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Welcome to Tallygarunga, an original roleplay set in the Harry Potter universe. Set in present-day Australia, tensions are high between the Ministry of Magic and the only Ministry-run wizarding school in the country. Become like the other snooty private schools? Not a chance.

Originally established in August 2006, Tallygarunga prides itself on an inclusive and active community. Once part of the Tally family, always part of the Tally family. Whether you're here for the first time, the thousandth time, or returning after a long time---welcome home.
a non-canon au potterverse roleplay
December, 2019 :: Summer

Matthew Belmont

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About Matthew Belmont

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    Owner - The Drunken Roo
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    Greg Kinnear

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  • Playerx Sadrienne
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  • Birthdate Day 10
  • Birthdate Month 11
  • Birthdate Year 1967
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  1. Guinea Pigs

    There was nothing to be sorry for, really. Almost every sleep and coma joke had already been used, and most of those by the Burdetts. Now that the worst was past and he was heading toward a full recovery, it was a running joke. Sleeping Beauty who only got uglier, was one of the favourites. Matt didn't mind. Not anymore, he was more focused on getting back to life as it should be. "Teaching tends to be in the blood," Matt nodded. Most people he knew with teacher parents ended up being teachers themselves. Except for Kate, who had gone into teaching to upset her snobbish parents... and Alan who, well. No one really thought Alan was going to excel at anything until that last year of school. It had been quite the kick in the face to watch him be so cavalier about his future, and then scrape his way into university while Matt---who had worked himself desperately for a scholarship---could not afford to go. Stayed here and worked so that Adam could go. There was a tiny bit of resentment there that bubbled up from time to time, even though everything seemed to have worked out for the best. Matt hadn't set out to be a bartender and then own the Drunken Roo. It had just happened as a result of the most logical and economical choices. "Oh, there's alcohol in them," Matt gave half a laugh, assembling some of the bottles along the counter. Kate, true to form, had made sure to label them according to alcoholic content. Naturally the ones that she wanted him to try out most were the most alcoholic ones. His wife had got quite the tolerance for alcohol while he was in hospital. His movements were a little stiff as he poured and mixed, very out of practice. But they happened well enough, his heart soaring with delight at just being able to do this. After a few moments, he slid a martini glass across the counter. Blue liquid rippled inside, fading into a deep purple at the bottom. "Apparently this one is called..." he squinted down at the book. "Aunty Norma's Panties. Uhh... good luck?"
  2. Guinea Pigs

    Matt looked up as someone slid into the bar seat across from him. He hadn't really expected any customers in the mid-afternoon, but he was always happy to be pleasantly surprised. A good chance to see if he still "had it" when it came to customer service. Matt hadn't worked properly in... six years? The coma had taken a lot away from him, but this had been his life for so long too... surely it wasn't something you just forgot. "Yeah, it does," he agreed, turning the book slightly so that the customer could see. Matt blinked once, twice, furrowed his brows at the shock of red hair. "Wait... Berk?" Berkley had been something of a "serial pest" during his school years, which was unusual for the kids in Flinders. Sometimes he felt Berk would have made a better Spencer, but it was what it was. The kid had been notorious for trying to sneak drinks one way or another, and a few times he'd almost been successful. With the school so close, and so many underage teens wandering about, Matt always made sure his staff were on the ball with the age checks. You had to give them points for trying, though. He vaguely remembered, too, Alan saying something about the kid recently. Among many of the "so now you're out of your coma, here's what you missed" talks they'd had, the name had come up. Something about the kid teaching now? He tried to remember. So much information had been dumped on him over the past few months, what with trying to get his body back into good condition, it was a lot to take in. "Alan said you were back in town," he said, testing the water. "Teaching? Correct me if I'm wrong." He just assumed that Berk remembered him. Just as he'd missed the past six years, he forgot that he'd become less of a Narrie establishment in that time. He wasn't the face of the Drunken Roo anymore, in the way that he used to be. A whole generation of Tally students had enrolled and graduated without even knowing who he was. And not everyone had the memory for faces that Matt did, either. "Katie saved all these recipes for me," he added, tapping the book with a finger. "You game to try some of them out? They could be terrible."
  3. Guinea Pigs

    Things were slowly getting back to normal. Now that he was able to move himself about short distances, and his stamina was continuing to build each day, Matt could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It actually seemed possible that he might eventually get back to work and stop being "the coma guy". People who didn't even know him knew about the coma. And catching up over the years he'd missed was another challenge. For one, there were so many new cocktail recipes he hadn't tried to make before. Kate had collected a book of interesting-sounding cocktails while he was out, each one carefully filed into a folder in the order that she thought they would sell best. He wondered why she'd never given the book to Phil when the Roo was clearly struggling to turn a profit, but that... wasn't the point, was it? With Kate at work and Hazel at school, he figured now was as good a time as any to give some of these recipes a go. Not for himself, Matt wasn't a particularly big drinker. He was happy enough seeing the colours and the presentation, making sure it fit and looked appealing. Someone else could come along and do the taste test. Not Alan, though. Alan didn't appreciate the fine art of the cocktail. He sat himself at the bar on a tall stool, and almost felt like a real person again. Maybe he could even serve from here, like this? Get back to work a bit? He could pretty well reach everything, if he could make cocktails he could defintely pull beers for Narrie's uncultured brutes. That thought gave him hope as he opened the book to the first page, and began to select ingredients from the shelves.
  4. Managed to walk around the kitchen table tonight. Who would have ever thought that could be such an achievement?

  5. Hide more Gobstones in Katie's desk? You bet I did..

  6. Waitin' for the Day Your Ship'll Come In

    "Events are good," Matt nodded. The Just Do It campain was going alright, but that was more of a town thing. He needed something that would bring people to the Roo specifically. But what did the town want? What did it need? He'd been gone too long to really know anymore, Phil was too tired to contribute and Kate wasn't much help. She was a Melbourne girl, always and forever. She would never quite understand the heart and soul of Narrie, her best suggestion so far had been a champagne brunch, which had made Matt laugh so hard he almost threw himself off the couch. "I'm gonna get Adam to come out, see what we can do about making the old place look a little more modern, but there's not much point in that if we don't get people through the door." For a moment, he closed his eyes, remembering the Roo as it had been when he first stepped foot in it. No restaurant then, no food at all. No function room. Just the main bar, a sticky wooden floor, dingy lighting and a thick haze of smoke that filled the room. Aging patrons, most with nothing else in their lives but the bar, so rooted in their seats day-in-day-out the dull wood had worn to their impression. A quiet place, a sad place. Full of cloudy half-washed glasses and broken dreams. At least they hadn't gone back that far. Matt would never let that happen. Not while he had the ability to stop it. "What about a talent concert? Like one of them reality shows? Drunken Roo's Got Talent, or Narrie Idol... or something? You reckon people will go for it?"
  7. Waitin' for the Day Your Ship'll Come In

    Tayla was one of the additions Phil had made to the staff while he was sick. Although Matt grumbled about a lot of the decisions Phil made, like the new tiles in the bathroom (red? Really? Obviously he hadn't consulted Adam over that), Matt was on board with this one. Tayla was pleasant, tried hard, and he knew enough of her background to know that, like him, she'd had a hard time through school. She was also new enough (to him) that she didn't go out of her way to annoy him every time he was on the bar floor. Not like Phil. Bloody Phil. Nor did she force her help on him out of pity, which he greatly appreciated. It wasn't easy in the wheelchair, but Matt could get himself in and out of the bar now and go down to Mrs Kempsey's when he felt like it. Independence was important. As the door closed behind him, he lifted a hand in greeting, wheeling himself around the scattered tables and closer toward the bar. He had gone all the way down to the post office today, and his arms were exhausted. Kate was at work, so she wasn't here to chastise him, and his carer had gone for the day after occupational therapy. He was getting stronger, even walking for short bursts. He was still impatient, but he'd been more pleasant lately. "Good, good," he nodded. "Quiet arvo?" It wasn't so much a question as a statement of the obvious. The Roo wasn't quite the thriving hub he had built it up to be. The accident had taken its toll on the business. Uncertainty, staff turnover, poor management on Kate's part and a sense of stagnation had held it back while everyone waited to see if he would wake or slip away in the night. And he had decided that alongside his body, he needed to rehabilitate the bar too. "Can I grab a water, please?" Matt asked, wheeling himself to a table, and shifting himself over to a chair. Maybe he couldn't stand behind the bar or at the grill, but he could still be useful. And for more than just balancing the books and yelling at Phil. He sat a notepad on the table, gently tapping it with a pen. "As our most recent hire, what do you think we should be doing to get people back in the doors?" he asked, hoping that her fresher ideas might boost life around the Drunken Roo once more.
  8. Invite Time Out

    This was all very complex, and a lot to take in. And yet Matt felt more excited than overwhelmed, the world shifting ever so slightly into a new dimension where everything was better and brighter. This wasn't going to be easy, no, but it was going to be good in the long run. He took that, held on to it. Hazel was going to be so excited. And Kate... hadn't walked away yet. Matt knew in his guts that she should have. If not when he was in the coma, definitely after he had woken up. Matt saw now with absolute clarity just how terrible he had been, and a deep shame crept through him. He had to make this right. He would. He would make all of this right. "No favourite colour? Not even black?" he asked with a half-grin. Had she not been at school, Hazel would have popped up with some helpful hint that black was a shade not a colour, but nevertheless it was as close to a favourite colour as Matt had. "Lion King is always a good choice -- Aladdin is probably mine and Katie's favourite, though H prefers Beauty and the Beast. Favourite food... probably cheese on toast. Mum used to make it for me and Ads when we came home from school, when she was well enough to cook." he smiled fondly at the memory. "No boyfriends though, and no firearms. Prefer to do my hunting in virtual worlds... although Katie's beat all my high scores while I was out. Trying to catch up and it is not easy. She got good. Really good."
  9. Invite Time Out

    Holly turned back and Matt felt his body flood with relief. He hadn't ruined this already. He adjusted himself back in the chair, tried to get comfortable in the stupid thing. People said the most idiotic things when you were in a wheelchair, as if it was somehow an easier way of living. Like sitting down all day was actually comfortable. His arms and legs were still trembling with the effort of trying to stand. Stupid body. Stupid weakness. Holly had come back though, and that was enough. "And I want to know you too," Matt replied, a truth that blistered on his tongue because he knew this was not the easy road to take. The possibility of a baby, the notification Nadya had given him, that had been far easier to walk away from than the grown daughter who had sought him out. And he was different now. Older. More settled. "I should have known you then. I'm sorry I didn't take that chance, but... who I was then, how I lived, I don't know what sort of life you ended up in but I doubt I would have been any sort of improvement. I'm glad you're here now." His voice shook a little. Broke over the odd words. The reality of it was starting to hit him, and Hazel was going to have what she had begged for. And more, besides. He took in a deep breath, and began. "You have a grandfather, who isn't worth meeting. Your sister, Hazel, has never met him and until she can make her own informed choice, she won't. Hazel herself is the miracle we didn't know we needed. We---my wife and I---weren't going to have children. Didn't want to carry on the broken history we lived through, and yet somehow we got H who remains so perfectly positive and pure in the face of everything life has thrown at her so far. She's eight. She would have had a sister, but it didn't work out. I almost lost Kate in the process..." Kate. Oh shit. Kate. "You also have two uncles. My twin brother, Adam---and half brother Aiden. An Aunt in my half-sister Valerie. Aiden and Val are still at school. And of course, Kate. My wife." who was not going to take this news well, but what could he do? Turn Holly away again? He didn't want to. He didn't think it was fair on Saffron or Hazel or Holly to do that. Matt didn't want to miss anything more. "Tell me... tell me about you .What do you like? Books, films, food, colours... everything. Allergies. Boyfriends? Do I need a firearm license? A bit of arm strength and I could probably chase them down in this stupid thing..."
  10. Invite Time Out

    Matt watched quietly as Holly cycled through those initial emotions. He knew it wasn't what she wanted to hear. He could have lied. He could have said he didn't know, that it hurt that he hadn't known all this time, but that wasn't true. It wasn't fair on Holly to let her believe that he'd been clueless. She had gone to all this trouble to seek him out, the least she deserved was the truth. There was no peace in the lie, especially when he'd kept that letter. For what reason, he wasn't sure. But it was filed neatly along with other personal effects in pristine condition. The news of Nadya's death made him pause, and Holly was about to leave. Her words cut, opened a new world he didn't know existed. A granddaughter? He wanted to know more about that, but it wasn't for Saffron alone that he pushed his hands against the table, trying to drag his body upright against the flimsy construction. "Wait," he said, realising now that any plan to follow her was out of the question. Stupid legs. His knees shuddered and shook and gave way, sending him straight back into the hated chair--thankfully before the table could give way. "Just... please wait." He was almost begging. What else could he do? He couldn't move fast enough to stop her. "You have a sister," he said weakly. "Uncles. An aunt. A family here... if you want it. I couldn't give it to you then, and I'm sorry. I don't expect you to forgive me, but.. Hazel should have a chance to know you. Can we.. can we talk a bit?"
  11. Invite Time Out

    Matt nodded as Holly confirmed his suspicions. The way she moved was so much like her mother, he wondered how he'd not put it together the moment she walked in the door. Nadya's time in Narrie might have been brief, and their time together even briefer, but Nadya had left an impression on him. He'd liked her. It was very easy to like someone for a week. That had been the whole point. And as Holly dug through her bag for evidence, Matt closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. Calm. Steady. The heat was making the back of his neck sweaty, and normally he would have bellowed for Phil to get out here and do something about it. But that wasn't important. Not right now. "I know," he said softly, opening his eyes. He didn't need to look at the proof. The realisation had come just moments after he connected Holly to Nadya, the panicked conversation that had occurred all those years ago and how resolutely he had shut himself away from all of it. It wasn't just Nadya he could see here, it was Hazel too. And Adam. And himself. The consequences of his much-younger self were here, all grown up and now he would finally have to answer to them. He took a moment to consider his next words, his next move, quiet and calm. "She told me not long after she found out she was pregnant," Matt admitted. There was no point denying his part in this, nothing to be gained from claiming ignorance even if that's clearly what Holly believed he'd been all this time. "I never knew what happened after that. Whether she had the baby---you---or if she had explored other options. I suspected she had kept you but I never made any attempt to find out. I didn't want any part of it. I didn't want a family, so I told Nadya that it was up to her what she did. I would help cover the costs if she chose not to keep you, but otherwise she was on her own." It was cold and it was cruel, and Matt knew that now. He knew his reasons weren't good enough, but he couldn't erase what had been done. Dressing it up to make himself sound good was only an insult to Holly's intelligence and if she left here angry she was entitled to that. Even so, Matt wasn't sure he regretted that decision. He definitely hadn't been ready for something like that. "Is there... anything particular you wanted to know?" he asked, not sure of where to go from here.
  12. Invite Time Out

    Now that piqued his interest. She'd come here to talk to him? Matt had assumed that she was just out for an easy joke like the rest of them, though she did at least have the courtesy to not comment on the obvious. If he was so uncomfortable in the heat, there were dozens of spells and charms he could be using to make that go away. It wasn't actually that bad, Matt's flair for the dramatic was akin to Kate's and he was prone to exaggeration. It was definitely warmer than he was comfortable with, but not unbearable. Matt found he got cold too fast anyway, but all of this was beside the point. Phil had abandoned him here. And Phil knew how pathetic his magical "abilities" were. Asshole. He was almost glad for the distraction, shifting about in his chair as Holly sat down. The closer she got, the more he felt like he'd seen her before. But when? How? He'd never been the sort who knew faces and not names, Matt could give you the names and descriptions of even the most fleeting customers going back decades. He had a knack for that. He could still tell you the drink preferences, family members names, and even pets that belonged to the regulars back in his first years bartending at the Roo he did not forget people. It must just be that he'd seen her crossing the road in town or something, something like that. Or... something completely different. His eyebrows rose slightly as she said the name, and now he saw it. Nadya. Of course. "That's going back a while," he said. "Poor girl spent most of her time in Narrie trying to dodge enamoured Burdetts. Barry especially. He swore black and blue that he was going to marry her. Followed her around like a lost puppy, which was no surprise---it was Elizabeth Burdett taking a liking to her that no one expected." Matt snorted a quiet laugh, it had come as a surprise to Liz as well. "You would have to be her daughter, by the look of you. How is she?"
  13. Invite Time Out

    Oh good, someone else was joining in on the "fun". Matt scowled at the newcomer, wondered if Phil had sent her in for a laugh or if the world really was out to get him today. "If stranding a disabled person outside in this heat isn't atrocious enough for a bit of assery, then what is?" he muttered irritably, his voice raised just enough that Phil would be able to hear him from the bar. Perhaps the girl had a heart, would go back and give Phil a talking-to instead. Matt doubted it. They were all against him. Even Mish was teaming up with Kate on him. Mish and Kate. They hated each other! Matt poured himself a glass of water, then adjusted his wheelchair so that Holly wouldn't be able to see his withered legs from where she was standing. He was incredibly self-conscious about them. And... everything about himself at the moment. It was all so weak and useless. Alan had always been the macho beefy guy, but the truth was that Matt had been stronger. Faster. Fitter, though that was no surprise to anyone. Matt had exercised religiously before the accident, never wanted to be left unable to do something. Jar needed opening? Matt could do it. Something heavy to lift? Matt could do it. Someone tried to dine and dash? Matt could, and would, chase the offender down the street and drag them back. What he saw now in the mirror was a Matt that couldn't and maybe never would again. It disgusted him. "Are you going to keep lecturing me on my management skills, or would you rather just stand there in the doorway letting all the flies inside?" he remarked, looking back up at Holly with a level gaze. She was vaguely familiar, had probably been around the bar before. One of Alan's former students, probably. Matt tapped his pen against the accounts books, waiting. She could stay, or leave, he didn't really care---but it cost a fortune maintaining cooling charms for a venue as large as the Drunken Roo, he was damned if he was going to let that door stay open all afternoon.
  14. Invite Time Out

    Matt was in another of his foul moods, which seemed to be his only mood now. Kate was at work, and Hazel was at school---which meant that Phil was left to keep him occupied in between managing the kitchen and bar of the Roo. Which had been fine during the busier lunch trade, when customer ears were lurking about, Matt managed to not say or do anything too unpleasant. But as trade dwindled off into the late afternoon, Matt's critical stares became critical comments, each more scathing than the last. Phil wasn't having any of that. Gathering some work that Matt might as well be doing, a pile of the bar's takings for the past few months and stock reciepts that needed to be approved, Phil wheeled Matt out to a pleasant table in the beer garden to get a better attitude. Dusting his hands off on his apron, he headed back inside to his now peaceful bar. Matt scowled at Phil as he left, but was unable to do anything about his situation. He still lacked the strength to move himself around much, and physical therapy earlier in the day had left his muscles weak. He settled for shouting abuse through the beer garden door, until Phil finally threatened to take him upstairs and leave him there, and he fell angrily silent. Fine. He might as well do the damn paperwork. No one else would do it right anyway.
  15. Katherine Belmont

Owner - The Drunken Roo 0
52 year old Halfblood Human He/Him
Age  52
Date of Birth November 19th, 1967
Birthplace Narragyambie
Occupation Owner - The Drunken Roo
Player  ★ Sadrienne
Blood Status Halfblood
Species Human
Pronouns He/Him
Play-by Greg Kinnear

Almost everyone in Narrie either knows, or knows of Matt. Even five years after his accident, he's still referred to as "that guy that runs the Roo". Older residents of Narrie will remember the drawn-out saga of his family, and why he chose to abandon the Longhurst name.


Matt keeps a lot of secrets, especially given that he's in a coma. For a while his spirit and body became disconnected, allowing him to roam from his hospital bed and even communicate with people. However, Kate was never able to see him. He never tried to communicate with Hazel, Aiden or Valerie, as he didn't want to terrify the poor kids, but it's likely that Valerie at least saw him.

General Knowledge

Almost everyone in Narrie either knows, or knows of Matt. Even five years after his accident, he's still referred to as "that guy that runs the Roo". Older residents of Narrie will remember the drawn-out saga of his family, and why he chose to abandon the Longhurst name.


Matt’s obsession with neatness and cleanliness is a defining part of who he is. He keeps detailed records of everything, organises his movies by genre, producer, production date and alphabetical by title. He irons and folds every item of clothing, from his shirts to his underwear, which are again stored neatly in drawers alphabetically by brand and colour. If something is out of place, or left undone – he can’t sleep. He’s been known to slip down to the bar at night and re-arrange the spirits back to their proper order before heading upstairs for a finally peaceful sleep. Whilst others might think Matt does things the long way, for him it is the only way he can contemplate doing things.

He is by nature a cautious person, paranoid in some respects and liable to see patterns and make predictions where there is no reason to be concerned. He fears abandonment, particularly by women, and finds it difficult to relax when he thinks his relationships are under threat. He views friendships and family on much the same level, though there is family he would sooner not admit to – the family he cares for he would defend until the end, and the same goes for his close friends. 

His best mate since kindergarten is Alan Burdett, however – he generally feels more comfortable around women, and has had a number of confidantes that seem to transcend the traditional friendship boundaries and become something more akin to family, or a love. He can never quite define exactly what it is, which tends to lead to confusing relationships and mixed messages. The one exception to this, is Kate. He knows with some absurd certainty that Kate is ‘It’, and that no one quite makes him feel the same as she does. What the difference is, he can’t pin point. It’s something he just knows.

Matt is also very afraid of himself. A lot of the things he does are based on the way he sees himself, and his attempts to minimise the damage he believes he could make. He is a strong believer in children never being too different from their parents, and lives his life in fear that he will one day turn into the same sort of man his father was. His whole ‘one week’ theory was based on the premise that if he never made an attachment to a woman, she would never be in a position where he could hurt her. He’s very conscious of his feelings and urges, and of any feelings that could lean towards a break in his temper – Matt will remove himself from a situation before his temper reaches breaking point. He believes protecting those around him is more important than any feelings he has for someone, he has been known to turn his back on relationships for this reason.

He cannot stand violence to women, in particular. He is disgusted by anyone who would dare, and thus disgusted by his own temper in general. Though it worries him, his temper is rare in showing itself – he is, by and large, more frightened of women than they ever need be of him. He treats them with the utmost respect, perhaps too much at times. He is overly conscious of feelings, and feels the need to smooth things over where things have gone wrong. This often makes situations worse, rather than better. 

He’s not a good person in an emergency. He likes to think he would be, but the reality leaves him lost, confused, and looking like a startled rabbit. By and large he’s docile, happiest when someone is there to give orders, he follows along and does as he’s told – he’s happy to let Kate take control of things for the most part, but knows when to step up and stop her going too far. Kate is the one person he’s not afraid of hurting physically. Their relationship is unique in his life, their long-lasting dislike of each other leaving him feeling comfortable in his ability to argue with Kate past the point of no return, and have nothing negative come of it. He doesn’t trust himself enough to try with anyone else.


Matt is the taller among his friends, dwarfed only by Steve Burdett. Despite the fact that he is visibly taller, he dislikes the distinction. He doesn’t like to be thought of as overly tall, or short, instead preferring to be described as ‘average’. His height comes to a small advantage, however – making him the perfect height for his high-heel obsessed wife. When Kate is standing flat floot, his chin rests just on her forehead. 

Build wise, he also describes himself as average. He’s never been a gym junkie, though he does occasionally drop by – he finds physical exercise relaxing, and aims to keep as fit as possible. He’s very diet conscious, and while there is nothing particularly remarkable about his body – he’s quite healthy and in shape for a man of his age. He has quite a bit of strength in his arms and legs, the result of a lot of hard work moving stock around the Roo. 

More than once, he’s been told his face lets him down – and on a personal note, he has to agree. There is nothing striking or handsome about it, nothing that even his wife can single out as attractive. His eyes are a common grey, and while Matt has to agree that he’s not the prettiest thing in the universe, he still keeps himself clean-shaven. He doesn’t like the look or feel of stubble, and is all too aware of the marital implications of letting it grow. His hair has grown darker over the years, starting off at a dark auburn, now settling to a medium brown – though the red can still be faintly seen in bright sunlight.

His taste in clothing is vastly different to that of his peers, earning him the title ‘Metro Matty’. He’s not a fan of t-shirts, viewing them more as ‘sleepwear’ than anything appropriate to leave the house in. He feels the same about tracksuit pants, hooded jackets and thongs (flip-flops, you dirty-minded Americans...). He doesn’t mind jeans, but only the new kind – before holes and stains and fading has had a chance to happen. Matt is happiest in a pair of standard black pants, and a collared button-down shirt. Brand names aren’t important to him, though he does prefer new over second hand. 

Overall, Matt is a well presented man – obsessively clean and neat, but with a face only a mother could love.

The story so far

Matt’s early life is something he doesn’t like to talk about. He was born in the late sixties in Narragyambie, delivered four weeks premature alongside his twin sister Amanda after their mother ‘fell down stairs’ eight months pregnant. His father, John Longhurst, was a bricklayer who worked long days, and drank through longer nights. His mother was a witch, his father a muggle. The pair met after his mother Valerie Belmont (better known as Pearl) graduated Tallygarunga. By all family accounts, their romance was a whirlwind, the pair described as perfectly in love. They married in late 1964, a proper chuch wedding – John’s family being quite religious, would have nothing less. Pearl agreed, happy to just be married to the man she would love forever.

John was aware that his wife was a witch, and while it never sat well with him – for their first year of marriage, it never openly bothered him. He said nothing to his family, worked hard at his job in the hopes that Pearl would never have to work for their income. The couple lived quite comfortably on his wage. Until one day, she came home with news. She had been to morning tea with her best friend Marie (who was married to her own school sweetheart, and pregnant with their first child) when the strangest of feelings had overcome her, and she’d quite unapologetically thrown up into the terracotta pot plant pot on the restaurant’s front deck. Marie, who’s only thoughts at the time revolved around babies, encouraged her to buy a pregnancy test from the corner shop and take it in the public toilets at the Reserve. This she did, both women waiting awkwardly as the test confirmed what Marie had already assumed – Pearl was pregnant.

For Pearl, the news only got better. She’d always wanted a family, and while John had always expressed reservations regarding children, she was sure he would make a perfect father if just given the chance. But he was less than delighted when she told him, the sudden drain on their expenses forced him to seek promotions, work harder. That there were going to be two children only seemed to make it worse, eventually sending him to his father’s house for advice. There he was told that this was all his own doing, and had he handled himself appropriately as her husband, she wouldn’t have become pregnant at all – he was supposed to be in control of her, she was not supposed to be able to run things the way she wished. He earned the money, how their family developed was supposed to be his say, and not hers. He left convinced, demanding that Pearl – at six months pregnant – have the children terminated. She refused, fighting with him properly for the first time – and, for the first time discovering the depths of his anger. 

What little extra money they had, he drank – determined to not let her spend any more than she absolutely had to, he started to dole out the money in a small allowance for herself and the children, keeping the rest in reserve or on the tab at the local pub. He came home late, drunk and bitter, shoving her down the back step one night as she went outside to collect the washing. He stopped allowing her to use magic in his presence, confiscated her wand, and she did as she was told – hoping that her obedience would bring back the man she’d married. Sometimes it did, but only in fleeting moments, enough to keep the both of them holding on – not enough to stop the violence.

When the twins were born, things calmed down just a little. John received his first burst of paternal feeling, Pearl slipped easily into the role of mother – helped greatly by Marie, who despite having a six month son of her own, was becoming more and more worried about Pearl. The couple still argued and fought, but never in front of the children. This lasted until Matt and Amanda were about three, when Amanda wandered out of the twins’ shared room while John and Pearl were fighting. The physical violence was on the up again, the shock of it sent Amanda back to the bedroom crying, crawling into bed alongside Matt, the two of them huddling under blankets at the raised voices. 

At six they started prep at St Andrews Primary, alongside Alan Burdett – the twins’ best friend. Alan was bright and happy, didn’t understand anything about their life – his mother keeping the reasons for Pearl’s frequent bruises and breaks light and laughable. So used to their way of life, the twins didn’t particularly know anything was wrong, until a personal safety lesson in their first year of school taught them about emergency numbers, and what to do when someone was seriously hurt. The lesson was not wasted on either of the children, who learned quickly how to operate the phone and call for ambulances when Pearl was incapable of doing so for herself. 

Over time, Matt found himself more responsible for looking after their mother – Amanda more frightened by the prospect of their mother being hurt than motivated to do something about it. She would go hide in her room until the doctors and sirens went away, and Mrs Burdett came to collect the children. Local emergency services soon learned the sound of his stuttering voice, and came to be fond of the boy who sat quietly and seriously watching as the paramedics tended to her. From the very first call, he longed to be like them – to be able to walk in and make people okay again. He watched in the hopes he would learn, but each time he could never remember what to do. 

Money was starting to become a very serious issue the older the children got, with John drinking more and bringing home less – Matt decided to take matters into his own hands. Other kids had multiple sets of clothes, and didn’t have to watch their parents agonise over which child was due a new pair of shoes the most desperately. Slowly the town was starting to take pity on Pearl, shoving extra money in the change, hoping she wouldn’t notice the difference, Marie snuck in with an extra key and hid food about the house for Pearl and the children to find, food that was almost always confiscated by John. The problem seemed to be money, and so Matt started sneaking out about town in search of odd jobs to help bring in little bits and pieces. With nothing to wear but his St Andrews uniform or his pyjamas, and the occasional hand-me-downs from a much rounder Alan, residents of Narrie tipped well, and often. Matt worked hard, determined to impress his clients. He liked to see things clean, and the work made him feel useful and relaxed. He was productive, solving things. He brought home a fair amount, money that Pearl stashed away in the vain hope she would be able to give it back to him, but it managed to be found, or spent on needed goods. This was to be a theme with any money Matt brought in.

Both the twins turned out to inherit their mother’s magical abilities, something she was thrilled with. By now, John had started to embrace the magical world, frequenting the worst sorts of stores in search of items that would pull his wife ‘in line’ again. He fed her potions both forced and by secrecy, bought self-detonating charms and hexes, figuring she ought to be afraid of the things she knew – all that ever achieved was to make her ill, and as the kids grew up he realised he was going to have the same problem with Amanda.

Once was all it took. A wrong remark from Amanda, and John’s temper snapped – reaching across the table he slapped her hard, shocking both Matt and Pearl – up until now, he’d never laid hands on the children. This was the breaking point for Pearl, who bundled up the children and drove their wreck of a car across town to the Burdett’s. From there she made her final decision, taking out a restraining order on John, and divorcing him for good. The day he left, the small remainder of the family went for a rare dinner at the Bush Barbie, ordering extravagant meals out of what little money they had left, Pearl under the impression that she would be supported by her family – something that turned out to be horribly wrong. They didn’t care what sort of husband John was, they were disgusted that she had divorced him, and wouldn’t be swayed. She resorted instead to government handouts, spending on the children well before herself. Matt continued to earn as much money as he could, occasionally resorting to lying to his mother in order to be allowed out of the house. She felt he should be spending time with friends, sometimes banning him from going out to earn money. It never stopped him.

It was at around this time, as the kids started at Tallygarunga, that the effects of eleven years of abuse was starting to show in a more permanent way. Pearl was sick, and not likely to get better. The news was devastating, though doctors predicted another ten years before things got too drastic. Treatment was expensive, and in Pearl’s opinion – optional. Matt continued to earn money wherever and however he could, insistent they could afford it all. She encouraged the children to spend nights at the school, pushing them towards independence, wanting them to be strong and capable when she couldn’t be there. Amanda, who was now officially Alan’s ‘girlfriend’, took the opportunity to spend time with her friends, Matt came home as often as he dared, teaching himself to cook and clean, gleaning tips from Marie when he stayed at the Burdett’s, and asking a million and one questions of the chefs at the Bush Barbie, when they went there for their now monthly splurges.

He hated how helpless he felt when his mother was too tired to move, and too sick to even laugh. He concentrated in healing classes at Tally, but his grades in all classes were low. He spent his days distracted and worried, and while some girls showed interest in them – he pushed them away. He didn’t want the chance to do to anyone what his father had done to Pearl. He knew that he got angry sometimes, very angry – the possibility that he could lose control terrified him. It made his friends wonder, and sometimes Matt himself wondered whether he was okay. Alan, who dated Amanda on-and-off through school, his first love and first lover – felt that Matt’s shyness needed to be overcome, refusing to let Matt reach sixteen completely unkissed. 

So the great kissing event occurred, Alan rounding up as many girls from all the houses as he could find, tying Matt down to a chair and letting the girls march past and kiss him as much or as little as they dared. This was quite confronting for Matt, whose anxiety around women peaked – eventually forcing Alan to send the girls away and untie the poor boy so he could breathe again. 

Back at home, things were going downhill – though the twins were yet to realise it. More than once Matt had found himself needing to call the paramedics after finding Pearl in a bad state. Initially he had thought it was to do with her illness, the more often it happened, however, the more the words ‘attempted suicide’ started to be banded about – even by Marie, words that felt like accusations and he refused to believe. Her attempts were subtle, usually poison related – and Matt continued to deny it was happening until she locked herself in the garage. That was her closest call, a realisation that made Matt so angry he almost left her there. That brief hesitation is something he still hates himself for, even though she survived.

Seventh year was a struggle for him, his grades suffering miserably under the stress from home. Amanda seemed to cope with support from the Burdetts, Alan tried his best to split time between best mate and girlfriend, and Amanda continued to hold up late night chats with her brother – but he was near obsessed with saving their mother. In some respects Amanda had given up, and Alan didn’t seem to understand. Seventh year was also a big year for Tallygarunga, with it’s inclusion in the inter-school games between Greyheme and Penrose. The first of the games was to be held at Tallygarunga, a night Matt remembers with mild irritation on Amanda’s behalf – Alan had been an idiot, leading to a break in their relationship. In revenge, Amanda had sought out the Head Boy of Greyheme, Alan finding his attention captured by one of the Penrose girls. They caused a scene, kissing in public as the schools parted, the younger girl thanking him for the fun and heading back to her own school. 

Some weeks later, it was Tallygarunga’s turn to visit the other schools – the boys staying at Greyheme, the girls at Penrose. The games themselves were not memorable, Matt spent the whole time on edge, distracted. His mother had insisted he go, support Amanda who was on the Quidditch team. He and Alan had been allocated the same room, Alan somewhat disappointed he hadn’t spotted his Penrose girl yet – right up until she snuck into the room in the middle of the night, grinning and insisting Alan come with her. He did, Matt choosing to sleep rather than escape the school. The next morning he was woken by the Deputy Headmaster of Tally, cursing Alan – who was still not back from wherever he’d gone, Matt feigned innocence, but Knightley’s purpose was much graver. Pearl had passed away overnight, Knightley had come to bring Matt and Amanda back to Narrie.

The twins coped with their mother’s death in very different ways. Amanda sought the company of Alan once more, who came through for her with muffins, hugs and support when she needed it. Matt ran instead to the Bush Barbie, bursting into tears as the staff offered him a free dinner out of sympathy. Knowing he would need employment, the Hamiltons hooked him up with a job at The Drunken Roo, running tables during the dinner rush. Exams were fast approaching, and despite the fact Matt knew what he wanted to do, he had no chance of getting the grades to do it. Even if he had, the money wasn’t there to send both himself and Amanda to university. 

When Amanda revealed during one of their late night chats, the note their mother had written her (both the twins had received one, Matt still keeps his in a very safe place), she dropped a few bombshells. One was that while she enjoyed Alan’s company, she wasn’t attracted to him anymore. The other was that she was cheating on him – with her roommate, Cassandra. Amanda had always felt to blame for her parents’ split, blamed it on the fact she was a girl. Pearl’s letter addressed her as her ‘other son’, something that apparently meant a lot to Amanda. Matt wasn’t permitted to tell Alan anything, and though he tried to stop Alan’s grand graduation proposal, he wasn’t at all successful. Amanda managed to get a position at a university in Ballarat, and sensing his sister’s need to escape – Matt supported her decision to leave Narrie. Alan also chose to leave Narrie, a surprise from the boy who’d only ever wanted to run his own farm, taking a third round offer for a teaching course at VMU. It was in Melbourne that Alan again met his Penrose girl, Kate McElhaney – and the two started seeing each other formally. Matt couldn’t help but resent the girl a little, she was the reason Alan hadn’t been there when he and Amanda had need a friend the most, and that was never going to be alright.

He continued to work at the Roo, not knowing what else to do with himself, renting a broken down flat in Koonyah, and sending the majority of his earnings to Amanda to help her through. His boss wasn’t all that nice – a slave driver who kept the place in disrepair, completely ignoring the work that Matt did to make it nicer. Though Matt did eventually get promoted to bar manager, it was like getting blood from a stone, and the positions rarely came with pay rises. He worked twelve or more hours a day, every day, just to get by. He took a weekend off, receiving a note from Amanda who wanted to talk. Amanda had made a major decision, that she no longer wanted to be recognised as a woman. Matt, who’d been somewhat expecting this by now, supported her in this – but warned that she ought to at least give Alan time to swallow the news before spreading her choice about. 

The next day was Alan’s nineteenth birthday, and Matt took his second day off to visit Alan for his surprise party – getting a surprise of his own when he broke into Alan’s dorm room to find Kate sitting there. Alan, who’d headed into the city to meet up with Amanda, wasn’t due home for another hour or so, and this he told Kate – who proceeded to get upset. And then kissed him, saying that if Alan could nookie up to his ex-girlfriend, then he shouldn’t be worried about whatever Kate did. Kate, who’d been saving herself as a special birthday present for Alan – gave it to Matt, instead. Matt was shocked and unsure of what to feel, quite convinced that was supposed to be a special moment, with the right person... he was about to leave when Alan walked in, and before Kate could start to rant, explained that Amanda had sat him down to have the gender change talk. Kate changed her tune, turning from angry almost-ex to supportive loving girlfriend in ten seconds flat.

That night, Matt was sure he ought to say something to Alan – but wasn’t sure how. Kate continued to give him dirty looks, as if it were his fault, eventually pushing her overly drunk best friend Coralynne his way in an attempt to keep him quiet. Having had a few drinks himself, Matt let himself relax – and as Corrie took charge of him, he started to believe that maybe he could love after all. Their relationship lasted six years, three years longer than Alan and Kate’s longest consecutive stint. He resented Kate for how things had happened, and how Alan didn’t know – the pair displaying their dislike for the other openly, fighting bitterly whenever left in the other’s company too long. He was glad when Alan and Kate were finally over, but at the same time – his own relationship with Corrie was starting to fall apart. She’d taught him a lot, coaching him out of his insecurities to a place where he could try to be passionate, where he could trust himself just a little.

A few drinks and a bitter argument put an end to that, Matt feeling the first serious argument between himself and Corrie go bad, he only grabbed her wrist – but to him, it felt much worse. To him, he might as well have broken her arm. He told her it was over, but she refused to believe - returning on numerous occasions to beg that he change his mind. Eventually he did the last thing he wanted to do, and sought the advice of Kate, the only person he felt would be able to talk Corrie out of trying to make it work. All that it achieved was getting into another argument, that somehow (and neither can explain how) ended in a loss of clothing, and a very upset Corrie walking in to find her best friend and her ex-boyfriend in a position she would never have imagined them in. 

Matt did his best to ignore it ever happened, continued to hate Kate (as she bounced back to Alan and away again over the years) and started his own way of life. After Corrie, he knew he didn’t want to be alone, but at the same time, didn’t trust himself to spend too much time with the same woman, for fear that he would find himself wanting to harm someone else. During this time he also became close friends with Loraine Hamilton, and as Amanda’s choices pushed distance between them, Loraine became his new confidante.

He never wanted much from his ‘girlfriends’, if they could be called that. They understood the way things worked, that it was only ever a week, that he had no intentions of going beyond that – and that it was all in fun. In return, he got what he needed – the company of another human being. Some women he never actually slept with, some he just wanted to talk to. Some he just wanted to cook for. But if anyone asked, he politely declined to share details – leading to the belief that his intentions were a lot less innocent. History repeated again, as Kate broke up with her husband – fleeing to Narrie in search of Alan, but finding Matt instead, he apparated her back to her home, not wanting her anywhere near Alan, the argument deteriorated, somehow things went wrong, yet again. Matt decided to try and not get angry at Kate ever again.

Things rolled on smoothly for Matt, his system worked – no one got hurt. Mack, the owner of the Roo died, and having no relatives who cared enough to admit they were related to him, the hotel fell into his ownership. He moved into the top apartment, and commissioned Amanda (now Adam, and a qualified interior designer) to redecorate out of the hotel’s amazing surplus. 

His life took an unexpected turn when a casual fling with Kate turned into a more on-going situation. As much as he wanted to hate her, he couldn't. He would come home to find her in his seat, playing his favourite game Kill Death 2. Beating his scores. After a lot of denial, both finally admitted they didn't actually hate each other that much, and started seeing each other properly.

Around this time, Matt's father's second wife, Angela, began trying to make contact with Matt and Adam for the first time. This was when Matt learned that he had a younger half-brother Aiden and half-sister Valerie. He was furious that his father had dared to name his daughter after his deceased ex-wife, but just as his mother had been, Angela seemed to be in trouble. Both Matt and Adam made an effort to help, but ultimately it ended it tragedy.

Angela was murdered in front of her children, who were then taken from the crime scene to Matt's apartment at The Drunken Roo. Aiden and Valerie lived quite comfortably there, sharing a bedroom in the small living quarters. 

Matt proposed one night, grateful for Kate's help in managing his half-siblings. Expecting that Matt would eventually realise he was making a commitment and bolt, Kate organised for all their friends and family to get together on a boat in the middle of the Murray River. And then informed Matt that this was their wedding day. He freaked out, but didn't run, and the pair were married.

Shortly after, he chose to change his surname from Longhurst to Belmont, feeling that his father (now spending life in prison) didn't deserve to have his name carried. Belmont was his mother's maiden name.

Kate fell pregnant and had Hazel, followed by a stillborn daughter Rylea. Matt had always been frustrated by his inability to help with the things that happened to those he loved, and at Kate's insistence, he finally enrolled to study nursing. 

In his first semester, he was crossing the road to attend class and hit by a tram. He's been in a coma ever since.

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