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Chapter one- Danny
"Isn't this nice Danny?" Liz asked, leaning back on the picnic blanket we were sitting on. The afternoon sun was warm, but not uncomfortably so.
"Yeah, it is." I said, smiling at her. "I mean, when was the last time we did this?"
Liz laughed. She looked at the park view that surrounded us. Tall, green trees filled with life surrounded us. The grass was a vibrant green, the sky a perfect blue without a cloud.
"I wish it could be like this everyday." Liz said, the ghost of a smile on her lips.
"Why can't it?" I asked. There was nothing wrong with doing this everyday. Liz and I lived a cozy apartment in Breckenridge Colorado, the GIW had been shut down years ago, and Amity park was ghost free. Liz and I hadn't even gone ghost in 6 years.
Now, it was her 20th birthday, and we were sitting in our backyard. We were both currently attending collage at a local community collage. Liz was studying to be an actress/ singer while I was working towards my life long dream of being an astronaut.
Sam and Tucker lived about 10 minutes away and attended the same school. Sam was trying to become an author while Tucker was going into politics. It was awesome that we were all going to the same collage together- we had only been best friends forever. And to think it happened when we were 14...
Liz grinned at me and punched me playfully on the arm. "You know why you moron. We have school tomorrow! And besides, we have lots of planning to do."
I groaned and leaned back, closing my eyes as my head settled on the ground. "I'm no good at this. Can't you and Sam do this yourselves?"
Liz leaned over me, her hair falling in my face. I could hardly feel it as it brushed my cheek.
"Of course I can," She said. "But it's our wedding Danny! It says, right there on the invitation card, Danny and Liz, not Sam and Liz!"
I laughed, kissing her briefly. "I would hope not. I don't want anyone to marry you except for me!"
"I don't want to be married to anyone else but you!"
I smiled as I looked up at my girlfriend. The sun was behind her head, causing a ring of light to outline her entire body.
"Which reminds me," Liz said, leaning down to rest her head under my chin. "We have to call your parents. They haven't responded to the invitation yet, and I know they're going to want to come to this."
"No duh," I grinned. "They're my parents! And Vlad already swore he was coming, so my dad will be hot on his heels."
"What about Jazz?" Asked Liz. "Is she going to be able to get away from Harvard for the weekend?"
I nodded. "Yup. And, in her own words, she is overjoyed that I was able to lie my way and convince a great girl like you to marry me."
My fiance laughed. "Well, Vlad was pleased that I was able to find such a respectable young man who really understands the reality of things. I mean, Claire is even flying in."
Claire? The name left a sour taste in my mouth. "W- who's Claire?"
Liz looked at me strangely. "Uh, my mom? She, Robert and Kelly are all flying up here to be part of the wedding! You were the one who called them, remember?"
I didn't remember. I didn't remember anything even remotely close to inviting them. "Didn't Robert die Liz?"
"No." Liz raised an eyebrow and rolled off my chest. "Danny, are you feeling alright? Why are you acting so weird?"
I was about to answer, when two people walked up. "Hey guys," Sam said brightly, sitting next to Liz and biting into an apple. "Discussing wedding plans?"
Tucker sat down next to her, wiggling his eyebrows. "Or maybe discussing what happens after the wedding."
"Shut up Tuck," Sam said, pressing her lips to his.
Liz laughed too, pushing Tucker over. "More like discussing the mental stability of Danny boy here."
"I'm not crazy!" I insisted.
Liz smiled. "I know you aren't baby, I'm just teasing."
Something felt wrong.
"Liz," I said. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure baby, you know you can."
"What day of the week is it?"
Liz turned to look at Sam and Tucker, laughing. "Uh, Sunday."
"Baby, it's April 2nd. That is why we're celebrating."
"How old are we turning?"
"20... Baby are you ok? Did you hit your head or something?"
I didn't hit my head. Something was wrong. Dead wrong. Liz only looked like she was 16, 17 at best. Come to think of it, I couldn't remember much after my 17th birthday.
"Liz, how did we escape the Guys In White?"
Sam chocked on her soda. "Danny, what are you talking about? The Guys In White shut down years ago. You remember, don't you?"
"No!" I said, sitting up. "I don't remember! When did they shut down?"
Tucker looked at me, his shaggy black hair falling in his eyes. "Danny, they closed back when we were in high school. You guys blew up the ghost portals as soon as you figured out you were both ghosts. The Guys In White shut down soon after that."
I shook my head. "No, no you're wrong! They didn't shut down, they captured us, they tortured us! Liz, show them your scars!"
Liz looked at me with concern filled eyes. "Baby, what scars?"
"The scars on your back! You know, the ones from Phobos and when the Guys In White tried to kill you."
"Baby, who's Phobos?"
"Liz," I said quietly. "Lift up the back of your shirt."
She looked at me like I was mentally insane, but lifted the back of her shirt all the same. Her skin was smooth and perfect; no sign it had ever been scarred or punctured, or anything.
"Liz, what happened to the Titans?"
Tucker answered for her. "Are you talking about the sports team?"
"No! The super powered team of teenagers that we lived with for almost a year!"
"Baby, we never-"
"Yes we did!" I cut Liz off. "They found us while we were running away from the Guys In White. We were mentally scared for life and we were physically weak and there was all this stuff wrong with us but they saved us!"
"Danny," Sam said. "What are you talking about?"
"They live in California in Jump city- their names are Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire!"
Tucker leaned towards Liz. "He is too young to drink, right?" He whispered to her. Liz pushed him away.
"Baby," Liz crawled over and sat on my lap, straddling my hips. "What's wrong? Did you have a nightmare or something? Why are you acting like this?"
"I swear," I said. "Robert died! You've never been close to Claire at all! Liz, this... this can't be real!"
"Danny," Liz said. As she said my name, the world around me changed. I was lying on my back in a box. I couldn't move. Liz was laying on my chest and it suddenly dawned on my what I was in.
Liz and I were in a coffin. Liz looked down at me with wide green eyes.
"Danny, I'm so sorry." She said. "We could have had that- I still want that."
"Liz... where are you?" My voiced sounded broken.
"I'm away from you, and it breaks my heart." I realized that I wasn't actually in the coffin. I was laying on a piece of glass that trapped Liz in the coffin, and me on the other side.
"Don't leave!" I whispered, begging for Liz to break though the glass so I could hold her again.
She smiled sadly and pressed her palm against the glass. "Danny, I'll never truly leave you. I'm here. I always will be."
"I love you." I said, a tear straying from my eye and hitting the glass.
"I love you too Danny. Please, wake up."
"I don't wanna wake up! If I do, then you won't be there!"
Liz looked at me. I itched to break the glass, to free her, to bring her back. But something told me that that wasn't possible.
"But you can't stay asleep forever Danny. You can't have this dream forever."
"Why not? After everything I've done, why can't I stay here?"
"Because this isn't reality Danny. This isn't what you want. It may seem like a dream come true, but it's not. Please, you have to wake up."
"But when I wake up, what am I supposed to do?" I felt completely and utterly defeated. "Liz, what am I supposed to do without you?"
"You're a fighter." Liz said. "So fight Danny. No matter what the past is, look towards the future. Remember I love you, ok? And remember what you promised."
"I might break that promise Liz. I can't do this without you!"
Liz just smiled. I knew what was coming next. "Do you love me Danny?"
I nodded, tears falling from my eyes and onto the glass, making Liz's face look disoriented.
"Then let me go."
I sat bolt upright. I wasn't in bed, I was on the ground covered by a thin blanket. The echo in the empty room proved that I had been screaming.
That was why I liked this room. It didn't have windows. It didn't have anything in it. It was far away in a deserted corner of the tower, so the titans never found me here. I could sleep and scream all I wanted and they never knew.
To be honest, the titans probably didn't even know I was in their tower anymore. I only saw them maybe once every two weeks, when hunger and self loathing and silence got too intense for me to bear. On those days, I would make my way down to the kitchen.
Most of the time, all of the titans were there. They were broken over Liz's death just like I was. The difference between them and me was that 7 months had helped them heal, faded the pain, and they could act normal again.
7 months later they could laugh, smile, eat, talk, and be normal. Sure, some things were hard on them- memories can haunt anyone. But they were back to being relatively normal.
I knew they were worried about me. I mean, a 17 year old kid eating twice a week wasn't healthy. And besides, I barely ate when I had to. I ate only enough to make the body shaking tremors coming from my stomach stop. An apple or granola bar usually did the trick.
It wasn't that I didn't want to eat- I really did. The smell of Cyborgs pancakes made my mouth water as much as they ever had. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I could barely force myself to breath.
The titans would talk to me when I made an appearance. They would ask how I felt, what I wanted to eat, Robin even resorted to asking me what I thought of the weather once. But I just couldn't answer.
I couldn't react to them at all. There had been instances where my body would need food so badly that I would actually pass out, and wake up in the infirmary.
I would get lectured on my unhealthy behavior. I would get yelled at for not responding. I would get shaken by my shoulders by a sobbing Starfire who begged for me to look at her, to eat, to be normal again. But nothing could break me out of the shell- the wall that kept me away from reality.
That wall was the only thing that kept me from ending it all and joining Liz. It was the only thing that forced me to eat that once every two weeks. It was the wall that insisted that I take a shower every other day in the hopes that maybe the cold water would snap me back to the real world.
I leaned back on the hard floor, panting from the nightmare I had just had. It wasn't unusual for me to have a nightmare like that- where Liz and I had a life together only for me to realize the lie. And every time I would see her, and talk to her, and for a moment feel as if she were alive again. To hear her answer me and tell me she was ok was rewarding- until I opened my eyes and realized it was all a dream.
Let me go.
Every single time I woke up, it was after being told those words. And it tore me apart because every time I would bolt out of a nightmare fending off tears I would expect things to be different.
I would wait for minutes- hours sometimes- for her loving embrace. Wait for her to hug me and kiss me and tell me it had been a dream. I would wait for her so push me back onto the mattress and tell me that she was there and that she was ok, I was ok, it was all ok.
But it wasn't ok. She wasn't there to fix everything. I was left, scared and heartbroken as I waited for the truth to sink in- she wasn't there.
And I would feel stupid. I wasn't 6 anymore, I didn't need someone to fight things like this off for me. I shouldn't need to be reminded that it was only a dream that wouldn't come true.
And yet- I did. I had never realized it before Liz died, but I realized it now. I never thought I needed anyone, but I needed her.
Somewhere along the way, I had been changed. I didn't want to be. When I was a kid, I was like play-dough- I could get beaten and bruised and laughed at and it wouldn't matter! Whatever happened would smooth over and I would be fine. I wouldn't care.
Then, I got ghost powers. Suddenly, I was a little harder, a little tougher, a little stronger. I guess I was like rubber. I could get the life beaten out of me by a ghost, the faith beaten out of my by Dash, but I would snap right back. You can't break rubber.
And then, I changed again. The guys In White kidnapped me and straight up ruined my life. When that happened, I was like ice. Things could melt me, chip parts of me off, I could have been completely gone. But things went my way for once and Liz and I were able to escape.
When Liz and I escaped, we were broken, suffering, pretty messed up! And while parts of us were stronger, parts of us were fragile. I started as melting ice and ended up being plastic. I could be chipped and cracked, but it was hard for me to really break.
And then 7 months ago, that plastic shell broke.
Now, I'm like glass. Cracking glass. And if something doesn't change soon, I'm not going to be able to stand it any longer, and that glass is going to shatter.
So, did you like? Hope ya did!
Q: Did you actually believe Danny was awake with Liz, or not?
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