They had been looking for the ghost teen for hours. No relent. They had come across smashed crates and sides of buildings. But no Shade. And everyone in Jump City seemed to be looking for him.
Where was Shade?
Suddenly, a bark sounded throughout the streets. A green blur attached itself to Ravens leg. Everyone stared at the adorable mastiff puppy. A dead puppy-ghost-of course. Cujo? Was that what Shade had called him?
The pup yapped happily. Raven knelt and patted its head awkwardly. "H-hey, Cujo..." Cujo stared up at her, panting slightly. "...Um... where's.. Shade? Do you know where, uh, Shade is, boy?"
A black blur appeared next to her, and she jumped. They all broke into smiles as Shade himself grinned down at her, floating three feet in the air.
He laughed. "Yeah, sorry 'bout the cold rush. Tends to happen when a ghost with an ice core is deep frozen."
Raven sighed, suddenly tired. "Yeah..."
"Just be grateful your not in the Ghost Zone. It's much worse there."
The rest of them paled. Robin took a step forward, however. "The Ghost Zone? What's that?"
Cujo barked, and tackled Shade to the ground. The ghost laughed and tried to pry the pup off his face, which was undergoing a puppy saliva bath.
"The Ghost Zone," he told them, after he was upright again, "is the dimension that exists right next to the human world. Some ancient rulers, like Alexander the Great, and Cleopatra, found rips in midair. That's usually where they obtained all their world power Inter-dimensional rips are a rare find in this world, unless a ghost or human scientist figures out a way to create one. Natural rips can occur in any place, any time, and usually are either unbelievably small, or huge enough to fit an airplane through." The teen ghost smirked. "A more regular rip site is the Bermuda Triangle. Its a regular ghost hangout, so the spiritual energy flow makes the atmosphere particularly strong in that area. Some rips even take you to the past or future, which is why we have the Master of Time, Clockwork, controlling the space-time continuum."
They stared at him. Robins knees were feeling a little weak. "Wow..."
Starfire gazed at him. "You seem to know vast amounts of knowledge on this subject, Friend Shade."
The boy nodded. "Yup. Clockworks my dad." Not really, but close enough, since my real dad happens to be... away. Was what the young teen had wanted to say, but he'd caught his tongue just in time, before the words slipped through his teeth.
They stared at him.
"Wow," Beast Boy said. "So, your like the... Apprentice of Time mastery, or something?"
Shade shrugged. "I guess. I don't really know. Clockworks pretty powerful. He's as old as Time itself. He's never gonna fade, I'm sure of it."
"Oh," Cyborg nodded "... wait, he how old?"
Shade snorted, and Robin took a moment to register the fact that he was being really... chatty, at the moment. "As old as time itself. Which is... pretty old."
Cyborg blinked rapidly. "Ah, so... How old does that make you?"
Shade grinned. "Me? I'm just two."
Raven's eye's bugged out. "Y-You're two?"
He frowned slightly. "Hm, well, in ghost years. I'm not sure about human years... But I'm guessing that in your years, I'm pretty old, too."
"Why don't you know?" Beast Boy wouldn't let it slide.
Shade glanced at him, shrugging mysteriously. "Well, I don't remember. I've kinda been stuck in a timeless, sub-dimension for the past few years."
The green-skinned boy blinked. "Oh."
Shade tilted his head down. There was something that had happened to him, between the two years he had lived in Jump. He'd known about Vlad's talk with the other ghosts, but that didn't mean the other halfa had gotten all of them to agree. There was the Ghost King, of course, but he was in a cyro-sleep. And Clockwork, but Shade was absolutely convinced that his newfound father wouldn't even dream of hurting him.
Then there were the Observers.
They'd come after him, just as he'd been living in Jump for about a year. After the capture had transpired, Shade had concluded that they had been planning this for a while. Though, it did not escape him that Clockwork surely knew of it.
But he hadn't. Somehow, the green, one-eyed ghost committee had gone behind Clockwork's back.
It had hurt, all the pain they had put him through. Then, they'd stashed him in a place where Time hadn't even existed, and left him. He'd been so sure that they were gone for good, that they were planning to leave him there forever, out of their hair. Never to come back. He had been so sure that no one was ever to find him again. To retrieve him.
But then Clockwork had come, and saved him again.
There had been a flash, and Shade had found himself as Danny, in his apartment, right where he'd been when the Observers had confiscated him. Same exact time, same exact place, same exact age.
He'd been the same age throughout the whole ordeal, of course. But he wasn't sure how long he'd been in the timeless sub-universe.
Every time he thought about it, the contradictions of it all made his head hurt.
Cujo pounced again, and Shade barely had time to ready himself.
His mind suddenly went back, to when Terra had attacked him. She'd looked like an angel, which had sparked the sudden though of his Dark Angel, the demon Titan. They were both beautiful, but only Raven was a friend. Terra was evil, despite her supposed history with the Titans as friends.
The stories, all of them, which he had ever heard depicted the light angel to always be the hero, the good one, on the nice side of things. But Terra wasn't. Terra hadn't been, as she had crushed Shade's ribcage under her armored foot.
Raven was, however. Despite everything he'd been told, all the legends of evil dark angels, how he'd heard that the Blackest angels were the most evil, the terrors. But Raven was the good one. She was his rescuer.
These had been Shades thoughts as he'd lost consciousness under the city the day before.