datawyrms
datawyrms
...is typing
I'm here to enjoy everyone's wonderful content and throw way too many words about My Favorites everywhere. send help i'm back on my robullshit
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datawyrms · a month ago
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(the art is also v good and you should appreciate it with Your Eyes!)
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my piece for @invisobang
drawn for @datawyrms' fic! the link to the fic will be in the reblogs once it's posted go read it it's v good
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datawyrms · a month ago
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snap
It is The Day I post my Invisobang fic! it was a wild ride to write everything and not post. This is actually the second fic I did, as the first fell into my pit of ‘i hate it now’ and will sit in limbo for the rest of eternity. I teamed up with Spirit ( @ghostportals ), who has done some accompanying art! That, and Red @redead-red saved my bacon by doing some betaing last moment, so tell em they’re great too. Hope you’re all enjoying the flood of finished fics and art this week! Only the first chapter is here, the rest is posted on my Ao3 and complete. hope you enjoy!
One careless fall changed Danny's life forever. He was kind of hoping one fall like that was enough for any lifetime. Clearly fate disagreed.
It's fine though! He's got this. He's fine. He can totally explain why he ran off with his own body to mom and dad.
The stairs had always been a little too steep, a titch too narrow, but he was used to them. Jazz worried too much- the whole Fenton family knew how to take them two steps at a time. He wasn’t going to admit she might have a point just because he’d slipped one time. He wished there was a railing to catch himself with- it would have spared him some of the pain of his head knocking on the stair.
It didn’t hurt that much. Plenty of ghosts hit harder, and far more frequently.
“Took a bit of a spill eh, Danno?”
Great, dad saw him slip like he was three again. He wanted to speak, wave his behemoth of a father off before he got tangled up in some long lecture about whatever they were working on down here. Just had to sit up.
He was a little stunned or something. All those late nights made his limbs rebel when he wanted them to hurry up. Come on, before he tries to help and accidentally shaves his hair off with some anti-ghost stepladder or something.
His arms stubbornly rejected his internal horror story. His attempt to say ‘I’m fine’ was more a gurgle than anything. Way to go, Fenton. Do everything to get dad to worry! Really using those genius genes. Jazz probably stole his anyway, or they got fried in the accident. Come on! A bit of self berating should have him sitting bolt upright by now. Maybe his arm twitched. He felt something move, anyway. More like a muscle spasm.
“Danny? You okay?” The large man came closer, his usual jog slowed.
Of course he’s fine. He could see dad, sort of. He totally moved his eyes to see him better, even. Stupid ghost powers were just acting up.  It’s okay,  just give me a second to stand up. You’re worrying over nothing.
 Jack had already made it over, crouching to get a better look at his fallen son. Like he was trying to look smaller or something with how carefully he was moving. Where was all that slow, ginger movement when he was driving? Or trying to tell them about some new invention that might burn off your eyebrows?
 I’m fine, dad. He couldn’t get the words to come out, but he was just fine. He really didn’t like the strange look on his father’s face. After all, ‘Jack Fenton doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear’ or whatever random thing he felt like shouting when chasing after entities from another dimension. Come on dad, stop looking like that. It was creeping him out. Moving should be easy, a snap, but part of him didn’t feel like doing it. Apparently an important part? He could visualize exactly what to do, but he wasn’t sitting up. He swore he could feel his muscles clenching but not finishing the movement. Maybe they were testing something down here that just made all the ectoplasm hiding inside him take a nap. His ectoplasm was so fired after this.
 “Can you look at me kiddo?”
 Coaxing him. This was weird. Why wasn’t he just hauling him off the floor and laughing about how clumsy he was at his age too? Looking at him was easy. Pretty hard to miss him, with all the bright orange.
 “Maddie? Can you come over here?” His question was strangely stilted, not much of a bellow.
 Dad was going to get the wrong idea because his body didn’t want to cooperate. Great. Fantastic. He could feel the warmth in his chest, the sign his heart was still going. He was just fine, just a bit inconvenienced at the moment. Why couldn’t dad just be  dad  and do something dumb like pick him up with one hand while sounding way too excited about some new tool that he built?
 “What’s wrong?” His mom said, her footsteps doing the same thing dad’s had. Speed that suddenly cut down to almost nothing. “Danny, did you hit your head?”
 “I think he might have, he’s not responding. I didn’t want to try to move him-“
 “You did great Jack, it’s okay.”
 Gross. He hoped they didn’t get caught up in one of their lovey dovey circles while he was stuck trying to get his stupid legs to remember how to do things. He was responding! He groaned, and he definitely twitched a bit. Weren’t they paying attention? He tried again, a bit more forcefully and ignoring the pang in his neck. More of a jolt from someone with too much static cling than actual pain, really.
 “Should I call 911? He isn’t moving! He just stayed there- didn’t even act all tough for his old man!”
 Jack was panicking.  Dad was panicking. Over nothing! Why wasn’t mom distracting him with fudge or some random study? No one was being normal today. Danny shuddered, he knew he did, it went with the pulse under his skin.
 “That’d be great sweetie, just stay close.”
 “In case you need my big strong arms to help carry him, right?”
 “Just in case.” She wasn’t wearing the hood of her jumpsuit, at least.
 It didn’t make it more comfortable when she crouched down, biting her lip and staring at him. Like this was concerning. It was the opposite of that, he was a klutz, a gangly teenager, it was normal for him to be a bit banged up. This shouldn’t concern her, or anyone. The only reason it bugged him was the not being able to move right now nonsense.
 “You aware in there sweetie?” she said, rather loudly and clapping near his ear.
  Yes I am, but I can’t tell you. Maybe he could focus on taking a breath and it would kick off whatever turned off his mind to body connection. Had he done anything strange before coming down here? Not really. He could absolutely feel her digging her nails into his earlobe though, ow! More motivation to move, but something wasn’t getting across. Maybe he was getting a bit freaked out about it too. Only because of his parents being weird. He was fine, he had to be fine. It was nothing, less than nothing.
 “I’m just going to make sure he’s still breathing Jack, do you have anyone on the line yet?”
 A loud response, but not to her question. “No it’s not a ghost emergency! It’s a human emergency!”
 Of course he was breathing. He couldn’t look that bad from such a small fall. Just breathe out the words ‘Hey mom, personal space’ and they’d laugh and it’d be nothing. All this fussing was making his skin crawl but of course he had to have ‘special ghost freezing up’. Was it his ice powers? Like he could get his powers being snarky like that, appreciated it in a twisted sort of way- but it would be better around people who wouldn’t assume the worst? Like anyone else. Even Dash.
 “Tell the operator he isn’t breathing.” Maddie’s voice was cold and controlled, even as she went back to biting her lip right after.
 He was totally breathing. He could feel the air that ran in and out of his lungs, the swell and fall that other ghosts knew as a weak point, a way to slow him down. He knew what being doubled over, air shoved right out of him from a harsh blow felt like, how it felt like the portal again. Throat twitching, body heaving and trying to regain what it lost. The darkness that bit at the edges of his vision as every nerve went screaming  You’re Dying . Hated that feeling, shook the ghosts who did that hard once they were in a thermos. This was nothing like that.
 “He isn’t breathing, you need to hurry! My wife knows CPR- just tell them to hurry this is my  son , please”
 Yelling to hide the quaver in his voice. Like a kicked puppy yelping. It sounded so wrong. This was going to be so awkward after. They’d just...pretend this never happened, right? That’d be for the best. No, he was going to get grounded forever for some ‘dumb prank’, since he was fine and worried them so much. Which didn’t seem too bad if it stopped all of...this.
 He moved a little. A toe, he was pretty sure. More notably was his mother, carefully getting him off the uneven stair to be flat on his back. Trying to keep his head from moving, and she couldn’t see he was looking at her? When she was this close? Too busy trying to be calm. Who could be busy enough to think he wasn’t breathing or tracking with his eyes? Another twitch, another inward curse that he couldn’t get back in control.
 “Just hold on, help is coming.” She said, but the half ghost couldn’t tell who she meant, exactly. Him, dad or herself? Either way the quiet remark did not prepare him for the sheer force slammed into his crest. Like she wanted to slam right through him! Was it so much to ask that his parents stop nearly killing him by trying to help? Just try moving again and everything will be fine.
 He couldn’t keep the mental mantra up when he heard- when he felt his ribs crack from the pointless force. She was killing him, he didn’t need help breathing, he had to get it through to them no matter how much his body buzzed and resisted his need to move. He had to focus and push through it, ignoring how cold and wrong it felt, how it seemed like he was squirming free of something that didn’t want him to go.
 Her bone crushing assault stopped once he got his arm up, not even needing to touch her before she froze. The fear was wrong, out of place so he redoubled his efforts, twisting and struggling against himself, the sticky mass that wasn’t letting him act or speak to calm them down.
 The phone hit the floor. He heard it. So why didn’t dad say anything? Danny twisted, wanting to make sure he was okay. Still stuck. At least he had a hand free and most of an arm, the edges of his fingers tracing the tiles of the floor. He could brace himself that way, pushing down hard to try and jar his shoulder loose. He could hear air moving, like a harsh breath out. Good- breathing was good. Even when it sounded so harsh and low. 
 “Jack- are you seeing what I’m seeing?” Maddie moved back, giving him the space he wanted ever since she’d cracked his ribs. They still stung under his skin, hissing at him to keep his parents away before he managed to get even more injuries over something so silly.
 “I’m not sure what we’re seeing.” The phone remained on the floor.
 That didn’t seem right. He’d sat up, mostly. Half sat up, propped up with an arm. Still mostly stuck and uncomfortable, the snapping and crackling sensation still clinging to his free shoulder. Really, he felt worse than how he started. at least there wasn’t pain in ‘hah my body is playing freeze tag without me’ land. The pulling sensation made his head ache and vision swim to the point he wasn’t actually sure if he was still looking at the ceiling or not. He couldn’t go back to just being frozen though, that’d suck. So just convince the rest of himself to get up. No problem!
Were lies in his head always this unconvincing? It felt like yanking himself free of a too sticky slime, strands clinging and tugging back until they finally snapped, parts still stuck but free of the main mass. At least ectoplasm had the decency not to stretch when you got drenched in it most of the time.  Come on, focus and keep it together.  He let out a wheeze as the last stubborn strands snapped, ignoring how loud it sounded to properly reorient himself.
 Sitting up, properly, good! Parents staring with weird, half horrified expressions: bad. Very, very bad. 
“I’m okay, I just fell.” Danny spoke, he could speak properly again. So why? “Sorry for scaring you guys?” He tried again, trying to ignore the first thought across his mind.
 They kept staring. Maddie seemed to be recovering, shoulders starting to relax, but she seemed to be reaching for her belt.
 He didn’t sound right. No, that wasn’t quite right, he just sounded wrong for Danny  Fenton. Who he should be right now, he hadn’t been able to talk, let alone go ghost. This probably looked really, really bad. How had he switched, anyway?
Mom was reaching for a gun, wasn’t she? Crud. Now he regretted talking at all, how was he going to explain why Danny Phantom was treating two ghost hunters like his parents? Or how he managed to look like their kid. Maybe he could change back and convince them they were seeing things?
Yeah no, that was way too dumb.
 “Wait.” Jack rested a hand on his wife’s shoulder, causing her to stop pulling the weapon. He wasn’t looking at the ghost at all, just her. Maddie remained stiff, not able to ignore the glowing kid on her floor.
 Okay...dad was usually the gung ho one. Maybe he could get away with this? Danny tried to get a better grip on the situation. Felt a new pain, sharp and cold in his throat. Deep green scars clashed against his white gloves and ran all across his jumpsuit,  glow intensifying as the panic choked him into silence. Fresh and angry like back- back before he managed to stumble out of the portal when he died when the accident happened.
With his human arms just as scared below them, still against the tile. The damage looked old, half scabbed over with only a dull glow deep in the death marks wounds. His arms attached to the rest of his body- that he was half out of. 
 Why? How was his body still and silent while he was sitting and looking at it. He’s cold. His body is cold. It isn’t  breathing  there isn’t some other facet of his personality sitting behind the dull blue eyes. This isn’t how it works! If he splits, it’s just temporary, he can fix it but his other half- corpse is wrong.
The pulling and clinging at his legs doesn’t feel like slime anymore. Rotting flesh that wants to drag him back, smother him in a cloying warmth that will only remind him why it burned, how it hurt. He had to move, he couldn’t stay half like this, it would get better once it wasn’t like this.
It didn’t want to let go as he tried to pull away, ectoplasm getting snagged on every nerve and muscle fiber, each pause a reminder of the shock and pain of his end that day.
He knew he screamed when he pulled free and slammed into the wall, furious green scars still marring his jumpsuit where there should be none.
 What would Mom and Dad think?
 No no no no no. He spotted movement from them and acted. He couldn’t let his mom break his body more, or look at it too closely. Dad couldn’t see what happened! This was fine, he could fix this!
 He grabbed his corpse and fled through the wall.
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datawyrms · a month ago
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do u know how many ghost kings i threatened for this fic? many. you should read it, is v good. It’s got Jack and mistaken assumptions and adorable fluff and heart rending all in one. That and Red totally beta’d my Invisobang fic that will be posted soon!
I won’t spoil any of the art in there but it’s a whole spectrum of emotional good stuff! rEaD iT :v
FINALLY TIME TO POST MY INVISOBANG FIC!!!
Gosh, what an incredible, fantabulous, stressful, wonderful experience this was. Please check out the amazing artwork my artist @emotigonecreative did for this fic! It's so beautiful I'm crying in the club ;_;
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datawyrms · 2 months ago
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Say what you want about his design but I actually think it’s kind of adorable, he looks like a bug-eyed bobble head filled with violence.🥺👏💚
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datawyrms · 4 months ago
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Shadow
Dannymay 2021 Day 10
Jack Fenton was many things. An inventor, a father, a leading expert on all things ectoplasmic. Sometimes it was hard to be that many things, to give the right amount of attention that each was owed.
There were upsides of course. The studies, his work could protect his family, shield them from harm. He always cast a large shadow in a literal sense, and that was fine. He could be the large target, the shield to keep his loved ones safe and secure. They could choose to stay in the dark about the issues he dedicated his life to and they would remain protected, out of harms way. Sometimes he’d wished the kids had shared his passion, would want to know more about ghosts and what they were, but he was content to let them stay in the dark if they chose.
So of course he noticed. How could he not? The way his boy flinched and looked away instead of his usual disinterest. How his protective shadow didn’t comfort like it always had. Of course, it was normal for them to want to get free of it, to be seen as their own person separate from their parents as they matured. He would be fine with that, if that is what was causing Danny to shy away, to try and separate himself from family, to prove he didn’t need to be shielded or kept ignorant. Yet he didn’t. He retreated inward, tried to pretend everything was normal. So he let him, he was young, still learning what he wanted and how to be confident. Even as it hurt to see him apparently stifled and choked in what should be keeping him safe.
It did make sense, in a terrible way. Of course it hurt him. A ghost couldn’t hide in another’s shadow. Their glow would cut it away, banish it and make their own. The glowing child, his son, too hesitant and lost to admit what had happened. When he was meant to be protected in the darkness, instead had let him stumble into death.
He didn’t want to harm his son. This had been his own fault, not doing enough, expecting ignorance to be enough of a shield when he couldn’t stand there himself. Now he’d always know too much. He couldn’t keep him safe. A ghost with his boy’s face.
He could spare him the confusion and hurt, but couldn’t. It was still Danny. It was his turn to hide in the shadow of ignorance and hope he didn’t notice. To hope he didn’t ask how to get rid of a ghost. The guilt lived in the darkness and gnawed at his soul. He’d endure it, as long as he could.
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datawyrms · 4 months ago
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Changed Hunt
For Phic Phight 2021! (not completely finished but AAAAfinshnowwww) lowkey Dannymay Day 2 Portal, as well
"That portal is awesome!" Sam says. "Would be so cool if it worked."
Danny goes down into the lab that night to try a few things—it doesn't quite go as he planned.(aka a no one knows au) (Dey’s prompt!)
Danny really wished Sam and Tucker had stayed a bit longer that day. With them around, maybe he wouldn’t have wandered in that portal like an idiot. In his own defense, how could he have known that little panel in there had been an on switch? Who’d put that inside a reality tearing portal device? Jack and Maddie Fenton, apparently. He was just lucky the thing hadn’t killed him! Or at least, managed to overdo it to the point he...survived somehow? He hadn’t really decided what that portal had done exactly. Waking in a pained heap, bathed in a haunting green glow from the now active portal was confusing enough. Looking up and seeing a stranger in the reflective panel nearby just made it worse. Of course he didn’t take it well, or know what to think. If he’d become a ghost, his parents would freak. Fixing their portal by turning into some...evil human hating creature probably wasn't in the plan. At least his terror somehow managed to get him to become human again. Heartbeat and everything. He hoped it had just been a weird one off, or he’d imagined it from trauma. Until he started falling through things. He died so hard  that he got his life back? The portal only managed to kill half of him? He was dead but ‘imitating humans’ was his specialty? Some human that just got to use his ‘soul’ or whatever to be a ghost early? Sam and Tucker might have had guesses- but he knew one thing right away. Whatever happened, he wasn’t all human anymore. He couldn’t tell them. What if they decided that was just too weird? What if they blamed themselves for not being there- thought they’d killed him? It wasn’t worth the risk. Besides, he couldn’t let Mom and Dad find out, so he’d be trying to hide any of the new weirdness anyway. Might as well just always do it. Maybe the weird new abilities would just go away. They hadn’t. They just forced him to think about it to keep both feet on the ground. He could deal.
Until other ghosts started showing up. Ghosts that actually knew how to be ghosts, terrifying powers and all. Ghosts that seemed to know what he was. He’d nearly jumped out of his skin when a green woman in a hairnet tapped him on the shoulder and asked who ‘changed the menu’. There was a lot of screaming and running away at that, considering she was floating and well. Obviously some sort of dead person. Freaky Fenton attracts freaky ghosts. Of course. She didn’t buy his claim of not knowing why the menu wasn’t exactly the same as fifty years ago (why would he? That’s a lot of years!) and thought setting ovens on fire and throwing them at him was a fair answer! So apparently Mom and Dad were totally right about ghosts being completely terrifying monsters that he should run away from very quickly. Which he did. He only ran into two walls he meant to go through, even. Just more reasons to never, ever tell anyone he might be like that crazed ghost lady. Mom and Dad proving their inventions actually did work sometimes was just icing on the ‘i’m so screwed’ cake. Ghosts exist, they fought one, and the school got shuttered for a week from excessive damage via flying appliance. Fun.
It was dumb to pretend that was a one off thing. It was stupid to think he could keep hiding what happened that day. Even if it felt safer, even if he just wanted to keep denying the portal was open so she could keep pretending it hadn’t done anything to him. Maybe if someone knew, he wouldn’t be hopelessly trapped by a huge glowing robot. Running didn’t work on this one like it did the older ghost lady. He tried, he really did, but the self proclaimed hunter kept tracking him down. Even when he transformed into the strange ghost version of himself he failed to dissuade the robot. Punching metal still hurt as a ghost, and so did getting pelted with little missiles. So much for intangibility being an advantage.
“You’re lucky that you’re a rare creature, whelp. Otherwise I’d be disappointed by how little effort hunting you took.”
Great, flame head thought he was a disappointing freak. More pressing was the net the ghost had shot at him that he couldn’t struggle free of. Even drawing on his weird ghost side wouldn’t let him phase through it. “Pretty sure you can’t hunt endangered species!” He redoubled his effort as the ghost picked up the net, trying to trick himself that his swinging was making him feel ill, not the terror of being carried off by some monster that came through the portal just to hunt him down.
“Hah! If I didn’t take you ghost child, someone else would simply end you.” The blank green eyes stared into his own as the machine pulled him up higher. “You should be grateful to be part of my collection.”
Danny gulped, unsure if he should keep his attention on his captor or the fact they were getting closer to the swirling portal. “How about no thanks? Since you’re such a good samaritan and all. You can just let me go and forget all about uh...this.” Why couldn’t he just squeeze out of the net, or make the rest of him all weird like when his legs decided to vanish sometimes? Pulling with his gloved hands wasn’t working, and the glow just grew  brighter as the lump in his throat got thicker. “Please? You already said I was weak, if you let me go I’ll be stronger next time!” Okay, it was a stupid plea but he’d try anything right now to not get dragged to some ghost world.
“I’m not a catch and release sort of hunter.” The ghost chuckled as his prey shrank back with the denial.
“How can you be the ‘Greatest’ hunter if you just go after kids, huh?” Begging wasn’t working, so maybe getting him angry? He couldn’t go through there, what if being on the other side made him more like this thing, or the other weird green monsters? “More like lamest hunter.”
“Oh you’ll see the sort of creatures I normally hunt, ghost child. Once you join them.” Skulker shook the net hard, rattling what little bravado Danny had managed to gather up right back out of him.
So much for that hope. “This has got to be a mistake, just let me go!” The ghost didn’t answer him, and he couldn’t help closing his eyes when the mechanical monster fired up a jetpack and flew through that portal. It wasn’t as cold as he feared it would be, it wasn’t like the void of space. Just as green as the portal, still a swirling background to everything. He swore he saw faces and doors, but couldn’t keep looking for long. The combined movement of being dragged along with the spinning energy was stomach churning enough, and he had to deal with the fact he didn’t know anything about this place. Even if this ghost decided to let him go, where would he go? Was there even anything to navigate with? He certainly didn’t see anything useful like stars. Would all this green stuff just soak into him and make him not want to find home? Nothing here made sense! It was easier to curl up instead of struggling with the net to stretch out, and the stupid ghost couldn’t see how the tears welled in his eyes as he struggled not to cry.
He should have been braver, should have tried to watch more, but it’d been too much. The crunch of metal against stone jarred him out of his silent self berating, just to be even more confused. He was on an island? That just floated, because islands did that here. Islands that had forests on them, that grew out of what looked like rock. Sure, okay. At least it was a bit of a distraction from the fact he was trapped by some evil robot in a completely different reality! Well. It had been. Seeing the fact the ghost lived in some weird stone skull jutting out of a mountain made him snort despite himself.
“You said my puns were bad, and you live in that thing?” He was pretty sure the green mohawk monster was Skull-something anyway. Mostly tuned it out after he kept repeating the ‘greatest hunter’ bit. “Ghost Zone’s Greatest Halloween Decoration’s a more fitting title.”
“For a terrified whelp, you are very chatty.”
“I think I looped around from terrified when I saw how doomed I am.” He was just joking. Totally. He wasn’t goofing around to try and fend off the engulfing panic of never getting home, nope. Absolutely not. He tried to pay attention to the strange ‘skull mountain house thing’, but the fact it reminded him more like a zoo inside wasn’t helping. Massive, monstrous glowing ghosts leering out and snapping as they passed, smaller sorts that didn’t even look up and several empty cages stained green was not calming his nerves. He couldn’t even describe some ghosts, being such a confusing jumble of parts that didn’t remind him of anything. All he could tell was robo-hunter probably didn’t have any willing guests. Unwilling guests that looked far, far more powerful than anything he could dream of trying. He was so, so doomed. To the point that being tossed roughly in a similar cage was almost a relief so he wasn’t right beside the ghost anymore.
First task was struggling free of the no longer glowing net (deactivated somehow? weird.) which wasn’t too hard, but just left him in his freaky ghost form, in a cage, in the middle of who knew where. The Ghost Zone, that’s what they kept calling it. Not Earth. Fantastic! That’s enough to get a C-, but not enough to get him out of this cage. Reaching through the bars was out, the unexpected shock had him rubbing his hand and grumbling to how having some invisible field between the bars was just unfair. At least let him see it before hurting him more. Now what? Grasping that feeling that let him walk through walls wasn’t letting him through the cage floor, just like how the net wouldn’t let him out.  Floating just reminded him of getting dragged here. So that was it. Why did he have to get stupid dying powers? They didn’t even do anything useful!
Stressing out and not finding a way out was an exhausting way to spend a few hours. He kept thinking of new problems, like he didn’t have enough already. When the robot wandered past, he almost grabbed the bars to get closer. “Hey! Screw head!”
The ghost actually looked at him, the stern face looking more confused than anything.
“Yeah you! You know I’m gonna like, starve to death in here, right?” Danny had no idea how he was managing to say something he was very terrified of coming true like it was a joke. “Kind of a waste, don’t ya think?”
“You will be fine, ghost child. Your pleas for freedom won’t fool me.”
“Wanna bet? Maybe we’re so rare because we all starve to death in this dumb ghost world or whatever.” That and there probably weren’t too many people dumb enough to get shocked to...sort of death. “That and like, you’re some freaky machine man, you probably don’t know anything about eating to start with.”
Skulker kept staring at him, as if doing that would suddenly reveal all his secrets. “Well I prefer live specimens, but I suppose I could always do with another rug.”
Oh gross! “Seriously? Do I look like rug material to you?”
“Wall art?”
Yup, he was gagging now. The very idea a ghost would want to do that just made his spine want to shake right out of him with disgust. “I’d be way out of place, all of the other ghosts here look like animals! You’ll just gross all your hunter buddies out.” Maybe if he pretended to be some know it all like Jazz the ghost would...reconsider making him into wall art? Uurk. What was his life that he even needed to think that?
At least that got the metal monster pondering, massive hand scratching at his chin. “I do wonder if your pelt would only show half of your nature.”
“How about we don’t test that and say we did.” He’d seen some of the knives on the way in and did not want any of them near him thank you very much. Not that he had much of a choice- oh man he really, really did not want to learn why Sam hated the fur industry this way. “Pretty sure I’d just die. More. Or something.”
“Oh, but you’ve seen the other pelts on the way in. They’ve still got enough of a spark to not melt to nothing ghost child. I’m not that sloppy.”
Oh so he could be barely aware wall art. Even better!  What would he do, skin him alive or just crush him? Both? “Humans don’t melt.” It was all he could think of blathering out. Don’t think about what the terrifying ghost guy can do Fenton, just don’t.
“True...unfortunately I don’t have another subject to test on.”
Score one for being a unique sort of freaky ghost kid. Maybe. “Soooo how about you just bring me back and rethink the whole uh. Hunting me thing.”
That just got Skulker laughing. “Not a chance whelp.”
“I’m not a whelp! I don’t even fit in with all your monster-things!” It had annoyed him, really. The other ghosts didn’t really...talk? “I’m not some animal!” 
More chuckling, as if amused by a puppy chasing its tail. “Of course you are, with that stench of the human world on you.”
“You think I smell. With what nose, metalhead?”
“None of your business. Not to fear, any ghost here can tell you’re a hybrid. That human body you insist on wearing can be felt even when you’re in a superior form.”
Oh, was this a ghosts thinking humans were animals thing? Or was this a ghosts are kinda racist to different ghosts thing. Was there a difference? He probably should have paid more attention in civics. “Yeah well that ‘human body’ needs food.” He wasn’t even going to touch the idea that he was ‘wearing’ his own body, eeeeugh.
“I’ll figure out a solution to your hybrid failings, child. I won’t let a prize go that easily.”
Greeeeeeat.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
Text
Happy DannyMay everyone! i say while dropping this. For day one, Memories. sorta kinda sequel to this Half a Decade Late
He said he’d never hate them. Back when he thought it would only be a matter of time until he found a weakness, a flaw and squirmed free. He always had before. He didn’t like being captured, and he certainly didn’t like getting shoved into cages, but it was always temporary. A terrifying inconvenience. Something he’d shrug off eventually and forget. Lately he was starting to realize he’d forget that he ever considered thinking charitably. Just like all the other things he couldn’t quite remember.
They took everything. His freedom, his limbs, his skin, his voice. So many things he had the misfortune of learning he could recover from with enough time. Really broke the idea that anything about you was special. Did it matter that they ripped him open when the green slime he was made of would eventually cover the hole without even a sign of the pain it caused him? He just stopped caring. Ghosts didn’t feel pain. Maybe if he believed that enough, he wouldn’t need to feel it. Hurt was just a matter of perspective.
He was changing, apparently. The spectral copies of his human organs they stole over and over again stopped being perfect copies. Sloppy. Apparently his body was forgetting what the real ones were like. He didn’t remember the last time he’d been human anyway. That was fine. It was the only real way he could bother them now, being ‘less useful’. Obviously he didn’t need them that badly. He envied some of his fellow prisoners. They were just green inside. Nothing the vultures wanted, nothing for them to mutter and prod at while he struggled uselessly.
He didn’t really know why he still bothered to do that. It never worked. Some impulse. Just better than keeping still. He never really was a human, was he? Humans didn’t treat other humans like this. So he wasn’t one. So why did he ever think he was?
Tie was weird. Maybe having a soul made you act all funny. He’d been tempted to change her name, to no-mask or just face, but the words didn’t feel right, sort of caught on his tongue. Even when he didn’t have one sometimes! Tie just slid off easily. Like he’d said it a lot, or something like it.
So the newbie remained Tie. And Tie was weird. A good kind of weird? She didn’t just tell him to shut up, anyway. Most of them were boring like that. Though not getting shocked into unconsciousness did make the days tend to drag a bit more. She did make his head hurt sometimes, with all the weird reactions Tie made. It always passed though.
He kept playing with the lights up there so they would flicker and crackle, just to check if it was a Tie day. Sure, that got a good amount of shocks when it wasn’t Tie, but they were always grumpy after he’d lost a limb or two. It was almost amusing again. That was the word. Maybe?
“You don’t remember Amity at all?”
Frustration and anger that was directed at him, but also not. Tie was super strange like that. “Why would I?” His response just made her eyes narrow more, but she didn’t do anything to take it out on him. It was hilarious. 
“That’s where you’re from.”
“News to me.” Might be a lie, might not. Gun grunts said lots of weird stuff. He shifted position, watching her while upside down didn’t make it easier to tell if humans were lying or not, but did make her scowling funnier. “That’s where you’re from then? Or that other name you keep using.”
“You can’t actually be him. Fuck.” She was rubbing at her forehead, looking away at nothing. “You remember ghost hunters but not Amity Park?”
“Hey! Names are hard, Tie. Isn’t like you know the name of every town you’ve ever been in.”
“No, but I remember the one I lived in most of my life!”
“Good for you! I’d clap but I’m kinda under armed for the task.” Under armed. He snickered as she only rolled her eyes at his joke, but it only made him think of another one. “Isn’t like a ghost lives anywhere.”
“You’re in here for hell knows how long and you can’t get better jokes?!”
Tie’s irritation just made it funnier. “These are gold! Way better than the stuff you guys laugh at.”
“Like what?”
“Oh you know.” The humour of the moment passed as he got back up, wondering if he should give the old ice trick another go. The noises were fun. “Like how the ghost won’t eat, but ghosts don’t breathe either. So the ghost can’t do much to stop ya.” As if Tie didn’t know. She still made the weird pinched expressions though. Why bother? It didn’t really matter if she actually had a soul still. Those ones just quit and then there’d be a new newbie. “Lots of you think that’s reaaaaal funny.” He stuck out his tongue, gagging. “Gross gun grunts.”
“That’s not funny either.”
“Try breaking your funny bone a few times. That’ll fix it. Or was that computers?” He frowned, rubbing his fingers against his chin. Computers. What was it about computers again? Re-re-something? Like with bones when you...did something…
“Phantom!”
That jerked him out of his considerations. “Still not him!” Now that he checked, Tie looked like she’d been trying to get his attention for awhile again. That, or she’d figured out how to teleport closer to his cage. Both were very possible. Probably. 
“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you.”
“You were talking?”
“For someone who says he isn’t Phantom, it sure gets your attention fast.”
He shrugged. What did Tie expect? So what if he noticed it? It didn’t mean anything to him, personally. It was like comp-whatevers. “You could say the coats were coming and I’d do the same thing.”
“Doubt it. You remember Jack and Maddie maybe?” Tie hesitated, as if saying something to him actually mattered. “Your parents?”
“I’m a ghost. And possibly a starfish. Since I do the whole regenerating thing.” He’s pretty sure it’s starfish that do that. “I don’t think they’re big on families.” He thought that was pretty amusing, having like. Little voiceless things that cling to rocks as parents. Actually had a bit in common if you thought of his cage as a rock? Tie didn’t agree, based on how he was biting at her lip and clenching her fists. Still no shooting. Still super weird.
“Be a mercy killing at this point…” Tie wasn’t actually speaking to him, but it was interesting. Killing what? One of the other ghosts maybe. “Sam, Tucker? Any of them ring a bell?”
He certainly didn’t have a bell in here. “Sam...and Tucker are names?” He guessed, shuddering a little. Weird names. Made the gooey mess of ectoplasm he was made of wriggle when he said it. Like when he was struggling to digest something, uncomfortable and heavy and just making him want to move when he couldn’t. Though he could this time. Zipping up to the top of his cage helped shake the feeling off, at least. He wasn’t saying those again, no thank you. “You have weird tricks, Tie”
“They’re just names. I didn’t do anything to make you fly up there. I half thought you couldn’t do that anymore.”
Tie did have a bit of a point. When was the last time he’d flown up here? “Think I forgot I could?” He didn’t really move much in general. Not like he had anywhere to go, his cage didn’t really change.
She just looked tired. “This isn’t fixable.”
He wasn’t really paying attention, poking at the edges of his cage with his feet was pretty entertaining. It tingled a bit when he got pushed back, but flipping over in the air was easy. Why didn’t he float more? “Gun grunts don’t fix things, so Idonno why you care.”
Tie wasn’t paying much attention to him either, muttering to herself. “Manson would kill me for doing it. No way she’d believe you’re like this. Let alone the Fentons...”
Well, that was boring. He busied himself with counting how many seconds it took for the shock to stop coursing through him when he touched the walls. Though it was a bit tricky to keep track between tries.
“Skulker? Ember? You at least remember the ghosts, don’t you?”
“Are you just making names up now Tie?” They just sounded silly. The thought of someone named ‘Skulker’...who was also very tiny. Now that’d be funny. Kinda liked that idea actually.
“Probably don’t even remember the guy who put a million on your head…”
“A million whats? Questions? That’s more a you thing, Tie.”
“No, Vlad. The mayor?”
“The what?” Things weren’t funny anymore. He wasn’t cool and passive. That word, there’d been others but he didn’t even care what they’d been. The V had been enough to set his core to a furious pulsating heat of fury. His ice claws clung to the wall even as the buzzing in his skull grew stronger as the field tried to shove him back. “WHERE” He snared, not caring how his throat burned from the partial wail trying to scrabble out of his throat. Tie didn’t matter, nothing mattered and he actually missed his arm since not having it made it harder to keep his grip and snarl at the one backing away from his prison. “WHERE IS HE?” Oh he’d order anyone, and they’d listen or he’d shred them as soon as he got through- but his claws were cracking- green and red staining and corrupting the fine edge he’d honed so often. Why did he care? He didn’t know, didn’t want to know, he just had to act and now, just in case. The chance might slip away and he wouldn’t, they’d pay they’d pay, they’d PAY.
“Danny! Stop hurting yourself, he’s not here!” Tie was blathering, but at least backed away when he shrieked at her. Stupid Tie. Didn’t know anything. “Hell. You don’t even know why you’re mad, do you.”
He kept slamming the ice back in place, even as his arm weakened and started oozing. He didn’t need his legs, he didn’t need arms, he didn’t need anything. Just OUT. NOW. He snarled and snapped at the metal that grabbed his back and slammed him hard to the ground of his cage. It ignored him and the awful warmth that had consumed everything. He never won against it but now he had to keep trying because-because the anger? Because of something. The metal easily ignored the green surging pulses of electricity, just kept pressing down on him until he wasn’t solid enough to struggle, not strong enough to scream at it. The awful stabbing feeling in his core wanted him to act, but he couldn’t even defiantly flick his tail as he grew colder and slipped out of consciousness.
Everything hurt and it wasn’t even Friday. At least. He didn’t think it was? He’d have to ask Tie about it...if Tie showed up again. Something about her gave him a stab of unease. Might have something to do with all the green stains in here. Didn’t remember getting shot though. Strange. Must have done something. Maybe. Didn’t really matter.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
Text
Irresistible
For PhicPhight! On Ao3
“Earth to clueless one, walking through walls isn’t something you should be doing right now!” Sam’s hiss made him notice the fact something had grabbed his wrist.
“Right, sorry!” He said it without thinking, eyes flicking to Tucker. His other friend looked just as concerned, great. “I don’t think I got enough sleep.”
“When do you ever, dude? You didn’t even sneak out last night.” Still, his more technically inclined friend released his wrist. “Something your parents working on keeping you up?”
“You know we’re fine if you crash in our rooms.” Sam was a little less gentle. “So do that instead of whatever sleepwalking this is.”
“No! Like, I don’t remember not being able to sleep or anything?” Not that it helped, he felt like he’d been awake all night thanks to the weird dreams. “I swear I’m not being a tough guy or whatever.” He rubbed at his forehead, privately wishing his fingers could just push away the fog of exhaustion instead of just making him more aware of how sluggish he felt.
“Maybe you should crash with one of us anyway? You don’t look good.” Tucker’s frown only made the half ghost grumble. “‘Course you never look as good as me, but lately? You’re pulling the two thirds ghost look.”
“Harhar.” He shrugged the suggestion off, even if he was pretty tempted. There wasn’t anything weird in the house that he noticed, and his parents weren’t being any more anti-ghost then usual. He probably slept in a weird position or something. “I don’t think weird underwater dreams are a Fentonworks exclusive.”
“Underwater?” Sam just looked puzzled. “From what? I can’t even remember the last time any of us went swimming.”
“How should I know?” He couldn’t even say it was like flying, because it wasn’t like one of those dreams at all. Too sluggish, none of the freedom he normally felt. “I’ll just nap in math class…”
It had been a joke, really. He didn’t actually mean to sleep in math class, but his desk was cool and his head felt so heavy that he couldn’t resist nodding off. He just wished it had helped more, the bell ringing just made him want to sink into the floor and stay there. Which would probably freak everyone out. Not a good idea. At least the stern talking to he earned for ‘being disrespectful’ went right over his head with it so hazy.
“Dude. Just skip if you’re gonna sleep all day.” Tucker was poking him in the face with a fork. Rude.
“I’m not gonna sleep all day. Relax.” The tines were annoying, but doing more than blindly pushing it away from him was beyond him for the moment.
“Spacing out all day isn’t any better.” Sam’s voice wasn’t a surprise, but the fact she wasn't telling Tucker to stop poking him in the face was.
“I’m not.”
“Tucker’s been poking you for five minutes.”
“Oh.” Really? Hadn’t felt like that. Maybe he had like a ghost cold?
“Just go hide out in the attic, you obviously need it.” The poking stopped, Tucker’s voice low as if he’d leaned closer.
“Can’t miss even more stuff guys…you know that.” Even if he really, really wanted to take that offer right now.
“Well here you’ll just get the teachers angry by snoozing through class. We’ll try and see what’s messing with you after school.”
“Nothing’s messing with me! I think.” His objection wasn’t great, but Sam didn’t seem up to argue with him about it anyway.
Tucker adjusted his hat, avoiding his eyes. “Kinda hope something is, you’re kinda freaking us out.”
Well, that didn’t feel good. He scratched at the back of his head, trying to ignore how his friends kept looking at him like some kind of wounded kitten. He was fine, really! “Well uh. See you after school?” He didn’t give them time to answer before stumbling away from the table to find somewhere quiet to vanish from. He sort of hoped being in his ghost form would have shaken some of his muddled need for sleep, but being colder just made the throbbing behind his eyes feel worse. Not enough to keep him from keeping invisible and slipping into Tucker’s attic, but enough that becoming human again actually made him feel a little less ragged.
It shouldn’t be this easy to huddle in the musty old chair and drop off in the middle of the day. The guilt for doing so alone should make him twist and struggle to get comfortable, but sleep welcomed him eagerly. A part of him worried Nocturn was afoot, but it wasn’t enough to keep him awake.
“You think his parents made something that makes ghosts go dormant or something?”
“Or drain all their energy?
He kind of wanted to ignore the voices and keep sleeping, but shook himself awake. He didn’t need this much sleep, he was fine. If they were here he’d been sleeping for hours already!
“Sleeping beauty awakes.”
Danny rolled his eyes at Tucker’s attempt to pretend they hadn’t been talking about him. “You better not have kissed me.”
“If you kept sleeping for another hour he totally would have.” Sam smirk only grew when Tucker let out an offended squawk.
“Under duress!”
“The meat stench on your breath could wake the dead, so it had to be you.”
“Not dead yet, thanks…” Even if he’d been feeling tired enough to be a corpse today. “Anyone notice?”
“Told Lancer you were sick. He bought it.” Tucker shrugged, tossing a thermos between his hands. “You were really out of it huh?”
“Wait, was there an attack?”
“Nothing we couldn’t handle.” Sam snatched the thermos away, glaring at Tucker as she did so. “You stay here, we’ll check out your house.”
He’d just slept through a ghost attacking? Really? “No way, how would you explain why I’m not with you?”
“Easy. We’ll just say you are, they won’t notice.” The goth scoffed, already halfway to getting the attic door open. “If you can hide being a ghost, we can hide you not being there for an afternoon.”
She sort of had a point there. “Fine. You aren’t gonna find anything. If it was some new gadget I’d say so.”
He kind of hoped they’d prove him wrong, but the concerned and frustrated looks on their faces betrayed that there were no new plans or even an idea to what had gotten him ‘out of sorts’. It was probably just a one off thing anyway, he’d be fine. It wasn’t like his parents were bragging about a new discovery or anything. He probably wouldn’t be able to sleep since he spent so much of the day doing so, though he was still tired...he actually looked forward to dinner being over so he could snuggle under his blankets and look at the little glowing stick on stars of his ceiling before drifting off again.
Only the dream came back. A small, pitiful ghost underwater while something kept calling at him. It wasn’t warm or inviting, more like the command from someone respected. The wisp of a creature couldn’t really ignore it either, it was like a pulse that burrowed inside and thrummed until he responded. They weren’t asking for much. Just wanted him to go hunt ghosts. He always did that anyway, that part was easy.
He didn’t like how the commanding one grabbed him under the chin at his return, but couldn’t find it in him to struggle. They were stronger than he was, he was a subordinate not strong enough to challenge them. A pair, stronger and unknowable with how they’d speak in a language he didn’t understand. He could only watch, green eyes wide for any hint of anger, wanting to make himself smaller, but the creature was little more than a shadow to begin with. Hunt, bring them the prey they wanted, and they’d allow him to exist. A fair trade, really. His core trembled at the idea the clawed hands at his face could easily sink into his chest, he couldn’t risk angering them. Their red eyes saw everything, knew everything. He didn’t want to be around them, but that call was too strong. Those eyes lurked on every surface, a burning red that cut through the weight of the water that was everything as if it wasn’t even there. Their commands became a sort of second skin, but didn’t protect him from the beings deciding to come uncomfortably close, or clutch his thin limbs and take something before letting him slip back into undefined chaos again.
He preferred being told to hunt. Leaving other ghosts, the smaller ones, lesser than even the inkblot he was in the universe to be looked over and examined while he remained mostly untouched. Still wispy, mostly undefined outside of his eyes, unlike the remains of those who ‘earned’ the greater ones full attention. No time to rest, just going and going until they claimed he’d done enough.
Being dismissed wasn’t a free pass to do as he pleased though. It was still a command, something he had to obey lest they show him why they were in charge. To go in hiding, be unseen, do nothing until they wanted him to hunt again. That should be easy, simple, but it made his tail ache and his heart lurch. He didn’t only want to hunt, he wanted to do not-ghost things.
Yet the figures didn’t care what a weaker ghost wanted to do. They’d find out. He had to hide.
Danny just felt exhausted. As if the dream had made him as tired as the ghost he was in that nightmare. Which couldn’t be true, he didn’t care about stronger ghosts and what they wanted. He’d fought the king of ghosts! He had a track record of flipping off authority when it suited him better. It didn’t push away the heavy weight in his head that only begged him to go back to sleep. Maybe he really was just sick.
Sick enough to get sent right back to bed by his mom when he slumped down for breakfast, her concern nice, but also discomforting. She held her hand at his forehead for a touch too long, seemed to stare into his eyes enough to make him want to avert them. Her gentle nudging to get some more sleep nearly had him bolting up the stairs. Like he had to go that moment. Rubbing at his temples didn’t dissuade the feeling, but the pressure lifted somewhat when he was back in bed and covered in blankets. Some stupid leftover feeling from that dream or something. He wasn’t hiding.
“Danny? You okay under there?” Jazz’s question just felt like a nail to his skull, and he hoped she could see the displeasure in his eyes as he poked out from under the blankets to glare at her.
“I might be if someone didn’t wake me up.” The sunlight peeking in from the windows only soured his mood, he should have closed the blinds.
“Well, someone’s grumpy.” Either she didn’t see his annoyance, or she was deliberately ignoring it. “Mom said you don’t have a fever, but you run pretty cold...do you want something for it?”
“It’s just a headache.”
“Sure, mister ‘I ignored a bone fracture’ is crippled by a headache. Not buying it.”
“That was meant to be a secret, who snitched?” His frustration just made him feel uncomfortably warm, they knew he hated it when Jazz fussed over that stuff. Maybe he should ignore their calls for a bit.
“No one did, I actually pay attention when you start favouring your left hand.” Her frown just made him want to duck back out of sight. “You sure you don’t need anything? Anything mom and dad wouldn’t think you need?”
For a smart person, Jazz could be incredibly unsubtle. “No. I’m just worn out, or something.” He didn’t feel like coughing or sneezing, or even the gurgling discomfort of an upset stomach. It couldn’t be that serious. “You’ll be late if you keep standing there.”
“Let us know if you think of anything!” She was already halfway down the hall while saying that, not getting to see how her brother rolled his eyes and ducked back under the blankets. Her biggest weakness, other obligations. Not that it would help after school. He’d be fine by then, probably. Just some peace and quiet and he’d be back to normal. Just like he said yesterday. Only for real this time. Positive thinking, or whatever.
He did feel a bit better now that it was quiet. Still tired, but his head wasn’t pounding as much as it was whenever someone insisted on talking to him.
He figured he’d just sleep, maybe play Doomed once he was more awake. Step one, sleeping had been going well, but Mom and Dad had other plans jeopardizing that. Since when did they listen to music while they worked? With enough base that he could feel it rattling his bones no less. Covering his ears couldn’t do much about that. Trying to ignore it, or hope they were just messing with something for a minute and it would stop wasn’t getting anywhere either. So why was he just hesitating up here? They probably didn’t even notice it was so loud, or forgot he was home sick. He shook his legs to try and wake them up after he wobbled with his first steps to the door. Maybe he could- no, there wasn’t any reason to just wait.
When had they gotten so many stairs anyway? Danny found himself gripping the railing as if he was seven again, worried about slipping as if he didn’t run down them two at a time normally. He hesitated at the bottom, eyes scanning the ground floor for a sign of the scientists. The awful noise didn’t seem much louder, but he felt every beat of it as his heart seemed to slip into sync. He didn’t want to risk more stairs, he was imagining things. He opened his mouth to speak, coughing instead over how dry it felt. Sleeping with his mouth open, duh. His second attempt went better, but was not as much of a shout as he planned it to be. “Mom? Dad? Can you turn it down?”
He waited. Nothing. It must be too loud for them to hear him over the din of that deafening pulse. Keeping one ear covered the boy edged to the lab’s staircase, staring down them as if he was looking from a mountaintop, a deadly drop. He so didn’t want to go down there, to go closer to whatever the heck it was. “Dad? Mom?” He called again, trying to ignore how his voice cracked at the question. He wasn’t scared of a staircase! His heart kept pounding in his ears, knuckles going white as he kept his hands in anxious fists. Everything told him to get back, to stay away, but couldn’t stand the noise. Besides, what if it was hurting them? Maybe that’s why they didn’t answer? Worry for them helped push back the seaping cold, heading down to the lab faster than he’d managed to get down from his room.
It was brightly lit, normal but cold. He could see them, hunched over a work desk and unharmed. The glare made his eyes hurt, pausing to rub at them. They seemed blurry, even though he wasn’t that far away. “Uh, Mom, Dad? Can you turn down whatever you’re working on? I can’t sleep.” He asked, unable to convince his legs to step a bit closer, feeling too tired to make any extra effort.
“Turn down what sweetie?” She turned to face him, making his blood try to turn to ice in his veins. She sounded right, said the right thing-but he was already trying to back up the stairs. Was she taller? “Sweetie? You look pale.”
“T-The noise.” The answer sputtered from him unbidden as he tried desperately to figure out what was wrong with-with-his mom? The echoed pounding told him no, it wasn’t, but who else could it be. “I can hear it upstairs.”
She approached with a too long stride, his own legs slipping in his blind step upwards. Pain from his elbow slamming into the edge of the staircase managed to rip through him even while everything else felt slow. She only quickened towards him as he cursed, trying to crabwalk backwards from the mother-that-was-not.
“Danny! Are you okay? Let me help you.” She grabbed him around the shoulders and he froze, a rabbit being watched by a hawk. She was too real, too solid, she could easily rip through him. “Maybe we should get you to the doctor honey, there’s isn’t anything on down here.”
Should he squirm away? She was lying about the sound, it kept pounding against him like a tide and he had no way to ride the wave clutched as he was. “There is, the thing over there-” He didn’t know what it was, but he could feel it, that it was over with the other figure, the one who hadn’t come to snag an intruder.
The hand on his forehead burned, but he couldn’t flinch away. “Sweetie, I think I’d know if your Dad was playing it.” The eyes bore into him, scanning him for any slight movement. “Jack, can you start the RV? I think we should take Danny to emergency.”
The other figure moved, massive, larger than he could imagine. It might hurt him, it might hurt his mom! “S-Stay back!” He yelled, a spark of energy finding its way to him. He couldn’t let his mom get attacked by whatever this was- no wonder she seemed strange, this thing was doing it.
“Well I gotta get up the stairs Danno! You don’t look good, you just wait there.” It was speaking as it came closer, but all it did was make the bile rise in his throat as it pretended to be his father. He squirmed free to stumble forward and block this thing from his mom, eyes burning green as he tried to shove past the exhaustion and fight.
“I said STAY BACK!”
The figure paused at his shriek and wild eyed fury, face unreadable. “Danny?” His voice was low, booming in a way that started to drain all his prior hope to fight the thing off. “Madds? I don’t think emergency can fix what he’s got.”
Claws sunk into his back, his neck aching at the speed used to look back at his mother, too long fingers tight on his shoulders and keeping hims still as he stared up and felt even smaller. “You don’t think he’s possessed?” She wasn’t talking to him, and that was a relief even as his heart tried to run off without him with how fast it wanted to go.
“Y-You did something to my mom.” The accusation made it easier to keep on his feet, but didn’t lessen her grip or stop the giant from approaching. “Take your noisemaker and get out!” If it was gone, it’d be fine, they’d be safe, he was sure of it.
“Danny, that’s your dad sweetie. Not a monster.” The voice was gentle, but he could feel how the arms shook, how she  increased the strength of her grip so he couldn’t pull away again. “You keep doing your best to fight that ghost off Danny, dad will help you.”
The larger figure grabbed the horrible silver device, the red gems adorning the horn’s buttons making him feel empty and helpless. “S-Stop it, you can’t let it use that mom!” He pleaded, but she didn’t release him, just pulled him closer to the smothering warmth. “Please, listen to me!” Of course she didn’t, controlled by that thing, twisted into thinking it was Dad, that it was quiet. Becoming intangible let him slip free, but he only managed two steps before the behemoth blew a long sustained note that made his skin vibrate and eyes swim. He crumpled to the cool floor, staring up at the monster in a silent horror. He couldn’t fight this thing- he’d been a fool to try and the red eyes promised retribution for his behaviour.
“Get out of my son right now, ghost.” It snarled, pointing directly at his crumpled form so he could not pretend to misunderstand. Yet he’d given an order he couldn’t follow. His core screeched in terror as his heart pounded, he couldn’t get out. Yet he had to, or this thing would devour him, shred him to nothing with nothing but sound. He could only try the closest he could get to ‘out’ of his own skin, shuddering as flesh melted to ectoplasm, trying not to scream as suit replaced skin. Not his normal transformation, this one was too slow- too confused by the order he couldn’t follow to make it an instantaneous change. He had to show he wasn’t wearing his human skin, show how completely he changed. Dying slowly, bit by bit  to be someone else. Not ‘his son’. His enemy. Green eyes stared back at the red ones as he panted, unsure if the monster was pleased.
It was furious, stepping forward as he shrank back and pulled his ghostly tail around himself. “I told you to get out.”
“I can’t.” He whimpered, wanting to look away but unable to.
Another voice behind him, the mom that wasn’t spoke. Yet he didn’t understand a word of it, too terrified by the being in front of him to even process it as language.
“Don’t lie to me Phantom. Get out of my son before we tear you out.”
His name made him flinch, gloved hands clutching at his head as the impossibility of that tore at his mind. “I’m not, I swear, I can’t get out of myself!” How could he not be in his son when he was his son? He had to find a way, his slowed but still pounding heart offering some idea.
“Don’t you dare pretend to be my son, ghost.”
He wanted to explain he wasn’t pretending, that he wasn’t disobeying on purpose but the massive thing had him by the collar of his jumpsuit, leaving him busy trying to breathe enough to speak. If he wasn’t a hybrid, then maybe the monster would be satisfied? He didn’t get much time to wonder before getting tossed in a containment cell. “I’m not pretending- the accident…” he mumbled, trying to make himself look smaller as if he could hide from the hateful eyes that way. They stared at him, spoke gibberish to one another as the previous exhaustion came back with a vengeance. Keeping still felt like the best idea. When the bigger one locked eyes with him and ordered that he sleep, he did.
Dreaming and waking became one and the same. He stayed in his cage unless ordered out. They kept asking him the impossible, until he tried to rip out his heart to ‘separate’ through death. They didn’t want their son harmed- didn’t see how separating was harm, but did not destroy him for that blunder. He hunted, brought them what they wanted. They kept watching as if expecting him to disobey, to slip his leash even as he practically groveled when they approached. He hoped Mom was okay, wherever she was. Maybe Jazz could rescue her from the monster with the cornet on spring break. A ghost couldn’t. A ghost simply obeyed.
Prompt: Danny hasn't been feeling himself, blacking out and having strange dreams. Unbeknownst to him, Freakshow's staff was not the only artifact that could control ghosts. Even worse, Jack and Maddie are the ones who get their hands on that object.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
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Half a Decade Late
Valerie was finally promoted to the main headquarters of the Guys in White. There she finally comes face to face with Phantom, who disappeared five years ago, locked in a cell. For Phic Phight 2021, @lexosaurus' prompt!
Nothing proved ’harder workers get ahead’ was only a capitalist lie than the absolute hassle getting promotions within the GIW. Of course she’d gone right to them for employment, it was the only organization large enough to actually pay people that took her resume of ghost hunting seriously. She had experience, actual knowledge and even her own gear but had still spent years getting jerked around to various small operations, basically just using her to train all their useless recruits while still just considering her a ‘fellow’ field agent. It wasn’t like she had the option to quit in protest, no one else was in the market for ghost hunters. As far as most people knew ‘ghost intelligence’ was just a joke cover story that the agents were very attached to. They didn’t want any more Amity Parks, so if she wanted to live somewhere new and still do her job...these guys were it. She’d been very clear, she wanted to be in the main office, where everything happened. That didn’t stop them from constantly assigning her literally anywhere but the actual headquarters. Maybe they finally ran out of other places, she still half expected to get stopped at the door and be told about a new field mission they absolutely needed her on immediately. It didn’t happen. Valerie Grey finally got to clock in as an Ecto Containment Officer at the main branch. Where they kept the strongest creatures, developed the new anti-ghost equipment and did more than just splattering a ghost down to nothing. Sure, she liked a good ghost obliterating, but it got boring after a while. There were only so many ways a ghost could beg for it’s useless afterlife before it became white noise. It didn’t stop any new ones from showing up, or tell her anything new. Just got rid of one pest, permanently. That wouldn’t help explain some ghosts, the powerful ones that showed up again and again. It wouldn’t explain the one that stopped showing up either. There was no way that life ruining ghost just got ‘bored’ and vanished without notice. It was still out there, plotting something. She just knew it in her bones. She had to be ready for it. There were traces of that ghost, hints of his ectosignature that she came across in the field, he was still out there. The GIW was just a means to an end, she didn’t trust them to be ready alone.
Sterile corridors and simplistic signs were expected, but even the break area was doing its best impression of a frozen tundra. Fantastic for morale? Probably not. Made the coffee pot easy to spot, at least. Even if she preferred to avoid the stuff in uniform. It stained too easily, and just made her wish for her red battle suit. She took a cup to at least have an excuse for her scoping out the place, she could pass it off to someone once she got to the containment area. A quick double check that everything was in place at the mirror before heading right back out to the winding halls. She wasn’t going to be late, she didn’t have time for that. Maybe a red tie was against protocol, but no one had been stupid enough to bother her about it yet. Judging from the deferential nods from her latest coworkers, that wouldn’t be changing. No one who worked here couldn’t know who she was. The only Ghost Hunter who got out of Amity Park without getting corrupted by the ectoplasmic monsters. It was a shame, Jack and Maddie Fenton used to be a serious force for humanity. Five years ago they suddenly flipped the script, denouncing their work and calling for peace with unreasonable fiends. Their daughter Jazz likely had something to do with it, but Valerie had her own theories. Danny, her friend and once boyfriend had gone missing around that time. Leverage to ensure the Fenton’s ‘good behaviour?’ The whole thing reeked of ghosts. To think she might have gone the same way. Back then she was actually listening to the pest, starting to really consider them a ‘good’ ghost. Like that was actually possible, when he’d just been playing to emotion and her own desire to give up in fighting a dangerous foe over and over. So much for that. That monster showed it’s true colours, sure enough. Something the GIW never bothered to look into, even as she wrote report after report about the incident, how unlikely it was for the Fentons of all people to change that drastically without constant possession. Not worth the resources, even when it was easy to see what tech was built on the foundations the couple had laid. They were throwing away so much to focus on little outbreaks of ghosts instead of making more of a lasting change. Stupid. That was what the funding was ‘meant’ to go towards, as if helping the Fentons would be less productive than making a slightly different ectogun.
She almost hoped there would be a problem, just to prove this is where she should have always been.Even if it seemed distinctly unlikely. She had to swipe to get into the lab, then yet again to actually get to the cells. Or the ‘vault’, as if the higher ups wanted to pretend the creatures in there were inert materials instead of cunning and dangerous beings. Even though they had someone posted at each door, and someone on guard inside as well, herself today. To get acquainted with the place mostly, she had more than enough training on ‘proper handling’ procedures.
“Hey, you can swap with me today, if you want.”
Valerie blinked, eyebrow already raised at the posted guard’s suggestion. “I can handle watching caged ghosts.”
They had the sense to look embarrassed, taking their hand away from the oversized ectogun to loosen their tie- which was tied rather poorly now that she got a better look at it. “I’m sure you can, it’s just, well.” They wouldn’t stop fidgeting with their tie now, eyes checking that no one was really paying attention to the guards. “H0G02 is awake today. No one likes those days.”
“Then all the more reason to get used to it early.” She didn’t give them time to sputter another excuse, swiping her card and striding past without another look. As if people should be worried about a captive ghost being awake. Maybe some of the people here never got a spine before joining up.
It wasn’t as cold as she expected it to be. Or as dark. It was actually brighter, thanks to the extra row of fluorescent lights. On some level she expected the room to reflect the monsters kept here, a shadowy icebox of a space. Of course it wasn’t. These were defeated creatures under human control, of course their cages would be bright and clean, the air warmed for human comfort. The ghosts might not like it, but why care what they wanted? It wasn’t like there were many to begin with, mostly green oversized vermin with blank red eyes. Most had the sense to cower back as she walked past, but a fair few didn’t even twitch. Calling a ghost of all things lifeless was foolish, but it was the only word coming to mind...she had to focus. She didn’t pity these things. Why so many creatures though? The real dangerous ones, the most monstrous ones were the ones that could play human, the ones that had conniving minds that only worked to cause destruction and terror. These were just feral things, annoying but hardly more impressive than a coyote when you knew what to do. Half of them she’d barely rate above ‘feral cat’. A light near the back flickered. Strange. When it flickered a second time she was already releasing her helmet to pull it on. Not nearly as easy as just willing it on, but at least she could carry it in a pocket without needing to rely on some ghost’s power. Three steps and her gun was ready, not that she expected to need it. Really, she worked on autopilot, legs still moving as she stared at the largest glass cage at the back of the room. Or more accurately, at what was in it.
“Oh, newbie. ‘Sup.” The ghost rasped out, blank green eyes watching the ghost hunter. A teenaged boy with a shock of white hair, a black jumpsuit, but the voice of a seventy year old chain smoker. Just sitting in a painfully bright cell, watching. Not exactly as she remembered him, but close enough.
“You.” The disgust was easy to voice, even as her brain struggled to catch up. He was here? Looking practically exactly as he had when she was still a soft hearted freelancer?
He only gave a sputtering laugh at the aggression. “Me? You’re not that mad about the light, are you? I’m bored, Tie.”
“What are you doing here?” That wasn’t the important question really, she should be more concerned that he apparently was able to manipulate light fixtures from his cell...but she’d been hunting after this ghost for five years. Protocol could go shove itself up the director’s ass.
“Same thing I do every day Tie, being some government property!” His laugh was wrong, not from amusement like she remembered. A desperate cackle that didn’t fool anyone. “You new enough to still have your soul in there?”
“Answer the question, Phantom.”
The smirk slid off the ghost’s face. “Wh’ad you call me? Like I’m only calling you Tie cus the red sticks out, I can call you Shooty if you don’t like it, newbie.”
The response made her insides run cold. It had to be Phantom, and the terrible sense of humour was just like him- but the ghost wasn’t quite right. What was this? It couldn’t be some copy of the ghost kid, could it? “I called you by your name, ghost.”
“Never heard of em.” The ghost crossed his legs and looked away, apparently bored of the person holding a weapon. “What day is it?”
Surely he was playing around. “What do you think your name is, then?”
He didn’t take his attention off the ceiling, looking more bored than anything.“Day first, Tie. Gotta know how much of a head start I’ve got.”
“Like you’re in any position to bargain.”
“Hm? Whatcha gonna do Tie? Let me be unconscious for a few hours? Scary. Day first.”
There was the Phantom she knew, snide and sarcastic when he really had no business being so. “I could do worse than that.”
“Doubt it. You gun grunts gotta listen to the freaks out there, remember?” His shoulders shook with a silent laughter, but it looked more like spasms. “No more mishandling the goods, yeah? Day Tie, comeonnnnnn”
Since when was he so interested in the calendar? Not to mention how weird it was how he kept referring to himself...and pretending he didn’t know his name. “It’s Monday.”
That got his attention, the casual rocking halting as he looked at her again, disturbingly still. “Monday, really?”
“Lying is your thing, not mine.”
He grinned. “I like you Tie, so you’ll probably be fired in like a week. Maybe it’s the red.” The tension left the ghost completely, she hadn’t even noticed how stiffly he’d been sitting until his spine relaxed as his elbows rested on his legs. “Pretty sure I’m H0G02. Least that’s what all your creeps call me.”
There was no way Phantom of all ghosts would call himself ‘H0G02’. He had to be a mimic of some sort, a ghost that modelled himself on the once well known Amity Park menace. “You like me because I told you it was Monday? Seriously?”
“I like the Mondays more than you, if that helps.”
“Not particularly.”
“Sounds like a you problem.” He was watching her again, more curious than anything. She shouldn’t be glad to see a spark of something in those eyes, but he was far less creepy this way.
“What’s so great about Monday? You’re a ghost.” She didn’t really care. She should be asking important questions. She was just...playing along to see if it really was Phantom. That didn’t stop her for being grateful for the helmet.
“Monday is the farthest day away from Friday.”
“Wouldn’t that be Saturday?”
“It hasn’t been Saturday or Sunday for...like four years? Those days don’t exist, I think you humans made ‘em up to prank me.” Phantom shrugged, sounding completely serious. Not even a hint of amusement or a grin. “Pretty good one, all you new guys keep it up.”
He was going to be completely useless if he kept saying nonsense. How could he be useful in finding out what happened to the Fenton’s son if he couldn’t even talk about the days of the week sensibly? “Fine, what’s so bad about Friday then.”
“Ohhhhh, you’re really new, Tie.” the ghost flopped onto his side, bored of sitting up apparently. “You know, the day they keep me around for? That day.” He wasn’t quite still, his right shoulder moving very, very carefully. Hiding something.
She didn’t have the patience for this.“What are you hiding there.”
“Tie has good eyes. Gotta remember that.” Phantom muttered, getting onto his back, a blue shard of ice melting off his arm.
“You don’t really think that some ice would help you out of there?”
“Out?” He looked mystified by the suggestion, but that could more be seeing his face upside down. “That glass doesn’t break for anything, I should know.”
Which didn’t explain why he’d been trying to hide the fact he’d made ice at all. He knew it too, but apparently playing stupid was still one of his favourite tactics. “Knock it off and just answer me.”
Phantom’s frown didn’t change, green eyes staring intently at her helmet as if hoping to see through it. “I could show you why?”
It didn’t sound like a threat. “Sure, why not. It’s gonna be a long day.” If it was? Then she’d show him that she wasn’t someone he could mess with.
Ice wrapped itself around the ghost’s lower arm alarmingly quick, a wickedly sharp blade of ice with serrated teeth jutting from the scrawny arm at an awkward angle. It was practised, something this ghost must have done often in all the time he’d been gone from her life. Yet it was so different from how Phantom usually chose to fight. That was a weapon to tear and maim, not to shock, stun or bruise. It looked wrong on him. The idea that this ghost wasn’t Phantom at all only grew more credible with that thing on his arm, even if ice powers were to be expected. His eyes flicked back to green, still fixated on her as he lifted the arm and stabbed down hard. Right into his other arm. Didn’t even blink.
“What are you doing!” She couldn’t remember the last time Phantom had ever been frightening on some primal level. This- with the disturbing snap of bone as the edges of the blade caught and tore made her hair stand on end. “Stop that, Phantom. What’s wrong with you!?”
“Cancelling Friday.” Phantom was laughing as the blade melted away into the pool of green rapidly spreading from his self inflicted wound. “I said you’d probably get fired Tie.”
“Forget Friday you idiot, cover the wound so you stop splattering everywhere!” He was just a ghost-a ghost messing with her. A ghost she’d fought with and had heard scream in pain. This...thing wasn’t him. Her heart didn’t care what her mind thought, insisting he needed help.
The ghost sat up, his left arm holding on by a shred of his suit before splattering into the puddle, but the left behind stump stopped dripping almost as quickly as he’d lost the limb. “Aw. Maybe Tie does have some soul left. You actually sound worried.”
“Of course I am! You slashed your arm off!”
“So?”
He didn’t seem to be in pain. If it wasn’t for the mess of green and the lack of a limb, she’d almost say she imagined it. Why did she care? “You wouldn’t do this sort of thing.”
“Uh. Yes I would? You just saw me do it. I’m down for an encore.”
The idea just made her feel ill. “Don’t.” Did she want this to be Phantom or not? “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Well I’m down an arm. So the coats are going to be very whiny about how much ectoplasm they can get out of me.”
“You must have felt that.”
“Sure. Isn’t nearly as bad as when they start ripping as much ectoplasm as they can out of you. Every single Friday.” He actually rolled his eyes, like she should just know this.
Why did they bother keeping Phantom around if they just wanted ectoplasm? He might be strong, but no ghost had limitless amounts. They’d just fall apart and stop existing. That’s why the weakest ones never even left the Ghost Zone, they couldn’t survive without constantly being around the stuff! “What makes you so special then? Not your attitude.”
“I’m just lucky enough to make my own ectoplasm. Who knew food was easier to get then high grade ectoplasm? Not me.” His remaining arm pointed to her weapon, his smile stretching. “Bet ya your weapon’s fully powered from Fridays. Yours and every other thing they use in this hellhole.”
“Ghosts can’t do that.” The lie was absurd. It went against everything they knew about ghosts, even before food entered the equation.
“Y’know, Tie. I think I knew a ghost hunter that wore red once.” the ghost’s eyes went unfocused, unmoving as he looked listlessly into space. “It’s a good colour.”
“You knew me. Quit fooling around with this not remembering crap.” Valerie threw her helmet aside, no longer caring. She had to know who this ghost really was. She had to know if everything he was blathering about was a lie. So what if it wasn’t ‘safe’.
His eyes didn’t change. “Y’know how hard it is to remake a brain? Cut me some slack Tie…”
“I mean it. Look at me Phantom. If you’re the ghost I know, you can stop pretending to be something else.”
“You lose the details. Arms and legs are easy. The brain though? Way too hard.” He kept rambling to himself, not reacting even as she put a hand to the glass to get his attention. “Y’know how many times they’ve cut it open? I don’t. I lose track after like. Eleven. Maybe. Pointy Shoe said my best was fifteen but I sure don’t remember that.”
She wanted him to just stop talking. She wanted this ghost to be some strange creature she didn’t know. To not have the only possible link to someone long lost a shattered husk. “Phantom. Do you remember the hunter in red’s name?”
He finally blinked. “I’m not this Phantom guy, Tie.”
“Okay, whatever, forget that part. The ghost hunter in red, what do you remember?” She insisted, knocking again in hopes it would keep the ghost’s focus.
“Wish I’d told em something.” he held up his gloved hand as she opened her mouth to speak. “Don’t remember what that something was, don’t ask.”
So he was Phantom? He couldn’t be. That was so non-specific it could be anything. “You never explained how you’re the only ghost that can make their own ectoplasm.”
“It’s in my name Tie! Come on. Thought you guys were smart or whatever.” He did a very awkward one armed attempt at crossing it, eyebrow raised. “The H? The feeding a ghost food thing?”
She didn’t really get the whole naming scheme they used here. The fact it mattered wasn’t making her gut unclench either. “What about the H?
“Hybrid? Might have been Human. That might have been a joke.”
Valarie’s mouth was drier than any desert when he said it that easily, that casualty while kicking his own arm aside. “You’re saying you aren’t all ghost.”
“Yup. Not yet! Trust me, I’ve tried,” the bubbly high pitched laugher clawed out of the ghost at that. “I tried so much. Guess it’s another thing I’m a failure at, eh Tie?”
Something told her not to ask. She had to know. Five years she waited, five years apparently knocked Phantom clear from reality.“Does Danny Fenton mean anything to you?”
He just laughed harder at the question. “Really Tie?”
“Yes, really.”
“That’s the name I scream at em. Don’t know why. Feels good though.”
“Is it your name?” Had he had contact with Danny? Been part of whatever made him go missing from everyone’s lives? He couldn’t be, there was no way.
“They get reallllll angry when I say it is.”
There was no way the GIW had a human captive for five years. There was no way Phantom could be the Danny she knew. The ghost was just lying. He had to be, she desperately needed him to be. “Were you fused with a human or something? Got stuck when possessing someone?”
“Nah. Been like this before I got here, pretty sure. You can check your fancy gear though. There’s some non-ghost DNA in it. Lucky lucky me,” he lay back down in the mess of ectoplasm, ignoring how it clung to his hair. “Thanks for the Friday off! I hate those.”
There was no reason to need air. Talking to a ghost she didn’t even like shouldn’t make her feel like she was being crushed under a boulder. Panting for air, outside the room would make her look pathetic and weak, but she needed the space, needed to be away from that...mockery of a ghost.
“He does that to everyone. He’ll repeat the whole thing in a week or so, but he’s a really good copy the first time you see it.” The guard gave a comforting word, apparently unsurprised by her sudden unscheduled departure.
Oh, there would be no ‘next time.’ Not if he was right about her weapon. But she nodded instead, letting her ‘coworker’ think she was just overwhelmed. Even if all she could think of was how many ways this place would burn if that ghost- that thing had been a human once. She was good at telling when ghosts lied. Phantom didn’t sound like he had. No matter how much she tried to convince herself he did.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
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Phic Phight - An Overlords Unintentional Guest
For: @datawyrms
The interactions between realms, between life and death, isn’t always so cut and dry, or all that intentional.
The scene that greets us is as such: a grand king sits atop his throne, not so scrawny and not so small, with one elbow on his armrest and his cheek laying inside his palm. Even the blind could see this king was annoyed and tired. Before him, some feet away and floating above the royal rug clearly stitched with silvers and white golds, is one of the king’s citizens, one of his people, dressed all in robes with nothing but a single eye in place of where we might expect a head to be. And just now, out of thin air, someone’s foot, in simple brown leather boots, has landed on the raised platform to the king’s high throne. This foot slipping on the slick texture of the ruin marble, sending the person the foot’s attached to falling out of thin air and directly face first and arm first onto the king’s lap.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
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Responsibility
For Phic Fight 2021, The Lord of Chaos’s prompt c:
Spectra fed off of misery; nocturne fed off of dreams.  The elusive town cryptid that only shows up when people need saving gains a following and Danny finds that he gets a boost from the people who have faith in him, he starts to become aware of them, especially when they needed him.
The rest of the town seeing him as benevolent was a positive thing. The uncomfortable stabs that his ‘parents were right’ about ghosts lessened as fewer and fewer treated him as a monster just as troublesome as Technus. He didn’t need to tense when the news was on, to hear his attempts to help called a ‘savage attack’, or that stupid nickname. He’d slept a bit easier, knowing that people did understand he only meant to help lately. Sure, Mom and Dad might still insist he was an evil ghost, but it was so much easier to ignore that when he didn’t feel he was only one step away from proving them right to everyone else. Clumsy and reckless he could take. Just as long as he wasn’t some ‘evil soul sucking abomination.’
Having Jazz a bit more in the loop had actually started to pay off. She wasn’t as good at catching a ghost as Sam or Tucker, sure, but she wasn’t hindering him anymore either. Honestly, if all three of them worked together, his powers weren’t really needed unless something huge found its way to town. Which his friends had insisted he take advantage of at least once a week, to let them handle the usual patrols and alerts while he tried to catch up on work and sleep. Mostly sleep, to be honest. Focusing on work was almost impossible when his ghost sense went off, even if he knew they didn’t need help. He wanted to go, he had to go; but they were very good at yelling at him for not ‘trusting them’ to handle things. He really did need the break. That’s why he was feeling a little less haggard, a bit more alert. At least, that’s what made the most sense.
Then the ‘lurching’ started. He couldn’t think of a better name then that. It wasn’t like his ghost sense, that sort of just crawled out of him and didn’t give him much to go on beyond ‘there’s definitely a ghost around’. That could go off and leave him rolling his eyes at the box ghost, or fighting for his life against Plasmius with the exact same feeling. The lurching was...different. Like his ghost sense forgot where his windpipe was and decided to escape in a random direction. Inssenantly. It didn’t hurt, but it was annoying, worse than the pang that would pass when he ignored whatever got his ghost sense acting up. It just kept pulling in a direction, but refusing to get out from under his skin. Sometimes it would keep going for an entire class, which just made whatever the lurch’s chosen direction noticeably cold. He was pretty sure he was immune to frostbite nowadays, but that didn’t make explaining things easier if someone spotted his hand looking almost blue from lack of blood flow.
Maybe his core was on the fritz again. Who knew what sort of weird things could happen to a human who spent half his time dead?
Tucker suggested that he was just getting ghost puberty to go with the ‘joys’ of human puberty. Which sure, was funny and they could shove each other around and forget about it for a time. It didn’t feel like the right answer. None of his other powers acted up, honestly he was feeling better after fights then he usually did lately. Less drained, anyway. It wasn’t stopping either.
It just got worse. More intense. More frequent. Instead of vanishing the area the lurch decided to pull in seemed to grow the longer he tried to dismiss it. Noticeably. To the point even Dash asked if he should avoid punching him because ‘that shit looks contagious’. (He privately hoped it was. Dash totally deserved weird pulling that made you frost over.)
He had to ignore it, he couldn’t just drop everything every single time the lurch decided to show up. He’d look completely off his rocker, running in some random direction because ‘my shoulder feels cold to the north-west’. If it was close enough to be a real danger, his ghost sense would just go off!
So Saturday was going to be a ‘lurch hunt’. No more ignoring it, no school or mandatory activities that should keep him from following the strange cold that felt desperate to go after something. Yet even deciding that made his insides squirm. He had to follow it, he should be- but that was dumb. He missed enough class as it was.
So why was it so hard to focus on anything else when it started going? Like nothing else mattered? It wasn’t like he was drifting off or sleepy either.
Jazz said he was ‘fixated’ on something.
But how do you fixate on some weird feeling under your skin? He didn’t even know what it was! Just that Sam and Tucker kept needing to flick things at him to get him to pay attention to reality. One of his best rested weeks in ages, and he was worse off then he’d been focus wise in years. Stupid ghost powers. Saturday took far too long to come. Even when one of the lurches stopped pulling he couldn’t relax. Instead of relief he just felt. Hollow. He’d woken up in a panic, half expecting to be chained down in one of Vlad’s sick laboratories, but he wasn’t cut open. He wasn’t even injured. Safe, in bed- and feeling like the cold ran off with his ribcage.
Something was wrong with him. That had to be it. Once they found the cause, he’d solve it and it would stop. It had to.
Following it shouldn’t make him feel as relieved as it did. Taking his ghost form and flying after some...feeling that wanted to drag him somewhere was more like when Freakshow’s Staff dominated his mind than anything positive. A compulsion he couldn’t help giving in to.
At least his ghost sense went off once he’d followed it long enough, finding one of Vlad’s mutant ghost animals chasing someone through the streets.
Normal. A bit of one sided banter to get it’s attention, a few punches and ectoblasts and it was shoved away in the thermos. No more pulling, and one less ghost terrorizing town. That didn’t make sense. Unless it really was just his ghost sense increasing in range while becoming infinitely more irritating?
That’s what it felt like, at first. He’d follow, ghost sense, find the problem. Except there was something odd. Every ghost he found like this wasn’t just wandering about, or making a mess. They were all actively chasing, stalking or attempting to scare someone. Okay, so it homed in on more ‘violent’ ghosts then? That seemed possible.
Until one of the lurches kept pulling, but there was no ghost sense. The one that kept pulling him towards a man with his back against the wall, fumbling with a wallet. The man who wasn’t being threatened by Skulker, or a vulture, or any of this typical fare. Just another human with a gun, and the will to use it.
This so wasn’t his thing. He fought ghosts, they were half his fault to begin with. So why was his ghost sense leading him to this? Well. It hadn’t. Lurching confirmed for not ghost sense?
Jazz would totally chew him out for tackling someone with a gun. He just had to forget to go intangible at a bad time, and he’d be all ghost. Or worse, go intangible and someone else got a body full of lead. He couldn’t just...ignore it now that he’d seen it though. The chill that hummed below his skin wouldn’t let him.
So the guy was a bit startled about getting pulled through a wall and dropped off the other side. Probably lost some change. He’d expected a bit of fear, at least. Like come on, some ghost just grabs you while a gun’s in your face? That’s still scary.
Yet he didn’t seem bothered. Just thankful. Called him a ‘hero’. For being in the right place at the right time. By just happening to be there because...because he knew? Something in him knew. That was wrong, he shouldn’t just know when people were in danger like that. He vanished without a word, not wanting to stick around and hear more. It was coincidence. Hopefully the guy wasn’t too offended that he just bolted, but he couldn’t stay there. He didn’t like how the complement felt good in a way he couldn’t describe. That the cold in his chest thrummed with a pleasure that made the rest of him feel ill. He wasn’t a hero, he was just some kid. A kid who still wanted to have a life that wasn’t all this, eventually.
He can’t ignore at dinner that he picks at his meal, not from exhaustion but because he’s not hungry. He’s still energized, he’s still full- and no amount of gagging over the sink makes his stomach empty. ‘Ghosts helping humans only do so for their own ends’. He’d ignored and denied that, he hadn’t been getting anything out of being the local ghost punching bag- so why was he now? Did he steal something? Feed on that person he saved?
He hated that his face didn’t even have the sense to look pale at the idea. He looked healthy. Probably better than he usually did. Even the circles under his eyes weren’t as noticeable. Were Mom and Dad right? Was he just...more of a ghost now?
Sam and Tucker don’t buy his ‘couldn’t figure it out’ explanation. Mostly because he refuses to try it again with them along to help figure it out. Even as he grows cold and more lurching keeps gnawing at his attention. He’s human too, he doesn’t need...whatever this is.
Sam kindly tells him he’s being a gigantic idiot.
He’s too distracted by the chill to notice. Tucker explains that after he’s blinking confused at the corn chips bouncing off his forehead. They laugh it off. He’s pretty sure they’re just being nice. They know something’s wrong, but he can’t bring himself to tell them yet. They wait. For now.
He ignores the feeling. He tries to ignore the guilt, that he knows someone out there is in danger. That someone out there needs his help. That all he needs to do is walk out of class and he can go do some actual good. He can’t go chasing after everyone in town. Things happen! He’s just one person! The sooner the lurching in him figures that out, the better. It still ruins his focus, makes him grit his teeth and fidget in place. He wants to go, he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t even know what he wants. For it to stop. That would work. The tugging stops halfway into his next class, the frost in his blood lifts. It leaves him empty. Starving.
Everything tastes bland. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Even his favourites barely seem worth the effort of snagging off a table. He’ll eat, he can’t have Mom and Dad looking at him like Sam and Tucker are now, but it just feels heavy in his stomach. A brick he’s decided to try digesting for fun. He’s hungry, ravenously so, but doesn’t want anything.
He knows exactly what he wants and hates himself for it. Stupid ghost half. He doesn’t need that, he doesn’t want to be some...leech. Seeking out trouble just to benefit from it. It’s wrong, he hates it, and if he could grab his core and slam it on the table for a few hours he would. Just until it remembered that they helped when they could. When it was close by, when it was a ghost problem. Not every bit of danger in town!
Misplaced aggression goes to the nearby ghosts. Which it often had,  really. It’s normal. He’s just making sure people don’t get hurt, ignoring the humming of MINE coiled in his ectoplasm. The other ghosts feel it. They hear it when he hunts them down and wants to keep swinging even when they put claws or hands up in surrender. He doesn’t trust himself to banter with them right now. He doesn’t want to hear the words his ghost side wants to say. He shoves them back into the Ghost Zone, and the smarter ones stay away. A stronger ghost is already feeding here. There’s nothing for them to take.
He’s running on autopilot. Days are meaningless. He can’t focus in class, his notes are nonexistent and his patience is beyond frayed. He can’t sleep, the cold is too much, the emptiness hurts and fewer ghosts show up. He can’t even blow off steam by kicking the Box Ghost through a wall. He won’t follow it, and he’s fairly sure it’s going to kill him. That or his parents will. Even they have to notice how he barely eats and won’t focus on anything short of a horn section in his face.
Sam and Tucker sit him down. Force the issue. They know he’s a mess. They don’t have answers. How could they? His choices are to starve this ghost instinct out, or to just give into it and completely ruin his human life. He’ll be fine. It’ll stop eventually if he keeps ignoring it. Then he’ll be able to focus again. It’s all he can cling to.
He’s stubbornly ignoring the prickling awareness of other thoughts. Ones not from his brain. Ones that get louder when the lurch grips him, that practically overwhelm his own as fear and panic grows. Maybe he’s just gone a little off the deep end. He doesn’t hear voices. He refuses.
Jazz has her concerns. That he can’t ignore it. She knows more about Mom and Dad’s research, more about classifications of ghosts. She tries to be gentle, nudging him to be aware that stronger ghosts were more...like a concept then an individual.
He doesn’t want to be some sort of ghost concept of problem solving. She’s worried he won’t have that choice. Some part of him already knows she’s right.
He seeks out Valerie. For help. She’s confused, baffled and suspicious. After all this time he spent convincing her he’s not evil, he’s begging her to call him that. To convince other people he is. To make them fear him and his help. He doesn’t want to be a hero like she is. He just wants to be himself, doesn’t want to hear the people begging for help when he’s trying to sleep.
She doesn’t understand, but understands one thing. He’ll feed on those who rely on them. She has to stop that, doesn’t she?
They fight, and often. He does poorly, lets her save people while his misfires cause damage and chaos. It makes him want to scream each time. Some of the thoughts and voices dim. Not enough. Too many are understanding, too many can see the regret and pain that wrack him with each failure. He’s always hungry. He wants to try again, but everything in him rebels against it. The ghost hunter avoids him. It’s ‘not a fair fight’. He’s ‘not himself’. His green eyes are more dead then they ever have been. He can’t maintain his legs.
As a human, all he wants to do is sleep.
Mom and Dad notice. He collapses and his eyes flare green when they try to help him. Just automatically sensing them as danger, against him, not someone that calls for him. They think he’s possessed, and he wishes they were right.
He half considers not telling them the truth. Let them think of a way to let his ghost half quiet down, to stop hungering for validation he doesn’t want.
Jazz tells them before they can do much of anything. Pinches his ear for being stupid- that getting experimented on won’t help him.
Their hugs make him feel bad. This should be a good moment, a time where he feels safe and accepted. But his mind is not his own, not with the others whispering in his skull. Their warmth and love feels like a drop in the empty barrel of his hunger.
They want him to be healthy. They want him to be happy. He can’t be happy if he needs to abandon his life to be healthy. He tries to explain it, the emptiness, the voices (Jazz cuffs him again for hiding this, which seems fair.) and they promise to try and figure out why, maybe find a way to limit it or separate himself from whatever connection his ghost half seems to have made with the town. Until then- they encourage him. To go ‘help’ people. To feed the clawing cold taking over his existence. He’s not sure if they really mean it. It doesn’t stop him from listening.
It’s hard to feel guilty when it feels so good. To have the fear quiet and be replaced with thanks. Someone’s out of danger and happy, and he feels less hollow for a time. Mom and Dad switch him to home school. They say it’s a better fit, to be able to stop and start based on when he’s not being dragged away by his own instinctive need to protect people.
It feels like giving up. Admitting he’s too much of a freak to live like everyone else. Dad tries to compare it to his special classes when he was young. Different to fit his learning style, not failing. The pulls and voices aren’t nearly as distracting when he’s full. Food actually tastes like more than sand again. Sam and Tucker don’t need to try as hard to smile now that he isn’t looking like death warmed over. He doesn’t like not getting to see them as often. He can’t deny he feels better this way, and can actually pay attention now. Even if most of the time he just wants to nap when the hunger stops. Go ‘back into hiding’ as the town thinks he does.
It’s getting better. Slowly. Not in a way he wanted it to. Better nonetheless.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
Text
Ghostly Mystery Tour
For Phic Fight 2021! dey’s lovely prompt c:
On Ao3
Maddie and Jack had fully prepared for their adventure into the Ghost Zone—or so they thought. The fuel on Specter Speeder had fizzled out about a mile in. They're stuck. At least, until Phantom comes by, offering help.
“I just don’t understand it Maddie, I swear I charged it just this morning!” Jack’s voice managed to be louder than his frantic jabbing at the fuel gauge in the enclosed space, the sickly green glow outside making him look ill instead of agitated.
“I’m sure you did honey, but we need to think of a plan.” Maddie was already trying to think of what they could use. They weren’t too far away from the portal home, with how quickly the Speeder ran out of power. They had plenty of gear and weaponry packed in for their research trip, but the Specter Speeder wasn’t powered with something they could just toss in a gas can and bring along. “Maybe we can hook some of the ropes to the floating land masses and tow it?”
“Oh! Great idea!” Jack brightened, shoving the previous problem aside, hands now occupied with measuring the distance of the nearby rocks. “The sooner we get moving, the sooner we can get back to work!”
The problem about how safe it actually was to breathe in the air when in the realm of the dead had been accounted for, but if they had to waste the air tanks just to get back- well they wouldn’t get to have nearly the amount of time to actually explore on foot, let alone gathering samples. They could learn so much about the ectoplasmic terrors from the world they clawed out of, weaknesses they didn’t need to fear on Earth even! So to have their expedition, a trip that had been months in the making derailed like this in mere moments hurt. At least Jack could keep his eyes forward, his positive attitude the only thing keeping her from screaming from the absolute unfairness of it all. “Just run the best options past me before you open the hatch, okay darling?”
“You betcha!”
She was still going to enable the Fenton Child Safety Lock as a precaution, he could get a little over eager when he saw an opportunity. It was just a matter of what tools could be repurposed into a makeshift claw or skewer to actually keep hold of the rocks. What would be the smallest loss?
The sound of something hitting the roof of the speeder halted her thoughts, turning to look out of the windows, drawing up her hood in case they’d be fighting so soon. Even Jack had stopped with his mental calculations, pulling a weapon from under the seat. “Company already? Guess we’ll show em what for, eh honey?”
“Well it is the Ghost Zone, they’re probably braver here. Not that it’ll be any problem.” A little boasting could help keep morale up, even if the situation was less than ideal. Stranded with a ghost already trying to take advantage, typical.
“Well one little zap with this baby and it’ll scoot right on back!”
If the ghost could hear them, maybe it would be frightened off just by their voices. Whatever had hit them hadn’t shown itself near the window, or hit their vehicle again. It didn’t feel right. There might be no evidence for whatever it was lurking around, but sometimes you had to follow your intuition. Jack was inquisitive, but didn’t ask out loud as his wife stood to knock the ceiling herself.
“Sooo are we doing knock knock jokes, or do you need a tow?”
She should have known. Of all the ghosts, it would have to be the one that always managed to get her hackles up, pretending to be helpful so people trusted him. A ghost that even tried to have a human name to fit in, not that she’d ever call this thing ‘Danny’. It was an insult to her baby boy, quite frankly. “What are you up to now?”
“Asking you if you need this thing moved. Duh,” the ghost snorted, the metal clanking as he knocked it again. “Talking at you from the roof feels dumb, you gonna shoot if I go to the front?”
“Depends on what you do, ghost scum!” Jack had looked pensive for a moment, but spoke up quickly on spotting Maddie reaching for a notebook. He just had to give her time to think it over, and he was great at distractions.
“Is scum what you call all people who help you out, or am I just your favourite?” A white haired head appeared at the top of their window, looking down with an amused smirk at the pair. Still playing innocent when they were at a disadvantage.
“You’re a ghost ‘claiming’ to want to help.”
That earned a frown, though the ghost stopped half hiding to float in front of their stranded speeder. “Riiiight. Put it that way, whatever,” he paused, as if studying their faces. His green eyes lingered on the weapon, notably so even as he went back to jabbering. “I’ve got some stuff to do, but I can drag the s-that thing back to the portal. So?”
The hunters shared a glance, unsure how to handle it. Phantom liked to claim he liked humans and protecting them, but he was a ghost. There had to be something he wanted out of them in return. Or might get violent if refused in the wrong way. At least he shouldn’t be able to see the quickly scrawled message to Jack. ‘You play the doubtful one, I’ll pretend to trust him- it’ll underestimate us’
“As if, spooky! Jack Fenton doesn’t need any ghost’s help!”
The ghost bought the open hostility without a second thought, eyes rolling to a sky that wasn’t here. “Really? I heard tow trucks were expensive out of state! Can’t imagine the out of dimension costs.”
It was going to be difficult to stay civil when it would be so much easier to just demand the ghost stop playing around. “We’re listening. So what do you want?”
“Awwww Mads, we don’t need this punk’s help! He doesn’t even have toes!”
The passion Jack had put into his moping managed to baffle the ghost. “Wait, what? Of course I do! No, stop, why does that matter? I know tows and toes are different things! I’m not that bad of a student, sheesh.” He seemed quite thrown, which was good. If the ghost forgot what the plan had been he might just get lost.
“Yeah, and you don’t have either Phantom!” Her husband managed to keep from laughing, but the shake in his shoulders showed it was a near thing.
Phantom glanced down at the black wispy tail that made up his legs, muttering something. “Well okay I don’t right now, but I normally do!”
It was a bit fascinating that Jack had distracted the ghost from his goal so completely. They’d have to think about an invention that could replicate the effect. “Can we focus please? I already said I’d listen to what you wanted.”
“Oh! Right, sorry,” he coughed, a strangely human expression of embarrassment. “I don’t actually need anything? I just have some stuff to do so you’d need to wait a bit.”
Oh right. Sure, the most dangerous ghost in town wanted to help the ghost hunters that wanted to destroy him ‘just because’. Just wait here while he goes to get some friends to attack them! Honestly, did ghosts think they were stupid? “Then why not tell us when you’re done? We’re not moving very quickly.”
“Cus he wants to make us think we’re safe before WHAM! Outnumbered by cowardly ghosts!” Jack expressed her true feelings effortlessly. “Not that it’d help em!”
“No way, you think I’d leave you guys here where anyone can try something?” The ghost still seemed confused, eyebrows raised and arms crossed. “You guys are here to study or whatever anyway, right? So you can look around while I get my errands done. And you know, you don’t get attacked. Most of the little guys leave me alone.”
As if that was a surprise! A ghost of Phantom’s strength could destroy smaller and weaker entities without effort. Perhaps it was a subtle threat slipping through his mask of ‘helpful child’. The idea of going deeper into the Ghost Zone, completely at his mercy was...well absolutely idiotic. Even if they could probably overcome him...being able to still get some studies done would make it not a complete waste of a trip. “So you think it’s likely we’ll be attacked here, so close to the portal?”
“Yeah, by him!” Jack looked tempted to grab his weapon, but refrained. “So what if we say no, huh?”
“Then I guess you can float here? Up to you, I guess.”
It was strange, to see the cocky ghost a bit hesitant. Even if there was an obvious threat he wasn’t mentioning. “Well if you could pull the Speeder, you could take it even if we don’t want you to.”
“I think that’s called kidnapping.” Phantom’s cocky smirk returned “Which is weird, you’re not kids! Adultnapping? Nah, that sounds dumb.”
“Ah cut the innocent act, we’re not falling for it!”
“Hey, I said it’s up to you! Either you agree to come along and I get you back home, or I just leave you guys to do whatever you plan to do. Even if yes, I could totally just drag the ship anyway. I’m not, because I’m trying to help, remember?” A hint of frustration slid past the confidence at ‘remember’, but the ghost folding his arms behind his head as if kicking back to relax did defang most of the threat. “I don’t have all day here.”
“We don’t have all day either Phantom. We have family to get back to, and no idea how long you plan to be ‘on errands’.” Maddie pointed out, still unsure what they should do. Trusting him was stupid, but he had showed his hand. Refusal might be met with the same result anyway, but ‘agreeing’ might trick the ghost into thinking they fell for his ‘trustworthy’ act.
“Like an hour or two? Not too long.”
“Well I’d use my Fenton Stopwatch! So don’t think you can pretend it’s a shorter time than it is, ghost!”
“Yeah yeah, you do that D-Jack,” he stumbled over the ghost hunter’s name, but otherwise didn’t move from relaxing. “It’s not gonna kill you to trust me for a bit.”
Even though it very much could kill them. He really was a smug bit of ectoplasm, thinking he blended in with humans well enough to be considered one. “So only a few hours, and you won’t stop us from researching or taking samples? Or lead us to a trap?”
“If I wanted people to get threatened by ghosts, I could just take some days off. No trouble, cross my heart. I’d swear to die but I got the jump on that bit,” he snorted at his own joke, but otherwise left the family to consider.
It was just safer to say ‘yes’ so the ghost thought they were fools. It had nothing to do with wanting to salvage something out of this disaster of an expedition. “Yes. We’ll accept your help, this time.”
“And you aren’t getting any thanks until we’re home, got it?” Good, ghost hunter, bad ghost hunter. An easy enough trick. Even if she wished Jack was the ‘trusting’ one. Yelling would feel nice.
“Yeeeah, kinda expected that too. Rude.” The ghost only shrugged before flying up and out of sight. She half expected to hear the ghost grab the Speeder, but they only really noticed when they started moving. Moving very, very quickly.
She couldn’t help it, her curiosity tamped down some of the fear she should be feeling, pointing out interesting landmasses as they passed, Jack just as enthusiastic to discuss what caused them, if the ghost built them or they were simply generated when a ghost squirmed into existence. A great castle that seemed familiar, an island with some sort of skull as a decoration and thousands of doors. Most ghosts they only could get sparing glimpses at, even when carrying an entire vehicle the ghost boy was fast. Ridiculously so. She thought it was his small figure that contributed to how quickly the pest could move- how the ghost could just vanish out of range in moments. That most of the power behind his physical attacks came from the speed they were delivered with instead of raw strength. Clearly that was an incorrect hypothesis, moving this quickly and carrying so much extra weight without any real difficulty. They slowed near what seemed to be another castle, though it was much less foreboding looking then the other one.
That sinking dread returned after they landed. She had some landmarks, but this much distance would be a big ask to get back. That, and this castle seemed more...occupied, judging by some humanoid ghosts loitering near the gates. One even waved. To them, or the ghost carrying them?
“Okayyy so. Ground rules? Don’t shoot anyone. None of these guys even go through the portal, they’re not the fighting type. Other than that? Have fun, I guess?” He’d stopped floating, standing on the ground beside their stalled craft. He didn’t look as if preparing to fight, which is what she’d assumed the ghost meant by ‘errands’. So what was he up to?
“We won’t do anything if they don’t.” A lie, honestly, but the ghost nodded.
“Wait, what’s that stuff for?” White gloves pointed at the masks the ghost hunters were pulling from under the seats. “Like you can hear me, there’s air out here.”
“It might be safe for ghosts, but we aren’t ghosts.”
Phantom opened his mouth as if to protest before shutting it with a frown. Strange, it was hard to get him to shut up most of the time.
“Nice try, we’re not gonna choke on ghost air today, Phantom!” Jack chuckled, adjusting his mask before popping open the hatch.
“I wasn’t expecting you to- oh whatever. Just don’t embarrass me,” he sounded like a sulking kid, only glancing at them for a moment before kicking off the ground to fly closer to the castle. Off to fight whoever ‘owned’ this area, perhaps?
“Well look at that! Regular plants!” Jack shook her from her pondering, crouched over what looked like a tended to flower bed near the walls. “Well, ghost plants that aren’t trying to attack. Think we should sketch em for the kids?”
“Well Jazz has been more interested in ghosts lately, I suppose.” It was interesting, but she was more curious about the ghost meandering past the walls. They seemed docile, almost like people just walking and apparently talking with one another. Not attempting to fight for territory or resources. Perhaps they were just repeating the memories of their lives over and over? Yet none of them had reacted badly to Phantom zipping past either. A different breed of ghost, perhaps? Or ghosts often had ‘kings’ that kept the lesser ones from squabbling. The large brute of a ghost that stole the town had claimed to be a king of sorts, and this was another castle...but she didn’t want to test anything by getting their attention. They might only act savagely towards humans, being jealous of those still alive after all.
“Yeah, she has! Danno might not like em, but that goth chick he’s eyeing might like em too!” He was already sketching away, quickly getting the basics. He’d fill in the details from memory back home. “You want to try seeing if those ones talk? Not sure how the ghost kid thinks we could embarrass him, ha!”
“Oh he was probably just trying to insult us. He likes to pretend to be a teenager,” she waved that question away, double checking her weapon was easy to reach in case of an emergency. No reason to make their predicament worse by being unprepared. While still considering to go near those ghosts instead of safely observing from a distance. Jack’s enthusiasm was too infectious, really, but that’s how they made so many discoveries!
The ghosts didn’t object to her moving closer, but she kept off the busier paths to be safe. So many stalls of what seemed to be goods, clothing and paintings, rugs and nick knacks. Well, the ghosts didn’t need anything to live, so it would make sense for them to prioritize other items first, but the art was strange. What did the dead know of creativity? Were these all recreations of something found in life? No, some of the paintings had the green skies of the Ghost Zone, implying at least some ‘new’ thought. They were strange, very unlike the wild animals that often attacked the town, or the showy inhuman mimics that tried to claim world domination. They just looked like greener, more transparent people. Barely any of them even floated much. They’d need new categories, they broke too many rules that stayed true on Earth.
“Oh that’s a lovely shade of blue! I wish I could make something like it.” The voice echoed, but it wasn’t growling or mocking. In fact, the ghost woman who had paused beside the hunter was smiling warmly, despite the dead red eyes. “Are you just visiting for a bit?”
“We’re mostly stuck going wherever the ghost boy is taking us, our ship broke down,” Maddie struggled not to frown, her natural inclination to get away from the still potentially dangerous ghost strong with so many fights. She could tell it the truth, in a sense. Phantom was far more likely to be dangerous then this waif of a woman. How she could move in so many ruffles was baffling.
“Oh dear! Well if he’s any trouble you can let Dorthea know, she’s a caring ruler. A human helped her get her rightful throne back, so I’m sure she’d be happy to help!” The ghost tittered a little, as if expecting that to be obvious.
So the ghost did know she was human? Far more alarming was the idea some other human had been dragged this far from home, possibly trapped. Maybe this would turn into a rescue mission. Unless it was too late for them, a distinct possibility. “Oh really? How did that happen?”
“Oh I don’t really know the details, but it was a human that inspired our good Queen that she didn’t need to fear that tyrant and she could fight back. I wish I’d seen it!”
It was disquieting how human the ghost sounded, a friendly sort of gossip. If only she had a way to record it. “The human got back home after helping, right?”
“Well I assume so, she had no intentions of staying here very long, that’s for sure!” She laughed easily, apparently blind to Maddie’s confusion and apprehension, or just unable to see it past the mask and goggles. “I’m fairly sure Sir Phantom took her back, you could ask him.”
Sir? That town terrorizing scoundrel was respected around here? And had been taking humans out of the ghost zone? Probably because he made whoever it was get here in the first place, just to rescue them. Was that why he was here? To stage some new act with this ghost queen? “Right, I might do that.” Would she? This morning she hadn’t expected to talk to ghosts, let alone multiple.
“Oh! If you see any of those angry blobs you can just run back towards the guards and they’ll deal with it. It’s their job, and they’re quite good at it. I actually considered doing that job for a bit, but I like looking after the plants more. Maybe I’ll switch in a decade or two!” The ghost kept talking, apparently taking Maddie’s lack of further questions as permission to keep chattering.
“Can’t you deal with them yourself?” Attacking ghost blobs was something she knew about, and if this ghost was strong enough to mimic humans, shouldn’t it be able to deal with the much less sophisticated tactics of blobs?
“Me? Oh no, I’m not not trained. Do you still have lions on the other side? It would be like trying to fight one of those with a stick!” She laughed, but not unkindly.
“You’re both ghosts though, aren’t you?” Perhaps they differentiated themselves by name in the Ghost Zone? It would lend some evidence to the ‘different breeds’ of ghost hypothesis she was rapidly stringing together.
She tapped at her chin for a moment at the question. “I suppose we are, but they’re more like animals. They might have always been animals, or never alive at all! It’s perfectly safe here though, they usually fight more among themselves.”
Well that was fascinating. Some ghosts didn’t instinctively know how to fight and had to be taught? Yet didn’t consider themselves completely separated from the more animalistic ectoplasmic terrors. Perhaps the more ‘domestic’ setting here made the ghosts less feral and more reliant on their previous memories. Well, the ghost could be lying, but she couldn’t see the benefit she’d gain from deception here. “So you’re kind of stuck here then? We saw a lot of those outside of this place.”
“No no, we’ve got safer ways to travel than just flying around! Not all of us are that brave, dear. Though I don’t think I’d want to stay somewhere else very long anyway. Here it’s safe, all my friends are here and we have one of the largest markets in the whole Ghost Zone. Other ghosts come to us!” There was a hint of pride as she spoke about her ‘home’, gesturing over to some of the stalls Maddie hadn't had time to look at before getting interrupted. “I was really hoping to get something from the seven armed bloke over there, but he’s not very interested in my clothing. Maybe next time.”
Said ‘bloke’ had far too many eyes to go with the arms, and a collection of honestly terrifying little statues with strange designs that made her head hurt if she looked at it too long. A clear outsider to the more human ones, but not causing a stir. So much for constantly fighting out groups, but they barely had anything in common either! Not to mention engaging in some kind of simplistic trading. “So this happens often?”
“Pretty much. It’s fun to make new things, but you get bored of just your own stuff after a few centuries you know? So we swap and find new things.”
Well of course, it’s not like the ghosts needed to trade for something vital to existence. Swapping ‘things’ made more sense in that context. So why weren’t any trying to trade strength or favours? Or simply taking what they wanted? Was it related to having a queen? She had so many questions that knowing what ones needed to be asked was next to impossible. “I suppose you would. How can you tell if a ghost that comes is peaceful?”
“Asking!” She laughed again, apparently finding the question funny. So they didn’t deal with constant attacks from spectres like Phantom trying to ‘take over?’ Why?
“Oh geeze, I’m so sorry if she said anything about trying to-” Phantom’s voice interrupted her thoughts, the ghost suddenly floating beside the other ghost and sputtering.
“Sorry? She’s been perfectly lovely! Haven’t you- oh I’m so rude, I didn’t even get your name!” the ghost tisked at herself, once again strangely apologetic.
“Wait, she has?” His doubtful tone made the ghost hunter scowl. As if he had any room to judge them.
“We’re scientists, not uncontrollable monsters.” Like him. She was fairly sure he caught the implication when the boy muttered something she couldn’t hear.
“Cool. Anyway, got another stop, then I’ll get you two back home.” He still hovered, glancing between the two of them a few times. “Oh. Maddie, that’s her name.”
“Lovely speaking with you Maddie! Had a good trip back, I’m Guenivier if you’re ever in the area again,” she smiled and gave another wave before somehow drifting back into the crowd without displacing even a bit of that dress.
“Who said you can give out my name?” Maddie hissed, once certain the other ghost was out of earshot.
He leaned back on teenager mannerisms, scoffing and heading away. “Because she wanted to know and thinks you aren’t a total ghost hater? It’s not gonna hurt anything.”
“How can I know you don’t have a way to locate people by name?”
He was rolling his eyes again as if she was being ridiculous. “You live in a house with a giant glowing sign. Not exactly subtle.”
“That isn’t in the ghost zone.”
“It’s attached to the ghost zone, it totally counts.”
It really was like arguing with a teenager when he bantered on like this. “Just don’t do it again.”
“Yes ma’am. Sheesh.” He hopped on top of the speeder, kicking his heels against the side. “Hey Jack, you coming?”
“Coming!” he bellowed back, jogging over from the patch of plants she’d left him at. However, he wasn’t just carrying his notebook, but a folded glowing bit of cloth. Some sort of tapestry judging by all the stitching? “Just wanted to get a few more lines done-” he broke off after spotting his wife, apparently reminded that he shouldn’t be so chummy with the ghost. “I mean I leave when I want to, you can’t boss Fentons around!”
“Oh come onnn, can you pretend you don’t hate me for like five minutes? I’m not even doing anything!” Phantom complained, flopping backwards onto the Speeder. “You were totally having a good time”.
“How did you get that, dear?” Maddie chose to ignore their sulking captor and instead look at what Jack managed to gather besides sketches.
“Oh, one of the ghosties liked my pictures and asked to trade for one! So I gave em a page for this! We can study how they made it back home, neat huh?”
Apparently he hadn’t been too worried about it being a trap, but a picture he’d just sketched wasn’t a big ask for something that could teach them a lot about the ghosts in here, so it was a good trade nonetheless. “You did great sweetie. Just make sure to store it safely, just in case.”
“Already on it sweet cheeks!” He was indeed, already pulling out a large sample bag to store their find before opening the hatch again.
“Ew. I changed my mind, go back to threatening me. Sappy is worse.”
Well, at least the ghost regretted his actions a bit. He’d be more sorry if he tried anything, but this did just seem to be something to sooth that hero complex it had. So far, anyway. She was tempted to ask the ghost what it had been up to at the castle, but it didn’t really matter. He’d just lie anyway, he clearly wasn’t the same sort of ghost as the weaker ones back there.
“Ha, he crumples in the face of our love Madds!” Jack laughed, hugging his wife and they got comfortable back in the speeder. “You think he’d take us back home if I said how much I love ya?”
“I so don’t need to hear this.” He was muffled, apparently still flopped on the speeder. He didn’t add anything before the Speeder lifted from the ground and resumed speeding through the strange green expanse.
“Clearly he buys his own teenager delusion.” Maddie mused, content to rest against Jack and look through his sketches. “Did they seem strangely lifelike to you too?”
“Oh sure! They just talked and didn’t even seem interested in going to the human world! Even though one was very jealous of how bright my jumpsuit is.” He leaned a bit to flick a few pages forward. “I sketched a couple and got their names, so we can see if we can look em up. See if they’re similar to their old selves according to history and all.”
“That’s a good idea. I didn’t get a complete name, but apparently they have jobs? Not like the wilder ghosts, and they do have a queen…” she paused, remembering the ‘human’ Phantom apparently ‘helped home. “Hey! You did help someone home from the ghost zone before, did you?”
“Huh? Oh! Yeah, she’s back safe. Wasn’t even a whole day.” He sounded distracted, or at least surprised by the question.
It could be a valuable lead. That, and the human might need help after such an experience. Who knew how ecto contaminated they might be! “Who was it?”
“How should I know? Just because I’m in town a lot doesn’t mean I know everyone’s name.”
She frowned, glancing at Jack who only shrugged. So he hadn’t heard that story, only her. “You know ours.”
“Because you shout them at me and shoot at me a lot? Pretty easy to remember!”
“Ghost kid’s got a point.” Jack admitted, patting her on the shoulder. “We’ll just find who it is ourselves! Just an extra project.”
“What, and just make their life weird again by bringing up ghost stuff? Leave em alone.”
Well now they absolutely had to look into it, if Phantom wasn’t keen on the idea. Better to let him think they agreed though. “True, it could just lead you back to them.”
“Hey! This is all you, not me!”
Jack chuckled. “You’re really good at riling him up. Almost sounds like our Danny like that, getting all touchy about fun family activities!”
“Well he probably copies behaviour from local teenagers,” she didn't like that comparison though. Their children were nothing like life destroying ghosts. It was better to turn her attention to the passing green and how the amount of doors seemed to dwindle as masses of ice started to become the most prominent detail. That made more sense, actually. Phantom had started using ice in addition to ectoblasts, if he came from somewhere with this sort of climate it seemed less out of place with his other abilities. Even if he was otherwise ill suited to snow and ice with how he insisted on looking like a kid.
The next stop felt more like a mistake, with only hills of untouched white powder and ice to see, but the crunch of snow below confirmed they were no longer moving. Good thing they came prepared with heated coats!
“Not a whole lot around here! If it wasn’t for all the green we could pretend we were in Alaska.” Jack chattered as he shrugged a coat on, still apparently too excited to look around to keep his suspicion up. “They don’t all like castles, or maybe it’s a hidden one!”
He better not be thinking Santa had an ice castle. That was probably what he was thinking of, but she didn’t really want to bring up their annual argument at the moment. He could be wrong today, there were more important things to do. “You do realize it’s a frozen wasteland you’ve stranded us on?”
“It’s not that cold.” Phantom objected, circling the Speeder idly.
“Easy for a ghost to say, you’re always cold ghost kid!”
He stopped at that, glancing back at Jack. “It's not that bad, is it?”
“Only because we brought warm clothing. Jumpsuits aren’t enough for the living.” Maddie huffed, looking at the snowfields to find anything worth looking at. The structures of ice were somewhat interesting, but not inherently ghostly.
“Well you guys can stay here, I guess.” The ghost bit at his lip, playing up the concern now that they pointed out a frozen wasteland was cold. Honestly, how did anyone fall for Phantom’s act if he made mistakes like this? “I don’t think Frostbite’s people come out this far…”
“Oh, are they dangerous? We can take any of your little ghostly pals!”
Phantom looked as if Jack suggested exploding a building. “No! Don’t fight any of them! They just look scary, okay? Just ignore them, if any show up.” He didn’t wait for a response before flying off this time, apparently in much more of a hurry this time.
“Sounds like he’s worried about what we can do to his little pals, huh?” Jack elbowed his wife with a grin. “Well, maybe we can find something weird about the ice here!”
It was better to try getting some of the ghost ice instead of doing nothing, though she doubted it would be very different from regular ice, beyond the ectocontamination. Now what would a ghost think is ‘scary looking’? He hadn’t given such a warning when close to all of the other ghosts, after all. It was a bit of a mystery, and none of the ice here had any identifying marks or hints of another odd little ghost ‘civilization’. ‘Frostbite’ wasn’t much of a name either, perhaps they were more like the wild sort that came to Amity?
“Oh hoh! Look at this!” Jack yelled out, pointing to something below him as he waved her over.
A large, clawed footprint left in the snow, and fairly deep. So something monstrous after all, as expected. “Maybe we can get a cast of it?” They had supplies for it, but she wasn’t certain if it would work in the ice correctly. The tracks didn’t go for long, but following them wasn’t a very tantalizing idea. Better to keep a distance and be well armed if they wanted to tangle with whatever left this. It wasn’t as distracting as the previous stop, but the sound of crunches increasing in volume had the couple back on edge and wary.
“Seriously, we should just go-”
It sounded like the ghost boy was near wherever the crunches were coming from, which didn’t improve her mood one iota.
“Nonsense! I have been asking to meet them for how long?” A deep, growling and carrying voice came in response as Maddie readied a weapon.
“Yeah, that’s the problem. You don’t want to, trust me.”
“Seems he doesn’t have a very high opinion of ghost hunters, eh Mads?” Jack was less noticeably readied, still half crouched near the footprint, but his hand hovered where a weapon was concealed. She focused on her breathing as the sound grew louder, eyes narrowed as she spotted a large figure cresting the nearby hill. With the little white haired ghost boy completely at ease near it. Nothing like his regular behaviour, let alone the talking. Why would this huge beast know of them?
“What did I say about not shooting people?” Phantom actually seemed to blush on seeing her holding the weapon, smacking his face. “Okay, you saw them, bye now!”
The large furred creature ignored how the smaller ghost pushed at their shoulder, instead waving with a horrific ice claw, bones gleaming from within as it seemed to rip at the very air. “Well our first meeting was hardly perfect either, I can manage.”
“Yeah but I can’t just pull a ‘won’t shoot a big yeti’ icicle out of their jumpsuits!”
For a human loving ghost, Phantom was certainly very concerned about this giant horned monster being harmed by ‘mere humans’. More proof of his act, at least. Though the large creature did have a cloak of some sort and clothing. He spoke well, if you ignored the fanged mouth and growls. A strange contradiction of appearance and intent. That wasn’t a normal thing for ghosts either, you could gather a decent amount about one by how they looked. So why was this one chatting and apparently interested in seeing two humans? “So, you’re the ‘Frostbite’ he mentioned?” She hazarded a guess, but wasn’t going to put the gun away.
It showed its fangs, maw wide and unnerving. “Yes, I am! It is an honour to meet you” The furry head bowed slightly, as if trying a sort of nod of respect. “Your work assisted the Great One in vanquishing Pariah Dark, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.”
“Please don’t call me that. Especially in front of them!” the green eyed ghost practically squawked, somehow flushing even harder when he didn’t even have blood.
Maddie’s mind almost flipped over from the sheer confusion of what this terrifying ghost said. They had ‘helped’ vanquish something? More likely, Phantom had stolen something. So why did this ghost still give them credit? That wasn’t even starting to touch why the ghost boy would be considered great in any aspect. “Assisted him? Do you mean with that ghost who took our town into the Ghost Zone?” She wasn’t sure if that was what the ‘king’ ghost was called, but it made more sense than anything else she could think of.
“Indeed. The King of All Ghosts would have sent the infinite realms into chaos and conflict. Of course we are grateful for your help in preventing that.”
“That’s when you stole the Ecto Skeleton!” Jack spoke up, no longer tense. “You never brought it back.”
“That’s not my fault, that thing almost wasted me! It was gone once I woke up!” The boy objected, but seemed to settle down when the larger ghost ruffled his hair. “I wanted to bring it back.”
“I’m sure now they understand how vitally important that technology was, for your world and ours.” The ghost’s yellow eyes watched them expectantly, the unnerving void of pointed daggers thankfully closed now.
“Well it did get Amity back where it belonged.” Losing the Ecto Skeleton had been a blow, but an acceptable one to get back to normal. The fact that more ghosts seemed to know and care about their part of it was somewhat unnerving. She very much doubted Phantom just ‘lost’ it either. Jack suffered from the demands of the suit, but the ghost was just ectoplasm and electricity. Quite unlikely he could be drained that much, it wasn’t meant for ghosts to use in the first place.
“Your world? Doesn’t the kid live here?” Jack asked, making his wife blink. She hadn’t noticed that odd phrasing.
“No, no. The Great One prefers the human world and his friends. How are they doing?”
He froze up, eyes flicking to the hunters and back to the yeti. “Fine. They’re great.” He darted closer to the two hunters, gesturing at them to move. “Okay let’s go.”
How much interacting was this ghost doing with humans to have ‘friends’ it told other ghosts about? They could be in danger, or used as targets! “No no, we’d love to hear about your friends.”
“Nope, you don’t, gotta get home right? Big hurry, don’t trust me, remember?” He was practically pleading with them.
Frostbite’s ears twitched as he tilted his head. “Don’t trust you? Surely they’re the ones who taught your friends how to drive that craft of yours?”
Phantom had the gall to turn invisible.
“We were unaware anyone other than us was using it, actually.” Maddie didn’t bother to keep the frost from her voice.
“Ah, well at least the good news is I already knew how to make a replacement battery for it when the Great One came asking for help.” His tail twitched, as one of the great claws scratched at his furry chest. “It should be good as new once you can install it.”
So not only was this ghost stealing technology and bringing humans to the ghost zone, it was teaching other ghosts how it worked! The second that ghost was in their grasp, he’d have some serious answering to do. “Do all of you call him that?” It was the only question she could ask without wishing to spit acid, quite frankly.
“All of the Far Frozen recognize him as such, but not all ghosts are the same. He should be proud of the title, a savour of two worlds.”
“Frostbite I’m begging you, stop! It’s embarrassing!” The ghost dropped his invisibility, still looking more like a flustered kid instead of the heroics seeking fame junkie he was.
“Well if it helps your relationship with these ghost hunters, I think it is important that they know.”
“Yeah no. Let’s not.”
It felt like there was something the two ghosts weren’t saying. That, and the fact Phantom didn’t seem to like being hailed as a hero here in the Ghost Zone didn’t make sense. Why all the grandstanding in Amity then?
“Well we’ll be glad for the lift home. You shouldn’t steal from us, kid.” Jack tried a stern approach, and the ghost actually flinched from the rebuke.
“You’re not the only ones who want to map this place out, that’s all,” he didn’t really seem to be answering them, more talking to himself before launching himself at the Speeder again. “You can shoot at me about it back home or whatever.”
“Travel safely! Do try and explore your other half more often, Great one. You’re always welcome here.” His great furry head watched them all easily, seeking out the ghost hunters eyes as well. "I understand you are less interested, but you are welcome to see the realities of my home as well. It may surprise you, in a good way."
She desperately wanted to ask what that monster of a ghost meant by that, but managed to hold her tongue. If all the ghosts here saw Phantom as some sort of godlike hero, chewing him out here wasn’t safe. Jack’s small nod of agreement and warm hug helped, but it couldn’t stop her mind churning. They’d seen and hurt so much, and none of it made any sense! This Frostbite just threw in several more wrenches in the works with only a few sentences, but with how agitated Phantom was getting now wasn’t the time to push their luck. Perhaps when the shoe was on the other foot, and the boy needed their assistance.
He didn’t speak up or grumble this time as they left the frozen land behind. Though that might be them as well,m sitting close together and considering the notes and samples they had taken. That and the huge list of questions Jack had scrawled down in the margins of a sketch of Frostbite. How could a ghost like Phantom truly manage to stay in the human world most of the time? Did it have to do with this ‘other half’ that ghost had mentioned? Would knowing what it was reveal a weakness in the ghost? So many questions, but no answers. Why had Phantom even let them speak to any ghosts, considering how badly he’d reacted to some of the information given? He couldn’t genuinely be wanting to help.
The inviting glow of the portal appeared sooner than either of them could expect, the ghost dropping the ship on the lab floor with a loud clunk.
“See? Home. No ‘evil plan’” he floated into view, and she was fairly sure he only did so to make those air quotes with his hands.
“So you say, ghost kid. Don’t think we won’t be checking for tricks!”
“Yeah sure,” he shrugged, grinning after a moment. “Oh hey, by the way, you do know what the Speeder is powered with, right?”
Maddie didn’t actually know how to take that question. “Of course we do, we built it!”
“Uh huh.” His grin widened as he kicked back, legs vanishing into that strange tail. “All you had to do was take the cover off. It’s the Ghost Zone! There’s ectoplasm everywhere! I just had Frostbite make a backup.”
...Had they really- They had. They’d been dragged around by a ghost for no reason at all! “Why you little-”
He kept laughing before turning and getting out of the way. “Thanks for flying with Phantom Zone Tours! I’m out.” A jaunty wave and he was gone, leaving two baffled ghost hunters behind.
“I think some fudge is in order after that!”
She couldn’t say he was wrong. Maybe fudge could make sense of that whole affair. All that for a prank? It didn’t add up. They’d have a lot of work to do.
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datawyrms · 5 months ago
Text
Not As Such
For Phic Fight 2021! Using @dp-marvel94 ‘s lovely prompt. On AO3
Something was different with him. It had been for a while, and to his horror, Danny Fenton thinks he might have finally pinpointed it. He's felt off, strange, like his memories, his life, even his own body was foreign to him because....he might not be Danny Fenton at all.
It was the photographs that ruined his life. They were a reminder of some choking wrongness curled up in his chest, solidified it so it got harder and harder to dismiss. The occasional twitches of discomfort that rolled beneath his skin was ignorable, just a weird side effect of being half ghost. Rubbing at his arm, scratching at his hair and running his tongue over his teeth to count them over and over again were just signs of stress. Anxious people didn’t like to keep still, Jazz said all of the extra responsibly just weighed on him that way. Of course a stressed out teenager might be a bit jumpy, or grit and grind at the meaty thing in his mouth that he needed to speak. He always stopped once the foul coppery taint of blood warned him. A damaged tongue could still taste, and the dull pain didn’t really matter. No one else noticed. It was just a way to cope. Totally normal. Even if he felt somehow, it wasn’t. Enough to know not to bring it up. Sam and Tucker would be concerned about the flakes of skin scratched from his ears, or hair tugged free of his scalp, because he lost parts of himself. Bleeding into his own mouth was fine, he didn’t lose anything. The logic was shaky, but he had better things to worry about. Grades, fighting ghosts, hanging out with friends. The little times where he was a cold outsider stuck in the wrong shape always passed. He just had to pull it together and relax.
The photographs always unsettled him. He was not in the photographs. He never remembered any of the times or circumstances that they were taken. He was in them, Danny Fenton absolutely was in those photographs, but the blue eyes always seemed to be judging him. Accusing him. Asking ‘when was this taken, how did you feel’. New photos didn’t do this. The new photos were of him. He compared some from slightly before the accident to now, trying to see the difference, but he never could find a flaw. He used to be able to play it off, think it was just a strange intrusive thought until he actually really looked at the family photo album. Not a single one was familiar. The only ones he recognized, felt attached to were ones his family had mentioned, or talked about before. Second hand knowledge that ‘felt’ right in the moment, but seemed more like a disconnected farce when he tried so hard to find something familiar. A fishing trip, a picnic, hell he’d take a ‘first day of school’ photo at this point, but none of them triggered a familiar sensation or memory. Danny Fenton had been there, he’s there in the photo, so why can’t he feel anything about them? Why can’t he recall something that prompted the picture, what had been happening without guessing from what he can see in that little framed moment of the past? ‘Oh do you remember this?’ was a question he ignored until they clarified, explained more about the photograph so she could nod and say ‘yes’. Even if the answer was always ‘no’. The events sounded right, felt right when a living person told him, but left on his own with only a silent image? Nothing. He’d sound ridiculous if he said that out loud. So what if his memory wasn’t the greatest? He was still Danny. Their friend.
Who didn’t remember grade school. Who didn’t remember their history, their friendship. Of course he remembered how they met. After Sam and Tucker had spoken about it. He was lucky they talked so much, were open and caring while he was disoriented and ‘weird’. From the accident. Of course he was a bit slow on the uptake after playing human electric cable. He only noticed now how he never corrected them, or remembered something different. Tucker would often go ‘oh this reminds me of x’, and he never said that. As nothing really triggered that feeling, the recognition that was fun or amusing to his friends. Ignoring how ‘bad’ his memory was was taking a toll. Sliding a nail under the curve of his ear to scratch at the uneven mess of broken skin helped. He didn’t leave it alone long enough for it to properly heal, the different texture somewhat soothing. The layers and bumps were 'wrong', but only because he'd damaged it when it was whole and flat. It was still his ear, even if the outside was smooth as he hid the self inflicted damage. He was still Danny, just a bit different where no one could see. He had to be, he insisted. Fallen skin, a bit of blood, it wasn’t a big deal.
The photos knew he was a liar. More and more ended up face down, or ‘went missing’. He didn’t want to see the Danny Fenton that wasn’t him. He remembered his friends, he loved his parents (even if he didn’t love being threatened, but nobody’s perfect), and cared about doing well in school. He was still Danny Fenton. Not a ghost just...going along with what he heard and following social norms. You needed to do well in school to get a good job. What kind of job? Should he care? He didn’t know yet, he was young, that was fine. He always liked space, he didn’t just make that up. Didn’t just see how his room was decorated and accepted those were his interests. He didn’t like fighting ghosts as an escape from Danny Fenton’s life. He fought them to protect people, to make up for letting them out in the first place. The tension that eased in his ghost form had nothing to do with being a ‘different’ person. It had nothing to do with being a different face, one with no expectations set that he had not created himself. Danny Phantom was him, and always had been. Always would be. His gloves weren’t a problem, he never needed to scratch or pull or dig. He didn’t need to breathe, so he didn’t choke on the hissing voice in his mind that insisted he was an imposter.
Running away from a problem wasn’t too hard. Just exhausting. He had always been bad at math. Except Danny Fenton had not been bad at math. He had always done fairly well in school, As across the board, like Jazz. Fentons did not get C minuses. It was just being tired, just the ghost fighting that kept him from applying himself like before. There were hundreds of excuses, and everyone bought them. They made far more sense than something as ridiculous as ‘someone else is pretending to be Danny’. Except he spent time staring at questions, reading books that ‘built on fundamentals’ and still struggled. Fundamentals he had, had demonstrated he had, but had lost. Forget solving for ‘x’, he could barely muddle through a times table. ‘You should know this from previous years’ always made him ill. He didn’t know. He didn’t remember it. Danny Fenton knew, because he was the one who lived it. Denying it wasn’t working. Staring at himself in a mirror, trying to find some sign or quirk that felt familiar and purely human only made his veins hum in a furious frustration. Everything comforting, everything familiar was something true of his ghost form. A reflection, an inverted copy of a face that was his; but wasn’t. He should be alarmed, or concerned his anger was strong enough to turn those blue eyes green, but it only felt right that they did. Unnatural, glowing, inhuman. His real eyes to show his own emotion.
Ectoplasm and post human consciousness. That’s what ghosts were, according to his-yes his parents. So he should be fully, properly dead. Danny Fenton could be who he was, while alive. That would be easier. It didn’t explain why he felt nothing familiar about himself. If he was a post human version, why wasn’t there any of the human? Other than the beating heart, the heaving lungs and the smothering, crushing expectation of an identity he’d been expected to assume. One that he liked, at first until the cracks widened. As his discomfort grew and the evidence started making the cracks into chasms. The obvious flaws that everyone glossed over but clung to him like a leech, until there were so many that simply existing was too much to tolerate. He denied it so long that he no longer had a choice in the matter.
He genuinely loved Sam and Tucker, his best friends that always stuck by him, ghost troubles or not. The first people he’d seen, worried about him and trying to calm him from the jarring sensation of existing. So he had to be Danny Fenton. That’s who they thought they were talking to, thought they were helping out, and he’d latched on to that. He’d been confused, adrift and they’d given him a role to fill and a group to belong to. He had so many reasons to admire and like them, separate from who Danny was before. Things he had witnessed first hand, Sam’s willingness to go to bat for those who were pushed aside or considered inferior. How Tucker would throw aside his personal dislike and fears if someone he cared about was in danger, that he could and would put aside even his own jealousy just to be a pleasant person to spend time with. He didn’t need to know about before, or why they chose to be Danny’s friends. They would see it differently. That he had deceived them, pretended to be their friend- even if he truly thought of them as friends. Would they think he was a mockery of Danny Fenton? A creature that wanted to cause them pain and anguish by deception? He couldn’t tell them Danny Fenton was dead. He had to keep being who they expected him to be. They expected Danny to be in this body, and he was stuck in it. A part of it, but not the part his human friends would like. It would be so much easier if they suspected something was wrong. Then they might understand that he hadn’t meant to be lying. That he really did think he was the boy he saw in the mirror, at first.
Jazz noticed more. She knew Danny best, to be fair. Siblings, always under the same roof. Someone who always helped out when going to his parents wasn’t an option. Yet she mostly noticed his fidgeting, not the cause of it. Her ‘dorky little brother’. The one who liked to make spaceship models, but hadn’t so much as looked at one to wistfully hope for it. Not since the accident. They seemed fiddly and complicated, not an enjoyable way to pass the time. Still, that was chalked up to being a teenager with different priorities. Friends and school came first. She’d cover for him, try and help with ghost hunting even though she had avoided it before and generally was a helpful shoulder to lean on when hearing how much pain their parents wanted ghosts to be in. She would be crushed to know her brother, her first brother, the real one was gone. She might even deny it, assure him that it was all in his head, that she loved him even if on some days he just felt like a freak. That he was fine as he was. So he had to keep being Danny Fenton for her too. Even if the taste of blood wasn’t enough to make the unbearable itch stop anymore, that he’d taken to biting his knuckles until flesh broke. The red, thin blood was enough. Human, he just had to be a certain human. It wasn’t that hard. His body knew how to bleed.
Why had he let himself find the answer? Why did he look at those photos enough that he noticed the common thread of where his memory issues stopped? An answer he couldn’t use, couldn’t act on was worse than the baffling twinges and strange thoughts that boiled to the surface of his mind unbidden. Why did he feel heavy and weighed down in his own body, why did the sound of his heart jar him awake in the night like it was some foreign sound? Because it wasn’t his. He felt like he didn’t fit because he wasn’t meant to fit. He was ectoplasm twisted and shoved in an emptied vessel, a monster squirming in a meat puppet that was his- but also not. If he had just ignored it, kept taking it as just ‘ghost powers and humans don’t mix well’ he wouldn’t be sitting here, desperately wishing he could claw free of himself- of Danny without ruining everything for everyone he cared about. One desperate thought was that he was a ghost, fully and entirely. A spirit in a bad place at a bad time, just unlucky. That he could figure out a way to separate himself from this human life he’d stolen by mistake. Except he had no memory of being a ghost either. The Ghost Zone was new and terrifying territory. He genuinely struggled to grasp how to use his powers, and didn’t have a helpful family like he did as a human, people that could remind him how legs worked. Didn’t have people he could mimic and follow enough that it felt natural after the fog of confusion after his accident faded. If he’d woken up on the other side, would he still be like this? Thinking he was a ghost, had always been one until suddenly gaining a weird human side? The Ghost Catcher didn’t work because there was no Danny Fenton to split from. It just skewed aspects of himself. The thing left behind would be no more Fenton than he was, and he doubted either would live long. He was still half human, in body at least. Just not the human they expected, or wanted. A new thing, created in that portal with feet in two worlds he didn’t understand. He didn’t want to be a new thing, he wanted to be the old thing, but he hated being the old thing. He had to keep everyone happy, he couldn’t branch out or act differently, that would be wrong. He owed it to Danny Fenton to live like he would have. He stole his life and gave his family and friends a false hope, he could hardly take it back now. Realized too late, far too late. So he pretended. Noticed how he could pick things up of how he should be when people talked, felt the sickly squirm inside as he lied about remembering, or nodded along. How he could almost sense how people were feeling and follow their lead. A ghost thing? A human thing? A freak thing? He didn’t know how, he just knew once he was alone he wanted to throttle that feeling until it died, and only another pain seemed to lessen it. It was fine. Chapped lips were common enough, it wasn’t a sign that he kept biting them open. Humans didn’t heal that quickly.
 He wasn’t fine. He’d never be fine. Everyone he loved would despise him if he ever slipped up, if they knew the truth. His mom and dad were proof of it. They hated him, completely and utterly. Which they should, he’d stolen their son’s body. Not that they knew that. They didn’t really know they had another son. They made the portal. They looked after him, fed him, said they loved him while he was Danny Fenton. He couldn’t exist without them, it still felt right to call them Mom and Dad, even if he wasn’t a proper Fenton. Maybe on some level they did know. Maybe that’s why they hated Danny Phantom so much, recognized him as the thing that set off their devices and weaponry. Phantom was him, had never been something before he existed. He could feel comfortable in that form, and somehow they could feel it and despised him for it. The monster pretending to be their child daring to feel unrestricted and at ease. Jazz would call him delusional. She would probably be right, if he was Danny Fenton. Which he wasn’t. That was the entire problem. Just crack a smile, remember what he was meant to like and forget it. He owes them. Everything. He can handle it, even if he wants to grab his friends by the shoulders and tell them to really look at him, and stop seeing who they want to see. Who he wants them to see; for their own sake. He half expects the lie curled under his rib cage to fling it open one day in a gory splatter of ‘justice’, but it is content to stay still and remind him with every stolen breath who he isn’t.
 Jazz catches him ‘managing’. She thinks the wounds are for a fight, and he goes along with it. Danny Fenton wasn’t some animal that needed to claw out of his own skin to repent for the constant lies he tells the people he loves. All he needs to do is go along, like always. Maybe fight a bit sloppier next time, take a few more blows. He just wants to move on, live as himself, but can’t. He never can. He probably isn’t all that different from Danny Fenton anyway, but unless they know it isn’t genuine. There’s always the chance he’s acting, pretending to be a dead kid. He can’t tell what feelings are his if he learned how he felt about things second hand, if he hadn’t been doing anything but trying to ‘get back to normal’. Was his ‘favourite food’ his favourite because he genuinely enjoyed the taste? Or was it because someone told him it was, so he deluded himself into agreeing? He slips up.
“I’m so tired of lying, Jazz.”
His sister is thrilled that he’s opened up, even as he bites his lip and wishes he could take those words back. Can he spin it back into a joke, or something less important?
“Danny, I know you’re worried. If it’s stressing you out this much, you should tell them.” Her hand on his shoulder is warm, her tone is encouraging.
She means Mom and Dad. She thinks he means the other secret. The secret that isn't. Yet telling one is impossible. It’s too much as it is. Adding them to the list of those tricked about his nature- it makes the blood in his body feel like phlegm. “I can’t, Jazz. They hate me, remember?” Playing it off, but he’s slipping again. He knows the ‘truth’. They accept Danny Fenton. Which is why they can’t know.
“Danny, you know they don’t hate you. They just need to understand they’re wrong about you.” A weary smile, her hand still in place. “The sooner they know, the sooner they’ll stop saying those kinds of things. And the sooner I can tell them off properly!”
“No- Jazz, they hate me. They’re pretty loud about that.” He doesn’t know why he’s trying to convince her. He just needs to back away, say he’ll think about it and leave it. Now he can’t with how she crouches down a little to look into his eyes, instead of his red and angry knuckles.
“They love you just as much. Hiding from them isn’t helping you, you’re jumpier than a jackrabbit every day. I don’t want you here while I’m off at University feeling like everyone in the house hates you, okay?”
She’s begging for him to let her help. Wanting what’s best for him. As she doesn’t know she isn’t talking to her brother of fourteen years. His tongue bleeds, but the guilt doesn’t lessen. “There’s nothing I can tell them.” She doesn't catch how his words slur slightly.
“What? Danny, just tell them you’re their son. I’ll help you, oaky? You’ll feel so much better not needing to hide anymore.”
He probably would feel better. Every bit of him longed for it, but knew he couldn’t in equal measure. “I can’t tell them that.” He doesn’t want to tell that lie, to double down on it. Their absolute hatred of him is warranted- he can’t steal that from them with another lie.
She rolls her eyes. Like he’s being a fool. “Of course you can! If the lies are stressing you out, you can tell them the truth.”
She doesn’t understand. It’s easier to slip away by going intangible so she can’t keep her hand on his shoulder. The comfort feels unearned. “They wouldn’t like the truth.” No one would. Besides him. He’d be free of the burden of his ‘human form’. The body he took to exist with. Not that he’d probably last long once Mom and Dad knew. They’d properly hate him in both forms, not just the one he was comfortable in.
“They’d be thrilled to know you’re a ghost hunter like them, you know that. Seriously, what’s wrong? You look pale.”
“I’m always pale.” He can’t answer that question. He’s wrong, everything’s wrong. He wants to spit, but he has to choke the blood down instead. She was just trying to help. Stay calm, stop talking.
“No, this is little brother is being weird pale. Did something happen? Why do you think they’ll hate you now?”
She won’t believe him anyway. “Uh. Being told how much they hate Danny Phantom will do that to a guy.”
“All the more reason to make them stop, you just need to tell them Fenton and Phantom are the same person.”
“And what if we weren't?” He isn’t thinking. He’s covering his mouth, too late for it to matter. Yet so many muscles relax once it’s out. The weight on his back shrugged off by even posing the question. A question he shouldn't be posing, one she’ll disregard, but the moment of freedom is nice.
Her eyes are too serious as she looks at him, a quick scan up and down. To check if he’s joking? Does she see how ‘the truth set him free’ there? A corny saying, but he can admit it feels better than the snarling smothering force jabbing at his heart. “But you are?”
Not a statement. A question. All he has to do is laugh and lie again. So why- “No. I don’t think I am.”
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datawyrms · 6 months ago
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“Did you apologize to Tucker yet?”
“About what? Wait, are we talking again? I thought we weren’t talking.” The ghost circled back, blindly fumbling with the thermos lid, eyes busy squinting at the hunter’s mask as if it would let him see through it better. “You’re not gonna say it’s fine then shoot me, are you?”
“Why do you always remind me why I don’t like talking to you like this.”
“What’d you mean like ‘this’? Like I should pretend that isn’t a totally valid question?” 
Valerie groaned, gesturing at the ghost. “Like that sort of thing is normal!”
Phantom smirked, letting the edges of his boots hit the hoverboard. “Welcome to my life.”
“And how you just keep that stupid confident face up.”
“Uh huh. I thought you were lecturing me about Tucker, not my personality.”
She deeply considered having the board jar the ghost off, but that’d probably just amuse him more. “You seriously don’t remember why you should be apologizing?”
“Well according to you, I should basically apologize for existing. So sometimes I lose track on the particulars.” There was an edge there that the blithe tone couldn’t quite cover up, even as the ghost sat down. “Y’gonna enlighten me or what? I’m bad at twenty questions.”
“You broke your promise to him, remember?”
The blank stare she earned in response was absolutely infuriating. “Uhhh. Which one?” He had the sense to look embarrassed, hand glued to the back of his neck.
That wasn’t going to help him though. Shooting him was actually sounding like a fair idea if it was the only thing that would get him to actually learn and pay attention. “To stop possessing people. The big one? The really easy one that NONE of his other friends need to worry about doing ‘accidentally’?”
“Wow Val, if you just wanted to say you think I’m weird you didn’t need to drag Tuck into it.” The embarrassment slid into a scowl easily enough, arms crossed as if that would defend him. “I haven’t done that for months.”
“He’s been telling you he hates it for years.” Before she even figured out Danny’s dead man walking secret. Tucker was too good a friend to be ignored for literal years because a ghost conveniently forgot how fucked up it was to invade someone’s body and use them as an unwilling meat puppet if it was ‘helpful’.
“I try, okay? I’m not doing it to upset him!”
“Somehow everyone else can manage without doing it.”
The ghost tilted his head. “Well duh, you guys can’t.”
“Even if we could, we wouldn’t.” She snapped, the confusion and completely casual excusing of his actions just a little too much to deal with. “Heroes don’t control people.”
“Well excuse me for needing to protect myself. If what I am gets out to the wrong people, I’m dead. More dead.” He groaned face in hand “You know what I mean. Worse than dead. Dani too.”
“Do you really think Tucker’s dad would have ratted your whispy ass out? That he wouldn’t help you explain? Or was it just an excuse to let yourself do what you want?”
“Well you seem to have decided that it was! Which it wasn’t!” His eyes flared green with the defence, and Valarie had to work to not react to the impulsive want to get away from an angry ghost. “I just- reacted, okay? I told him that!”
“Well Tucker and Sam keep forgetting how much of a ghost you are, so of course they won’t buy that excuse.”
“Excuse? It’s not an excuse!” He was up, the offended squawk reminding her so much of how he was before. When they were all fourteen, and every uncomfortable problem could be chalked up to being ‘a moody teenager’ and ignored for a while longer. “And you could stop saying ghost like that, while you’re at it?” The glow dimmed, but he kept the distance. “Sound like my dad.”
“What, you want me to say it like you do when they keep coming here to threaten people? Deal with it.”
“There are plenty of ghosts who don’t do that.”
“Yeah. They don’t come here, and they aren’t my problem,” she shrugged, considering. “I’ll say it nice to them.”
“Oh, real funny.”
“You deserve it.”
She expected a scoff, at least. Probably a laugh, considering how often he’d joke about being the town’s public enemy for a time. Instead he averted his eyes. “Maybe we can finish this talk on the ground?”
It was easier to be ticked off at him when he was joking, or steamed himself. Phantom didn’t ‘do’ uneasy. Maybe it was a good sign that he was actually listening, if he wanted to continue ‘off the clock’. “Space cadet wants to land? Sure, if you want.”
“I wouldn’t go with ‘want’, but yeah.”
It wasn’t much trouble, in the middle of the day. A quick glance while hidden in at least one direction was enough. People who lived in Amity Park knew they should get out of the area of a ghost sighting at this point. Even if she and Phantom were trusted enough to deal with it, stray shots happened. Things fell. Not too many eyes to avoid, even if her identity felt like an open secret most of the time.
Danny had it even easier. He just had to think. It felt like a sick joke, that he could stop being dead on a whim and blend in fairly well. The gangly man leaning against the tree looked human. Black hair, blue eyes, needed a tan, unremarkable. Average. Unless you knew what to look for, anyway. How a casual slouch didn’t match up with how he was always looking for something, a tense energy that seemed desperate to crack free of that spine. That he could walk in winter with the thinnest of jackets and not shake from the cold even once. “Hey.”
Valerie rolled her eyes, sitting on the bench. “Hey yourself.”
Danny grimaced, looking up and away. “How much of a ghost I am, huh?” It wasn’t an angry question, exactly. He was still slouching, hands in pockets. Guarded and uneasy. How much of that fear and caution the person she thought she knew, and how much of it was just another part of his act?
“You’ve said you’re at least half of one.”
“Yeah. You just make it sound like that’s a bad thing.”
The whole crux of the issue, really. How no one really knew how to deal with Danny, his secret and how he’d changed. “It’s not a bad thing on it’s own.”
“So I’m the part you like to sneer at,” his brow furrowed, the creases and wrinkles more ominous as blue slid closer to green. “I thought we went over this. You know what actually happened. How I never really attacked people.”
She admired Tucker and Sam’s patience, she really did. “We have. It’s not about that stuff. That’s years ago, you know it. It’s the other stuff.”
The anger was gone in an instant. “What other stuff?”
He was a living migraine waiting to happen. “How you keep thinking things from seven years ago are more important than things happening right now?”
“Hey, you’re the one that held the grudge for two.”. 
“Months. Not years.”
He slouched more at the correction, apparently very interested in his own hands. “Oh. Right.”
“You haven’t been using the reminders like Jazz told you to, have you.”
“I can remember fine! I don’t need some box doing it for me. I’ve just been busy.”
Busy. That was his excuse this time? She crossed her arms and leaned back. “Okay, what year is it?”
“Uhm.” he paused to pick at a non existent loose thread “One starting in 2?”
“Danny.”
“What! Lots of people don’t care too much about the time.”
He didn’t even try to guess within ten years. There was living in the present, and there was this. “No, you know your ghost side makes you act in certain ways and keep denying it. So you still get the complete pain version of ghost. Get it?”
“I’m not that different.” He wouldn’t look at her, hand clenching. “I’m human too, you know.”
“Uhuh. The way your eyes flare up when you’re mad is super human.” She ignored his scowl, pushing forward. “I get it. You don’t like being reminded. Tuck and Sam try to ignore it for your sake.”
“Val, I’m not denying it okay? I know. It’s pretty obvious!”
“Then stop pretending you don’t know. They’re trying so hard to help you have a chance of getting a job that isn’t with your parents and you won’t even use the reminders to help you remember where in time you are!”
That got him to bristle, shaking off his slouch in a sudden reminder of how tall he really was. “Why does it matter? We’re all just kidding ourselves about me ever leaving here.”
“So you just won’t try? Just give up on finding anything else? For someone who keeps insisting he’s human, you sure seem eager to ditch that half of your life.”
“That isn’t what I’m doing.”
“Then what are you doing? Because all I’ve seen you do is get tetchy about ghosts and instinctively do ghost things. When you’re human.”
“I’m putting in the work.You know it’s hard to study or hold down a job.”
“So stop making it harder on yourself.They’ve found ways to help keep you grounded, so do it.” Sam should be saying this, of course. She’d heard it frustratedly repeated so many times, but she never dared to actually say it to the one who had to hear it. Because he was already prone to pulling away or vanishing when you pressed too hard, made things too uncomfortable. Ghosts didn’t do coping, and Danny was never great at facing personal issues head on before becoming a menace to her sanity either. “You think making things harder makes you more of a hero?”
“‘Course not.” He wasn’t looking at her anymore. He was looking for an escape, an out. “I shouldn’t need that stuff, alright?”
Now it was her turn to be puzzled. “Why shouldn’t you?”
A lopsided grin answered her question. “Who likes admitting they’re a freak?” The tree no longer had a human standing by it, but his voice was easy enough to hear. “ But I guess some people care about a freak like me anyway.”
(did Valerie use a tracker to smack him and say ‘you’re not a freak’ right after this? yes)
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datawyrms · 6 months ago
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Generally one ran away from spectral combatants. Of course, there wasn’t much you could do when the fight chose to tumble in your home without notice. The Fentons might be geniuses, but clearly had never needed to try to power a ghost shield on a teacher’s salary. He had to settle for using it for obvious coming problems and attacks, and honestly it had worked out just fine for him. Other than today. At least he might have a more understandable example of hubris to explain to his students. Assuming he could make it in.
“Get off!” The jumpsuit clad ghost kicked the neon green hyena hard, slamming the ghost into the wall so hard that it seemed to melt from the impact. “Hah, reflect on that Bertrand!”
Perhaps he was simply exhausted and not in his right mind. The correct response would be to leave the odd ghost child to deal with the ghost he was grappling with, and hope they didn’t damage his home beyond repair. “I doubt there is much he can reflect on from a kick to the face.”
The ghostly teenager looked as baffled as he felt for saying it. “What.”
What indeed. In for a penny, in for a pound. “Well you like taunting while you fight, but reflecting doesn’t make much sense. It wasn’t even a deflection really, you two careened into my home and you kicked him.”
“You’re seriously criticizing my battle banter.”
“It seems I am.” It was absolutely ridiculous. There was a melting green hyena and a dead teenager in his home and he was hung up on word choice. Maybe he did live his job a little too much.
“So if I made a mirror of ice and smashed it over his head instead, that’d work for you?”
“Well it would fit the theme better with a reflective object, I suppose. Bonus points if he can actually see himself before you make impact?”
The white haired ghost grinned, the chill in the air intensifying as he turned to his opponent, who looked more like some sort of ram than a hyena now. “Now THAT, I can do Mr. Lancer.”
“Mhm, I’m sure you can Mr. Fenton.” He paused, rubbing at his head. ’The Prince and the Pauper’, he was so exhausted that he was mixing up a ghost with a chronically underachieving student. Though the names were close enough that he could possible make an excuse for the wrong syllable. 
After all, the boy didn’t see the need to correct him!
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datawyrms · 11 months ago
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Ectober day 4: Ember (...a very short one because brain went ‘no i don’t want to think’)
“Of course I have the sister who takes ‘learn what my enemies names actually are and turns it into a research paper.” Danny rolled his eyes, narrowly sidestepping a towering stack of books Jazz had let invade the room.
“It’s fascinating! A ghost can be the result of a living person wanting to hold on, but they can choose new names and insist on a different identity instead of keeping their living one! It’s a contradiction, on a surface level.”
His blank stare was not an invitation, but apparently wasn’t a deterrent either, as the teen kept rambling on.
“Like the rockstar ghost, Ember. Her name is a big deal to her, isn’t it?”
“Well yeah, she kept bringing it up.” Not that she used his name or anything. “You actually got her name right the first time, she did it so much.”
“Think about it though. She’s this flashy performer, but you know what an ember is, right?”
“...you lost me.”
“Embers are usually the remains of a fire! You know, the hot coals left behind. They can stoke a whole new fire, and hold heat even when the fire that made it is gone.”
“So you’re saying the rock star with the fire motif is using ‘dead’ fire as a name.” He seemed bored, before something occured to him. “And she thinks she can complain about my puns being cheesy!”
“They are cheesy.”
“Not the point!”
“Still, you’d think if she wanted to be remembered she’d use her old name. Though it could just be a reinvention of her previous one.” She glanced at her brother, still pondering. “Maybe it’s similar enough that it’s close enough for her? Kind of like yours.”
“Mine isn’t that-”
“The difference is a single syllable Danny. If people thought half ghosts could be a thing, you’d be found out in less than a second. Which makes sense that you don’t want a whole new identity being-”
“Nope. No ghost psychology today. Absolutely not.” He cut her off before retreating from the room. She could consider all the other ghosts all day if she wanted, but he’d rather not hear it!
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datawyrms · 11 months ago
Yooo. That fic Float had me reeling from the sudden implications for the future. Pariah is the only official king now. Will he be set free? Will Frostbite lead the Far Frozen against the Observants? What will Clockwork do? What will Vlad do? How will Fright Knight react? AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Ahaha, I’m glad it had your mind racing! There’s lots of ways to take it, and I miiiight play with a few in future prompts. I never actually know. apparently I just wanted to think about ghost king stuff but not actually...have one :v 
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