crumbling wall

the good die young

Sirius Black walked nervously up and down as he watched the events unfold in Hogwarts. The place he knew like the back of his hand, the place where he had the best time of his life with the people he cared about the most. It was crumbling down, every wall that he had once touched, every statue he hid behind, it was all falling apart right in front of his eyes and he hated that he was useless once more. 

Fred Weasley had recently joined them, Sirius watched as this kid watched his family with worried eyes that reminded him so much of Fabian and Gideon. Sirius had watched the brothers comfort the red haired boy who cried breathlessly as he watched his older brother run after his killer. All the things that poor boy must be feeling were nothing compared to what James and Lily were feeling. They knew how this would end, they knew Harry would join them soon. Lily watched with worried eyes as James took his glasses off every two minutes to rub his forehead, like he had a headache he couldn’t get rid of. 

Sirius heard James yell “No” as he fell on his knees and thought that maybe it was the time, maybe his godson was joining them. He didn’t dare turn around, he couldn’t bear seeing him here, not Harry. He closed his eyes and kept them shut, not so fast, this shouldn’t have happened so fast.

“Pads?”

I must be dreaming.  

“Sirius?”

It’s impossible.

“Sirius, open your eyes”

So Sirius did and wished he hadn’t.

No” yelled Sirius as he turned away from the tall man standing in front of him, with two visible scars on his face and tired eyes. “This is not happening. Lily please tell me this is not happening” shouted Sirius as tears were streaming down his face.

“Please Lils” he begged, barely whispering. Sirius looked James with pleading eyes to tell him that the man stood in front of him a second ago was not Remus, was not his Moony. James’ tear stained face was all the answer he needed but didn’t want.

“Sirius,” began Remus, Lily was staring behind Sirius with tear filled eyes, so it was really him. 

“James you should keep watching Harry. I– I got Remus” assured Sirius. James looked torn between Remus and Harry but Sirius knew Harry had to come first. Remus would understand that.

“Hello Professor Lupin” said Fred slowly, Remus flinched at that mention.

“I didn’t– I didn’t know you–”

“The good die young Professor, I hope it won’t be in vain” replied Fred with hope in his voice. Sirius took in Remus completely, the way his amber eyes watered as he smiled to the Weasley kid, the way his head tilted to the side when he felt hopeless. The way he had grown old without him despite all the promises they had made each other.

Sirius slowly walked away from the ever growing crowd around James and Lily, he stopped when he was sure no one could hear them.

“Who was it?” demanded Sirius before Remus could open his mouth.

“Lestrange” replied Remus like he expected Sirius to ask the question. Remus looked around troubled. “Where am I? Purgatory?”

“Well kind of, you don’t move on unless you want to. Afterlife is a better explanation” said Sirius, his eyes hanging on every new scar on Remus’ visible skin. He was sure there were plenty more he couldn’t see. 

“So you are- you are all real? You are real? I’m not in heaven and imagining everything around because I’m d-dead?”

Sirius slowly nodded in response. Remus slowly raised his hand to touch Sirius but he searched for Sirius’ permission to do so. Sirius leaned his head down to let his hand touch like a dog would to his owner. As soon as Sirius felt the warmth of Remus on his skin, he felt all his troubles melt away. 

Remus slowly pulled Sirius in a tight hug as he pressed the shorter man’s head on his chest, his long fingers tangled in Sirius’ long silky hair.

“I thought I had lost you forever” whispered Remus in Sirius’ black hair. He still smelled like chocolate, Sirius inhaled the familiar scent and felt like he was back in Grimmauld Place, 12, two years ago. Intertwined in his bed, the chocolate scent in the corridors of the place he hated so much and Sirius didn’t think he would feel Remus’ rough skin on his soft one anytime soon. Sirius didn’t know what to feel, he had Moony back but he wanted him to live longer than this, he deserved to live longer than this, he deserved happiness.

Remus broke the silence slowly.

“I have to ask you something but I don’t know how to–”

“I am not angry or disappointed in you because you chose happiness Moons. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy,” interrupted before Remus could finish his sentence. Remus cleared his throat to hid the tears pooling in his eyes. “Am I a little jealous of Dora? Yes, but if you were happy, that’s all I ever need,” continued Sirius and he saw Remus smile slightly.

“I missed you with every little piece of my being, I felt numb for days after you were gone and I–” stuttered Remus. “All I wanted was you and I was tired, you know? Everything I ever loved was taken from me and you were the last blow. The thing I loved the most–” Sirius stared at the werewolf in awe, Remus’ amber eyes stared into Sirius’ grey ones with so much love Sirius felt himself drown in it. “What I am trying to say is I have never given up on you Sirius.”

Sirius for once in his life was lost for words. He somehow knew that Remus would never completely forget him but to hear him say it so clearly was so different.

“And I loved her, Tonks I mean, I still do. She is an incredible person and an even better friend. She took care of me and she loved me almost as much as you did and I needed her, I needed to feel that,” babbled Remus, he almost sounded guilty because he wanted happiness. “Then Teddy came, he is so perfect, I wish you met him. Just because I loved Tonks does not mean that I was ever over you, Pads.”

Sirius just stared at him, his eyes fixated on Remus’ lips, taking in every little word that fell from them. Then he slowly reached for Remus’ hand kissed each wounded knuckle. 

At that moment, they didn’t need words or anything else for that matter. Just one look and everything unspoken was out in the open. Remus slowly wiped away the tear from Sirius’ cheek. Sirius realised he started crying way too often but it felt good, to hear those words. Remus turned around to stare at the crowd behind him.

“So, what are James and Lily doing?” 

“They are watching Harry and the others, you can watch people from here. So if you want to you can watch Tonks and Teddy,” said Sirius smiling and Tonks appeared in front of them fighting for her life, duelling two Death Eaters at the same time.

“She should have stayed home” said Remus as he watched Tonks desperately. 

“Well, Blacks aren’t that good at listening and sitting still Remus, you should have learned it by now” admitted Sirius guiltily, he only listened to Remus and no one else. 

Sirius saw the jet of green light flying towards his cousin and saw Remus turn as white as a ghost. Sirius barely heard him say “Please, no” as he searched for Sirius to stay standing. The only thing Sirius could think about was what Fred Weasley said as he accepted his fate, the good die young.

Opening Lines

Don’t underestimate the power of your opening lines.

Your first words are super important when writing your novel. They are what draws your reader into your novel, and makes them want to read more. It might sound easy, but in reality, it can be quite difficult to achieve. Here are some tips.


Open in the middle of action:

‘Danny dove behind the crumbling wall, clenching the knife in his hand.’

Immediately, you are giving your readers questions. Why is Danny running? Who is he hiding from, and why has he got a knife?


Open with a question:

‘Do you ever get the feeling that you’re always one step away from experiencing something amazing?’

Again, it invites your reader to continue by outright asking a question. What does the narrator mean when they say this? Are they about to experience something amazing? Most likely, but what?


Open with dialogue:

‘Are you freaking kidding me? Again?’

This one is tricky. If you’re going to do this, pick the right dialogue. You don’t want to start a story with a mundane conversation about someone’s shoes. Start in the middle of an arguement, or someone calling for help. With dialogue, you need to be right in the middle of it. 


Open with inner thought:

‘Aly often thought of falling.’

Any type of inner thought/dialogue would work, but again only if it makes your readers ask questions. A thought about another character, an event, or a sassy comment will help pull the reader in. ‘These chips are good,’ won’t work as well.


Hope this helps!

Last night I asked people to guess my favorite Hetalia character and at least 60 pple guessed BUT NOT A SINGLE PERSON GUESSED CHINA I’m so sad!!!! 

He threw a tantrum and bashed his head against a wall and the wall crumbled!!! He is smol but strong and adores cute things!!! He repeatedly hit an ancient dragon with a Hello Kitty plush!! HE. HAS. A. PONY. TAIL. CMON NOW GUYS

Character Development: Nick

Sometimes I wonder about reviewers who complained about Nick’s “lack of character development”.

Were they watching the movie?

I mean, look at this sequence:

You know why Nick did that? Because, at this point, not only was he being blackmailed to do things he was not eager to do, but also because of “that little item”:

Now, if Nick can go from that guy who “wanted to see Judy fail” to this guy, who dared to stood up for her when no one else would:

I daresay that is a great character development.

He changed enough, so despite of his own principle:

He nearly let Judy “get to him”, by baring his past, his reason for him to be so apathetic. His wall was crumbling:

And his wall kept crumbling until he was wide open and vulnerable to the bunny:

His childhood dream finally coming true:

So imagine how crushed he would be seconds later. At this point when his defenses were all down, the wall had been torn down by Judy, the bunny revealed her own baggage of prejudice:

.

I’d say this is amazing character development. Moreso if you remember that all these were compressed into a period of 3 days.

Reviewers should learn to analyze movies deeply, with open mind and desire to analyze. And not expect everything to be handed on a silver platter.

IOW: They should learn to use their brains.

.

Do you miss them?“ Her friend inquired softly, as if she didn’t already know the answer.

“Of course, I do.” She took a deep, shaky breath, trying to keep her crumbling walls up. “I mean, how could I not? Every where I look there’s a memory of us. That’s what happens when you spend half your life with someone. It doesn’t matter how many times you fought or even if it was over the same things. You couldn’t imagine your life without them. And then it ends, and you don’t even get a fucking choice in the matter. Sure they might have been toxic, and sure you didn’t always get along but they were a part of you. And to have it all end, without even an explanation? It fucking hurts. It feels like your world is falling apart and the one person you want to reach out and catch you, doesn’t even give a damn about you now.

—  wordless departure // excerpt from a book I’ll never write #88 ( offdxys )

IMAGINE: It was no secret that Bucky hated his past, how he regrets being the Winter Soldier. What happens when he meets someone that can change his mind? 

[gif is not mine. requests are open. let me know what you think] 

warnings: swear words, brief harassment, small violence. 

word count: 2.4k +


‘He had built up walls for years, keeping everyone out. Then she came into his life and with a touch of her finger the walls crumbled into ashes.’


Everyone knew that Bucky wasn’t one to converse with anyone, to talk to anyone let alone spend a minute in a room with someone that wasn’t Steve. He grunted and nodded, but no actual words ever came out of his mouth. He kept quiet, he kept to himself. No one really knew him, Steve did, but still…There were some things that he kept to himself, things that kept him up at night -waking from his nightmares, knives sheathed out panicking and looking around the room. He hated himself, he hated that he caused a war within a group, forcing everyone to take sides. Even years later when everything was settled, he still felt guilty thus he kept to himself. Maybe, just maybe if he didn’t speak and just did what everyone wanted him to do he could chip away the guilt.


He remembers the day vividly, it’s as if it’s a movie in his head, one that he can replay over and over again. He can pick out the exact moment that he knew in himself that she was going to change him.


“(Y/N), you have to be calm when you meet them, okay kid?” Tony looked over the kid next to him. Granted that she wasn’t a kid anymore, she was still a kid to him. “You can’t embarrass me, I have a reputation to uphold.”

(Y/N) barked out a laugh as she saw Tony puff out his chest, “I cross my heart that I won’t embarrass you.”

Tony smiled at her and opened the door, she instantly saw all the Avengers lounging around -some sitting down, some playing pool and some in the kitchen. He cleared his throat and they stopped and stared at him. “This is (Y/N),” he gestured the awed girl beside him.

She smiled at the group and waved, “I’m his love child,” she waggled her eyebrows and laughed out loudly when she saw the expressions on their face.

“She’s not,” Tony deadpanned. “What did I say about embarrassing me?” She shrugged in reply. Turning back to the group he explained, “She’s a recruit from Isla Nublar, Tony wanted her expertise on something. Plus, I’ve also known her since she was little so she’s like a little sister to me, so if any of you hurt her I will seriously kill you.”

“You can’t just mildly kill them?” (Y/N) teased and she received a jab from him. As they went around the room, introducing (Y/N) to everyone, she was awestruck by just how ordinary they were. Of course she kept up on the details, not hard to really. But it was so different, they were just normal people who were expected to drop everything to fight off the next evil.


After the introductions, she went to the kitchen to fix herself something to eat as everyone was heading to the gym. “For a bunch of superheroes they surprisingly have a lot of junk food in the fridge,” she mused to herself, thinking out loud. “Ooo, lasagne.” She picked out the heavy dish and turned around but bumped into someone.

“SHIT! I am so sorry,” (Y/N) looked at the lasagne and then back to the figure. Their black uniform was covered in red and white sauce. “I got lasagne on you,” she began wiping it off his uniform, after three wipes she realised how awkward it was.

She smiled sheepishly and look up at the man, “Sorry, didn’t mean to awkwardly touch you.” (Y/N) was going to say more but she stopped when she saw who she was talking to. It was Bucky Barnes. She read up on him, fascinated by history as both James Barnes and the Winter Soldier. “It’s not everyday that you get to live the tale that you accidentally dropped lasagne on an infamous assassin.” She tried to lighten the joke being the idiot as the was.

Bucky looked down at her, veiled amusement in his eyes. “Don’t really know the protocol for throwing lasagne at an assassin so forgive me if I don’t know how to act, I’m usually much cooler than this.” She gave him a toothy smile. (Y/N) wasn’t nervous, not at all, nor was she embarrassed.

“It’s okay,” his voice was rough from the lack of use. To his ears it sounded foreign, but to her it sounded beautiful.

“Do you want me to pay for dry-cleaning?” He tilted his head. “Uh, dry-cleaning is like this fancy service that you use when you want something to be professionally cleaned.” She sounded so unsure, but at the same time her voice was gentle and not at all patronising.

“I know what dry-cleaning is,” he gave her a small quick smile.

She found that she liked it when he smiled, he seemed younger and more relaxed even though she saw it for at least 3 seconds. “That’s good, that’s good.” She muttered, then looking down at the floor. “I haven’t been in the compound a day and I’ve already made a mess.” (Y/N) walked to the counter to fetch the kitchen roll, once in her hand she bent down and started wiping.

“Want some help?” Bucky knelt down and ripped some paper.


Maybe it was the way that she didn’t seem afraid of him and she treated him like a normal person. Or maybe it was because she made him laugh -something that hasn’t happened to him for so long. Or maybe it was her small, awkward yet charming smile that made him feel lighter than he’s ever felt before.


From that day on Bucky seeked out (Y/N), he came out of his room more, stayed in rooms longer than before. Of course everyone noticed his odd behaviour, it was hard not to. Bucky didn’t actively participate in conversations, but when (Y/N) asked him a question, flashed him a smile, or tried to include him in the conversation he reciprocated.


They were sitting in the living room, Stranger Things playing on the television. “You’re enjoying this,” she teased as she saw him lean in trying to figure out the scene.

Bucky leaned back nonchalantly and turned his head towards her, “It’s…different.”

“Different good?”

He nodded hesitantly. “It’s nice.”

She smiled triumphantly and leaned back, her arms touching his lightly. She tried not to think of how warmth seemed to radiate of him, or just how nice he smelt.

(Y/N) passed him the pizza, “Thanks, doll.” (Y/N)’s hand froze and turned to him.

He felt his face redden, and his hands clamp up. He didn’t mean to say that out loud, he didn’t mean for that nickname to slip. He didn’t turn to her, afraid of her reaction. It was an intimate nickname for someone, so he wouldn’t be surprised if she got up and left, never speaking to him again.

She made an appreciative noise, “I like that.”

Startled, he turned to her, “What?”

“I like that. It’s cute and it’s very you,” she gave him a grin and a wink. “Doll,” she tried it out, rolling the word off her tongue.

He smiled at her when she clucked her tongue, “Don’t I get a nickname?”

She narrowed her eyes, smiled and tilted her head, “Hm, what to call you. Buckster?” She tried out and she chuckled at his horrified expression. “Buckarro?” He poked her this time. “I know, I’ll call you James.”

This time he chuckled, “That’s my name, not exactly a nickname.”

“Except no one calls you that and that’s why it’s perfect. Everyone calls you Barnes, or Bucky, but never James. The name is something just the two of us,” she smiled at him.


He felt his heart quicken and reciprocated her smile. It was genuine and it was wide. It was the smile that he would have had on his face practically all the time back in the 40s. As they continued watching the show, he realized that he liked it when she said the two of them. ‘Just between the two of them.’ He smiled, contented for the first time.


(Y/N) stood in line, trying to memorize everyone’s drink order. She felt a hand touch her backside and she turned around, “What are you doing?”

The man behind her gave her a lopsided smile. Even under the bad fluro lights she could see that his eyes were glossy and he could hardly stand on his on two feet. “Hey there pretty lady.” He gave her a wink and (Y/N) screwed up her nose in disgust. “Don’t be like that,” he tried to touch her arm but she yanked it away.

“Don’t touch me,” she growled, her arms ready to fight just in case.

“Come on, pretty lady,” he yanked her by the waist and she yelped. (Y/N) hardly had time to hit the man as he was yanked off her. She tumbled to the ground, and watched as Bucky hit the man over and over again. Noticing how hard the punches were she pulled herself up and ran to where Bucky was.

“Bucky!” He didn’t turn around. He held the man’s collar and pulled his hand back to punch him again. “Bucky! Bucky!” (Y/N) ran and touched his shoulder, “James.” This time he turned around. Letting the man go.

She saw how his eyes and his face were different, she tentatively touched his cheek, “James, come back to me darling. Come back to me.” She rubbed his cheek affectionately, “I’m here, just come back to me, please.”

His gaze softened, and he cupped the hand that was on his cheek.

Bucky was sure that (Y/N) would have ran away, fleeing as she saw the side of him he desperately never wanted anyone to see, especially her. But all she did was hold his hand, nodding to Steve and took him outside leading him to the car.


Once they were in the safety of the complex, (Y/N) opened Bucky’s door and pulled him in. “Are you okay?”

He didn’t answer, instead he fell to his knees. (Y/N) knelt down and pushed back his hair, “Buck?”

“I’m sorry,” it was soft and she could hardly hear him but at the same time she could hear it clearly, the emotion; the heartbreak, anger and sadness.

(Y/N) launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, squeezing him tighter as each second passed by. Once they broke apart she looked at him, “Never, ever apologize for that. Never apologize for that James.”

“I let him out, I never wanted to let him out.”

She could have burst out crying at how small he sounded. “No matter what, he will always be a part of you James, you can never erase him but,” she closed her eyes and shook her head. “Don’t ever be ashamed for something that you never did. You needed to be brainwashed, you needed a long time to transfer from James to the Winter Soldier. You’re not him.”

Bucky wrapped his arms around her, never letting her go, “You’re not him. You’re Steve’s Bucky, you’re my James, you’re our Barnes. Never forget that.” She gave him a kiss on the top of his head, “Even if you do, I’ll always be here to make you remember.”

“Promise?”

“Always.” It was such a simple word but it was filled with so much more than it could possibly contain. He felt his heart open, and it all it took was one word for his walls to be tore down.


It was a casual day, there was nothing important. She was in her pyjamas, and he was in his gym clothes. Both of them sat at the kitchen counter, each eating their respective breakfast.

“What would you say if I asked you on a date doll?” He didn’t look at her, fear of her rejection.

She placed her spoon down, “I would say that it took you long enough James.” When he looked up he could see her smile, happiness radiating off her face.


He was Bucky before. He was known for charming the dames, being everyone’s friend and always being there for Steve. Then he was known as the Winter Soldier. He was adored. One of the greatest killing machines that HYDRA has ever created. He was feared.Then he was Barnes. Long gone was Bucky (though not for Steve, he would always be Bucky for Steve), buried underneath everything, and long gone was the Winter Soldier. He was Barnes and he was part of the Avengers. He was accepted. Finally, he was James. Her James to be exact. He was understood, loved and adored. She was the one person that managed to find him when he was so lost in the dark. She was the beacon in his life that he longed for, that he thought was long gone because of the atrocities that he committed.

But here she was, next to him, one of her arms carelessly tossed on his stomach, one under the pillow. As Bucky stroked her hair, she softly groaned and lifted her head. “Hey Buck, is it morning yet?”

He gave her a small smile. “No, not yet.” (Y/N) sat up and stretched, then with a grin she straddled him.

She grabbed his metal arm and fiddled with his fingers, “You know we could just etch the ring on your finger, I mean you won’t ever lose it that way.” (Y/N) leaned forward and laid on his chest.

He loved this position, mostly because he could feel her heartbeat. “I’m not you, doll, I mean how many times have you lost your ring?” He felt her lightly smack him, and he started running his hand down her back.

“Shut it, you love me.”

“Maybe I don’t.”

“You’re marrying me.”

“Eh,” he gave her a shrug and sat back up.

“Do I have to convince you that marrying me would be the greatest thing ever?” She grinded her hips against his, and smirked when he groaned.

“The greatest thing ever was meeting you doll,” he sat up and kissed her.

Bucky managed to find someone to break him out of his shell. A person who managed to keep the nightmares at bay, even on the rare occasions he had them she was there right by his side, brushing his hair back and whispering comforting words in his ear. He found the person that managed to love his past even when he couldn’t.

Tell me about something that makes your skin crawl, that makes you shiver and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Tell me about something that broke you, that completely changed who you are, that made your walls crumble down. Tell me what you did to fix your heart, to knit your bones back together, to heal your wounds and bruises. Tell me about your favourite colour, book, film, food, anything. Tell me about your last heartbreak, the last time you fell in love, the last time you felt like you couldn’t move on. Tell me something about loss, about grief, about the last time you cried so bad you could hardly breathe. Tell me. Just tell me. I’m all ears. I want you and I want all of you, the good times and the bad times and all the times inbetween.
—  What makes you who you are? I’m dying to know
n.j.
2

DB Weiss looking at Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington like

“I can’t wait to get you two to fall in love with each other and have an amazing passionate love-making session without knowing you’re related !” 😈

I have a Jon Snow ❄️
I have a Daenerys Targaryen 🔥
Ughhh !! ⛵️ *boat intercourse* 🎉
Wall ➡️ *crumble crumble*

I gaze at you in wonder
my walls crumble
at your feet
naked, I lie before you
yet this is not my defeat
in fact I am invulnerable
for the first time love
is a certainty
for the first time I believe
I am loved completely
—  Yours completely, M.A. Tempels © 2016

i love how Damen consequently uses the words “making love” to describe what they shared (i. e. ‘you knew who i was the night we made love’) and Laurent, over and over again, calls it “fucking” - to be dismissive, hurtful, to distance himself, and to erease the emotional aspect of it, that it meant something to him, as well as Damen (’if you knew, how could you–’ ‘let you fuck me?’ // ‘let’s fuck’ // ‘you want to fuck me’), but the moment his walls crumble, the moment he lets himself have it, Laurent says, ‘when you make love to me like that, i can’t think’      

2

(this post is for @leopardstar, as part of the [now closed] drive to help pwr bttm! they requested “a game of thrones au in which neither sufjan nor drake dies.”)

All along the southern border of Canada arose great crumbling walls of stone and oak, hewn in ancient days to protect the Ontarians from what lay beyond. Drakearys came to the wall a mere boy, all rough edges and callow speech, too young by far to serve as a proper Mountie. And yet the vastness called to him, this icy expanse studded with fearsome beasts and curious, stalwart fauna and roving packs of Michiganders. 

Drakearys knew little of their lives, but late, alone at his post on the wall, fingers numb and breath going white in empty air, he trained his viewfinder upon their camp. The Michiganders, he knew, were warriors of the highest repute, untouched by fear, born with something in their veins bloodier than blood. But in these moments, gathered around the tall bonfyre, a sort of peace seemed to settle over them. There was one Michigander, taller than the rest, who sat with a stringed instrument upon his knee and gathered the children to him and sang. Sang, sang, sang, until the babes grew dizzy with sleep and their parents lifted them, careful, and tucked them away in those steadfast tents hewn from the hides of wolverines. 

Drakearys never heard the songs, of course. The vicious Ontarian wind howled ever southern, roaring past his ears and into the American expanse, seeking retribution. But he wondered about the songs. Wondered about the man singing them. About his voice. About that strange instrument he carried. Aye, it was a callow thought, and traitorous, but on some nights, worn to the bone by fatigue and frost, he yearned for the Michiganders’ bonfyre, for the warmth of the flame and the embrace of the singing warrior. You swore an oath, he reminded himself, in those moments of weakness. An oath to guard this wall, an oath to protect your Ontarian brethren from the scourge of the Michiganders, an oath to serve your fellow Mounties well. 

But, replied a smaller voice, any oath can be broken. Any oath at all…

How the signs feel about the election based on Green Day and Muse lyrics from their newest albums "Revolution Radio" and "Drones"

Aries: War just moved up a gear, I don’t think I can handle the truth
Taurus: How did we get in so much trouble? Getting out just seems impossible
Gemini: The future and promises ain’t what it used to be
Cancer: We will be seen but not be heard
Leo: Say goodbye to the ones that we love
Virgo: States are crumbling, walls are rising high again
Libra: What good is love and peace on earth?
Scorpio: Are you scared to death to live?
Sagittarius: Don’t want to think about tomorrow, don’t want to think about it
Capricorn: We live in troubled times
Aquarius: If this is what you call the good life, I want a better way to die
Pieces: Show me mercy, can someone rescue me?

The Crown of Fire

“Phantom! Watch out!”

Superman catches the iron beam inches from the glowing tip of Phantom’s nose. The ghost boy jerks back, eyes wide, and mouth parting in surprise. Clark can tell he hadn’t been at all aware of the danger, and it worries him. The ghost is always hyper vigilant of his surroundings, except when he gets overconfident, and the fact that he’d been so zoned out as to miss an I-beam flying straight at his face is more than cause for concern.

Clark takes a moment to launch the beam back at a small cluster of the ‘bots surrounding them, sending the whole group crashing through a crumbling concrete wall. The robots spark and die on impact. Clark turns back to look at the ghost, scanning up and down with normal and X-ray vision to make sure he isn’t hurt anywhere. Ghost physiology is weird, and Danny has bones as often as he doesn’t, but breaks are always clear. Nothing looks obviously hurt now.

Clark puts a cautious hand on the ghost’s shoulder, forcing neon green eyes to meet his. “Phantom, are you okay?”

Danny blinks. Clark can see him struggling to focus.

 “Uh, yeah,” Phantom says, “yeah, I’m fine.”

He shrugs out from under Clark’s hand, wobbles a moment and then floats to compensate. “C’mon, let’s go kick some robot butt!”

He flies off to join Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, throwing precise bolts of ecto energy at the already-dwindling army of metal warriors.

Clark stays where he is, watching. He knows, objectively, that Phantom is already dead, has been for hundreds of years, but it’s hard to see past the fourteen-year-old face. The robots don’t pose much of a threat so much as they serve as battle fodder, a distraction; John will watch over the ghost kid for the remainder of the battle.

Clark waits as near silent footsteps approach, then he turns to look at Batman.

“He’s not alright.”

Bruce’s eyes narrow behind the mark. “No, he’s not. Come on. J’onn and I have triangulated Luthor’s signal.”

0o0o

“So, what’s with the costume change, little man? You lookin’ to send a message or you just get tired of your old digs?”

Phantom swats Flash’s hand away and turns, floating higher until he’s eye level with the speedster. The ring of Justice Leaguers standing by the Watchtower’s main console look over at the sudden calling of attention to the room’s latest elephant. Diana wanders over, eyebrows raised in open curiosity.

Danny reaches up and nervously adjusts the flaming crown hovering above his head. The fire isn’t hot, not to him, but he doesn’t want to find out if that applies to regular humans, even if they are super-enhanced.

“My coronation was last week,” he says.

“Coronation?!” Flash reels back in surprise, then flits around Phantom for a full look at the new crown. “Ya don’t say.”

“Congratulations,” Diana enthuses. Her smile sends cold, ghostly butterflies to his stomach and Danny blushes, acutely aware of everyone’s eyes on him.

“Yeah,” he says, putting his hands on his hips and projecting all the confidence he can muster, “turns out defeating the old ghost king puts you first in line to take his place.”

“This is great news, Phantom!” Diana says, taking one his hands in hers and holding tight despite the chill. It reminds him of how his mom would squeeze his hand when she knew he was nervous. He hopes it’s just a friendly congratulations thing and not a mothering thing. He thought the League was past seeing him as just a kid.

“You may finally be able to achieve acknowledgement of your people by the world’s governments!” Diana continues.

“Yeah, and get the ghosts to stop terrorizing Central,” Flash gripes.

Danny’s good mood vanishes at the reminder. He phases out of Wonder Woman’s grip, crosses his arms to dissuade her from touching him again.

“The ghosts won’t listen to me,” he says. “I’ll see you guys later.”

Then he vanishes.

Wonder Woman looks at Flash. Each seeing the other just as stunned, they turn to look at Superman. Clark shrugs. Behind him, Batman frowns.

0o0o

“Hey! Hey, kid! Kid!”

Phantom startles at the sudden hand on his wrist. He follows the leather glove up to meet the wide-eyed mask hiding Green Arrow’s identity. The man drops his hand before Danny can phase free, returning his fingers to a tight grip in his bow.

“Geeze, kid, lighten up a little; I don’t think this guy can take much more. He ain’t some super nut, he’s just a regular Joe Bank Robber. What, did he kick your ghost puppy or somethin’?”

Danny stares. Oliver will never admit how unsettled that gaze makes him; eyes like radioactive waste and too-pale features under colourless hair tinted emerald from the cold-burning fire of a floating crown. It’s creepy.

It’s also creepy how the kid (ancient kid, from what he’s heard), seems to shift from kneeling over the unfortunate robber’s body to standing without really moving.

“I stopped him, didn’t I?” the kid says.

Oliver watches him walk away, holding fast against the shiver that tickles up his spine, until the kid meets the wall of grateful bank-goers and disappears into thin air.

He looks back the body on the floor, the shallow rise and stunted fall of the man’s breathing, the blood gushing from a broken nose, the unnatural swelling of the poor bloke’s cheek and eye. He can’t help a moment of weakness, a small wince. He’s looking at overkill. Ollie had shot an arrow into the guy’s gun hand early on, he was out, and Phantom had still beat the snot out of him.

He looks to where the kid had vanished. Definitely creepy. Ollie resolves to avoid working with the ghost in the future if he can swing it. For now, he opens the comm. to the Watchtower and requests a quick pick up.

0o0o

“Nothing to serious, yet,” Batman reports. He taps a few keys on the console in front of him, brings up on the screen a recent picture of Phantom. “It started right after he got this,” he says, pointing to the flaming crown floating above the ghost’s head.

“Bollocks.”

Batman’s eyes narrow behind his mask. “What.”

“Oh, nothing! Just the bleeding Crown of Fire, ancient ghost artifact and all around pain in the arse.”

“What does it do?”

“Well, a few millennia ago it just sat there and looked pretty. But it’s spent several thousand years cooped up with a bloodthirsty tyrant after he was forced into a small box all eternity, and these ghosts, they’re all about emotions, mate. That thing’ll have absorbed a lot of rage and now it’s found an outlet in your pet ghost. You’ve got to get that thing away from him as soon as possible.”

“Tell me how.”

“If you’re lucky, you can just ask him. More likely, you’ll need to weaken him and pry it out of his cold, dead hands. I’ll look around, see if I have anything at the Mill that can help, but no promises.”

“Thanks, John.” Batman reaches to disconnect the video feed when-

“Wait, Batman-!” the screen goes abruptly black.

Batman whirls around, finds himself face to face with Phantom and a nearly identical copy. The scowl on the one wearing the crown causes Batman to tense. He leans back, tilting his chin up in silent challenge as he casually rests an elbow on the console. Consequently, his fingers hover over a sheath of batarangs in his utility belt.

“Phantom. There something you need?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact,” the copy on the right says.

“Tell me what you and Constantine were talking about,” the original demands.

“You’re sick,” Batman barges straight through the proverbial bush. “The Crown is controlling you. You need to take it off.”

“Hm,” the copy puts a hand on its chin, feigning consideration. “No.”

“Phantom-”

Batman jumps to a fighting stance as quickly as Phantom drops into readiness, one gloved hand wielding a bat shaped razor against a supernatural kid with fists lit up in glowing green. He knows they are both aware of the anti-ghost enhancements to his belt, both aware that Phantom can’t touch him. Too bad the kid is skilled in long-distance fighting.

Phantom breaks the standoff, firing a beam of super-cooled ectoplasm at the dark knight. Batman sidesteps, whipping the batarang at the ghost boy and pulling another. The conjured clone slams into him, shrieking as the belt lights it up in ecto-electricity. He expects Phantom to back off, but the clone reaches spasming hands around the knight’s waist.

Batman slams an elbow into the clone’s face, but it doesn’t let go. Bruce feels the clasp of his belt unhitch, the yellow leather falling away with the clone. Less than a second later, his breath catches as his lungs freeze. His limbs seize, there’s a voice in his head; he knows it’s bad but he can’t think past the ice in his brain. He watches his hands pick up the utility belt, feels his boots against the floor as his legs carry him to the elevator.

This is bad. If it wasn’t so cold, maybe he could fight back…

0o0o

 “Careful, John,” Chas warns, just as the Zeta beam whisks the magician away.

Constantine finds himself facing the worried red eyes of the Martian Manhunter. It isn’t often after all, that the occult expert demands emergency transportation to the Watchtower. Completely unprecedented, in fact.

“You said the Watchtower may be in danger, “J’onn says.

“Definitely in danger,” John answers. He holds up what looks like a small shard of Kryptonite, waggles the rock and his eyebrows as the martian’s expression. “You’ve got a little ghost problem. I’d say, ‘Who you gonna call,’ but I already called you.”

The grin fades quickly and Constantine turns to the elevator. “Now let’s go catch us a ghost.”

Manhunter frowns but gleans what he needs from the thoughts John gives him access to. He mentally searches out Hawkgirl, calls her up meet them to the bridge. They may require the nth metal of her mace to incapacitate Phantom.

J’onn step aside as the elevator opens and Batman walks out. Constantine is skimming through a journal, but steps absently aside as well. He puts one foot into the elevator, pauses, looks up. J’onn can see his next breath in a plume of mist. The magician whirls around, eyes wide, hand reaching into his coat for the green stone.

“J’onn,” Hawkgirl soars around the elevator column, alighting on the walkway with her mace held ready. “What’s going on? You sounded worried-”

“Shayera, duck!”

Hawkgirl reacts to the tone before she fully registers the warning, bringing her mace up in time to block the boot aimed at her head. Batman pushes off from the mace, flips to land crouched and ready.

“Batman?! What-?”

She registers the green glow from his eyes at the same time J’onn does. The martian launches himself at Batman, twisting his form to something more snakelike to wrap the knight into a crushing hold. The ghost possessing Batman tries to phase out but J’onn counters by shifting his own density to match.

“J’onn!” Hawkgirl hesitates. She can’t get a good in with her mace with Manhunter so close, and she doesn’t really want to whack Batman in the first place. She glances over as Constantine runs up to stand level with her.

“Don’t worry about him, sweetheart. Look, I need your help.” He presses something that looks suspiciously like Kryptonite to the handle of her weapon. “Do us a favour and give Bats a good whack with your mace, eh? Knock Phantom right out of him.”

“Phantom?! He’s possessing Batman?”

“Eh, the Crown’s possessing him and he’s possessing Batman, so yeah. Now, go!”

Shayera lifts off, swooping over the struggle that’s moved from the walkway and crashed into the floor below.

Manhunter flinches, shrinking to his usual shape, and staggering away. Batman’s hands are glowing with Phantom’s usual green energy, and Hawkgirl swears she see the thin green outline of a flaming crown above his head. Batman flattens his hand and leaps.  

‘J’onn, move!’ Shayera thinks.

Manhunter sinks into the floor and Hawkgirl attacks. Her mace lights with electricity just before she slams it into Batman’s stomach; he goes flying.

J’onn shoots from the floor, catches Batman’s waist and follows the momentum until he can safely lower the man to the floor.

Phantom crashes into the Watchtower’s metal wall hard enough to leave a dent. Hawkgirl watches with wary, worried eyes until she sees Batman breathe. Until she sees Phantom pry himself out of the cavity.

She readies herself as he shakes off the blow, holds her position until he flies at her, then swings. He dodges with a boneless twist, shoots an ectoblast. She bats it back at him.

“Hey!” The voice is mental but it doesn’t sound like J’onn. Shayera takes one precious second to glance down.

Manhunter is carefully examining Batman, bent over as he runs gentle fingers up and down the man’s chest. Halfway across the room from them is a chalk circle rimmed black-stemmed roses. John Constantine stands just outside the circle, waves at her.

“Get him in here.”

Hawkgirl nods. She looks back in time to dodge an energy-encased fist as Phantom swings at her. She kicks him, sends him several feet through the air. Something slams into her right wing and Shayera cries out in surprise as much as pain. She wrenches her wing free, spins to see another Phantom drop a handful of feathers.

Both Phantoms shoot toward her, and Shayera flies up. She drops a foot in surprise as punch lands square to the side of her face. Three?!

No, she realizes as she flips out of the path of another fist, there are five clones! Phantom’s never been able to make five clones before. He’s also never been this quiet before.

“Clones are cheating!” she hears John call from below her.

The clones circle her, she spins slowly in the air, tries to keep all of them in her vision. She notices something quickly: only one of them wears a crown. She attacks without warning, dropping her mace to swing by the cord around her wrist, and grabs the crowned Phantom by the shoulder, folds her wings. They drop like stones, her momentum sending them crashing right into John’s circle.

The effect is instantaneous. Phantom screams. The clones disappear. Shayera doesn’t feel anything more than blooming bruises as she hops to her feet and steps carefully out of the circle’s barrier.

Constantine steps into the circle. He stands over the writhing ghost boy, then leans down and plucks the crown from his head. He makes some complicated motion with gold-glowing fingers and the crown disappears. Then he slams his palms to the floor and the circle and flowers are gone too. The gold fades. Phantom settles into an exhausted slump on the ground, breathing hard.

“It’s over?” Shayera ventures to ask.

Constantine pulls a cigarette out of his pocket, doesn’t light it but sticks it in his mouth. “Should be.”

0o0o

“It’s called the Crown of Fire, you twats! It’s Ancient and fiery. Of course Phantom was gonna have a bad reaction to it, he’s got an ice core.”

“What would have happened, eventually?” Bruce asks, scowling up at Constantine from his bed in medical.

“Eventually? The fire would have burned out Phantom’s core and asserted itself in its new host. Luckily, we got it off in time. The worst he’s gonna get is a fever and one Hell of a post-possession hangover.” 

“But he will make a full recovery?” Wonder Woman asks.

“Absolutely. And from now on, how about none of you wankers lets him mess around with ghost artifacts, eh?! I don’t want to be runnin’ up here every bloody week to perform an exorcism. I don’t get paid enough for that.”

“You don’t get paid at all,” Flash points out, “You’re not even a member of the Justice League.”

“Oh? What’s this then?” Constantine flicks a card at Flash, who snatches it out of the air and narrows his eyes at it.

“This is- Where did you get a membership card?” He looks back up, only to find empty air where Constantine had stood. Flash whirls around, holds the card out to the others, only to find his fingers are empty.

“Argh, I hate when he does that!”

“You’re just jealous he can disappear faster than you,” Bruce says. He’s sitting up, watching Phantom laying still in the next bed over. They hadn’t known what to do medically to help. The boy was dead, and Constantine assured them that he would heal in time. Very special, for a ghost, he’d said. They had no choice but to trust him.

I think this is my favorite king!danny fic ever omg -Nyx Edit: also constatine is one of my favs
Since you’ve been gone I see ghosts from the corners of my eyes (and in mirrors). Looking myself in the face is like looking at a cemetery: crumbling walls, kept looking nice but still dead. You still live under my bed and at night you tell me I could’ve done things differently. When it’s time to sleep I climb under the covers and pretend I’m not afraid of the monster in the closet – or of the monster in the mirror. Or of you.
—  quit haunting me // abby, day 208