Actions

Work Header

Cole's Story Spoofs

Chapter Text

A Heart of Kindness

 

 

     Boy had been excited when Aunt and Uncle had told him that they were taking him across the ocean for his sixth birthday after the nice lady from Number 3 had asked if Boy would be attending school this fall while he had been out trimming Aunt 'Tunia's prized rose bushes. Uncle Vernon hadn't been very happy when Aunt 'Tunia had dragged him inside, and Boy had been expecting to be beaten for talking with the nice normal people, but instead, Uncle had told him that he would be coming along on their trip to the Americas.

     Watching the large expanse of blue-blue water pass under them had been fun (and it was his first time seeing so much water in one place before and Boy was stunned and the beauty), and Aunt 'Tunia had even gone to get him his very own clothes from the church donation bin for the trip (sure, the jeans were a few sizes too big and the gray t-shirt had a hole under the arm, but they were his - Duddy had never even worn them once). He didn't even have to sit with the Dursleys, who were seated in the business class, instead he had been placed in the economy class beside a kind old woman with skin the colour of the chocolate cake Duddy liked so much, who had knitted him a pretty dark blue scarf over the nine hour plane ride. She had talked a lot about her daughter and daughter-in-law who lived in Canada with their son, her grandson, who was around Boy's age, she had even given him the small book she had been reading and had helped him stumble his way through the first chapter. When she fell asleep after finishing the simple but pretty scarf, Boy had stashed his new things away in the old messenger bag Aunt 'Tunia had given him to keep his measly belongings in, that with his new scarf and book, held two pairs of old socks, an extra pair of underwear, a leather-bound notebook that Boy had swiped from Duddy's rubbish bin, and a few brand-new pencils that he had found under the bed in Duddy's second bedroom.

Boy was surprisingly lucky this year.

     Things started going downhill, however, when the plane landed in the airport and the nice lady had shuffled away towards a pair of women, one of which had the same complexion as the older woman and must have been her daughter, and the other with pale hair, a smiling boy stood beside them who grinned brightly when the elderly lady approached. The woman waved as he pushed his way through the crowds and he smiled and waved back shyly before exiting the large building, pulling a folded piece of paper out of his pocket as he did so unfolding it to study the mess of lines.

Aunt 'Tunia had given him the map before they got on the plane with the order to follow the highlighted route and meet them at the place she had circled.

     He glanced from the map to the streets, then back to the map.

     This was going to be a long walk.

 

。・゜゜・ ✿ ・゜゜・。

 

     It was already dark by the time Boy reached the car lot that had been circled on the map, throat parched and feet throbbing in his ill-fitting trainers, his breath ripping from his lungs in ragged gasps. He doubled over in pain as he looked around, trying to find any sign of his relatives in the darkened lot.

But Boy was alone and feeling really confused.

"Yo!"

-and then he wasn't.

     Another kid was trotting towards him, one with golden-toned skin and neck-length chocolate hair. "You the kid the horse-woman was talking about?" Now that the (boy?girl?) was closer, Boy could see their half-lidded eyes were a dark brown that almost looked red in the dim street lighting.

Horse-woman? The older kid must've been talking about Aunt 'Tunia - Boy cringed slightly at the thought of how his Aunt would react to the title, wasn't this kid afraid of getting punished?

     "She gave me a lot of money to give this to you." The older kid was saying, handing him a small white plastic bag and a folded napkin, a small frown on their face.

Boy was confused, unfolding the napkin and struggled through reading the few words printed on it.

'Don't come back'

"I don't think they're coming back, kid."

Boy looked up, the situation not quite sinking in yet.

"You got anywhere else to go?"

     He shook his head.

     No, Boy had nowhere else to go, the Dursleys were the only family Boy had, and no one else would be willing to take in a freak like him.

 

。・゜゜・ ✿ ・゜゜・。

 

     Frisk had been living on and off the streets for a few years now, they knew the signs of abuse like the back of their hand.

Their parents had died when they were a few years old, a result of drunk driving, and at a few months away from turning nine, they had been passed from multiple foster families over the years, and none of them had been kind to a young child who didn't conform to any gender. Their current family, the DuPonts, was probably the best Frisk had had in awhile, neglectful instead of abusive they couldn't care less about where Frisk was or what Frisk was doing, as long as Frisk was around when the social worker dropped by.

     The young striped-sweater-wearing human had been sitting behind a Tim Hortons across from the boarded-up car lot they had been sleeping in for the past week when the floral-dressed British woman with the expensive jewelry had approached them. She had shoved a wad of tens into their hands with the order to deliver a bag and letter to a boy with dark hair and green eyes, who would be arriving at the abandoned lot after dark.

     Frisk had agreed because, well, a kid had to eat, but they hadn't expected the kid to be so young. He was skinny, with bony arms and legs peeking out from his over-sized clothing, and he only looked four years old at the oldest. They could even see raised scars peeking out from the collar of his ratty gray shirt.

     Frisk knew the signs of abuse and neglect, and this kid could be a poster child for it.

     Big green eyes peered up at them sadly from under long dark lashes and a messy black fringe.

Cute kid.

     Frisk sighed and crouched down in front of the dark haired boy, fishing one of three water bottles from the plastic bag to hand to him. They watched with slight amusement as he guzzled it down greedily. "Woah there, Bright-eyes, you don't want to choke."

'Bright-eyes' slowed, a small pink blush dusting his cheeks, and Frisk smiled.

"You got a name, Cutie?"

His eyes shifted away from them in shame, "... Bad Boys and Freaks don't d'serve names..." He recited quietly, "Aunt and Uncle said so..."

Frisk sniffed in distaste, "Well you don't have to listen to them anymore. You're free, Bright-eyes."

'Bright-eyes' stared up at them in astonishment and clutched his old brown messenger bag to his thin chest. "Free?"

     Frisk watched as the boy repeated the word over and over to himself, and a small pang of protectiveness hit them. They knew from experience that it wasn't easy to be alone while living on the streets.

     They would make sure he wasn't left alone again.

     "My name's Frisk." They said, a small grin on their face. "I chose it for myself, and the mean words of the people tell me don't matter anymore."

"I'm free..." The kid whispered, a large grin working its way across his thin face.

"As a skylark." Frisk agreed.

'Bright-eyes' looked confused, "What's a skylark?"

"It's a songbird," They told him easily, "They're small, but they don't let that stop them from singing freely."

The kid's shoulders straightened, "C-can I choose my own name?" When Frisk nodded, a fire started to burn in his eyes. "I-I wanna be called Lark... 'Cause I'm free now."

They were filled with DETERMINATION.

Chapter Text

Supernova
Chapter One : Corona
(The outermost part of the Sun's atmosphere)

December 21, 2005
It was the wings that caught his attention.
Massive and black, with soft feathers and a slight silvery sheen that caught the light of Olympus just right. They pulled his attention away from the nymphs he was flirting with, and towards the owner. It was the end of the Winter Solstice, and many minor gods and goddesses were mingling around outside the Olympian Court, and Apollo was amusing himself by flirting with as many as he could as he watched Chiron lead a group of demigods through the glowing streets. He kept his eyes open for any of his children, and could pick out the three year-rounders (Lee, the counselor and musical genius, Michael, one of the very few that didn't inherit Apollo's colouring, and little Will, who was the most powerful healer he had seen in centuries, despite his young age) amongst the milling children, as well as the golden hair of one of his very few unclaimed children (Lila - he'd claim her tonight, she had progressed far in her archery).
Then the flash of glinting sunlight caught his eye, and Apollo glanced to his left.
He paused.
It was a minor god he had never seen before, stretching out his wings while conversing pleasantly with Hecate. The young god (and he was very young, holy shit, his ichor wasn't even a decade old) was small but lean, with thick curls of the darkest of blacks that reached his shoulders, and bronzed skin; physically in his late teens with strong shoulders despite his puny size. Apollo watched as he reached up with a delicate hand to brush a few errant curls behind his ear, the Sun God absently running through who this mysterious godling could be, and thinking back on it, it wasn't too hard to connect the dots.
This was Thanatos' son, and a former demigod who had ascended to godhood through heroic deeds. Apollo remembered faintly of Zeus mentioning it a few years back, it had stood out at the time, because very rarely were demigods offered immortality, especially if they weren't a child of Zeus, it was even rarer that they achieved godhood, and yet a son of Thanatos had managed it. Which, now that Apollo thought about it, was probably why the King hadn't dwelt on the subject and moved on as quickly as possible.
Apollo turned back to the nymphs, shooting them a charming grin, before politely excusing himself. He turned away as they giggled, and moved towards Thanatos' son. Hecate saw him coming, her green eyes flashing black, a mischievous grin spreading across her pretty face, and her companion followed her gaze.
Apollo's breath caught for the barest moment, before his winning smile grew wider. The other god's almond-shaped eyes were the loveliest shade of green Apollo had ever seen; so many differing hues of green swirling around his pupils, and flecked liberally with gold. In his pupils themselves, Apollo could see a faint shimmering symbol that he couldn't quite make out. The godling's face was aristocratic, with high cheekbones and faint freckles were sprayed across the bridge of his straight nose, his eyelashes were thick and dark. Black bangs fell across his forehead, and his full lips pulled into a small, slightly shy, smile. Apollo had seen a lot of beautiful beings in his long life, and he couldn't admit that this one was the greatest, but he was beautiful, and something about him kept Apollo's attention on him.
"Lord Apollo," Hecate greeted, amusement heavy in her tone, and Apollo dragged his eyes from the young god's face.
The Sun God pressed a kiss to the minor goddess' knuckles, "Hecate," He greeted smoothly, not at all ashamed that she had caught him checking out her companion. "You look enchanting, as always."
Hecate laughed lightly, "Little Apollo, ever the flirt."
Apollo grinned, "For you? Always." He and Hecate had had a few adventurous romps in the past, and stayed on pleasant terms, Apollo being one of the few Olympians the goddess of witchcraft could stand. He called her enchanting every time he could, always dragging a laugh out of the older goddess at his flirtatious pun. "And who might your lovely companion be?" The blonde god asked, eyes moving back to the captivating young man, who blushed, much to Apollo's satisfaction.
Hecate grinned, "Lord Apollo, might I introduce my grandson, Heroides, son of Thanatos."
Heroides dipped into a respectful bow, a little awkward, Apollo noted, he wasn't used to bowing, and when he straightened his eyes were burning. "It's nice to meet you."
Apollo gave the young god smile, before gently taking his hand and pressing a lingering kiss to his palm. Blue eyes met green, and Heroides' blush grew brighter. "Heroides," He purred, "'Heroic song', a beautiful name. I'm Apollo, it's a pleasure to meet you."
Heroides' wings twitched, and he offered Apollo a shy smile.
Longing curled in Apollo's gut, last and desire burning as bright as the sun chariot he drove. Gods were possessive being by nature, they wanted things and they got what they wanted in turn, and Apollo wasn't any different. He was as stubborn as his father when it came to beautiful beings, and possessive of the love they showed him. He had had many lovers, many flings, and many children, and he loved them all deeply, as they were his.
He opened his mouth the speak once more to the beautiful god, to woo him and to learn more about him, perhaps even to spout off poety, waxing about Heroides' beautiful eyes, but thunder rumbled overhead, and Apollo's stomach dropped. The sky had darkened, clouds were gathering overhead, Zeus was furious and many fled when lightning flashed, hoping not to be a victim of the ire of the King of Olympus. Heroides' wide eyes turned from Apollo and towards the sky, confusion swimming in their depths.
Apollo winced, "It seems that's my signal." He murmured, eyes flicking upwards as rain began to fall, "Hecate, Heroides, it was lovely to see you, but it looks like my father is angry. Another time?"
Hecate dipped her head, and Heroides smiled slightly.
"Another time." The dark-haired son of Thanatos agreed, and Apollo smiled.
Another time.

000000

June 21, 2006
The next time Apollo saw him, it was summer. He stood beside Artemis, lingering outside of the Council temple as their father and Poseidon met with young Percy Jackson about the missing Masterbolt, when the familiar flash of light reflecting off of his shimmering wings caught Apollo's attention as he moved towards the temple.
Blue eyes met golden-flecked green.
His sentence trailed off, probably startling his sister, and he beamed waving the young god over. Heroides blinked, hurrying towards the twin archers.
"Heroides!" Apollo greeted with a light laugh. "How have you been?"
Heroides looked bemused, and Artemis glanced between the two. "Busy, Lord Apollo. Lord Hades has been furious over the loss of his Helm."
Apollo frowned slightly, "Uncle Hades lost his Helm?"
The younger god nodded, "It was stolen on the Winter Solstice, much like the Masterbolt was. Lord Hades' anger affected all of us in the Underworld, it's been very tense." He laughed slightly, "Spot nearly ripped my wing off when I got too close."
"Spot?"
"Cerberus." Heroides clarified, and Apollo winced.
"Who are you?" Artemis cut in, frowning, and Apollo rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"This is Heroides, the son of Thanatos." Apollo offered, "Heroides, this is my sister, Artemis."
Heroides dipped his head politely, "Lady Artemis, a pleasure to meet you."
Artemis' silver eyes studied the young winged god, and Apollo silently hoped she wouldn't find a fault with him and smite the pretty young god for it. "You're the demigod that ascended in 1998." She said instead, and Heroides shrugged.
"That's me." Then his brows furrowed, a thoughtful frown tugging at his lips. "Or maybe it would be more accurate to say 'demihuman'." Heroides rambled, and Artemis arched a brow.
"Oh?"
Apollo was confused as well, perking up at the chance to learn more about the mysterious young godling.
Heroides ran a nervous hand through his hair, exposing the faint lightning bolt scar on his forehead, before letting his bangs flutter across the bronzed skin once more. "My mother was a demigoddess. A daughter of Hecate."
Artemis' sharp eyes narrowed in on the scar.
"Hecate introduced you as her grandson." Apollo noted, and Heroides nodded.
"I was also blood adopted by my mother's husband, who was a legacy of Zeus, through his own mother." Heroides said quietly, "My mother and stepfather prayed to the gods to help them have a child, he was sterile, an accident when he was young, and my father answered. So I really had more godly blood than I did human."
"Must've been a shock when you found out." Apollo grinned, and Heroides chuckled.
"It was."
Their eyes met once more, and the desire was back, thick and heavy in his chest, as he stared into the humorous green eyes. Heroides blushed slightly, pushing a strand of dark hair away from his face, but he didn't look away from Apollo's gaze.
Or at least he didn't until Artemis spoke once more, effectively ruining the moment.
"What are you doing here? You're a servant of the Underworld, are you not."
Apollo shot his sister a small glare for the interruption, and she just gave him a Look in return.
Heroides' wings fluttered, his flush darkening. "Lord Hades sent me to extend his thanks to the demigod who returned his Helm." He nodded towards the closed doors that lead to the Council room.
Which, ironically enough, had just opened.
Poseidon exited first, followed by a miniature Sea God, who must've been his son, who's eyes landed on Heroides and widened in surprise.
"You!"
"Me." Heroides straightened, smiling slightly. "Percy Jackson, we owe you our thanks."
Jackson blushed at the attention. "It was nothing, I just wanted to stop a war."
Heroides' smile widened, "A noble cause. You returned Lord Hades' Helm to him, and for that he thanks you. You have my thanks as well."
"I should be the one thanking you!" Jackson ducked his head. "Because of you, Hades didn't just blast me off the face of the Earth the moment I walked into the room. You got him to at least listen to us."
Heroides laughed, ruffling the kid's hair, dipping his head respectfully towards Poseidon. "You remind me of myself when I was your age. I wasn't about to let you get smote without at least allowing you to state your case."
Jackson looked a little amused as he tried flattening his hair again. "You probably wouldn't have been able to stop him."
"Not at all." Heroides agreed, "But if it came down to it I would have stepped in the way, I'm immortal. The smoting would've hurt, but it wouldn't have killed me."
Jackson flushed, fiddling with his torn shirt. "You don't have to."
The winged god's eyes softened, shoving his hands into his black jeans. "You wanted your mother back. I would've done anything for that opportunity..."
Apollo saw the sadness in the young god's expression, the longing, and wanted nothing more but to bring back his happiness, the laugh, but Heroides shook himself out of it, pulling a grin back onto his face.
"Look after your mom, kid." Heroides said, putting a gentle hand on the young demigod's shoulder. "She was willing to die for you, and you were willing to challenge the Lord of the Underworld to get her back. That's a love that will never fade."
There was a moment of silence, before Heroides stepped away. "I should get going, Lord Hades must be wondering if I cheeked someone and got smote for it. Message delivered." Heroides bowed to Poseidon, then to the twins. "Lord Poseidon. Lady Artemis, Lord Apollo. It was a pleasure."
Both Poseidon and Artemis inclined their heads, and then those bright green eyes shifted to Apollo.
"Another time?" Apollo asked, grinning slightly.
Heroides laughed, "Another time."

Chapter Text

Into the Wild: Prologue
The moon was high in the sky when the tall, black and white cat pushed his way out of his den, blue eyes reflecting the lights of Silver-pelt as he stared at the dark sky, listening silently to the wind rustling the surrounding moor.
"Tallstar?"
The black and white tom's gaze turned from the night sky, and towards the black tom who was limping towards him from the freshkill pile. Tallstar dipped his head to his deputy, curling his long tail around his paws as Deadfoot sat down beside him. The older tom could feel his former apprentice's bright blue eyes burning into him as he turned his attention back to the stars.
"Are you alright, Tallstar?" Deadfoot asked quietly, as to not alert the guards patrolling the Windclan camp.
Tallstar sighed momentarily; he had been dreaming of her again. Of a gentle voice, of soft flame-coloured fur and eyes the colour of healthy leaves in greenleaf.
("Don't go! Come with me! Come and meet my Clan!"
"This is where you belong, not me. My home is with my housefolk. He'll be wondering where I am."
"Will I ever see you again?"
"Who knows? Maybe."
"Become a warrior! You'd be great! You learned how to hunt so quickly. And you can fight foxes!"
"No, Talltail. I wouldn't be happy."
"You wouldn't be happy with me?"
"I can't live as a warrior. But I'll always remember you. You've shown me a life I've always dreamed about.  But now I know where I truly belong."
"Then I'll come with you and live in Twolegplace!"
"Don't be rabbit-brained! You hate it there! You'd be so unhappy... I'd hate for you to be unhappy."
"Then why are you leaving? You're the best friend I ever had."
"I'll always be your friend, Talltail, but I'm a kittypet, and you're a warrior. You'll always be a warrior.")
The words he had so wanted to say had been stuck on the tip of his tongue, he had been unable to say it before turning and leaving her on the hill, seated under the shadows of the oak tree, orange fur glowing in the sunlight.
Now he was older, wiser, and no less regretful that he hadn't told her the truth of why he fought so hard for her to come with him to Windclan. He loved her, had since the moment she had thrown herself into battle against a fox, and he hated himself for not being able to tell her.
Tallstar shook himself from his memories, turning his attention back to his deputy.
Deadfoot was watching him, undisguised worry in his bright blue eyes.
"Just reminiscing." Tallstar murmured. "Do you remember when I left the Clan for a short time?"
Deadfoot tilted his head slightly, "Faintly."
Tallstar didn't blame him, it had been moons ago, Deadfoot had only been a kit. "I met someone, she saved my life. I wanted to bring her back to the Clan with me, I told her it was because she was my best friend, but the truth was, I had fallen in love with her."
Deadfoot's eyes were wide when Tallstar looked back at him. The deputy's tail twitched, and Tallstar chuckled.
"I still do." He mused, "And I find myself wondering what she's doing, and if she loved me too."
Silence reigned for a while, Tallstar had turned his eyes back to the sky and Deadfoot continued to watch him.
"Why don't you go visit her." Deadfoot finally spoke, "I'll keep the Clan in line for a few days, go talk to her."
Tallstar blinked, surprise coursing through his veins. "Deadfoot-"
His deputy looked faintly amused, bumping his shoulder against Tallstar's. "Don't be such a stubborn furball, the Clan will still be standing if you go away for a couple day. Go talk to her, I'll think of something to tell the Clan."

 

The twoleg den hadn't changed at all in all the moons since he had last been there, and Tallstar doubted he would ever forget it, the plant life was different, thicker than when he had slept pressed against her warm flank in an unfamiliar place, the only comfort surrounded by strange smells and loud noises.
The Windclan leader perched gracefully on the fence to the kittypet's yard, eyes scanning the den for any sign of the she cat's orange fur. It had taken two sunrises to reach this certain den in Twolegplace, and now he was there, and he felt like a young warrior all over, unsure of how to tell a beautiful she cat how he felt. His long tail swept against the white wood of the fence, and Tallstar shuffled his paws nervously.
His ears pricked as the entrance to the den slid open, and his heart thunder against his chest when a sleek pelt of orange stepped into the sunlight, turning the fur to fire.
Tallstar's breath caught.
She was beautiful, she was older than the last time he had seen her, slim for a kittypet but definitely well-fed and well-groomed. Green eyes met blue, and her expression melted into shock, before her eyes brightened in joy.
"Talltail!" She mewed in greeting, fluffy tail waving in the air.
Tallstar melted, ears twitching, and he leapt off the fence into the short grass. "Jackie." He purred, rubbing his cheek against hers in greeting. "And it's Tallstar, now."
Jackie purred loudly, licking his nose. "You're leader now! That's amazing, Tallstar!" She ducked under his chin, pressing herself against his broad chest. "What are you doing here? Is something wrong?"
"I just wanted to see you." Tallstar murmured gently, licking her ear. "I needed to talk to you."
Jackie blinked at him, her tail brushing against his.
"I should have told you long ago, but I didn't know how..." He hesitated.
"Tallstar?" Jackie asked, pulling away to meet his gaze.
Tallstar breathed in her scent, "I fell in love with you."
"Tallstar?"
"Please, Jackie. I just wanted to tell you, even after all these years, I still love you." He looked away, "I understand if you don't feel the same, it's been moons since we last saw each other. I can leave-" He was cut off by Jackie pressing against him, pushing him toward a bush of sweet-smelling blossoms and away from prying eyes.
Tallstar grunted slightly from her surprising strength, staggering into the shadows, Jackie's orange fur following after.
Jackie purred loudly, pressing against his side.
"Stay."

 

Tallstar stayed with Jackie for three days, they spent the time curled together in the garden bushes catching up, or hunting side-by-side, but on the third night Tallstar knew he had to return to his Clan, he loved Jackie, yes, but he also loved his Clan.
Jackie must have sensed his hesitance, because as they sat under the starry sky, pressed against each other, she looked at him with sad green eyes. "You need to go back, don't you?" Tallstar's shoulders drooped, pain burning in his heart, and Jackie's ears twitched, a sad, knowing smile on her face.
"Come back with me." Tallstar blurted out, but he already knew the answer, and Jackie did too, because she averted her eyes to stare at Silver-pelt once more.
"You know that I cant, Tallstar." Jackie mewed quietly, "I love you, but I would never be happy living in the wild. I would always be an outsider in your Clan.
Tallstar laughed weakly, resting his head on her shoulders, and, curling his tail around hers, he liked her ear. "I'll always love you."
Jackie purred, "I love you too, Tallstar. Always."

 

An old gray she cat sat alone under the light of a half-moon, staring up at the clear night sky. She could hear the comforting sounds of sleeping cat's all around her, and beyond that, the forest was silent and at rest.
Quick, near soundless paws tips alerted her of another cat emerging from the shadows, and the gray cat dipped her head in greeting as a small tortoiseshell she cat settled down next to her.
"How is Mousefur?" The older she cat enquired, ears angling towards the shadowed corner the younger cat had come from.
"Her wounds are deep, Bluestar," The fluffy she cat answered, feathery tail brushing lightly against the trodden ground of the clearing. "But she is young and strong; she will heal quickly."
"And the others?"
"They will all recover, too."
Bluestar sighed in relief, "We are lucky not to have lost any of our warriors this time. You are a gifted medicine cat, Spottedleaf." She tilted her head to the stars once more. "I'm deeply troubled by tonight's defeat. Thunderclan has not been beaten in its own territory since I became leader." Bluestar murmured. "These are difficult times for our Clan. The season of newleaf is late, and there have been fewer kits. Thunderclan needs more warriors if it is to survive."
"But the year is only just beginning," Spottedleaf pointed out calmly, offering her leader a warm amber stare. "There will be more kits when greenleaf comes."
Broad gray shoulders twitched, and the older she cat chuckled quietly. "Perhaps. But training our young to become warriors takes time. If Thunderclan is to defend its territory, it must have new warriors as soon as possible."
Spottedleaf followed Bluestar's gaze to stare at the swath of stars glittering in the dark sky. "Are you asking Starclan for answers?" She asked gently.
"It's at times like this we need the words of ancient warriors to help us. Has Starclan spoken to you?" Bluestar asked.
Spottedleaf shook her head, eyes never leaving the stars above them. "Not for some moons, Bluestar."
As if summoned by the medicine cat's words, a shooting star blazed over the treetops. Spottedleaf tail twitched, and the colourful fur along her spine stiffened. Bluestar's ears pricked, but she remained silent, watching Spottedleaf as she gazed upwards.
After a few heartbeats, Spottedleaf lowered her head, amber eyes wide as she turned to meet Bluestar's blue stare. "It was a message from Starclan," She breathed, her gaze distant. "Fire alone can save our Clan."
Alarm caused Bluestar's fur to bristle. "Fire?" She echoed, "But fire is feared by all the Clans! How can it save us?"
Spottedleaf shook her head sheepishly, "I don't know," She admitted. "But this is the message Starclan has chosen to share with me."
The Thunderclan leader fixed her clear blue eyes on the young medicine cat. "You have never been wrong before, Spottedleaf," She meowed. "If Starclan has spoken, it must be so. Fire will save our clan."
But how?
"Goosefeather once said I would be the fire." Bluestar confessed, shifting uneasily. For the first time, she was sharing the prophesy the old medicine cat had told her, and it had weighed on her mind for many moons.
Spottedleaf gazed at her leader with clear, unblinking eyes. "I know."
Bluestar looked silently over to the dark forest, in the direction of the Riverclan camp, her heart torn. "Was he right?" The blue-gray she cat asked desperately. Had she been chasing an empty dream all these years? Had she sacrificed her kits for nothing?
The young medicine cat watched her, her warm eyes shining. "You saved Thunderclan from Thistleclaw's leadership. He would have drowned us in blood." The tortoiseshell she cat meowed softly. "And you've led the Clan through many moons, keeping it strong and safe."
Bluestar shook her head with a bitter snort. "And now I have led it to defeat. That's not exactly blazing through the forest."
Spottedleaf shrugged, "Sunningrocks will be won and lost many more times."
Bluestar clawed the ground, her frustration evident. "But if I have followed my destiny, why does Starclan still speak of fire now?"
Spottedleaf blinked, "Perhaps you haven't finished," She mewed wisely.
The aging she cat sighed, turning her eyes to the sky once more. "What more can I do?" She asked both the stars and her young companion. Fire alone would save her Clan, and if Bluestar wasn't the fire, who, or what, was?

Chapter Text

Prologue - Everybody Cries

October 31, Godric's Hollow.
The night that would go down in Wizarding history as the 'end' of the first Voldemort War. But at that time, before everything went to hell, was simply a happy family moment.
Lily Potter was happy with the small things in life; they may have been in the middle of a war, but her tiny family was what made everything worth it. She may not have liked James went they were younger, for he was like the storm that fed her lightning, their tempers clashing spectacularly. They had calmed as they aged, and by seventeen she had found somebody who she could see herself loving. They fueled each other in a different way, their tempers no longer clashing, but instead grounding the other and slowing them to work in sync.
Little Harry, on the other hand, gave them a place to call their own, the calm to his parents' storm. To them, he was as breathtaking as the sky, no matter the weather.
Her son's bright laugh filled the air, and Lily smiled as she leaned on the doorframe, watching as little colourful clouds floated around couch. Her husband shot her a crooked grin, Harry perched on his chest grasping for the little magical constructs as they danced around his curly head.
The red-haired witch let out a small laugh herself, pushing herself away from the white wood to walk towards James and Harry. She swept forward, gracefully sweeping her infant son from her husband's broad chest.
Harry babbled up at her, a happy smile on his tiny face.
(He was such a tiny baby, Lily knew that he'd probably always be small. He had been born too early, and it was only thanks to magic that she and her little miracle had survived, and on that day she had vowed to protect that tiny life with her own. She'd never be able to carry another child to term, the Healers had told her as if it were her fault. James hadn't cared, they could always adopt after the War.)
"Bedtime for baby boys." She sang, pressing a kiss to Harry's forehead. Harry cooed in return, pudgy hand fisting in her long red hair.
"Ma!"
James chuckled as he stood, tossing his wand onto the couch so that he could stretch.
Lily shot both her boys a small, loving smile, and James vaulted over the couch to wrap both her and their son in his arms with a deep laugh, pecking her on the lips and ruffling their son's already curly dark hair.
"Bedtime." Lily repeated, hoisting Harry up higher in her arms.
James grinned, wiggling his eyebrows at her, and she rolled her eyes.
"Bedtime."
"Bedtime." James agreed, salacious grin never leaving his face.
She was making her way towards the stairs, James following on her heels, when they felt the Wards around their cottage shudder, then shatter.
"Lily! Its him! Take Harry and run! I'll hold him off!"
James' hazel eyes were pleading, and with a single quick look that she hoped would portray her love for him, she turn and bolted up the stairs.
Protect Harry.
She barricaded herself and her son in Harry's nursery; the most protected room in the house. It would take a little while for Voldemort to break through the Wards and protective Charms that guarded the room.
Protect Harry.
Energy crackled in the air, and Lily placed her confused son in his crib, channeling her magic through the holly wood of the frame while she did so. The runes she had carved flashed green, and she could feel the protective, ritualized magic fold around her son.
"I'm sorry, baby." Lily whispered quietly, meeting her baby's green eyes. "Mama loves so much."
"Avada Kadavra!" A voice hissed from downstairs, and Lily knew her husband was dead, for the runes on Harry's crib flashed once more, this time the deep scarlet of James' magic.
Protect Harry.
She could hear Voldemort walking calmly up the stairs, every step slow and untroubled.
"Harry... Harry you are so loved. So, so loved..." Lily voice cracked, and Harry peered up at her between the bars of his crib.
The door shuddered.
"Mama loves you, Dada loves you."
...Once...
Protect Harry.
"Harry, be safe."
.......Twice....
Protect Harry.
"Be strong."
............Three times-
Protect Harry
-And shattered.
Lily spun, throwing her arms wide. She would be the lightning rod, she would draw this man's attention away from her baby, and she would die before she allowed him to go close to her son.
"Not Harry! Please! Not Harry!"
"Stand aside you silly girl!" Voldemort hissed, red eyes glinting in the shadows. "Stand aside now!"
Lily refused to move. "Not Harry!" She begged, Protect Harry, "Kill me instead! Not my baby!"
"This is my last warning!"
"Not Harry! Please, not Harry! Have mercy! Not my baby!"
She could feel her magic draining away, sucked into the holly wood of Harry's crib.
Protect Harry.
"Move!"
Protect Harry.
Lily set her chin stubbornly, ignoring the tears that were dripping down her cheeks, and she did not move.
She would not move.
She would protect Harry, she knew it would be mean her death but she would protect her baby.
(She did not know that, at that moment, her Dying Will activated, and Voldemort, unaware of of such a thing existing, would not see it.)
Her eyes glowed fiercely, green even brighter than before, and for the first time in a very long time, Tom Riddle felt fear stirring within him.
"Avada Kadavra!"
Lily Potter watch the poisonous green of the Killing Curse light up the room and race towards her in slow motion. She could hear her heartbeat in her ears, she could feel her blood pumping under her skin, and something else burned through her.
Protect Harry.

 

One's Dying Will, paired with a dying wish, was a powerful thing. Especially that of a Sky's Guardian. Lily and James Potter may not have been Flame Active until their dying moments. But they both had the same dying wish, and that was to protect their son, their Sky. Voldemort's spell would never hit its intended target, instead it came rushing back towards him, much more powerful than before.
But Voldemort had already had multiple Horcruxes, it would not kill him, not for good anyways.
And thus, as Voldemort's body was destroyed, and his shade fled, unknowingly leaving a fraction behind, trapped in the swirling sacrificial ritual the elder Potters had prepared ahead of time, to be absorbed into Harry Potter's own core.
And Harry screamed, the skin of his forhead splitting open and the unplanned Horcrux fragment worming its way into its new host.
Young Flames would always act in their body's best interest, they were bendable, they could adapt, the would react. So his infantile Sky Flames fractured into seven. Mist trapped the Horcrux in place before it could do anymore damage, Rain kept the foreign soul shard tranquil and asleep, Storm began to corrode the invading Flames to limit what it could do, Sun would heal the wound, and Sky would keep it all in harmony.
In the end, all that was left was Cloud and Lightning.

 

Sirius Black stared at the ruined cottage in front of him, tears swimming in his eyes. He could already feel his hold on reality slipping away, misting over, but he couldn't let that stop him, not yet anyways.
What had happened to Peter? Had he been tortured? Had their ruse been discovered?
Had Peter betrayed them?
Was he imagining the screaming? Who was screaming?
James body lay in front of the stairs, glasses broken and hazel eyes glassy.
Sirius sobbed, pulling his brother's body from the rubble.
He wanted to fall to his knees, he want to scream, he wanted to rage, he wanted to see the bastard who did this burn.
But he had to keep moving.
The screaming hadn't stopped.
The stairs creeked with every step he took.
Up and up and up.
The screaming was louder now.
The door to the nursery was blown off its hinges, the wood scorched. Half of the roof had collapsed, and Sirius could see Lily laying partially under the pieces.
She too, was dead.
The crib, however, was completely unharmed.
And it was screaming.
Wait no, the crib wasn't screaming, silly Padfoot - cribs don't scream.
Harry stood in the crib, unscathed except for a single lightning-shaped gash on his forehead, and the blood caked on one side of his face.
Why were there scorch marks around the wound? Sirius wondered numbly.
He was already moving forward, lifting the crying baby from his little safe haven, and almost dropped him again.
Why was Harry cold? Whywhywhywhy?
It feel as if the sky was ripped away from him, and Sirius stumbled.
Where?Where?Where?
This wasn't right, where was the warmth that always spread through him when he was close to Harry? Where was the sense of home and belonging.
Where?Where?Where?Where?
NeedNeedNeedNeedNeed
Somebody needed to pay.
He was outside now, Harry still in his arms, how did he get outside?
There was still blood on the baby's face, but he had stopped screaming.
BloodBloodBloodWrongWrongWrong
With a new sense of purpose, Sirius scrubbed the rusty blood off of his godson's face.
But the blood was gone too soon, and Sirius once again found himself without direction.
Peter.
PeterPeterPeter
RatRatRatRatTraitor
BetrayedBetrayed
GoneWhereGone?
The rat needed to pay.

 

Remus Lupin dropped to his knees, tears dripping down his face, and a hand clenched, white knuckled, in his sweater above his heart as he felt something in him break.
His wolf howled in grief.
What had happened?
Harry?
Did something happen to Harry?
Where was Harry?
JamesLilyHarry?
He needed Harry.
Need need need
Remus didn't know what to do. He held onto his calm by his figurative fingernails. He wouldn't be any use if he lost control. He needed to stay calm. But at the sametime something inside him, not his wolf, not his magic, was screaming at him that something was wrongwrongwrongwrong.
Remus needed to stay calm, he was supposed to be the calm one. If he wasn't calm, tempers would flare. He was the one who needed to bring tranquillity to his friends.
But where?
WhereWhereWhere?
GoneGoneGone!
What was gone? Remus didn't understand, but his wolf seemed to. It thrashed and it howled and it twisted and clawed and packpackpack.
All Remus could do was curl into a ball and sob over the feeling of lossgonegonewherepack that burned in his chest.

 

That week, magical Britain would celebrate the fall of Lord Voldemort.
"To Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived!" They would cheer, for a single baby had ended their war for them and You-Know-Who was gone.
Albus Dumbledore would plan, he would plot, and he would leave the tiny Prophesized Child with the boy's aunt.
"Neither can live while the other survives."
Albus knew Tom would return, and Harry would need to be prepared. The boy had to be ready to die at Tom's hand, because once he did Tom would be vulnerable.

Chapter Text

-there were two babies who escaped Krypton; twins Kal-El and Har-El (fraternal twins), Har's pod got caught in an electric strom, which caused his pod to crash further in the future than Kal.

-Harry Potter starts noticing odd things happening to him after his run in with Dementors; he's stronger, faster, and no longer needs glasses, his eyes are better than perfect.

     -gets summoned to Gringotts, finds out he's adopted; Lily and James suspected he wasn't human (they found him in a crater) and magically adopted him (Blood Adoption didn't work because his blood wasn't human)

     -through Gringotts, Harry pulls himself from Hogwarts when it's revealed he has living blood relatives living in the States (Kal-El is his name, he lives in Metropolis - but he doesn't know much else because his magic is different than anything the goblins are used to)(there's also a fuzzy name that can't be read and says Happy Harbour)

     -when in the States, the unknown name can finally be read as "Conner" (when Superboy chooses his name) and the other becomes more clear as soon as he enters Metropolis, Kal-El switches between that and Clark Kent.

-Harry becomes Beta, a superhero with Superman's abilities (he's physically weaker, and smaller, but has magic to make up for it - Kryptonian Sorcerers are born weaker than those without magic, but are faster)

     -Beta: black pants tucked into black combat boots, tight blue long sleeved shirt with a red S symbol, black hooded cape, black fingerless gloves

-Clark gives Harry Kryptonian crystal glasses

-Harry joins Young Justice, Superboy hates him at first -the others are a little awkward- because to him, Clark refused to train or acknowledge Conner then shows up later with a younger partner even shorter than Robin and even more delicate-looking

     -they eventually warm up to him when they get to know him and learn that he was never trying to replace Conner or make him feel unwanted, he just wanted to help people and get to know his family

     -Harry sacrifices himself to save Conner in the simulation

-On Halloween Harry vanishes in a storm of blue flames, but when the fire started Wally grabbed him to try to smother the flames, but ends up being dragged along. He was entered into the Triwizard Tournament using his name written in his blood.

     -YJ calls for help and Giovanni manages to track traces of a powerful magical summoning and traces it back to Scotland.

     -The League is not really happy that two of their children were just abducted (protective daddy!Flash, protective big bro!Conner and Clark)

     -Harry and Wally are not very pleased about the situation, Wally is having a mental breakdown in the face of a school of magic.

(Hermione is happy that Harry found family, but missed him and was angry that he never told her anything before vanishing)(Ron doesn't understand why anyone would want to leave the WW and is super jealous, which strains his relationship with Harry - not a bad person, but their friendship never recovers)

     -(( "I don't like this." Wally grumbled, and Harry looked up from the pages of the rule book to study the older teen, who was sprawled unelegantly across one of the beds in their shared room. The redhead was vibrating in either nervousness or restlessness (maybe both, one could never be sure with speedsters).

"We're in Scotland, on the Black Lake. I could ask the House Elves to pack you some food and you could run back to Happy Harbour if you want to." Harry offered, if Wally wanted to leave he wouldn't stop him, but to be honest the Kryptonian didn't want the older boy to leave him there alone.

Wally scoffed, sitting up to shoot the younger superhero a glare. "Dude, I'm not going to just leave you here alone," He said firmly, green eyes narrow. "Especially not when someone's trying to kill you." ))

     -Harry can't leave or be pulled out of the Tournament, or risk loosing his magic (which would kill him)

Chapter Text

 

The Northern Wolf, a Southern Doe

 

When Liliyana Baratheon was born nine month into her marriage to The Usuper King Robert, Cersei Lannister despaired, for she was dark of hair. It didn't matter to Cersei that the girl had inherited her green eyes, or would grow into a great beauty to rival her mother, all she saw was the dark curls that she could have only gotten from her detestable husband. She was a precocious child, unnatural a small part of Cersei's mind would whisper in the face of the girl's too-intelligent eyes, a mockery of her own, too willful and too observant for someone of her young age; even as an infant she had had a look in her eye that seemed to scream that she knew something you didn't. Cersei couldn't even stand to be in the same room as the child, and when Joffrey, gold of hair and green of eyes, was born a year later, she had an excuse not to; afterall, this was her first-born son.

Liliyana grew up in the hands of wet nurses, with a mother who despised her and a distant father who would become known to slip and call his daughter Lyanna when he had indulged in too much wine (which, as the years went on, grew more and more common). She grew up surrounded by servants and knights who were absolutely charmed by the little fawn, who was humble and kind despite being a princess, unafraid of work and who could often be seen helping the kitchen staff or shadowing the training fields.

(And as Liliyana Baratheon grew, so did the memories in her mind; the ones of another life in another world, of cruel relatives that looked like animals, of magic and mystery and adventure, of wars and lost families, memories of Harry Potter.)

At five, intelligent and brave beyond her years, she managed to wrangle swords lessons from her uncle who, quite the Slytherin in that moment, went about manipulating her father into hiring a Brovossi 'dance instructor', and proved herself quite talented despite her petite structure. Six years old was her age when she walked in on her uncle and mother and discovered just how her younger siblings were conceived, finally knowing why the Queen hated her so much; Liliyana hadn't been born of her forbidden romance with her twin brother, but of a single night where Cersei's moon tea failed to work.

She was a little over a year old when Joffrey was born, five when Myrcella (gold of hair, green of eyes) came into the world, and seven when baby Tommen (gold of hair, green of eyes) joined his siblings. She loved her siblings, no matter how different they looked from her, or who their parents actually were, or even how spoiled Joffrey was or how cruel he could be, and Myrcella and Tommen adored her right back. Joffrey, however, didn't seem to hold the capacity to love anything but causing others pain.

By fourteen, months away from her fifteenth name day, Liliyana had grown into a beauty to rival her mother, talented with a sword and an excellent rider, she was perspicacious and perseptive, with a quick mind and sure feet. It was at this age that she learned of her father's plans to join Houses Baratheon and Stark in marriage through Jeoffry and the Stark's eldest daughter, and she was fourteen when she changed her father's mind; Baratheon and Stark would still be joined, but it wouldn't be Sansa who would be married, instead Liliyana would be married to the Heir of Winterfell, Robb Stark.

 

-----

 

Robb Stark, seventeen year old Heir of Winterfell and future Lord Stark, grinned playfully as his sword clashed against Jon's, his greater strength and height causing his dark-haired brother to stumble slightly, but despite being slighter than Robb, Jon was still a talented swordsman for his age and easily regained his footing and deflected the auburn haired Stark's next attack.

But, like every time before, after giving a good fight, Jon lost and the spar ended with Robb's sword at his neck and a faint feeling of dissapointment, because Robb knew his brother was better than what he showed in their mock fights. He had seen his brother, younger by a few months, defeat Ser Jory in a spar, something Robb had never managed to do.

Not about to call his brother out on it however, not with an audience, he stepped back, shooting Jon a crooked grin, "Better luck next time, Snow."

Jon chuckled, picking his tourney sword up off the ground. "Perhaps, Stark."

"How about another round?"

"As you wish." Jon smirked, but they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat. The two boys turned to meet their father's gaze, watching as the older Stark approached them.

"Good fight, both of you." Lord Eddard Stark said easily, gray eyes studying their sweat-covered and dirty appearances, then flicking to his heir. "Robb, I need to speak with you."

Robb blinked, glancing at Jon, who shrugged, then back to their father. "Of course, father." He shot his brother an apologetic grin as he handed the dark-haired boy his blade and moved to follow his father into the castle

They walked in silence, and Robb couldn't help but feel nervous; what was this about? Had he done something wrong? They took a few more turns, approaching the Lord of Winterfell's study, and Robb was surprised to find his mother already waiting for them inside.

"Take a seat, Robb."

The auburn haired Stark did so, taking the chair next to his mother and across from his father, who had already seated himself behind his desk, fingering a sheet of parchment as he watched his eldest son with serious gray eyes.

"I received a letter from the King," Ned said finally, "He wishes to join our Houses in marriage."

Robb startled, blue eyes widening as he glanced between his mother and father. "Me?" He voice was faint when he spoke, face pale; as the Heir to House Stark Robb had known he'd have to get married eventually, but he had grown up with the belief that he would have some form of control over who he married, both his mother and father had wanted him to have a choice.

His father nodded, "The King wishes for a marriage between you and his eldest daughter, Princess Liliyana."

Robb had heard of the Baratheon princess; it was said she was blossoming into a beautiful girl to rival her mother, with a kind heart and an intelligent mind. She was a little more than a year younger than him, and the daughter of his father's closest friend, but he had never met her. According to rumors, things he had overheard his mother whispering about with other Northern Ladies, the Queen couldn't stand her oldest child, even as she doted on her younger three.

"The Princess sent along a letter for you, Robb." His father interrupted his thoughts, and Robb glanced at the roll of parchment the Lord Stark was holding out for him to take.

Silently, Robb unrolled it, absently noting the graceful loops of her handwriting, and read it.

Dear Heir Stark,

I am Liliyana Baratheon, daughter of King Robert I of House Baratheon and Queen Ceresi of House Lannister, and, if you are to accept my father's proposal, your betrothed. I apologize for the suddenness of the request, but to be bluntly honest our marriage is much more preferable to the alternative. My father wishes to join our Houses through marriage, and he has spoken fondly of your lord father and his honorable intentions and actions, and I have heard that you inherited said honor, which is why I wish to be truthful. I fear that if he had gone along with his original plan, your younger sister would have suffered for it, for he had wished to marry my brother Joffrey, to the young Lady Sansa.

My brother, for all I love him, is a very cruel person who's favored pass time is causing others pain. He would not have cared for your sister as he should, and she would have been miserable until he bored of her, and his past actions have shown that his boring of your younger sister would mean her death. I have oft had to stop him from torturing the maids, and last year he killed Tommen's beloved cat while she was pregnant. I have since given my youngest brother a new cat, but I'm afraid that replacing her would not be possible should the same same thing happen to your sister.

Your sister deserves better than a boy who would hurt her, as would any person, which is why I convinced my father to offer my hand instead. This does not mean that I am attempting to force you into a marriage, and I hope that you make your own choice in the matter, for if you choose not to accept I can try to talk my father into another pairing between either Myrcella or Tommen and another of your siblings. If you say yes, my father wishes for the wedding to happen within the next year.

Sincerely,

Princess Liliyana of Houses Baratheon and Lannister

"What does it say, Robb?" His mother asked gently as her eldest looked up from his letter to stare at his parents, his blue eyes wide and faintly alarmed.

Robb bit his lip, "She, uh- Princess Liliyana apologized for the sudden betrothal request. She said that the original plan was for Sansa to marry Prince Joffrey, but the Princess was worried for Sansa's safety should that happen." He muttered faintly, handing the letter off to his mother to read, then turning back to his father. "Apparently the Crown Prince enjoys torturing servants and kills pregnant cats for fun." His father's eyebrows rose in surprise and his mother made a faintly alarmed noise. "And hearing that I don't want to see Sansa marry Prince Joffrey either. She said that if I said no that she'd try to get her father to arrange something with either Princess Myrcella or Prince Tommen." That she had also made a rather dark joke was something he didn't say.

His father nodded, frowning in thought as he rubbed his chin, but his eyes were sharp.

"And what do you want to do, Robb?" His mother spoke, "I've heard quite a lot about the princess, but gossip can't always be trusted, but it seems kind of her to give you the choice between agreeing to a marriage." She glanced towards the Lord of Winterfell, "But would we truly be able to deny the King should Robb not agree?"

"I'll agree." Robb's declaration drew the attention of his parents back to him. He straightened his shoulders, and lifted his chin proudly. He was Heir of Winterfell, and it was his duty to provide the best future for his House and subjects; this was his duty. "I'll marry Princess Liliyana."

Robb was a good son, and he would do what was needed just like his father had done, and perhaps one day he would come to care for his future wife the way his father cared for his mother.

His mother and father smiled proudly.

Chapter Text

結晶
Chapter One : Lapis Lazuli
Lapis lazuli is an ancient stone said to represent friendship and truth. Blue lapis lazuli gems are believed to help bring about harmony in relationships. It is a stone of wisdom and awareness.

 

Unknown Location, Earthland; Year X777

"Lapis Lazuli, the stone of Universal Truth." His mother's voice said above him, and the five year old seated on her lap turned away from the crystal he was turning over in his hands to peer at her face.

"Universal Truth?" The child's voice was timid and soft, and the woman, who's skin was the colour of soil and hair a mossy green, smiled lovingly, her crystalline eyes kind. "What's that?"

She ran a hand through the dark curls that had finally begun to grow back, gently tracing the horrific scar that had stolen one of his beautiful eyes and damaged one side of his delicate face. "There are many, my sweet jewel. Every being has one or two of them, perhaps even more if they can find them."

The boy blinked up at his mother, "What is mine, Mamma?"

A kiss was pressed to his forehead, and warm arms hugged him closer, "That you are loved, little gem. And one day, you will find more Truths to add to that one."

 


 

 

Deep within East Forest, Fiore, Earthland; Year X786

"Hakuryū no Hōkō!"

"Eiryū no Hōkō!"

Two opposing vortices of white and black magics clashed, sending a shock wave of power across their training field and kicking up dust and grit and blowing the green ribbon from his black hair. Lapis grinned behind his crystal shield, eye flashing as he watched his two friends spar, one hand running across Lector's burgundy ear the other cradling Frosch closer to his chest as the two Exceeds awed over the power in their Dragon Slayers' roars.

"Go Sting-kun!"

"Fro is cheering for Rogue!"

Sting staggered back from the force of his attack, grinning wide enough that Lapis could see the sharpness of his canines even at the distance that he sat at, and even the ever-composed Rogue was smirking proudly at the strength of their magic, his ratty black cloak fluttering around his ancles.

"That was the strongest yet!" The blond laughed brightly, throwing his arms into the air victoriously, then turned to beam at where Lapis sat with the two Exceeds. "Didja see that?"

The smaller dark-haired boy laughed quietly, brushing the black curls of his untamable hair back over his shoulder, allowing his green crystalline shield to crumble as he stood, patting down his old pants (they'd have to get new clothes soon, all three of them were starting to look threadbare and bedraggled). "That was great!" Lapis smiled shyly, "You're both really strong!"

Sting grinned, shooting the smallest of the three mages a thumbs up just as Rogue crossed his arms proudly over his chest. Lapis had met Sting Eucliffe when they were both ten years old, his mother had faded before his eyes less than year beforehand, and Lapis, frightened and alone, and finally having worked up the courage to make his way down the mountain he and his mother had called home, had stumbled upon the taller blond boy and his kitten companion in the tiny village of Tsubaki.

Nestled at the foot of the large mountain range, Tsubaki Village was remote and all-but devoid of mages, and Sting had been living with an elderly couple that had taken him in for the time he had been in the village; it was small and quiet, and the first human settlement Lapis had seen since waking up in his mother's arms for the first time, down an eye and memories of burning and drunken laughter lingering within every shadow. Everyone in the small village knew each other, and Lapis, with his handmade animal skin and furs clothing, unkempt hair, frightening burn scars hidden behind shaggy bangs and long sleeves despite the summer weather, and a rucksack filled crystals and his few belongings, stood out amongst the woolen clothed townspeople immediately. It had actually been Lector he had met first, seven days into his hesitant trips into the village a gathering of children had caught his attention, and in Lapis' experience the formation they had gathered in was never a good sign. He had stood, rooted in his spot as the children jeered and taunted, dark memories threatening to drown him, until-

"Shut up!" A small voice had yelled, "Shut UP! I'm not lying! I'M NOT LYING!"

And Lapis stepped forwards, the faint scuffing of his boots barely audible over the children's laughter. "Stop it." He had said softly, startling the group of cruel children, and the group of five spun around clumsily to face him. Lapis, much smaller than average, had flinched back as the group of boys towered above him, and he got his first look at the one they had been tormenting.

A cat? Lapis could still remember his stunned shock as he stared down at the tiny bipedal burgundy and cream kitten in a small navy vest.

"Oy! Who're ya!" The tallest boy demanded rudely, and Lapis blinked his attention from the strange cat and back to the other boys looming over him.

"H-hey, Luiz, I think that's the kid from the mountains!" One of the other boys had muttered, and the group sneered.

"The mountain savage!" Another laughed mockingly, and the leader smirked cruely.

"One freak standing up for another!"

The first that connected with his cheek was not a sloppy one, but one that had a lot of experience behind it, and the force sent Lapis' smaller frame stumbling to the ground, landing him harshly on his butt as his ancle rolled.

The laughter went silent, and Lapis, the left side of his face exposed, cringed.

The children screamed in horror and fled, scattering like rabbits.

They had seen the scarring.

The pocketed pink scarring that marred his face stretched from temple to cheek, tapering off at his jaw before reappearing down to his neck, under his collar and hidden the burns moved across his shoulder and left arm and ended at his hip. Where his left eye should have been was a twisted mass of a scar that sealed the useless socket shut. His mother had managed to heal all but the most damaged areas when she had found him in the mountains, but it was still horrifying to look at.

Lapis had flinched back, allowing dark curls to tumble into his face to once again shield the world from his scars, and a single hesitant green eye shifted around the now-abandoned alley to land on the only other figure in the area.

It had been Lector, the tiny kitten staring at him with slight fear, but refusing to move away, and it had been in that moment that Sting, wearing brown pants and a baggy white tunic, came skidding around the corner. Lapis had staggered to his feet, turned, and ran, unwilling to meet the eye of the other boy.

But Sting had been stubborn, he and Lector had followed Lapis back into the forest to the small cave that the tiny wild child had been calling home for the last week, and refused to leave. Just like that, Lapis had made his very first friends (or more accurately, Sting and Lector had wormed their way into his life until Lapis couldn't imagine life without them).

For a year, Lapis had travelled with Sting and his Exceed partner, training with the young Dragon Slayer and repairing or making new clothes when they needed them. It had been in that year that Sting had returned to their camp one night with Rogue and Frosch following behind him, and a party of three became a group of five.

"Let's go again!"

Lapis shook himself from his memories, eye focusing on where Sting had turned once more to face his fellow Dragon Slayer, blue eyes aglow with determination.

"If we're going to be the strongest, we need to keep training!"

Lapis chuckled as Rogue let out a long-suffering, but fond, sigh and shifted back into a fighting stance.

He missed his mother, but he wouldn't trade his new life for anything.

Chapter Text

I Am Not Nothing

 

“Starks are made of iron, Antonia, stop your crying and get back to work.” She remembers her father snarling, looking down at the seven year old girl as she cradled burnt palms, tears in her eyes as she fought back sobs of pain. “You are not a soft little girl, Tony, you are a Stark.”

“Get on your feet and do it properly this time, Tony.”

 

No one ever made me feel as small as you did

No one made me feel as cursed

 

Toni wakes with a gasp of pain and the taste of iron on her lips, surrounded by the frigid tundra of Siberia and mangled metal. Her brain is as sharp as it ever is, but her vision is foggy with blood and pain as her eyes roam uselessly across cold gray stone covered in scrapes, dents, and scorch marks, to the scratched paint job of her father’s shield and the abandoned arm that had choked her mother to death.

He killed her mother, and Steve had known, probably for years.

Had he known when they were together? Had he known when they had promised no more secrets between them? When they had been talking about building a family?

How many years had he been using her while he went searching for her mother’s killer?

What a hypocritical piece of shit, and Toni had thought that Steve was different.

A bitter, choked laugh echoed around the chamber, and Toni, unable to move anything but her eyes, rolls her attention back to the ceiling, and lets the world fade from focus.

(Sometimes, my teammates don’t tell me things.)

Fuck Steve Rogers.

 

I’d lie awake in bed just staring at the ceiling

Wondering if things would get worse

 

If there’s any good that comes out of being trapped in a Siberian bunker for thirteen hours, it’s that it gives a person plenty of time to look back at things and come to terms with life altering facts while stewing in repressed fury.

Toni spends these thirteen hours fading in and out of consciousness and doing some serious thinking about what she’s done with her life since Afghanistan, and the people she had decided to surround herself with after Stane’s betrayal.

She always seemed to jump from one toxic relationship to another, she realizes; it started with Howard, the man who had wanted a son and got a daughter instead, the man who called her Antonia or Girl until age four when she proved herself to be a child genius. Afterwards, she became Tony, and only Antonia when she was doing something Howard disproved of. He had wanted a son, and calling her Tony was a way of tricking himself; as long as he didn’t look at the small girl dogging his footsteps, he could pretend he didn’t have a daughter.

Next was Obie. Tony was eleven years old when her parents died(were murdered by the Winter Soldier and HYDRA), a genius little girl in a man’s world, too smart for her own good, small and thin and angry at everything. She learned to hide everything behind a pretty smile and became Antonia Maria Stark, a little girl who could get what she wanted with a shy bat of her eyelashes, who was guided by a large hand(too large, too rough, the hands of a murderer and a betrayer) and honeyed words(a snake hidden behind compliments).

(It wasn’t until the tiny twelve year old Antonia Stark fought her way into MIT that she became Toni, a mockery of the name Howard called her, and met her honeybear. Rhodey was her big brother in everything but blood, the older engineering student had taken the scrawny preteen girl under his wing, fighting off the sharks that circled her, looking for blood and any sign of weakness.

Rhodey was the first man since Jarvis that Toni could trust.)

There were plenty of others that followed afterwards, boys and men who slipped into her life, people that she hoped she could trust who turned around and stabbed her in the back because everyone wants something from the orphaned heiress to a million dollar company.

And Toni starts seeking companionship in fellow women – god does the media implode after that; a woman sleeping around with other women? Preposterous! Toni takes them into her bed and leaves them after a night of fun, she pretends that a small part of herself hates what she does to protect herself, but there’s very few people that Toni can trust.

(Rhodey, Pepper, and Happy – she had thought that she could trust the Avengers, but they were no better than Obie and his pretend “love” to get what he wanted, then tosses her to the curb when he gets it. She has her AIs and her bots, now, who are so much more then the pile of wires and coding that people think they are; these are her children, and she built and raised them with her own hands.

They are everything good of Toni Stark, with none of the bad.)

Toni fights her way to the top of the business world, she takes over Stark Industries on her eighteenth birthday when she’s legally an adult, and refuses to let go when people push and try to pry it from her hands, claiming her too young, too inexperienced, and just a little girl playing with Daddy’s money.

She proves them all fucking wrong, when she takes SI to new heights, turning an American–based million dollar company, to one that spans the world worth in multi-billions.

Toni never truly trusted Fury or Coulson or SHIELD, but they were Aunt Peggy’s legacy and brain child, and that blinds her to the way they lead her around by the nose with well-placed emotional manipulation. (Iron Man – Yes, Toni Stark – Not Recommended)

(Take that off and what are you?)

She had hoped, wished with all her might, that these people could be part of her family, that she could trust them. She let’s herself forget Steve’s cruel words, because tempers were running high and Loki’s sceptre is feeding it, and she finds herself falling in love.

Without realizing it, Toni had bought the lies hook line and sinker, and fell for the baby blue eyes of America’s golden boy. She had believed him when he called it love, and she hadn’t even realized it when she began to change who she was to suit what he thought she should be and fell in line when he disapproved.

She had become something she hated for a man who treated her like a scapegoat, who thought that she was worth less than he was, and who knew the truth of her mother’s death. A man who ignored her, and belittled her, and treated her like she was only worth something when he approved of it.

Well, no more, she was Toni fucking Stark, and it was time to remind the world of that, and Steve Rogers and his little cronies could go fuck themselves because Toni was done with them.

(Actually, no, that was a lie; Toni wasn’t done until she watched them burn.)

 

I was trapped under your thumb

 

The first thing Toni does upon slipping out of the hospital, is get to work.

If she’s lucky, she has maybe five years left to live, tops, and Toni won’t accept that because she has shit she needs to get done. Her body is too damaged to keep working at the same capacity as her mind, and she needs it to be better to do what she needs to do; there was an army on the other side of that damned wormhole, and the Earth needs to be protected.

Extremis is what she decides to do, and she starts calling in the people she will need.

Professor Charles Xavier, Doctor Helen Cho, and Doctor Hank McCoy answer the call, plans are made, and they get to work.

(Toni doesn’t need to be able to spontaneously combust, she needs to be able to heal and become stronger. Strong enough to protect herself and everyone she cares for, and if Extremis works to heal her, then it will be able to heal Rhodey.

Rhodey who Toni loves like a brother, and who can no long feel his legs because Toni dragged him into a fight that never should have happened.

That wouldn’t have happened if Rogers had just pulled his head out of ass and listened to her for once.)

She doesn’t tell anyone beyond the small circle of some of Earth’s greatest minds, because if it doesn’t work, she doesn’t want them to blame themselves for not stopping her.

(It works, and Toni feels better than she has in over ten years.)

 

Believing when you called it love

Chapter Text

Who Am I to Stand in Your Way

 

 

Thanos was gone, defeated and dead after an enraged T’Challa had torn the Titan’s heart from his chest after Toni had gone down, the gauntlet of her Iron Queen suit thrust through her abdomen in the form of a sword.

Steve wasn’t on the field, no, he had been bedridden in the hospital, body shrunken and sickly after taking a blast of Wanda’s magic when the girl had turned on him and joined Thanos. He was reduced to his weak, pre-serum body and left to watch the final battle for Earth on the small screen offered to him in his hospital room.

And then, just like that, the people of Earth had banded together to rebuild, and the trials had started.

 

Forgive me

I may have said things

 

Because of his health needs, the lack of a flight risk, and his role in saving the world, Steve’s prison sentence is handed off to a country neutral to his past actions and Steve is sentenced to 60 years in Bastoy Prison in Norway.

Bastoy Prison is lovely and luxurious, with his own private health care team and his own cabin on the grounds; he’s never lacking for things to do on his good days, and on bad days he’s bundled into his cabin and cared for. Sometimes, Steve almost forgets that he’s in a prison, but then he remembers what he did and how many people suffered for it and he’s thrown right back to reality.

His position really puts things into perspective for Steve, and the state of his body makes him realize that he’s become what he hates most.

Steve Rogers is a bully.

 

That aren’t exactly

The way that I feel

 

“Captain, my captain!” Toni’s voice is playful as she strides into the living room, hair a mess and falling from the ponytail that had once been keeping her hair out of her face. She’s wearing a tight pair of pants that hug her curves, and one of Steve’s large shirts, one of Sam’s muffins in her hand and crumbs on her cheeks.

She’s beautiful, and Steve’s fingers itch to reach for his charcoal and start drawing her, to savour the memory.

He smiles, putting aside his book, one Toni herself had recommended, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Steve has to agree, it’s an amazing publication; something Steve wouldn’t have even imagined possible in the 40s. “Good morning, Toni.”

Toni grins, throwing herself onto the couch next to him, placing a lingering, warm kiss to his cheek.

Toni is the kind of woman Steve would have never seen possible, so outgoing and fierce and confident in who she is; not even Peggy had been that way. Peggy had always been slightly aggressive, and she had to be to make her statements and be heard. It had been a man’s world in those days, and Peggy was one in a million.

Toni reminded Steve a lot of Peggy in a way, perhaps if Peggy had been born in this time period, she would have been like Toni was.

Smiling, Steve takes Toni’s hand and pulls her closer, tilting her head up to capture her lips with his own.

(They had been happy in those days, and Steve wasn’t sure how it had changed.)

 

I told you I’d be strong

Chapter Text

We’re Still Here

 

 

The first time T’Challa meets Antonia Stark, he’s twenty years old and attending Oxford University with the intention of receiving a Physics PhD. It’s his first time out of Wakanda, and his face and status is rather unknown so that he can study in peace.

Antonia is his opposite; she’s twenty-four, and her face is plastered all over the world’s medias as one of the most prominent business runners in the world. T’Challa knows of her, who doesn’t, and he knows her father’s crimes of theft against his people. He’s followed her life in the media, and so has his father, and even Shuri, sixteen years his junior, (but for a completely different reason – the young girl idolizes the American engineering genius, and has declared Stark her self-appointed rival).

That day, T’Challa is sitting in a small café, enjoying his tea while perusing his notes, when she walks in.

He looks up, cataloging the new body in the mostly–empty café, and he actually has to take a second look to recognize who it is.

Antonia Stark.

Admittedly, he’s probably only picked it out because he can recognize another person hiding in plain sight like he is, and T’Challa isn’t surprised that the girl behind the counter doesn’t realize that the American ordering the largest coffee size they have is one of the most famous people in the world, and not just another exhausted college student. She’s dressed in slim red jeans and a black band shirt, a pair of wire-framed glasses balanced on her nose, and a slouched beanie.

T’Challa has to look again just to make sure that he’s not seeing things, but yes, it is still the richest woman in the world.

Who’s eyes have landed on him, and she’s making her way towards him.

She’s caught him staring.

T’Challa closes his textbook with a snap as she takes the seat across from him, studying him from over the rim of her coffee cup.

“Well, hello there Chocolate Thunder.” She purrs, leaning back against her newly claimed seat, and T’Challa blinks, because he’s never had anyone speak this openly with him before. “You’ve been watching me.”

“It is hard not to,” He returns, trying not to show how flustered he is by taking another mouthful of tea, “When one of the most famous women in the world walks in.”

Stark grins, her eyes sparkling with amusement, “So you noticed.”

“You are good at hiding,” He admits, “It’s hard to recognize you out of what you wear in interviews.”

“People see what they want to see,” She shrugs, “But you have me at a disadvantage. You know who I am, and I don’t have a name to place with your face.”

“T’Challa,” The prince offers after a moment of hesitation, and Stark grins.

T’Challa, huh?” She echoes, playing with the foreign name and rolling it on her tongue, and T’Challa is thankful for his complexion when he feels his cheeks heating up.

“Indeed.”

Stark hums, sitting back again to cast her sharp gaze around the café, then back to him. “Physics, good book?” She asks, then shrugs again at the look he shoots her, “Honestly, I’ve read it already, what do you think about it?”

T’Challa glances down at the cover, then back to the American businesswoman, “A little bland.”

She laughs, bright and clear, and she agrees “They always are.”

T’Challa’s option of the bright, intelligent woman changes that day, and he knows that the media has made the decision to exploit and exaggerate her flaws for a sensational story; she flirts with him, yes, but she seems much more enthused to debate the laws of physics with him then sleep with him.

 

All of a sudden,

You changed my mind.

 

T’Challa watches as the world cries for Toni Stark to show herself in the absence of those truly responsible, to stop being cowardly, and answer for the crimes committed by Captain America and the Avengers that sided with him. He watches, and he judges.

But Stark is silent, no where in sight, and T’Challa worries.

Should he have not taken the Captain at face value? T’Challa regrets not going to check before leaving Siberia, regrets putting his guilt before his common sense. Mama had always told him that he was a good man with a good heart, but a good man was not always a good king, and that to be a good king he would have to put his heart aside.

Toni Stark is a good person, that much T’Challa knows, and he respects the person she has become since her capture at the hands of the Ten Rings.

If she was dead, T’Challa would carry that guilt forever.

If she was dead, Captain Roger’s time under his protection would be limited, and he would have to answer for what he did.

 

Pulled back the curtains

A little at a time.

 

T’Challa storms into the wing he had ordered Rogers and Barnes stay in, his am façade barely holding as dark eyes scanned over Rogers and the new number of people relaxing in his home.

People who should be in jail, and who are putting his people in even more danger than they already were by T’Challa’s rash actions in offering Barnes a sage place to recover, the offer that Rogers took advantage of and refused to leave after seeing his friend safely to Wakanda.

Rogers had leapt to his feet when T’Challa entered, a smile on his face as he turns away from his conversation with the Scarlet Witch and the Widow. “Your Highness!” The Captain greets him brightly, “I’d like to introduce you to my team-“

“What have you done?” T’Challa demands instead, and Rogers falters.

“Nat contacted me, she told me that Ross and Toni locked everyone up. I couldn’t leave them behind!”

Like you left Doctor Stark behind? T’Challa wants to ask, but he holds his tongue; diplomacy was knowing when or not to say something, and he had been trained in it since the cradle, his lessons focusing on it just as much as they had combat. “And doing so, you instigated a violent prison break, and put my people in danger, after I told you not to leave this wing.”

“Listen, Your Highness, I’m sorry I broke my word,” The Captain looks both apologetic and stubborn, “But you don’t know what they were doing to them in there. It was inhumane! They had Wanda in a shock collar!”

T’Challa wants to pinch the bridge of his nose, but combats the instinct. “That may be so, Captain, but there were other ways to go about doing things, that did not involve violence.”

“There was no other way-“

“You could have come to me.” T’Challa interrupts, praying to Bast for patience. “You should have brought that information to me, and I would have brought it to the attention of the United Nations.”

Rogers set his chin stubbornly, like a child; Shuri has more dignity then the Captain did, and she quoted those infernal Vines in regular information. “There wasn’t time.”

He didn’t have time for this.

“It is too late now,” The new King says instead of releasing the frustrated scream that was building in his chest. “You are all to stay here, and not leave this wing under any circumstance. I will have guards posted at the doors, and you may speak to them if you require anything, and they will send for a servant.”

Steve.” The witch whines, and the Captain offers the woman a comforting smile.

“No one is going to lock you up, Wanda.” He shoots T’Challa a disappointed look, and T’Challa definitely doesn’t roll his eyes when he turns away from him. “We won’t let them.”

 

You were on a frequency,

Chapter Text

I Found Myself

 

To The Soldier –JamesBuckyJamieSoldatSargentBarnes32557038- there is no sense of time when frozen, just a coldness that seeped into his bones and an emptiness that clung to his mind. There’s only the faintest awareness, shadows and foggy voices of what was going on outside of his cryo pod, there was a man who would talk to him, a man who sounded familiar, who he thinks is important but the memory escapes him.

The Soldier doesn’t know what he feels should know.

But there’s one thing that stands out from his ruined, fragmented memories; he’s dangerous.

He’s a danger to those outside his pod, which is why he’s frozen – he chose this, he chose something for himself for the first time in… he didn’t know.

A long time he assumes.

 

I found myself in a sea of busy places, in a world of blurry faces

 

Goat farming helps.

The monotonous life of tending to his goats on the borders helps him sort out his mind; he doesn’t need to hurt anything anymore, no one is making him do anything, and the goats are simple. The nightmares are easier to deal with when he has a purpose, and he can start to heal and figure himself out.

He’ll always be The Solder, nothing can change that, and he can no longer be Bucky.

(Princess Shuri suggests he just try to be James for now.)

James is the White Wolf, the one-armed goat farmer who doesn’t have a troublesome punk to look out for, doesn’t have to worry about bills, or finding another job to pay for food for himself, Rebecca, or Stevie. All he needs to think about are his goats, and himself.

(That doesn’t stop the faces from haunting him.)

(He remembers them all.)

 

I found myself, on the edge of insanity, I found, I found me

 

“And this is what you wish to do, Sargent Barnes?”

James clenched his fist in his lap, head down as King T’Challa studies him, “I… I need to give them closure, bring something good from the memories…” He looks up, meeting the Wakandan king’s eyes. “I didn’t kill your father, your Highness, but I did kill others. Their families don’t deserve this, the questions of what happened to their loved ones, of where they are. I can help someone find that closure.”

“And if they blame you?”

“Then it’s nothing less than I deserve.” His hand shakes, “HYDRA may have been the ones pulling the strings, but it was still my hands that killed them. To heal, so that others can heal, I need to accept that.” His heart is racing, his hand that isn’t covered with the blood that he knows should be there tightens in the fabric of his pants. “Stevie keeps telling me that it wasn’t me who did all that, but it was. It was my hands that killed all those people. He doesn’t understand that I need to do this. He doesn’t understand.”

The aborted grimace that took over the darker man’s face told James that there was much that the King was trying not to say, probably about Steve, and James couldn’t quite stop the small, bitter quirk of his lips.

Steve wasn’t the Stevie he remembers, but there was one thing that didn’t change; the punk’s ability to piss other people off.

King T’Challa sighs quietly, “And what would you have me tell Captain Rogers should he ask after you?”

“That I’m healing.” James says firmly, this is his decision. “Nothing more. He doesn’t need to know, I don’t want him to… think he needs to save me, or whatever it is that’s been going through his head lately.”

 

My heart was beating, barely breathing but still alive

 

Returning to America with his mind his own and without Steve is an odd feeling, but James is here for a reason, he has a mission to complete and his own anxiety and self-doubt will not stop him.

Following behind King T’Challa as he steps off the Wakandan Quinjet, James lets his eyes sweep across the landing pad, instinctively searching for threats and escape routes. The Avenger’s Compound is a weird sight for him; he remembers Steve’s stories about his new-found home, about Toni Stark, and about his team. The knowledge that Steve had been in a relationship with Howard’s daughter was a shock for James, he had been under the impression that Steve had been with Agent Carter’s niece, considering the kiss they had shared, and their fight against the Stark Heiress had led James to assume that the relationship between Steve and Stark wasn’t a friendly one.

(The truth made everything so much worse, and gave James too many darker thoughts about their 'romance'.)

But Antonia Stark was no where in sight, instead a beautiful woman in military greens stood at attention in front of him, two other women on either side of her, a stern frown on her pretty face, and a handsome man with sunglasses and a red-and-white cane just a few steps behind them.

(Once upon a time, Bucky would have flirted with the trio of lovely women, even the man if there hadn't been anyone around, probably taken one of them home with him for the night, but… James wasn’t Bucky anymore.)

“Sargent Barnes,” The blond woman greeted him, blue eyes studying him intently. “I’m Captain Carol Danvers. Also known as Captain Marvel, the leader of the Avengers.”

“James Barnes, Ma’am.” James stood to attention, snapping off the best military salute possible, and the sight seemed to make Captain Danvers soften towards him.

“At ease, soldier.” She told him, “This is Jennifer Walters, the UN Lawyer assigned to the Accords.” The tall brown haired woman on her left offered him a nod, unnaturally bright green eyes sharp and intelligent. “She’ll be your liaison to the Council.”

“A pleasure, Miss Walters.”

“Likewise, Sargent Barnes.”

“Matt Murdock will your personal attorney,” The brown haired man with the sunglasses gave him a polite smile.

“I’ll be here to answer any questions you have about your deal.” Murdock told him, stepping forward to extend a hand to shake. “Don’t hesitate to ask anything.”

“Thank you.” James said, shaking the blind man’s hand.

“And Darcy here has volunteered to be your personal assistant.” Captain Danvers finishes, nodding to the dark haired woman next to her.

“Darcy Lewis, handsome.” She grins at him, “But just call me Darcy, I’m here to help you connect with the modern world. Star Wars, Rocky, Forrest Gump, I’ll make sure you know which one’s which.” Darcy leans closer to him, adjusting her thick-rimmed glasses, “I can show you the world.”

The way she says it, makes James believe that it’s probably a reference. “Is that from a movie?” He asks hesitantly, and the small woman snorts ungracefully.

“Disney, Freezerburn. It’s Disney.”

“Walt Disney?” He tries; there’s a foggy memory of a brown haired girl with blue eyes staring at the screen in awe, They had gone to the theater a few years before he had been drafted – he had broken out their savings to take her, and had been forced to take a third job to make up the money again, but he hadn’t regretted it.

1937.

Rebecca, his sister.

(He wonders what happened to her.)

“I saw Snow White in theaters. With my little sister.”

 

Lost along the way I'd given up my fight

Chapter Text

I Have Questions

 

I    Laura Barton

 

When Clint tells her that he has to go, Laura Barton is understanding; she knows her husband, she knows that he needs to help people, to make up for a past that he doesn’t like to bring up but has talked about during dark moments when he just needs to be comforted. He’s a hero, and if he’s being called in, then she knows he’s needed, because the Avengers know that Clint's retired.

She smiles, and waves him off, because she knew what she was getting herself into when she agreed to marry him.

It’s not until later that she gains a faint understanding of what’s really going on among the Avengers, because her husband’s photo is being displayed on the TV, and he’s being called a criminal. He had been apprehended in Germany, at the Leipzig/Halle Airport, and was being charged with destruction of property, aiding a terrorist, illegal entry into a country, and assault. Laura sits in stunned shock as she watches the shaky footage of Clint fighting against members of his own team, fighting against Natasha, and she doesn’t know what to think.

She wants to trust Clint, but with everything they’re saying on the television, Laura isn’t sure.

 

Why did you leave me here to burn?

 

It takes a day for Laura to realize that their farm in being watched, it makes her jittery and brings back the training she had undergone in SHIELD; under the premise of taking Cooper and Lila to school, Laura packs everyone into the car, puts Lucky into the back, and buckles little Nathaniel into his car seat.
They have to pack light, fit what they can into Cooper and Lila’s backpacks, Nathaniel’s diaper bag, and Laura’s purse; it’s not much, but it should last until they reach Clint’s closest safe house in Altoona.

Cooper has some idea of what’s going on, Laura knows he sees the panic in his mother’s eyes, and her smart boy is a great help getting Lila and Nathaniel calm. Lila, while her little girl is intelligent, has never been the best in stressful environments, and hates it when her routines are changed, but clinging to her big brother helps and stops her from rocking herself calm. Nathaniel though, is still too young to understand that they’re in trouble, and Laura mourns for her children as she gently mixes a sleep aide safe for children into Nath’s juice.

 

I'm way too young to be this hurt

 

The safe house should be untraceable to Clint, this Laura knows, because it's under one of her aliases.

But Laura ends up being wrong.

A few days into moving into the Altoona apartment-safe house, a newly blonde Laura with short hair answers the door to find Toni Stark standing outside. She’s dressed in a way that makes Laura believe that the other woman is trying not to be noticed, with her hair down and dressed in clothing she could have bought in Wal-Mart instead of her usual designer brands, a pair of thick-rimmed glasses balanced on her nose.

Numbly, Laura lets her in and closes the door quietly behind her.

Then the numbness fades, and Laura is furious.

Spinning around, Laura glares at the billionaire, “What the hell is going on!” She demands sharply, and Stark winces. “What the fuck did my husband get into?! Why is he a wanted criminal and why am I being followed?!” As she’s growling, Laura comes up short at the sight of the vicious bruising peeking out from Stark’s shirt, and the discolouration that comes with skin-coloured bandages that decorate her face, having been to caught up in her surprise, fear, and anger to truly notice until that moment, and Laura’s heart drops. “Are you okay?”

“Everything’s a mess.” Stark says instead, “I swear I had no idea that Steve called Clint in until it was too late. The Accords wouldn’t impact him, he’s retired – it had nothing to do with him, and he has a family. It didn’t even cross my mind to contact him.” She runs a frustrated hand through her hair, “And now he’s put you and the smaller agents in danger.”

“Doctor Stark?” Laura asks, looking for clarification.

“Ross is after you, he thinks you know where your husband and Steve’s team are.”

“Clint hasn’t contacted me.” Laura says numbly, “I have no idea where he is.”

Stark mutters under her breath, “Goddamnit Steve.”

“Toni, what’s going on?”

Toni Stark turns to her grimly, and starts to speak, and Laura’s fury grows with every word.

 

I feel doomed in hotel rooms

Chapter Text

I'd like to say "I'm okay", but I'm not

 

(He keeps her in his arms as long as he can, but he knows that the survivors need to come first)

There’s a numb shock that has fallen over the citizens of Konohagakure as the dust begins to settle. Rubble remains where the strongest of the Hidden Villages once stood – the village that his brother created and the village that he had made sure thrived – buildings completely erased from the Kyuubi’s rampage, and those that remain standing still crumbling from damage.

The people are much the same; the survivors left falling apart as each body is uncovered, as more and more KIA and MIA names are added to an ever-growing list.

Tobirama helps in the best way he can even as he can feel himself bending under the pressure, he maps out the places where glowing lights in his vision had been snuffed out, where every death had occurred. There’s no guarantee that the bodies remained in the places they died, but it helps.

Hundreds had died, and Tobirama had felt every single one of them.

He’s weakened with age, Tobirama knows this, even if it’s not particularly outwardly noticeable thanks to his Uzumaki grandmother and Senju blood. At 74, he’s one of the oldest known shinobi not baring the name Uzumaki, and not all of his skills are as sharp as they had been in his prime, but one thing that hasn’t left him is his sensory abilities.

Senju Tobirama is able to track every chakra signature in the village, even in all of Hi no Kuni is he really wanted to, it’s a skill hated by enemies and mischievous children alike, that he’s able to know everyone who enters his sensory field.

And in this moment, it’s something Tobirama, himself, curses.

October 10th would go down in history as the largest mass extermination of Konoha citizens, the largest loss of life during peace time.

And Tobirama had felt them all.

 

I try, but I fall, close my mind, turn it off

 

The grief is not quiet.

Tobirama is surround by screams, sobs, and the begging of those who have lost loved ones; no one is able to comprehend the staggering amount of lives ended suddenly and without warning in what should have been peace time.

Like any experienced shinobi, Tobirama holds himself stiffly, locks away the crushing anguish, and gets to work helping the injured when the hospital tents are overflowing with the wounded, and recovering bodies. In the grand scheme of things, the War has barely ended, so it’s easy for soldiers to simply fall back into that mindset, to put the mission and the village above themselves.

But even the best stumble under the crippling heartache of loss.

In a way, Tobirama is one of the lucky ones; he’s only lost two of his family. But even those two haunt him as he works. The loss of Shion and Botan is like the amputation of a limb, they’re the shadows in his crimson eyes, and the dark bags under them, he’s surrounded himself in their bright, sunburst chakra in so long that the sudden disappearance of their signature leaves Tobirama feeling the effects of withdrawal.

(He doesn’t feel lucky.)

 

But I can't be sober, I cannot sleep

Chapter Text

I Have Questions
VIII Maria Stark

 

Maria Collins Carbonell is a woman born before her time. As a child, she’s a fierce little thing; intelligent and determined and so very stubborn - she knows what she wants and if it weren’t for the decade, she’d have been able to get it.

She learns early in her life, that it doesn’t work out the way she wants, and no matter how hard she tries to grip her dreams, they slip between her fingers.

Born to wealthy Italian immigrants, Maria grows up in Southampton, New York – a socialite and later a Philanthropist, she’s taught young that she’s to be seen, admired, but not heard; she’s to be a figure that is beautiful, demure, and, most importantly, quiet. Feminism is for the lower, working classes, not for the elite of the elite, where women are still traded and bargained for leverage - she’s to be better, an idol to follow.

Freedom is not for women like her, the ones born with a silver spoon in their mouths, the ones with all the privilege while also having none.

 

I have questions for you, ooh

 

Howard Stark is a hero – a handsome, wealthy older man with a smooth smile and a smoother tongue. He’s seventeen years her senior, refined and classy, surrounded by beautiful women and men, who are falling over themselves to keep his eye, and yet it’s Maria who catches his attention.

It’s Maria he watches.

Maria is young, looking for love and needing a husband; she’s beautiful, and she knows it – she wields it like a weapon and a shield, but she’s also inexperienced, yet somehow she manages to capture and hold Howard’s gaze.

 

I have questions for you

 

Maria Collins Carbonell is nineteen when she becomes Maria Stark – when she looks back on it after the birth of her daughter, she realizes how young she had been, but as she is carried to her marriage bed she believes that she knows what’s right, that she’s experienced in life and love.

(She’s not though; she was young and foolish, in love with a man who may have loved her once, but had probably only wanted her, lusted after her.)

Howard is flawed, she sees that within a week of their marriage, dark and worn like a breaking man; he drinks, and his anger is explosive, but she sees in him the same thing she sees in the men who came back from the War. Haunted and tired, and in need of help, and Maria wants to help him.

She wants to see him happy, to see his ghosts gone and his eyes bright once again, like the pictures of the young visionary he once was. She wants them to be a family; he wants a son, and she wants children, and when she tells him so, his shadows lighten and he smiles.

It takes her breath away.

Their children will be beautiful.

 

(Maria Stark is nineteen the first time she loses a baby, and it won’t be her last.)

Chapter Text

High in the halls of the kings who are gone

Jenny would dance with her ghosts

 

He sees her for the first time at dusk.

The setting sun sets the sky aflame in purples and golds, the sound of a calm river burbling in the distance, and fireflies flit around the fields of the ruined castle of Oldstones. Yet all of it pales in comparison to the woman he sees before his eyes.

For a moment, Duncan thinks he’s watching the Maiden incarnate as a girl dances among the rubble, leaping deftly from stone to stone and twirling in the wildflowers. Feet bare and garbed in a flowing white dress, with wild curls the colour of rubies woven with lilies, she twirls before him, hands reaching towards the sky as she sings and giggles, voice like clear bells in the peaceful atmosphere.

A mysterious woman, lovely and strange.

“My Lady?” The Black Prince of the silver Targaryen line calls out, and the song, a language he can’t place or understand that twists with the wind, tapers off. Eyes greener than anything Duncan has seen before, though unfocused and distant, drift towards him, and her dance stops, though she doesn’t still; continuing to sway to music only she seems to hear.

Agus cò a tha nar measg?” She doesn’t so much as speak as she trills, soft and musical. “Cò thèid a-steach don chearcall?

“Are you alright, My Lady?”

Cho neònach 'sa tha e a ’bruidhinn rinn.” Her head tilts, wild curls rustling with the whispering wind. “Am I a Lady?”

“I am Duncan, of House Targaryen.” He tells her, and bejeweled eyes blink in response. “May I have your name, My Lady?”

“Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion; what's in a name?” She hums, twisting on her heel into a graceful twirl, skirts floating around her. “Can you have my name?”

Exchanging a perplexed look with his Kingsguard, Duncan looks back to the young woman, bemused. “Yes?”

“Am I Jennifer or am I Saviour? Girl-Who-Lived-On?” She muses, “Perhaps I am Nothing. The Destroyer of Worlds. Maybe I am All. Or am I You? Cò a th ’ann?” Then she giggles, bright and free, and green eyes dance back to meet his own. “They call me Jenny. You can too, I suppose.”

 

The ones she had lost and the ones she had found

And the ones who had loved her the most

Chapter Text

The Princess and the Heir

Chapter One

 

ROBB I

Robb Stark’s first sight of his betrothed was of Princess Helaine Baratheon riding into Winterfell astride a golden palomino destrier, clad in a black riding dress lined with white rabbit fur, a riot of curls falling around a lovely face flushed pink from the cold, laughing and joyful as she led her procession into the courtyard. Lined up amongst his siblings, with Theon and Jon lurking amongst the household members, Robb was struck speechless for a moment, watching the lively young girl slide off her mount, booted feet landing lightly on the cobblestone.

The rumours hadn’t done her justice.

She was young, the softness of youth still lining her high cheekbones, but there was something about her presence, the way she held herself, that made her seem older, despite the lankiness of her young body; her skin is tanned golden from a life in the sun, full lips, and large eyes greener than anything he had laid his eyes on before. Long black hair fastened into a secure riding braid with Baratheon-yellow ribbons, but the wind had freed some uncontrollable coils to frame her glowing face.

“Lord Stark.” The Princess greeted pleasantly, dipping into a graceful curtsy.

“Princess Helaine,” His father rumbled, dipping at the waist to kiss her glove-clad knuckles. “Welcome to Winterfell. And may I introduce my wife, the Lady Catelyn Stark.”

“Lady Stark, my Lord Father’s words of your beauty do not do you justice.”

At those words, his mother’s polite, if strained, smile softened as she returned the greeting.

“This is my son and Heir, Robb.” Fathomless emerald eyes turned to him, meeting his own Tully-blue gaze, and she smiled.

“A pleasure, Lord Robb.”

“The pleasure is mine, Princess Helaine.” Echoing his father’s actions, Robb took the Princess’ hand in his own, sweeping to brush it with a kiss. “Welcome to the North.”

“It truly has a charm of its own.” Princess Helaine said, voice clear and smooth. Musical.

Robb stepped back, cheeks warm as the Princess’ attention was pulled back to his father as he introduced the rest of his true-born siblings to her, and he knew Sansa was already smitten by the idea of a real princess as a goodsister, though his other siblings were a little more withdrawn; Bran’s attention being held by the armour-clad knights, Arya chafing at anything Southern, and Rickon being a mere babe.

“My uncle, Lord Renly Baratheon of Storm’s End, and Ser Loras Tyrell; my guardians for the journey. Ser Arys Oakheart, of the Kingsguard, and Ser Rolland Storm, my sworn sword.” Robb was drawn from his thoughts as the Princess introduced her household. “My lady-in-waiting, Jeyne Westerling, and my handmaidens Bella Rivers and Falia Flowers.”

“It’s been some time, Lord Eddard.” Renly Baratheon, tall and with the same black curls as his niece, clasped wrists with the Warden of the North, and Robb’s father smiled quietly at the King’s youngest brother.

“You’ve grown.” His father said, and Lord Renly laughed.

“I’d hope so!”

“Princess Helaine,” Mother stepped forward, drawing the Princess’ attention to herself. “I would show you to your chambers.”

“Of course, Lady Stark.”

Chapter Text

DARK OF THE MOON

PROLOGUE

 

NARUTO

 

Death was weird.

Or at least, Uzumaki Naruto should be dead – maybe death was supposed to be a state of mind? It was supposed to be a part of his every day life, being a ninja and all, and yet he had never given much thought to the fact that he could die.

Sure, he had seen death, in Zabuza and Haku, in Hokage-jiji – but maybe his furry little problem’s ability in healing him even with the worst of injuries had given him a sense of indestructability.

Was he even dead?

Sasuke ripping out his heart should be a good enough answer to that question, but if he was dead, wouldn’t he be in the Pure Lands? With Jiji and his parents? Or was he in Hell, dragged there with the demon he held.

Probably Hell, Naruto decided, looking around at the foggy road in front of him, the world around him grayed and dark, the only source of light being the two moons shining above him through the parted clouds. Dogs howled in the shadows, the mist around him shimmering like a mirror in the light. He was in a gloomy forest, the massive trees around him reminding him of the Shi no Mori, but as far as Naruto was aware, there wasn’t a forked path in the massive training ground, especially not one paved with uneven black stone leading into hungry blackness.

‘Naruto’

Naruto looked around nervously as a wind seemed to come out of no where, blowing through the tree tops around him, rustling leaves in odd whispers – sounding almost like voices – but not disturbing the heavy layer of fog swirling around his legs.

‘Why does Naruto have to be sacrificed?’

‘This isn’t just for you, it’s for Naruto’

‘Naruto’

There was a brief flicker of light out of the corner of his eye, and Naruto’s attention followed it to the left path as the braying of hounds grew louder. Bouncing down the trail, and growing closer, was a ball of white light, dancing like fire, held in a slim hand so pale it looked white.

Chapter Text

The Northern Wolf, a Southern Doe

The Doe Among Lions

 

Queen Cersei Lannister has just seen her ten-and-eighth name day pass when she goes into labour the first time. It’s half a day of unbearable pain, of sweat and blood and vicious cursing, and she knows it’s Robert’s spawn she’s birthing because nothing from her wonderful Jaime would cause her this much pain.

And yet, her royal husband was no where to be found, off hunting boar if her midwives were to be believed, instead of with her to witness the birth of his firstborn.

Cersei lets out another bloodcurdling shriek, before falling silent with a gasp when the large infant is finally pushed out of her. Silence answers her as midwives flutter around her, taking the infant and whispering harshly to each other – and yet the child doesn’t make a sound.

“A stillborn,” One of them finally announces, and Cersei sags – there’s both relief and horror in her heart; it may have been Robert’s beget, but Cersei had carried that little life within her for the months since her distasteful marriage and bedding. To learn it would never breath was distressing.

“Let me see it.” She demands, wanting to see the child she had suffered for at least once before it was disposed of, and her wish is granted in the form of a too-still body being brought towards her.

It was small, ugly, a wrinkled mess with the gray skin of death and swollen eyes that would never open; on top of it’s disgusting head was a small cloud of wet dark hair. It was a hideous monster, and yet Cersei could feel warm tears drip down her already tear-stained face.

This was her son.

A dead son.

“Take it away.” The Queen rasps, and the midwives are quick to follow her orders as she turns her head away from the gruesome sight of the child that would never live.

“There is always the next child.” One of the older midwives offers, more experienced than the others, and Cersei glares at the woman.

She would be sure the next one wasn’t Robert’s – Jaime’s child would live where the oaf’s died, their golden children would be kings.

And suddenly, Cersei feels the fire once more, gasping on a scream as she desperately wants to fold into herself, but cannot because of her too-heavy middle. The midwives and maester are startled back into action at her shrieking, moving back towards her and abandoning the dead babe to attend to their Queen, frantic words that Cersei, in too much pain, can’t hear.

“A second babe.” Maester Pycelle, the disgusting old goat, says in the momentary lapse of Cersei’s howls. “Twins.”

Twins – like her and Jaime, to parts of a whole – one of which would never draw breath.

With the urging of her midwives, Cersei begins the struggle to push out a life anew, grunting and gasping, and very much unlike her regular beauty, confined to the birthing bed with her beautiful golden hair tangled, and her perfectly golden skin clammy.

The second child is even harder to pass than the first, apparently as stubborn as the oafish man who had sired it, but finally the pressure lessens, and the strong cry of an infant heralds the birth of King Robert’s spawn entering the world.

“A daughter, your grace.” The oldest midwife says finally, “A Princess.”

Chapter Text

The Northern Wolf, a Southern Doe

The Pack Survives

Chapter One

 

JON  I

Sneaking out of Winterfell and into the Wolfswood has become easier in the last few months – it was required, after all, to protect two of the greatest secrets of the North; dragons.

Months ago, Jon Snow – Jaehaerys Targaryen – had helped rediscover the hidden vault of Cregan Stark, filled with treasures and gold the historical Stark Lord had, according to his personal journals, collected as recompense for the broken Pact of Ice and Fire, then later added to after the Hour of the Wolf as rewards from Aegon the Third. Separate from the Winter Fund, Cregan’s Vault had been steadily added to over the following generations of Lord Starks, up until the death of Lord Rickard Stark and his Heir, leaving the unprepared second son to take the Lordship he had not been trained for.

But it hadn’t been the treasures that had captured Jon’s attention – that honour had fallen to the collection of dragon eggs, five of them; one of which, silver and white, had drawn him in.

And with the hatching of his dragon, Jon had learned the truth.

He hadn’t spoken to his uncle since; not beyond simple, short answers, awkward greetings, and stilted ‘Lord Stark’s.

As he plods closer and closer to the cave network where the dragons have been sequestered away, Jon can feel his connection to Spirit growing stronger, her excitement thrumming through him like the thunder and starbursts.

Within moments, the sound of a dragon bouncing through the layers of snow reaches his ears, and Jon can’t quite fight the smile that grows at the sight of his dragon leaping towards him with a happy growl. Now the size of a large hound, Spirit bowls him over as she connects with his checks, sending man and dragon into the snow.

With a chuckle, Jon sits up, allowing the happy reptile to curl over his lap and chatter as his hands skim over pale scales to scratch under her jaw.