Hello everyone, sorry for the late update, I had some family stuff going on and didn't have time to update. But I'm here now, so no worries :D
Alright, now... no one freak out when I say that Amie will be in this chapter, BUT it will only be very briefly. Why? Well because I thought you all deserved a little explanation for her... well her weirdness when she talked to Danny. But for now on she is going to be a VERY minor character that will be staying out of the spotlight.
Now without further adieu, here is chapter 21!
Chapter 21- Flowers of Consequence
Amie let out a sigh as she walked back into Clockwork's castle, relieved that her task was finally over. Do not misunderstand; she loved talking to Danny, more than she would ever openly admit. She just hated the fact that Clockwork had her use her worst ability the entire time; her ability to read a person's mind.
Ever since Amie first got the ability she has absolutely loathed using it. After she read any one person's mind she always felt like she had violated their privacy. And now, after she was forced to do it on Danny all day, she could not help but feel like she had a very thick and unhealthy layer of dirt coating her skin, and she knew she would be washing it off for years.
Amie did not care how beneficial it may have been for Danny's future, it had been wrong on so many levels. So she then officially promised herself she would never read Danny's mind again, no matter how necessary it may be.
"Oh, Rose, there you are." Clockworks stated as he just then turned around to see her. "I was wondering when you would get here." He said with a smile, and Amie smiled back, pushing back her worries, for now anyway. "What did you think of your hero?"
Amie's smile turned bashful as her face reddened. Danny Phantom, AKA Inviso-Bill, had been her hero ever since she first heard about him a year ago, and that was way before she ever met Clockwork. "He was defiantly everything I thought he would be; strong, loyal, and accepting to a point."
Clockwork's smile turned tender, "Good, now do you care to explain the flowers?" He asked as he pointed to a screen with a vase filled with six beautiful pink roses that were grasped inside Starfire's firm grip as she and Danny walked to Titans tower.
"Every flower has its own meaning Clockwork." Amie answered plainly with a knowing smile. "You care to tell me what those mean?"
Clockwork rolled his eyes, but complied, "Pink rose: Gentleness, Perfect, Happiness, Appreciation, Admiration, Grace, 'Please believe me,' and 'Thank you.'"
"Perfect, but you forgot something," Amie stated, her smile then spread from ear to ear. "There are six roses in that vase, so it also signifies the need to be cherished or loved. I figured it was perfect for Danny, especially if he was going to give them to Starfire."
"That is exactly why you are called Rose by all that know you here in the Ghost Zone." Clockwork said as he turned back to the screen that changed to show the boy that Amie had spent the last several hours with.
However he was in his Phantom form at that moment, yet he looked different somehow. He seemed to have aged slightly; his hair had grown out a little, along with his white cloak. He had the Crown of Fire floating only a few inches away from the top of his head and the Ring of Rage glowed magnificently on his left ring finger.
"Danny's future lays before him, all he has to do is stay on the right track." Clockwork said a grieved yet proud look crossed his face.
Amie smiled tenderly at the sight on the screen, "He really is the best candidate for the job." Amie acknowledged. "However a King is nothing without a loyal Knight by his side." She said a playful smile crossing her face.
Vlad stared at the container in front of him, a malicious smile playing onto his lips. At that moment he wanted to do nothing more than to open the old Fenton Thermos and release the old ghost from within, so that it may bring Daniel to him, one way or another. However, it was too early, and as the saying goes, 'Patience is key.' After all, Vlad needed the ghost at full strength when he went up against the young Halfa.
Vlad knew the technique he was about to use was little old school; however it was also very affective and never seemed to fail. 'Your emotions will lead to your downfall Little Badger,' Vlad thought to himself as he picked up the thermos and examined it closely.
Despite the amount of time the container had been left out to rust, or the long period of time that the ghost had been trapped it there, the thermos seemed to still be intact, well minus the dents and rust marks.
'I will have you kneeling before me, even if it is the last thing you'll ever do.' Vlad growled with pleasure at the thought of finally getting the famous Danny Phantom to surrender to him as the superior Halfa that he was.
When Ned got to the tower he was slightly surprised that all of the Titans were there; waiting for him… or was it Star they were waiting for? Either way, every single one of them where waiting near the door, like dogs waiting for their owners to come home. Then just like dogs, they jumped.
"Ned!" Beast Boy, Youngblood, and Cyborg yelled together at once. However it was only Youngblood that literally tackled Ned to the ground with a hug. "I was so worried!"
Ned let out a few chuckles as soon as he regained his breath. "It's good to see you too Youngblood. But what is this that I hear about you sucking at video games?"
"I don't suck!" Youngblood fought back, however the blush on his face betrayed him.
"Really, you care to prove it?" Ned taunted with a cunning smile.
"Of course!" He said as he got off of Ned and flew towards the couch with another excited smile on his face.
"Wait a second, what about the upgrades for the tower?" Cyborg asked. Slight disappointment was present in his voice.
"Oh, no you don't, you got him first yesterday," BB started, "it's my turn!"
"Upgrades are more important Grass stain!"
"No, fun is Tin head!"
"Alright, break it up you two. I'm not the front seat of your mom's mini-van." Ned said as he forced his way in between the two arguing boys. "I have had a pretty weird and exhausting day, so games first and then the tower's upgrades. So let's go play, and I don't want to hear any bickering!" Ned finished as he grabbed the two teenager's arms and dragged then to the couch to play some videogames with Youngblood. "Anyone else want to play?" Ned suggested looking at the last three teens that were looking at the scene with both interest and confusion.
"Yes please." Star said as she flew over to the boys, putting the vase of flowers on the counter where a majority of the Titans would eat during the day.
"Hey Raven, you want to play!" BB asked with a large smile on his face that told the room that he was just toying with the dark teen. However he got his answer when Raven pulled out a book and started to read next to the vase of flowers.
"Why don't you join us Robin?!" Cyborg requested and Ned forced out a smile.
"Yeah, I could always do with another victim " Ned said as he held up the gaming controller with a cocky smile plastered onto his face.
Due to the large amount of people wanting to play, they could not play Doomed, which BB was pretty disappointed and slightly distraught by. However everyone had a lot of fun when they ended up playing the futuristic hovering car racing game. As it turned out, Ned had no reason to boast before the game, because he lost… a lot. He ended up in dead last in every single round they played. Cy had won in first place (of course), Robin (who ended up playing with them) got second, BB third, Youngblood fourth, and Star fifth; all beating Ned by a mile.
Alright, maybe he had not been playing that many videogames since he left Amity Park. Of course Ned still played Doomed, but that was because of the sentimental value, everything else just did not hold that much entertainment, well until now that is.
So as everyone bragged about their victory, minus Star, Ned hung his head in defeat, vowing to play more video games so that he would never get his butt kicked that bad ever again. "Do not take it too hard friend Ned." Star said in encouragement. "Everyone has their bad days."
Ned let out a sigh, taking a small amount of comfort in Star's words. "Thanks, but I don't think it was because of my mood." Ned stated. "I don't think I have played anything like this since before my parents went out of town." He said, working his lies into his truth.
Star seemed to get what he was saying and empathy crossed her face. "Ned-" She started.
"Alright, as fun as that was; Ned we need to get back to the Tower's defense system." Cyborg said; cutting off whatever Star was going to say next.
"Awwww…" BB and Youngblood said in unison. "Just a couple more rounds." Youngblood whined afterwards and Ned smiled at his childishness.
"Sorry Youngblood, maybe some other time." Ned said as he stood up and started to walk next to Cy. "But you're more than welcome to come and observe, however you might get bored."
Youngblood seemed to consider it, but after a while a frown appeared on his face and he nodded, "Sure I'll come."
Ned looked at the young ghost in shock, not sure if he was either seeing things, or hearing things. Because the young ghost's face said no, while his voice obviously said yes. "You sure?"
"Yep, now let's go!" Youngblood almost yelled as he started to fly next to Ned, who was still looking at the young ghost in confusion, but decided to drop the subject.
"Alright, let's go Cy." Ned said as he, Youngblood, and said robotic teen started to walk out of the room.
"Um, Star where did you get the roses?" Raven asked as she finally put the book down and looked at the flowers, like they had just now caught her attention.
Star's and Ned's face blushed. However unlike everyone else in the room, Ned did not look back to see what Raven was talking about, he simple grabbed Youngblood's and Cyborg's arms and attempted to rush out of the door. Trying his hardest to get them out of the area before Starfire could say the words that would ultimately paint a large bulls-eyes on the back of his head that said, 'Get him, he has a crush on the Tamaranian Princess!' Ned was now starting to wonder if Amie giving him the roses was such a great idea in the first place.
However he had no such luck as Star quietly said, "Ned gave them to me when I got to his apartment."
'And my fate is forever sealed.' Ned thought as his cheeks grew very warm and his pace quickening so much that Cyborgs feet made sparks as he was dragged out of the room.
However, when Ned finally made it out of the room he could still hear BB singing, "Ned and Starfire, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S OWCH!" Ned could not help but feel a little relieved as Raven obviously hit him, since no one else probably would.
"Did I say something wrong?" Starfire asked as a worried look crossed her face.
"No, Beast Boy is just being a nuisance again." Raven said as she rolled her eyes in aggravation at the young green teen's actions. 'He is still a Clorbag.' She thought to herself as Happiness gave out a slight giggle at the old joke.
"HEY!" Said boy defended himself, "I'm just pointing out the MPH!" he started to say, until Raven covered his mouth with black energy.
"Why do the flowers cause such a disturbance? Ned gave them to me to say his thanks for being such a good friend." Star pointed out in confusion.
"You do know why roses are handed out right?" Raven asked, unsure if Star was up to date on her human customs.
"Yes, in your culture they are to express feelings or emotions, and Ned wanted to express his thanks." Star stated with certainty.
Raven and Beast Boy stared at Star in shock, not expecting such an accurate answer. "Well yes, that's essentially what they mean, but roses are usually used to express feelings like attraction or admiration; even love."
The last word made Star's face turn red and before it could get to dark, she covered her face with her hands. "Th-that cannot be… can it?" She asked her past confidence evaporated out of her voice as she sneaked a peek at her friends through her fingers.
Raven let out an exhausted sigh, seeing where this conversation was going. "Common, we need to talk." She stated as she grabbed Star's hand and flew out of the living room, not really keen on hearing BB snickering through the mouth gag she put on him.
When Raven made it to her room with Starfire in tow, she let out a relieved sigh and closed the door. She was all too happy to be back in her own little room that she knew no one would dare enter unannounced, well unless they were as dumb as Beast Boy.
"Raven, what are we going in here? I thought you did not want others being in here besides yourself?" Star asked as she looked around the dark room, a hint of fear in her eyes.
"To talk about Ned, you like him right?" Raven stated boldly and Star's fear turned to shock and she covered her face once again as it started to turn red.
"I…I don't know…" Star said her voice barely above a whisper.
Raven rolled her eyes, not getting how someone could be so shy towards a simple emotion. "Then why don't you ask him out, see if you two feel anything."
"Ask him out… like what your human customs call a date?"
Raven smiled at Star's understanding, 'She really is adapting,' "Yes, how about you ask him when he gets done with Cy, you can go out after school tomorrow."
Star's embarrassment melted as assurance and what Raven thought was hope sparked in her eyes. "That sounds like a glorious idea! Thanks you friend Raven!" Star yelled in excitement as she flew over towards the dark teen and gave her a huge Tamaranian hug.
"Star. To. Much. Contact." Raven seethed through her teeth as she tried to keep her emotions under control.
"Oh, sorry," Star said as she dropped Raven, still wearing a huge smile on her face.
Raven took a few deep breaths as she pushed the last of her Emoticlones back. "It's fine," she said as she flew over to her book stand, trying to push the past experience towards the back of her brain. And she decided that reading would be the best way to do that, "you should probably get back to Robin and Beast Boy. I still have to do some research on Phantom."
Star looked at Raven with worry as clear as day on her face. "Do you agree with Robin when he says that Phantom is bad?"
Raven looked over to Star with curiosity. "I don't know yet, but what I do know is that he is hiding something, and the answer has to be somewhere in these books."
Star's worried face grew even more so, "What about Plasmius, Phantom's enemy, weren't you going to research him as well?"
"I haven't found anything about him yet, but at the moment I find Phantom's half dead status more interesting."
Star looked slightly troubled by Raven's words, which made the young telepath curious, but Star seemed to push past her issues and nod. Star then walked over next to Raven, in front of the book stand, and began to look through the titles. Raven stared at Star's look for a few more seconds before she began to look at the books in front of her herself.
While she searched she was caught off guard when she noticed that one of her books was out of place. It also looked a little thicker than she last remembered it being. The book was an old Roman mythology book that she got a few weeks after she got to Jump City.
Curious, and a little worried, Raven plucked it off of its shelf. She then flew higher as she crossed her legs in midair and set the book in her lap.
"Did you find something?" Star asked as she walked next to Raven and looked at the title of the book with interest.
"I don't know, this book… it was out of place." Raven stated as she opened the paged. It was then that she realized why the book looked thicker than she remembered, there was something pressed into one of the pages. It was a series of small beautiful purple flowers attached to a sword like stem.
"They are gorgeous Raven, where did you get them?" Star asked in awe.
Raven stared at the flower in shock, "I didn't," she started, "I can't recall these ever being here, or even putting them there myself." It was then that Rage started to make its way to the surface. 'Someone came into my room! How dare they!' She yelled in her head, and the light on the ceiling shattered and the lighting in the room dimmed.
"Are you alright Raven?" Star asked; worry was etched onto her face as she stared at Raven, the only light came from the slightly open window. Raven stiffened as she realized what was happening. Out of instinct she quickly snuffed Rage out of the front of her mind and back into the black abyss.
With her mind now clear Raven answered. "Yeah, I'm fine." She then let out a sigh, and looked back that the flattened flowers and noticed a glowing white note next to it. "But apparently someone broke into the tower." She stated as she reluctantly picked it up and read the note out loud:
You may not know me, but you may know of my employer;
"Clockwork, as in the ghost that Youngblood said had taken Phantom?" Star interrupted. Her worry now mixed in with confusion.
"Apparently," Raven stated as she continued to read:
Well, he has sent me here to give you a few clues about some questions that you have.
This one clue will probably be the most helpful in your searches.
This page will have all you need, so good luck.
~Sincerely Rose, a huge fan, and friend.
P.S. The flower I pressed into this page is called a Gladiolus.
In Rome it was given to victorious Gladiators who fought in the Coliseum.
"Who is Rose?" Star asked, and by the look on her face, she was clearly interested.
"I don't know, but I'm really starting to get sick of flowers." Raven stated with a scowl on her face.
"What are the clues on the page that she wrote about?"
Raven's scowl grew further, "The better question is; why is Clockwork interested in our searches at all? He has never been known to meddle in the affairs of the mortal world unless they have a great effect on the Ghost Zone."
"Maybe we should read, we might get some answers." Star suggested.
Raven let out a small nod and looked at the pages the note and flowers had been placed in between and read them thoroughly. She was desperately hoping that Rose was trying to give her a hint as to why Phantom's aura felt so weird. However what she found left her totally confused,
"Vladamos Plasmonius…?" Star asked looking at the page in confusion.
"How does that name sound so familiar!?" Raven added.
The two girls both exchanged uncertain looks before staring back at the picture in the book showing a man with horn shaped hair that reminded the two of Jinx, current girlfriend of Kid Flash. The man also wore what looked like a white suit with a long red and white cape. The man's clothes were probably what confused Raven the most, the outfit just looked so modern, not at all like what the Romans used to wear back then.
"The book says that he was run off by a nameless deity with white hair and green eyes after Vladamos destroyed a majority of Rome." Star said as she pointed at the words. "Does it have a picture of this 'deity' anywhere?" Star asked, and Raven smiled at Starfire's lack of knowledge that deity is just a roman way of saying god.
"I'll look, but since the deity is nameless it is unlikely that he played any other roles in Roman history." Raven stated as she stared at the image of the evil god, wondering if this was what Clockwork and Rose wanted her to see.
"So… you and Starfire…" Cyborg started in a friendly way that seemed like he was totally okay with the matter.
Ned's face immediately flushed as he finally finished installing his own version of the Fenton Ghost Shield onto the roof of Titans Tower. "Wh-what about us?" He said as he looked off to the side, not daring to look his new friend in the eye.
"What about?!" Cy started in mock anger. "You two seem interested in one another!"
Ned's face only turned a deeper shade of red that almost made his face look purple. "Th-that's crazy!" He said as stood up and walked over to the command board to the Ghost shield, still needing to add a few tweaks.
"No, what's crazy is how much you two go at it without knowing, I mean look at the roses!"
Ned scowled at the thought of the flowers, wishing that Amie never got them and that he never listened to her advice about them. "It was a kind gesture!" He defended, trying to be honest.
"Riiiiight." Cyborg said as he rolled his eyes… or eye actually. "Well that was a very kind 'gesture.'"
Ned rolled his eyes as well. "Youngblood, come here, I need your ecto-signature for the shield." He said as he pushed past the previous topic and focused on the task at hand.
"Why do you need his signature?" Cy asked with pure curiosity, Ned could not suppress a smile at how fast Cy chose to change the topic. "Wouldn't you need his energy?"
"No, the shield already has enough ecto-energy. I just need Youngblood's signature so the shield won't shock him when you activate it. I made the shield able to shock and expel any ghost inside the tower, but since Youngblood is a friend and so far has yet to harm anyone, I figured he didn't need to be expelled when another ghost attacks. However if will still keep him either in or out if turned on."
Cyborg looked at him in shock, "You can really do that?" He asked as he walked over to the command board trying to see how the young engineer could perform such a feat.
"Well yeah," Ned said as he lightly grabbed the young ghosts hand and putting up to the machine as it ran his signature, "I've spent a good majority of my life learning who my parents built their gear and how it worked. However if I were to be honest it was not until I was fourteen that I actually got interested in it."
"Why fourteen?" Cy asked, wanting to get as much info as he could out of the teen, still keeping to Robin's plan on getting info to help with Phantom. However a small part of him was truly curious about Ned's life and how he learned so much about tech and ghosts.
Ned paused like he may have said too much, but in a flash it was replaced by a knowing smile. "Because that was when I realized that ghosts where real." It was then that the machine beeped, telling the group that the scan was done, and Ned let go of the young ghost.
Cyborg was about to ask more until he heard a loud scream echo from below them. "New friend Valerie, you have returned!" Star yelled and both of the teens on the roof had different reactions. Ned paled, still not sure if being in the same room with Val was such a smart idea. After all, she had to still be pretty steamed about what happened last week.
Cyborg on the other hand held a wide excited smile, like a child on Christmas morning. Then at break neck speed, he grabbed Ned's arm and rushed him out of the control room and towards the living room, with Youngblood protesting as he flew to catch up with them.
When they got there Cy finally let go of Ned and rushed towards Val. "Valerie!" He yelled a wide smile on his face. "I was beginning to worry about you when you didn't show up yesterday."
Val held a slightly shocked look on her face, but quickly got rid of it with a smile. "Hey Cyborg, Sorry about that, I got held up at work."
"'S cool, so what are you here for?" Cy asked.
"I came to see if you needed anymore scans for your ghost hunting gear." Val answered like she was there to drop off some CDs she borrowed.
"Oh, don't worry, Ned's got it all covered." Cy said as he jabbed a thumb at said teen's direction.
Ned knew it was an impossibility for him to go unnoticed by Val, but he honestly did not expect Cyborg to just toss him into the lion's den. So when Valerie turned to look at him with a menacing glare on her face, he could not help but flinch. The look on her face reminded Ned of the one she wore whenever she found Phantom, or any other ghost. Neither of those facts were too far from the truth. However when Ned noticed that Youngblood had turned invisible he could not help but feel relieved, but that did not stop his jealous since he could not do the same without blowing his secret.
Valerie then started towards him, her scowl deepening as determination crossed her face, like the ghost she had just found was not going anywhere as long as she had a say in it. So Ned closed his eyes as Val reached the last foot she needed to hit him, like he knew she would.
Yay! This chapter is finally done! You would not believe how much I had to go over and think this chapter through, it was taxing work! I'm not even sure if it was any good if I am to be honest.
So review! Tell me if I messed something up, AND if I did, tell me how I can fix it. I would hate to lose readers due to my empty headness :/
Alright, now it's to the good news; I officially have 446 reviews, 3 C2s, 222 Favs, and 271 alerts for this story! I also have 42 author Favs, and on 38 alerts! So thanks everyone for staying with me and being so supportive!
I would love to reward you all with cool stuff, but I have nothing to give and I have no clue how other authors are able to give out mini Cujos or Danny Phantom action figures, because I can't find any of those! D:
So I hope my thanks is enough :I