"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence." ~George Eliot
Chapter 14: Her Story from His
It was beautiful, the lights. They shimmered on the ground and were casting the foggy, cold air in an array of colors Dani had never seen. It was also, very boring. Sighing, the girl stood from her perch on top of the Eiffel Tower and took to the sky. It had been the life, for a little over a year now this is what the young halfa did: she toured the world, seen the sights, and lived the life. But the pull of something more, the yearning to…no, the girl thought, she didn't want to go there. This was her life, and she didn't need a family. Or more precisely, Danny's family. After all, how do you explain to a bunch of scientific ghost hunters that your son was cloned by a fruitloop, and the result was…her, a half-ghost clone girl. Not to mention that Danny's parents might decide to rip her apart 'molecule by molecule' like they tried to do with Danny Phantom, and she just couldn't subject Danny to that horrible situation. So, despite her twin's reluctance to let her go, he did. Although that might have been because she could kick his butt in a fight. Dani landed softly in an alley way that smelt of week old spaghetti, and transformed, scaring the cats.
"Oh please, at least you have food," she muttered, her stomach giving a very loud gurgle. Opening her wallet she counted four Euros and eighty-five cents, about enough for a burger and a medium drink, here in the wonderful city of Paris. Dani strode out into the bustling city, the lamp lights beginning to flicker on, she followed the flow of the crowd. She'd been to Paris before, but walking down the street Dani couldn't find anything to fit her budget, hesitantly she approached a man reading the evening paper.
"Excuse me, is there a Nasty Burger around here?" she asked fluently in French.
The man gave her a questioning glance before replying.
«Vous n'avez pas entendu? Le Burger Nasty fer méeil ya un anen raison de la poursuite, essayez un restaurant McDonald. »
Dani stood there in shock, closed, lawsuit? Dread settled in the pit of her stomach. The young halfa ran into the first building that offered free wifi. She felt ice crawl under her skin looking at the screen, Dani's long black hair cascading over her shoulders, shielding her crystalline blue eyes from the outside world, which threatened to see the overflow of her tears. Dani began to read:
Explosion Kills Six at the Nasty Burger
So far the reason remains a mystery as to who caused the Nasty Burger explosion. But police and other officials suspect that the cause was due to the fact that the Nasty Sauce overheated, resulting in the boiler explosion and killing six individuals in the blast. Due to respecting their families, we have with held their names, but already plans for a memorial are being discussed. Vlad Masters, mayor of Amity Park, is already filing a lawsuit against the company with plans to shut down this harmful fast food restaurant.
"I will go so far as to shut down this establishment permanently, if only to give closer to young Daniel Fenton." Vlad stated on the steps of the Colombian Court House. Daniel, who was the sole survivor of the blast made no comment, and is currently being put in foster care. Our prayers are with him during this dark time.
Dani closed out of the program and buried her face in her hands, letting the silent tears fall. She wasn't sure how long she sat in that coffee shop, but when a waiter came over and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, Dani figured it was time to leave. The wind was biting as she flew over the city towards her apartment; it took less than thirty minutes to pack her one suitcase and wipe down the room. Taking flight, Dani arrived at the airport in record time, getting through airport security…easy. It was dark now, yet the airport was packed with people moving to and from their terminals, the white lights reflected off the tiles, hurting Dani's eyes. She walked up to a traffic schedule and scanned through the times, the board flickered, and she found what was needed.
Carrier: American Airlines
Flight #: 7825
Departing: Paris, France, on April 30, 2012 at 13:40
Arriving: Chicago, Illinois, on April 30, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.
Aircraft Type: 757
Flight Miles: 4153
Travel Time: 16hr 46m
Getting on the plane Dani flew down into the flight attendant's room and climbed into the small cot, the plight clicked on the intercom, "Good evening, and welcome aboard American Airlines…" the young teen drowned him out, falling asleep when the plane took to the sky. It was a long flight, and Dani routinely moved around the plane finding new locations to make sure no one found her, looking out the window she noticed the afternoon sunlight streaming in, a smirk spread across her face.
"Heh, I just travelled back in time," she stated, the pilot came on,
"Good afternoon, we're about twenty minutes out of the Chicago Airport we'll be landing a little early and the Tower has already cleared us for a gate. So ladies and gentlemen, please remember this moment when you decide to fly with us again. I hope you have a wonderful stay, and thank you for flying American Airlines."
Dani chuckled at the pilot's words before she retrieved her suit case and took to the sky, only nine hours and eight minutes before she arrived in Amity Park, North Dakota. As she flew over the Devil's Lake her mind began to wander. This would be the first time in over a year Dani had returned to North America. She'd been everywhere across the globe, mainly running from Vlad, he'd nearly had her in Brazil, but she managed to lose him by doubling back to the Caribbean, hopping a plane to Hawaii, then New Zealand. She'd only stayed there a week before heading to Russia. But none of that mattered now; the mountains that surrounded Danny's home were in sight. Picking up the pace she flew to where the Nasty Burger once had been. Only now there was a park, the plot was open, but surrounded with ancient Oak trees, most likely taken from the forest and re-rooted here. She landed outside the iron entrance inscribed in Latin that simply read:
In memoriam familiarum perdidit
In Memoriam of families lost. Dani's blue eyes glazed over, beneath the arch stood a statue of Mr. Lancer his piercing eyes looking out over all who entered – a guard –his podium reading: Gone but Remembered. Cautiously, the young halfa entered the park. It was open and peaceful, the surrounding trees no longer looking ominous but worked to drown out all noise of the surrounding city, and the leaves sounding like ocean waves. Flower beds grew around the benches; there were no paths, just grass that looked well kept, but not pristine. This place looked natural. And in the center was a small pond, only knee deep, black marble surrounding it, barely visible, only high enough to keep the water from overflowing into the grass. But Dani was sure during the rainy season it probably over flowed and became a lake. However the statue in the center of the water held all of the girls' attention. For it was pure white marble, overlooking everything, it was Danny's loved ones. The family Dani herself once wanted to be a part of, her cousin's two best friends were right there with them.
She collapsed to the ground and cried, the beautifully carved words striking in their devotion, forever remembered.
Panic soon overtook everything, in desperation Dani tore through the sky and barged into the Fenton Works house, the neon sigh no longer on.
"Danny?" She screamed, landing in his room, the only light filtering in from the street lamps outside. His room was empty, only a few posters hanging on the walls, dust stirring all around her, she dropped her bag and ran through the barren house.
The house was dark, and Dani felt her chest constrict, she raced down into the lab only to find it destroyed. The portal dismantled a giant gaping hole left where it once stood. After the shock passed, a fire exploded in her chest, she had to find Danny and acting like a helpless little girl wasn't an option. Getting a hold of herself, Dani walked up the steps, retrieved her bag, and yanked out a map. Red dots marred the thin paper, each blotch representing one of Vlad's safe houses, business dealings, or laboratories, places she'd never set foot in; until now.
The nearest Safe House for Vlad was in Sydney, Montana, and he was about to have a robbery. Quietly she unzipped the suit case and pulled out black skin tight leggings, a black shirt, a long black sweater that cut off at her knees, and black combat boots that concealed the knives wrapped around her ankles. Lastly, at the bottom of her bag was a small black Firestorm .22 caliber gun, she checked the magazine, flicked on the safety before concealing it. Tied her hair back, put in brown contact lenses, and finally pulled on a black mask, Dani left.
It was around one when she got to the safe house, hiding her suit case in the underbrush beneath a tree, Dani scoped out the mansion. It was smaller than most, but the security was tight, there was no way to break in without tripping an alarm. So the young halfa didn't worry about it, instead she killed the alarm, triggering the silent alert to the police, after all Vlad wasn't home, therefore no security men who might decide to hack into his files. She had six minutes before the police arrived. Dani moved through the house until she found his private office, taking out the security camera in the room, she moved to his computer and turned it on. It hummed to life before it asked for a password.
"Crap." Dani swore, she wouldn't be able to hack Vlad's system even if she had her flash drive on her, but if she got his password wrong the entire hard drive would fry. The minutes were passing by as she frantically thought what it might be.
"Come on, he's a lonely billionaire fruitloop who's only desire is a son, how hard could this…" Dani paused and a smirk came over her face while she typed in: Daniel James Masters. The desktop came up and she smiled. She began shifting through the files when the sirens reached her ears.
"Man, they move fast, okay, Danny Fenton, where did you go?"
It took less than a minute to find his file, but the men in blue were already pulling up, their car lights shining in through the big glass window. Acting quickly, Dani destroyed the computer and threw files around the room. She heard the police open the door, silently moving in. The young halfa dashed up the stairs and into Vlad's main bedroom. Her heart was hammering in her chest. Moving around, she pulled out shelves in the dresser snatching small trinkets, necklaces that were once meant for Maddie. She heard footsteps coming up the steps. Dani made a dash for the window doors and ran out onto the terrace. She was already across the yard when the officer opened the door. Safely hidden in the trees Dani pulled off her mask and breathed, the air fogging around her from the cold.
2475 North Ave. Jump City, California. She recited in her head; it would take one day and three hours to get there. Dani planned to cut that time in half. Still, planning and doing were two different things, and half way through the young halfa was forced to rest on a bus heading to Utah. She fell asleep and didn't wake until the bus driver shook her and questioned how he never noticed her.
"Miss, how did you get on this bus?" He asked, his glasses slipping down his nose; Dani shook her head, brushing the bangs out of her face.
"I just did, hey, where are we?"
"Salt Lake City in Utah, but miss, you still haven't answered my question?"
"Your right, I haven't, because if I do you'll say: that's horrible, and then proceed to call social services on me."
"What are you talking about, Miss?"
Dani huffed, "I don't have any parents, and the only family I have is my sixteen year old cousin who lives in California and owns a bookstore…I think. And I'm currently on my way there, so if you don't mind, I really need to go," she explained pushing past the man, he recovered from the shock and grabbed Dani by the shoulder, concern in his eyes.
"Wait Miss, I won't call social services, but I can't just let you walk off this bus."
Dani felt her eyes burn, "You won't have a choice, I'm going to find my cousin, and you can't stop me!"
Pulling away she prepared to make a dash for it, but the old bus driver simply pulled out his wallet and a bus schedule.
"Wait! I know, but wouldn't you like to know when the next bus is to California?" He asked. Dani looked at him in shock.
"How do you know I'm even telling the truth? I could be some runaway just looking to steal your money."
The elderly man looked to her and smiled. "You don't look like the run of the mill street kid, and besides, I've been in your shoes before. The next bus leaves in twenty minutes, it'll take you to Jump City. Here's two hundred, it should be enough."
Dani felt tears prick her eyes; she gave him a hug so he wouldn't notice.
"Thanks, Mr. Bus driver."
The gentleman laughed before handing her the suitcase.
"Please, call me Mr. Giles. And if you're ever in the Utah area and need some help, just give me a call," he said giving her his Greyhound business card. Dani smiled and walked out of the bus just as an elderly woman entered, a simple identical gold band like Mr. Giles's had wrapped around her finger. Dani smiled sadly, it looked so similar to the class ring Danny had wanted to give Sam.
"I don't know couz'… it's a little clunky," Dani said holding it up to the light, examining it. Danny let out an exasperated sigh, and flopped face first onto the mattress.
"I know, but we've been together for months now and I still haven't worked up the courage to give her that ring, or any ring for that matter. Should I? It's too much isn't it, I knew it was too much…"
Dani cut him off before he had a panic attack.
"Give her something that reminds her of you. Just not this, its diamond looks like it was made in the sixties."
"Actually, I think that's cubic zirconium."
"Oh," There was an awkward silence.
"Real gold though." Danny added absent mindedly.
Dani sat down on the next bus and sighed. She never did find out if Danny gave Sam something else, but it wouldn't have mattered; four months later she was turned into nothing but ash. The bus lurched forward, and Dani gazed out the window to the passing scenery, still, she'd never forget how beautifully gold sparkled. Only eleven hours and thirty minutes to go.
Turns out, Jump City was huge. It took her almost an hour to even find North Avenue, seeing as how there were three of them. Why the City planners decided on same names eluded her, and quite frankly pissed Dani off to no end. But finally she managed to locate the Bookstore in downtown Jump, her heart jumped in her throat as she pushed open the door.
People were moving about the beautifully designed store, and Dani couldn't help but stare at the woodwork, the shelves, the carpet. Everything was positioned just right, even the little café situated off to the side of the store looked right at home, even the customers looked liked they belonged. College kids sleeping on the coaches, books and homework piled around them, high school students walking about, most upstairs in the young adult sections, she even noticed some clubs holding meetings. But Dani never found who she was looking for, after scanning everywhere she approached the café where a man who looked like a robot was fixing some herbal tea for some customers sitting at the small tables talking quietly to their friends.
"Excuse me, but I'm looking for someone he goes by the name of…"
The robot said in shock, Dani unconsciously took a step back from the man who knew her name. Until she realized who he was speaking about.
"You know about my cousin? His name is Danny Fenton and I'm trying to find him, do you know where he is?" Dani asked, for a moment the robot man only stared, before he hurriedly finished making the tea and handed to the customers. He then quickly floated up to the store's counter and stood on the desk.
"Attention everyone, I'm afraid a family emergency has come up, and Danny and I will be closing the store for the rest of the evening. I'm sorry for the inconvenience; please make your purchases in the next ten minutes."
Dani was surprised at how well customers handled this, well except the Techno Geeks, they whined about not finishing their web designing system. Something about Danny's computers being top of the line for the graphics features. Soon enough the store was empty and the robot was locking the door, he turned and approached, the young halfa tensed.
"Danny has never mentioned you before. I was under the impression his entire family was now deceased."
"I've been overseas. Who are you?" Dani asked, she was on the defensive, if Danny never told this man about her than he might be working under Vlad's orders.
"My name is Fixit. The Teen Titans found me, and Danny volunteered to give me shelter. For some reason he was under the impression that if I stayed with the Titans they would accidentally get me killed in a training accident."
Dani relaxed, but only a little, "the Teen Titans? You mean the local heroes who protect this city?" She asked, Fixit nodded heading to the dark brown door behind the counter.
"Yes. And I'm afraid I haven't seen Danny for quite some time. He was involuntarily helping the Titans, and I haven't seen him since."
Fixit unlocked the door and descended down the stairs, Dani hot on his tail.
"What do you mean, involuntarily? Danny's not a hero anymore?" she asked. Fixit paused in the main area of the underground house. His ocean blue eyes appraising Dani for a long moment.
"You say Danny is your cousin, yet you share all of his defining features: midnight black hair, ice blue eyes, a defined facial structure, and a lean build. Overall, you resemble more of a sister, or a genetic twin, and you know that Danny was once a hero. How much do you know?" Fixit asked. Dani felt fear crawl under her skin.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she snapped out, but already Dani was preparing to run. Suddenly Fixit's demeanor changed, his eyes became pleading.
"I need to know I can trust you. I don't know where Danny is, and the Titans aren't answering my calls."
"So, you're not with Vlad?" Dani asked deciding to take the risk. Fixit went rigid.
"Never. That man can burn in hell for all the trouble he's caused."
"Alright, I'll take your word for that. My name is Danielle Fenton, I'm a clone created by Vlad Masters. I went on the run a year ago to protect Danny and myself from that fruitloop. And up until three days ago I had no idea Danny's family died in the Nasty Burger explosion."
This was information she would never divulge freely again, and every fiber of her being screamed at her to turn it into a joke and laugh it off, but she needed to do this, for Danny. Fixit was quite for a moment, before he spoke again.
"It makes sense now, as to why you both look so similar. I wonder how often you're asked to be a model."
Dani chuckled, "Only once, and I was in Milan, Italy during fashion week."
Fixit smiled before he became serious once more.
"If you are a clone, then does that mean you also share in Danny's…heroic streak?" Fixit asked. Dani smirked at Fixit's horrible cover up, well, at least he was careful.
"Yes, I'm a halfa just like him."
"Good, then I'm praying you know how to navigate through the Ghost Zone."
Dani shook her head. "I only know a little of it, some from when Vlad took me there, and the other when Danny showed me Frostbites realm, he said if I ever needed help to see him."
Fixit's eyes lit up in recognition.
"Then that's where we're going," he said floating over towards the living room.
"How? We don't even have a portal, and I really don't feel like breaking into one of Vlad's mansions again."
Fixit opened the black door to the lab and entered, leaving Dani to stare at the eight foot tall portal embedded in the wall.
"Or, we could just us this one," Fixit said, Dani blushed.
Quickly, Fixit hacked into the main frame, it was reasonably harder this time, but soon the system came online, and the portal began to hum.
"Unfortunately, Danny hasn't had time to show me how to enter coordinates into the Ghost Zone, or which ones will lead me to friends, instead of enemies," he explained, his eyes returning to their ocean blue form.
"That's alright, I know how," Dani said, stepping forward to type in the coordinates she knew by heart. The portal opened, and the young halfa transformed. And her and Fixit stepped through the portal landing in a pile of snow.
"This was a lot better than last time," Fixit commented, Dani raised an eyebrow but started walking, soon the city was in sight and sure enough, Frostbite was running towards them.
"Little Great One, it is wonderful to see you," he said scooping Dani up into his arms; she gave a shriek before he sat her down, ruffling her hair.
"Frostbite, it's wonderful to see you again. But we need your help, Danny's gone missing and he said to come to you if anything ever happened," Dani said, and the snow yeti frowned.
"Unfortunately, I do not know where the Great One is. But I do know someone who might. Come." Frostbite ordered. All three took to the sky Dani helping Fixit so he wouldn't feel the heavy pull of the ecto-plasmatic air as they made their way up through the snow cavern and out into the dark green sky. The purple sun was setting when the group landed outside a castle, gears turning all around them, the tall double doors opened, and a middle aged ghost stepped out. Fixit instantly recognized him.
"Clockwork," Frostbite greeted, giving the Ghost of Time a small bow of respect.
"Frostbite, I believe we've been friends long enough to forego the formalities," Clockwork said chuckling. The yeti grinned.
"Yes, well you know my people do love our traditions. This is the Little Great One Dani, and this is Fixit," he said motioning to both, Clockwork looked to Fixit and smiled. "Yes, I do believe we've already met."
Frostbite paused, but didn't question it. "They require your help, old friend." And with this Frostbite knelt once more, gave Dani a parting hug, and Fixit a farewell gesture before departing. Both looked back to the now aged ghost.
"Well, would you like to come in?" he asked.
"Who are you, exactly?" Dani asked moving through the Tower, Clockwork paused to readjust one of the grandfathers, its chimes singing lowly before it began moving once more.
"I am Clockwork, Master of Time. And I believe you have come seeking to find Danny."
"You know where he is?" Fixit moved forward, the aged ghost looked back to them.
"Yes, and I know where he will soon be, or might be, if you can save him or not, young Danielle."
Normally, Dani would have bristled at her full name, but strangely coming from this ghost, it felt… different.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Right now, he and the Titans are fighting Slade, but that is not what you must save him from. Soon he will fall, his mind to weak to handle the battle of his memories and the painful emotions they will induce. He will fall into a coma and very well die from it. For what he is seeking can no longer be found in life. Or so he chooses to believe."
"No, tell me what to do, I'll save him," Dani said her eyes blazing green, Clockwork wearily sighed.
"This is not such a simple task, you may save him now, but who's to say the task isn't over. To truly save someone takes time, and Dani, you have been running so long, I fear that you might not know how to stop."
"So? What does me… touring the world; have to do with saving Danny? He doesn't need me," Dani couldn't bring herself to say running; not anymore. Saying it to Fixit was different, she was protecting Danny and his family. But now, she was his family, and did she truly want the burden, or take the risks that would come from it.
"Danielle, Danny has always needed you. You're a part of his family, and the only reason he didn't go looking for you is because Vlad has his claws in him. You both are trying so hard to protect the other, your killing yourselves. And neither of you will be able to save the other until one is willing to give, so I ask you, can you stop running?" Clockwork asked.
Dani felt her hands tremble in fear, if she stopped running, Vlad would know exactly where she was, he'd be able to hurt her again. But if she didn't, the one person in her life who wanted to protect her would die. Dani clenched her fists and pushed all of her fears away.
"I will do anything to save my big brother."
"Then first, you must know everything that led to the deaths of your family," Clockwork said and a portal began swirl, showing an image of fourteen year old Danny sitting in the auditorium with Sam and Tucker gazing back at them. Slowly, Dani made her way forward; she took a breath that didn't come out entirely even, and stepped in.
For a moment, Fixit only stared at the swirling portal, it would be easy to step in. to get the answers his mind was plagued with.
"If you wish, you may join her."
Fixit turned his ocean blue eyes to Clockwork's pure red and smiled.
"I believe there are some things better left unknown."
Clockwork nodded, "I am glad for someone like you protecting him, where I can't. There is only so much I can do within the confines of my Tower."
Fixit felt his heart clench in understanding. "You cannot leave this place."
A dry humorless laugh escaped the ghost's mouth.
"I can, but sometimes even the greatest leaders need to obey hidden laws. No matter how much I want to say screw it, and protect young Daniel from what is to come."
"I understand the feeling."
Both ghost and robot stood in silence, no longer having anything to say.
This was worse than any nightmare Dani had seen. Just one act, not even that, a thought – the notion of cheating – could lead to so many events. The fight at the Nasty Burger, cracking the seal to the answers for the C.A.T. to meeting Dan in person, the young halfa screamed when she watched him choke the life out of Danny. And despair grasped her heart when Danny was thrown into the Ghost Zone, trapped and immobile, while that thing traipsed around in his own skin. But the worst, was feeling her own satisfaction when she saw Vlad's pitiful frame, and that twisted and squirmed like a snake in her gut. It weighed Dani down, until guilt took its place, she shouldn't feel things like that, even to this bastard.
Then, everything began to move to fast in Dani's opinion; she found it amazing that Danny could keep up. Traveling through the time line, both watching as their loved ones were strapped to a boiler, and when the fight began, Dani didn't know who to watch, his family, or him. Danny was wearing out, and she could see bruises coloring his skin through the tatters of his uniform. But in the final moments, Dani swelled with pride as that monster was sealed away and Danny stood up, now human, victorious. Then she remembered, this wasn't reality, but a memory, and it didn't have a happy ending.
"No," she breathed and turned to everyone, the boiler behind them hissing and flaming red, blistering the occupants' skin.
"No!" Dani screamed, racing into the restaurant, jumping over rocks and debris, she reached for the restraints and her hands passed through them like smoke.
"No, no, no, no!" She whaled over and over again. Dani felt helpless at the sharp pain of realization that she couldn't even feel the heat rolling off the boiler, only see its effects on her family. She looked to Maddie, the mother had tears of pain streaming down her face, not from the heat, but from watching her only son running towards them, white rings trying and failing to come into existence. Seeing the desperation in Danny became too much, and the young halfa had to look away, back to his family. She looked into each one of the doomed person's eyes, until her eyes landed on Sam; just like the others, she was covered in sweat, and blisters were bubbling on her shoulders, her eyes clouded in pain. But shinning in the light, on her right ear was a beautiful gold ear cuff, undoubtedly intricately designed if examined up close, Dani felt her heart clench and deny her body the ability to breathe. Guess he had gotten around to giving Sam that present. Danny screamed from behind them, and Sam looked to him once then closed her eyes in determination, leaving Dani confused – the boiler exploded. Flinging her out of the memory, making her land on the cold stone floor of Clockwork's Tower, Dani laid there, staring up to the high gothic styled ceiling, her mind a jumbled mess.
"Dani?" Fixit exclaimed kneeling down beside her, brushing away her sweat damped hair, dazedly she met his eyes and spoke, her voice horse and strained.
"Why? Why did she shut her eyes?"
No one could answer her, and slowly, Dani rose from the ground, trembling.
"Why?" And this time it wasn't just about Sam, Fixit had to hold the girl in his arms to prevent her from falling back to her knees once more. Almost resigned, a very weary Clockwork bent down to meet her eyes, his own red ones unreadable in their ancient depths.
Dani closed her eyes, and forced her sadness to subside.
"Why did I need to see that?"
Clockwork rose, moving past them to gaze at the portal swirling in perfect harmony.
"Daniel's wounds run deep, the nightmare, his fears, cannot be easily treated. And sometimes only those who live through the same experiences can share in the pain of understanding."
Fixit stood next to Dani and gazed at the Master of Time's back.
"What is wrong with Danny now?" he asked, his eyes steel, without turning around Clockwork answered.
"Right now, he is falling into blackness, once fully submerged in the nightmare he will die there. Both mentally and physically, the Titans are desperately trying to save him, but they will fail. His mental barriers are too strong for them."
"Then if Danny is already falling, how can I help him?"
Clockwork gazed at the young halfa before asking, "Have you ever heard of the Gemini Twins?"
"What?" Dani snapped, but Clockwork merely silenced her.
"In Greek Mythology, a pair of brothers were inseparable and distinctly alike, almost frighteningly so, they were so close that it was believed they shared one mind, one heart, despite being born from two different fathers."
Dani bristled. "Hey, I might be Danny's clone, but I am distinctly female, and if you're insinuating that my chest is too small, I will punch you in your clock," she growled crossing her arms defensively.
The Time ghost merely chuckled, "I would never even suggest that. What I was focusing on however, was yours and Daniels birth dates both were in June, and your likeness and mannerisms are striking, yet the two of you are both distinctly your own person. Still, I pray this power might exist in you…"
"Uh…Clockwork?" Dani said unsure if she should interrupt his rambling, he seemed to come back to reality, and moving forward he cupped one of her cheeks and instantly a burning burst through her skull and a single Roman numeral, black as night, inked across her forehead and disappeared beneath her skin. Instantly, when the pain subsided Dani wrenched away clutched her head, glaring up at the Master.
Clockwork sighed, in both relief and exhaustion.
"Good, you would have possessed that power; I merely had to activate it a little early."
"Great, now I'm angry, mad, sad, and horribly in pain thanks, oh wonderful Master," Dani hissed, her eyes withholding her tears. Clockwork sadly smiled.
"I am sorry, but it was necessary, when you see Danny, place your palms against his heart, and reach out, you must pull him back."
Dani looked up to the man and wanted to snap out a retort, but it died in her throat at his look of pure desperation.
"I don't know what you mean?" she whispered. Clockwork suddenly pulled her into a hug, and Dani wondered if this is what it felt like to be a daughter having a father fiercely trying to protect his children from something not within his control.
"You will. You're will is strong, Danielle, good luck," he whispered and with this he pulled back to open a portal, Dani schooled her features and stepped through immediately. Fixit momentarily lingered, his gaze never leaving Clockwork's, until the ghost of Time inclined his head, and Fixit nodded before he stepped through. His feet landed on solid packed earth, the grass crunching underneath his feet. They were standing on the banks of Titans Tower.
"Let's go," Dani said fully prepared to break down the double doors.
"Wait. It is best if they don't believe us enemies," Fixit warned walking up to the Tower, and peeling away one metal sheet, revealing a panel and computer screen, he set to work on hacking into Robin's communicator, and soon the screen flickered to life as the Titan answered, his face stricken with panic.
"Fixit, how did you…"
"I hacked into your computer system. Where is Danny?" he asked, watching Robin's face contort in pain, his throat getting clogged up before the device was placed in Cyborg's hands, he looked no better than his leader.
"He's here, but something's wrong. He won't wake up. We don't know what to do."
Fear coursed through Fixit's electrical system, but he forced his voice to remain even.
"I know someone who does…" Dani tapped her foot impatiently, much like her cousin.
"…can you open your doors?"
Cyborg turned his head, and the screen went black before the massive doors came to life and parted for them. Dani didn't waste any time as she grabbed Fixit by his wrist and pulled him inside towards the elevator doors that opened automatically. They didn't even need to punch in their destination for it was as if the Tower itself knew where they wanted to go. The young halfa never paused to wait for the doors to reopen; she merely phased through the metal and ran down the hall. It was strange, because to Dani it didn't feel like her feet were carrying her towards Danny, but her mind was. She felt her heart stop when she finally saw her brother on that white bed, looking pale –deathlike – as if the shadows under his eyes were a reaper caressing him in an embrace. She felt five years old – not that she'd ever been five before – but seeing the one person who'd always protected her, someone immortally strong, now resting motionless…Dani didn't even realize she was climbing on top of the bed, until the warmth of his skin soaked into hers.
"Who are you?" The teen with spiky black hair asked, Dani remembered him to be the one on the intercom.
She raised her head, and moved the bangs that had fallen over her face to the side.
"Dani, with an 'I', and I'm his cousin…sort of." she mumbled looking back to…well, she wasn't sure what she was to him – his other self – perhaps? But that didn't matter now; timidly Dani followed Clockworks instructions, placing her palms over Danny's heart, fingers spread wide, praying this worked.
At first it felt like nothing, just the tingle of flesh on cloth that slowly spread up her arms and through all of her. Dani jolted at this suddenly insight, but remained in place as she felt lightening course through her with nowhere to go. Her skin burned and prickled, like thousands of ants crawling across her bones. No, that wasn't right –she felt like a piece of spark flint – a negative, a brightness without shadows.
Distantly, the girl wondered if she'd spoken that aloud or not – all she could feel was the howling abyss she was blindly reaching into – her voice echoed hollowly inside her own mind, and for the first time in a long time, Dani remembered the feeling of being demolecularized, of being incomplete. Like her own voice inside her head wasn't enough, that it had never been enough.
Her power surged deeper,
The voice was faint, but Dani latched onto it, fighting to pull her weight and his from the tendrils of darkness.
"Danny, please come on, fight cousin, I can't pull you back all by myself. You're heavy!" she screamed, her voice hoarse from yelling over the wind – still she kept reaching, and then for the first time she felt a tug back, and Dani nearly lost all of her concentration at the relief she felt from Danny finally deciding to fight back. The darkness began to fade and a warm hand grasped hers, his one hand holding her two over his heart, pure electricity surged through both of them, a negative and a positive colliding. Dani opened her eyes to meet identical blue.
"D-Dani? Am I awake? Am I here?" Mind blank, she could barley nod over the overwhelming emotions crashing through her, and the feeling of completeness at hearing Danny's voice not only in the real world, but in her mind – a voice only moments ago, might have been lost forever.
Realization made tears stream from Dani's eyes, and she latched onto him in a bear hug, feeling the other halfa momentarily tense before he melted into the hug and sigh into her hair. The Titans all surrounded them then, and suddenly Dani got the feeling she was crying for both of them, since in the small prickle of tears trying to dot her hair would never become anything more.
Eventually though, her tears dried, and everyone took to the task of disentangling themselves from each other. When Dani finally could get a good look at her other self, she couldn't help what came out next.
"You look like a sleep deprived monster."
"Nice to see you too, Dani."
Cyborg stepped in to prevent any sort of retort, as he ran over the results from his scans.
"I'm not sure if it's wise for you to sleep: you nearly went catatonic, border lining falling into coma. You might have a concussion."
Danny blinked, taking in the situation.
"I'll be fine…" at the looks he received from the Titans and Dani, he quickly amended himself, "if you wake me up every couple of hours."
Accepting the terms, Fixit agreed to take first watch, and the Titans filed out slowly, while Dani with an 'I' lingered. The team successfully made it to the living room before they all collapsed in exhaustion.
Shakily, Beast Boy looked up, his hazel green eyes weary.
"What, just happened?"
"Danny nearly went catatonic," Cyborg stated earning him a glare from the changeling.
"But why? How?" Starfire asked laying haphazardly on the couch, reminding Robin of a wilted flower.
No one answered, but none missed when Robin's knuckles suddenly cracked, straining underneath his gloves. Realizing this conversation wasn't going anywhere Raven spoke,
"If he wishes to tell us, he will, we can only be here for him."
Beast Boy sniffled, obviously trying not to cry.
"But why can't we help him? Weren't you the one who said we were uninitially hurting him? What are we doing wrong?"
Robin surged to his feet as if he'd been electrocuted, startling everyone in the room, he moved to the door quickly, the bronze and black armor looking gaudy and stiff in the bright warm lights of the Tower.
"Robin?" Starfire asked, he paused, mentally debating if he should share what he only a minute ago realized, but without talking to Danny first…the teen held his tongue.
"I'm sorry," Robin said, making to leave the room and head to the infirmary, when the doors opened and Dani stepped in, her eyes wide, calculating but curious.
"Do you really mean to help Danny?" She asked looking only to Robin. The teen met her gaze and nodded.
"He's our friend; we'll do anything to protect him. Like he's done for us." Something in his words rung true to Dani. And Robin watched pain flash across those blue eyes, the same pain inside the patient sleeping in the Titan's hospital wing. Once the words settled in the air, Dani relaxed the muscles the boy wonder hadn't noticed were coiled.
"Then I guess it's necessary for you to know this," a pause, and the Titans waited while the girl gathered her courage.
"I am Danny's clone. In a way, I guess you could consider me his other half," she said, this admission sounded like she had to forcibly drag it from her lips in order to tell them. And whatever the Titans had been expecting, this was not it, and the silence that filled the room was of shock, until…
"But…you're a girl?" Beast Boy exclaimed appalled, Dani punched him in the face for that. The tension in the room evaporated, and Cyborg rubbed his chin thoughtfully while leaning back on the kitchen counter.
"Well, you being a girl makes sense, since it's easier to copy the X chromosome, but that still doesn't explain how your creator managed to replicate the other chromosome without causing major abnormalities, mutations, or changes to Daniel's DNA and respectively, yours. The patchwork needed to be done would be inmeasurable."
Dani beamed at the Titan, "Oh, Danny stabilized me, my fath…bastard creator, planned on melting me down, nearly succeed to, but Danny had some invention called Ecto-Dejecto that stabilized me…I think his Dad made it."
The team was silent.
"Ecto-Dejecto." Raven stated.
"Does this mean…" Starfire cut in.
"That you're part ghost as well?" Robin finished, though he already suspected it, if her glowing blue hands earlier was anything to go by. Dani nodded, and Robin got the feeling that this information was a lot deadlier than he originally suspected.
"Who was your creator, the one who wanted to melt you down?" The team shivered at that.
Dani closed her eyes to hide the flash of green, and repress the urge to shoot something, before she looked up to them grimly.
"Vlad Masters, but I prefer to call him…"
The entire team blushed scarlet at Dani's next choice of insults.
AN: Read, Enjoy, and Review.