Disclaimer: If I owned Teen Titans…it wouldn't have ended after the "Brotherhood of Evil". If I owned Danny Phantom… it would've showed when he got his powers.
AN: I've tried to keep the bar that I set last chapter. If I haven't…take it easy. The TT fight scene might be a little off- if it is, let me know how I can write better ones. Fanfiction is a SERVICE for ENTERTAINMENT purposes…not a place for stagnate ideas! PLEASE REVIEW!
THE SCREEN SHATTERS
As Raven slowly woke from her dreamless sleep, her internal alarm clock informed that it was very early morning. That small fact didn't bother her as she was used to waking early for meditation and on instinct, her feet directed her to the kitchen for her daily pre-breakfast cup of herbal tea. As Raven sipped her tea, she was too busy thinking to realize that objects around her were trembling in place.
The sun was soon stretching across the room and slowly the remaining members of the Teen Titans stumbled their way to the kitchen. Of course, with the arrival of the other Titans came the arrival of noise. By the end of breakfast, Raven had been greeted, video game challenges had been accepted and even dinner plans had been made. Beast Boy and Cyborg were playing "Backroads Street Racer: Atlantis Edition" when the alarm went off and the game was cut off.
Robin immediately took charge. "Alright, team. We've got Mumbo Jumbo trying to rob a jewelry store on First Street. Everyone knows the drill: get the money back, dodge the spells, take his wand and hat, and then take him down. Titans, go!" However; Robin, instead of going down to his bike right away, steeped next to Raven. "Hey, Rae. Wait a minute."
"Are you sure you're okay? You collapsed in the field just yesterday."
"I'm not that delicate Robin. I'm fine. It was just a freak accident. Won't happen again." Raven had decided to keep the 'vision' under wraps until she could investigate it. Robin was still watching her. "I'm fine, alright?"
"Alright. But if you feel weak, pull out immediately." Robin nodded to himself and headed down the stairs. Raven sighed. Robin was Robin, she knew. Protective, obsessive and everything else. "I'll show him that I don't need protection." With that thought, Raven pushed off Titan's Tower, never noticing the slight hesitation before she was lifted into the sky.
It was a cloudless morning in Amity Park, the kind of day where people of all ages were out in the sunshine. All but one…and that was about to change.
"Danny Fenton! Out of bed! Now!"
Said half-ghost fired an ecto-blast instinctively as he phased through his bed in panic. Danny's eyes caught a flash of teal and red as he slipped through the bed. The assailant, now identified as Jazmine Fenton (Jazz to her friends), Danny's older sister, crouched to avoid the blast and quickly closed the door so they wouldn't be disturbed. "Danny! Danny, what were you thinking! What if I had been mom? You need to be more careful." Jazz admonished her little brother.
"Yeah, yeah. I know Jazz. It's just…there's no ghosts. I'm going stir-crazy Jazz, it's killing me!" Jazz couldn't help the giggle that escaped her and Danny turned to glare at the wall. "I can't do anything!"
"Yea. We've all noticed. You're getting twitchy. Mom's starting to get worried. She seems to think it's some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. I've managed to hold her off the pych evaluation for now. Though I don't know how long that can last."
"Thanks Jazz. Even Skulker wasn't enough yesterday. I don't know what to do."
"No problem little bro. If things are that bad, why not visit the Ghost Zone and ask Princess Dora or Clockwork for advice? Maybe they can help?"
"Maybe. Hey Jazz? Do you remember the girl and that creature I told you about last night?"
"What about them? Wait…awww…do you have a crush on the pale girl in violet or the ectoplasm covered monster?"
What! No! No way! I just wanted to know if you recognized the descriptions. The girl seems familiar to me at least."
"All I can guess is that they might be ghosts deep in the Ghost Zone. But instead of thinking about them, don't you have a ghost to release?"
"Oh, right, Skulker. Are mom or dad in the lab?" Jazz shook her head. "Then I'll just phase down there and release him. I can visit the Ghost Zone this afternoon in the Spector Speeder. See you downstairs Jazz." With those words, Danny descended to the lab through the floor. Jazz sighed and slowly shook her head as she left her room.
As Raven was flying to the scene of Mumbo Jumbo's most recent theft, she wondered about the strange visions she'd been seeing. Flashes of green and purple. Images of floating creatures and sounds of high pitched screaming. The visions made her nervous, testy and came with a feeling of dread. Unbearably strong, especially to an empath as trained as she was. Suddenly hearing a maniacal cackling, she shook herself out of her stupor and searched for the source.
There he was. Mumbo Jumbo. Villain, magician, and mastermind. Or, as she thought, "amateur". He was looting a jewelry store, like always. "Again? That's the third one this month. What is with villains in this city?" Normally, Raven wouldn't have cared how original the crime, but the 'vision' had made her a bit testy. So, it was with a little huff that she began her chant. The rest of the Titans had arrived and kept themselves out of her way. They had acknowledged her mood, but didn't understand it.
"Azerath, Metrion, Sinthos." She finished the chant easily, happy that her magic had responded. That mood did not last long. The magic had done what she wanted, gotten the jewels, but not the ones she had intended. Instead, her magic grabbed the remaining jewels and flung them at Mumbo. Surprised, but pleased Mumbo went with the flow and caught them in his hat.
"Raven! What? What's going on?" The cries of outrage and shock came loudly from the other Titans as they stared at Raven. "What are you doing Raven?" Robin asked, fingering his belt.
"I'm not doing this!" Raven yelled, dodging as more things began to fly.
"Then who is? Mumbo! What did you do?" Robin glanced around, exasperated with the idea of Raven's magic being controlled by an enemy.
"I didn't do nothing, birdy-boy!" Mumbo giggled, stealing more jewels. "But I'lls still take it anyways!"
"Lie." Robin thought immediately, after all, what villain could be trusted about something like that anyway? Every villain would know to keep it a secret.
Raven, Beast Boy, stand back. Cyborg, Starfire! We're going to attack on three." Robin grabbed some bird-a-rangs from his belt. "One…two…three!" Robin yelled, and they attacked. Robin with his bird-a-rangs, Starfire with her starbolts, and Cyborg with his cannon.
Just as the attacks were about to hit; however, Raven's rouge magic moved to intercept. It created a shield, one that the Titans were very familiar with, if only from the opposite side. On the edges though, it flickered a blinding white that they had never seen before. The same white condensed where the attacks struck and a few seconds later, returned them. The surprised Titans dodged the rebound, but Robin's cycle went up in flames. As they turned their eyes back to the shield, it flashed white and vanished.
The Titans regrouped, and without speaking decided to talk at the Tower. Robin handed Raven a mini-camera to upload back at the Tower, knowing she was the fastest Titan. Raven nodded, and lifted herself into the air…for about two seconds, then fell flat on her face.
Irritated, and embarrassed, Raven got back to her feet and pushed off the ground again to fly away…only to find gravity take its course once more. Thump! Unprepared for the fall, Raven magnaged to catch herself on hands and knees. Her eyes widened in horror and her body began to shake in disbelief, unable to comprehend the reason for the loss of her power.
"What? How? What?" Anything longer than a syllable seemed to be beyond her.
"Well…see you guys at the Tower!" Beast Boy yelled as he changed into a bird and flew away as fast as possible, grabbing the mini-cam as he went.
"He's right. There's nothing else to do here. Everyone back to the Tower. Star?" Starfire lifted herself into the air with Robin, for once silent as the tension mounted.
For a few minutes after their departure silence reigned supreme.
"So…" Cyborg began, "do you want a ride?" Cyborg finished quietly, gesturing to the T-car (which by some accident of Fate managed to survive the confrontation). Raven nodded, still a little out of it. This was a side of Raven that was rarely seen Cyborg decided. Astounded, confused, and completely…vulnerable. Slowly, so she wouldn't be alarmed, Cyborg led her to the T-car, put her in and buckled her down. He then joined her inside and with a spin of the wheel, they were gone.
"Mom? Dad? Hey Jazz, do you know where they went?"
Jazz poked her head out of the living room and saw Danny standing at the stairs. "There was an anonymous tip of an 'Inviso-Bill' sighting in the park. They'll be gone for a few hours trying to track down the menace." She rolled her eyes at the stupidity displayed by most of the town.
"And this 'sighting' just happened to occur when I needed to use the lab unsupervised?" Danny asked with his eyebrow raised.
"What can you do? It's not like someone deliberately called the Fentons for a faked sighting of 'Public Enemy Number 1' in the farthest location from the house as possible." That, of course, was exactly what happened.
"Well, whoever called has a great sense of timing." Danny smiled, knowing that Jazz was the one who reported the sighting.
Jazz nodded. "Thank you, thank you. I suppose you're going now?" Danny nodded, heading down to the lab. "Well…be careful Danny. I've got a bad feeling about this. It feels like the calm before the storm." Danny smiled at her warning. He knew Jazz was just trying to keep him safe.
Danny shut the lab door behind him and approached the reason for his hectic life. Before him stood the Fenton Ghost Portal, one of two man-made portals into the Ghost Zone- an uncharted, and enormous dimension. Even though Danny could fly pretty fast when he wanted to, the places he needed to visit were out of his range if he wanted to be done before his parents returned. Luckily, Jack and Maddie Fenton (mostly Maddie- Jack installed the fudge maker) had created the Spector Speeder, a vehicle capable of moving through the Ghost Zone.
That was, at least, what they had hoped, but for them the Speeder became little more than scrap metal. For 'Team Phantom' however, the Spector Speeder was the best way to navigate the Ghost Zone- thanks to Tucker's tinkering. Danny got in and started up the Speeder, changing top Danny Phantom as he did.
Danny opened the portal using the remote inside the Speeder and entered into the Ghost Zone. Strangely, after Danny entered the Zone, fog descended on the Speeder. Danny, thinking it was a ghost, revved the Speeder and shot through the fog, almost hitting a chunk of rock that fell from above him. Danny looked to where it came from and stared in shock. The Ghost Zone looked diseased, its normally purple swirls deepening into pure ebony, the vibrant greens paling into sickly yellow. Cutting through every color were streams of crimson, reaching deep into the Ghost Zone. In addition, an oblique fog clung to the floating doors and slowly ate away the islands.
Another slab of rock pelted toward the Speeder and Danny directed the vehicle toward Dora's medieval realm in an attempt to avoid the sight before him. As he traveled the Ghost Zone, he couldn't help but notice the disarray the lairs were in. Ember McLain's stage lights were ripped apart on her stage, wires showing. Pages and books were drifting in the air and Danny thought he recognized a piece of Ghostwriter's new Christmas poem. Walker's prison was strangely quiet as he passed it and even Vlad's football seemed to be slightly damaged. It was the first time Danny was able to pass through the Ghost Zone uninterrupted and he was thoroughly freaked out.
"Halt intruder! State your business here!" called a patrolling guard from the outmost edge of Dora's island. Danny, trying to remember royal etiquette, exited the Speeder to speak with him.
"Um…" "Think, Fenton, think. How does it go?" "Um…the great Sir Danny
Phantom as appointed by…her Royal Highness Princess Dora seeks audience…within the royal palace to discuss…the threat on our realms." "Is that how it goes?"
"Ah…Sir Phantom, of course. Right this way." The guard led Danny directly to the throne room. "Announcing her Royal Highness, Princess Dora." Dora swept into the room, her head held high, her stance screaming- weary. She quickly sent away her court and guards, then collapsed- not on her throne- on a couch that was brought for Danny to use. Danny couldn't help but notice that her draconian features were beginning to show.
"Dora, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"Hmm? Oh…yes, yes I'm just FINE. Wrong? Nothing's wrong Sir Phantom, can't you see? Everything is FINE. All these ghosts that are missing? They're fine; no one can find them- they're missing- but they're fine. The Ghost Zone bleeding red everywhere? Normal. Island crumbling? Happens all the time. Lairs destroyed? It would be strange if they weren't. In short, Sir Phantom, yes. EVERYTHING ISSS JUSSSTT PEACHY!" At the end of her speech, Dora was hissing, and doing the closest impression of hyperventilation a ghost could.
Danny waited for Dora to calm down and when she had said, "Has anyone tried to contact Clockwork? He can be really helpful and he always has advice. He doesn't interfere much, but this is serious. I'm sure he'll help." Dora looked at Danny in blatant disbelief for his 'simple' solution.
"Sir Phantom…you have actually met Clockwork? You know him personally? Forgive me if I am skeptical. Clockwork is a figure of myth for us. Have you truly met him?"
"Yes, I have. He's helped me before and I'm sure he'll help this time too. I was actually going to go ask him after I visited you."
"You know where he is, right now?" Dora asked, hope shining in her eyes. Danny nodded. "Then…go! You must go now! There is no time to lose! Guards!" in front of Danny's bewildered eyes, he was escorted back to the Spector Speeder and the edge of the island.
"Well," thought Danny, "if that's what she wants…off to Clockwork's I go." Clockwork's Tower was in one of the more secluded regions of the Ghost Zone, so Danny didn't see any other lairs on his way there. As the Tower came into view, Danny could tell there was wrong.
The windows were smashed, the doors hanging off their hinges. Ignoring the fact that the Speeder could phase in the Ghost Zone, Danny flew toward his ghostly guardian's home. He needed to see the damage with his own two eyes. Danny entered the tower, distraught by the damage done. The entry room, on Danny had never seen before, was riddled with holes from missing stone and carved with claw marks of various sizes. Still, Danny thought the worst was yet to come. When he entered Clockwork's inner room, he realized how right he was.
Gears littered the floor, glass and wood protruding from every surface like a dried cactus. However, Danny didn't see that, as it was unimportant compared to the damage in front of him. The screens. Oh God…the screens…the broken, mangled, shattered screens. The screens where he had watched both the past and the future…gone, destroyed beyond repair. The only thing untouched in the room was a small, lightly glowing steel door- halfway hidden behind an overturned couch. Clockwork had asked Danny just two weeks before to bring a 'ghost-proof safe' and when asked had cryptically replied, "All will become clear in time." Behind that door, Danny knew, Clockwork had placed his worst enemy- past, present, and future. Danny knew Clockwork had his reasons for wanting the safe, but he had hoped it wouldn't be necessary.
Danny had no idea what had happened to Clockwork and it was slowly grating on his already high-strung nerves, but as he glanced at his watch, Danny realized he needed to get back home soon so he wouldn't run into his parents when they returned to the lab. Before he left however, Danny felt the need to take a memento of Clockwork and settled on a mid-sized piece of a screen…the one thing that reminded him of his first meeting with Clockwork. If…no…WHEN Clockwork returned, Danny would return the screen. For now, Danny was sure Clockwork wouldn't mind. As he left the Ghost Zone, Danny was forced to admit, for the first time, that his guardian, the Master of Time, was truly gone.
The defeated Teen Titans were gathered around the table of their living room, silent and brooding. Even Starfire, endlessly optimistic Starfire, was upset with their defeat at the hands of the 'mean magic man.' It was unknown how long they sat there, but finally Robin addressed the one thing that seemed to be on everyone's mind.
"Raven…what happened out there? Did Mumbo do something? It's not like you to lose control of your power."
"No. Something's wrong, but it's not Mumbo. He's not strong enough to interfere with my magic. Does everyone remember when I collapsed fighting Cinderblock?" They all nodded.
"Kind of hard to forget, Rae." Beast Boy quipped.
"Well, I fainted because I completely cut off my magic. Before that though, I felt my powers siphoning away. When I collapsed, I saw something. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was definitely BAD NEWS. It reminded me of…well…of my first birthday on Earth. It reminded me of…HIM.
Silence descended once more on the quintet. Each Titan was remembering their part in that day…the end of the world…the entrance of Trigon.
Beast Boy sighed, breaking the tension, and brought out an extravagantly wrapped box. "Well, is it that time already? Ok, then. Happy Birthday Raven!"
"Well, apparently, the world's trying to end…so it's your birthday right?"
"No. No, it's not."
"Beast Boy…." Robin began before Raven cut him off.
"It's not my birthday!" Raven's eyes started to glow red. "Not every menace is ushered in by my presence! I've paid my due! The world is not ending because of me!" With that proclamation, Raven disappeared in an uncontrolled flash of magic.
"What'd I say? OW!" Beast Boy groaned as Cyborg wacked him upside the head.
"Why would you say something like that, BB? Rae's still having a hard time talking about last time." Cyborg left, shaking his head.
"Yes, friend Beast Boy, why would you make the lightness of that most horrible day of sadness for friend Raven?" Starfire asked and drifted out the window. Robin was long gone.
"Hey! It was a joke! That's all! C'mon guys! Guys?" Beast Boy stood alone in the middle of the room.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream! Where do you think you're going Mr. Fenton?"
Danny was walking down the stairs when Mr. Lancer managed to corner him. Before Danny could disappear, Lancer grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back into the classroom that had been recently vacated.
"You still own me detentions, Mr. Fenton. Now, there wasn't a ghost attack today, so you'll be serving it!"
"No 'buts' Mr. Fenton! You can start by wiping down the desks and the chalkboard. After that, you can get the paint scrapper out of the second cabinet on the left…"
"Paint scrapper!" Danny groaned. For anyone else, a paint scrapper would have meant any number of things. For Danny, however; it meant only one thing: Worst Detention Ever.
"Yes, Mr. Fenton. You'll be scrapping the gum from the bottom of the desks. I'll be at my desk to make sure there's no dilly-dallying. You can leave once you finish scrapping the first two rows clear."
Mr. Lancer then proceeded to fall asleep sitting up. Danny felt like he was coughing out a lung trying to clean the chalkboard. The desks weren't too hard, but Danny was debating using intangibility to clear the gum. He eventually decided against it, realizing that the last thing he needed was for Lancer to wake up and see what was going on. Thus, Danny was found brooding over recent changes- both human and ghostly. The almost non-existent ghost attacks for one- Skulker had been one of the few to even be seen, let alone attack. Coupled with the increased security in Dora's realm, Clockwork's disappearance, and the slowly dying Ghost Zone, pointed to something sinister, something—
Danny flinched, startled out of his thoughts, and grimaced when he realized his detention had hit him in the face- literally. A piece of half-chewed gum had been dislodged from the desk above because of his inattention and landed on his forehead. Danny shook his head slowly, resisted the urge to sigh and focused on ending the torture known as after-school detention. When he finally finished, Danny left the room, leaving Mr. Lancer to his sleep. He was a bit surprised to see Sam on the front steps of the school. It was a bit odd since she was usually home by now.
"Sam? What are you doing out here?"
Sam turned around at the sound of his voice and jumped up. "Oh, hey Danny. I was actually waiting for you." They started walking, not really noticing where they were going.
"Why?" Danny asked, completely baffled why Sam would wait for that long just to walk with him.
"My parents. They found a store online that specializes on 'the pink and frilly'. Ugh. You know the ones that cover everything. I think it's called 'Sally's Old West Boutique'. They ordered some and they should be here today. Anyway, I decided that you could either help me sabotage the delivery or keep me as far away as possible from my house." Sam continued to shudder at her livin'-in-the-fifties parents fashion sense.
"I guess I could do that." Danny laughed. Suddenly, his ghost sense went off. Both Danny and Sam started looking around the park where they were to find the ghost. None appeared, but Danny noticed a girl sitting in a shadow-covered swing. "Hey, Sam? Do you see that girl? On the swings?"
"Hmm? Oh, that's Andi Pepo. She moved here a couple months ago. I'm not surprised you don't know her." At that, Danny raised and eyebrow, sending her a silent question. "She visited the different clubs, trying to find a fit. No one really notices her. People, when they think about her, usually describe her as quiet, and sickly…a ghost even."
"A ghost, huh?" Danny thought as he glanced back at the swings. They were empty.
"Azerath, Metri—arrgh!" Crash! Robin paused outside Raven's door listening. It was a testament to whatever was draining her powers that she couldn't detect him that close. Apparently, Raven couldn't even meditate properly without her magic. If another villain decided to appear, Robin was certain Raven would try to help, even as weakened as she was. That wasn't the problem though. Raven had retreated to her room in fury. Robin could count on one hand how many times that had happened and none of them were good. In short, Robin was worried…very worried. He raised his hand to knock and the door slid open, revealing a disgruntled Raven and a disheveled room behind her.
"Yes, Robin? Is there something you need?" Her tone was politely disinterested, with an undercurrent of anger and sadness.
Robin, in his ever eloquent speech replied, "Um…I just…just so you know…um…Starfire wanted me to…well, she made the 'dish of happiness' glogfargingen…and…I came to tell you…um…there's pizza in the fridge." By the end of his convoluted response, Robin was reduced to a stuttering, insecure messenger boy. He knew Raven was in no mood to be 'comforted' by anyone.
Raven stood silently as he stuttered, her unyielding poker face firmly in place, but that did not stop her from understanding what he really wanted to say. "You're still part of the team. Nothing will ever change that. Not the end of the world and not this." There was a sudden silence in the hall as Raven realized Robin had stopped talking and was looking at her.
"Thank you. I'll remember that." She whispered.
"You're welcome. Well, good night."
"Good night, Robin." With that, Raven stepped back into the war zone that was now her room.
She had found that while she didn't have enough power to manifest her magic physically, if she maintained complete focus, she could levitate for about a minute at a time. However, if she was distracted, the power would leave, causing her to crash and objects to fly around the room. All in all, Raven was not happy. Abandoning levitation for the time, Raven settled in to meditate. Without the magic and chant meditation was incomplete, but manageable. Almost immediately, Raven felt a tendril of Trigon's power. Deep within her mind, she followed the strand. It was old, older than Azerath itself and extended, to Raven's growing horror, into the usually solid wall of the dimensional space.
"Oh. My. Sinthos."