WoM- MERRY CHRISTMAS! Did everyone get nice stuff from Santa? 'giggles,' I'm now officially loaded, and I'm probably gonna blow it all on a scanner so I can post my artwork on the Internet. Anyways, here's the last Chapter of Christmas Ghosts, the second fic I've finished. 'exceedingly proud of herself,' Enjoy!
Clockwork: (To Danny) You've given everyone else in your life a second chance. Why not you?
Bonnie gasped as she suddenly felt very faint, so stunned it took her a few minutes to notice she was back in the same endless pit she was in before Youngblood's visit.
"Chilling, isn't it?" Clockwork asked her. "Knowing the route you will take if you refuse to stop thinking of only yourself? Seeing the way things once were for you, and knowing how they are for others now…" Bonnie swallowed against a lump in her throat.
"I can change it all though, right?" She asked hopefully, "I can stop all that from happening, can't I?"
"Yes," Clockwork told her, "I would not have chosen you to come if your path was set too firmly to alter. In the end, however, it's going to be your choice, Bonnie. You're the one who's in charge of your destiny, not me. I am merely the one who watches, and lends a hand to steer things in the right direction now and then."
"So, I can stop that?" Bonnie said softly.
"Or, you can choose to forget this warning, go back to your selfish ways. The choice is yours in the end, my dear," Clockwork smiled slightly as he slipped a medallion over Bonnie's head. "And the time to choose is now…"
"Bonnie? Bonnie are you okay?" Kim asked, putting a hand on Bonnie shoulder in concern.
Bonnie jerked in surprise, looking around her wildly. She was lying on the floor outside of the gym, in the exact spot Clockwork had taken her captive.
"You slipped and fell, Bon," Brick said worriedly, "we thought you wouldn't wake up…"
"Is it still Christmas?" Bonnie asked sharply.
"Wha-?" Kim blinked, "Yes, it's still Christmas. Why wouldn't it be?"
"And the ghosts, the ghosts are all gone?" Bonnie sounded almost desperate now. Kim's eyebrow kicked up.
"Ghosts?" She repeated slowly.
"Yeah!" Bonnie nodded, "Youngblood, and Danny and Plas- oh yeah, you guys didn't meet Plasmius…" Kim frowned at Bonnie in concern.
"Bonnie, did you hit your head?" the teen hero asked, feeling gingerly for any bumps. Bonnie gave her a mortified look.
"You don't remember?" She asked softly.
"Dude, remember what?" Ron asked, "You came storming out here then screamed when you slipped and we sat here waiting for you to wake up. Nothing else happened."
"But Clockwork…" Bonnie frowned uncertainly. "Was it all a dream?"
"Maybe we should get you to the hospital, Bonnie," Kim sighed as she stood, "If you hit your head hard enough to hallucinate, you might have a concussion." Bonnie looked troubled for a moment, just about convinced that the whole thing HAD been a hallucination when she felt an unfamiliar weight around her neck.
Looking down, her eyes widened at the sight of Clockwork's medallion.
"It wasn't a dream…" She gasped, brightening slightly.
"Bonnie?" Kim frowned. She let out a yelp of surprise when the girl leapt up, almost crushing Kim in a bear hug.
"It wasn't a dream!" She repeated, happiness tingeing her tone, "And I can still fix things! When does the Caroling start?"
"Two hours and forty five minutes from now," Barkens answered. "Why?"
"Great," Bonnie stood up, laughing slightly "There's still time!" Everyone else watched in stunned silence as the girl hurried out the door, still laughing in her abnormal good mood.
"Uh, what just happened?" Ron asked uncertainly.
"I'm not sure…" Kim said, shaking her head and frowning, puzzled. Then she gave her boyfriend a reassuring smile, "But it's probably nothing we need to worry about. Come on, let's get ready to carol…"
"Mom?" Bonnie called out when she got back to her home.
"Bon-bon?" Mrs. Rockwaller came out of the kitchen, wiping her flour-covered hands on a dishtowel. "I thought you wouldn't be home until seven-thirty… Is something wrong? Did you forget something?"
"Yep," Bonnie responded, hugging her mother tightly. "I forgot to tell you Merry Christmas. And that I'm really glad you were always there to look out for me, Mom. I can never repay you," Mrs. Rockwaller blushed and hugged her daughter back.
"Oh, Bonnie…" She said, tearing up slightly. "That's so sweet!"
"What's with this Fluff-fest?" A snooty voice at the base of the stairs asked.
"Yeah, Bonnie, you act like mom's dying or something,"
"Lonnie! Connie!" Bonnie said, hugging both her sisters at once and ignoring their yelps of surprise, "Merry Christmas!" Both of the older Rockwaller sisters stared at their sister was she practically danced up the stairs and began sorting through all her old boxes of toys.
"What got into her?" Lonnie asked.
"Dunno," Her sister responded, "But let's not stick around to find out. It could be contagious…"
Kim sighed happily as she looked around her, watching her classmates talk and play with the young orphans. Her happy smile widened when her eyes landed on Bonnie and her orphan, a little girl named Katherine who looked hollow and depressed, despite the time of year
"I know you probably wanted something new, but I was hoping maybe you'd like this more," Bonnie told the little girl she was smiling down at in a warm, gentle way. "This is Lucille. When I was your age, I used to tell her everything, since I couldn't talk to the rest of my family." Katherine's empty eyes seemed to focus on the bear as Bonnie spoke to her. "I know it probably doesn't seem like a great gift to you, a second hand teddy, but I was hoping she could help you, too, the same way she helped me." Bonnie slid the bear over to the younger girl, suddenly too shy to meet her eyes.
"…Thank you," Katherine whispered, hugging Lucille so tightly, you'd think it was her only lifeline, "Thank you," Bonnie smiled.
"It's no problem," She said, "She can't help me anymore, so why not let her work some magic on someone who needs her more? Merry Christmas, Katherine…"
"Wow, Bonnie," Kim said to her fellow cheerleader as they left, "I have to admit, I'm seriously impressed."
"It was nothing," Bonnie said, smiling, "Oh, and Kim? I think I really owe you an apology. For all the things I've said and done. I was, you know, jealous and…" Kim smiled.
"Apology accepted," She said sincerely. "And Merry Christmas, Bonnie," Bonnie smiled.
"Thanks," she said softly, playing with Clockwork's medallion. "You too, Kim" As the other cheerleader left, Bonnie took the time to look the medallion over again, and noticed that it had a latch on the side, as if it were a locket. Curious, Bonnie opened it to find out what was inside.
'I knew you could find the true
spirit of the holidays inside you,
Bonnie. May this Christmas and
All that come bring you joy.
PS. As my Christmas gift to you,
I bring you tidings for the near
future. You meeting with Danny
today will not be the last…'
Bonnie blinked as she deciphered the message, then she giggled slightly as the giddy, heady feeling from before returned.
"Bonnie!" Tara yelled back to the girl, "Come on, it's time to go!"
"Coming!" Bonnie yelled back, running to catch up with her friends…
"What was that supposed to mean? That she and Phantom would meet again?" Youngblood asked curiously.
"Two months from now one of Kim's arch enemies will unleash the most powerful spirits of the Ghost Zone on Middleton, Danny among them as he was inside the Ghost Zone at the time," Clockwork explained. "He will help Kim and Ron face down the ghosts before returning home."
"You really do know everything, don't you?" Youngblood asked shortly, a little irritated by this fact.
"I know that you died because you were riding in a car your older brother was driving drunk," Clockwork said pointedly. Youngblood frowned at that.
"Well, what was I supposed to do?" He asked bitterness tingeing his tone, "He was the great one of the family, always getting perfect grades… He was the one who was always supposed to be right. I was just a whiney brat living in a dream world where he liked to pretend he was a pirate, or something like that."
"Nothing you could've done would stop it," Clockwork agreed with him softly, "But your choices now affect your future as much as it did when you were alive. You may wish to remember that as you life out the afterlife." Clockwork turned back to his portal, "Now, if you excuse me, I have to send a thief back to his own reality…"
Red X was silent.
Normally, he wasn't much of a talker anyways, but this silence was different, strained, angry silence that he wanted to break, but couldn't.
"I've angered you," Clockwork observed from behind the boy.
"Who are you to come in and rearrange my life?" Red X said coldly, "Why does it even matter in the long run, it doesn't affect you…"
"Because," Clockwork answered, "I will not sit by if there is a opening for me to change something for the better. You aren't a bad person, Jason, no one is saying that you are. But you can be better."
"So you want to turn me into a goody-goody like the Titans?" Red X sneered.
"No," Clockwork said, "I want to open your eyes to where you can go, what you can be, and I want you to re-examine the life you're living now and tell me if it truly makes you happy." Red X was silent before he sighed in irritation.
"Why do you even care?" He asked in a tired tone.
"Because," Clockwork responded, tossing something to the boy that he caught automatically. "I am Second Chance,"
There was a flash of light, and Red X found himself standing back in the house he'd been looting before Clockwork had taken him as an unwilling captive. It was empty, apparently all the party-goers and the Titans East had left, and the bag with the possessions he'd stolen was gone, most likely returned to the owner of the estate.
Red X looked around the silent room for a moment before glancing down at the medallion in his hands.
"Second Chance, huh?" He murmured, watching as the necklace glint in the moonlight. Gripping it harder, the boy turned with a sweep of his tattered cloak, leaving the house as silently as a ghost…
'tap, tap!' Anna moaned and shifted in her bed, barely registering the sound against her bedroom window. 'tap, tap!'
"You know it's not safe to leave any windows unlocked when you sleep, right?"
That strange voice was what had Anna's eyes snapping open wide. Shooting up, she turned frantically and saw someone sitting in the shadows, by the door, watching her. Fear enveloped her as she opened her mouth to act on first instinct and scream the house down.
She didn't even see the person move across the room on lightning fast reflexes to cover her mouth.
"Shhh…" He whispered, as she struggled against his hand "It's okay. I'm not here to hurt you again, sis," Anna stopped struggling to give the boy a wide eyed stare as he removed his hand.
"Jason?" She whispered in awe, "Jason, is that really you?" Red X smiled wryly as he ran a hand through his hair, feeling oddly naked without his suit.
"Nice to see you, Anna," He said. He expected her to demand to know where he'd been, to yell at him for making her worry, to tell him to get lost in anger at the way he was trying to just walk back into her life. What he was not expecting was what he got.
She hugged him.
The girl literally dived for her brother, wrapping her arms around his neck as she sobbed into his shoulder, leaving Red X to pat her back in an awkward, uncertain way.
"I was so scared!" Anna cried, "I thought I'd never see you again, Jason!"
"Shhh…" Red X responded, still patting her back, "It's alright, Anna, I'm okay… and I'm sorry I made you worry like that."
"But you're back now, right?" Anna asked desperately. "You're not ever leaving again, are you?"
"Not just yet," Red X admitted with a sigh, "There are some things I need to take care of first. I've done some stupid things in the time I've been gone and I need to make up for it before I make any solid plans," Anna bit her lip.
"…I understand," She said softly before smiling, "I'm just glad I finally know you're okay…"
"I'll be better once everything's said and done," Red X told her, "But until then, I can't risk seeing you again."
"Can you call me or something?" Anna pleaded, "Anything to let me know you're alive."
"Sure kid," Red X chuckled. He turned sharply when he heard someone approaching the room. "I gotta go now. Stay safe… and make sure you have a good Christmas. It'd be nice to know one of us does."
"Jason-!" Anna started to protest. But it was too late. As swiftly and silently as her brother had come, he left. Before Anna could say anything else, her surrogate father entered the room.
"Are you alright, Anna?" He asked, flipping on a light, "I heard voices…"
"Fine," She answered, "Just saying prayer." The man smiled at her, then his eye caught something and he sighed.
"Anna, you should know not to leave the window open in the winter time," He chided lightly, sliding the glass panel shut and locking it, "Pull stuff like that and anything can happen from a nasty cold to a night burglar," Anna was about to protest that she HAD closed her window before going to bed until realization hit her.
"…Sorry, Dad, I won't do it again, promise," She said with a smile.
"Just don't go getting sick on Christmas Eve," He chuckled. "Night, Sweetheart, and Merry Christmas."
"Good night, Dad," She called as he clicked her light off and left. Then, padding silently over to the window, she smiled knowingly at the figure dashing away in the shadows. "…Merry Christmas, Jason…"
"I don't get it," Youngblood complained, "What's he gonna do?"
"Redeem himself," Clockwork answered, "The only way he knows how. He's going to hunt out those in the underground who do the worst in this world, keeping his methods silent as possible."
"So no more stealing?" Youngblood clarified.
"No," Clockwork said, amused, "No more stealing."
"He's not gonna be another corny superhero type, is he?" Youngblood asked suspiciously.
"No," Clockwork answered, chuckling, "Nothing like that. He's not that virtuous, however he will do a fair share of good deeds, never actually stepping up and taking claim for them. As I said before, he was never really good or evil, just extremely selfish and misguided."
"That snobby babysitter girl's next, isn't she?" Youngblood said as the scene cleared.
"Indeed," Clockwork sighed, "And I must say, watching her should be quite entertaining…"
"Well, Vicky, have you learned your lesson?" Clockwork asked smoothly as he approached the girl.
"Is that really what's going to happen to me?" Vicky asked desperately.
"That all depends on your decision, now doesn't it?" Clockwork replied, slipping another medallion around her neck, "If you choose to ignore what you've learned today, then yes, that is your fate. Take heed our warning, and your life will be far more prosperous."
"But how can I change?" Vicky asked, "Where do I start? What can I do?"
"You can start by changing your priorities." Clockwork answered, "And showing those around you a bit of kindness could never hurt, either."
"You mean like Tw- Timmy?" Vicky caught herself before she called Timmy by her nickname for him again.
"He's definitely a nice start," Clockwork admitted, sounding faintly amused, "But he isn't the only one you can be kind to, Vicky, remember that…"
The scenery and the ghost faded from Vicky's view, and she found herself standing in the doorway to her room. The red head blinked in a daze for a moment before everything connected.
"TOOTIE!" She yelled, barging into her sister's room.
"I'msosorryVicky!" The younger girl babbled in a panic, diving behind her bed to hide from her sister. "IswearIwastryingtokeepitdownIreallywas! Pleasedon'thurtme!"
"Is today still Christmas Eve?" She asked desperately.
"Uh-huh," Tootie nodded, watching her sister warily for whatever torment she'd inflict next. Her eyes widened and she cowered away when Vicky began to laugh.
"Then there's still time…" She said giddily, "THERE'S STILL TIME!" And, before the younger girl could react, Vicky swept her sister into a tight hug. "Oh my sweet and darling little sister! I swear I'll never, ever be mean to you again!"
"Uhh…" Tootie blinked. Before she could say anything else, Vicky put her down and dashed out of the house, leaving a very bewildered ten year old girl behind.
Vicky on her part was now bouncing impatiently on the Turner's front steps, ringing the doorbell ten million times.
"Vicky?" Mrs. Turner said as she opened the door, blinking at the sixteen year old in surprise.
"Merry Christmas, Mrs. Turner!" Vicky responded, hugging the woman, "I just wanted to return you money from earlier. And apologize,"
"Apologize?" Mrs. Turner repeated, confused as she took her money back in a rather uncertain manner, "Apologize for what?"
"Mom we're all out of popcorn and Dad's doing something very creepy with the-!" Timmy stopped dead at the sight of Vicky, and the two goldfish in the bowl in his hands exchanged looks. "AHHHHHHHHHHH! VICKY!"
"Timmy!" Vicky said, grabbing the boy and hugging him before he could make his escape, "There you are! I'm so sorry!" Timmy stopped struggling in her arms.
"Wait… You're what?" He asked, staring at his babysitter.
"I've been really mean to you and I wanted to apologize," Vicky explained.
"…Who are you and what have you done with the real Vicky?" Timmy asked suspiciously.
"Guess I deserve that," Vicky said, "But I promise I'll be good from now on, to you and everyone else! And I'll start by running out to buy some more popcorn and soda so you don't have to miss your movie with your parents." And with that, Vicky raced out.
"Well," Mrs. Turner said happily, "Wasn't that nice? I'm so glad Vicky's such a kind babysitter…" Timmy stayed behind as his mother headed back into the living room, still in a state of semi-shock.
"What the heck was that about?" Timmy asked his Fairy Godparents.
"Who knows, Sweetie," Wanda said, giving Cosmo a warning look as he opened his mouth, "But one thing's for sure, We'll be seeing a nicer Vicky from now on!"
"I still think she was abducted by aliens or something," Timmy grumbled.
"Not aliens," Cosmo corrected happily, "Ghosts!"
"Oh, Timmy!" Mrs. Turner called, "The movie's back from commercials! You don't want to stand there whispering to your goldfish all night, do you?"
"Ah!" Timmy winced, turning hastily, "Uh, coming!"
Both goldfish sighed in relief as the ten year old's ten second attention span worked in their favor yet again.
"What's with those goldfish, anyways?" Youngblood asked curiously, "I've never seen talking goldfish before…"
"That's a lesson for another day," Clockwork told the boy, "For now, we should concentrate on those we've aided…"
"Hey, yeah!" The boy ghost brightened. "That ghost hunting girl's next, isn't she? The one who's friends with Phantom?"
"Indeed," Clockwork sighed, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get out to return her to her proper home…"
"Huh?" Valerie blinked as she found herself back in the hallway she'd gotten stuck in before lined with portrait after portrait. "Where did he-?"
"Back home, I believe," Clockwork answered, "Which is where you should be as well, my dear…"
"You're that first ghost?" Valerie said, her eyes widening, then she remembered what he'd told her, "Am I really in danger of losing my dad and Danny like that? Could I really be that heartless?"
"That is up to you," Clockwork sighed, "Everyone had the potential for greatness or evil, humans and ghosts alike. Everyone faces trials that test their loyalties, their boundaries. I'm not going to lie to you and say your trails are over, or that you've even faced the worst of them, but I will say that if you can learn to forgive and open your heart to those who want in, in the end you will me a kinder, happier person."
"And I don't have to give up hunting?" Valerie pressed.
"Not at all," Clockwork told her sounding faintly amused. "Just try to go at it in a different approach, my dear. Also, you might want to fully understand a situation before you make a move… And take care to notice your surroundings from now on, anymore repeats of the Nasty Burger fiasco and the people of Amity may decide to take their chances with the ghost," Valerie grinned guiltily at that.
"Hey, Clockwork, right?" Valerie said uncertainly, "You said you control time… does that mean you know what's happening in the future?"
"And the past, and the present," Clockwork nodded, "No knowledge is unattainable to me,"
"…About Danny…" Valerie bit her lip uncertainly.
"You wish to know if he could develop feeling for you?" Clockwork asked. Valerie blushed.
"No, not that," She assured him hastily, "No offence, but I want to find that out on my own. I just wanna know if he'll be happy in the future is all. He's really stressed out now a lot, and I want to know if things are gonna get any better for him,"
"You're worried," Clockwork clarified.
"Any halfway decent friend would be," Valerie said, stubborn pride returning to her eyes as she lifted her chin to fix the ghost with a challenging glare. Clockwork chuckled.
"True enough, my dear," He said with a kind smile, "And you needn't worry about Danny. He's stronger then he appears, and though his future is also full of turmoil, just as it is with you he will overcome everything merely by putting faith in those he cares for."
"Thanks," Valerie said, relaxing slightly and even giving the ghost a shy smile.
"It is my pleasure, my dear," Clockwork said, slipping his final medallion around the girl's neck, "Now, I believe you have a party to get to…?"
And with that, the ghost and the scenery melted away, leaving Valerie standing in front of FentonWorks in her street clothes with a coat to keep out the chill, a rather bulky pile of presents in her arms.
The girl hesitated for a moment, wondering how on earth she was gonna carry the presents into the house when a voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Need some help?"
Valerie turned eyeing the ghost boy she was Hell bent on hunting warily as he floated a little above her with a feeble smile, clearly still cautious despite his offer. The ghost hunter sighed.
"I still don't trust you," She said bluntly, "And I still don't like you." The ghost cringed. "…But it is Christmas, and I can use a hand," The ghost blinked as Valerie gave him a wide, genuine smile, amused that she could put such a look on the ghost boy's face, "Just make sure to beat it before Mr. And Mrs. Fenton open the door. I don't doubt they've got some kind of weapon they keep on them at all times."
"You have no idea." Phantom said, rolling his eyes and grinning as he took the gifts so Valerie's hands were free to knock.
"And don't think this changes anything, either," Valerie warned as she took the presents back, "I see you tomorrow and your butt's mine, Ghost boy!" Phantom laughed.
"We'll see, Hunter girl, we'll see!" Phantom said playfully as he went invisible. Just in time, too, as the door opened just as the last trace of the spirit disappeared.
"Valerie?" Sam said, blinking in surprise.
"Hey, Sam," Valerie grinned, "Merry Christmas!"
"Valerie!" Maddie said happily, "Oh, Danny said you couldn't make it!"
"My scheduled cleared up," Valerie responded, "Is my invite still open?"
"Of course!" Jack grinned, "The more the merrier! Danny! Valerie's here!"
"Where's your father, sweetheart?" Maddie asked curiously as she took the presents from Valerie to set them with everything else, elbowing her husband out of the way as she didn't so, since he was hovering around curiously, eager to see if any were for him. Valerie flinched.
"He's on his way right now," Danny answered for her, coming down the stairs, "I just called him on my cell phone to say Merry Christmas and he told me he was on his way," Only Valerie saw Danny wink at her knowingly, and she couldn't help but grin back.
"Well that's nice!" Maddie said happily, "I was hoping I could talk to him more about energy-charged weaponry." Jazz groaned.
"Mo-om," She griped, "You promised no ghost stuff!"
"When do they ever keep that promise, Jazz?" Danny laughed as he approached Valerie. He grinned at her widely, "I knew you'd come around,"
"You're just lucky I like you, Fenton," Valerie responded playfully, happy to be back in their usual lighthearted banter. Both of them heard the phone ring, but after seeing Tucker dive for it they tuned it out.
"Tell me about it," Danny flinched, "You're a dangerous enemy, Val," Valerie laughed at that.
"Yo, Danny!" Tucker shouted, "It's for you!" A little surprised, Danny headed over to take the phone from his best friend, not missing the pointed look he gave him.
"So why did you come?" Sam asked, raising an eyebrow at Valerie.
"What, I can't enjoy the holidays with a friend?" Valerie countered, grinning. Sam's eyes narrowed slightly, "Relax, Manson, I'm not gonna pull anything tonight, I just want have a little fun with you guys before school starts up again," Sam hesitated, then smiled.
"Fair enough, I suppose," she said, "But after today…"
"I know, I know," Valerie's grin took on an edge of something else, "All bets are off!"
"Mom! Dad!" Danny called out as he re-entered the room, "That was Vlad. He said he got held up in traffic, but he's definitely on his way over." Sam and Valerie both blinked in surprise at the casual mention of the billionaire, for far different reasons.
"Great!" Jack said happily, "I was worried his couldn't make it!"
"Me too," Maddie smiled, "No one should spend Christmas alone…"
"Yeah…" Valerie and Danny agreed as one. Then blinked at each other in shock, then grinned widely. Sam sighed and shook her head.
"Come on, everyone!" She called out, grabbing Danny's hand and pulling him over to the couch, "I call we open presents before the dad's bellow out anoter Christmas song!"
"I second that!" Danny said hastily.
"I third it!" Jazz piped up.
"Me too!" Tucker yelled, also diving for the presents. The mothers all laughed and the fathers sulked as a grinning Valerie joined her classmates and friends in the present pile.
'You know what?' She realized as he picked up the first gift she found with her name on it, 'I'm glad things have turned out the way they have. I might not be popular anymore, but I am a better person, and I guess that's all that really matters…' Then she glanced at Danny with a smug smile as she watched him and Jazz bicker over something trivial, 'Besides, now I've got friends that no ghosts can take away from me,'
WoM- There you have it! I hope everyone out there has a safe and Happy holidays! Don't be afraid to spread some cheer around, either, you never know who needs it, and it's a present everyone can appreciate!
Queen S of Randomness 016
Light Dragon SunsSong
Anne Camp aka Obi-quiet
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!