i wanna hear all about the cursed child when you finish it haha i've only seen spoilers so far but oh boy lol
ALL THE SPOILERS ARE TRUE AND JUST AS ABJECTLY RIDICULOUS IN CONTEXT AS THEY SOUND OUT OF CONTEXT, H O W E V E R,ALL THE SPOILERS NEGLECTED TO MENTION THAT:
a) everything Scorpius Malfoy says and does will make you want to strap on armour and charge into battle for love of him,
b) one of Scorpius’s first lines is ‘I’ve always regarded the Pepper Imp as the king of the confectionary bag’, which renders the whole Everyone Thinks Scorpius Is Voldemort’s Son subplot/mystery UTTERLY UNNECESSARY because OF COURSE THIS RIDICULOUS CHILD IS THE FRUIT OF DRACO MALFOY’S LOINS,
c) Draco gets some weighty shit to say/is just Redemption Arc AF all the way through, so
d) HAZ AND DRAZ MAKE FRIENDS and
e) Draco gets to join The Gang for World-Saving Hijinks, which means
f) some scenes are DRARRY AF AS FUCK, but mainly
g) everything about this play will make you Team Malfoy Forever, holy shit, like, wtf,
h) at one point Harry and Draco are duelling and Draco goes ‘Keep up, old man’ and Harry’s like ‘WE’RE THE SAME AGE, DRACO’ which made me laugh so hard I had to put the book down for a good five minutes,
i) it also bears mentioning that RON AND HERMIONE ARE IN LOVE IN EVERY TIMELINE, god bless @whoever the hell wrote this thing,
j) speaking of whoever wrote this thing, they took the whole ‘Harry couldn’t really hear the commentary during the first Triwizard Task very well from his position in the Champions’ Tent’ and handed us Ludo Bagman yelling DOG DIGGITY, CEDRIC DIGGORY, YOU ARE A DOGGY DYNAMO! which I will be forever thankful for,
k) Albus and Scorpius make their great escape off the Hogwarts Express while it’s in motion and the trolley witch turns into a terrifying Immortal Guardian of the Train and hurls explosive pasties at them, while casually dropping into the admittedly weird conversation that Fred’n’George and the Marauders all tried to get off the train while it was moving, EMPHASIS ON ‘TRIED’,
l) turns out my SCORP LAD WOT LAD “joke” was completely inaccurate as, world-ending and illegal shenanigans aside, Scorpius and Albus are BORING NERDS, but
m) their entire relationship is a personification of the ‘I would follow you to the ends of the earth with only mild complaining’ text post, and
n) I am 100% positive that by the time they turn 16 they will be Experimenting and Laughing It Off while also Staring Wistfully At Each Other While The Other One’s Not Paying Attention, because oh my god, they are completely smitten with each other, LITERALLY,
o) when plot things happen and Harry won’t let them see each other anymore, there’s an ENTIRE MONTAGE of them being DESOLATE AND DISTRAUGHT, the word “heartbroken” is used about both of them, Draco bursts into Harry and Ginny’s house like ‘MY SON IS IN TEARS POTTER, WTF’, it’s all very Fraught and Forbidden Romance-y, and when they’re allowed to be friends again they’re like ‘you’re… the best person I know… you… make me stronger…’ ‘…!! … that’s so nice… I didn’t like my life without you in it… !!!’ and then Albus tells Scorpius he’s kind from the depths of his belly to the tips of his fingers which is the most ROMANTIC SHIT I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE, ALBUS POTTER GOT GAME SON, but anyway, they’re in love, fight me, WHAT ELSE?
p) Harry does all the cooking,
q) Draco gets excited about a farmer’s market,
r) Ron is the fucking best person on planet earth, probably,
s) Harry and Draco burst into Slytherin and try to get up to the dormitory to find Albus and Scorpius and this one kid is yelling at them like ‘PARENTS AREN’T ALLOWED IN THE HOUSE COMMON ROOMS WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF-’ and McGonagall just appears and says ‘Please don’t be tiresome, Craig’ and honestly if I was Craig I’d never show my face again,
t) I forgot to mention that in the weird Voldemort Day Blood Ball Scorpion King AU Scorpius gets to talk to Snape and blah blah blah plot Snape is giving him a pep talk like ‘Think about Albus. You’re giving up your kingdom for Albus, right? One person. All it takes is one person.’ which is just… indescribably romo, and
u) in the Voldemort Day Blood Ball Scorpion King AU dark Draco Malfoy is still better at dadding than regular timeline Harry Potter, which I don’t think any of us saw coming,
v) Harry asks Draco what he wanted to do as a grown-up when he was a kid and Draco says ‘Quidditch. But I wasn’t good enough. Mainly I wanted to be happy.’ which is honestly just fucking savage and I can’t believe I lived through it, ALSO I had to read the line ‘It is exceptionally lonely, being Draco Malfoy’ with my own eyes, so I’m taking tomorrow off work,
w) this incredibly soul-baring and candid convo comes on the heels of HARRY COMING FOR DUMBLEDORE(’S PORTRAIT) ABOUT HOW DUMBLEDORE TREATED HARRY AND I HAVE LITERALLY NEVER FELT MORE ALIVE. he yells at Dumbledore until Dumbledore is LITERALLY WEEPING. I don’t even want to tell you what he says because you all need to experience that moment of cleansing rightness in your lives,
x) despite all the batshit plot things, the play actually deals with all the characters’ traumas FAR BETTER than the series ever did. we get actual GINNY and TOM RIDDLE shit in this play guys! it gets talked about! how it affected Ginny gets talked about! Harry has nightmares! Harry vents his feelings! Draco tells Harry about how alone he felt and how that sent him to such a bad place! Draco, Ginny and Harry understand each other and bond over shared trauma! who the fuck expected this! not fucking me!
y) I was emotional as hell throughout because I’m nothing if not dramatic but there’s a bit towards the very end involving HAGRID, THE BEST DUDE, that legit made me sob my little heart out from the agony of two decades’ worth of accumulated feelings about this series,
z) so yeah. Harry has to watch his parents die because Albus is a rebellious little emo gobshite who got a crush on a live-action DeviantArt OC from 2005 called Delphi who has silvery-blue hair and is secretly Voldemort and Bellatrix’s lovechild, BUT WHO CARES, I FUCKING LOVE HARRY POTTER AND I HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE READING THIS OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED CRACKFIC, 10/10, WOULD EXPERIENCE PURE JOY AGAIN!!!!!
Captain Bog King has been looking for a way to get his beloved ship, The Dark Forest, back in his hands for years. Now that it’s fearsome Captain, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Scales has taken a Governor’s daughter hostage it seems like the perfect time to strike. Bog has found his (not ideal) crew in a naïve blacksmith, a mute boy, and a feisty run-away bride he may just be falling for.
“When the sun sets and the twilight rises, a gap between our world and the great beyond opens. It is when you can hear the spirits voices whispering with the wind … the friendliest ones visit the sailors and tell them secrets”
“Well?! Is it true?!” Dany demanded to know, as soon as they left the police station.
“Of course not!” Jon insisted. “What kind of person do you think I am?”
“I don’t know, Jon. I really don’t know.” According to Officer Grimaldi of the 8th Precinct, Jon was the kind of person who liked to stick his balls in children’s faces on the subway.
“Well, I’m not a pedophile, okay?!”
Dany was about to finish the scoop of vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it that she picked up while “hurrying” from work down to the precinct. Offer him a bite. She looked at him. This cost eight dollars, and you just bailed his ass out of jail. Fuck that. She finished the last bite and threw it in the trash by a stop sign. “Okay, what happened, then?”
“So the girl was sitting, and it was crowded, and I was standing right in front of her.”
“And I had these short running shorts on.” He gestured to his absurdly short shorts.
Why did I let him leave the house in that? “Yeah…”
“And I had to reach up to hold the bar.”
“Annnnnd I guess they kinda just…popped out.” Jon reached into the air. Besides being too short, they were way too tight around the waist, and it was hot enough to cause just enough droopage for a Class A misdemeanor.
“So you did put your balls in her face!” She hectored him as they descended back into the subway. Is he even allowed to be here?
“I didn’t ‘put’ them there, they just ended up there!”
He’s either an idiot, or a far better politician than I thought. “Well, what did you do about it?”
He shrugged. “Nothing!”
“Why the fuck not?!”
“Because we were still moving! I couldn’t let go of the bar, or I’d fall.” He paused, realizing the stupidity of what he was about to say. Let’s hear it. “Sooooo, I told her to close her eyes.”
Brilliant. “You told her to close her eyes?!”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“She probably thought you were going to rub them all over her!”
“Oh, stop it.”
“You’re on the subway, dressed like fucking Richard Simmons, leaning over some kid, with your fucking balls out, going, ‘close your eyes, little girl,’ and you’re wondering why you got arrested for being a pervert?!” Dany noticed how many eyes were on them, but was out of fucks to give. That’s what he gets.
When the train came, she led him on by the hand, like a child. Jon moved to grab an overhead bar, but Dany sat his ass down. He sighed, and without thinking, opened his legs. Dany slapped his knees together. “What is wrong with you?!” She hissed.
After a brief stop at home to get Jon some proper pants, they made their way to Tyrion Lannister’s office in a law firm with a name that read like a combination of Schindler’s list and the passenger manifest of the Mayflower.
“You know, it costs $10,000 just to walk through that door,” he warned them, because his job was to be an arrogant prick to everyone at all times.
“Fuck you.” Dany sat across from him, and dragged Jon down into the chair next to her with her eyes.
Tyrion sighed. “You still have the dick pics.”
“Of course I still have the dick pics.” Tyrion was hoping to make Partner, and Partners do not send dick pics to women half their age; at least not ones who were smart enough to threaten to forward them.
“What dick pics?!” Jon demanded.
“The ones that are about to keep you out of jail, don’t worry about it.” They’re also why we never talk about what I did my first summer after college. Manhattan had surprisingly few job openings for entry-level Art Historians, so Dany did a stint at the Hustler Club to pay the rent while she came to terms with the fact that everyone in her life had lied to her about finding a job that paid well and made her happy. The result was a job in advertising that paid extremely well but made her hate herself, as well as a Google Voice inbox with a stream of dick pics and dollar amounts from gross old men. Tyrion was wealthy and funny enough to keep around until about four months after she met Jon, but Jon didn’t need to know that.
“Alright,” Tyrion cleared his throat. “What’s the problem?”
“Well,” Dany poked Jon’s arm. “Tell him the problem.”
“Balls out on the subway,” Jon grumbled.
“Louder, he couldn’t hear you!”
“Balls out on the subway!” He growled with a defensive, almost spiteful pride. Yeah, own it! Idiot.
Tyrion’s look turned more serious than either of them expected. “You took your balls out on the subway?!”
“They came out!”
“Into some 10-year-old’s face!” Dany clarified.
Tyrion was astonished. “Jesus. That’s–what–why did you do that?”
“It was an accident!”
Tyrion and Dany exchanged concerned, skeptical looks. I know, I thought his dark side would be much sexier, too.
Jon recounted his short shorts/bar-holding story to Tyrion. The dwarf searched his eyes for a lie, but seemed satisfied. “I could understand that, I suppose.”
Dany was miffed that Tyrion had the gall to care if Jon was guilty or not. “So waddle your ass down to the courthouse, hand the prosecutor your business card, and make this go away.”
The court date was two months later. Against her better judgment, Dany took off work to provide moral support.
“Ah, fuck.” Tyrion cursed under his breath as he walked into the courtroom. This was a misdemeanor, and he expected the prosecutor to be some pimple-faced 25-year-old fresh out of law school. Instead, he got the District Attorney himself.
“I didn’t know you were still on Balls-in-Face Duty.” Tyrion did his best to smile as he shook Stannis Baratheon’s hand.
“It was my daughter’s face. Imp.” The Rightful King did not bother standing up.
Well, he’s fucked, now I’m gonna have to get back on Tinder, Dany thought, as she flipped through her phone and re-downloaded Tinder.
Tyrion took a deep breath. His plan was now woefully inadequate, but it was all he had. “Look, my client is a nice kid, okay? It was an accident, and he’s really, really sorry about it. Can’t you just let him off with a warning?”
Jon gave Stannis his best ‘really, really sorry’ nod. I need a cigarette.
Stannis eyed the perp up and down. “He looks like a very nice kid. He’ll be the belle of the ball at Rikers.” Yup, Dany knew. Though if he brings his short shorts, he could earn me an endless supply of cigarettes. That was a horrible thought. No, but seriously. Men would pay many cigarettes for him. But then she would need an enforcer, and someone to count them to make sure he wasn’t holding out on her…it was too much to manage with her office job.
“You know,” Tyrion countered, “my firm is looking for a partner with experience in white collar crime. Maybe I could–”
Stannis pounded the table. “New York Penal Law Article 200.03!” He recited it by heart, because he was a fucking freak. “‘A person is guilty of bribery in the second degree when he confers, or offers–dot, dot, dot–to confer, any benefit valued in excess of ten thousand dollars upon a public servant upon an–dot, dot, dot–understanding that such public servant’s–dot, dot, dot–exercise of discretion as a public servant will thereby be influenced.’ Did I just hear you commit a felony? Or did you mean to say your client will plead guilty?”
Dany was trying to find the unicorn emoji for her Tinder profile when the commotion made her look up. Wait a minute. “You used to go to the Hustler Club.”
Stannis went pale. “Tyffani…”
“Yeah, that’s right, Sam Waterston, it’s fuckin’ Tyffani.” Dany scrolled through her Google Voice app. “Here we go. $700 to dress up like a nun, and–”
“Alright, alright, alright. Get out.”
Dany quickly deleted her Tinder app. There will be no unicorn emojis today.
“What just happened?!” Jon shouted as they descended the courthouse steps.
“Nothing. Buy me a carton of cigarettes and we’ll call it even.”
The longer you keep him waiting, the worse it will go for you,“ Sandor Clegane warned her.
Sansa tried to hurry, but her fingers fumbled at buttons and knots. The Hound was always rough-tongued, but something in the way he had looked at her filled her with dread. Had Joffrey found out about her meetings with Ser Dontos? Please no, she thought as she brushed out her hair. Ser Dontos was her only hope. I have to look pretty, Joff likes me to look pretty, he’s always liked me in this gown, this color. She smoothed the cloth down. The fabric was tight across her chest.
When she emerged, Sansa walked on the Hound’s left, away from the burned side of his face. "Tell me what I’ve done.”
“Not you. Your kingly brother.”
“Robb’s a traitor.” Sansa knew the words by rote. “I had no part in whatever he did.” Gods be good, don’t let it be the Kingslayer. If Robb had harmed Jaime Lannister, it would mean her life. She thought of Ser Ilyn, and how those terrible pale eyes staring pitilessly out of that gaunt pockmarked face.
The Hound snorted. “They trained you well, little bird.” He conducted her to the lower bailey, where a crowd had gathered around the archery butts. Men moved aside to let them through. She could hear Lord Gyles coughing. Loitering stablehands eyed her insolently, but Ser Horas Redwyne averted his gaze as she passed, and his brother Hobber pretended not to see her. A yellow cat was dying on the ground, mewling piteously, a crossbow quarrel through its ribs. Sansa stepped around it, feeling ill.
Ser Dontos approached on his broomstick horse; since he’d been too drunk to mount his destrier at the tourney, the king had decreed that henceforth he must always go horsed. “Be brave,” he whispered, squeezing her arm.
Joffrey stood in the center of the throng, winding an ornate crossbow. Ser Boros and Ser Meryn were with him. The sight of them was enough to tie her insides in knots.
“Your Grace.” She fell to her knees.
“Kneeling won’t save you now,” the king said. “Stand up. You’re here to answer for your brother’s latest treasons.”
“Your Grace, whatever my traitor brother has done, I had no part. You know that, I beg you, please—”
“Get her up!”
The Hound pulled her to her feet, not ungently.
“Ser Lancel,” Joff said, “tell her of this outrage.”
Sansa had always thought Lancel Lannister comely and well spoken, but there was neither pity nor kindness in the look he gave her. “Using some vile sorcery, your brother fell upon Ser Stafford Lannister with an army of wargs, not three days ride from Lannisport. Thousands of good men were butchered as they slept, without the chance to lift sword. After the slaughter, the northmen feasted on the flesh of the slain.”
Horror coiled cold hands around Sansa’s throat.
“You have nothing to say?” asked Joffrey.
“Your Grace, the poor child is shocked witless,” murmured Ser Dontos.
“Silence, fool.” Joffrey lifted his crossbow and pointed it at her face. “You Starks are as unnatural as those wolves of yours. I’ve not forgotten how your monster savaged me.”
“That was Arya’s wolf,” she said. “Lady never hurt you, but you killed her anyway.”
“No, your father did,” Joff said, “but I killed your father. I wish I’d done it myself. I killed a man last night who was bigger than your father. They came to the gate shouting my name and calling for bread like I was some baker, but I taught them better. I shot the loudest one right through the throat.”
“And he died?” With the ugly iron head of the quarrel staring her in the face, it was hard to think what else to say.
“Of course he died, he had my quarrel in his throat. There was a woman throwing rocks, I got her as well, but only in the arm.” Frowning, he lowered the crossbow. “I’d shoot you too, but if I do Mother says they’d kill my uncle Jaime. Instead you’ll just be punished and we’ll send word to your brother about what will happen to you if he doesn’t yield. Dog, hit her.”
“Let me beat her!” Ser Dontos shoved forward, tin armor clattering. He was armed with a “morningstar” whose head was a melon. My Florian. She could have kissed him, blotchy skin and broken veins and all. He trotted his broomstick around her, shouting “Traitor, traitor” and whacking her over the head with the melon. Sansa covered herself with her hands, staggering every time the fruit pounded her, her hair sticky by the second blow. People were laughing. The melon flew to pieces. Laugh, Joffrey, she prayed as the juice ran down her face and the front of her blue silk gown. Laugh and be satisfied.
Joffrey did not so much as snigger. “Boros. Meryn.”
Ser Meryn Trant seized Dontos by the arm and flung him brusquely away. The red-faced fool went sprawling, broomstick, melon, and all. Ser Boros seized Sansa.
“Leave her face,” Joffrey commanded. “I like her pretty.”
Boros slammed a fist into Sansa’s belly, driving the air out of her. When she doubled over, the knight grabbed her hair and drew his sword, and for one hideous instant she was certain he meant to open her throat. As he laid the flat of the blade across her thighs, she thought her legs might break from the force of the blow. Sansa screamed. Tears welled in her eyes. It will be over soon. She soon lost count of the blows.
“Enough,” she heard the Hound rasp.
“No it isn’t,” the king replied. “Boros, make her naked.”
Boros shoved a meaty hand down the front of Sansa’s bodice and gave a hard yank. The silk came tearing away, baring her to the waist. Sansa covered her breasts with her hands. She could hear sniggers, far off and cruel. “Beat her bloody,” Joffrey said, “we’ll see how her brother fancies—”
“What is the meaning of this?”
The Imp’s voice cracked like a whip, and suddenly Sansa was free. She stumbled to her knees, arms crossed over her chest, her breath ragged. “Is this your notion of chivalry, Ser Boros?” Tyrion Lannister demanded angrily. His pet sellsword stood with him, and one of his wildlings, the one with the burned eye. “What sort of knight beats helpless maids?”
“The sort who serves his king, Imp.” Ser Boros raised his sword, and Ser Meryn stepped up beside him, his blade scraping clear of its scabbard.
“Careful with those,” warned the dwarf’s sellsword. “You don’t want to get blood all over those pretty white cloaks.”
“Someone give the girl something to cover herself with,” the Imp said. Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.
“This girl’s to be your queen,” the Imp told Joffrey. “Have you no regard for her honor?”
“I’m punishing her.”
“For what crime? She did not fight her brother’s battle.”
“She has the blood of a wolf.”
“And you have the wits of a goose.”
“You can’t talk to me that way. The king can do as he likes.”
“Aerys Targaryen did as he liked. Has your mother ever told you what happened to him?”
Ser Boros Blount harrumphed. “No man threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard.”
Tyrion Lannister raised an eyebrow. “I am not threatening the king, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, Timett, the next time Ser Boros opens his mouth, kill him.” The dwarf smiled. “Now that was a threat, ser. See the difference?”
Ser Boros turned a dark shade of red. “The queen will hear of this!”
“No doubt she will. And why wait? Joffrey, shall we send for your mother? ”
The king flushed.
“Nothing to say, Your Grace?” his uncle went on. “Good. Learn to use your ears more and your mouth less, or your reign will be shorter than I am. Wanton brutality is no way to win your people’s love … or your queen’s.”
“Fear is better than love, Mother says.” Joffrey pointed at Sansa. “She fears me.”
The Imp sighed. “Yes, I see. A pity Stannis and Renly aren’t twelve-year-old girls as well. Bronn, Timett, bring her.”
Sansa moved as if in a dream. She thought the Imp’s men would take her back to her bedchamber in Maegor’s Holdfast, but instead they conducted her to the Tower of the Hand. She had not set foot inside that place since the day her father fell from grace, and it made her feel faint to climb those steps again.
Some serving girls took charge of her, mouthing meaningless comforts to stop her shaking. One stripped off the ruins of her gown and smallclothes, and another bathed her and washed the sticky juice from her face and her hair. As they scrubbed her down with soap and sluiced warm water over her head, all she could see were the faces from the bailey. Knights are sworn to defend the weak, protect women, and fight for the right, but none of them did a thing. Only Ser Dontos had tried to help, and he was no longer a knight, no more than the Imp was, nor the Hound … the Hound hated knights … I hate them too, Sansa thought. They are no true knights, not one of them.
After she was clean, plump ginger-headed Maester Frenken came to see her. He bid her lie facedown on the mattress while he spread a salve across the angry red welts that covered the backs of her legs. Afterward he mixed her a draught of dreamwine, with some honey so it might go down easier. “Sleep a bit, child. When you wake, all this will seem a bad dream.”
No it won’t, you stupid man, Sansa thought, but she drank the drearnwine anyway, and slept.
It was dark when she woke again, not quite knowing where she was, the room both strange and strangely familiar. As she rose, a stab of pain went through her legs and brought it all back. Tears filled her eyes. Someone had laid out a robe for her beside the bed. Sansa slipped it on and opened the door. Outside stood a hard-faced woman with leathery brown skin, three necklaces looped about her scrawny neck. One was gold and one was silver and one was made of human ears. “Where does she think she’s going?” the woman asked, leaning on a tall spear.
“The godswood.” She had to find Ser Dontos, beg him to take her home now before it was too late.
“The halfman said you’re not to leave,” the woman said. “Pray here, the gods will hear.”
Meekly, Sansa dropped her eyes and retreated back inside. She realized suddenly why this place seemed so familiar. They’ve put me in Arya’s old bedchamber, from when Father was the Hand of the King. All her things are gone and the furnishings have been moved around, but it’s the same …
A short time later, a serving girl brought a platter of cheese and bread and olives, with a flagon of cold water. “Take it away,” Sansa commanded, but the girl left the food on a table. She was thirsty, she realized. Every step sent knives through her thighs, but she made herself cross the room. She drank two cups of water, and was nibbling on an olive when the knock came.
Anxiously, she turned toward the door, smoothed down the folds of her robe. “Yes?”
The door opened, and Tyrion Lannister stepped inside. “My lady. I trust I am not disturbing you?”
“Am I your prisoner?”
“My guest.” He was wearing his chain of office, a necklace of linked golden hands. “I thought we might talk.”
“As my lord commands.” Sansa found it hard not to stare; his face was so ugly it held a queer fascination for her.
“The food and garments are to your satisfaction?” he asked. “If there is anything else you need, you have only to ask.”
“You are most kind. And this morning … it was very good of you to help me.”
“You have a right to know why Joffrey was so wroth. Six nights gone, your brother fell upon my uncle Stafford, encamped with his host at a village called Oxcross not three days ride from Casterly Rock. Your northerners won a crushing victory. We received word only this morning.”
Robb will kill you all, she thought, exulting. “It’s … terrible, my lord. My brother is a vile traitor.”
The dwarf smiled wanly. “Well, he’s no fawn, he’s made that clear enough.”
“Ser Lancel said Robb led an army of wargs … ”
The Imp gave a disdainful bark of laughter. “Ser Lancel’s a wineskin warrior who wouldn’t know a warg from a wart. Your brother had his direwolf with him, but I suspect that’s as far as it went. The northmen crept into my uncle’s camp and cut his horse lines, and Lord Stark sent his wolf among them. Even war-trained destriers went mad. Knights were trampled to death in their pavilions, and the rabble woke in terror and fled, casting aside their weapons to run the faster. Ser Stafford was slain as he chased after a horse. Lord Rickard Karstark drove a lance through his chest. Ser Rubert Brax is also dead, along with Ser Lymond Vikary, Lord Crakehall, and Lord Jast. Half a hundred more have been taken captive, including Jast’s sons and my nephew Martyn Lannister. Those who survived are spreading wild tales and swearing that the old gods of the north march with your brother.”
“Then … there was no sorcery?”
Lannister snorted. “Sorcery is the sauce fools spoon over failure to hide the flavor of their own incompetence. My mutton-headed uncle had not even troubled to post sentries, it would seem. His host was raw—apprentice boys, miners, fieldhands, fisherfolk, the sweepings of Lannisport. The only mystery is how your brother reached him. Our forces still hold the stronghold at the Golden Tooth, and they swear he did not pass.” The dwarf gave an irritated shrug. “Well, Robb Stark is my father’s bane. Joffrey is mine. Tell me, what do you feel for my kingly nephew?”
“I love him with all my heart,” Sansa said at once.
“Truly?” He did not sound convinced. “Even now?”
“My love for His Grace is greater than it has ever been.”
The Imp laughed aloud. “Well, someone has taught you to lie well. You may be grateful for that one day, child. You are a child still, are you not? Or have you flowered?”
Sansa blushed. It was a rude question, but the shame of being stripped before half the castle made it seem like nothing. “No, my lord.”
“That’s all to the good. If it gives you any solace, I do not intend that you ever wed Joffrey. No marriage will reconcile Stark and Lannister after all that has happened, I fear. More’s the pity. The match was one of King Robert’s better notions, if Joffrey hadn’t mucked it up.”
She knew she ought to say something, but the words caught in her throat.
“You grow very quiet,” Tyrion Lannister observed. “Is this what you want? An end to your betrothal?”
“I … ” Sansa did not know what to say. Is it a trick? Will he punish me if I tell the truth? She stared at the dwarf’s brutal bulging brow, the hard black eye and the shrewd green one, the crooked teeth and wiry beard. “I only want to be loyal.”
“Loyal,” the dwarf mused, “and far from any Lannisters. I can scarce blame you for that. When I was your age, I wanted the same thing.” He smiled. “They tell me you visit the godswood every day. What do you pray for, Sansa?”
I pray for Robb’s victory and Joffrey’s death … and for home. For Winterfell. “I pray for an end to the fighting.”
“We’ll have that soon enough. There will be another battle, between your brother Robb and my lord father, and that will settle the issue.”
Robb will beat him, Sansa thought. He beat your uncle and your brother Jaime, he’ll beat your father too.
It was as if her face were an open book, so easily did the dwarf read her hopes. “Do not take Oxcross too much to heart, my lady,” he told her, not unkindly. “A battle is not a war, and my lord father is assuredly not my uncle Stafford. The next time you visit the godswood, pray that your brother has the wisdom to bend the knee. Once the north returns to the king’s peace, I mean to send you home.” He hopped down off the window seat and said, “You may sleep here tonight. I’ll give you some of my own men as a guard, some Stone Crows perhaps—”
“No,” Sansa blurted out, aghast. If she was locked in the Tower of the Hand, guarded by the dwarf’s men, how would Ser Dontos ever spirit her away to freedom?
“Would you prefer Black Ears? I’ll give you Chella if a woman would make you more at ease.”
“Please, no, my lord, the wildlings frighten me.”
He grinned. “Me as well. But more to the point, they frighten Joffrey and that nest of sly vipers and lickspittle dogs he calls a Kingsguard. With Chella or Timett by your side, no one would dare offer you harm.”
“I would sooner return to my own bed.” A lie came to her suddenly, but it seemed so right that she blurted it out at once. “This tower was where my father’s men were slain. Their ghosts would give me terrible dreams, and I would see their blood wherever I looked.”
Tyrion Lannister studied her face. “I am no stranger to nightmares, Sansa. Perhaps you are wiser than I knew. Permit me at least to escort you safely back to your own chambers.”
It was finally after school and Will was pretty excited to get home, do his homework, and then watch the new episode of Ghost King. As always, the school was incredibly hyped about it. Will was sure he was more excited since he would be watching his sorta-boyfriend on TV! Like, how cool was that?
After he had had dinner and had done his homework, Lee, Michael and him all sat down in the living just in time for Ghost King to start. Will was giggling through the new intro since the producers and editing department tweaked Lou’s video a bit, and had Nico talking about what he did.
It was cool but a little dorky now that Will knew that behind the voice modifier and the sweater was Nico.
All around though the intro was interesting and pretty damn cool. It started off with a grainy image of Nico, well Ghost King in his first episode when he had his back to the camera and was looking to his right at a chair that had fallen over during the episode. And the sound of a heartbeat, a steady heartbeat continued to play as images of his old episodes were flashing over the screen. Then Will heard him speak. “ I am the Ghost King. ” ,now it started to show small snippets from his old episodes, “ for as long as I can remember, I’ve been able to communicate and see the dead,” The heartbeat started to get louder as the images stopped on a new one, it was Ghost King standing in the old cemetery on Poe Drive. The heartbeat started to get faster and eerie music began to play softly as the camera zoomed in slowly on Ghost King. “At first, it was enough that only I knew about the existence of spirits, but as time went on, I felt the need to show others the proof as well. To show them that there are indeed spirits among us. Many of you watching might already be fans, or maybe you’re simply watching it because you were curious. Well whatever your reasoning, just know that what you see is real. I take many precautions in order to show you the truth. So without further ado, you are watching Ghost King.” The camera is now straight on Ghost Kings, skeletal looking head. Then the heartbeat and eerie music stopped in favor of a woman screaming and a spirit seemingly swallowing the image of Ghost King till the screen went black and all the introductions were gone. Then there was Lou being interviewed and some of the staff as well, before they headed into the building.
Throughout the whole episode the three brothers would jump, maybe occasionally scream, and laugh at the combined snark of Ghost King and Lou Ellen. The episode was great. But Will felt his heart drop when he saw Nico get injured by those scissors that were thrown at him by the poltergeist. He knew he gasped as his brothers winced. It was like he was more aware of everything Ghost King did, he thought he was already before finding out the identity of Ghost King, but oh how wrong he was. Every episode was replaying itself in his head, which one’s Nico got hurt in and how bad, and just exactly how he had lied about how he got his injuries.
It was….it was a bit overwhelming, and very worrying. Will was more aware of just how dangerous Nico’s job was. And it scared him. It scared him more than the ghosts themselves.
He gulped as he continued to watch the episode clutching the couch’s pillow to his chest.
“So he knows.” Reyna stated more than questioned.
Nico nodded as he plopped back on his bed and sighed. “Yup.” He responded making the ‘p’ pop. Jason sat beside him and patted his head.
“Well at least you know you don’t have to keep secrets from one another.” Jason supplied as he laid beside Nico and smiled at him.
Nico returned the smile and nodded before he sighed. “I almost ruined it though…”
Reyna now laid on the other side of Nico and raised one perfect brow at him. “What do you mean?” She asked as she started to play with his unruly mane.
“I….when he told me he knew…I…I almost shut down…I was really close to doing it. I just. I don’t know. I felt betrayed in a way. Like….like maybe he only liked me because he knew, you know?”
The other two nodded.
The dark haired teen inhaled slowly and exhaled a shaky breath.
“I could have ruined it so fast. But Will, he, he managed to calm me down and he managed to convince me that he really liked me….like me, me. If that makes sense.”
“It does.” Reyna reassured.
Their peaceful moment was ruined when Nico’s phone began to buzz continually on the night stand. Jason grabbed it for him and smirked teasingly.
“Well speak of the devil.”
“Seriously?” Nico asked as he scrambled to sit up and snatched his phone from Jason. Once he saw Will’s contact picture, it was him about to be attacked by a goose and screaming. He took it when they went to the zoo, for some odd reason they had geese running around. Anyways, once he saw the picture he immediately blushed.
He continued to stare until Reyna nudged him and laughed. “Well answer it.”
He nodded, still blushing and hurried to answer the phone. “Yes? I mean hello! Hey. Hi.”
Jason snickered at him which he and Reyna retaliated by hitting him with pillows.
Nico could hear Will laugh on the other end softly. “Well hey there. Whatcha up to, Angel?”
Now Nico was strong, in a lot of senses, but he was finding out he was absolutely weak to pet names.
He squeaked but regained his composure rather fast. “Uh, not much just hanging out at my house with Reyna and Jason.”
“Oh nice. I just finished watching Ghost King.” Nico could practically feel Will’s tension. He was obviously in front of others, that or he didn’t like the episode.
“Oh. Yeah? How’d….how’d you like it?” It felt weird to ask how someone liked his show since he knew they knew who he was. He chewed on his bottom lip as Reyna and Jason scooted closer to listen in.
“It was great! Very suspenseful. Worrying though.”
“Yeah. Since you know, Ghost King was sliced by, probably rusty scissors and could have gotten tetanus. And didn’t get medical attention right away.”
Oh. He was getting lectured. He was getting lectured by his boyfriend? Kinda-boyfriend? Yeah kinda-boyfriend. Nico rolled his eyes and smiled.
“I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at me.” Will remarked. Which made Nico laugh.
“Maybe because I was. I’m fine Will. Really.”
“Mmm probably. Hey is it okay if I come over?”
Nico felt a breath get caught in his throat and felt himself blush again. “Uh, sure.” He mumbled.
“Cool I’ll be there in 10 minutes. See ya then.”
After that Nico hung up and just sat there before he laughed. Reyna and Jason watched him, both clearly amused at his behavior.
“He just lectured me.”
“He what?” Jason asked with a small chuckle.
“He lectured me about getting hurt during the episode, practically. Oh, he’s also coming over.”
Reyna shook her head and chuckled softly. “Good. You need to be more careful.”
“Not you too.” Nico whined. “Anyways, how’s Connor and Travis doing? Didn’t they just win some game last week?” Nico asked Reyna.
“They’re doing good. Scared the living daylights out of our Mom though when they came home. They were cheering as loudly as they could when they walked through the door after the game. They did win by the way.”
“Yeah I got that.”
Jason laughed and sighed. “Sometimes I have a hard time believing that you’re actually related to those two.”
“Trust me, so does a lot of people.” Reyna remarked with a laugh. “They only believe me when I explain that I was adopted.”
“Which is stupid.” Nico concluded as he turned on his TV and began to flip through the channels.
Reyna hummed in agreement. “Hey put it on Chopped.” She recommended and Nico was all too happy to oblige as Jason groaned and rolled his eyes. “We watch that all the time though!”
“Yeah because it’s a good show, now shush!” Nico insisted as he put on the food network.
________10 minutes later_______
“You are such a nerd. You got here exactly ten minutes later.” Nico teased as he walked with Will up to his room. They stopped to say high to Hazel, Bianca, and Persephone who invited Will to stay for dinner, which Will said he’d stay for but he had already eaten. Persephone was a bit upset but told him next time that he would have to come over and try her famous pasta. He accepted and made their way into his room.
Jason and Reyna teased the two a bit which made them both blush something fierce but stopped so they could hang out. Will made sure Nico was actually okay and then they were all watching The Monster Squad, an old 80’s movie while they waited for dinner to be ready.
They made small talk and Will made the mistake of mentioning the party that was coming up.
“So are you going to Connor and Travis’s party?” Will had casually asked Jason, and then immediately slapped a hand over his mouth and looked at Reyna.
“Oh I already knew about it.” She simply commented with a shrug.
Will was totally confused. “Wait you knew?”
“Of course I did. They invited Rachel who then accidentally told me. You know she’s not very good at keeping a secret, she told me in a riddle. I think she didn’t think I would figure it out. But I love riddles so it was pretty easy to find out.”
“And you’re not mad?” Will asked as he wrapped an arm around Nico and brought the Italian boy closer. He could see Nico blush but also smile. Which made Jason smile.
Reyna shrugged again. “I was at first but then I found out that they are throwing the party because they won last week’s home lacrosse game.”
“Which is weird since they only throw parties for like…the end of finals or something like that.” Nico mumbled as he leaned more on Will.
The dark haired female nodded. “Yeah, but if my hunch is correct, Connor convinced Travis to help him throw a party so Mitchell would go.”
“Wait, Mitchell? Don’t they hang out anyways? Why would he need to throw a party?” Jason asked.
“God you’re so slow.” Nico sighed. “Connor likes Mitchell. He has for a while now.”
Again Reyna nodded. “Yup.”
“Seriously? Okay but why throw a party?” Will asked.
“I think he’s doing it to impress him.” Reyna commented off handedly.
“Wow….how did you figure all this out?” Will asked as Jason nodded and asked, “And how are you so sure that Connor likes Mitchell?”
“Oh please. I’m his older sister, I know him. Plus, Travis may have let it slip. Well he more so hinted at it than anything.”
Will and Jason nodded slowly in understanding as Nico laughed at them.
Okay so maybe the party wouldn’t be all that bad. Will thought. “Well then, in that case. Wanna go to the party with me?” He asked Nico who flushed.
“Party’s aren’t really my thing.”
“They’re not mine either but I know for a fact that Lou is going to drag me there one way or another. It’d be better if I had a date.” He said with a wink.
“I guess that makes sense. Misery loves company.” Nico responded with a teasing smirk.
“That’s the spirit!” Will encouraged.
It was nice. This was nice. Thought Nico.
“Dinner’s ready!” Persephone yelled from downstairs.
Aaaannnnnnnnnd nice moment over.
Reyna and Jason groaned and looked at Nico pleasingly, as though he could get them out of it. He stood up and helped Will up before slapping Jason’s knee softly.