Summary: Until he met them, life was simple. Not great- but simple. All he had to do was stay anonymous until his town was safe again. Then his past met his future and he suddenly had more people to protect.
Blanket Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom or Teen Titans.
Warnings: This story is AU and a crossover. This story includes: Adopted!Danny, Danny/Dani-Father/Daughter, Younger!Dani, Older!Titans, and character death. No Phantom Planet.
Notes: In canon, Danny is 16 and (probably) in his junior year at the end of the series. In this story, D-Stabilized takes place at the end of his sophomore year when Danny is 15. (I am just assuming he has a summer birthday.) I will have the Titans' ages at the bottom, because there's some speculation there. Also, when I say "older", I mean that the youngest is 19. They're just referred to as the "Titans" rather than the "Teen Titans". Sorry if that bothers you. For the Teen Titans Series, "Birthmark", "The Prophecy", and "The End (Parts 1, 2, and 3)" take place between "Spellbound" and "Revolution". An undefined amount of time passes and this story begins shortly before "Revolution" takes place and follows the canon from there.
Secondary Note: Those of you who are reading my Danny Phantom story Breath of Life may notice similarities between the ways ghosts "work" in this story. As of now, the only 'spoiler' is one of the powers Danny will eventually get. Oh, and no, I'm not doing every Teen Titans episode that occurs after "Revolution". Geez, that's what, three seasons with thirteen episodes each, minus the five I skip by having this story begin after "Spellbound" and taking out another five with the Trigon-related episodes… so, 29 episodes? Nope. You watched the series. I highly doubt you want to read it. I'll try to do quite a few, but I'm actually changing how the episodes go unlike how some people just toss in the extra character, but follow the script to the letter. No problem with that, honestly, it just makes the extra character seem, er, useless, too me. But don't panic. Not every episode is completely altered. One more person can make a difference, but Danny's not going to magically make their lives' easier. In some episodes, the situation will render him unable to do much and in others, he'll be able to do quite a bit. Plus, there's more plot to this than just him hanging out with the Titans. Amity will certainly be making a return.
Bloodstains– Chapter I
The Days Life Started Its Downhill Roll
His breath was crystalizing in the air in front of him, but for once it was only because of the freezing air around him. Rain poured down from above, soaking through his blue hoodie, and the small drops looked moment from turning to ice. His steps slowed to a halt and ice blue eyes blinked with every drop of water that landed on the lashes around them. He smiled slightly, the act bittersweet, and held out one hand. The rain drops splashed off of his palm. The chill they left stung.
Raven-black hair stuck to the sides of his head and snatched at his face. He moved his hand to reach up and push the wet mess out of the way once more, breath billowing in a sigh. The ground crunched under foot despite his best efforts to stay silent. Mud splashed and sucked and slopped every which way and the trees around him quivered and leaned in the wind. He sighed again and touched the white band on his wrist to reassure himself that it was still there.
I've got time. I'll find some place to go.
The ends of his pants were covered in sticky mud and the rain soaked everything else black. For once, he was grateful. He didn't want to see what was underneath those colors. He wedged his foot out from the greedy mud once more and trudged forward. A cut underneath his eye was bleeding and the cold stung at it with each drop of rain. He breathed evenly in and out, focusing on the clarity of his mind. It had been a long, long time since he'd ever felt like this: free. No more responsibilities or citizens to protect. No more battles and scars and midnight hours spent hastily bandaging a bleeding wound just to do it all over again.
He had no purpose. He needed a purpose. There were no more bright-eyed children squealing out "thank-you"s and no more towers to sit upon and muse. There would be no more pictures and posters and feelings of warmth. Of appreciation. Of gratitude. Of loyalty. Of love.
They were so far away now. Unreachable. He couldn't want to reach them. He had to stay away. He had to go. He had to put one foot in front of the other- right foot, left foot- and keep his head down- breathe in, breathe out- and just… disappear.
Growling. There's growling.
His blue gaze turned to the brush and his fingers brushed once more over the white band on his wrist. His pulse was racing, muscles tense, joints ready, senses straining…
He had to run.
Danny sighed and leaned back in his chair gratefully. He felt tired. The day had been far longer than it had needed to be, but he had finally finished all of his work. The books and games had been sorted, the lounge cleaned up, the store locked, and he had been able to head upstairs and relax. The halfa yawned and rubbed his palm over one of his eyes to soothe the dull ache. He couldn't sleep quite yet.
He leaned his head back to rest on the top of his comfortable chair and just stared at the ceiling blankly. The living room was a warm, rich dark caramel in color, but the ceiling was plain white. The sofa matched, there was one TV, and the kitchen was only separated by a rounded counter. Some sunlight streamed in past the drapes on the windows, but that was about as far as any decoration got. It wasn't all together bad, but it looked more like a rented apartment than a home.
Then again, I suppose that's pretty accurate.
Danny narrowed his eyes at the thought, the neon green hue in the back of them burning brighter with his flash of temper. Shaking his head, Danny ran a hand through his hair; further mussing it. He'd let it grow out some after he'd left Amity. Not too long, though. The longest strands just barely reached the middle-end of his neck. His bangs, however, were shorter. He'd gotten tired of long strands constantly blocking his vision. He could still see a few when they swung into his face (too short and they'd stick up like porcupine quills), but it was far more manageable and less irritating.
After he'd gone through what he officially dubbed "ghost puberty", which was basically the most painful week and a half of his life, he'd grown a few inches and his two halves had melded some. His eyes in human form had a green hue in the back and his hair had white streaks. In ghost mode, it was reversed. The next thing he'd taken care of was clothes. His lifestyle had… changed… and the physical change had forced him to wake up and realize that. The change of style had been a symbolic wake-up call. He'd taken to wearing sturdy, dark-blue, blue jeans, a red short-sleeved shirt, a plain white jacket, and red and white converse. He also wore a chain looped through his belt loops- a gift of Frostbite's. It stored an entire arsenal powered by his own ecto-energy. All he had to do was focus on the certain weapon and presto! Weapons whenever he needed them. Around his neck sat a silver oval-shaped locket with his symbol engraved on the front.
A flicker of white brought Danny out of his bored reflections and he looked over at his "front door" to see a white tiger casually strolling through it. A fond smile briefly crossed his expression. Págos was his Bonded. It wasn't uncommon for a lower-level ghost to bind itself to a willing higher-level, like the Fright Knight and his Nightmare Pegasus. Págos was usually nine and a half feet tall with the usual ghostly white cloak of ecto-energy; he also had sea green eyes and literally left paw prints of ice if he was actively using his power. If not, it was a fast-melting layer of frost. Thankfully, the ghostly tiger had a helpful, loose chain around his neck with a tag on it. Danny worked that one out with Frostbite's help. The chain reduced Págos to a normal size and hid his ecto-signature and energy, but he could still use his powers to an extent. The tag was for the city's sake, since his Bonded generally refused to leave his side for longer than thirty minutes. A few overshadowings, a lot of obedience tests, and far too much paperwork later, and Danny had managed to get Págos the right to walk around the city- wherever in the city- with him. The front of the tag had his name and ID as well as Danny's residence and all of the usual pet necessities and the back had his symbol on it; both a claim and a warning to other ghosts not to harm Págos unless they wanted to bring Danny's wrath down on their heads. It was odd how protective of each other they'd become.
"Ibi es." Danny greeted, the Latin flowing smoothly off his tongue. The massive white tiger leapt across the room to bowl into his chair and sit half in his lap, half on the floor. Págos chuffed and nudged his head under Danny's hand, who scratched him obligingly.
Págos rumbled contently. A little to the left- oh, there! Ahhhhhh, that's better. Stupid itch. The tiger's voice echoed slightly in his head. He angled himself so he was leaning up against the chair and half-lying on his side while Danny reached forward to scratch and pet wherever he could reach. That is hea-ven-ly.
Danny shook his head with an amused chuckle and kept rubbing the tiger's side in circles. "How did I get stuck with you again?"
Págos huffed and flicked Danny with his tail. Ha, ha. Very funny. He turned and heaved himself on to the chair, effectively crushing Danny beneath his bulk.
"Oof! Págos!" Danny complained, but the tiger ignored him.
I'm probably not all that heavy to you anyway.
"You're still sitting on my ribs!"
"Come on, Págos," he whined in response, "we've got to go see Clark, Jason, and Lisa."
Págos chuffed excitedly and finally let him up, circling in the space between the kitchen and the living room. Come on, let's go!
Danny just stared at him for a moment. "You're less like a tiger and more like a second Cujo."
Págos froze and his head shot up. Hey, I resent that!
The halfa just shrugged and bolted out the door before the tiger could catch him. He half-jogged, half-jumped down the stairs, dodged around the main counter and almost made it all the way through the lounge before Págos finally caught up with him and pinned him to the floor.
I, he sniffed superiorly, am not another Cujo.
"I don't know." Danny replied, acting thoughtful. "You can grow and shrink in size- even if it is only because of that chain- you're overly-excitable and you're irrationally fond of me. Sounds like three checks to me… Cujo."
Págos growled and flopped down on top of him, driving the air from his lungs. Fine. I guess we don't need to go see your friends.
Danny rolled his eyes, working on wedging his hands out from underneath the tiger and rolling him off. "C'mon, Págos. I'm only teasing. I know you're not a second Cujo." The tiger continued to sulk, so he crouched and scratched at his head. "Besides, I gave Cujo to Danielle and bonded with you, didn't I?"
He perked up a bit at that and let out a rumbling mimic of a purr, licking Danny's hand. Yeah, I know. Let's go.
Jump City was very different from Amity. First, it was larger. The buildings were taller, it took a couple hours to get from one side to the other, and there were far more people walking around. There was a nice park near what the residents of Jump dubbed the 'Community'- because it was a residential area and everyone there seemed to know everyone else- and it had quickly become Danny's favorite place. He'd even set up his shop/home between the Community and the Park so he could be near both of them. The regulars at his store had basically turned it into a hangout for the residents of the Community, which was one of the reasons Danny had remodeled it to have a lounge and split the bookstore/library and the game store into separate spaces. The Park was a huge expanse of grass with small hills and a couple trees. There was a pond on one side, a few benches, and the occasion water fountain. Despite being in the middle of a city, it was never very crowded. Págos loved it to run around on it and Danny liked the quiet. Secondly, his life here was different. He'd been careful to keep the ghosts off his tail, so while he still worked on both old and new inventions, he wasn't spending every hour of the day fending off attacks. It was… a nice change.
But that didn't necessary mean his new life was a quiet one.
Because thirdly, he lived in the same city as the Teen Titans. Well, most people just called them the Titans now, since none of them could really be considered teenagers any more. It was decidedly odd to be the one being protected rather than being the protector, but… well, it was for the best. Danny sighed softly. Just one more year. One more measly year and I'll be golden.
His musing was interrupted by Págos loping happily away from his side; tearing across the grassy expanse of the Park. Danny looked up and grinned as he watched his three friends be corralled and herded towards him by the massive white cat. The waved as they caught sight of him and let themselves be pushed towards him.
"Hey, Danny!" All three of them chorused.
He grinned, "Hey. Cat got your shoe?"
From his place batting at their ankles to get them to move, Págos snorted. You're just a comedian today, aren't you? Sending him a brief, amused glare, Págos spun around and darted away. Shaking his head exasperatedly, Danny turned back to the three people that had worked their way into his new life.
First, there was Clark. He had long blond hair that was typically left hanging free and hazel eyes. He was wearing plain blue jeans and a green shirt and had a cap pulled over his head. He was lean and tan, if not a little short, and was the most laid-back- and stubborn- member of the trio. He'd walked into Danny's store one day and decided he wanted to get to know Danny and that was that.
Next was Lisa. She was thin and of average height with shoulder-length light brown hair and green eyes. She usually wore leggings with jean skirts that fell to her mid-thigh, sandals or tennis shoes, and a long sleeve shirt under another shorter shirt. She was outgoing, thoughtful, and probably the most observant of them all.
Jason was also of average height with short brown hair and equally brown eyes and glasses balanced on his nose. He usually just wore jeans and sneakers with a white short-sleeved shirt and a checkered button-up that stopped at the elbows left open over that. He was certainly the most serious of the trio and the most focused on things like school and the future, which was probably a good thing because Clark paid far too much attention to his video games.
Still, none of them were unintelligent by any means. While Danny and Jason were the only ones with straight-A averages- with Danny having graduated early for convenience- Lisa and Clark weren't far behind with mostly A's and only one or two high B's at any time. Jason was thinking of going in to engineering, while Clark wanted to create games, and Lisa was thinking about mimicking Danny and opening her own store. The youngest of their group were Danny- whose birthday was smack in the middle of June and he'd just turned seventeen- and Clark- whose birthday was in November so he was still seventeen, going on eighteen- while Jason and Lisa's birthdays were both in February, so they were eighteen.
"You know," Clark complained good-naturedly, "you don't have to sic your tiger on us."
Danny shrugged. "Where's the fun in that?"
Lisa rolled her eyes and pounced, slinging one arm around Danny's neck while she dragged him towards their group's favorite spot in the Park: a massive tree a short distance from the ponds. Humoring her, Danny pretended to gasp and gag like he couldn't breathe and broke out into rasping coughs as soon as she released him.
"Drama queen." Lisa sighed, shaking her head at him. Danny blinked up at her innocently through falsely watering eyes.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Of course not." Jason interjected dryly. Clark gaped at the brunette in disbelief.
"Was that sarcasm, Jason?" Danny asked, gob-smacked. All he got in return was a glower.
Clark laughed, "I'll have to mark this day down on my calendar!"
"Oh, you two are hilarious." Lisa tossed her hands up, exasperated. "Hilariously hopeless, at least."
Danny gasped and gripped at his heart dramatically. "You wound me, good madam. Surely I am not completely hopeless?"
She eyed him for a moment and then allowed, "Alright, not completely."
He nodded, appeased, and then dissolved into laughter with the rest of them. "Completely weird- that's what we are."
"Ah, s'not so bad." Clark chuckled.
"Alright, alright." Lisa held up her hands to quiet them. "C'mon, as fun as this is, that's not what we're here for."
"What are we here for anyway?" Danny asked, "I seem to have been left out of the loop."
"Clark!" Lisa and Jason chorused with matching glares, turning their accusing expressions on to the blond teen.
"What?" He defended. "He was busy."
"You were supposed to tell him! We don't want to drag him there if he's not going to have fun!" Lisa exclaimed and then whirled around in frustration. Taking a short breath, she smiled and looked over at Danny. "Well, we wanted to spend some time with you in the park anyway. I guess that worked out."
He nodded. "Okay, so what's the rest of it?"
Jason grinned. "You know the carnival they're throwing tomorrow?"
Danny raised an eyebrow. Carnival? Oh! "The one 'in honor of' the Titans' or something like that? Yeah."
"It's an appreciation carnival. The city thought it would be nice to do something to recognize them keeping us safe." Clark broke in excitedly. "Everyone's hoping the Titans'll show up."
That… does sound nice. Danny thought quietly as his mind briefly wondered back to his time in Amity. Even if the Titans mostly got a positive reception, there were very few true acts of appreciation given beyond a "thank-you". Which, obviously, was enough in itself, but Danny had as many "you're evils"s thrown in his face as "thank-you"s.
"Anyway," Lisa said, eyeing an overly-excited Clark warily, "my mom surprised me with tickets- four of them. I thought I'd ask if you wanted to come… I know you don't usually go for these kinds of things, but…"
Danny sighed softly and smiled at Lisa. It was true. He hadn't been very outgoing in… well, four years now. Two running around as Danny Phantom in Amity and two spent in hiding while settling into Jump. His life had been turned completely on to its head and now here he was, getting a chance to live a normal life, and he was spending it mostly around Págos and in the Park. They just want me to go have fun, don't they?
"Sure." Danny agreed, chuckling as the three in front of him perked up. "Sounds like fun."
Did you just agree to what I think you just agreed to? Págos's voice interrupted his quiet mind as the white tiger loped back to their group. I almost don't believe it.
Rolling his eyes at his Bonded, Danny turned a questioning glance at his three friends. "So, did you really drag me all the way out here just to ask me that?"
"Nah, man. You've been cooped up inside for the last couple weeks. We figured we'd drag ya' out and ask why." Clark announced as he flopped on to the grass and pulled Lisa down with him, who latched on to Jason and pulled him down, and Danny soon followed. Págos immediately took the chance to sprawl across their laps and hum contently.
"There's a good cat." Lisa chirped as she stoked his white fur.
I'm not a cat.
Mmm. Technically you are.
Fine, I'm not a house cat.
Er… you're 'domesticated' and live in my house.
Do house cats have stripes and fangs and claws?
…Do they roar?
Er, no. I'd actually be concerned if they did.
Then I'm not a house cat.
That is a really flimsy defense.
I'm not a house cat.
Alright, chill. She's just fond of you.
Whatever Págos would have responded was blurred by the happy rumble from his throat when Lisa scratched under his chin. Shaking his head slightly, Danny looked at Clark. "I've been working on another project and I'm close to finishing, but I've hit a couple snags. I'm trying to work them out."
Clark leaned forward eagerly. "Oooh! Another invention? You gonna sell this one, too? Didn't the ol' gov. by your last one?"
Sighing in exasperation, Danny shook his head. "No, Clark, I'm not selling this one. And no, the government didn't buy my last one. A company of this city bought the rights to it. I let them have the plans and check that everything's being manufactured correctly every few years and the people are nice and safe. It was just for some extra money." He paused and then added for good measure, "And it wasn't an 'invention'. The ideas already existed and a lot of other products achieved similar goals. I just put them all those concepts in one, added a few new things, and made it efficient."
In fact, it wasn't even all that spectacular. A security system and voice control for your house- that actually worked- along with a phone app that would let you take care of things while away. All things that actually existed. He just made his own and then went so far as to connect the security system to minor Fenton weapons- like stun guns- that could be installed if one wanted them and keyed the security system to the police so they would be immediately notified. Sure, it was incredibly effective and didn't need a lot of power to keep it going, but someone else could have put it all together some other day. Danny just beat them to it.
Ignoring everything that Danny just said, Clark asked eagerly, "So watcha working on now?"
"One of my parents' old inventions." Danny answered, knowing that avoiding doing so would only lead to be pestered for the next week or so. Besides, mentioning anything to do with the Fentons usually had the conversation turned pretty quick.
Right on cue, Jason spoke up. "So, any new drawings to show us?"
He was answered with a loud smack as Danny introduced his palm to his face. "I forgot to bring my sketchbook. I knew I was forgetting something!"
"Aww!" Lisa whined, "Danny how could you? We love that sketchbook!"
"Blame the tiger!"
"What could sweet, little (I am not little!) Págos have done?"
"Practically force me out the door in his haste to get to the Park? Attempt to bite my leg off if I took too long? Who knows, maybe he's just terrorizing me into caring for him 'cause he likes the free food."
What a lovely picture you paint of me.
Would you prefer rainbows and flowers and grassy fields covered with catnip and balls of yarn?
…Maybe being a violent animal isn't such a bad thing.
I thought you'd appreciate that.
"Do you terrorize him, huh? That's a good boy." Lisa cooed, stroking Págos's head affectionately.
"Well, it's nice to know how Danny's safety ranks in your books." Jason commented dryly.
She does realize that you're a very dangerous creature, right? Even without the city-leveling ghost powers?
I'm not sure. I think I'm some sort of puppy in her eyes.
Huh. That's interesting. Think I should get her a lion for Christmas?
I sincerely hope you're joking.
No, Págos. I want to kill Lisa. In fact, that sounds like a wonderful plan. You know, I think I'll buy her two lions just to be sure.
I think the sunlight's getting to you.
A~nd now I'm a pale introvert of a lunatic. Great. Any other way you'd like to crush my sense of self?
Mmm, no. Sounds about right, honestly.
Danny's lips twitched in the beginnings of an amused smile. Maybe today wasn't so long after all.
It was incredibly loud for a carnival. Somewhere on par with a Humpty Dumpty concert. Then again, there was an actual concert going on a couple yards away from him, so maybe that should be expected. Jump City had pulled out all the stops for the carnival. Food, booths, rides, music, gigantic TV screens replaying old battle footage of the Titans, or even just interviews or photos. Some people were dressed up in costume as their favorite Titan and others- like himself- were simply enjoying themselves. Lisa, Clark, Jason, and him had split up a little while ago. Lisa had wanted to listen to the music, Clark had apparently found Titan-themed video games, and Jason was… eating? He couldn't quite remember. Danny had just wanted to walk around and see what was there.
It was nice to be a teenager again. After leaving Amity, he'd been forced to trek across the country by bus and foot and eventually found himself in Jump. By then he'd needed to create a fake identity for himself, pull some strings for a certain tiger, and find both a job and a place to live. He'd taken a crash course in school to make up for everything he'd missed and graduated in a year and a half. All it took was extensive studying, finding a school willing to test him for a degree and then acing said test. Then he'd bought his new home-store and been off to a tentative start up until he sold his first 'invention', as Clark put it. After that, he'd been focused on getting everything set up, remodeling, installing a new lab, and generally settling into his new life. He hadn't just walked around and done nothing in… a very long time.
Págos was sticking close by his heels; earning him both a clear path and a number of stares. Most people in the city had heard about the teen with a tiger, but most of them had never actually seen him. He never went very far since he'd been busy at home and took his classes online. Plus, there was an all-purpose store within walking distance from his house. He had a bike for longer distances, which was a must since he had to avoid anything official and going ghost was now reserved for emergencies only. Danny handed the white tiger the last of the chicken he'd been eating and it promptly disappeared. Págos chuffed appreciatively and continued observing his surroundings.
Are all carnivals like this?
I suppose. This one's pretty over-the-top, though. Because it's thrown in honor of the Titans, the city really went all out. Most carnivals are quieter than this; smaller affairs.
Really? Didn't you say that most people never even see the Titans?
Well, they see them all the time, but they never meet them. Too many star-struck fans wandering around. They probably spend most of their time in the Tower. I still can't figure out how they managed to come to own the only private island smack in the middle of Jump City. Granted, it's not huge, but it could've been used as an attraction or something if they'd set up… er, another park, I don't know. Still, the city could've made a lot of money off it.
Maybe they saved somebody important.
Seems likely, doesn't it?
Págos fell silent and Danny simply slid back into his own quiet musings. Speaking of the Titans, weren't there rumors of Jump's favorite superheroes coming to the carnival today? They always seemed focused on keeping people happy and safe and, well, Danny was well aware that a lot of people in one spot like this was a prime target for criminals. Hopefully nothing would happen today, but the Titans also seemed like the type to take a chance to relax. With the number of costumes that were surprisingly well done, they could probably blend in pretty easily. Heck, he could have seen them already and not recognized them. He'd never seen the Titans at anything but a distance before. Sure, there were photos, but people always seemed to look different by camera than by eye.
Shrugging, Danny let one hand fall to rest on Págos's shoulders. Anything in particular you want to do or see? I'd forgotten that I've never really brought you to anything like this.
Págos blinked up at him for a moment and then looked around once more, this time searching for something. Where's that commentary coming from? It sounds like some sort of game.
Game? Oh, the contests. They're over there- opposite the concert. There's loads of them; food-eating, strength, speed- I think there's one that's competitive gaming or something. I think there's a Doom one planned to start in a bit. I'm thinking about entering that one.
Págos paused and hesitantly turned to face him. Aren't those being recorded? I thought they were broadcasting the carnival.
Danny smiled and scratched Págos's head. Don't worry. I never said I planned on winning. If you're that concerned, I'll just get a copy of the new expansion pack and play that later, alright?
Págos chuffed his ascent and briefly rubbed against Danny's leg. So, can we go check it out?
Laughing, Danny nodded. C'mon. It's this way.
He turned and made his way through the crowds in the general direction of the commentators. From what he could hear, there were quite a few people pulling off some spectacular stunts. In fact- wait, did he hear that right? Someone broke one of the strength testers?
The moment they entered the contest area- which was sectioned off by a massive wall of boxes and tarps and the like- Págos darted off to investigate and Danny wound up chasing after him. Do you want to lose your privilege of walking around with me? Get back here before you accidently terrify somebody important!
Págos trotted back sheepishly, ducking his head slightly, and then proceeded to tow Danny around like a kid in a candy shop. He just wanted to look at everything. Danny sighed softly. He had really been lacking in taking care of his Bonded, hadn't he? Págos never seemed to mind as long as he was around Danny, but almost every ghost was eternally curious about the human world. Danny had been so preoccupied with hiding himself away in Jump that he hadn't even considered that Págos would want to explore the rest of the world. He really was lucky that he'd bound himself to Danny- the one person that could ensure that he would be allowed to stay in the human zone without problem.
Danny blinked, coming out of his thoughts, and was greeted by the sight of Págos glaring at him exasperatedly. I'm telling you, it's fine. Stop moping. I prefer spending time with you anyway. I'll see the world as I see it and miss whatever I'll wind up missing. I don't care, so stop moping.
I should still take you places. Danny argued back weakly. He could feel that Págos sincerely meant what he said through their bond. It made him feel a bit better to know that the tiger really didn't mind, but he still felt guilty.
Págos snorted. When? You've been busy. I really don't care, so stop it. If you're really going to insist, go get me so food or something. I'll 'experience' that.
Laughing, Danny shook his head. I'd rather not be reported for poisoning my pet tiger with too much human food. I'll give you something later, alright?
Huffing, the tiger nodded and strolled leisurely away while turning his massive head back and forth to take in his surroundings. The people around him flinched with each swing of his head and Danny had to admit that Págos looked an awful lot like he'd just dropped into hunting mode.
They spent the next hour just wandering around before they met up with Lisa again. "Enjoying the carnival?" She asked, munching on some cotton candy, and reached down to stroke Págos's back. Said white tiger chuffed happily and waved his tail affirmatively. Lisa smiled at him and looked over at Danny. "And how 'bout you?"
Flashing her an obligatory grin, he nodded. "I haven't done this in a while. It's nice."
Any further conversation was cut off by an abrupt scream of "It's the Titans!" and a massive wave of fans that swarmed past them, all trying to get a glimpse of their heroes.
Ugh. Forget what I said earlier. I'm perfectly content being the controversial hero. No fan mobs, thank you very much. Danny gagged at the thought and Págos's mouth opened in the parody of cat laughter while said laughter was echoing in Danny's head.
Is the all-powerful Danny Phantom scared of a few measly fans?
Clockwork's the all-powerful one, not me.
His familiar rolled his eyes. You and your aversion to acknowledging how powerful you are. Any other ghost would be jumping at the title 'Great One' and demanding to have their name changed to it. What's wrong with you?
I haven't let the fame go to my head yet. Danny thought back dryly.
Other ghosts aren't famous.
Yes they are. Every human on the planet knows about them, if not of them.
That's like saying humans know about humans. The race itself is too general.
Okay, fine. Amity Park can recognize them on sight. For ghosts who are usually locked away in the Zone their whole lives, that's about as famous as it gets.
Sighing, Danny turned towards Lisa and eyed her warily. "You're not going to go fangirl on me, are you? I can go find Clark if that's the case."
No need. He's right there.
Following Págos's paw, Danny spotted Clark dashing with the rest of the maddened crowd towards the supposed location of the Teen Titans. When he turned back to Lisa to point him out, he found only an empty space. Shaking his head, Danny gazed up at the sky. "Why me?" He half-cried, bemoaning his friends' hopeless hero-obsession.
Like you have any room to talk when it comes to obsessions.
Neither do you.
Two for two.
"I wonder if they got any time to actually enjoy the carnival?" Danny mused aloud. Págos abruptly yowled in surprise and dashed away, startling Danny.
Not sure, but you're about to find out if you don't MOVE IT! Incoming rabid fans!
Blinking, Danny turned around and nearly flinched at the sight of a few hundred fans chasing after five very familiar figures. Poor guys. He thought pityingly as his brain processed the situation.
Flames! I'm on the collision path!
Paling, Danny turned on the spot and bolted in the opposite direction and prayed he could find an empty booth or stand to hide in. He could see Págos's long tail like a white flag from here and followed it like a lifeline to the unsurprisingly empty stands of the previously packed concert area. Even the band members were gone.
Págos was crouched underneath the bleachers, hiding behind the stack of miscellaneous boxes and attempting to blend in to the shadows. He was doing surprisingly well for a tiger with snow white fur, but Danny had a sneaking suspicious he was using some of his invisibility powers to hide.
Is the big bad kitty cat scared of a wittle cwowd?
Págos growled at him. You ran too.
Danny shrugged. And I now realize how stupid that is considering I could have just gone intangible. At least I'm not hiding under bleachers. He sighed and slipped under the stands to sit next to Págos. Or at least, I wasn't. It'll probably be safer to wait out the rabid fans here and then make a break for it.
Págos snorted and sank to the ground, stretching out leisurely, and pressed against Danny's side. I sort of feel bad for the Titans. The tiger yawned as the screaming finally became nearly unbearable to their enhanced senses and the massive wave of fans and fleeing Titans dashed right past their hiding place. You think it's clear now?
No. I'm not trying anything until I can't hear the fans for ten minutes straight. It's a big carnival. That has to happen sometime.
As it turned out, that was apparently not very likely. The chase went past them thirteen times in the space of twenty minutes, with the Titans trying practically everything to get away. It was actually quite comical and Danny started humming the Scooby-Doo chase theme music every time they ran past. Still, the constant wild screaming was starting to grate on his nerves and he really didn't feel like sitting here for an hour. Let's go with plan B, then. Danny thought to Págos as he pushed himself to his feet and started shifting boxes and such to make the underside of the bleachers unnoticeable. He worked quickly to hide a makeshift path towards the stage and scanned it quickly to make sure the area backstage was empty. Nodding in satisfaction, he headed back towards Págos, who chuffed wordlessly and heaved himself to his paws before padding outside to await the Titans' return.
They weren't waiting for long before the shouts reached them again and Págos darted to the opposite side of the path and slipped into a crouch. Well? He asked, sea green eyes fixed down the path.
We're all clear. They're almost here. I'd give it a minute at the most- ah, there they are!
The group came screaming past again and the fans continued their mad chase down the path, but they weren't chasing anything but dust.
"Whoa, wait! Don't hurt him!" Danny yelped, pulling up his hood reflexively. The Titans froze at the actual calm and clear sentence and Págos clawed his way out of their grip. Danny breathed out in relief and adjusted his hood to be sure that it completely covered his face.
Don't get him wrong, he respected the Titans as much as the next guy, but… well, he had a more neutral opinion of them. He, of all people, knew what it was like to run around as a teenage superhero with the lives and safety of so many people on his shoulders. The problem was that he instinctively preferred to remain in the shadows, out of sight and unknown. Maybe it was his ghost nature, or because he was as equally infamous as famous back in Amity, or maybe it was because he didn't want to risk anyone finding out more about him. If anyone would try to find out about some random kid who had just saved them from a bunch of crazed fans, it would be the Titans. He just couldn't risk that. He only had one more year to go. It was far better to remain anonymous.
Well, that was ungrateful. Págos grumbled while he turned his massive head to lick his ruffled fur. Danny chuckled in amusement and helped the tiger straighten out his pelt, throwing in grateful scratches for good measure.
Yes, well, you can't exactly blame them, can you?
Págos grunted. I suppose. He conceded.
"Wha- who are you?"
Danny ignored the question and peered out from behind the boxes to check and see how far away the fans got before they realized that their heroes were gone. He frowned a bit at what he found. Sure, they were a far bit down, but the group was so large that the very back of it was actually fairly close to the concert area. Págos trotted over and rose on to his hind paws, resting his front one on some boxes, to look out with him.
"Dude, you have a pet tiger?"
That was louder than safe and Danny turned his head to glare over his shoulder as both he and Págos backed away from the edge of the stands. "Yes." Danny hissed as loudly as he dared. "Now, shhh! Do you want them to find us?" His gaze flicked over to Robin and he felt himself tense slightly. If anyone could figure him out, he'd be willing to be it'd be Robin. Danny breathed out and reminded himself firmly that the only thing they could see would be a shadowed glimpse of his eyes because of the slight neon green glow in the back of them. "And most people call me Danny." He introduced to answer Robin's question. The leader of the Titans visibly relaxed some at getting an answer and Danny was abruptly reminded that he probably looked like some sort of enemy with his face hidden in the shadow of his hood and a massive white tiger prowling at his back. Well, whatever. A long as I don't do anything stupid, I'll be fine.
"C'mon." He motioned for them to follow him with one last glance outside the stands. Good. The rabid fans were wandering away from the concert area. "This way."
Obviously eager to get away from crazed fans and follow the one person who seemed to be sane, the Titans followed after him willingly enough- if not guardedly.
Understandable. Págos commented as he trotted ahead. They don't know you.
Nodding in acknowledgement, Danny guided the Titans through his rush-made path and quickly over the stage to the back and pointed out the long hallway that led to the only back exit in the carnival. "That's how the band got in without being swarmed. It should be able to get you out. No one should know about it.
"Thanks." Robin told him sincerely, if not still a little on edge. Again- understandable. Danny had heard rumors of a sixth Titan that had abruptly just vanished. It didn't take too much guess work for Danny to figure out what had happened when the Titans seemed to have such a difficult time trusting anyone new now. "It was Danny, right?"
Danny stiffened, feeling his breathing falter and the blood drain out of his face. He- that's just like-. His blue gaze was fixed on the slight rotation of Robin's wrist, the way he just barely titled his head when he asked the question.
"Y-yeah." Danny rasped, taking a couple steps back and groping blindly for Págos's fur. His fingers brushed the reassuring white pelt and he felt his familiar press up against his side. The tiger's alarm was clear through their bond, but he was more concerned with calming Danny's sudden panic. "I… have to go. Now." His voice was strained and he barely noticed that Cyborg took a half-worried step forward. Págos whipped around and snarled ferociously at the mechanized Titan. "Stay away!" Págos growled warningly in what Danny had dubbed tiger-speak (something he only understood because of his bond with said tiger).
Cyborg paused, caught off-guard by the seemingly docile tiger turning hostile (Danny doubted he was scared. Págos wouldn't look too terrifying to an experienced Titan in this form). Págos let out another wordless warning and stepped slowly backwards with Danny. "I have to go." Danny repeated, his voice flat.
And before the Titans could say another word, they were gone.
Danny looked blankly down at the puzzled Titans from his place high above their heads, crouched on a beam next to Págos, whose chain was still glowing slightly as it masked the energy using his powers had emitted. The ghost tiger peered at him worried and nudged him with his muzzle gently.
You alright? What happened down there?
Danny's answering smile was full of sorrow and bitter fondness. "Commemorat mihi aliquis solebant."
Danny bolted upright, heart beating wildly in his chest, and nearly blasted his poor book into dust when it fell to the floor with a thud. He blinked rapidly as his battle-honed mind lurched back into nothing-is-wrong mode and left him wildly floundering to figure out where he was. A familiar chuff sounded from his left and then Págos appeared and rested his head on Danny's lap as he waited for the halfa to calm down.
It took him another minute to realize that he was sitting on the couch in his living room. There weren't any lights on- ghostly night vision an' all- and that the faintly glowing clocks on the oven and microwave read 3:43 AM. Danny fell back with a sigh and reached for the book he had been reading before he'd fallen asleep. He gave it a glare and muttered, "You didn't help for very long."
He hadn't intended to fall asleep in the first place. Not after meeting the Titans and having those memories dragged up. He had doubted any sleep he would get would be very restful- which was correct- and he really didn't need the more instinctual part of his ghost half to form an attachment to the Titans. He had enough people he was irreversibly tethered to (or is it just two now?) and he really didn't need to be torn between two cities (could you even keep them safe?) and it would be really stupid to get attached to the Titans because of an old memory when he didn't even really know them and they sure as heck didn't know him (because you failed once before).
Danny sighed and ran a hand through his hair, trying to muffle the nagging voice of his subconscious. Sensing his conflicted thoughts, Págos chuffed wordlessly in support and briefly pushed his massive head against Danny's middle before turned and padding away to let the halfa sort through things. Danny unconsciously reached for the locket around his neck and opened it as soon as his fingers brushed the cool silver metal. He had no doubt it would be freezing to the touch to anyone else, since the metal was constantly being kept cool by his own low temperature.
On the inside, there were two different pictures on the inner faces. The first was of the Fentons. Danny had managed to snag the photo just after Technus had conveniently relocated their house to the beach. His dad was caught mid-run with expression excited as he exclaimed over and over again how their house had been possessed by a ghost and how great that was and on and on and on. His mom was standing off to the side, watching Jack with a fondly amused expression while contemplating how to fix the holes on the bottom of the house and whether or not to move it back before summer ended. And there was his sister, Jazz. She was laughing. That had been what had encouraged Danny to take the picture. Usually Jazz would have torn into their parents about the danger their work had put Danny into or how it was technically illegal for them to leave the house here or maybe started to psychoanalyze them, but instead… she just laughed.
Fenton. Danny thought with a small smile. I'm a Fenton.
The other picture was of Sam and Tucker. The background was blurred because of the way the camera had focused on the two teens, but it looked like it may have been the parking lot of Casper High. They both had one arm slung around each other's shoulders and their other hand raised in a cheer. He didn't remember what it was about, but then again, it could've been about anything. They were always trying to stay positive for him. The less sleep he got, the less free time he got, the less food he ate… they were always trying to do more to make up for it. Tucker was his best friend; his brother. They practically shared everything except ghost powers, and they'd even shared that for a time… sort of. They always knew that they could rely on each other, no matter what. They could be five states away from each other and in the middle of a huge disagreement and they knew that the other would always help them out. Sam… Sam was the girl he'd fallen in love with. Despite his nickname, he wasn't entirely clueless. Yes, he could admit that it went straight over his head for a while, but around the same time that he'd finally gotten over Paulina, some part of his head had noticed. It had seemed odd to him- Sam was his friend and part of his obsession, of course he'd do anything to keep her safe. But it was a lot harder to ignore after Valerie broke up with him and after the incident with Gregor. After that, he'd been terrified. What if this jeopardized their friendship? He'd bit his tongue and played clueless… until… that night they stopped hiding. There hadn't been some special romantic moment; no piers or fireworks or hey-I-just-finished-saving-the-world-again-s. He told her and it had to have been the best moment of his life when she'd kissed him. And then he'd wound up here, in Jump, just a month later… because…- Danny blinked, fighting back the black hole of emotion that had just risen. The air temperature around him had been dropping rapidly. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Danny thumbed the picture gently.
Phantom. I'm Phantom.
He didn't know how long he stared at those pictures, lost in his memories, before he was abruptly pulled out of his thoughts when his finger brushed over the edge of the Phantom symbol engraved on the lid. Shutting the locket with a soft click, Danny teethed his lip uncertainly as he traced the symbol. Did he really want to? Was he ready to look at that so soon after being reminded? He sighed, wondering if he was just afraid of the skeletons in his closet. He couldn't think about either incident anymore. They struck too close to home, but…
He pressed down on the symbol, which slid inward with a soft click. The false back swung open silently and Danny hesitated. He took a slow breath and flipped the locket over. The photo here was faded with age and had a small crease on the left side where it had once been folded. On the left was a tall man with clear blue eyes and a slight beard. On the right was a pretty woman with long blond hair pulled back into a thick ponytail and equally blue eyes. In front of them stood two children, both black-haired and blue-eyed. The one of the right was taller than the other and older by about three years. The two brothers were play-fighting in the picture, not even looking at the camera. Danny smiled softly at the picture and leaned his head back, shutting the locket with a quiet snap.
But before I was either Fenton or Phantom, I was a Grayson.
I hope all of you enjoyed the first chapter of Bloodstains! So, as above, there is a lot of speculation with the Titans' ages. They were never confirmed (that I know of) but the general fan consensus is this:
Beast Boy- 14
I need them to be a bit older for this story (because Danny is 17 and er… well, the last passage above) so their new ages are these:
Beast Boy- 19
Translations (in order from top to bottom):
"There you are." – Danny in Latin
"He reminds me of someone I used to know." – Danny in Latin
*Págos is the English-spelled pronunciation of the Greek word for "ice".
Also, as a random-yet-important note, the languages that each character is known to speak are below:
Raven: English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, Sanskrit, and Azaranian (the language of her people).
Starfire: English, Japanese, and Tameranean
Robin: English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, German, Swahili, Mandarin, Cantonese, and some Tameranean
Beast Boy: English
Due to Danny's interactions in the TV show (Wulf and Pandora) as well as him being a ghost and general DP fic-writer 'stereotypes', he can speak the following languages:
English, Latin, Greek, and Esperanto