Fingers strumed guitar chords nimbly. They knew the notes and stums like it were breathing. It came so naturally. The gentle sounds that caused the masses to flock to the presence of the creator. The noise that could make listeners fall in love or fall apart. That was the power of music.
Ember stood in the middle of her always ready stage in the Ghost Zone. There was no audience yet but she was preparing for one. She'd inlisted "Captain" Youngblood to sell tickets to her next big concert. It took some persuading to get Walker to allow it but eventually ember got permission to host the event in the Ghost Zone. Though, this whole concert ordeal was become tiresom. There was too much for one person to do and her band never showe dup until the night of the show.
She was in the middle of practicing her third song. A love song. A song that was supposed to be a duet. But hwo would she prove she could handle herslef if she couldn't sing alone? She didn't need a man to be happy. She was perfect the way she was. Everyone knew her name, she was famous! What man could give her more than that?
Her hands flew up to her ears when a loud shout rang through the air.She looked around angrilly and saw the Box Ghost screaming and running in terror. The screams got louder as he flew in her direction.
Ember growled and took off the strap of her guitar. She gripped it by the neck and raised it above her head. As the moronic ghost tried to fly past her Ember swung the guitar foreward, colliding hard with his face. The Box Ghost flew back the to the way he came from and landed at the edge of the stage with a thud and a quiet "Ow...".
Ember huffed, annoyed that her rehearsal had been interupted. She left the Box Ghost to lay where he was and turned back to her micropphone.
"There you are!"
"Oh what now?!" Ember asked as she whipped around to face the new voice.
Her green eyes widened at what she saw. It was a ghost but he was different. His body was made of metal. Most ghosts wouldn't need a jetpack but this one seemed to. The only parts of him that didn't appear to be metal was his hair and clothing. He was covered in armor plating and gadgets. His triumphant grin was as confident as he was intimidating.
Ember watched him land on the stage and fire a net to capture the Box Ghost before he could get up. He secured the net to himself and was preparing to leave when Ember caught his eye.
She raised her gloved hand and waved her fingers up and down, "Hi..."
He looked around him quickly before looking back at her, "You're talking to me?"
The pop star frowned, "I'm not allowed?"
"Most ghosts are afraid of me," he mystery ghost told her, "Do you know who I am?"
Ember put her hands on her hips, "No. Do you know who I am?"
He looked her up and down once, "You're Ember Mclain."
She smiled at her own name. It sounded good coming from him. Not that she wanted to get used to it.
"That's right. And I don't like sharing the stage." She told him, walking closer to look him in the eye, "So, get lost, Dipstick."
He smirked, "You have spirit, girl. But, Skulker goes when he wants. And maybe I want to stay here for a while and watch."
Ember frowned, "It's only a rehersal."
"Then I will be your practice audience," He told her as he leaned against one of the metal beams that held up the lighting.
Ember huffed, "Whatever."
She went on with her song and played it through the end, singing both halves of the duet. It wasn't too hard. When she finished she looked back and saw the armored ghost clapping.
"Not bad. BUt something tells me that song was meant for two people," He suggested with a smirk.
"I don't do duets," She told him sternly, "You think you can do better?"
"I'm a hunter not a singer," 'Skulker' said with a shrug, "It was just a suggestion."
Ember sighed, "Why are you still here?"
The hunter shrugged again, "Resting my rockets."
The blue haired girl shook her head, "Well, if you don't mind, I have a big concert tomarrow and I need to rehearse..."
"What you need is a break," Skulker told her with a laugh, "I can tell you're stressed by how much your hair is moving."
Ember looked up to her hair. It was in full flame and whipping all over the place. ass much as she hated to admit it, he was right.
"FIne... Let's say I do need a break," She started, "That doesn't change the fact that you're still bumming around my stage!"
Skulker pushed himself off of where he was leaning and walked up to her, "I'll leave if you come with me."
Ember stared at him with a furrowed brow, "Excuse me?"
"I didn't stutter," He said, "It won't kill you if you take a break. You're already dead!"
Ember let out a light giggle, "You have a point... But what about your... little friend?"
She pointed at the netted, and now knocked out Box Ghost.
"I'll cage him later." Skulker said with a dismissive wave of his hand, "So what do you say, pop princess?"
Ember looked back at the microphone and back him thoughtfully, "I guess a couple of hours couldn't hurt."
She looked down to see his dark grey hand extended to her. She reashed out hesitantly and took it. Ember had no problem with hand holding as long as she knew the guy.
Skulker activated his rockets and lifted off of the ground. Ember flew beside him as they drifted through the Ghost Zone. She asked where they were going but he didn't tell her. Every now and then he would glance back at her but there were almost no words exchanged.
Ember gasped when they came across a large island floating in the middle of the air. It had a large skull shaped rock and it was covered in trees.
What place was this?
"This is my home. I just need to make a quick drop off then I am all yours," Skulker told her, looking back over his shoulder.
Ember looked down at the forest as they flew over it. She hadn't see this many trees since before she died! To be honest she kind of missed it. Being dead took a lot of things away from her that she took for granted in life.
They touched down in a small clearing and Skulker detached The Box Ghost from his belt. He told Ember he would be right back, leaving her standing there.
Ember took a moment to take in the landscape... It was so rare to see plant life in the Ghost Zone. Usually everything was dead, dying or covered in rock. She walked up to a tree and placed a hand agaisnt the bark. It was cold and rough. But it didn't feel like real bark at all. It was... metal maybe?
She shook her head. Fake. Of course.
Deciding to be comfortable while she waited she sat down in the grass. It was soft and felt real enough. She crossed her legs in front of her and hummed her signature song as she waited.
"Sorry that took so long." Skulker said, waking back through the brush, wiping his hands on his black shirt, "He had more fight in him than I expected."
"The Box Ghost had fight in him?" Ember asked raising a brow, "What kind of great hunter can't take on some one as weak as the Box Ghost?"
Skulker frowned and walked up to her, "What kind of superstar gets knocked off the charts by a half ghost teenage boy?"
Ember shrugged a shoulder, "Fair enough. So what did you have in mind?"
Skulker hummed in his throat as he kneeled beside her, "I was thinking dinner and a show."
"I have a big show tomarrow. I don't think I want to go see anyone else's." Ember told him with a smirk, "But dinner sounds nice."
The hunter smiled and helped her to her feet. He took her to a place on top of a rock ledge where a table was. There was nothing there but a few chairs. At least that showed Ember that he was spontainious if he didn't plan this ahead.
Skulker ordered them a pizza and they ate it peacefully. They exchanged questions about one another getting clipped responses in return. It seemed that neither of them were really comfortable talking about their lives. Ember because it was full od disapointments so far, and Skulker probably because his work was gross. Skinning animals was never a business Ember wanted to get in on.
But they had one thing in common. Thier disdain for the halfbreed Danny Phantom. That little jerk had messed up both of their plans while simultainiously ruining thier lives! Ember had been humiliated in front of a world wide audience! She would never be able to live it down! She had fans but she still wouldn't be able to recover her career.
Skulker had been foiled twice. Apparently he had started off wanting to put the kid on display for the world to see, but he'd been beaten by a gorilla. The second time he'd actually managed to get the ghost boy, and a human ghost hunter, into the Ghost Zone but they worked together and beat him. He left out the details on how.
Ember understood. It was probably embarassing.
"So..." Skulker started after a while, "That song you were working on when I showed up... Why sing it if it's meant to be a duet?"
Ember shrugged, "I like the song. I didn't write it but I've always wanted to perform it."
"What is it called?" He asked, leaning his arms on the table.
Ember dug in her pocket, "I have the music here."
She pulled out the folded sheet of paper with the words and notes on it. She unfolded it and handed it over. The hunter stared at it, reading it carefully.
"As Long as You're Mine?" He read the title and looked over at her, "Isn't this from a musical?"
Ember smiled, "You know it?" She didn't know why she was so happy that he recognized the song. Maybe it was because she loved the song so much.
"I was dragged to the show once with a friend," He said flatly, "It was okay."
Ember sighed, "I think it's beautiful. It doesn't fit in with my style but I love it. The emotion, the passion," She leaned her cheek on her palm dreamily, "It's so romantic."
"You know, with the image you like to present I never pictured you as a romantic," Skulker told her with a smirk and raised brow.
She frowned at him slightly, "Have you even listened to my music?"
"Yes. I suppose it's nice." He said flatly.
Ember sighed quietly and looked out over the landscape. The glow it gave off made everything look alive in it's own way. It was beautiful here.
"Can I ask you something?" Ember turned to the ghost beside her. He nodded and she continued, "Why did you ask me to come here?"
"You're different," Skulker stated, "Your power is unlike any I've ever seen. You can control minds with the strings of your guitar, you become more powerful with every person who says your name... You are a supernatural marvel."
Ember laughed, "With the way you're talking it sounds like you want to put me on display."
Skulker chuckled, "I don't think the cages would hold you."
The girl almost blushed at the statement. She looked back out over the land before them dreamily. This was so strange. She hadn't been on a date in.... well since before she died. Her last date hadn't exactly gone well either... One could get that from her song.
A humming beside her made her turn. She saw Skulker looking out into the Ghozt Zone thoughtfully and humming the song on the paper in his grip. Ember smiled up at him, her eyes slightly narrowed.
She listened to the humming, joining with the words to match the part he was at, "Borrow the moonlight, Until it is through..."
He looked over at her with slightly widened eyes. Green met green and Ember could feel something rise inside her. Her mind was lost in his eyes as she sang the next line of the song.
"And know I'll be here holding you...."
"As long as you're mine..."
Ember stared when his voice mixed with her own. He sang back to her. Some one sang to her for once!
She averted her gaze to look down at her fidgeting fingers on the surface of the table.
Ember glanced up at him, "No one's ever sang to me before..." She smirked and turned to face him again, "Then again, I've never let any one..."
Skulker smirked back, his hand coming up to move her bangs out of her face, "Neither have I."
Ember gasped suddenly, "Oh, crap! The concert! I have finish getting ready!"
She jumped up, knocking her seat backward to be caught by Skulker. Ember apologized and lifted off of the ground.
"Thanks for the good time." She said, "Maybe we can do this again sometime." She paused, "Are you coming to the concert?"
"I've been hired to do some side work," He told her with a frown, "But I will try."
Ember smiled and flew down to kiss his metalic cheek briefly.
And with that she left.
The next night there was a large crowd from all around the Ghozt Zone waiting for her performance. Ember was so excited and nervous. She had no idea why though.. Normally she didn't get nerves like this. She was so cool and collected. Why was she like this now?
Ember peeked out of the curtains of the stage before the show. She recognised some of her friends like Kitty, but no Skulker.
She couldn't stop thinking about that hunter. Sure, she'd never act like it but something about him made her heart skip a beat. everytime she thought about him her face would flush and her mind would whirl. If there was a word for it Ember didn't know.
"You're on in two minutes, Ember," Youngblood said, appearing out of no where.
Ember sinhaled and let it out slowly. she calmed herself and grabbed her guitar. She threw the strap over her shoulder and cracked her neck stuffly.
The crowd roared on her appearance. Defeated or not Ember was still a rockstar. she grinnd and waved to the crowd.
"Are you ready to rock?!" She asked them loudly into the microphone.
An excited roar was her response. She slammed on the chords of her guitar as she jumped into her first song. The crowd sang along with her music but it was nothing more than like singing along with your favorite radio station. It didn't effect Ember at all. They were empty lyrics coming back at her.
Once apon a time she loved hearing her own songs sung back to her by her audience. Now it just seemed hollow. She'd heard her words sung back by one person outside of a concert. A person who wasn't paying to listen to her. A person who actually understood her.
The point came in the concert where the music slowed. A familiar keyboard was heard and the love song played. She stepped back to the mic and took a shakey breath.
"Kiss me too fiercely, Hold me too tight....I need help believing you're with me tonight...." She swallowed nervously, that unfamiliar feeling inside her returning, "My wildest dreamings uould not foresee....Lying beside you...With you wanting me."
Ember backed away from the mic with a quiet apology. She put her hands to her face with a groan.
'What is wrong with me?!' She asked herself, 'It was just a date! He's just another man! Pull yourself together, Ember!"
She gasped when a hand closed around her own. She looked beside her and saw Skulker at her side. The butterflies in her stomache dissapered instantly.
He showed up.
"You made it!" She whispered so the audience wouldn't hear.
"I told you I would." He said back, "And Skulker is always true to his word. You looked like you were having a rough time"
Ember looked out at the expectant audience.She looked back to the hunter wiht a smile.
"You wouldn't happen to do duets..." She smirked at him with narrowed green eyes.
He stared at her and smiled back, "This is your audience."
She shook her head, "Oh really?" She stepped back up to the microphone, "Who wants to hear the hunter jam with the band?"
The crowd roared with cheers in responce. Ember lookd back at skulker.
"Our audience now, Baby Pop." She told him.
Skulker blinked at her and eventually smiled. Ember held out a hand to him allowing him to take it.
"I thought you didn't do duets." Skulker stated quietly.
Ember smiled at him, "I've never really tried before."
Their eyes met and the music in Ember seemed to come out on it's own. The music grew and his deep voice harmonized with her own as their words collided.
As long as your mine.....
I'll wake up my body
And make up for lost time!"
"Say there's no future... For us as a pair..."Skulker sang to her, his face contemplative as his glowing green eyes locked on hers.
"And though I may know
I don't care!
Just for this moment
As long as you're mine
Come be how you want to
And see how bright we shine!
Borrow the moonlight
Until it is through.........
And know I'll be here
As long as you're mine........"