Didyousaycandy: Your candy is at the store, waiting for you to pick it up.

unknown: It's not really the enemies have to be high level. It's that the threat level has to be high. And I think it goes without saying that he probably wouldn't do it to protect himself. He'd do it to save the other Titan's.

Guest: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There is a rhyme to my reason and a method to my madness. My 'master plan', as you call it, calls for little DP, for now at least. Don't worry, Skulker will make his appearance sooner than you think.

coldblue: …Why do you assume it was a girl attacking Titan's Tower? As for the Tarzan scene… I'm not sure what you're talking about. If it was played out, it was unintentional. I've decided on the pairing. All I'll say on that front is to expect D/R later. It'll have a twist, but that's a really long time coming. Question 2: Yes to one part, no to the other.

Wraithheart: First, awesome name. I'll be looking forward to my Ferrari soon…

Sparxthehdgehog: That is an absolutely awesome guess at who it is. I'll see what I can do to speed up D/R some.

newboy: I can find no fault with your argument, so I agree.

Guest: It always seems to be forgotten that, at the end of the day, the Titans are 6 teens living unsupervised in a tower. Granted, all of them can do things the regular person can't but still… Dan can never be forgotten or ignored. He's the domino that tipped over and set this entire story in motion.

Kelly: I'll try to.

StarxShatter: I told him you said hello. He said something about eating you. I responded that anybody who reviews gets immunity from being eaten.

Updated 1/2/2014: Some minor changes with thing like grammar and the like. No big changes. Make sure to read the new note at the bottom.

Chapter 17

"You're an idiot."

Beast Boy frowned. "Could an idiot create something as complex as this?" He said gesturing wildly to the contraption.

Raven could feel the beginnings of a headache coming on as she sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "My mistake: you're an idiotic moron." She eyed him warily. "Remind me again just why you're doing this?"

Beast Boy gave her an incredulous look, as if questioning her mental capacities. "Remember how a few days back when Cyborg dyed all of my clothes hot pink, put orange dye in my toothpaste that turned all the inside of my mouth orange, put red dye in my shampoo that turned my hair brown, and yellow dye in my soap that turned my skin yellow?"

Raven did remember. Vividly. After seeing Beast Boy like that, she immediately had to use her special mirror to go inside her mind, Nevermore. It was the only place where she could burst out laughing without potentially levelling any nearby buildings. It was over three hours later when she could safely without anything potentially blowing up around her. Even then she still had to avoid looking directly at the changeling until all the dyes washed out.

Unknown to Beast Boy, Cyborg didn't work alone. Originally, Cyborg was just going to put dye in Beast Boy's shampoo. Unfortunately for Beast Boy, and fortunately for just about everybody else, Orpheus caught him in the act. Orpheus took one look at Cyborg putting dye in the green teen's shampoo bottle, shook his head in disappointment, and said, "If you're going to play with dye, why not go all out?"

Beast Boy would forever remember the next day as "The Absolute Worst Day Ever", followed by the "The Absolute Worst Week Ever". It was made even worse because of the fact that it was Beast Boy's turn to be out on patrol. He had to get down on his knees and beg Robin to let him skip his turn on patrol.

Orpheus, taking pity on the temporarily very colorful teen after a week, decided to give him something to wash out the dye. Seeking revenge for the prank, Beast Boy tried to find out who did it. Starfire was immediately excluded, as nobody thought the kindhearted Tameranian had it in her to intentionally cause discomfort. Robin was excluded next, as Beast Boy reasoned that if it was him he would've made him go out on patrol anyway. Orpheus was excluded due to him giving him something to get the dye out (And Raven felt no need to correct him). Raven herself was excluded given that fact that, if it was her, it would've been much more brutal in nature. Thus, coming to the partially correct conclusion that it was Cyborg, he decided to try and get even.

Which lead to him, building a rather simplistic contraption that would launch a balloon full of motor oil when a trip wire was triggered in one of the main hallways of the Tower. He was just putting the finishing touches on it when Raven passed by.

"Yes, why?"

As Beast Boy went off on a long tangent, explaining his 'master plan' to hit Cyborg in the face with a water balloon full of motor oil as revenge for the dye prank, Raven couldn't help but notice three different people were slowly approaching the tripwire.

With the others

"I'm telling you Robin, it's got to be purely sexual."

Robin snorted. "And I'm telling you, if you met the people you were talking about, you'd take that back."

"Probably." Orpheus admitted. "But you got to admit, there has to be some sort of ulterior motive to the spandex tights, right?"

"What part of 'enhanced mobility' and 'full range of motion' do you not get?" Robin argued, scowling. "Both are things spandex gives you."

"And both are things that other clothing gives you as well." Orpheus answered bluntly.

"Oh really? Like what?" Robin challenged.

"Like a level E hazmat suit for instance." Orpheus answered. "Its form fitting, but the difference is, if you were wearing one of those, I wouldn't be able to tell that you prefer to sling to the right."

Robin rolled his eyes. "The fact that you take the time to notice that speaks more toward you than it does my uniform choice."

Orpheus chuckled. "If you're trying to insinuate that I swing that way and that's why I noticed, then you're wrong."

"You're sure?" Robin smirked. "I wouldn't hold it against you if you did. I don't think anybody else on the team would either."

"Sorry Birdie-Boy, not my cup of tea." Orpheus quipped. "Why, disappointed?"

"Not in the slightest."

"You sure?" Orpheus echoed, the grin never leaving his face. "I am devilishly handsome after all."

Robin laughed. "Get over yourself."

"Never." Orpheus answered between laughs.

The laughing duo rounded a corner, coming face to face with a cheerful Starfire. "Hello friends!" Starfire greeted in her usual, cheerful way.

Orpheus couldn't help but frown at the way Robin gravitated to the Tameranian. 'Well, the hell with you too then.' He thought, annoyed as he fell back behind the Boy Wonder and the alien.

As the duo plus one rounded the corner ahead of him, Orpheus just barely managed to hear the sound of a tripwire being pulled.

Back with Beast Boy

"Quick, hide!" Beast Boy's enhanced animistic hearing had picked up on the fact that there were footsteps approaching from the other end of the hallway. Upon realizing this, he grabbed Raven's arm and hid them both behind the opposite corner. After hastily unhanding the half-demon, he peered around the corner to see the shadows of two people approaching the tripwire and that of a smaller shadow of someone else a little ways behind them.

Before he had time to contemplate this new development, a voice behind his back spoke up.

"What are we hiding from?"

Cyborg grinned at the look of pure shock on the changeling's face, and the schooled mask of bored disinterest on the violet eyed girl's. He knew exactly what they planning, as Beast Boy seemed to forget that he had a wireless up-link to the rather impressive amount of motion activated cameras around the tower. Suspecting that Beast Boy might figure out that Cyborg had a hand in the dye prank, he put in a program that would alert him if Beast Boy went into his room or spent an unusually long amount of time in any place in the tower that wasn't either the couch playing video games/watching TV, the kitchen making tofu, his room, or any place that he'd have an excuse to be for a long period.

He'd gotten the alert about half an hour ago and had been watching it unfold since then. He had crept up behind the green changeling while he had attention on his rather simplistic contraption and waited to be noticed.

"Cyborg?!" Beast Boy asked in a panicked, hushed whisper. "You can't be Cyborg!"

Cyborg furrowed his brow in mock concentration. "I can't?" In a lower, faux scared voice, he asked "If I'm not Cyborg, then who am I?"

"If Cyborg is here("So I am Cyborg!"), then who's…?" Beast Boy looked back around the corner just in time to see Starfire, walking side by side with Robin, trip the tripwire.

"NOOO!"

The entire thing happened in slow motion.

Beast Boy rocketed forward in a fruitless attempt to stop the projectile that was the water balloon full of motor oil. Robin, reacting purely on instinct, ducked to the floor and seamlessly throwing a bird-a-rang at the balloon in the air.

It missed.

Starfire stood there in complete surprise as the balloon struck with enough force to knock the surprised Tameranian on her bottom, covered in motor oil. Much of it had splashed as well, landing on Robin's uniform and the surrounding floor.

The bird-a-rang Robin threw circled around, making a shallow cut on Beast Boy's chest as it did so, and headed back towards its owner. It flew over Robin's crouched form and directly into Orpheus, who deftly caught it. He looked at it in bored interest, before pocketing it.

Robin didn't even notice. The Boy Wonder was currently locked in a stare down with a pale changeling. He opened his mouth to speak, but was beaten to the punch by a motor-oil covered redhead.

"This…. Is punishment?" Starfire asked in a soft voice, looking around with deer-caught-in-headlights eyes. "I… did something wrong?"

All eyes, except Starfire's, shifted from the tanned redhead to Beast Boy, who was busy trying to shrink in on himself.

Truth be told, it was an honest accident. It was an occupational hazard for a prankster when playing a prank that it might end up blowing up in their faces it some way, shape, or form. Sometimes it didn't work, sometimes it worked too well, sometimes the prankster choose the wrong mark, and sometimes, such as in this case, they missed their mark entirely and hit another by nothing more than Murphy's law making itself known.

Raven's emotionless borderline cold voice cut through the tense silence like a hot knife through butter, answering Starfire's questions with four simple words. "You didn't. He did."

"Star, it was…. I didn't… I'm mean, it wasn't supposed to…. I'm not…" Beast Boy stuttered in the face of Starfire's hurt eyes, then laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head. "Just remember to change that oil every five-thousand miles, ok?" Even as the words came out of his mouth, Beast Boy knew it was a horrible mistake when he saw her eyes narrow.

Starfire tensed, whether in sadness or anger, it was unclear. Not even noticing Orpheus walk up beside her and poke her shoulder with a single finger, using that as a means of to turn her intangible and making the motor oil fall through her and onto the floor. Repeating it with Robin, he stepped back and out of the soon-to-be disaster zone as Starfire's eyes began to glow a dangerous green and bright green energy began to spark on her clenched fists.

In a voice that was as warm as the arctic during the winter, she said "On my planet, we have a name for those who do such horrible things for no reason. YOU ARE A-A-CLORGBAG VARBLLERNEILK!" She yelled the last part, then, having said her piece, turned and stormed down the hallway. Tears could be seen in her eyes as she rounded the corner and out of sight.

"Way to go Beast Boy. Why don't you go blow up an orphanage while you're at it?" Robin snarled, glaring at the green teen, and then he turned and went after the alien, no doubt to provide some sort of comfort.

Beast Boy was still in shock from Starfire's words. "I'm a what-bag?" While the actual words were in a language that no one save Starfire herself understood, the intention behind them was clear. What was shocking was the fact that someone as kindhearted as Starfire could put that kind of emotion behind her words.

Cyborg snorted. He'd be lying if he said that he didn't feel just a little bit guilty about what had just happened. After all, he and Orpheus were the reason Beast Boy made their harebrained scheme. Add in the fact that he had seen the group approaching the trap through the Tower cameras but had ignored it, and the result was that he did feel that it was partly his fault. But then, things would have been nearly half as bad if Beast Boy had simply explained what had happened to Starfire and apologized. Safe in that rationalization, he felt no guilt in saying "You heard the lady."

"You are such a clorgbag." Raven intoned, smirking ever so slightly.

Orpheus rolled his eyes. Feeling the slightest bit of sympathy for the green teen, he smirked and said "Like you actually know what that means."

Beast Boy chuckled nervously, thought inwardly relieved that Raven didn't seem to notice as she slowly turned to give a death glare at the raven-haired Titan.

Orpheus rolled his eyes again. "What? Don't blame me for your own ignorance."

It was in that moment; Raven glaring at a smirking Orpheus, Beast Boy chuckling nervously, and Cyborg observing the scene with amusement that the alarms decided to go off.

In the Ops Room, moments later

Everybody stared at the rather disturbing scene playing out on the screen. It was of a camera at the bridge, usually used by the local news channel for traffic reports, now used to show a picture of senseless destruction.

"Are they… laughing?" Orpheus's question went unanswered as the Titan's observed in abstract horror at the scene before them.

Cars were on fire, either already blown up or about to be. Men, women, and children, all running in fear. And at the source of the destruction, two figures stood, laughing as one of them used their power to shake the very bridge they were on, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their actions could bring the whole bridge crashing down on them.

The first was on the short side, with whitish skin and matching hair and a small frame. He had a sharp face, with small eyes that seemed to sparkle with hidden mischief and small, pointed chin. His yellow hair was pointed, with a backwards angle. He was wearing what appeared to be a pair of tight fitting orange over-all's with a yellow trim and a lightning bolt on the chest, which changed into an orange traditional Japanese Kusazuri with the matching yellow trim. Yellow sweat bands were on his upper arms and orange hankote with a yellow trim. He wore Suneate, plain sandals and an orange crown-like metal headband that framed his face with two pieces coming down the side.

He also had yellow skin.

His companion was dressed almost identically, save instead of a headband framing his head, he had a different one that acted like a cap and flared out from behind his head. Where the skinny one's clothes were orange, his companions were black. Where they were yellow on the first, they were a deep blue on the second. Where a lightning bolt adorned the chest of the first, a blue cloud rested on the second.

He had dull black hair and sideburns adorning the sides of his face. He was also bulky, even more so that Cyborg, and had small, squinting eyes.

His skin, however, was a deep blue.

Robin let loose a rather feral growl from his throat as the yellow one let loose a blast of lightning from his palm into a car, causing it to blow up in a fiery explosion that nearly claimed a nearby family of four. "Titan's Go!"

At the Bridge

"Watch this Thunder!" The yellow one said to his companion, sending up a lightning bolt at the thick metal supports of the bridge. It struck with a loud 'crack', scorching the surface of the metal and causing bright sparks to rain down on the duo.

"Amusing." Rumbled the deep voice of his companion. "Now, listen Lightning as I make music!" Thunder clapped his hands together, sending off shock waves of blue energy from the collision. It collided against the environment, sending multiple cars flying back and causing the bridge to shake and buckle dangerously.

"I really hate to break it to you guys…," Two sets of eyes turned to a smirking Orpheus, who was standing on top of a moving truck that had been tossed on its side. Next to him stood a stone-faced Robin. Raven and Starfire were to their left, Beast Boy and Cyborg to their right. "…But your music sucks."

Thunder tensed, his face turning an interesting shade. It wasn't red exactly, but it rather close. "You dare insult me? Thunder?"

"You insult my brother and you insult me, Lightning as well!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Calm down buddy. I'm just trying to sa—HEY!" Orpheus began, only to have to put up a shield in the middle of talking to block a lightning bolt. "Was it something I said?"

"Obviously." Came the answer for the blue cloaked Sorceress to his left.

As soon as the shield dropped, Robin shouted, "Titan's Go!"

Right off the bat they had to scatter as both a lightning bolt from Lightning and a blast of blue colored energy from Thunder struck where they were just standing.

Running forward, Cyborg threw a hard right hook with enough force to send a semi-truck flying straight at Thunder. The elemental smirked as he caught the cybernetic Titan's fist in his palm, stopping it cold with seemingly little difficulty and pushing against it, sending Cyborg flying back.

Jumping high in the air over the fallen Cyborg, Robin sent a flying kick at the stationary Thunder. Thunder ducked underneath it as Starfire took to the air, sending multiple starbolts at the stationary Thunder while Robin rolled out of the way.

Thunder let out a groan of pain as the bright green energy drove him to one knee as, in his arrogance, he had allowed the starbolts to hit, believing them to be weak. However, he was wrong. Thunder raised his head, just in time to see a green ram charge from the smoke kicked up from the starbolts that had missed him. He managed to raise his hands to catch his horns and, after getting pushed back a little bit from the force, flipped the ram over his head, sending him flying.

Lightning snarled when he heard his brother's groan of pain. Flying up, he rained down a hail of lightning bolts at the Titan's, only for two nearby cars to be engulfed in black energy, flying up into the air to intercept the ones that would've hit one of the Titan's. Job as impromptu shields done, Raven launched the cars at Lightning.

He laughed at the effort, dropping down out of the way to stand on the bridge. "Pathetic. Is that the best you can do?"

"Not even close." Whispered a disembodied voice in his ear. Startled, Lightning swung wildly, hitting nothing but air.

Orpheus smirked as he let his invisibility fade, appearing behind the spooked Lightning. Still smirking, he threw a right hook that hit Lightning in the face, sending him stumbling back. Capitalizing on his advantage, he jumped high into the air, throwing a kick at the lightning elemental's head.

Unfortunately for our favorite halfa, Lightning recovered just in time to roll out of the way and then lunged forward, electricity sparking on his knuckles as he threw a punch at Orpheus, hitting his upper chest and sending him stumbling back as electricity coursed through his body.

Raven, using her magic, tore off a concrete section of the bridge, then sent it flying at Lightning, who was advancing on the down form of Orpheus. It hit him in the side, sending him flying toward his brother, Thunder, who was currently deadlocked hand in hand with Cyborg, each attempting to use their superhuman strength to send the other flying.

Thunder smirked as he saw his brother getting to his feet behind Cyborg. Dropping his hands, he jumped to the side just as Lightning shot a powerful lightning bolt straight at Cyborg's back.

Cyborg screamed in pain as it struck, falling to the ground on his stomach. As quiet as a whisper, Raven teleported above the fallen teen. Enveloping both of them in her magic, she teleported them both to the end of the bridge, far away from the battle. Summoning blue healing energy to her hands, Raven approached Cyborg, eyes running up and down his body as she tried to ascertain where he was injured, as there was nothing but a dark scorch mark where Lightning's attack had struck the metal of his back.

Cyborg managed to turn his head to look at her. Recognizing the healing energy gathered around her hands, he chuckled bitterly. "There isn't actually anything to heal. He just managed to overload my systems is all. I just need to do is a full system reboot and I'll be set."

Raven nodded curtly; slightly annoyed that she herself hadn't realized that. Closing her eyes, she prepared to teleport back to the battle, only to stop as she noticed the feelings of anticipation and excitement that suddenly started emanating from the roof of a nearby building. At first, she just wrote it off as a civilian that she just didn't notice before, but then noticed that the feelings seemed to have some sort of ethereal, dead characteristic that didn't quite belong to any regular civilian. She glanced at the roof of the building in question and, upon seeing nothing, teleported back to the section of the bridge where the battle was still occurring, vowing to mention her observations to Robin when the fight was over.

Across the bridge, Orpheus froze in the middle of throwing a ghost ray at Thunder as a chill went down his spine and he saw his breath was a familiar bluish white. It was a familiar feeling, yet at the same time unfamiliar due to the passage of time that had occurred since the last time he had felt it. Unbidden, a single word passed from his lips before he even knew it happened. "Ghost."

Line Break

Skulker landed on the roof soundlessly, the portal he went through already closed. Immediately, he turned on the new invisibility feature in his suit, remembering his instructions. So caught up in his recollections, he didn't notice the wisp of breath from one of the Titan's, nor did he notice the curious glance that Raven sent the hidden Skulker The second would've been disregarded but, if he had noticed the first, then he might have recognized the action from another he used to hunt and have been more cautious for it.

Flashback

"Take every measure possible to ensure that you are not detected by anyone other than your targets. As soon as we activate the portal set to take you to their last known location, we will activate the virus we planted in GIW servers, which will disable their ghost scanners in Jump and all the nearby cities. Unfortunately, we are unsure of the exact amount of time that they will be down, with the minimum estimate being three and a half hours. To be cautious, do not push the deadline. If you believe you cannot capture the targets well before three and a half hours is up, activate the device you were given to create a portal to take you back here. If you are too late to do so and you are detected on the GIW's scanners, then the portal device will not work and you are on your own, as there is nothing that we can do for you save hope that you can evade them and flee to the wilderness where their scanners can't find you if the GIW detect you. If you can evade them, then you will be contacted for former instructions. If they capture you, then our agreement is dissolved and you are, for lack of a better term and no pun intended, dead to us."

"Remember, the beings who call themselves Lightning and Thunder are your targets. Anyone other than your targets that pose a threat to you or your mission are to be incapacitated in a way that leaves no permanent damage if at all possible. If you judge that it is not possible, then you are free to respond in any way you see fit If at all possible, avoid any and all contact with the Teen Titans. They will only complicate your mission."

Flashback End

Skulker stood on the roof and watched silently as Thunder and Lightning battled the Titan's. His excitement was only tempered by the knowledge of his time limit and what awaited him should he exceed it. He couldn't afford to waste any time.

Ever since the GIW had driven his favorite prey (Phantom) into hiding and set up that massive system of ghost scanners, hunting in the human world had become all but suicide. As soon as he got through a ghost portal, either the rare natural portal or the one in Vlad Plasmius' lab, it was only a matter of time before they tracked him down. Five times, he had been forced to abandon his hunt to flee from them, each time only just getting away. The last time was too close as, by the time he had gotten back to portal he'd used to get through, his suit had been destroyed and he was dodging the blue suction beam from a Fenton thermos. And after hearing the horrible tales of what awaited ghosts that fell into the GIW hands, he had no intention of ever being caught by them. At least Phantom just threw him back into the Ghost Zone when he caught him

As rocky as their relationship was, as many ups and downs that it had, with them coming to blows one day and obsessed with one another the next, there was no denying that on some level the self proclaimed 'Ghost Zone's Greatest Hunter' and 'Rock Star of the Damned' truly cared for one another. Ember, genuinely concerned for his safety for once, had made him promise not to hunt in the human world.

He had agreed, more or less because she kicked him out of their shared bed and onto the couch until he agreed. On some level, he knew and acknowledged that hunting in the human world had probably become too dangerous. Which meant that, on some level, his promise to Ember should have been redundant. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, he was a hunter. From the vague memories he had of his life before he died and became a ghost, he knew he had been born into a long line of hunters. His dad was a hunter and his dad's dad was a hunter and so forth but most importantly, he was a hunter. He was a born hunter. As a child, while others were, in his opinion, wasting their time with pointless games, he was honing his skills as a hunter to a level that none could match. In his adult life, he spent his time doing little else save hunting. He hired himself out as a hunter of rare and dangerous game, both animal and otherwise until it finally killed him. He didn't remember his death, rare was it a ghost that could, but one thing was sure: He died a hunter. And now, it was his obsession. He was born a hunter, lived as a hunter, and died a hunter's death. He was a true hunter. And a true hunter did not confine himself to only one hunting area.

He could not stay away from the human world forever. He had been dead long enough that the list of ghosts that he could hunt down had dwindled down to only the new arrivals being left as viable prey. Anyone else was either already hunted down, imprisoned with triple life sentences in Walker's prison, or had fled into the human world. And the new arrivals weren't really worth hunting. Most were still shell-shocked from the fact that they were dead, coming to grips with it and their new-found ghost powers. Usually, they weren't worthy prey anyway. Usually.

He kept himself entertained on new arrivals as long as he could, but they could only hold his attention for so long. With them, there was no challenge, no thrill, and no satisfaction when they were eventually caught. At long last, he was forced to break down and seek a portal to the human world, assuring himself that Ember would understand. It was his obsession after all. Asking him not to hunt would be like telling a fish not to live in water. It wouldn't work for long. 'Besides, if I bring her back something nice, she won't be too mad.'

He would be cautious, however. He'd heard a rumor that their scanners didn't reach in the deep wilderness, far away from any major city. Immediately, he crossed Vlad's ghost portal off the list of potential ways to reach the human world safely, as knew from experience that he would be caught from there. Which meant that he would have to find a natural portal that was set to take him far enough away any city in order to not trip their scanners. The only problem was the fact that natural portals on their own were rare, with one that formed in the wilderness even more so due to the fact that there was just something about cities that made it much more likely for one to form.

He lucked out however. After scouring the entire Ghost Zone, he found not a natural portal as was his goal, but another artificial one. At first, he thought that Vlad had built another ghost portal in another location for some reason. Curiosity demanded he take a closer look, which is when he discovered that this portal had a different 'feel' to it than any portal of Vlad's or even that of the old Fenton ghost portal, back when it was on and operational. Yet it was too well formed to be natural.

He was even more surprised when, as he hovered next to the portal examining it in order to decide whether or not to go through it, humans wearing all black bearing weapons came through. At first, his reaction was the same as it always had been: to attack the prey that had so easily wandered into his den.

It was rather humbling how quickly, efficiently, and easily he was outsmarted, overpowered, and defeated.

It was as if they knew every move in his playbook and already had a planned counter. They had weapons that seemed tailor made to take him down and the tactics to use them with killer efficiency.

When he finally woke from such a savage beating, it was with surprise: surprise that he had managed to survive, surprise that he was not bound in any way save that of being locked in a plain room that had nothing except a steel door, the bed he was in, two chairs and a table, and surprise that he was in what seemed to be his armor. Yet, at the same time, it wasn't. It felt more powerful and he knew without trying that there were many more functions in it than before, as well as what seemed to be a kill switch.

He had little time to ponder these developments as the door opened and in walked a tall man, dressed all in black. Recognizing him as the leader of the group that took him down, his reaction was less than pleasant.

It was then that what he earlier thought was a kill switch was actually a control relay. Using that, they made him sit down in the chair opposite the man. The man then apologized for the methods and said that they wanted to hire him. Apparently, after reviewing over the fight, some of his superiors were impressed with him and though him suitable for a mission.

Normally, he would've laughed if a regular human tried to hire him. The only reason that he consented to working for Plasmius in the past was because he was a half-ghost, something that was so rare as to be the ultimate prize, at least in his eyes. He had no true loyalty to the eldest halfa, even if he had called him Master in the past. No, he worked for Vlad in the past for the simple reason of studying him. Getting close to him. Learning how he might defeat him. And collecting upgrades and new, better equipment to do it with.

The power levels of Vlad Plasmius were too high to be taken down by brute force. He would need a strategy and hoped by working for him he might uncover a viable way to take him down. And who knows? If it worked on one, it might work on the other, which was the reason he attacked the Ghost Child as many times as he could, as there was far too much hostility between him and Phantom to work together beyond that of a temporary alliance in the face of overwhelming threats (Pariah Dark). Either through attacking Phantom, or working together with Plasmius, his ultimate goal was to find their Achilles' heel and use it to bring them both down.

But Phantom was hidden and Plasmius had not contacted him since the Ghost Child's disappearance either. He knew for certain that neither were in the Ghost Zone, which left the human world.

And here was a human, offering more powerful equipment and the freedom to come into human world undetected by the GIW and hunt down both Phantom and Plasmius down as he pleased. All he had to do was capture two people claiming to be the spirits of thunder and lightning, deliver them to the human and his organization.

He accepted their offer, not that he had much of a choice. So, as a sign of trust, they removed the control relay from his armor, and educated him in the use of their additions as well as all the information they had on Thunder and Lightning. Gave him a device to create a temporary portal to take him and his targets back after they had been subdued. Instructed him in exactly what they wanted him to do.

And here he was, observing the fight between the Teen Titans and the Storm brothers, Thunder and Lightning, in order to learn more about his targets in general. Words on paper could only say so much after all.

A rare smile made its way onto Skulker's metallic face. He was finally on the hunt once again.

Back with the Titans

Pure instinct was the only thing that saved Orpheus from getting knocked on his ass rather painfully as he jumped to the side, dodging a sonic blast from Thunder. Working purely on autopilot, he sent a ghost ray in reply, not even noticing that it was intercepted midair by a lightning bolt from Lightning. At the very edge of his vision, he saw Robin engaging Thunder in combat, dancing around the blue teen while peppering him with blows from his Bo staff

On the outside he was the picture of calm, standing in a defensive stance with his arms raised, ready and waiting for anything. On the inside though, things were quite different. 'How could a ghost be here, of all places?' He raged internally as he sent a ghost fang at the brothers, forcing them to separate. He took a moment to look around, half expecting to see a ghost flying overhead. To his right, Starfire was dodging lightning bolts while at the same time returning fire with starbolts, with Beast Boy playing interference. To the left Robin was still dancing around a raging Thunder, land blow after blow on bulky teen while Raven was attacking long range, sending cars concrete slabs torn from the bridge or occasionally just bolts of pure magic, being extra careful not to get anywhere close to hitting Robin. At the far end of the bridge, Cyborg was slowly getting to his feel, still recovering from the powerful lightning bolt to the back.

Of course, he saw nothing else out of the ordinary. 'Invisibility then.' He closed his eyes, easily locating the ghost on the roof of a nearby building. It was stationary, though, which puzzled him. 'Is it… observing us? Doesn't it know that it's only a matter of time before the GIW get here to capture it for what amounts to torture disguised as science experiments?'

A hand closed around his wrist and he bit back a scream as he felt electricity course through his body. His eyes snapped open to see the grinning visage of Lightning. Behind him, Thunder was unleashing hell on the rest of the Titans, including a recovered Cyborg, in the form wave after wave of blue sonic energy. They had taken refuge behind a black shield, although cracks were beginning to be seen in it. Orpheus went to strike Lightning, to force him to let him go, but Lightning caught his wrist and doubled the amount of electricity going through him.

The corners of his vision began to darken as Lightning began pumping more and more electricity into his body. Orpheus gritted his teeth in pure determination, downright refusing to go out without a fight. If Lightning knocked him out and the ghost managed to attack, then the Titans would be all but defenseless. Most likely none of them had fought a ghost before. Odds were, the only one who would be able to fight back against such an enemy effectively would be Raven.

Forcing himself to concentrate, he first tried to phase out of Lightning's grip. When that failed, he pulled as much energy from his ice core as he dared, then began pumping as much of it into Lightning, grinning like a pained Cheshire cat at the look of horror as ice began to spread from the point of contact between the two. When the ice reached his shoulder, he attempted to disengage from the halfa but it was too late. Within moments, Lightning was covered head to toe in a thick layer of ice.

Orpheus disengaged from the frozen Lightning, stumbling back as electricity danced across his skin. He felt painfully numb like he was covered in pins and needles, in addition to the near blinding pain. The air smelt of ozone and the metallic taste of blood was in his mouth. He could feel the pure electricity burning a path through his body. Gritting his teeth in determination, he forced the energy down.

Slowly but surely, the feeling faded and with it the pain as he regained feeling in his limbs. Shaking his head to clear the last of the fading effects, he regained his bearings just in time to see Thunder right in front of him, an angry look on his face.

Next thing he knew, he was flying, staring straight up at the sky. At the same time, there was this painful feeling in his gut. It took him a few moments to realize that Thunder had just punched his stomach, which was the reason for his unexpected flight.

He tensed, awaiting a rather painful reintroduction with the ground that never came. Instead, he completely froze in midair when he took on a familiar black glow. Gently, Raven set him back on the bridge. Orpheus nodded in acknowledgement and thanks, an action she mirrored.

Turning back to the fight, he saw a freed angered Lightning heading right for them as Beast Boy, in the form of a gorilla, tackled Thunder to the ground.

Crossing his arms, he sent an X-shaped ghost fang heading straight on for Lightning. At the speed Lightning was going at, he couldn't pull out and was forced to take the attack directly to the face, sending him falling to the ground. Growling, he got to his feet. "Enough of this!"

With Beast Boy, moments earlier

Beast Boy turned into a cheetah just as Lightning took off, apparently looking for revenge for Orpheus freezing him. Running with as much speed that he could muster, he jumped forward, turning into a gorilla midair, and tackled Thunder, sending them both tumbling to the ground.

Quickly getting to his feet, he grabbed the dazed Thunder by his shoulders, slamming him against the hood of the nearest car. "Why are you doing this?" He asked, eyes narrowed.

Thunder frowned. "Why? It's fun! Who are you to question our game?"

"Game?!" Beast Boy hissed. "Look at them!" He said, pointing to a car near the end of the bridge. At some point, something had hit the car, trapping them all inside. The sheer terror of their faces as they watched the scene unfolding in front of them was emotionally scarring. "Do they look like their having fun?"

Thunder just stared, transfixed by the scene. "I… I…"

"Their lucky they haven't been killed yet!" Beast Boy yelled in Thunder's face.

"Enough of this!" He heard his brother yell. Suddenly Thunder remembered that he was much stronger than Beast Boy in his human form. Tossing the green teen to his friends easily, he went to stand next to his brother.

Lightning turned to him and nodded. Together, they unleashed one massive wave of both lightning and blue sonic energy. Believing to have defeated their opponents, they vanished in a whitish flash, teleporting away from the area.

Two shields, one green and one black, went down, Robin scowling behind them. "They got away." He growled, feeling angry.

"That's not all." Robin quirked an eyebrow at the resident empath, prompting her to continue. "Something has been watching us."

"What?" Robin asked. Other than some nearby civilians, there wasn't anything strange nearby that he noticed.

"You felt that too?" Orpheus asked, not really surprised that she knew too.

She nodded. "What's strange is that I've never felt anything like it before. It didn't seem human and…" She cocked her head, as if listening for a sound only she could hear, and then shook her head. "It's gone now."

Orpheus closed his eyes, verifying that the ghost was indeed gone now. 'But where is the GIW? They should've shown up by now.' He thought, puzzled.

"What are you talking about?"

Raven closed her eyes, fighting the irritation she felt at Beast Boy's annoying question. "After Cyborg was hit by that lightning bolt and I got him to the end of the bridge to recover, I noticed that there was something on a nearby rooftop watching us that didn't seem human. I don't know what it was."

"I do." Orpheus said, arms crossed and eyes closed. "I've felt it before." He opened his eyes, giving looks to both Robin and Cyborg. "You're not going to believe me when I tell you what it was though."

"Why not?"

Orpheus gave Cyborg a look. "I believe you were the one who said ghosts don't exist, right?"

"They don't." Cyborg replied flatly.

"A ghost…" Raven nodded thoughtfully. "I think it would fit. Whatever it was felt ethereal, like it didn't truly belong here, as well as had a certain dead characteristic?" She asked, directing her question at Orpheus, who nodded in agreement.

"Wait a sec." Beast Boy mumbled, looking pale and shaking. "You're saying that we're being watched by a ghost?!"

"We were." Orpheus replied. "But it's gone now."

"What is a ghost, exactly?" Robin questioned, still skeptical. "And are you sure that it just wasn't some type of meta-human that we've never encountered before."

"Ghosts are the souls of the departed," Raven began, eliciting a chuckle from Orpheus. She turned, raising an eyebrow.

"Sorry Rae." Orpheus apologized, shaking his head. "In a sense, you're right. But, at the same time, you're wrong."

Raven shot Orpheus a glare with enough heat to it to set water on fire. He knew she didn't like her nickname. "Care to explain how I'm wrong then?"

"You're not really wrong, though, as that is the mainstream accepted definition, at least for the most part." Orpheus said in lieu of an apology. "Really, it depends on just how you define what a soul is." Orpheus explained, recalling easily the long lectures he had listened to as a child on the supernatural, of the unexplainable, and of the many different ways how a ghost might come into being, as well as the very nature of ghosts themselves. "Some ghosts are born of energy that a person might leave behind when they die. Energy which could, in theory at least, be called a soul." He flashed Raven a charming smile, which wilted when he saw her heated glare. Sighing, he continued. "However, if you define a soul as a person identity, their personality, what makes us who we are, then it could be argued that a person's leftover energy that could form into a ghost is not the same as a person's soul."

"Then what is it?" Robin asked, puzzled and forgetting about the Thunder and Lightning threat to the city for a second.

Orpheus shrugged, throwing his hands in the air in response to Robin's question. "Who knows? Some believe it to be intense emotions felt at the point of their demise; others believe it to be willpower, the refusal to leave things unfinished at the point of their demise, which later becomes the basis for their obsession, something almost every ghost has. Some think that the energy is produced as a result of a violent death, others thinks it is dependent on personality. Some still stubbornly believe that it is the soul, regardless of what others tell them."

"You said some ghosts were formed from energy a person left behind." Robin said questioningly. Orpheus nodded. "How are the others formed then? If…" He added, glancing at Cyborg, who nodded approvingly. "…There is actually such a thing as 'ghosts' of course."

"Of course." Orpheus chuckled, amused. "Other ghosts are not so simple, because, for the most part, they simply form for unexplainable reasons."

"Unexplainable reasons?" Beast Boy expression was comical. "Really? One long explanation and at the end you just say that some form because of unexplainable reasons?"

Orpheus just stared at him. "You people are asking me to explain to you the concept of the creation of a species a couple million times more complex than any other, one that's been studied very little in comparison to basically any other. Did you expect easy answers? Or for me to know them all, for that matter?" Beast Boy had the decency to look sheepish. "In any case, some of the theories are that some ghosts are born from belief in things like myths, religion, folk tales and the like. Others think they form at random, just collections of energy that took a form and gained self awareness."

"Earlier you mentioned something about ghosts having an 'obsession'." Raven's quiet voice broke through the silence. "What is that?"

Orpheus shrugged. "It's their driving force. What makes them get up in the morning, so to speak. Something that's usually unique to them that will guide their actions. Although, to recant, usually only the strong ghosts have them. The weak ones, who don't, usually end up either fading, or becoming unstable mindless monsters, rampaging about without a purpose."

Cyborg watched as Robin nodded in understanding, while Raven looked pensive, Beast Boy looked a little lost, and Starfire looked down, unusually quiet. "You've all gone crazy." Cyborg replied heatedly. "And, while this trip into crazy land has been fun, it's time to return back to reality. And the reality is that, somewhere in the city, there are two super powered brothers wrecking things and putting people in danger just for fun!"

Robin sighed, and then nodded. "Cyborg's right. Right now, Lightning and Thunder are priority one." He glanced apologetically at Raven and Orpheus. "We'll deal with this other thing later. Let's split up and try to find them." He glanced them all over. "These guys are strong and I don't want anybody facing them alone so radio in when we find them." Robin rubbed his chin for a second, thinking, and then snapped his fingers. "Ok, here's the plan. Orpheus, you and me will take the northern part of the city and work our way down. Cyborg, will you be ok on your own searching from the south part of the city and working your way up?" When Cyborg nodded, he continued. "Ok then, Raven you got the west side and Starfire and Beast Boy will take the east side. We'll meet up at the center of the city and go from there. Titan's Go-"

"Wait a sec." Beast Boy cut in. "Why can't I go with Cyborg?" He asked, feeling small because of the cold shoulder Starfire was giving him.

Robin sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. "Because Beast Boy," He said, in a voice like he was talking to a small child. "You and Starfire are going to be searching from the skies and Cyborg can't fly." 'And because you and Starfire need to work this out yourselves and the best way to do that is to force you to be alone with one another.'

"Well then, what about Rav-"

"No." Raven cut him off, then decided to transform into her soul self and teleport away before he had a chance to protest.

"Have fun my little Clorgbag." Cyborg snickered as the team began to disperse, with Starfire giving him a withering glare before flying away without a word. Beast Boy sighed, then transformed into a hawk and went to follow.

With Skulker, earlier

"What the hell?!" Retrieving the papers he had on Lightning and Thunder, he scanned through them, desperately looking as to where the fact that the two brothers could teleport, finding nothing. "There isn't anything in here about them being able to teleport!" 'Did they not know?' Either way, it was time to retreat, make a plan of attack, and then find his targets. "They couldn't have gone far." He mumbled underneath his breath as he activated his jet pack and flew away.

With ?

He walked down the featureless hallway with an angry stride. Raise one black plate armored hand, he effortlessly threw open the ornate wooden double doors and entered the room with his black cloak billowing about behind him, a single question on his lips. "Why?" He asked, the question barely above a snarl, directed at the tall man sitting at the desk, his black attire flawless.

"Why what?" He asked in bored tone, smirking internally at the reaction he got from the teen in front of him.

"I told you everything I knew about the ghosts so that you could be prepared to come up against them. So that, when it came time, you could better help me find him." He said, voice conveying both great need and great anger. "Not so that you could recruit one!"

"Recruit one?" Now he sounded amused. "Whatever are you talking about?"

"You know damn well what I'm talking about." He growled. "Skulker! What the hell made you want him, of all the ghosts you could've picked?"

"Skulker has not been recruited." He folded his hand in front of him, clearly undisturbed.

"The hell he hasn't!" He yelled, slamming his fist into a nearby wall, cracking it. "You were mad that the higher ups decided that Thunder and Lightning weren't worth our time, so you wanted to find somebody outside the system to do it for you. I get that, but why the hell did it have to be Skulker? I thought you prided yourself on having the least collateral damage out of everybody else?" He snorted. "You can say goodbye to that after Skulker's done."

The teen turned and went to leave, only to be stopped by a voice behind him. "He has been sent to fail, not to succeed."

The teen stopped, and then turned to look at him, silently telling him to continue.

"He has been given flawed information, equipment with questionable at best functionality, and the wrong time limit for how long the GIW scanners will be down." The man closed his eyes. "It is all but guaranteed that he will fail and be captured by the Guys In White."

The teen frowned. "Why?"

"Mainly to give the GIW a little toy to entertain themselves with while we hack their servers to find out where they have your friend or, if they don't have him, when and how he escaped as well as any information they have on him since then."

"I… see." The teen bowed his head. "I am sorry for my disrespectful actions. It will not happen again."

"See to it that it doesn't." The man replied sternly. And may I take this chance to remind you, Mr. Foley, that it is you who came to us." Getting up from his chair, he went to stand next to Tucker, whispering in his good ear. "Remember, you need us more than we need you."

End Chapter

Hello people! This is KoolKat SuperStar DareDevil; ImaSoBored's new beta! Anyway I want to say sorry to everyone about the delay in getting this edited. Holidays are hectic for me and I've barely had enough time to breathe the past few days. But I'm back home and settled so it (hopefully) won't be such a long wait in between the chapters (that mostly depends on ImaSoBored though). Also for those of you who are wondering why I referred to Thunder and Lightning as "the Storm brothers"; the reason is because that's what the Titans call them in the comics and the cartoon didn't give them a name at all.

Fun Fact: Did you know that while in the cartoon the series is strictly 'Teen Titans' the comics eventually dropped the word 'teen' from the title because the titans were no longer teenagers. If we stick with the comics time line of events by the time the 'Aftershock' trilogy occurs they've been a team for almost three years and the whole series taking almost six years before the cartoon stops; this would mean that for all [or most] the members to still be 'teens' Beast Boy (the youngest) would have to be ten when he joins the titans and Cyborg (oldest) would have been thirteen when the events of 'Teen Titans Go!' happened in the show, where the comics state that Cyborg was almost twenty (his birthday being four months away) when the team formed.

Huh. I didn't even know that. Oh, and just for clarity, any messages at the beginning or end of a chapter from the author (Which is me, ImaSoBored) will be in bold. Anything from my amazing new beta (Which is KoolKat SuperStar DareDevil) will be underlined. Got it? Good.

Oh and before I forget, any questions/concerns/negative comments concerning grammatical mistakes, perceived plot mistakes, mistakes in general, should be directed toward me, as any and all mistakes belong to me. Compliments shall be divided evenly between me and KoolKat SuperStar DareDevil. Flames shall be used to cook cookies and other such sweets which too, shall be divided evenly between me and KoolKat SuperStar DareDevil

Review!