his ankles in the cupboard. What happened instead was infinitely worse. As they rounded the corner he raised the wand of his cattle prod, not in an offensive motion, as Pringle would later insist at an inquest, but for the purposes of aerodynamics.
The events that unfolded would later be written in Hogwarts legend (which is to say, on a grubby wall of a toilet): Grugwyn, sweating profusely for his insistence on wearing a wool blazer indoors, rounded the corner first. As his chest rotated the electrical prod he had extended arced gracefully -- and indeed aerodynamically -- towards Pringle's face. It was lucky, in many ways, that after years of dodging missiles Pringle's first instinct when things flew at his face was to catch them. It was in equal parts unlucky that it meant he received the full brunt of the shock to his hand and arm, which, following a period of shrieking, proceeded to go numb.
"It appears to have short-circuited," was all Grugwyn bothered to say, as though he hadn't harmonised with Pringle in abject terror only moments previously. He was peering at the cobbled-together power pack for the device, it was smoking. Pringle looked from his dangling, useless arm to the two boys before him. Every hair on his head -- and there weren't many -- was standing directly on end.
From that day forward two important changes were made at Hogwarts. The first was that electrical devices of any sort would no longer operate by student hand. The second was that Caretaker Pringle had his own personal tazer.