This is an experiment, me trying to keep up my writing skill until the spark to write the fics I have already comes back, along with me trying a new genre.
I'll let you check out the start of one of my other fics if you want to hear my normal intro rant.
I'm not making money on any of this - my one disclaimer for the entire fic. Deal with it.
ALSO- I like to have a bit of plot mystery in my fics. Some things just won't make sense until three or four chapters from now. I got one very memorable flame for one of my fics- it was about three pages long, detailing everything that didn't make sense with it up to that point, and stating that he couldn't stand to read it past the second chapter, thus invalidating his entire argument… because I HAD answered most of those problems in later chapters. I don't like stupid flames. Feel free to try and ponder out the bits that don't make sense, or ask if you're curious because something doesn't fit.
Just please, for the love of C'Thun, read the damn author's notes!
"Raven, do you know anything about Ghosts?"
The question posed by Robin, who was sitting at his computer and still staring intently at it, caught Raven so off-guard she put down her book and raised an eyebrow. "That depends on what kind of ghost you mean."
This time the Boy Wonder looked away from the screen, his mask stretching oddly as his own eyebrow cocked. "There's more than one?"
Raven sighed, barely heard over the ruckus of Cyborg and Beast Boy up to their usual video game shenanigans. "Not really, but the various terms for spirits and such have been used so interchangeably that when you ask me about 'ghosts' I don't know if you mean spirits, or specters, poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls, or any of the more obscure forms of 'after-spirit'." She shook her head in exasperation and stood, continuing as she made her way to his side. "All of them are distinctly different, but easily confused. Why don't you just show me?"
He nodded and started typing, bringing up a number of images, and a couple of muted video clips, as well as notations on when and where each was taken. After doing so, he looked over to their resident supernatural expert to find her head tilted at an odd angle and her brow furled.
"…Yup. Ghosts. What did you want to know about them?"
"There was apparently a massive 'Ghost Invasion' recently. It was contained, but still… it doesn't sit well with me." The boy rubbed his chin in thought. Raven rolled her eyes at the clichéd gesture, but smirked at the classic Robin behavior. Then he continued, "You don't just invade and fall back without a reason. A whole city was trapped in another dimension. What's odd is, I'm not getting the kind of media I'd expect from it. It's like someone's trying to contain an incident that's already gone global."
Her eyebrow shot up again at that. "And that would mean…?"
"I have no clue." His hand dropped away from his chin in an almost defeated gesture while he turned back toward her. "…which is why I want you and Cyborg to take the T-Car and check things out. Things've been pretty quiet around here. The three of us should be able to handle it while you're gone."
Raven nodded and turned to get the cybernetic teen when Robin's hand fell on her shoulder, turning back to see him standing with an odd look in his eyes. "I don't like this, Raven. You go, investigate, and report back. If there's fighting, call immediately- I'll send Star to back you up."
Her eyes narrowed at his obvious coddling, before she took a calming breath and nodded. It had been almost a month since the incident with Trigon. It was still a touchy subject, but she felt fine about it after a long week meditating on it. They won, so why dwell on it? She was just going to have to trust Robin to get over it, too.
"Right… Cyborg!" She called, distracting the older teen in question long enough for an explosion to blare over the speakers, causing Beast Boy to burst into cheers of victory. "Prep the T-Car, we're heading out to check something."
He grumbled and groaned in response to his best friend's jeers before ignoring him with a dejected sigh. "Fine, where are we headed?"
Robin pointed up to signify 'north'. "Amity Park, Oregon. Hostile 'Ghost' sightings…"
"Ghosts?" The boy's organic eye widened. "This for real?"
"That's the report, anyway… all thirty thousand of them, all new as of two weeks ago, with some older ones- all from the same small city. Raven's going to check the supernatural side of it. I want you there to evaluate everything else." Their leader stated in his 'mission' voice. "The whole town was abducted, and then re-appeared. No cause for why. It doesn't feel right."
Cyborg nodded seriously, following Raven to the elevator they'd take down to the garage.
"So… uhh… what IS a ghost, anyway?" Cyborg tentatively asked half an hour into their trip.
Raven nodded from her seat beside his. "Unlike most forms of 'after-spirit' a Ghost has never been a living human. That is a misconception brought on by mass misinformation. What you think of when you think 'ghost' is most likely just a simple wisp or specter. A Ghost is an amalgamation of human emotion and leftover memory that eventually forms a will of its own, and in some cases, sentience."
Cyborg's human eye blinked a few times. "Oookaaay…"
Raven rolled her eyes. "What distinctly sets the sentient ghosts apart is not only clear forms, but each and every one has an obsession that defines them, based on the emotions that formed them in the first place, as well as the experiences of the ghost during its non-sentient period."
This had him worried. "An obsession? What kinds of obsessions are we talking here?"
She shrugged, causing him to blink. She didn't do that very often. "It can be anything. Absolutely anything. It could be money, power, a certain thing, a certain person, a state of being… You're rather obsessed with this car… what if that obsession drove everything you did? If every waking moment, it seemed to call to you; if every time you left it, you couldn't stop thinking about it. So, you'd shine your car, and keep it clean, maintain it… you would do that over and over. Because that's just what you were."
That caused him to sink into his seat somewhat. "That… sounds kinda' sad."
"It is." She stated simply, turning her head towards the window and staring out at the passing scenery.
"Sign says we're almost there." Cyborg said, tapping the console to bring up a comm-screen. "Oi, Robin! I know you've been goin' crazy with that supercomputer of yours. What've you found since we left? We're nearly there."
The Boy Wonder scoffed from the other side of the screen. "Amity Park is a small city… Very self-contained, imports what it needs, few more ghost sightings than most 'haunted' places. Then that thing two weeks ago…" He paused, Raven and Cyborg could practically hear him thinking. "Anyway, up until then, there'd been a certain ghost terrorizing the populace, even the other ghosts. Then the town disappears, comes back, and everyone loves him. Calling him… 'Inviso-Bill'."
The two winced at the cringe in his voice, along with the horrible pun of the name itself.
"And that's it?" Cyborg asked. Raven was still pretending to sight-see.
"He's the only one with anything resembling a profile. I've found a few clear images and scattered info on others, but nothing cohesive." A sigh. "There's not enough information. And at the same time, what there is- it's too detailed. There was even another invasion before this one. How did we not hear about that?"
Cyborg's features hardened. "A cover-up?"
"Looks like it. Be careful you two. I'm sending over what I found on Inviso-Bill."
"We will." Raven said with something Cyborg swore was a bit of a grumble.
With a smirk, he linked up with the T-Car's computer. "…Got it. We'll check in here in a few hours. Cyborg out."
"The mall?" Raven asked, the word almost dripping with condescension.
"Hey…" Her companion intoned as he shut his door. "If we stopped by the police station first, they'd probably send out a bulletin, and word would get out we were here, and… well…"
"Teenagers are less likely to cooperate when told to. Okay." Raven gave a small sigh. "We'll stop by there after."
Cyborg nodded, and they headed in to mingle.
They weren't having much luck mingling.
It was like people had never even heard of the Teen Titans here!
After the incident with Trigon, he couldn't see how that was possible. That made the news everywhere. If they weren't nationally known before that, they were now.
But not here.
Everyone was staring at him. The weirdest part? Most of them seemed more awed than anything else. And the questions they kept asking…
"What is all that?" "Where are you from?" "Are you a ghost hunter?" "You must be here after the ghosts!" "Are you a friend of the Fenton's?"
"This isn't working…" He groaned after he'd gotten the crowd to disperse.
"It was your idea." Raven stated bluntly as she walked up from across a catwalk. "And having you here is making me less noticeable."
He smirked. "At least no one's asked me what circus I was from…"
She was about to lay into him when an African-American boy with a backpack and red… hat… seemed to materialize between them.
It was a relatively normal day for Danny Fenton.
Sam, Tucker and he had just gotten out of school and headed to the mall along with a swarm of other students, though Sam's nature wouldn't let them walk anywhere near the massive crowd if she could help it. Their first stop was, naturally, the electronics store to sate Tucker's incessant urgings. After that, it was straight to the food court.
"We should hit the movies after this." Sam said after draining her drink.
"Horror movie marathon?" Tucker asked cheerfully.
"Is there one running today?" Danny asked after swallowing what was left of his food.
"I dunno. Maybe you're right. We've probably seen everything already, anyway." She muttered.
Danny blinked. "Uhh, Sam? You wouldn't happen to have a particularly pale, purple-haired cousin, would you?"
"Nnooo?" She drawled, confused. He pointed a finger just above the rim of the table, and her eyes followed…
…Straight to a girl with ash-gray skin, mid-length purple hair, an odd gem in the middle of her forehead... wearing a blue cloak. She was talking to a trio of girls who seemed to eye her warily as they spoke. The girl nodded, and turned away- heading over the catwalk.
"I've never seen anyone like her before…" Sam said, an odd twinge of awe in her tone. "Have you, Tu… where'd he go?"
Danny glanced around for his friend, finally seeing him sprinting toward where the girl was headed… an odd older boy that seemed to be… glowing blue and mechanical? "I think we'd best go after him…"
"Can I touch your tech?" The boy asked reverently as he looked up at Cyborg with tears in his eyes.
"Wha-no!" Was the response as Cy held up his hands defensively and backed away from the other boy.
There was an odd silence for a moment. "Down boy!" a new boy called.
"Sorry about our technophile friend…" said a pale girl with black hair and clothing. "He gets creepy when he sees shiny new things."
"Not a problem." Cyborg said, a tinge of fear in his voice. "Just keep him from trying to dismantle me."
"Easier said than done, but…" She complied, yanking the boy back a few feet by his backpack.
"Sorry about all this. I'm Danny, and this is Sam and Tucker." The last of their group said, holding out his hand to Raven, since Cyborg was on the other side of him from his friends. "You guys are new around here, right?"
She swept her cloak aside to shake his hand tentatively as she answered. "No, we're here regarding the Ghost Invasion two weeks ago. Would you happen to know anything?"
Tucker gave her his biggest smile. "I'll tell you over dinner if you'll go out with me." He asked in his usual, overeager way.
Her lower-left eyelid twitched, even as Cyborg took a step backward instinctually. She craned her neck forward, slowly narrowing her eyes and deepening her natural scowl as a single low syllable left her lips. "No."
"O-o-okay…" Tucker muttered from his place hiding behind Cyborg.
Danny shook away the blush he still had on his cheeks from when he'd gotten a good look at what she was wearing while her attention shifted to Tuck. It was nothing but a tight-fitting black leotard and a dark gray chain belt. As his eyes continued down, he got a full view of her shapely, well-toned legs and high-rimmed blue boots. He didn't notice the boots. "Why do you want to know?"
"We're super-heroes-" She said, ignoring Tucker's query to Cyborg about not being from the circus, which earned him a glare from the taller African-American boy. "-from Jump City, California. Our team leader saw the news about it, and thought he should send us up to investigate things. I'm the team's expert on magic and the supernatural."
Sam's look of awe instantly tripled. "You're a superhero? And you know magic?"
She nodded. "I'm Raven, and this is Cyborg. We're part of the Teen Titans. Could you please tell us what you know about the event, or the ghosts in the area in general?"
Danny started to feel a bit twitchy, and opened his mouth to answer, but Tucker cut him off. "I've never heard of your team before…" He said, pulling out his PDA. "Ahh. Teen Titans… Jump City… Robin, Beast Boy, and Starfire… You guys have your own tower?"
Now that both of his friends were gaping in awe at their favorite Titan, Danny couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Two weeks ago was when the Ghost King, Pariah Dark invaded. There haven't been any attacks since then. He… kinda' shouted his name." He added lamely.
"Just one guy?" Cyborg asked, astonished.
"Uhh, no. He was a king. He had an army." Danny explained.
Cyborg nodded, before looking between Sam and Tucker and asking "So, what about this 'Inviso-Bill' we've heard about?"
Danny couldn't help the disparaged sigh that escaped him. Raven noticed the intense feelings of anguish and frustration flowing through the boy. Curious, she pushed her mind out a little closer, to touch his…
Why does -everyone- call me that?
Her eyes widened. She was now very interested in what this boy had to say. She took stock of him again- he seemed lanky, with barely noticeable traces of fine lean muscle down his arms. His shirt was a plain white, with a red oval in the center, and red trim with shoes of a similar style, and plain blue jeans. He was almost as pale as the girl, with icy blue eyes and spiky black hair that… actually reminded her a little of Robin's, if The Boy Wonder would grow it out and comb it forward instead of back. And he seemed… tense. Like he was just waiting for something to happen…
If she hadn't been closely scrutinizing him, she would've missed the wisp of blue that he expelled with his breath. He seemed shocked by it, but then she felt that shock harden into determination as he began to glance around… had he noticed something? Then she saw the other two were also glancing about, but also occasionally sending looks at Danny. What did it all mean?
"A mechanical human… a most interesting specimen. I have decided I shall mount your head upon my wall, and incorporate any advancements in your technology into my own."
All five of them gawked at a fully mechanical-looking man, glowing slightly green, the same shade as the flaming mohawk that adorned his metal head. He was floating behind Danny with the aid of two wings ending in what appeared to be jet engines, glaring down at them with lifeless glowing green eyes.
"AAAH! A GHOST!" Both Tucker and Sam pointed and yelled at once, prompting Danny to do the same before all three turned and ran past Raven and Cyborg.
What confused the dark titan about their exclamation was the hardened, determined look on Danny's face as he passed her.
"That's… kinda' creepy." Cyborg said, breaking her from her reverie with the sound of his arm changing into his signature sonic cannon.
She heard the weapon fire even as she intoned "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Two tables and the chairs that sat around them turned an inky, oddly glowing black and floated upward before hurtling at the ghost, who hadn't moved from his position. It was like Cyborg had just fired through it…
The tables struck it from behind, knocking it out of the air. "RAE!" Cyborg called, "Hold him there!"
She hadn't just knocked him out of the air, but closer to them. Cyborg had his cannon pointed right at the Ghost's chest when its damaged wings, and then its arms and legs turned black, and then she felt it… with the same piece of herself she used to wrap her powers around and into the ghost's armor, she could sense his emotions, his craving, his obsession…
He needed to Pursue. To stalk, chase, track, hound… to hunt and persevere.
She felt nothing as the pulse of sonic energy tore into his chestplate.
It was just armor, after all.
Survival of the fittest.
When she felt the thought within her mind, she glanced up suddenly to his uncovered shoulders, which both extended a small cannon, each firing on one of the titans, blowing them back and shattering the concentration that held the ghost tangible and confined.
As she flew backward in the air into a rail, she watched a glowing green beam strike the side of the hunter's head.
"Hey Skulker!" A newcomer, also floating and shimmering with a soft green light, yelled. Then he chuckled. "Wow, what'd you do, run yourself straight into a battering ram?"
As she steadied herself, she watched him. He too was a ghost, if the floating and his glowing radioactive-green eyes were any indication. He too could be an enemy. He wore what seemed to be a one-piece suit… white gloves, belt and boots, over black that hugged his lithe frame. At the center of his chest was an emblem. A 'D' with a gap, extending the core of the letter down into a 'P' shape. It reminded her of the logos some heroes insisted on marking themselves with… and some villains.
"Infuriating Ghost Child!" 'Skulker' yelled, firing what looked like a series of nets at him, which he flowed around, making it look effortless just to infuriate his opponent.
She intoned her mantra again, ripping the railing in front of her out of its place and sending it to wrap around the ghost. He tried to phase through it when he noticed it coming, but the now-black railing wrapped around him.
"What… is this!" The ghost yelled as he strained against the bars, causing Raven to grunt with effort. It wasn't helping that the other ghost and Cyborg decided to start pummeling their enemy and the bars that held him. They inevitably snapped.
Just in time for a beam of spiraling blue light to strike him, drawing him into… a thermos?
"YEAH!" Tucker yelled as Sam capped the soup can.
"HEY!" Cyborg yelled up at the still-floating ghost. "Thanks for the help. So you're this… Inviso-Bill we've heard about?"
Raven felt a wave of rage, frustration and anxiety flow out of the ghost as he floated down, almost to Cyborg's face. "My name is Danny Phantom!" He roared.
And then it clicked.
This was the same sort of reaction, though much stronger, that Danny had to the name. He was the only one of the trio missing, and that thought from earlier…
"Sorry, it was the only name we could find online." She said, trying to ease the situation.
He sighed. "Don't worry about it. At least someone finally listens when I say that the first time." And then he floated down through the floor.
Cyborg looked at the two teens trying to sneak away unseen. "So, what's this make you two?"
Raven wasn't sure if he'd figured it out or not when they answered. "We're… uhh… Junior Ghost Hunters! Yeah." Sam replied as quickly as she could think it up.
Raven nodded to her. "Well, thank you. We didn't have a way to… capture it like that."
"It's no trouble, but if you'd like to go out on a da-KAAAAAGH!" Tucker started, only to have Sam stamp her combat boots down on his toes.
"Where'd your friend go?" Cyborg asked.
"SAM! TUCK!" Danny yelled out as he ran up, breathing somewhat heavily.
Raven couldn't help it. She gave a small smirk at the boy.
"Well, since we've started winding up a part of the damages in town… we'd best stop by the police station to explain who we are…" Cyborg said, rubbing the back of his neck idly.
Raven nodded. "We'll ask more questions later, if that's okay?"
Danny smiled at her. "Sure thing."
She suddenly found he had the most interesting blue eyes…
As Cyborg was walking away, she closed her eyes and smiled. As such, she missed his eyes widening when she spoke.
"It was nice meeting you, Danny Phantom."
Double crud… he though, as she flew after her teammate.
Well, if you like my little experiment, good. If you don't, tell me why, but only if you can convince me you've got a higher IQ than a brick while doing so. If you just want to yell at me for not updating my other fics… irrelevant. I'll get back to them when I'm sure I won't ruin the plots by forcing myself to write Narutoverse when I don't want to.
One of my greatest failings as a fanfiction writer is trying so hard to fit things to canon that when the canon doesn't work, I can't write. It's what happened to my Naruto fics, and I don't want it to happen here. This experiment is partly to see how much I can diverge from canon.
So, if the Canon doesn't work, fuck it. I'm dropping the bits of canon that don't work.
'Amity Park, Oregon' – this was an interesting mental debate, which was won out by "It'll make the plot simpler than the other common choice, Illinois" and natural bias from being born in that state. EDIT- After being asked by my beta about it (It's why he's my beta. He fixes my fuck-ups, and gets to see the stuff early) specifically, that he thought it took them one day to get to Wisconsin from Amity Park in one of the episodes, I checked. Four days. It actually supports the location.
Don't ask about pairings. Yes, they will happen. No I will not tell you when or what they are, save the obvious Danny/Raven.
Also, I don't really like Sam and Tucker in fics. I'm going to try and salvage the characters, though.
This wound up about 300 words shy of where I usually like to have a chapter at (minimum) before I'll post it, but… It felt complete. And I want to start on the next one.
I already know what the ending to the final chapter will be. (Barring an epilogue) This is the first time I've ever posted the first chapter fully knowing how the fic will end. It may be twenty or forty chapters from now, so I don't know the when, but I do know the how.
EDIT- I am frustrated the hell out that this site no longer supports my preferred mid-story scene change (three hyphens) And now I'm fixing it and trying to get it to work again.