Woo! Another chapter has finally been completed! I wish to dedicate this one to EctoNommy over on tumblr because Fates bless them but they've become my very first patron on Patreon! So this chapter is completely dedicated to them and all the wonderful support they give me - their art as well!

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If you wish to donate at well, head on over to my Patreon at : patreon com/mjanderson

Warnings for : knives, knives being used as weapons, arguing ghosts, Danny being a little shit

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Chapter Forty

::

"You know, I knew it would be kind of hot, but I didn't expect the heat to be this bad." At Mufasa's whining growl, Danny scoffed and waved him off. "See, this is why you're Andrew's lion, you're as bad as he is- Seriously, I'm fine! Yeah, so, okay, I'm still recovering from that Shadow Cloud bullshit, but I'm well enough to be in the desert for a few hours, or so." At the looks from both lions, Danny pouted and slumped down from where he was riding on Sasha's back. "Okay, so even for me that's a weak lie, but I'm worried, okay! Look how hard it was to get my weapon!"

It had been a good hour or so since Danny had left to catch up with the others, which meant they had been in this place for two hours. He knew they would be okay, but extreme heat like that couldn't be good for any ghost- And, alright, he was an overprotective bastard when it came to Andrew, he would gladly admit that. Still.

"We'll just check on them from a distance, make sure they're okay, lurk around for a little bit, and then get home before they notice we were ever here. It's a perfect plan." Danny chose to ignore the grumbling complaints from his companions, instead just scanning the vast desert for any sign of his mate or friends. Seeing how big this place was...how were they even supposed to find something like the staff? Especially when it was near the color of the sand, which was a dark, sapphire blue. "Why did Dusk hide the staff…"

He had been teaching Nocturne, after all, so wouldn't it have been better to save it for when he came of age, like Clockwise did with Clockwork? What reason would he have to hide it in the desert where there was a real chance it would never be found again...

There had to be a reason, right?

Maybe...maybe he hadn't had a choice...

How disheartening to think it had all led to this… The great and powerful Spirit World...torn to shreds in a single day… Banished to the wastes and outskirts of the world that not even the brave did tread, and yet here he was left...him and one other. All the others...his friends - his family - they were all-

Well, it didn't matter now, he supposed.

All that mattered was that events like these were never repeated. All that mattered was that the Council never repeated. It would just lead to events like this. It would lead to more death, destruction, and loss. And there had been enough of that to last for lifetimes upon lifetimes.

With someone to look after, Dusk had finally made his decision. Clockwise could do as he wished, but if it was up to him...he would never allow another Guardian of Dreams to be. The Council was better lost and forgotten in the annals of time, and the staff he wielded… Well, that was better lost to the sands of time. A few muttered words and he allowed the staff to fall to the sands, the weapon quickly disappearing from view.

A blazing yellow sky shined overhead, swirls of color constantly shifting past. Dusk only watched them silently for a moment, defeated expression on his face. He missed the purple that he had lived under. A quiet sigh and the desert was silent once more except for two words.

"Forgive me…"

Shaking his head in a sharp motion, Danny dizzily blinked for a few moments, and, really. He did not enjoy time visions one bit, at this point. "So if that was Dusk...guess the time staff really is hidden in the desert, then…" Looking down, he blinked at seeing the only thing in sight was the sapphire blue sands of the desert and the bright yellow of the sky. There wasn't a speck of the normal Ghost Zone in sight. "Well, that's slightly worrying. And vaguely unnerving."

Hearing familiar voices, two of which were arguing, Danny perked up, nudging the lions into the direction they needed to go. It took a bit, since sound seemed to carry over the desert quite a bit, but they eventually came across the group of arguing ghosts. And, alright, Danny hadn't meant to fall off of Sasha's back, but Andrew had managed to catch him, so he figured that was a plus!

There was a moment of silence in the group, Danny giving Andrew a bright, sunny grin. "Guess I've literally fallen for you, huh?" There was a snort of laughter from someone, Andrew sighing heavily and looking exhausted. Although Danny could see he was fighting against a bit of a smile.

"Your cuteness isn't going to save you this time, mon cher." Although he did nothing to set the teen down, instead only cuddling him closer.

"Aw, but mon ange, you're still weak to me," Danny grinned, pressing a sweet little kiss to Andrew's cheek, looking as adorable and innocent as could be.

"If we are quite done with added additions," Nocturne raised an eyebrow, looking none too amused by the stone lions that were now curiously sniffing them. "I believe we were in the middle of something."

"Okay, right, totally. Totally on that." Danny gave a thumbs-up, Nocturne looking like all of his hopes were being shattered. "No, no, no, it's chill! Totally chill. Saw a time vision on the way here about Dusk hiding the staff, so it's definitely for sure in the desert. Just...not sure where. There was some kind of spell thing put on it so it was always moving under the sands."

"Lovely." Andrew looked to Vortex, eyes narrowing. "I believe you were the one boasting about how this was going to be 'easy', yes?"

"At least I was trying to help, instead of complaining every two seconds!" Vortex snapped, a dark look shot at Andrew, who shot his own back. Danny was only quite pleased to settle back in Andrew's arms, happy to watch the others enter into a form of civil unrest.

"Yes, I forgot that causing literal tornadoes in a desert was being of help. My mistake. I'll be sure to be more thankful of large sandstorms in the future, shall I?"

"Why are you even here?!"

"Well someone competent had to come along," Andrew shrugged, Danny giving a snort of laughter, turning it into a cough at the last second. Nocturne was only looking as exhausted as Andrew had been, wondering if he could get rid of the group...he probably couldn't.

"Why you-"

"Can you two perhaps not argue and fight? I am sure that is asking a lot, but it is possible that we might get more done with such a tactic." Andrew and Vortex only gave a huff, Vortex turning his head and crossing his arms, and Andrew tucking an amused Danny closer. "Thank you."

"Airhead."

"Bookworm."

"Weather slut."

"Book slut!"

"Ohho damn," Danny snorted, looking ready to burst out laughing as he looked to Nocturne. "I am so happy I am here. So very happy."

Nocturne quietly sighed, glancing around the vast desert. Maybe he should have come alone on this trip...he certainly would have managed to get more work done than toting around people who hated each other. "Is there a reason you two seem to detest each other so? Far as my knowledge goes, you rarely have contact with each other."

"He starts it!" Vortex defended, Andrew only tsking and turning his head away.

"Excuse me for being upset at people who harm my mate." At that, they were all looking somewhat startled, Danny narrowing his eyes as he looked up to Andrew.

"Wait...is this about the fact he triggered my death fear or whatever, at that party years ago?" At Nocturne's look to Vortex, the weather ghost was holding his hands up in defense.

"It was meant to be a small joke, we hadn't even known that he had one!"

"It wasn't years ago," Andrew muttered defensively, avoiding Danny's look. "I believe we were supposed to be finding a Guardian weapon, oui? Why not get back to that."

"And you call me protective," Danny chuckled, giving a sweet little kiss to Andrew's cheek, and nuzzling against him happily. "Alright, finding a staff that keeps moving in a giant desert, I mean, that's not so bad compared to getting mine."

"...Dare I inquire as to what that was like?"

"I almost died. A lot. I think at one point I started fading?" A pained noise from Andrew. "Nope! I didn't, sorry, I exaggerated, totally fine. Although I did almost turn evil and try to kill everything." There was a long moment of silence, Nocturne silently stepping closer to Vortex. "Hey! It's fine, now, see! Weapon and everything!" A gesture to Mufasa, who was still carrying the scythe.

Nocturne only stared at the lion, sighing, and, really...he should have come on his own.

::

"Aaannndddyyy, it's hooottt." Danny was whining loudly while clinging to Andrew tightly, looking utterly pathetic. And rather flushed and dazed from said heat. "I hate the desert. It's hot. I don't like the heat. Why couldn't the staff be in the Far Frozen? Andy I don't like this. Andy this is terrible. Aaannddyy." Vortex was covering his ears, Nocturne looking ready to kill the teen.

Andrew looked remarkably unbothered, more amused than anything at the whining. "You have an ice core, mon cher. What did you expect when coming to a desert where it's always midday?" Danny whined, slumping down in Andrew's hold pathetically.

"Piittyy. I was trying to help." At Danny's renewed whining, Andrew only tucked the hood over his head, as well as loosening the scarf around his neck.

"No, you were being a meddlesome little brat, is what you were doing." The man rolled his eyes as Danny cuddled closer, rubbing their cheeks together. "Honestly."

There was a quiet tsk from Nocturne, who had managed to get quite a bit of distance between them. "Are you two always this...close." Before Andrew could answer, Danny was grinning wickedly, pulling Andrew into a heavy, lingering kiss. And maybe nipping at the tip of his ear. "...I'll take that as a yes, then."

"Shut up! He's a brat, is what is he," Andrew grumbled, blush very bright on his face. "Just- Focus on looking for the staff, or whatever." Danny gave a grin, leaning up to whisper something in the other's ear. He was then laughing loudly when Andrew blushed even more, dropping the teen onto the sand and stomping away.

Vortex quietly looked down at the teen, who was a bit too busy laughing to try and get up. "What...did you say to him." Danny only somehow laughed louder, Sasha looking as tired as her master as she bent down to nudge him onto her back.

Danny's laughter only lasted a minute or two, giggles trailing out for little pants and gasps of breath, the teen looking exhausted. "Right. Desert. Hot." Laughing was tiring work, and he was a bit too tired to mock his mate anymore. Nudging Sasha to walk over towards Nocturne, the teen sat up to look at him. "So, question. A long time ago you were visiting Amity Park and you said you had been looking for something that belonged to your master. That's why you tried to take over the town to get more power, and all. Was this staff what you were looking for?"

"I...believe so." Nocturne looked as if he was thinking seriously, and was...a touch confused. "Things from that time in my life are...hazy, for some reason. As if I was not in total control of my thoughts or actions." A snort from Danny, the teen rolling his eyes.

"Trust me, I get how that feels." He still had nightmares about being controlled...from Freakshow to these shadows that they still knew nothing about. "Is there any kind of way to track this staff?"

"Some spirits can track energy and auras, but I am not one of them." There was a light, barely there tap to one of his feathers, Danny looking up to see Andrew walking beside him with a raised eyebrow. It took a moment before it clicked, Danny grinning brightly.

"You can't, but I can…" A flash and Danny was flying a good distance into the air, wings spreading behind him as he closed his eyes and concentrated. He had become used to feeling the dull pulses of auras from the ghosts around him, but he usually tuned them out at this point - except Andrew's. That one he might have constantly checked on every so often because Andrew and- Right, right, focus.

Guardians had an energy all their own. Something different, and ancient, and powerful. If enough of it was lingering on the staff...if enough of it slipped through that he could track… It was a long few minutes of Danny floating silently before he was zooming back to the group, tackling Andrew and clinging to his back. "'S that way, but it's really fuzzy. Like...fuzzy. Can't tell if it's where we're far away and it's not my weapon, or if it's cause of all this sand."

"It's more information than we had to begin with, at least," Andrew hummed, scratching at Danny's head and trying not to snort as the teen gave a happy little purr. "I'm sure as we get closer you'll be able to track it easier."

Before any of them could respond there was a sudden blast of energy, knocking up quite a bit of sand. When it settled, there was a ring of shifting, moving shadows all around, looking much bigger than they had been before. "He iS oUrS noW. GiV-" The one who had been speaking didn't even finish before there was a wicked sharp, glowing purple dagger sticking out of him, the creature fading in an instant.

"Quite sorry, you seem to be mistaken about something," Andrew smiled pleasantly, more knives and daggers forming in the air around him, and the one that had been thrown - his Guardian weapon - back in hand. "He is actually mine, and I am very defensive about my things. Him especially."

"I don't know if I should be flattered or upset," Danny admitted with a snort, quite happy to watch the shadows be destroyed by all the knives. "So, yeah, these would be those shadows we were talking about."

"Feh, they look weak," Vortex declared, a sharp slash of his hand forming a gust of wind that knocked quite a few back. "You said they absorb energy?"

"Yeah, but when it comes to an overload of it..." Danny grinned, slipping off of Andrew and happily taking his scythe from Mufasa, Sasha already tackling a shadow and ripping it to shreds. "Now, who wants to have a little fun?"


Danny really enjoy destroying those shadow creatures, even if he should be resting at the moment.