When the sun had fallen from the sky; when the castle's stone passageways were lit by flickering, dying flames; when only those with mischief on their minds roamed the hallways, Peeves the Poltergeist came out to play.

Peeves would also play in the daytime, but he thought the dark more stylish and fitting for a poltergeist.

And did he know a lot about style! He floated in the air like a king on an invisible litter, his skin glowing golden in the candlelight, dressed in canary yellow harem trousers of silk and a scarlet doublet of velvet.

He had donned this fine finery for one of his favorite occasions: the night of the Sorting.

The lonely halls would soon be full of students. Oh, had he missed the students!

It was high-time that he met his newest friends. His imaginary litter sped through the hallways as he floated to the small, cramped side room where the first-years were awaiting Professor McGonagall's introductory speech.

As he entered, he said "Salutations, new pupils" in his most booming voice; it filled the room like the rich, deep aroma of chestnuts that could talk very loud. "I am Professor Peeves."

No one moved or said anything at all.

"How uncouth," he chided. "Introduce yourselves to your Potions Master."

To Peeves, it seemed the whole school year had passed before one of the shy dears muttered "Er, my name is Amos."

"Oh, goody! Could you possibly happen to be the Amos that offered to test my new brew tonight? I was overjoyed to read your mother's letter of approval. If all goes well, you'll emit a rich, thunderous fart, fall to the floor, foam from the mouth, convulse and die."

Amos said nothing, but his face—whiter than bones that had sat in the sun for the better part of a century, been soaked in a solution of one quarter bleach to three quarters water for exactly eleven minutes and washed thoroughly with water and simple soap—said all.

Peeves waited a moment before offering "Oh, am I mistaken?"

"I-I think so," Amos squeaked.

"Poor ickle-fickle Amos. It would be best if you did not eat a thing at the feast. I already sent my brew to the kitchen to be put in all of your food. The pumpkin juice, however, is definitely safe—"

"Peeves!" the stern voice of an actual Hogwarts teacher came from behind.

"That's Professor Peeves to you," he boomed, before turning and speeding through the doorway like a popped balloon.

He traveled the halls mournfully. All of the students and teachers would soon be in the Great Hall: feasting, talking, Sorting and speeching. And poor Peeves would have to wait for the feast to end before he could greet everyone.

Oh, but he had a welcome present for them: a parade. He would rain confetti onto the little tykes. He zipped away to the bathrooms, for he still had to shred his confetti up.

As he gathered the sopping sponges that had been soaking in the toilet bowls for hours and shredded them into equally sopping bits, he was reminded of another night. A Sorting so many decades ago.

The faint, but foul odor of the toilet water, the rough feeling of the sponges against his fingertips and the distant sound of that dusty old hat calling out Houses brought him back. Peeves was lost in the memory of the night when he met her.

He didn't know that she was her when he first met her.

The poltergeist hardly had time to notice her tight bun or tight buns (although the latter was likely because they were covered by her brand new Hogwarts robes, so pristine that they had to be ruined) as he wrung a sponge drenched in filthy toilet water upon her head.

She was just another first-year, another target and another to shamefully walk into the Great Hall with a foul liquid streaming from her hair, dripping down her face and soaking into her robes.

Perhaps she hadn't been particularly embarrassed—the thought haunted him since—for every dirty-faced first-year had received the same shower that night.

With a wooden smack, the portrait-hole, the entrance to Gryffindor's dormitory, slammed shut before Peeves' nose as the last student to walk the halls escaped his confetti.

With no better place to put his rubbish, he threw the last handful of soggy sponge pieces at the Fat Lady before zipping down the hallway.

"Peeves!" she wailed after him.

When he rounded the corner, he turned to send a laugh her way. The poltergeist's chuckle was cut short when he saw her huffing and puffing as she raced through the portraits. She was chasing him.

It had been years since he had a good chase. He dropped to the floor, giggling as his bare feet touched the cold stone, climbed onto the railing, and dove off, screaming "wheeeee."

The fall didn't even seem to last a second before Peeves found himself hurtling uncomfortably close to the ground. That just wouldn't do. He turned upright mid-fall and floated the rest of the way down with the grace of a feather.

He was in the entrance hall, a place he had forgotten one thing about: there were no portraits on its walls. The Fat Lady would not be able to follow him down here.

How anticlimactic.

But he had always found painted figures chasing after him anticlimactic. Limited movement must be a drag.

But Peeves wouldn't know about that.

Apparently, he only knew sorrowful thoughts, for face had taken on a mournful sort of look (head bent to the ground, eyes nearly shut and bottom lip trembling).

For the second time that night, he was lost in the memories. He was lost in another chase, another night, decades ago.

He had had her open diary in his palm and was reading passages from aloud as he sped down the halls.

Peeves could smell diaries. He had been torturing students with them for centuries. They were always inconspicuous little books: colored dark brown, navy or black; they had no titles on their fronts or sides; and they were always small enough to hide in the bottom of one's school bag. As for the smell: they were always faintly musty. Must have been all the tears.

Peeves had saw her (although he still hadn't known she was her) opening a small dark red book and writing in it. She was in the darkest corner of the library with no one around her. He had zoomed in, stolen the thing and read a passage. It was indeed a diary.

He had been ecstatic at first. As he floated above her reach and read the first passage, his heart sunk, fell to the floor, went through the floor and continued falling down several stories (figuratively, of course).

It was the most terribly boring diary he had ever read from. No one even looked up as he read aloud from it. It detailed her classes. Not the drama in her classes, not her failure as a witch, just her classes and the magical theory behind the spells she had learned that day.

But she had acted like her deepest darkest secrets were contained in it as she climbed on the table and reached for his legs.

That's when the chase had started.

It lasted the better part of an hour. Even when he went through shortcuts he had only learned from centuries of roaming the castle, she doggedly followed. Even when he grabbed things from students' hands (inkwells, books, once even a cat) and threw them in her path, she chased after him. Even when he sent a suit of armor toppling right on her, she climbed from underneath the rubble and continued to chase him. She had knocked down students and teachers alike (calling out "sorry" as she ran) in her desperate need to get her diary back.

Peeves did not have a very long attention span and the book was chore to aloud. He hoped something juicy lied within its pages: maybe she was a werewolf, maybe she practiced the Cruciatus Curse on small animals or maybe was secretly in love with her best friend's boyfriend, but Peeves had not been so lucky.

In fact, he had been bored. Terribly, terribly bored. The only interesting thing about the chase had been that she had kept at it.

But all boring things have to (and should) come to an end. He had climbed up on a railing that day, ready for a dramatic dive. She would not be able be able to follow him down so many floors. He let her get close, so close that the fingertips of her outstretched hands touched the little red book.

And then, he dove.

One of the first things that students learn about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is that the staircases often change. And sometimes students, professors, ghost and poltergeists alike have to relearn it. That day Peeves the Poltergeist got an unexpected lesson in Staircase Movement.

"Ouchies," he squealed as he landed on the hard marble steps. He squealed it again when someone jumped on him. But, as a hand ripped the little dark red book from his grasp, he realized that someone had not jumped on him; she had landed on him.

When she kindly removed her feet from his back, he groaned "Why did you want it back so bad? It's most dreadfully boring diary I've ever read."

"If I were to tell you, you'd steal it again at the next chance you have." With that, she walked up the stairs, diary in hand.

"I'll do it again anyways," Peeves called after her.

And he did. Peeves the Poltergeist had fallen in love.

There was a certain book that resided in the Restricted Section of the library that would screech at the top of its lungs if opened. Peeves thought it would be a lovely start of term present for the sleeping Headmaster.

But there was a problem: Peeves had forgotten its name. He combed the shelves, squinting in the darkness as he read title after title, hoping one would stick out.

After the fourth book, he gave up. Surely it would be just as fun to knock over the bookshelves. They were aligned so they would fall like dominoes if one was tipped over. The books were perfectly organized for the start of term, each and every book had been repaired and restored over the last few months as part of a summer project and even the ones that were never used (Index of Mystic Slugs and their Purposes, 10,001 Ways to Farm Slug Slime, Slugtongue: Your Great Guide to Speaking with the World's Most Wondrous Creatures and such) looked as appealing as the most popular tomes (The Murder of the Troll King, Seeress' Revenge, Candy-Coated Vampire Hearts and such).

The library looked immaculate. But Peeves the Poltergeist could beat immaculate; he could beat even perfection. He could knock over one shelf and watch the others fall down. He much preferred an organization system that required students to climb over and through of piles to find the book they were looking for.

Hardship builds character, after all.

But the whole knocking-bookshelves-over thing had reminded Peeves of an afternoon a long time ago. An afternoon when he had tipped over the shelves, not out of kindness, but out of fury.

That afternoon had been the one and only occasion he had asked a girl out and she said "no." It was also the one and only occasion he had asked a girl out at all.

Her. She had been sitting in a corner, face buried in a large tome (Candy-Coated Vampire Hearts, to all those who are curious), reading aloud in a whisper.

Peeves had looking for her all day and, after getting kicked out of several classrooms and many girls' lavatories, he had found her.

He floated close and daintily plopped his bottom in the chair opposite of her. She did not stir.

He patiently waited for to her finish her book, but as she turned the page, he realized that a lifetime had went by. Watching someone read a book was so horrifically boring. He decided that he'd be brave and lean in close to hear her whisper.

"'Roren would appreciate the irony,' the bride said, as she placed her blood-soaked on his cold, dead cheek.

"'The sun will rise soon,' Avery told her, putting his own hand on her cheek.

"'Let it,' she said. 'Let it rise. I'll be happy to burn. Isn't it ironic? I was so afraid of the sun that I killed him and now I don't care about the sun because he's dead. And it's funny and it's sad, but only because this life will end. I can only hope that heaven will take him, even if it will not take me.'

"She spoke no more, for dawn's first light was peeking over the horizon."

Peeves mouth was hanging open. He had been expecting her to be reading from the dictionary.

The book snapped shut in front of him, and rather than seeing its cover, he saw her narrowed eyes.

"What are you doing?"

"Reading," he said as he leaned back in his seat.

"Where's your book?"

"It's-it's invisible."

"How can you see it?"

"I'm a poltergeist, I can see invisible books if I want to."

It was only then that he noticed the tears freely streaming down her cheeks. He took her sadness as a positive sign. Previously, he had not been sure if she actually had feelings. If she did have feelings, she might have feelings for him.

"Can you go read your invisible book somewhere else?"

"No, I can't move it. Invisible books are very heavy."

"I can move your book with over three hundred spells if you'd point me to it, but I have a feeling that I should just move instead."

She began to put her books in her bag, starting with the little dark red one.

"Wait! Are you crying?"

"N-No," she answered, pulling a handkerchief from her robes and wiping her cheeks. "Well . . . the book had a very sad ending."

"Oh, yes, I understand," he said, not understanding at all. "I often . . . am sad . . . about books and . . . learnings."

"I'm sure." Her voice had changed from that teary whisper to a cold and stiff tone. The words "cold and stiff" could have accurately described her posture, her personality and her feelings towards Peeves.

He decided to approach a different way. Rather than appeal to her feelings (that he still wasn't entirely sure she had), he chose to appeal to her interests.

"Do you like music?" he asked.


"Are you—are you sure? Ravenclaw's Quidditch Captain told me that women should say 'yes' to this. From there, we're supposed to discuss our favorite artists and which songs we like."

"I don't like music," she said, stuffing her inkwells and quills into her bag.

"But how am I supposed to offer to take you a concert if you don't like music?" Peeves demanded, floating up from his chair as she stood.

"Can you even leave the castle?"

"Well, I figured I'd find out when I took you to the concert."

"How romantic," she said before walking past him and through the door.

Peeves had been grateful that she had left the library so soon. He didn't want to knock a shelf onto her. The rest of the students, however. . . .

After waking the teachers up by knocking down the library shelves and getting several hexes sent his way, the a certain blood-stained Baron called on him, Peeves had fled to the one room where they would not look for him: the trophy room.

The room held hard work and dreams that were immortalized by golden medals and silver cups and had long been tucked away cabinets and forgotten. This room should have held possibility and opportunity for a poltergeist, but instead it held torment.

Long ago, the locks had been enchanted—no spell, nor fiddling, nor really good luck could get them open. The locks required a key. And to add insult to injury, the glass had also been enchanted: the sparkling panes were unbreakable, unshatterable, unsmashable.

The poltergeist wanted desperately to be a menace, but the trophy room provided no room for him to be menacing.

He had had a bad night: the students had fled off to their dormitories at the first sign of toilet-water-soaked sponge bits, the Fat Lady's chase had been cut short by his own idiocy, the bookshelves had been put to right with a simple wave of a hand and the Bloody Baron himself had spoken to Peeves.

And the worst of it all was that he had spent the night haunted by a romance that never was and never would be.

All of those things to remind him of her: the sponges, the chase, the bookshelves. All he could do was remember and wonder if he had a heart to break.

Once he had tried to view his internal organs, but that left him in the hospital wing, strapped to the bed with a nurse hovering above, telling him that "a poltergeist's inner workings were a mystery for a reason."

He cursed himself for remembering that day too. For all the weeks after, when he had laid in bed, looking up at the white ceiling, convincing sick students that they were dying and begging the nurse to un-strap him, he had only one visitor.


He hadn't expected the squeal of the opening door, the tap of the footsteps against stone and the "Hello, I'm here to see . . . " to be for him that day.

He hadn't been expecting to see her. But there she was. She hovered above him, pursing her lips and radiating beauty.

He couldn't help but beam up at her. "Don't I look strapping?"

"You're much better at talking to women when you're forcibly restrained." Her voice had catty tinge to it.

"I've practiced, you know."

She said nothing, but he saw her eyes traveling up and down his body. Even he had to doubt if she had some hidden motive for doing this. She was probably observing the great number of leather straps that held him to his cot.

"You tried to dissect yourself, I've heard."

"Tried and failed."

"How far did you get?"

Even Peeves knew that it was forward of a lady to ask a gentleman how far he had got in his own self-dissection. He decided to use evasive maneuvers rather than answer such a personal question.

"To the hospital wing before I collapsed."

"That isn't what I meant."

"Ravenclaw's Quidditch Captain told me that you have to leave something to mystery when speaking to the ladies. I think that what's underneath my flesh would be better shrouded in mystery until we get to know each other a little better."

"She talks to you about women?"

"She? He's a he. Why would I ask a woman about women? What would a woman know about women?"

"You mean the one from last year?"

"I suppose so."

They fell silent again.

Peeves broke it very smoothly. He offered to take her to a concert once more. "So have you reconsidered that music thing?"

"You mean the concert you wanted to take me to? That was years ago."

"Was it? Should I re-offer?"

She did not answer and instead said "I'm in my seventh year now."

"Are you? You look just the same as when I first saw you."

Her nostrils flared. Apparently looking like an eleven-year-old was not a compliment to a young woman.

"What I'm saying is that school lets out soon. I'll be leaving. I wanted to say goodbye."


Just a heartbeat before, he had thought that he might take her to that concert, listen to some terrible noise and live together forever. His dreams had been crushed.

She did not say anything, not even "goodbye" as she turned and walked to the door.

"Well, why?" Peeves called after her.

"I heard you were restrained because you kept trying to leave. I figured you couldn't throw anything at me if you were tied down."

"No. Why did you want to say goodbye?"

"Well, we're friends, aren't we?"

And then, she left.

"This is so great!"

Peeves' moping break was interrupted by the sound of a boy. How rude. A student out of bed, interrupting his solitude and breaking Hogwarts' rules.

And the poltergeist found himself cheerful once more. Despite the miserable memories, despite the depressing day, he could smell a treat cooking just for him in the hallway.

Students out of bed and roaming the halls at night were his favorite students. They were a gift he wanted to share with the entire castle. And so, when he saw or heard one, he would tell the entire school of their whereabouts.

And their faces! For a moment, they thought they he was their friend, a like troublemaker, but a troublemaker Peeves was not. He crushed that little hope they had welling in their chest every single time.

It was so early in the term. What a tragedy! All those points lost already!

"Let's turn it into a toad and put it into her chair before class. Imagine the smush," another boy whispered.

"Oh, where is my walking stick?" he said in mocking high-pitched, frail voice.

"You sat on it, you dusty old crone.

"However will I get to my office?"

Peeves twitched as he floated slowly toward them, for he heard the familiar thwack of mahogany against cranium, and he wanted desperately to see just how much trouble these boys were in.

"Hey! Roger, you ass!"

"Oi. I was just trying to get your attention. Looking out for teachers, were you?"

"What do you want?"

"We want it turn into a toad. You get good marks in class, don't you? You can transfigure it."

"I'll transfigure you if you don't quit hitting me. Besides that's a stupid idea. We should break it into bits and leave it on her desk."

Subtly was no skill of Peeves', but he knew that the situation called for caution and care. He had to float toward them as noiselessly as possible or they'd run off before he could get "STUDENTS! STUDENTS OUT OF BED BY THE TROPHY ROOM!" out of his mouth.

Floating in midair towards a doorway should not have been difficult task for someone who could float, but Peeves found the journey long and arduous. He itched to speed ahead, reveal himself and watch their faces fall, but he could not spook the little dears.

As he reached the doorway, he saw what they had been planning to transfigure: Professor McGonagall's walking stick.

"Give me that," Peeves said, trying for a ghostly whisper.

The three boys turned to him. He saw written on their faces, surprise and then a darker expression—that of complete horror.

They were older students, used to his ways. They knew no amount of pleading, crying or begging would get Peeves on their side. They knew that he would follow them down the hall, screaming their location as they fled.

But Peeves did not plan to do that tonight. "Give me that walking stick," he said, trying to make his voice sound like rusty nails grinding against a chalkboard. Instead, he sounded as if he was choking. "Or I'll call for Filch."

It seemed to take a moment for the boy who was holding the walking stick to comprehend what Peeves had said. After that moment, he threw the walking stick at the ground beneath Peeves' feet and set off in a sprint down the hall.

It took his friends a long thirty seconds to realize that this would be a good time to run before they followed him.

The poltergeist swooped down to claim his prize.

Walking the halls at night was a terribly boring activity for a poltergeist and floating wasn't any better. At least during daytime, when the students were out, Peeves could entertain himself by pulling their hair or knocking books from their arms.

All Peeves could do was smack the end of the walking stick against the stone walls, hoping the noise would make someone's life the faintest bit more miserable. After all, even poltergeists deserved company in their misery.

Peeves had nights like these often. Often enough, at least, to know that there was nothing he could do about them. He'd just have to remember the miserable memories. But, defiant to the end Peeves wasn't going down memory lane without a fit.

Speaking of fits, when Peeves saw light streaming underneath the door of the very office he needed to enter, he threw a silent tantrum. He thrashed his little feet in the air and waved the walking stick about. If light came from that room, it meant the owner of the office was in, and he would have to deal with Professor McGonagall, of all people.

There was only one way to deal with the dreadful conversational skills of Professor McGonagall, and it was a way that Peeves did not like: he would have to use his vacation into the land of memories to his advantage. He would have to think of her.

Even with all the heartbreak, sorrow, suffering and rejection, there had been moments of bliss. Like when she had returned to him, after so many years away.

He had not known the woman dressed in plain robes and a tall black hat was her. When he had saw her dressed in plain robes and a tall black hat, he had thought her another stuffy Ministry official—different from her colleagues only in the fact that she was too inept to remember the Headmaster's password. She had been standing outside the Headmaster's office, back turned to Peeves, rattling off the names of several candies.

Ministry officials were Peeves' favorite visitors. Their jobs had sucked the joy from their lives and they responded to the simplest of jokes by looking at him as if comedy was a language they had never heard of.

Peeves could not control himself. He zoomed toward her and knocked the hat from her head. A neat auburn bun, without a single strand of hair out of place was revealed. But he still did not recognize her.

He reached down, grabbed her nose, and screeched "GOT YOUR CONK!"

It was only when his hand was magically removed from her face and he was flung into a wall, that he realized that she was her.

"What are you doing here?" he demanded, rubbing his rump as he floated back toward her.

She fixed him with a look so stern, that a lesser man would have shriveled under it.

"I've applied for a teaching position," she informed him. "Transfiguration." She waved her hand and her hat flew back to her head.

The door gave a soft squeal as he pushed it opened. And there she was, nearly hidden behind stacks of papers, sitting at her desk. She did not look up from her writing.

"Yes?" she asked as she penned a particularly large 'D' on a student's paper.

Peeves cleared his throat before saying "I caught students earlier, out of bed. They had your walking stick. I brought it back."

He held it out for her to take. Instead of taking it, she looked up at him.

"I don't really have a use for it anymore. Would you like it?"


"Are you going to hit students with it?"

She peered over her glasses, fixing him with the most disapproving stare he had ever seen.

"Y-Yes." Peeves could only hope that it wasn't a deal-breaker.

"I figured as much. Very well."