A Haunting in Central Park
Roleplaying Log: A Haunting in Central Park
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dangerous, vengeful ghosts come to Central Park, and there heroes are protected by their most valued loved ones — except Deadpool. He's stuck with 2010 Ryan Reynolds.

Other Characters Referenced: Maria Castle, King Arthur, 2010 Ryan Reynolds
IC Date: October 27, 2019
IC Location: Central Park, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 Oct 2019 20:51
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon
Associated Plots

It is closely approaching Halloween, and windows overlooking the residential blocks of New York City are spotted with carved pumpkins, fake cobwebs, and the like. The streets are getting that restless feeling — an unexplainable sense of change coming, the passing of fall toward winter.

The air is crisp with a dry chill, and the waning crescent moon hangs like a yellowy curve of fading light in an otherwise cloudless sky. Despite this cloudlessness, fog begins to roll out across the streets. It stretches its thin fingers out into central park, creating a knee-high cloudcover that drops the temperature another two degrees, then four, sinking the night even further into an unforgiving chill.

A patrol officer near the Cherry Hill fountain blows his breath into his gloved hands, and beside him the large working dog drops his nose to sniff at the fog-laden ground. "Little weird," he says to no one in particular.

* * *

Parks, particularly those with enough trees to resemble, or closely resemble, a forest are modern day favourites of the old wizard Merlin. He enjoys taking strolls among the trees. It reminds him of days long past. With staff in hand, he walks leisurely through the park, enjoying its ambiance even at night. Taking a deep breath in, he lets out a content sigh. "Ah, by Archimedes, this is a most wonderful place. If one is to be surrounded by giants of concrete, let them be so surrounded in a place such as this." He murmurs to himself.

He's chosen his old robes to wear this evening. While during the day he may look like an old wizened hippie-type, sporting his jean jacket and jean pants, he is often more comfortable in robes. And they keep him warmer, to boot. "Hmm." He sticks his tongue out for a moment as he makes his way steadily down the path. "The air feels…and tastes cooler than the norm. How unusual." He furrows his brow, looking about. "There's fog…but fog does not always indicate the unusual, however. Merlin, you old sod, perhaps you're becoming suspicious in you're extreme old age." Despite it all, he still keeps his eyes, ears, and other senses open to his surroundings.

* * *

Frank Castle doesn't often come out to Central Park anymore. Too many memories. But sometimes, you've got to do what you've got to do. Especially when you're in hot pursuit. To his own disgust, he isn't the only person wearing a skull on his chest tonight, he's seen kids wearing the logo, damn it, and that's just wrong. But he's on the job, and he comes pounding around one corner in the park, three steps behind a battered-looking man in his mid twenties who looks like he's been sampling his chemical wares a little too much. Frank doesn't even notice the mist as he pursues the drug dealer, but he does notice the working dog and his police companion, and one can almost hear the skid of his combat boots on the pavement. He stops, ducks his head, and carefully gathers his longcoat around him to hide the vest with its telltale insignia. His quarry looks confused, then triumphant, then runs off the path, looses his footing, and tumbles, sliding to a halt in eddying fog at the patrol officer's feet.

* * *

Skipping.

The sound of skipping happens before DEADPOOL shows up on the scene. He's wearing his Red Riding Hood costume over his normal costume because he's way too sexy to not be in costume. People can't handle the sexiness when he's not wearing the leather that covers every part of his body. They throw up he's so sexy! It's just how things are and that's why he has to keep himself as covered as possible at all times!

Definitely not because he's ugly as all seven sins.

Dead Riding Hood even has a basket full of goodies (probably) as he's skipping through this location because he's on his way to somewhere. He doesn't have a Grandma but he's definitely headed somewhere. Skip! Skip! Skip!

* * *

It starts subtle — perhaps almost too subtle. The fog continues to roll and thicken, and then it bubbles up into a strange coalescence that takes shape until a pale form that has a striking silhouette — an out-of-time silhouette. Top hat, slightly bulging waistline, and the faint shadow of a chain that might just be connected to the pocket watch he may or may not be criticizing with an unseen, blurred gaze; the chain keeps whisking free from the watch as it whispers about like breeze-blown smoke only to reconnect. Each passing moment, the lines of his figure crisp, and become more refined until he stands there, manifested straight from turn of the 20th Century. The last thing to solidify is his cane, which is tucked unmistakable under his arm.

He claps shut the lid, and tucks the watch into his waistcoat pocket. "Well, I suppose now will do… a bit early. Yes, yes. A bit early. What do they call it, what do they call it… the equinoctial year? Perhaps, perhaps."

The conversation does seem a shy one-sided, as if he is conversing either with himself in an off-canter kind of way, or perhaps there is someone unseen participating in the unheard half.

Then, perhaps as if called forth, more and more of the mist begins to bubble up to take the shape of other not-yet-defined figures. They are all shapes, sizes — some as small as young children, others perhaps giants of their own time. Not all of them as so far-thrown into the past — one that starts to focus into a young man carrying what looks to be a skateboard.

* * *

The police officer is startled first by the drugged-up kid booking it into view, and then the the looming shadow of a skull vest that soon becomes swept out of sight — but he catches a glimpse of it nonetheless. His eyes widen, "Cast — " But before the syllables can finish, the fog thickens beside him and he jumps back just as the dog starts barking loudly, half-snarling at the shaping fog.

* * *

"Oh…what's this? Fun shapes in the mist?!" Unlike the man who appeared from the mist, it seems that Merlin definitely is speaking to himself. As he nears where the officer and the dog have themselves positioned, he frowns. Stroking his long beard, the sorcerer furrows his brows. "My dear officer of the law, I do hope your canine is okay." However, he knows better than that. The dog most certainly is not okay, nor is he. The shapes might not be as fun as he assumed.

He looks around, gazing at all the changing shapes within the fog. "Stand aside, Mr. Twain. There is no Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court. No. But there is a Welsh Brit in a New York Borough, and strange things are certainly abound!" He lightly taps his staff upon the ground. "What strange happenstance is going on here, I wonder?"

* * *

The policeman starts to looks to Frank, and the Punisher grimaces, starting to settle his feet for fight or flight. His empty hands flex at his sides, his right index finger twitching, and then the dog begins to bark and snarl. Oh yeah, and there's a ghost there playing with a pocketwatch as it materializes — to say nothing of the old man in a wizard robe and a vision in red — a horrifying vision in multiple sorts of red. Really, it's the clashing reds that's the worst — no, that's not right, it's the whole picture that's the worst. "Jesus Christ," he growls under his breath, shaking his head. But that's just strange, the ghostly fellow is… much more worrying, "The hell is goin' on?"

* * *

Dead Riding Hood isn't paying attention to any of the stuff that's happening around him. He's really too busy trying to figure out exactly where he's going. He's got his basket hanging off his arm and his phone out because now he's lost service. Which is why he's got his phone held up towards the sky and he's walking around, head up and not paying attention to any potential ghosts or apparitions or anything!

"… last time I steal a Stark Phone. These things are crap! CRAP I SAY!"

Of course, Deadpool's probably walking right towards all the supernatural nonsense that's going on nearby! That's the kind of luck he has.

* * *

"Now, now… see here, see here… we don't use language like that, young man," says the portly man with the top hat. He is talking to Frank as he crosses the fountain — that is to say, crossing through the fountain. "You should really mind your manners." Then he turns slowly, squinting as if searching for something.

The ghosts begin to drift, spreading out across the park. They too seem to be on the hunt for something, tasked by some unknown force to venture out through the fog.

A fog that continues to thicken even more as more and more of the visibility wanes. The sky even seems blotted out. Low, in the pale coloring, something gives a distant, keening wail.

The behatted man turns toward Merlin and Frank, having not noticed the red-hooded Deadpool, and he tips his hat. "May your wardens look after you this eve." And then, he too begins to drift into the thickening fog just as another wail lifts from the mist.

The cop is distracted from Frank while his dog continues to bark incessantly, darting around the feet of the law enforcement officer. The cop fumbles with a flashlight, but it will do no good but reflect hard light back as if being shone on a white wall.

* * *

"Wait a minute…" Merlin stares at the top hatted man for a moment, as if trying to make heads or tails of him. "What do you make of all this, kind sir?" Only, said 'kind sir' says something about wardens and then drifts away. "What in the top-hatted tom foolery? No…Tom the Fool wouldn't even abide this foolery. Wht does that mean, our wardens look after us this eve? Why would our wardens need to look after…oh frumple pumpkins!"

He shakes his head and sighs. "Tea please!" He holds out his hand and a cup is conjured into his hand. He takes a sip and sighs. "That's better." He looks around, tapping his staff upon the ground at regular intervals. "Now, to figure out what in the blue blazes of a yellow eyed bird is going on here."

* * *

Talking ghosts floating through fountains and berating him for language, a barking police dog, a drug dealer, a cop, a Little Red Riding Thing, and… conjured tea? It's a lot to take in, and Frank looks around a little wild-eyed, "What the fuck?" Speaking of language. Then something clicks and he groans, reaching up to pinch at his temples. "More damned magic?" With a glance to the walking acid-trip Verizon ad, he groans, "Jesus." Finally, he growls, "Tell you what? You knock it off with the fog wall and shit, and I'll stop cursin'." Beat pause, "For a bit."

* * *

"FINALLY!"

Deadpool gets a signal! And then it goes out again. "Okay! What the hell?! Is the wifi being hacked by ghosts or something?!" Deadpool finally tosses the phone over his shoulder and moves right along to looking around and spotting the shenanigans that have come to be afoot. "… Oh. Welp. That explains it." Deadpool doesn't seem to be particularly bothered just yet. Instead, he just starts skipping in the direction of the foggy tomfoolery. "Trick or Treat Williams!"

* * *

The behatted ghost does not respond, having now disappeared into the thickening fog.

Another wail rises up from the fog, closer this time. A dark silhouette starts to edge into view — then another and another. Soon enough there's almost a dozen dark silhouettes. Their wailing voices come from that darkness.

Around Deadpool, Frank, and Merlin, the fog begins to churn at their feet.

* * *

Taking a gulp of what little tea he'd conjured, Merlin's teacup disappears once more. Pointing his staff in the direction of Frank, he asks, "You there! What do you mean 'more damned magic'? Can't it just be magic?" Of course, for someone like a wizard, it's always more damned magic, whether it's his own or someone else's. "But, if it's magic you deplore having to deal with, never fear, for Merlin is here!" He smile widely. "Oh…that's me. I'm Merlin. And you are?" He asks casually, standing his staff on end again.

"Oh, what a strangely unusual costume." He says as Deadpool arrives. "Is 'Trick or Treat Williams' the new way of saying that?" He asks, tilting his head. "If so, I suppose I owe you some candy, don't I, young person?" He holds out his free hand and says, "Food of tricks and food of treat, give us food that's ever so sweet!" And a chocolate bar appears in his hand. "Here you are, for your Trick or Treating." He holds it out to Little Red Riding Pool.

And then the wailing happens and the silhouettes appear. "Oh sweet Lancelot the Jack-o-Lantern, what now?"

* * *

The first wail is just New York. Another one? And dark silhouettes? Frank reaches into his coat and draws out a big, boxy .45, keeping the barrel pointed down as he gathers the weapon up in both hands, his eyes darting around, "Get behind me. And yeah, more damned magic. Any time magic shows up, it's demons this and attacks that, and it's bullshit." There's a snap to his voice as he turns in place, looking to try and pinpoint the nearest of the shapes gathered in the mists. "There's always somethin' nasty when it's magic. So when it comes, we're gonna go hard through it hard and fast, get you guys out." He's way out of his league. He probably knows it, all things considered.

* * *

"… When did Willy Wonka grow a beard?"

The chocolate bar is snatched up and tossed into the basket of Dead Riding Hood. "Um." This is where Deadpool notices there are shapes forming all up in the mist and it just starts to freak him out more than he was about to be freaked out. "So uh, if anybody has Peter Venkman's phone number… now would be a good time to call him!"

Deadpool goes into his basket and starts hurling the tomatoes he packed at the misty shapes!

* * *

The shadows encroach further, those silhouettes closing in, in the dense mists. They start to coalesce into stranger humanoid shapes — draping, threadbare robes of dark shadows, deep hoods, and the scent of death becomes ever-so-pungent. A flying tomato is absorbed through the closest wraith, and it kind of bloops down to the ground as if slowed by the interior composition of the ghosts as if they are not quite corporeal yet. Still, at their feet, the fog churns until it rises up to take shape the same way the other ghosts did.

One builds before Frank, standing at a familiar height as it shapes into a familiar shape. Her hair twists free, the remembered brown now ghost white to match her pale skin. Maria Castle turns from her husband just as the wraiths start to glide out of the fog toward the three living. "You need to get out of here, Frank…"

Behind Deadpool, his chosen ghost stands at the same height as him, possesses his same build. His face is angular, handsome, and wears an easy smile that melts into surprise as he sharpens. He wears a button-up white shirt that is loose at his collar by two buttons, what might be dark jeans, and simple boots. He has a SD Comic Con badge around his neck, dated from 2010. He blinks at Deadpool, and the ghost of Ryan Reynolds stares for a long moment. Then, in a casual, sarcastic note, "Oh, this is interesting."

For Merlin, his ghost takes the form of a middle-aged man wearing medieval armor, and a golden dragon on his tabard. He bears a familiar sword — a sword that when he first met Merlin was large and unwieldy for his scrawny, thirteen-year-old frame. He turns his head toward the first wraith, and his sword raises while his stance widens, readied. "Wizard," he greets, though there is fondness in his voice.

* * *

"Willy Wonka? I wish I had his skill at making chocolate! I'd be the best chocolatier in the land! Or second best, after Willy Wonka." Merlin rattles on, talking as if Willy Wonka were a real person. "But I'm Merlin." He motions to the beard, robes, and staff. "I'm a sorcerer, not a chocolate maker."

And now is a time for a sorcerer. Looking to Frank, he smiles and steps toward him, placing a hand gently on his shoulder. "I appreciate your willingness to protect those you deem innocent from attack. But I shall not back down, especially not when magic is involved. This is my area of expertise, as it were." He taps his staff twice, hard, upon the ground while saying the word "Illuceo." The top of his staff illuminates, casting a magical light around them.

That voice. That familiar voice. The voice with the visage of the man so familiar. A man he knew and instructed. A man he imparted his wisdom to. One whom he cared for deeply. A once and future king. He takes in a shaky breath. "Arthur."

* * *

Venkman… that's a reference Frank understood. He half turns his head to respond, but there's Merlin at his side, and he frowns to the white-bearded man, "Retreat, Hell. We're just advancin' in another direction." It's a Marine thing. A Marine thing that goes straight out of his mind when his wife's familiar features appear before him, and he stands there pollaxed. It takes him a long moment before he can do anything more than stare, his pistol clenched white-knuckled in both hands. "Maria?" His eyes are wide, gravelly voice barely more than a whisper.

* * *

Deadpool. Stares.

Then in the next moment he holds up a finger and moves over to the side to set down his basket. He takes off his Red Riding Hood costume piece by piece, folding and stacking the pieces on top of the basket. When all that is done, he turns and heads back over to Ryan and reaches out with a hand to softly place on his shoulder.

"Hey." Deadpool has no idea if he can touch this ghost or not but this is important. "Before you start doing the whole Felicity Hauntsman thing, we should probably talk about what happens after you make the biggest mistake of our life…" Deadpool reaches out to slap knowingly at the SD Badge. "Because if this ghost shit is some weird possible time travel shit? We might actually be able to stop a very, very, VERY bad thing from happening." Deadpool offers a hand.

"Together."

* * *

Maria looks back to Frank, and she wears that same gentle smile she did the morning of her death. She reaches out to touch his cheek, and there is just a cool whisper at his skin that leaves a bead of moisture. "Frank, you need to get behind me." She turns back toward the wraiths as they amass toward them. She holds out her arms protectively at her side, guarding Frank as a wraith sweeps in close. Her eyes lift to look into the hood, and her smile turns into an expression of fierce protection as she advances forward a step. "I protect him."

Arthur looks back to Merlin at his shaky reply, and he reaches to touch the wizard on the shoulder with a gauntleted hand. "Get behind me, old man." Again, there is a fondness there. "I will protect you." He then turns back to the wraiths, his sword raised once more as one advances to him, the hooded visage set on the wizard behind the ghost of a mythological king.

For Deadpool, Reynolds looks down at the smacked badge which strangely enough moves. "Huh." He looks at the wraith encroaching toward the pair, and he turns back to Deadpool while he pokes curiously at DP's shoulder, leaving what might be a wet smear of ectoplasm on his Little Red Riding Hood hood. "I find it interesting that my actual biggest mistake of my life is talking to me — hey, is Jackman around here?" He starts to look around, only to spot the encroaching wraith. He turns toward it, placing himself between DP and the gliding phantom. "I, uh… protect this one?" He sounds uncertain, and so the wraith glides forward unhaltingly toward the pair.

* * *

"I remember when it was I who protected you from such things, young man." Merlin regains his composure. "What in the many kingdoms are you doing here? And why are there wraiths?" He grasps his staff and stands up tall. "We shall stand together once more, my dear Arthur. We shall face what comes with honour. We may not have the round table…" He glances at Frank, Deadpool, and the ghosts that are apparently there to protect them. "But we do have kindred spirits to fight with us. Get it? Spirits? Because of ghosts and wraiths?" He grins.

"Tell me, my young apprentice, do you know where these wraits come from? Or who the strange man in the hat was?" For once, it may be Arthur who is able to give him information and advice. "Anything you can tell me about this would be of great help."

* * *

Frank stares harder at Maria as she touches him, a shiver running down his spine at the ghostly connection. "Maria." There's less shock, more heart-wrenching grief in that repetition. He's certainly not regaining his composure as quickly as the others. One hand comes off his pistol to reach for Maria's arm, "No. You don't gotta stand between me and anything, Maria." There's anger behind the words, anger and fear alike. The others might as well not even be there for all the attention he's paying them. "Maria… I'm sorry."

* * *

"Yeah, uh, Ghosts are kind of out of my league? And also: RUDE!"

Deadpool wags a finger at Ryan. "You should be a little nicer to me. I still have your Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place audition tape handy. All it takes is one call to LexTube and the Internet will be all a flutter! A-FUCKING-FLUTTER!"

Deadpool shrugs a bit as he pokes at the ectoplasm on his shoulder. "Haven't run into Jackman yet. But I've already called dibs. You're gonna' have to wait your turn." Deadpool rests a hand on one of his guns. "Hey! Old Magic Dude From Disney Cartoon! Netflix's Second Best Attempt At A Show Worth Watching!" Merlin? Frank? "Either of you know if bullets work on these things? I don't wanna' waste 'em if the answer's no!"

* * *

"The quest has merely changed, old man," Arthur says in return just as a low rumbling laughter starts in his chest. He is deeply humored by Merlin, but also does not stand down the wraith as it holds back at the very edge of the sword's reach. He glances slightly behind to Merlin, but he does not lose his focus. "They've always come each time the veil is thin," Arthur explains as he drives the wraith back a step by advancing a step. "But they are more restless, which is why we are here… to protect those they may threaten. Do not let them touch you."

Maria Castle stands in front of the man who is her husband; the ghostly ring on her finger proclaims that so. When Frank apologizes, she risks a glance behind her, and she shakes her head. "No… don't." Then she looks back in time to see the wraith starting to push forward toward her. She is not quite so bold as Arthur, but she does not relent even while the wraith hovers just before her, intent still on Frank. "I protect him," she repeats, this time with a harder note in her voice. She steps forward, and it is driven back, but she misses the flitting wraith that dodges past her to reach for Frank. Should it make a single contact, Frank will feel a deathly cold as if raw, arctic ice pierces his skin.

At this advance, the others attack with only the ghosts to protect the living. Reynolds steps boldly in the face of the wraith that pushes forward toward Deadpool, and when it passes directly through 2010 Ryan Reynolds, it shatters into motes of shadows and smoke. Reynolds jumps back in shock, turning toward Deadpool. "Did you see that? Did you fucking see that? My mere presence destroys Dementors! Expecto-fucking-patronum, bitches!" He raises his hand as if to get a high-five from Deadpool, only for a wraith to dodge past him in a trajectory to grab Deadpool with its ghostly, frozen fingers.

At that moment, the wraiths launch forward toward Frank and Merlin as well with only their ghosts to protect them — though, they do appear to be corporeal now.

* * *

"I remember when we quested for grails! Now the quest is 'Protect My Old Mentor From Wraiths'?" Merlin chuffs a little bit, though it's all in good humour. "I used to turn you into animals! Fish and fowl, beasts of water, land, and air! Now you protect me?" He rolls his eyes. "I would say that the tables have turns, but you do know that no matter how you turn a round table, you're always on the same side? Or is that a bit of wisdom I forgot to impart upon you, young one?"

At the mention of the veil being things, he realizes what's being talked about. "Oh! It is that time of year again, isn't it? It just seems so…so strange for them to be this restless." He clucks his tongue and shakes his head.

"Are you calling me a cartoon or a show worth watching? Either way, I've no clue what you're talking about! Regarding the wraiths and bullets, I use magic. However, Arthur? Do you know whether mortal weapons would work against them?"

* * *

Second best? What the heck, Luke Cage wasn't that good. Frank opens his mouth to respond to Maria, but the sight of that ring on her finger stalls him, his left hand coming up to his chest, rubbing at his sternum, where a necklace might sit — but doesn't. His own hand is bare of any ring anymore, and his sudden burst of shame is enough to distract him from the oncoming wraith until its too late. He starts to twist aside from the reaching hand, but gets tagged across the deltoid, his fingers going nerveless as he stifles a cry, jerking back from the grasping ghost. Pain wrenches his voice, "Haven't got a clue, but if they don't catch bullets, you're gonna get stray rounds." With — presumably — plenty of innocents around. He hasn't put the pistol away yet though, although he hasn't pointed it at the wraith yet either, instead ready to dodge back again, "What the hell's going on, Maria?"

* * *

The mist swirls up around Deadpool and 2010 Ryan Reynolds until there is a solid wall separating Deadpool from the others. This leaves Frank with his Maria and Merlin with his Arthur and half a dozen wraiths closing in around them.

For Maria, she reaches for Frank's hand with her ghostly grip, and for a moment, she feels more corporeal than she looks in her white effervescence. She then grabs the wraith's rotten hand with her other, and the mere touch of the loved one to the dark spirit causes it to wrench back with a low wail. Maria looks to Frank over her shoulder, white hair that was once dark brown catching in a passing breeze that cannot be felt by Frank. "I'm here, Frank. That's all you need to know." Then she turns more ferociously toward the wraith, and she steps forward to shove both hands into its chest, driving it back before it explodes too into dark motes.

Arthur provides far more insights. "They can be wounded by your weapons," he says first to Frank and then to Merlin. "We are here to protect you, but that does not mean you cannot protect yourselves. They are becoming more and more real. They are easily destroyed by light…" And because this is Arthur Pendragon, he manages to say this all while drawing his sword across a second wraith, causing it too to explodes into whispers of shadow.

* * *

"Ah, your dedication to kindness, loyalty, and the selfless protection of others. All part of the reason you were the one destined to rule, and why I was ever so fond of you, even when I was hard on you. Even when my tests were strange and unusual, you never wavered. How I miss you, little one." However, Merlin's not inattentive to the fact that they are, indeed, being surrounded by these wraiths, these beings of the beyond. "It's good to be by your side once more, Arthur." He says softly.

Gripping his staff with both hands, he points it toward a small group of the wraiths and pours his energy into it. "Lux vitae, simulacra viro dimittere!" A beam of light emits from his staff, shooting out toward the wraiths.

* * *

Frank isn't as talkative as Merlin, but that could be because he's not as used to arcane or unusual events. Or because he never expected to see his late wife again. He stills at Maria's touch, his breath catching, but if there's one thing Frank does… okay, it's punish wrongdoers, but if there are two things Frank does, they're punish wrongdoers and not freeze up. Arthur answers the question he didn't ask directly, and so he brings up the pistol in both hands, even if his left hand is slow to come up, still chilled by the touch of the wraith. "Right." Because Frank always feels less confused, less conflicted, when he's fighting. His pistol barks in quick, paired shots, aiming to keep wraiths from leaking around Maria.

* * *

Perhaps Arthur should have waited just a few seconds longer before telling Frank his weapon would be useful. The first shot blasts through the wraith closing in toward Maria, taking wisps of black smoke off the vaporous cloaks. Then the second shot hits something more solid, causing its shoulder to rip backwards just in time for the blast of Merlin's light to beam out to cut through the same body that explodes into those same dancing, shadowy motes. Another wraith takes the same damage from Merlin's light, but it is Arthur's sword that fully sends the wraith creature back where it came.

"It is good," Arthur agrees to Merlin with a flash of a boyish smile just before he's turning into another wraith just as it gets past his defenses, and its gnarly fingers pierce through his shoulder with a shout that is oddly muffled as the mist continues to flood around them.

Maria turns sharply toward Arthur, as if his cry is louder in her ears than the others. It is a lucky turn of her ghostly head because she spots a wraith behind Frank that emerges from the mists where they had last seen Deadpool. "Frank!" She darts forward, drawing both around and through him toward the incoming threat.

* * *

A small smile crosses Merlin's lips once more. It's all he allows for now. These beings draws his attention once more. He knows, as much as there are people to protect them, there are still more wraiths than their combined party. When one such wraith gets past Arthur's defenses, attacking him, the old wizard winces, almost as if he can feel the pain. It was even so when the young king was alive.

Aiming his staff directly at Arthur, he utters the words "Mae golau cariad yn amddiffyn!" Tendrils of light begin to wrap around the ghost of Arthur. Merlin's hope is that it acts as a shield, harming any wraith currently touching Arthur or who attempt attack him in the future. "Nobody harms my Arthur and gets away with it." The wizard mutters in angry annoyance.

* * *

Frank helps tag-team the first wraith, then spins to the next, dropping his left hand away from his pistol to dig a little clumsily into a jacket coat. Light flares and flashes around him from the efforts of the others, "One of those went through the asshole, Arty." But then Maria is calling his name and ghosting through him. His eyes go wide, and he tries to twist out of her way, to turn around toward the attacker behind him, but the feel of a ghost going through him sends him stumbling, and he ends up on his ass on the ground, but at least he's facing the right way, holding his fire to keep from shooting through his late wife and instead clicking on the flashlight he grabbed from his pocket. "I'm feelin' pretty damned outta my depth here, Bathrobe."

* * *

First they are down to four, and then they are down to two as Merlin's greater magic twists so clearly through one of the wraiths as it explodes once more into ghostly black dust. Maria just notices Frank's stumble after she throws herself into the wicked shade. She turns, still in that sundress from their last day in Central Park.

Around them, the last two wraiths narrow in — one toward Maria and Frank and the other toward Arthur and Merlin. They do not seem to understand that they are outnumbered and outgunned, but the one near Maria stops just out of her reach when Frank draws out a flashlight. Arthur steps between the wraith and Merlin.

"Once these fall, I will have to leave you again, old man…" Even as he speaks, ghostly blood dribbles from the wound inflicted to his shoulder. He glances toward Merlin. "You should find yourself a new apprentice. You are looking senile." Then he flings himself forward toward the last wraith, raising his weapon to banish it as he has the others.

* * *

"Bathrobe? Am I Bathrobe?" Once again, Merlin feels the need to specify. "If I am, well, I don't blame you, young man. Not many today are accustomed to dealing with spirits." He holds out his staff to Frank, hoping it closes the gap between them and lets him grab onto something and pull himself up.

"Se…senile! You mean relaxed, don't you? Now that I don't have to deal with you and the knights with your constant requests for my wisdom?" Though Merlin's words are serious, he laughs. "But perhaps you're right about an apprentice. And I might have just the young one in mind."

With the one wraith approaching Arthur, the old wizard holds up one hand, which begins to glow with light. The other hand still holds onto the staff, should Frank take its assistance to stand back up.

* * *

Frank watches Maria tear apart the shade, grunting softly, "Looks familiar." Their marriage was a strong one, but not always a great one. The wraith coming for him is met with another pair of shots, this time from the hip, but he keeps the light on the creature as it seems to be stymied. "Yeah, you're Bathrobe." Merlin calls him 'young man,' and he snorts in amused disdain. "Jesus. It's been a long time since anyone's called me that." Frank shakes off the offer of help, scrabbling to get his feet under him without lowering flashlight or pistol. "You got this, babe." That's probably not to Arthur or Merlin.

* * *

It is Merlin's night, not Arthur's ghostly sword, that drives that wraith back where it came. At Frank's encouragements, Maria stands to face the last wraith. She steps forward toward it, driving it back a pace and then another; it screams and lunges for her, but she is ready to slam both of her hands into its chest. Wisps and dust of black spirals to the white, misty ground.

Those mists are beginning to dissipate, thinning out to let the distant lights of what must be street lamps filter through. Both Arthur and Maria begin to lose some of their clarity as the living world's light brihgtens.

There's a low amused chuckle in the old King's throat, and even as he starts to laugh, he becomes less and less corporeal. "It does look like something you would wear after a hot bath," he concedes toward Merlin as he begins to fade, to blur.

Maria also starts to fade, and she turns toward Frank with that little smile.

* * *

"Forgive me if I've offended. To me, most people seem young." Merlin offers with a kind smile. "'Babe'? Am…oh, I suppose you mean your loved one's ghost. Nevermind me. Perhaps I am becoming senile." He turns to face Arthur and the wraith once more, with the wraith disappearing. He sighs in relief, planting his staff firm so he can lean a bit of his weight into it as he stands in place.

With all the wraiths gone, them and the city safe, gazes upon Arthur. He sighs. Certainly there is a part of him who is deeply saddened by the fact that he must, once more, bid adieu to Arthur. It is never easy to say goodbye. He takes a deep breath in, plants a smile upon his lips, and bows his head ever so slightly. "Arthur…my brave and stalwart Arthur. Until we meet again."

* * *

Frank brings the pistol up as Maria slams into the last wraith, but she's got it handled, and he flicks his pistol and light around, looking for another target… that isn't there. His pistol lowers, and he flicks off the flashlight, "Yeah, not you, Bathrobe." But Maria is smiling and fading, and he steps forward, shoving the pistol into his jacket pocket in a quite unsafe manner and reaching out to her.

* * *

"Until we meet again." Arthur reaches out to place his ghostly hand on the old wizard's shoulder, but there is no weight when there should be. He's too far faded back into the other realm, that place beyond the veil. He takes a step back before King Arthur collapses into the thinning mist.

But Maria Castle lingers a bit longer. She touches his cheek gently with her light fingers. "Hey," she says in that same soft voice she uses in the morning. Her fingertips brush along his hairline, the rough lines of his jaw. "Get some sleep." Then she presses a light kiss to his lips that ends with the ghost of Maria Castle fading into the mists as the October fog clears, and the stars shine above with that thin moon.

Merlin and Frank are left in a quiet hush then — no cop, no dog, no Deadpool, but also no suggestion that any ill fate befell them either.

* * *

Stepping toward Frank, the old wizard now known as 'Bathrobe' gives the man a quick once over, attempting to assess if any harm has come to him. "Do you require healing, young man? Are you hurt?" There's genuine concern in Merlin's voice. "If you have any questions, I shall do my best to answer them for you." He can make an educated guess or two regarding a few things.

"Although, I do wonder where the policeman and his dog went…as well as that unusual man in the hooded costume." He shrugs. "But perhaps those are mysterious for another day, hmm?"

* * *

Well that's going to give Frank nightmares again for a while. Because that's what Frank gets, nightmares, not good dreams. His eyes close at the ghostly kiss, and he breathes out a tiny little breath as his late wife fades away again. For all of his situational awareness, he doesn't even notice the disappearance of the policeman, the dog, or the Deadpool yet. A shudder ripples through his frame, and he finally opens his eyes. The flashlight is tucked away, he draws out the pistol again to safe it and holster it, and he looks down, his hands clenching and loosing for a moment before he rubs the back of one hand across his face, "I'm fine." There's an angry snap to the gravelly words, "I'm goddamn fine." Only then does he look for the others, frowning, "Well hell." Turning away, he starts to depart.

* * *

"Do not take me for a conjurer of cheap emotional lies, young man." Merlin's tone, despite the words, is still one of concern. He's going through his own turmoil, and he's had centuries upon centuries to get over the death of the one he just saw. "You most certainly are not fine. I can't imagine anyone being fine after that. And snapping is certainly no way to convince the person asking you."

He seems to have the nasty habit of following people sometimes when he's not done talking to them. At least, when he feels there's something left to be said that needs seeing. "One more thing!" He calls out to Frank as he does just that, follow. "If you need help processing this, I really think I can help. I won't press it, but…" He conjures up a piece of paper with a wizard's hat with stars on it, and holds it out to Frank as he continues to follow. "Just hold this and ask to meet, and I'll find you wherever you are. I'll be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail."

* * *

Frank stops for a moment, half-turning back to Merlin, "It's 'conjurer of cheap tricks.' Even I've seen that one." Drawing in a slow breath, he studies the bearded man holding out the card conjured literally out of nowhere. He shakes his head, but still reaches out to snatch the paper out of the other man's hand, "I hate magic." It's a weary-sounding gripe rather than any real complaint, and he looks at the paper for a moment, "You get royalties from Disney?" He doesn't wait for a response, but just goes back to walking off again like the ungrateful grump he can be.

* * *

"Conjurer of cheap what? Cheap tricks? I haven't a clue what you're talking about, young man!" Merlin furrows his brow in confusion. "Sometimes the little tricks are the funnest ones to do. They're easy and…they aren't the point right now." With the card taken, he grasps his staff with both hands and stands tall. "Don't hate magic. Hate the one who misuses it." Because that's when things usually tend to go wrong. "Disney? There's that mention of Disney again. Why should they matter to me?" He shakes his head. "Regardless Merlin's the name, if I haven't already said." He nods to the card. "If you need me, call me. No matter where you are, no matter how far." He watches the man walk off again, and then turns and walks in a different direction. Where does the old sorcerer go? Only time will tell.

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