A/N: Well, I felt like doing something productive these holidays, so I decided to update this fic for the first time in three and a half years! :D Missed me, guys? Well, here it is: enjoy!
My fingers flashed through the darkness; pale, glowing blurs flying across the highly polished neck of my guitar as I fiddled around with a new riff I was working on. I was caught up in the sound of my own electric guitar when a sharp rapping on wood caught my attention.
"It's open!" I yelled out.
The door creaked open and a freckly face popped around the doorframe. "Miss Ember, I came to bring you good news. Take a look!" Timidly, the adolescent boy approached me, placed a stack of magazines on a nearby table and fled with a parting, "I love you, Ember!"
I smiled and picked up the first magazine. It featured me, smiling up from the glossy front page with the phrase I rock splayed across the top. The one beneath it was the newest copy of Music News, also featuring me with an artistic backdrop of purple flames. The one underneath was a copy of Chart with a close-up of my face and my name shining purple at the bottom. This continued on for the whole stack of magazines – each sporting my face and name. It was beautiful.
Putting my plan into action was so easy it was laughable. With a little hypnotic strumming here and there to the right audience, I'd managed to secure my own concert which would be broadcasted across the globe. With the whole world screaming my name, I'd be unstoppable!
Dropping the magazines back onto the table, I stood. I was due to appear at a music megastore to give out free tickets to my concert. Hey, why make the kids pay to listen to great music? It's not like I had to pay to rent the joint I'd be performing in.
My fiery blue hair grew, circled me then died, and when it disappeared, I was gone.
The place was amazing. It was every rock star's dream – totally decked out with everything to do with me and full of screaming fans before I'd even arrived.
Well, might as well give them a show.
Smirking down at my audience from my vantage point, I phased back into the visible spectrum. Still smirking down at them, I reached behind me and pulled out handfuls of tickets. Throwing them into the crowd, I screamed, "Tell me who you LOVE!"
They complied, screaming my name in unison. "Ember! Ember!! Ember!!"
It was wonderful – my name being shouted by my adoring fans filled me with energy until I was almost bursting with it. The power glowed around me, and erupted through my hair in the form of a gigantic blue flame.
I'd never felt better.
A sharp whistle cut through to capture my attention, along with the crowds'. To my shock, the massive cardboard cut-out of myself had been vandalised with a red marker by the obnoxious teen hanging off it. The crowd gasped their horror.
"Hey, everybody, look!" shouted the impudent little brat. "It's Ember McLame!"
The crowd's brief silence took its toll – the blue flame of my hair shrank back to normal size and I felt the power leave my body. "Oh, great, a critic," I grumbled. Raising my voice, I addressed the girl. "Maybe you'll like my new song better!" I cranked up my guitar a notch and was about to blast the girl right out of the building when I was hit in the stomach by a green, ectoplasmic ray.
As I cried out in pain and hit the wall behind me, I heard the owner of the ecto-ray call out, "Hey, do you take requests? How about Beat It?"
I groaned internally at the pun before jumping into the air to float on the same level as the ghost boy who'd shot me. Looking closely, I noticed that it was that same kid who'd inadvertently helped me escape from the Ghost Zone. Hey, what do you know?
Deciding to join in the pre-battle banter, I spat back, "How 'bout I just lay down a few power chords instead, Dipstick?"
I raised my arm and struck down on my guitar as the boy reached for the device he was carrying on his back – what was that, a soup thermos?! – to distract him whilst I left dramatically in a whirlwind of blue fire, invisibly baiting him to chase me onto the roof. Distantly, I heard the crowd cheer me on. My power levels cranked up a few notches.
Taking the bait, the boy appeared in front of me, the wind plucking at his silvery-white hair. "'Dipstick'! Ho, ho! Funny!" he muttered, before flying forward to attack me. I raised my arms to meet him and we each struggled for the upper hand as he continued, "Who writes your insults? The same hack who writes your songs?"
Ouch, that hurt. Amateur.
I was about to retort when I heard it – the crowd, cheering my name. "Ember! Ember! Ember!" I grinned as the power of their support fuelled me on. My fiery, blue hair grew to twice my size and I bore down on the ghost boy, forcing him down under my superior strength.
The boy faltered, then began to sweat, looking apprehensive. "Chanting…" he murmured to himself, "…makes her stronger!" He glanced up at me, finally understanding how I'd gotten the upper hand.
"You got that right, baby pop," I taunted him. "And the more kids chanting" - with an almighty heave, I threw him over my hip to go flying across the roof – "the stronger I get!"
Crying out as he was thrown through the air, he hit a giant wooden cut-out of me with an 'oof', causing it to collapse. It balanced precariously on the edge of the building, threatening to slide off the roof to go crashing down into the crowd below.
As the ghost boy glanced at it worriedly, I flew right up to him. As he gasped at my sudden proximity, I taunted, "You think I'm strong now? Just wait until midnight, when my concert goes global and the whole world's chanting my name! Then you'll all be my slaves!" On that last point, I slammed down a power chord which blasted the ghost boy backwards, landing inches from my fallen cut-out.
"Get away from him!"
To my shock, silver rings appeared around the ghost boy's waist, travelling across his body as they transformed him into a raven-haired, teenage boy. Huh, so this is the famous halfa? Donny Phantom or something, wasn't it?
As I watched, the girl who had shouted out ran across the roof to stand protectively in front of the Phantom kid, brandishing another thermos at me (gosh, what was with kids these days? Soup thermoses? Seriously?). It was that girl who had defaced that smaller cut-out of me, the brat. I smiled down at her fierce scowl, a plan formulating to prevent either of them from interfering with my global concert tonight.
"Aww, teen love. They say it never lasts!" I crooned, grinning at the two teenagers. "But nothing distracts teenagers more than hormones" – the girl raised her eyebrows at this seemingly random statement – "and I need to keep you busy for the next eight hours." Glancing down at my beautiful guitar, I switched the settings until the knob pointed to a picture of a tiny pink heart. "I have more than just music for you," I informed them. "Now that they're chanting my name, my music can affect you!" Raising my voice to a shout, I struck down another power chord, aimed at the young teenagers. "How about a love song?"
The power of my guitar hit the girl, throwing her screaming through the air to land right on the very tip of my dangerously wobbling, fallen cut-out. Frightened out of her wits, she attempted to keep from looking down at the large drop inches from the edge of the painted wood. Looking pleadingly at the boy, he responded by turning to her with an intense, love struck gaze and a smile bigger than the moon.
As the girl looked baffled by her friend's abrupt change in attitude, I called out, "Well, I think I'll leave the new couple alone." I smiled and gave the two a small, parting wave. "Ciao, babies!" Laughing at my own ingenuity, I turned intangible to sink back through the roof to return to my adoring crowd inside.
I was greeted with more cheering. About to raise my voice to address them again, I was interrupted by the beating of helicopter blades and the shouting of an adult through a megaphone.
"Attention students!" the voice called. "By authority of the Emergency Mass Grounding Act, you are all under house arrest!"
To my annoyance, a team of adults dressed in dark suits burst their way through the large double doors and began hurling kids outside to be thrown unceremoniously into the backs of their vans.
"You will now be returned to your homes to await parental punishment," the man with the megaphone continued, "and as for your precious Ember" – this piqued my curiosity – "she's going DOWN!"
A/N: Yeah, shorter than the chapters I normally write up for my fics, but give me a break, it's my first update for any of my stories in something like a year. Besides, I thought this was a pretty decent place to end. Not much of a cliffhanger (seeing as everyone's seen Fanning the Flames), but a good enough ending to make me feel accomplished. I hope you enjoyed it! I'll see if I can get another chapter up sometime in the next few weeks. Someone give me a reasonable deadline, I'll be more motivated to write!