#phic phight 21
The GIW need ghost samples to conduct experiments. Why capture ghosts when you can make your own? prompt by @mystyrust
word count: 2609
warning: offscreen character death
gosh this prompt
Danny yawned as he walked into the school. He walked up to Sam and Tucker and was just about to greet them when heard Paulina sobbing into Dash’s chest by her locker.
“Woah.” He said. “What’s happening?”
“Star’s still missing.” Sam whispered.
“It’s been a week since her parents filed that report and no one’s seen any sign of her since then.” Tucker looked at his PDA. “No one has anything new to report online. I think it's starting to really wear on Paulina.”
“Maybe when we patrol later we should check up on some other places rather than just the ghost hot spots.” Danny said, looking back at Paulina. “Maybe we’ll be able to find something while we’re out.”
“Maybe.” Sam said. The first bell rang and they started heading to class. “But if we’re being realistic, a week is a long time with this kind of thing. She could be long gone out of Amity Park by now. Or, you know.” She whispered that last part.
“It wouldn’t hurt to try looking around though.”
The three of them walked into Lancer’s class. The empty desk next to Paulina felt like it took up the entire room and many of their classmates were trying not to look at it. The final bell rang and Mr. Lancer turned from where he was writing on the board.
“Alright, class.” He said somberly. “Let’s get started.”
“We’re having no luck down here, Danny. What about you?” Tucker called through the Fenton phones.
Danny flew past the arcade and an ice cream shop and stopped, floating in front of an alley. “Nothing here. I think we can call it for-”
Danny’s head whipped towards the sound of trash cans crashing around. He floated into the alley slowly, looking around. When he came out the other end there was no one there.
“Are you okay, Danny?”
He turned back around. “Yeah, I think some cat was getting into one of the garbage cans over here or something.” He flew back out of the alley.
“Okay, well then-”
Danny stopped listening to her when he saw something laying on the ground. He touched down on the concrete and bent over to pick up a pink clip.
“Hey Sam.” Danny asked. “Dash and Kwan were talking about taking Paulina for ice cream, right?”
“Yeah?” She said, confused. “Why?”
“I found Paulina’s hair clip on the ground.”
A heavy silence settled between the three of them.
“She probably left with them, right?” Danny asked. “They wouldn’t have left her alone here?”
“There’s no way they’d just leave her there. Not with Star missing.” Tucker said.
Silence hovered over them again for a few seconds before Danny spoke. “You guys go home. I’m gonna fly up and down the streets over here again.”
“Are you sure?” Sam asked.
“Yeah.” Danny took off, flying above the buildings and scanning the ground below him. “Be careful getting home and let me know when you get there.”
They both gave him affirmatives and he looked up and down each street. In fifteen minutes he got notice that Sam was home and ten minutes after that so was Tucker.
He let out a deep breath, a bit more relaxed now that he knew Sam and Tucker were safely at home. He had a bad feeling, but he hadn’t seen anything suspicious along the streets or in the alley, so maybe Paulina did leave with Kwan and Dash and she just dropped her hair clip.
He turned around to start heading back home. He dropped down in between his house and the neighbor’s and transformed. Before heading inside, he let Sam and Tucker know he was home and he turned off the Fenton Phones and put them in his pocket.
Danny opened the door and stepped inside, shutting it behind him. He greeted his parents who sat waiting on the couch, his mom reading the paper and his dad cross stitching something. He yawned and started heading upstairs to get ready for bed.
After brushing his teeth and changing in the bathroom, Danny crossed the hall into his room, closing the door and turning off the light. He flopped down onto his bed and pulled the covers over himself.
He hoped Paulina was doing better tomorrow.
Paulina was missing.
She had never come home last night and her parents called all her friends, asking if they knew where she was. No one had seen her since yesterday, and her parents filed a missing person report. It spread like wildfire through the school.
Dash and Kwan in particular looked horrified and close to hysterics throughout the day. They didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t even really look in anyone’s direction when their names were called.
It took until lunch, but soon word spread that one of the underclassmen was missing too. One of the band kids. No one had seen him since last night either and he just happened to live in the area that the ice cream shop was in.
It didn’t stop there either. Day after day, more and more kids were disappearing. Mikey, Dale, Sarah, more underclassmen. It was getting to the point where they cancelled school until someone had some answers.
That didn’t stop Sam from going out and searching for any clue she could find though. The first time Danny had seen her when he was patrolling on his own, he scooped her right up and took her home, scolding her.
When his mom got a panicked phone call from Sam’s hysteric mom, his heart dropped into his stomach. His hands went numb and he stared at his mom until she got off the phone and walked over to where he sat on the couch.
She pulled him into her arms tightly and whispered into his hair.
“Come on, Danny!” Tucker yelled through the computer. “You can’t just walk around waiting to be kidnapped! If you get kidnapped how are we gonna fix this?”
“What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working, Tucker!” Danny yelled back. “I can only cover so much ground when I don’t know what I’m looking for and you can’t be out there. I can barely do any patrols as it is, my parents are always coming up to my room to check on me. I don’t see any other way to do this.”
“What if you don’t come back either?”
Danny paused. “I have to come back. If I don’t come back then neither does Sam.”
Tucker sighed. “Just. Be careful.”
“I’ll try to be as careful as I can while being kidnapped.”
Tucker made a face at him just before Danny logged off. Transforming, Danny jumped into the air and flew out the window. He flew around town a bit before dropping off into the alleyway he found Paulina’s hair clip in. The areas that the kids were last seen in seemed to be all over town, but he couldn’t shake the sound that the garbage cans had made that day out of his head.
Pressing his back against the wall, Danny transformed and strolled out, walking down the street. There weren’t many people out most days now. Most of them were too afraid of going outside and getting snatched up like all the teenagers.
He’d been walking for fifteen minutes before he heard the crunch of gravel underneath tires behind him. He didn’t turn around and kept walking forward. Footsteps rapidly approached him and suddenly a bag was over his head.
“Hey!” He shouted.
“Are you sure we should take this one? What about his parents?”
Someone else scoffed. “They’re too dumb to do anything about it. They won’t even know where to find him. Just help me get him in the car.”
They picked Danny up and hauled him back towards the car. He heard the trunk open and they tied his wrists together before shutting the trunk heavily above him. Soon the vehicle was moving and driving away.
Well, he accomplished what he sent out to do. It wasn’t very comfortable though.
They must’ve been driving for at least an hour because by the time they stopped, both of Danny’s legs were asleep. The trunk popped open and he could feel the cold air rushing in. They pulled him out and placed him on the ground, yanking him back up after he almost collapsed from the pins and needles feeling in his legs.
They walked him to an entrance where he could hear key cards being scanned at multiple points. They led him through squeaky hallways until they stopped and were suddenly lifting him up onto a bed? No, a stretcher. They strapped him down and once he was tightly bound they ripped the bag off of his head.
Danny scrunched his eyes up at the white light bouncing off the bright white walls. Looking around, he saw two faces staring down at him. Agent K and Agent O.
“The GIW?” Danny said. “What the fuck? Why are you kidnapping humans?”
They ignored him and started pushing him down a very long hallway.
Rolling down the long hallway, Danny can hear the moans and groans, most of them coming from ghosts. He looks around and sees room upon room, windows letting him see the people inside each of them.
His heart drops when he sees Star. She’s floating inside her room, a small husk of a ghost. When she sees him, her eyes immediately light up with rage and sparks fly off of her as she bounces all over the room.
In the next room is Paulina. It doesn’t look like she’s a ghost, but it looks like she’s sick with ghost powers again. She’s pressed tightly against the wall she shares with Star. She hiccups and a ghost sense floats out of her mouth.
As they push him by, he sees everyone. Mikey, Dale, Sarah. All of the underclassmen that went missing. Even Dash was there. Each one various levels of dead, alive, and sick.
They reach the end of the hallway and his pulse is spiking, his heart hammering in his chest. He hasn’t seen Sam anywhere.
He clears his throat. “So, uh, wanna share what you guys are doing here?”
“Ghost studies.” Agent K clips out.
“Right. Why are you kidnapping humans then?”
“It’s easier to make ghosts than to catch them.”
“What-” Danny stops and his eyes widen. They can’t be serious. Making ghosts? His thoughts go back to Star, bouncing around her room like a comet and his blood runs cold.
They roll through a set of double doors and when they open they’re in an operating room. His thoughts are buzzing and he can hear the click and ping of metal objects being placed on the counter. They’re just about to roll a utensil cart over to his stretcher when he hears a scream that fills his veins with fire.
Without even thinking about it, Danny rips his wrists out of the restraints and punches Agent O in the face. He falls into the cart and all of the tools clatter to the ground. Danny shoots an ectoblast at each belt binding his ankles to the stretcher and hops off the bed, facing Agent K, glaring at him, hands filled with ectoplasm.
“You’re a ghost!” Agent K exclaims before Danny kicks him in the stomach.
“And you’re scum.” Danny snarls. He shoots an ectoblast into the side of Agent K’s head, knocking him unconscious.
Transforming, Danny jumps up into the air and starts flying from room to room, looking for Sam. He finally finds her in another room in a different hallway, another agent sticking a needle full of ectoplasm into her arm. She screams again.
As the agent is reaching for something else from a tray, Danny picks up the tray, sending its contents flying, and smashes it into his face. The agent tumbles to the ground and Danny grabs his keycard. Picking Sam up, Danny phases them out of the room, locking the agent inside.
“Sam! Sam, are you okay?” Danny asks shakily.
She shakes her head. “We can’t worry about me right now. We have to get your parents and the cops.”
Sam shakes her head again. “Some of these kids won’t make it long enough for you to patch me up. They’ve been sick for too long.”
He looks at her for a few seconds before nodding. He shoots up into the air, holding Sam close to his chest as he flew as fast as he could back home.
He flew straight into the living room, halting abruptly when he saw his parents standing there. They stared with wide eyes at Sam in his arms and started reaching for their guns.
“Wait!” He shook his head. “We need your help! I found out where all the kids are!”
Maddie’s gun clattered to the ground. “Where are they? Was Danny with them?”
“Danny’s fine, he’s not there.” He said hurriedly. “They’re in a GIW compound outside of town. We need to hurry.”
“Let me just-” Maddie started reaching for Sam.
“No! We can’t waste any time.” His grip tightened on Sam. “She said she’ll be fine for now but there are kids who won’t make it much longer. They need our help more right now.”
“Okay. Okay, Jack. Get the keys for the van and a couple of bazookas. You take Sam to the van and direct us to the compound. I’m going to get in touch with the police.”
They all piled into the van and Danny directed them toward the compound. Danny kept a close eye on Sam and Maddie stayed on the phone until they reached the compound, giving the police the address. The van slammed through the brick wall surrounding the compound and straight into the front wall of the building.
They all jumped out, Danny still carrying Sam, and he keycarded them through all the locked doors until they got to the wing full of students. Maddie covered her mouth as she looked at them.
Soon the police got there and they began to cart out the agents that remained in the building. Paramedics came in to take care of the kids who were still alive while Jack and Maddie worked on calming Star and the other ghosts down.
Danny let go of Sam’s hand slowly as the paramedics loaded her into the ambulance. He turned around and flew back into the building where he found his parents trying to comfort a distraught Star.
He floated up to her and held a hand out. She looked at it and her eyes darted up to his face, recognition flashing through them. Tears welled up in her eyes and she stood, wrapping her arms around him as she sobbed.
He loosely wrapped his arms back around her and waited with her until she was ready to go.
Danny, Sam, and Tucker sat closely together on top of Danny’s bed. They had just gotten back from the memorial held for all the kids that died inside the compound. Danny and Tucker each held one of Sam’s hands, gripping them tightly.
Sam took a deep breath and let it out shakily, her fingers twitching and going through Danny’s hand before settling back in place.
Danny hoped to whatever deity there might be that this would never happen again. No matter what anyone thought of the ghosts in Amity Park, they had never stooped low enough to kill someone. They weren’t collecting humans for a ghost farm.
He glanced up at the window, looking at the night sky. A ghost flew through the night, sparking brightly like a comet.
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He’s a Fenton (Phic Phight)
PR: Ghosts now being pretty much common knowledge, at least in the Midwest. A lot of colleges are offering ecto-studies as a course. Danny seems to know too much on the first day.
B-dug, b-dug, b-dug. Dug-dug.
Professor Lee Wilhelm is not bothered by the rhythmic bouncing of the ball from the back of his class. In fact, he expects a few from the bunch that wouldn’t take the course as seriously as others. After all, it is Intro to Ecto-Biology.
It’s coming from a black-haired boy, who is skillfully bouncing the ball off of every surface and always managing to catch it. If Lee wasn’t supposed to be teaching a class, he’d be impressed. The boy’s been yawning every five minutes, almost like clockwork actually, and didn’t seem to pay the least but attention. Again, expected.
“And that’s the syllabus,” Lee concludes. “Moving on, bring out your ‘Entry to Ecto-Studies’ textbook. We’ll be doing a light overview.”
Lee hadn’t wanted to teach Ecto-Biology; he wanted to teach Entomology and even had an entire lesson plan planned out. But he, unfortunately, brought the interest of ecto-studies during his interview and they’ve stuck it on him. It isn’t a bad job, he had taken it after all, but he had significantly less passion in it. But he wasn’t lying about the interest, so he’ll try his best to teach the subject efficiently. The ghost wildlife and insect section could fulfill him for his entomologist love.
Ecto-Biology is an extremely new field, only opened as of recent years. It’s only an elective since there isn’t much information regarding ghosts. Leading scientists are carefully studying the molecular distinction of material in the ‘Ghost Zone’ and are baffled by the implication that there is a life after death.
He uses the projector and shows off a PowerPoint. “First and foremost, we’ll be going over Ghostly Obsessions for the next two weeks. As you may or may not know, obsessions are the cornerstone of a ghost’s existence. Most of the ghosts that people have studied have more destructive—”
“Professor Wilhelm?” a voice asks, and Lee’s eyes follow to meet the same disinterested boy. He has his hand raised lazily but a furrow is clear on his face. He didn’t even notice when the ball had been put away.
“Yes?” he points at the student.
“The material’s outdated. Like, super old and almost completely wrong.”
“Sorry?” Lee asks confused, but the student nodded as if it’s an actual apology.
He continues, straightening out his bored stature, “Yeah, the whole ‘destructive obsessions’ theory’s been disproved for some time. It was a stereotype back in the day when the only ghosts that’d come to the human world wanted to cause mayhem and calamity. Nowadays, with the political situation of ghosts and humans being settled, the research shows that the entire spectrum that scientists have yet to study.” The boy speaks with the confidence that Lee would have if this class was Entomology—he really wishes that he’d gotten it—and the steady voice of a diplomat. Some of the other students that shared the boy’s previous appearance (half-asleep and uncaring) now show rapidly increasing interest.
Lee’s mind whirls as he tries to make sense of what was just fell off the youth’s tongue. He hadn’t picked the textbook, you see. It was what was given to him off the bat. There was supposed to be another Ecto-Biology professor, however, they dropped out—which is why the university was desperate to fill the space—but not before filling out the application for the provided textbook and getting it approved by the Board.
“Anything else to add, Mister…?” Lee trails off, half-peeved. He puts a hand on his wooden desk and leans into it.
Even so, Lee had also based his entire lesson plan for the semester on the textbook and is not prepared to rewrite that
The student once again oblivious to his professor’s emotions, nods again. “Yeah, I read a bit into the book before class, and the section with the evolution of a ghost’s appearance is wrong too.” He skims through the book for a second before jutting a finger at a page. “Here it is, ‘A ghost’s appearance grows depending on the increased strength of their obsession.’” He closes the book with strong conviction, gaining the entire attention of the class at this point.
“That’s not true. A ghost’s appearance changes when their obsession branches. A popular example is Youngblood, the ghost only seen by children. His obsession is playing and having fun, but his outfit changes according to what game he wants to play. Sometimes it’s pirates, others it’s cowboys, et cetera.” The student who seemed uninterested only moments ago spoke so inviolable that Lee didn’t believe he could dispute at all.
Lee is not the type of professor that stifles a student if they have more knowledge—his RateMyProfessor made that clear—nor to do confrontations either. However, it mostly small information like how baby bees don’t have stingers or how varroa destructors kill off entire bee colonies. (Again, he’s not an ecto-scientist, he is an entomologist.) He didn’t think that the Einstein of Ghost-Biology would appear to an introduction course.
Lee smiles as kindly as he can—his RateMyProfessor also says that his expressions are an open book no matter what impression he tries to give off—and steeples his hand against the desk harshly.
“It sounds like you know a lot about the subject. But if you had a problem with the material, you could’ve emailed me when you first got the textbook.” He tries to wean off the annoyance, but the uncomfortable stares of the other students say that he didn’t do a good job.
The student sighs, still not noticing Lee’s tone. Lee didn’t know if he’s the most oblivious person in the world or he’s just choosing to ignore it. “Yeah, I guess that would’ve been better,” he says conversationally, losing his authority but also putting too much casualness in his words. “Truth be told, I wanted an easy course—”
Lee can’t help the eye-twitch.
“—But I read enough to know there’s misleading stuff in this and I want others to know the correct information. Especially since Ecto-Biology is new and this might be everyone’s first impression on ghosts.”
Lee hears whispers around the classroom now and his brow knits together. He caught a few that questioned Lee’s credentials and position as a teacher. His teeth grind because he hadn’t wanted to teach this course. Dammit, why couldn’t they just have given him Entomology? Now there’s going to be a black mark on his record and his job is in jeopardy.
Lee knows he can’t blame the student, his intentions are good and valid. He knows he shouldn’t have just taken the job because it was the only position handed to him. But he had to scrap some respect before he gets a whirlwind of complaints from his students. Maybe the sack if they’re determined enough.
“Pardon me for asking,” he tries to be polite. “But what are your sources, if you don’t mind?”
A look of surprise appears and a sheepish smile instantly replaces it. The student puts a hand to his neck as if embarrassed. “Oh! Sorry, Professor, I forgot to introduce myself, didn’t I? I got caught up in the moment. Hi, I’m Daniel Fenton, I go by Danny. My parents are, sort of, Jack and Maddie Fenton.”
The claim punches Lee straight in the gut.
Even some of the students snap their heads to him with gaping maws. The whispering stops and is replaced with shocked silence. Even someone not interested in Ecto-studies knows of the scientists that discovered an entirely new dimension. The married couple is basically the leading scientist in the field and makes discoveries daily.
He looks shy, contrasting with every other impression he’s given off, as his eyes sweep the room. “I should’ve started with that, shouldn’t I? Gosh, I must’ve sounded super pretentious. Sorry, sorry.”
Lee struggles to respond, “It’s fine, Mister… Fenton.” He chokes on the name a bit. “I hadn’t realized you were an expert- an actual expert with ecto-biology.”
“No, no,” Danny shook his head, “You were treating me like any other student. Please, continue. I can contact you later.”
Lee does continue, though he tries no to go too in-depth with the information. He’ll do more research after class and change the lessons to be more according to newer research. He needs to increase his credibility before he makes a complete fool in front of his students. Damn, they probably don’t think he’s credible at all by now. If too many students drop the class, he’ll be out of the job.
He plans to cry when going home. Maybe his wife could say just the right things that’ll make everything alright as she always does. And she does, she says he’s a good teacher and he can bounce up. It fills him with enough confidence to not just quit.
The next day, Lee sees that four students dropped the class. As much as it is discouraging, it’s less than he thought would do so. He managed to study more of the research, even if the public knowledge seems to be between old and new research. The first lesson is rushed, but it’s more up-to-date than before.
He’s in the classroom an hour early, sipping on a coffee thermos and editing the PowerPoint for last-minute mistakes. He hasn’t felt this stressed since his actual college days.
Someone knocks on the door nearest to his desk.
“Come in,” he yells, not wanting to stop the flow of focus he has. It’s thirty minutes before class, but he won’t stop a student from coming a little early. He hears the door creak open and doesn’t look up from the laptop. The student’s steps echo and he could hear them pause right in front of his desk.
“Professor Wilhelm?” a timid voice asks him and Lee immediately recognizes the voice.
He lifts his head and makes direct eye contact with the student. His persistent typing ceases at once.
“Mr. Fenton, hello.” His tone is stiff.
Danny Fenton looks nervous and is wearing more presentable clothing than a hoodie; it’s a red polo and his hair looks combed a little. In his arms is a large cardboard box that looks ten times his weight. It’s so large that Lee could barely see Danny’s nose.
“Um,” he says with a stutter, looking at the ground. “I’m sorry about yesterday, you were right about the email thing.”
“No, it’s my fault,” Lee insists, “I should’ve gone over the credentials of the textbooks beforehand. I shouldn’t have pushed any of my frustrations onto you.”
There’s a clear look of guilt on Danny’s face. He kicks his leg back and forth in a little. “Well, anyway, I asked a friend of mine to express ship something as a sorry. Don’t worry, she was more than happy to help me with this.”
Danny lays down the cardboard box to the side of his desk so Lee could see. Danny proceeds to open it and reveal its contents.
“It’s honestly fine, Mr. Fenton. You didn’t need to…” his eyes catch sight of what’s inside. “Get me anything…” Danny hands him one of the copies of the book from the box, and Lee’s hands tremble a little as he looks down on it.
The Whys and Hows of Ecto-Biology: 6th Edition. It’s the Fentons’ latest book. Actually, he swears that the latest is 5th Edition. He remembers trying to get a copy last night but it got bought out too quickly for him to even go to the checkout. How unlucky.
Danny’s foot continues the move rhythmically, “I hope it’s not a problem that it isn’t officially published.” Thus confirming Lee’s suspicions. “There’s twenty in this box, but there are three more boxes right outside the door. I really don’t know how many students take this class but I hope it’s enough.”
Sincerity riddles his voice and Lee feels tear prick his eyes. He doesn’t ever remember a student that went through so much effort for him. At most, they gave him a trinket or two. He sniffs a little and Danny looks concerned instantaneously. The very face makes Lee laugh a little.
He scoots his chair back and stands up, putting on the widest smile he’s ever had. The suddenness shocks the boy slightly and he jumps a little.
“It’s more than enough. Now c’mon, let’s get those boxes from the hallway. I don’t want them gathering dust already, Fenton.”
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Phic Phight: Good Parents
Maddie Fenton nearly kills her son trying to take down Phantom. Jack Fenton nearly kills him again, trying to tear the ghost from him.
Clockwork, one of the most powerful ghosts in existence, is tired of the people he cares about getting hurt.
(Based on a Phic Phight 2021 prompt by @five-rivers. And also the same Phic Phight 2020 prompt. Part 1 here.)
When Danny was fourteen, he would never remember to dodge.
It wasn’t his fault entirely - human instincts would say move, and ghost instincts would say turn intangible. He’d get confused and overwhelmed in the split second he was expected to make a decision, and would do nothing but take the hit. It was a normal reaction for someone as newly half-dead as he was.
As far as his friends were concerned, they could fix this by throwing small things at him - erasers, pencils - to train him to avoid the bigger, more dangerous things that were thrown his way. The main thing this taught Danny was how to smack the small objects out of the air, which the trio considered a victory nonetheless. At fourteen, they hadn’t found any real groove with their ghost hunting, but didn’t want to seem weak - so they laughed, lied, and pretended.
A week before his fifteenth birthday, Danny caught a mink ghost in the thermos. Half distracted by it, when he saw something small fly towards him, he smacked it right out of the air.
He didn’t see it burrow into his palm. But he felt the pain, and he saw his parents high-five. That was more than enough to spark panic, and Danny fled.
He almost went to Sam or Tucker’s place - almost. A block away from where he’d been shot, Danny fell out of the sky. He hit a sloped roof and rolled, shoulder getting caught in a gutter and flipping him face down when he headed for the ground. His shoulder caught a fence, and in the split-second before he turned intangible it jabbed his shoulder out of its socket. He fell to the ground, a cry of pain only silenced by how deep his face ended up in the bags of trash.
“Mads!” His father shouted, too close. “It’s over here!”
Danny ran again. He thought about flying, but the rush of pain that hit his core when he tried to lift off kept him firmly grounded. His chest felt as if it was about to cave in, and he barely ducked between two parked cars in time to avoid the GAV barreling out of an alleyway, past him, and down the next street before his parents could stop.
He reached his own house before he reached either of his friends’. Had he had a clearer head, he would have contacted his sister and begged her for help - but in this panic, all he could think was that he had to get away.
So Danny destroyed the window to his parents’ lab with the lid to a tin garbage can and a few harsh kicks, and slipped into the lab amongst the broken shards. He stumbled, fell on his battered face, but forced himself up and through the open portal. He slipped off the metal edge, and fell into the Ghost Zone.
And strong arms grabbed him tightly, snatching him out of mid air and urging him, gentle but intense, to stay awake.
Danny failed the ‘stay awake’ request. When he woke up, it was in a double bed with simple, thin purple sheets. An ectoplasmic bandage on his hand went all the way up his arm, keeping it bent at the elbow. He was still in his ghost form, but most of his jumpsuit was gone. The room smelled sterile, with an overtone of purified ectoplasm. Soft ticking echoed off the blue-grey brick walls, and Danny found the source easily - Clockwork, in his elder form, sitting right beside him.
“You should see the other guy,” Danny said through a raspy voice and a forced grin.
“I have,” Clockwork said. The chair he’d been sitting on scraped against the stone as he stood - well, floated, Clockwork never had legs - and reached out an ungloved hand to press against Danny’s forehead. “Your temperature is still too warm, I’m afraid - the nanobots have severely damaged the cooling factor of your core.”
“Nanobots?” Danny repeated, “Ugh, so ew. How long have I been here?”
“Approximately four days,” Clockwork said, “breathe in deeply for me, please.”
Danny rolled his eyes, but did as he was asked. “Oh, ha-ha, you stole that joke from Tucker. Come on, how long has it really been? You’d better use your time travel powers so I’m not late for class today.”
Clockwork said nothing.
“...Kinda spooky there, Clockwork,” Danny said slowly. “Are you... going to tell me, or...?” He laughed awkwardly. His ribs hurt. Clockwork floated back a bit, and changed to his adult form. “‘Cause - cause four days is a while, and I was - I was kind of out of it, yeah, but - but that’s too long. It’s too long.”
“I’m sorry,” Clockwork said gently, and took Danny's hand. “You were suffering from a severe ectoplasm deficiency. I did everything I could, as fast as I could, but you were delirious and your form was deteriorating. I know you’re not comfortable spending this long in the Ghost Zone.”
“Yeah no - no shi -” Danny cut off, panting. “Oh no my parents are gonna freak.” He rolled out of the bed.
Clockwork caught him. “What are you doing?!” He scolded, and tried to place Danny back on the bed - he pushed against Clockwork, scrambling to get up. “Daniel, I’ve just barely gotten you stable! You are not leaving this room!”
“But my parents -”
“They tried to kill you!”
Danny stared at him. The tears welled up, and Clockwork immediately leaned in, apologizing for shouting as he rested a hand on Danny’s back - Danny barely registered the words, but leaned into the touch.
“They didn’t know,” Danny said, wiping his eyes on a bare arm before the tears could run down his face. “They didn’t know.”
“Daniel,” Clockwork said softly, “I know you don’t want to -”
“My parents love me,” Danny said. “If they knew, then they’d understand everything about ghosts, and - and I’m going to tell them, when I’m ready, but they’ll just feel so bad about the stuff they did when they didn’t know... but they love me.”
“You can love someone very much and still hurt them,” Clockwork said. “Your parents nearly killed you with this, Danny. We were both very lucky you managed to find me so quickly - this is the best possible outcome you could have reached. Those nanobots were specifically calibrated to destroy your ectoplasm. Not anyone else’s, yours. This was a murder attempt, Danny - regardless of everything else, that is fact.”
“It’s not,” Danny’s protest was weak, even to him. “My parents love me. B-besides, they’re my parents, I can’t - I can’t turn my back on my family. I need my family. O-otherwise,” He swallowed and looked at the floor.
Clockwork hummed. He was silent for a long while, switching to his child form for a moment before he returned to his elder one. “Daniel, there is... a potion, of sorts, that is available in the Ghost Zone. All of its required ingredients are guarded by the Observants, but I could grab some and brew a small batch. It is called a Miamenso Draught. Have you ever heard of it?”
“No,” Danny said, and wiped the last of his tears away. His throat still felt dry, and he could feel the tears holding place by his eyes. “What’s it do?” He looked up at Clockwork, “is it some kinda love potion thing that makes people like ghosts?”
“No.” Clockwork reached around with his other hand to brush Danny’s bangs out of his eyes. He wasn’t wearing his gloves, and Danny could see the patchwork of old scars that covered Clockwork’s hands. “A Miamenso Draught removes memories.” Danny paled. “There’s a targeted version, which only removes specific memories, and a more general one. I know you feel responsible to your parents, but -”
“Whoa, whoa,” Danny pulled away. Clockwork dropped to his adult form for a second, then to his child form. “You’re going to drug me?”
Clockwork frowned. “Of course not. Nor your parents - not without your consent.”
“Yeah, well, I do not consent.” Danny huffed. His ribs hurt again. “My parents love me. When I tell them, they’ll - they’ll accept me. I know they will.”
“And if they don’t?”
“Danny,” Clockwork said, back in his elder form, “the Miamenso is reversible. If the worst did happen, and you were severely injured like this again, we could give them a chance to prove to you and themselves that they are capable of looking after a half-ghost son despite everything. A few simple tasks - you could decide which ones - and you all would be reunited. Until then, you could stay here - my home will always be open to you, no matter what.”
“But... I’d get drugged. Or they’d get drugged.” Danny shook his head and tried to ignore how dizzy that made him. “No. No. Absolutely not. My parents love me.”
“I believe I already made this point, but you can love someone with your entire being and still hurt them with your lack of understanding.” Clockwork sighed. “It’s just something to consider. A way for you to be safe from being hurt again while they still don’t fully understand.”
“But they will.”
“And if they don’t?”
“They will.” He tried to sound as sure as possible, though Clockwork kept watching him with sad, wide eyes. “I know they will. My parents love me. Even if I agreed to your amnesia drug plan, we’d never use it, so - look, if I agree will you shut up about it? My parents love me.”
“We’ll have to set conditions,” Clockwork said calmly, “but I’m not going to wind you up any further. I promise that will be the last we speak of it, if that’s what you want. At the very least, my door will always be open to you.”
“Nope. Never have to set anything. Won’t happen. No promises, either, because we don’t need them.” Danny said, shaking his head. His vision blacked out for a second, and he caught only a flicker of concern from Clockwork before the other ghost was trying to lay him back down. “My parents love me. They’re good parents.”
“I know, Danny,” Clockwork said gently, “I know.”
That was two years ago.
Currently, Clockwork had taken the chance to give Danny some pain killers. Despite his initial loopy reaction, he was now sleeping soundly and had been for the past hour.
Good. He could sleep as much as he wanted. He had almost died, after all. For the time being, Clockwork had something else to prepare.
When Jasmine had left for university, Danny had smuggled her a small portal generator. While it was still imperfect and took hours to recharge between portals, it was functional. Given the time Clockwork had left his message about her brother’s state, and how long the generator would take to recharge between portals, it should be ready right about -
The front door opened. Clockwork greeted the three in his entrance way with a grim look.
“Danny,” Sam said.
“Upstairs,” Clockwork replied, “asleep.”
“Alive?” Tucker asked.
“As much as he was before.”
The three of them relaxed, and Clockwork floated aside to let them in. Danny’s friends ran past him, but his sister held back.
“Did you do the... you know,” she mimed taking a drink.
“Miamenso Draught?” Clockwork clarified, “I did.” Jasmine nodded, lips tight. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. It’s better he doesn’t know what they did to him.” She sighed, and Clockwork kept pace with her as she started swiftly up the stairwell. “He probably didn’t make any conditions, did he?”
Clockwork shook his head. Jasmine sighed again. They came to the edge of the stairs, the door to Danny’s room open, with Sam and Tucker already in place at the sides of his bed.
“I’m going to kill them,” Sam hissed, her hands wrapped around one of Danny’s. “Tucker, I swear to whatever ghost god there is, I am going to kill them.”
“As long as I can help, I’m not protesting.” Tucker said.
“Don’t talk about murder next to him,” Jazz scolded, and lowered her voice as she approached. She waved a hand over Danny’s face - he continued to sleep soundly. “Don’t talk about our parents, either. He took a Miamenso, he won’t remember.”
Sam and Tucker’s confused looks were quickly swapped for glares at Clockwork.
“What’s a Miamenso?” Sam asked.
“Mia menso...” Tucker said, “that’s just ‘my mind’ in Esperanto.” Their glares got stronger. “What did you do to Danny?”
“He didn’t tell you?” Clockwork asked. He had, admittedly, seen that was a likely possibility but to be actually confronted with it was... strange. He’d genuinely thought that Danny would tell his friends.
“Don’t threaten Clockwork,” Jazz said, “Miamenso is a ghost thing. Just let me explain, okay?”
She took the lead, and relayed everything Danny had told her - the suspicion and judgement in Sam and Tucker's eyes was quickly dismissed. Clockwork’s tense posture relaxed a fraction.
The group lapsed into silence, Sam and Tucker absorbing the information. It would be difficult to process for anyone - Clockwork could still remember when he first learned of it. The Observants had not been pleased. Though admittedly, when it came to him, they never were.
Sam broke the silence with a bitter laugh. “Well, damn,” she said, “I wish I could forget my parents.”
Clockwork frowned. “The Miamenso Draught is a process to brew. For total erasure of memories, it would take a month to brew. With how specific Danny’s was, it took closer to a year.” Sam opened her mouth. “We would also have to confront the issue that unlike Danny, you’re not technically my responsibility. We’d have to go through the Observants, and they get... irritable whenever I broach the subject with them.”
“Okay,” Sam said, “I was joking, but okay.”
“Oh,” Clockwork said. “I knew that.” He hadn’t.
Thankfully, Danny started to wake up again before that conversation could continue. Clockwork backed away as Jazz sat down beside him, holding his left hand with both of her own. “Little br- Danny?” There was a collective wince at her correction. “Can you hear me?”
“Jazz?” His voice was still raw. “What are you doing here?”
“Visiting you,” she squeezed his hand.
“But you have college,” Danny said. His head lulled to the side, looking to Tucker. His eyes moved to the right, looking at Sam. “You guys have school.”
“And you almost had a funeral, dude,” Tucker replied. He and Sam sat on the bed as well, pressed close to him. “So, what do you remember? Drink anything weird lately?”
“Tucker,” Jazz said, the warning written all over her face.
“No...?” Danny frowned. “Uh, Dad gave me some water?”
Three teenagers stared at Clockwork. The fourth vaguely looked his way, not really focusing.
Clockwork swallowed. “Yes, I did.”
“Hi, Dad,” Danny said. “I didn’t see you.”
“Hello, Danny,” Clockwork said gently, “Sam, could you give him some of that water please?”
“...Sure.” She reached over slowly to grab the glass. “Danny, do you think you can sit up?”
“Maybe?” Danny pulled his hands back from Jazz and tried to force himself up. The heels of his palms pressed against the mattress and his arms shook, but he didn’t make any headway until Tucker helped him. Sam held the straw to his lips as Tucker shoved the pillows behind his back to prop Danny up. It was a touching sight. Clockwork’s arms ached as he held his staff too tightly, trying to resist the urge to rush over to help them. Danny was in relatively competent, well practiced hands, and he would just get in the way.
The glass of water hadn’t been more than half-full in the first place, and had been sitting out for hours at this point. Danny finished all but a few drops within seconds. Sam passed it to Tucker, who held it out for Clockwork. He took it back.
“Do you think I can have something that’s not water?” Danny asked.
“If you think you’ll be able to stomach it,” Clockwork replied. “We could try a simple soup, if you would like?”
Danny nodded - then he winced, a trembling hand moving to his head. “Oof,” he said. Sam rested her hand on the small of his back. “Sorry, I’m just dizzy.”
“You don’t have to apologize, little brother,” Jazz said gently. She sucked in a breath. “I mean, Danny.”
Danny lowered his hand and frowned. “Why are you being weird? I know you’re my sister, Jazz.”
It was like a weight Clockwork hadn’t registered was lifted from the room. Jazz’s movements were lighter. “Oh,” she said, “and I know you’re my brother, of course! And Clockwork...?”
“Adopted me when I was small,” Danny said slowly. “Seriously Jazz, I’m the one who got messed up. Why are you being so,” he pulled a lopsided face and gestured vaguely at his ear. Jazz covered her mouth with her fist and looked away from her brother.
“Because she’s worried,” Sam said, “Obviously. You scared her, Danny. You scared all of us.”
It was Danny’s turn to look sheepish and uncomfortable. “Yeah,” he said, “but I’m fine, I survived, and Dad’s looking after me. You guys can go, you don’t have to worry about me.”
Sam scoffed. Tucker laughed. “No way,” she punched his arm.
“You’re stuck with us, dude.” Tucker said with a grin, “no exchanges, refunds, or store credit.”
Danny gave a crooked grin back, and the four humans seemed to pull tighter together. Unfortunately, Clockwork couldn’t take the time to enjoy their happiness. There was a loud crash downstairs as they threw the door open, and the Observants shouted in fury.
He rolled his eyes. “I’ll be back in a moment,” he said, and smiled at Danny before he left. “I’ll bring the soup with me once I return.”
The Observants were waiting for him in the foyer. Clockwork paused on the stairs, looking the trio of them over. Normally they only came in pairs.
“You left the door open,” he said, and gestured to his front door.
“Where have you been?” One snapped.
Clockwork stayed on the stairs and made an effort not to roll his eyes. “On the second floor. These stairs are not just for decoration, you know. They go to another level.” The Observants glared. He continued, “You do know what stairs are, don’t you?”
“This attitude will get you nowhere,” Two said, her voice cold. Clockwork’s lip twitched - she normally only showed up when the Observants decided to pretend they cared about him. It was wholly unpleasant. So Clockwork ignored her.
“There has been a growing anomaly for the past several hours!” Three shouted. “What could be more important than fixing that? No excuses!”
“No excuses!” One repeated.
That... hm. Clockwork flew past them, into a mirror room.
“Answer us when we speak to you,” Two said, and was doubly ignored out of spite.
Using the mirror, it wasn’t difficult to locate the anomaly - it wasn’t a major one, just a simple issue where a natural portal had pulled someone from their time by a week. All they knew about the future were three digits of a lottery draw. Clockwork froze time and got to work - they were back in their own time within a minute. Simple, really. He returned to his tower and set time back in motion to see three Observants still floating there.
“Yes?” He said.
“Why did that take so long to get to?” Three asked.
Clockwork raised an eyebrow. “I believe you said ‘no excuses’ twice. Are you aiming to get a third in before you leave?”
“If it was really such a quick fix,” Two said, “then you would have done it without prompting. You have proven yourself capable of that, at the very least. So why the delay?”
“And why are you suddenly pretending to care about my reasons?” Clockwork replied.
“Why are you so resistant to tell us them?” Two pressed.
Clockwork held her glare. “I fixed the anomaly. You can leave now.”
The Observants stared at him for a few moments longer before, mercifully, they did just that. Clockwork waited until the door clicked shut before he moved. It was simple enough to prepare a simple broth for Danny. He moved it from the pot to a sturdy, wooden bowl, retrieved a spoon, filled the glass of water back up, and started back to Danny’s room - though, he did pause at the mirror room for a moment to retrieve three medallions.
He entered Danny’s room in the middle of Danny desperately trying to convince his friends and sister that they should be in school.
Danny half sat up in his bed, making stiff gestures as he talked. “You guys can’t miss stuff - Dad, back me up.”
The other three teenagers stared at him. Clockwork’s core twisted, and he set the soup down. He looked back up to Danny’s desperate blue eyes.
“They can stay for a bit longer,” Clockwork said, “but yes, they will have to leave eventually. You still need rest, Danny. That is why I would like to give the three of them these.” He handed Jazz, Sam, and Tucker each their own medallion. “You may put those on, and when you take them off, you will be transported back here.”
Tucker nodded. “Right, right, just like with -” he cut himself off, staring at Danny. “That time with the thing.”
Danny gave an unimpressed look, spoon of soup halfway to his mouth. “You mean with evil future me? Seriously, stop being weird.” He blew some frost onto the soup before he put it in his mouth and automatically pulled a face. “Eugh, now it’s too cold.”
“Would you like me to blow on it for you?” Jazz offered.
“Uh, no? I’m not a baby.”
Clockwork shook his head at the bickering and reached a hand over to cradle the edge of the bowl. Focusing on the contents inside, he aged the soup by a few minutes in under a second. “It should be better now, Danny.”
Danny tried another spoonful before he nodded - which seemed to make him dizzy. Sam, Tucker, and Jazz returned to silently trying to help in small ways. Clockwork returned to trying to keep his distance.
“I have work to do,” he said, “but I won’t be far. Call me if you need anything.”
“Got it, Mr. Danny’s Dad,” Tucker said awkwardly. Danny frowned at him and Sam punched his shoulder.
“We will,” Jazz said.
“See you later, Dad,” Danny said, “thanks for the soup. Love you.”
Clockwork was not an emotionally expressive being. With the Observants, showing any emotion other than mild annoyance had never gone well for him. Typically, he was very skilled at keeping his feelings under a metaphorical mask. But every word, every movement, every ‘Dad’ and ‘love you’ from Danny had already chipped it away. Clockwork was nearly crying when he turned away.
“Of course,” he said.
At 3:14 am, Vlad was awoken by his cat losing her mind at something outside his window. This was followed by floodlights and the beeping of industrial vehicles.
He barely had the time to put on anything more than a robe and concealer before several crashes and a car alarm were added to the mix.
Vlad made his way to his front gate at 3:32, where much to his unfortunate lack of surprise, Jack Fenton was unloading several incredibly dangerous antighost weapons.
Vlad pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “What in butterscotch’s name is this?”
Jack turned to face him, holding something that would certainly violate the geneva convention if ghosts were given proper rights. “Vladdie! You’re up! I tried to call you for ages!”
“Yes,” Vlad said, and did not unlock the gate. He’d had the man’s number blocked for months, how had Jack not realized that yet? Stupidity could only go so far. “What is this?” He asked again, “If I wanted anti ghost equipment, I would ask for it.”
Thankfully, at that moment Maddie stepped off the truck. Haloed by the floodlights, she looked every bit the angel Vlad knew she was. She set some sort of oversized dreamcatcher down beside a bazooka. “We’ve written up a fake bill of sale,” she said, “we need you to pretend to buy all of our ghost hunting equipment so we can get Danny back.”
Vlad raised an eyebrow. “Maddie, my dear, you know I’m always willing to lend a hand -”
“See!” Jack interrupted, throwing an arm around the woman he did not deserve, “I told you he’d help!”
“-However,” Vlad continued, “given that it is barely passed three thirty in the morning and I received none of the fabled calls Jack placed, I’m going to need ever-so-slightly more than that.”
“A ghost took Danny,” Maddie said, “it won’t give him back unless we get rid of our weapons. Vlad, please.”
Vlad frowned. While he wasn’t surprised - something like this was bound to happen eventually - he was annoyed. Any self-respecting ghost should know that he had repeatedly claimed Daniel. That boy would be his, and he wouldn’t settle for any less. He unlocked his gate and stepped out to join Maddie and (unfortunately) Jack. “Which ghost?”
“It called itself Clockwork,” Jack said.
“...Ah.” Well. Hm. That was... certainly something. “Where was this bill of sale you created?”
Maddie smiled and went to retrieve it, abandoning Vlad with Jack. Fortunately, Vlad was well practiced in ignoring him.
He knew of Clockwork. Most ghosts with more than a trace of self preservation did. They were a being who could see all of time itself and had united the original Ancients who dethroned Pariah. The concept itself would be terrifying enough if Clockwork was a neutral party. Instead, they worked for the Observants - the near-tyrannical council who had declared themselves judge and jury of the Ghost Zone in the absence of a King. Clockwork was their weapon, their pet attack dog and bounty hunter who could quite literally delete anyone their masters disagreed with.
Vlad had attempted to track them down once, when he was young and foolish, and was thankful he hadn’t succeeded. He had plans, and the last thing he needed was the Observants to take notice of them - like it appeared they had taken notice of the Fentons.
They must have something that posed a danger to the poor Council, and sent Clockwork to steal Daniel so they had some sort of leverage. Since now Jack and Maddie were clearly not acting in the spirit of the decree to ‘get rid’ of their ghost hunting weapons, it was likely Clockwork would respond to this by simply destroying Amity Park in its entirety. Yet again, Vlad was stuck dealing with the mess Jack Fenton had made.
Maddie returned before Jack could ramble any further about the specifics of his triangular laser knife, which would certainly hurt a human regardless of what he claimed. She offered Vlad a piece of paper and a pen. He read over the contract twice before he signed it, just to be sure.
“Thank you, Vlad,” Maddie said with a brilliant smile.
Jack slapped Vlad on the back nearly hard enough to knock him over. “Good job, V-man! Maddie, scribble on a witness signature and let’s finish unloading.”
Vlad watched Maddie switch to a different colour pen and forge a signature. He said nothing. Jack grabbed him by the shoulder and dragged him to the truck. Vlad pulled his arm away and began to examine the weapons which had already been dumped at his front gates. Some he recognized, some he didn’t. Many were clearly fire hazards that had been haphazardly thrown together. Honestly, it was a miracle it had taken this long for a ghost to take Daniel away from them - malicious intent behind the action or not. Mature ghosts got a bit strange when child ghosts were involved.
Vlad took a moment to examine some of the weapons piled at the base of that horrendous oversized dreamcatcher. It appeared that the bazooka was one of their oversized portal guns, just a different model. It also had a bayonet attached, for some unknown reason.
“Think fast, Vladdie!” Jack shouted, and Vlad made the mistake of raising his head in time to see Jack throw a vacuum at him. Vlad ducked and raised an arm to shield himself - not that it did him much good, when Jack’s terrible aim instead slammed into the dream catcher and flung an avalanche of trash around him.
Thankfully, nothing actually injured him. Vlad scoffed and straightened up. “Do you mind not trying to kill me -”
Jack had a gun pointed at him.
Maddie had a gun pointed at him.
Vlad looked down, and his hands - ghostly and translucent. He looked down at his normal human hands, and the frame of the dream catcher around his feet. He looked at himself, normal and human. He looked at himself, wispy and ectoplasmic.
His two halves rushed back together and fused instantly, before either half of Vlad could consider what he was doing. He - a full hybrid in human form - took in a deep, ragged breath, and placed a hand to his chest. His core churned within it. He looked up.
Maddie and Jack still had their weapons raised.
This was not ideal on any level. He’d have to salvage it as best as he could. He tried to form a duplicate and cast them out, a story about possession on the tip of his tongue when -
“You’re like Danny,” Maddie said.
Vlad stopped. He stared at her. How do you know that?
“The portal -” Jack started the blabber, his gun still raised. “The portal! You and Danny were both hurt by portals! Vlad, I’m sorry - I’m so sorry. If I had known - Vladdie, I’m sorry.”
“I would appreciate that more if you lowered your weapons,” Vlad said. He wasn’t sure what else was appropriate to say. “How do you know about Daniel? Did he tell you?” That didn’t make an ounce of sense.
“We can fix this,” Maddie said. She still had her gun raised as well. “Vlad, we got so close with Danny. We can remove the ectoplasmic mutation, and you can have a normal life!”
Vlad could only stare. “What.”
“We couldn’t save Danny,” Jack continued, “That ghost got to him - Vlad, please, let us save you.”
It clicked, then, in a way it should have before. “Oh.” He knew why the Observants had sent Clockwork to intervene. He understood.
“Vlad?” Maddie said, “Please -”
They didn’t move, and at not-quite-four-in-the-morning, Vlad decided he didn’t care what they saw. He screamed at them, the blacklight rushing over him until Plasmius stood in the middle of everything that had killed the only other being truly like him.
He teleported, then, back to his home, to his cat, and slammed on the button that would trigger every sort of human or ghost shield he possessed. They sprung up around the edges of his fence, barely pushing Maddie and Jack away an inch. He could still see them now, from his window, as they stood there, likely in the same clothes they had worn to kill their son. The window frame Vlad gripped burned under his palms, pink flames jumping from the wood to his curtains.
He couldn’t bring himself to care.
Everything he had worked for - everything - meant nothing if he was alone again. If the woman he had worked so hard for had killed the only other person who could possibly understand him.
And she didn’t even care.
Actual prompt: Clockwork gets sick of how Jack and Maddie treat Danny and spirits him away. Jack and Maddie have to prove to Clockwork that they’ll do better by completing his challenges. Whether or not they succeed is up to you. (Bonus: Clockwork does something to Danny so he no longer recognizes Jack and Maddie when he sees them in order to make sure Jack and Maddie have to follow through.)
I saw this prompt get resubmitted, looked at how many people wanted a continuation of this, and went like ‘I think legally I have to write this.’
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Lightning Scars and Listening Ears
Phic phight prompt by @datawyrms : Danny Phantom's jumpsuit is hiding a secret he'd rather not reveal to anyone. (feel free to be metaphorical if you want.) l
Team Human: @currentlylurking
Most citizens of Amity Park often forgot that Phantom wasn’t human. Sure he would fly through the skies, turn invisible, and shoot ectoplasm at the ghosts who would attack the city on a daily basis, but the way he acted when not saving the city always seemed so alive. That’s where the problem lied though. The ghost kid wasn’t alive, a fact that Amity Park never actually thought much about.
Phantom was playing around with some kids in the park when it all happened. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence to see the boy play with the younger citizens of the city, under their parents supervision most of the time. Seeing him give them piggyback rides and playing tag was actually a common sight when there were no ghosts to fight. Phantom had six different kids hanging off of his arms and legs, apparently trying to tackle him and get him to fall down. The group of parents laughed at the sight as the teenage hero fell to the ground admitting his defeat in a dramatic flourish.
“Ahh you got me! Foul villains, you will regret this!” He laughed as he lunged at the closest kid and launched a tickle attack. Childish squeels rang out as the uncaptured children ran trying to avoid being tickled. The little girl in his arms was finally released from her attacker when she turned on Phantom and started to tickle him back. His laughter attracted the other kids who scattered and they joined the counter attack.
“I yield I yield!” He flailed his arms as a dozen little hands tickled any spot they could reach. The kids slowly let up their assault leaving the teen gasping for breath.
One of the children, the girl who started the attack on Phantom, pulled on his arm. “Mr. Phantom? What’s that did you get a owie?” She asked pointing to his neck where part of his jumpsuit wrinkled down revealing a few red raised streaks maring his skin.
Phantom froze eyes jumping over to the adults just a few feet over who had stopped their conversation to try to see what the young girl was asking about. He quickly pulled the collar of his suit back into place. He gave the girl and the other kids surrounding him a pained smile. “Yeah I did get an owie. Don’t worry though I’m fine, doesn’t even hurt anymore.” Suddenly blue frost escaped his lips, the adults sitting nearby never saw him more relieved to have a ghost show up than in that moment. He gave quick goodbyes to the kids before shooting off to find the day's threat to the city.
All the adults gathered waved over their respective kids. While they trusted Phantom to get rid of the threat it was always smart to stay inside during a ghost attack. A loud boom sounded in the direction where Phantom flew off, shaking the ground. They all gave each other uncertain looks. “My house is closest we can take shelter there.” One of the men said leading everyone away.
After a block of running the group was almost to shelter when the ghost fight moved over their heads. The adults grabbed onto the children doing their best to shield them from the flying debris. They held the kids against their chests as they watched the sky in horror. They didn’t recognize the attacking ghost, but it was certainly doing a number on Phantom. The rest of the battle lasted at most a minute when Phantom managed to suck up the ghost into his thermos before he seemed to wobble in the sky and falling to the ground creating a small crater where he landed.
The man who was leading the group passed off the kid he was holding to the man next to him. “David what are you-?”
“Brian just hold her.” He ran over to the fallen teen and picked him up in a fireman's carry and rushed the rest of the way to his house.
Once he arrived he kicked open the door and placed the teen onto the couch in his living room. He looked down trying to assess the situation. Phantom’s jumpsuit was torn in numerous places exposing spots of his arms, neck, and chest that had splatterings of green ectoplasm across the exposed flesh. He started taking the rest of the jumpsuit off of the teen wanting to make sure there were no hidden injuries underneath. Behind him he could hear his husband and the other parents come through the door. “Get me a wet rag and some warm water!” He yelled behind him.
Once he was handed the items he started working on cleaning up the cuts and wiping off the ectoplasm. He silently thanked any higher being out there that he took a first aid class a few years back. The wounds actually seemed less severe than what David initially thought, that or the kid had some seriously advanced healing. One of the parents led the kids upstairs while the rest of them crowded around David and Phantom.
Once Phantom was as patched up as he could be David finally sat back and actually took a full look at the boy. His breath caught in his throat as he examined the body infront of him. In the end all he could get out was.“Oh my god. He’s- he’s dead.”
“What the hell do you mean? Of course he’s not, I can clearly see him breathing right now.” One of the parents protested.
David shook his head. “No.” He went to run his hands down his face before spotting the blood- no the ectoplasm covering them and settled for grabbing onto his husband for support. “No, I mean he’s a ghost.”
“Well yeah he’s a ghost it’s not like that’s news now is it?” Brian said running his hand up and down his husband's back.
“You guys don’t get it.” David pulled back. “Think! Look!” He ran his hand through his hair, staining it green. “Look at him.” He pointed at the teen’s unconscious body.
There were lightning shaped scars running all over the boy’s body, from the base of his neck trailing all the way down to his ankles. Those weren’t the only scars marring his body though, small scars were scattered all over his body, there was a rather large one on his abdomen in the same spot where he was hit the other week fighting off a ghost who was attacking the high school. The gathered adults looked back at Phantom’s face. As he slept he almost looked like a normal teenager, there were small bags under his eyes, his closed eyes hid the toxic green color, and the glow surrounding him was almost nonexistent.
Three things seemed to dawn on the parents all at once.
1: Phantom at some point had died
2: He died young, at most he was just out of middle school when it happened.
3: From the looks of it he didn’t die in his sleep but painfully. They all silently hoped that at least it wasn’t drawn out.
As they all looked at each other they couldn’t help but think of their own children who were just upstairs. Did Phantom have a family? Did his parents miss their little boy? Do they know that Phantom was their son? Even worse, the boy had a jumpsuit on when he died, was his parents the cause of his premature death?
Of course if Phantom was conscious, didn’t have to worry about the whole identity thing, and could read their minds the boy would quickly put their minds to rest responding; yes, no he sees them daily, god no, and sorta it really was more of a case of teenage stupidity than his parents fault though.
Two of those issues though were quickly resolved as two white rings shocked the group out of their grief for a boy they hardly knew. The rings traveled across the boy’s body replacing bare skin with street clothes and white hair with black. Everyone looked at Phantom(?) confused, the boy in front of them was very unghost-like and the scratch on his face that was previously bleeding green now had a red where the scab was forming.
“What the fu- wait isn’t that the Fenton kid, Danny I think?” David asked looking back at the other parents who were in the same amount of shock that he was. Actually he was positive it was him, his older sister Jazz used to babysit their daughter and he would sometimes come along.
If someone was going to respond they were cut off as the boy in front of them started to stir and open his eyes. He sat up almost falling off the couch in his panic, thankfully David was quick enough to catch him. “Woah there Danny, be careful you took a pretty bad beating out there. Hell I’m surprised you’re already awake to be honest kid.”
Danny gave him a thankful smile as he steadied himself. He froze once he caught a glimpse of his hair, his eyes shot down to his clothes. He looked back up and noticed the group of adults in front of him. “Now before you jump to any conclusions there’s a very reasonable explanation for this, or there will be just give me a few minutes.”
“Wait so does this mean you’re not dead?” Brian asked.
“Brian you can’t just ask that! What if it’s a sensitive subject?” David scolded his husband then looked over at Danny. “Sorry about him.”
Danny looked over to the men who for some reason had hope in their eyes. “What? It’s fine. I mean I guess no- well yes- no- sorta- it’s complicated.”
As Danny looked at the numerous questioning eyes he sighed. It’s not like he could convince them that it was a trick of the light or something. And he did owe them since they patched him up better than he would have been able to at home in his bedroom. But before he could start he turned to David. “I’ll tell you guys everything but first um… is that my ectoplasm in your hair and on your hands? Because if so you probably should wash that off, prolonged exposure isn’t harmful per say but you could start to glow or something if you don’t wash it off soon.”
David looked down to his hands, apparently just now remembering he was still covered in the boy’s ectoplasm and rushed to the bathroom to wash it off. He’d worry about why the sight of his own blood- ectoplasm didn’t phase Danny at all later.
Once David returned, now free of ectoplasm, Danny sat down and started from the beginning. At one point in the story he must have started to cry because he was handed a tissue box, which he accepted with a thanks. By the end he wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes, one of the adults had to go into the kitchen to compose themselves. Danny didn’t really understand why though, sure he sort of half died, but he didn’t see why it would affect any of them. “Hey! It’s fine, I’m fine it’s not a big deal! I mean it’s not like it only happened to me. Vlad went through it too like 20 years ago.” Danny seized up after he said that. “Don’t tell him you know about him though! Me not telling anyone about him is the only reason he’s not trying to fully kill me when we fight. That and he has a weird obsession with my mom and me.”
David paused at that. “So you’re telling us that not only did you go through a highly traumatic situation at a young age, but the only adult that even knows about it has tried to kill you multiple times?”
“I mean I guess but Jazz, my sister, knows about it too and she’s older than me and my friends.”
“Danny she’s also still a kid, an older one sure, but she is not an adult. Even if you didn’t go to your parents, was there no one else you could have talked to about it with? A therapist maybe?” David asked.
Danny laughed. “Ah no, Jazz tried having me go to the school therapist but she turned out to be a ghost who wanted to try to cause as much pain as possible. She even almost killed Jazz in front of the whole school.”
“Dear god.” David sighed. “All right, we will all keep your secret on one condition.” Danny cringed and looked down at his lap, of course there was a catch. He just hoped it wasn’t anything too bad like letting them run a bunch of experiments on him whenever they wanted to. His ghost injuries were bad enough to hide from others, he didn’t need to have to explain away needle marks or something. “You’ll see Brian once a week for therapy sessions. He’s a licensed psychiatrist.”
“Wait what?” Danny looked up confused.
“Oh don’t worry I won’t charge you of course since we are forcing you to do this, and obviously you can choose the day of the week. I usually don't work fridays or the weekends but if those are the only days that work I’m sure we can rearrange some of our family time to make room for you.” Brian smiled. “Now it’s getting pretty late isn’t it? I’m sure it’s about time everyone here starts to head home now hmm? Of course if you aren’t feeling well enough Danny I can call your parent’s up and just let them know you’ll be staying here. I’ll just tell them you were injured in a ghost fight, not exactly lying now is it?”
“Um no I’m fine enough to walk home thank you though.” Danny said. Everyone started saying their goodbyes and calling the children down to get them ready to leave. Danny was the last one left, he was almost out the door when he was stopped by David handing him a piece of paper.
“Here are our numbers, I also wrote down where Brian’s office is, you can set up your appointment over text. As well as our address, you can stop by or call us for any reason Danny and I mean it okay, any.”
Danny looked down at the paper and pocketed it with a nod. As he left he felt almost lighter for some reason. Maybe having adults who knew and didn’t want to kill him but actually wanted to help him wasn’t so bad after all.
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Danny wakes up in a bed that is not his own, he is covered with big splashes of ectoplasm and he has no memory of the day before. Prompt by @phantomfana
word count: 1033
Danny groaned as he started slipping back into consciousness. What had happened yesterday? All he remembered was playing video games with Sam and Tucker and then suddenly everything was blank.
He rolled onto his other side, grimacing at a pain in his stomach but he ignored it in favor of going back to sleep.
“Oh thank fuck, you’re awake.”
Danny’s eyes shot open at the voice that spoke next to him and he bolted up and then clenched at his head when it started aching. When he opened his eyes again, he looked to his left to see Dash staring at him with wide eyes. His brows furrowed and he looked around the room, which clearly wasn’t any room in his house.
“What happened?” He mumbled, rubbing a hand against his face. “What am I doing here?”
Dash’s brows drew down. “You don’t remember?”
“No?” Danny said, his gaze darting back to Dash.
Sighing, Dash ran a hand through his hair and looked at the floor. “Last night Phantom was in the park doing his nightly patrol.”
“Phantom?” Danny asked.
“Yeah. He was doing his usual rounds when the Fentons got there. I couldn’t hear everything they said, but they sounded like they were trying to ask him something. After a little while they started getting mad and shooting at him.”
“Okay.” Danny said. “He’s usually fine after dealing with them. What happened?”
“They pulled out a new weapon I’ve never seen before and shot him with it. He started falling out of the sky and he landed on the ground near me. I could hear them getting closer so I picked him up and started running here, but…”
Dash looked back up at Danny.
“I saw him, you, transform.”
Danny’s eyes widened and he began trying to scramble backwards in the bed away from Dash. He hissed as a pain shot through his stomach again and stilled when Dash started waving his hands back and forth in front of him.
“No! Don’t do that! I don’t know what they hit you with but whatever healing power thing you usually have going on hasn’t kicked in yet for some reason.”
Looking down, Danny saw a big green stain on the front of his shirt. He lifted up the hem and saw bandages wrapped around his abdomen, green starting to peek through the fabric.
“I would have gotten you a clean shirt but I figured you wouldn’t have liked that.” Dash said quietly.
“You bandaged me up?”
“Yeah?” Dash asked with a frown.
“Why? Why would you help me?”
Dash stared at Danny. “Why wouldn’t I? You're the town’s hero. It’s not like I was gonna leave you there for your parents to find you.”
Danny’s eyes widened in panic again. “My parents- did they see me transform?”
“No.” Dash shook his head. “They were still too far away by the time I grabbed you and started running.”
Danny breathed out a sigh of relief. “Well that’s good. Now I don’t have to worry about going home.”
“Yeah. You know.” Danny paused. “The place where I live?”
“Why would you- Your parents just shot you out of the sky! How can you go back home after that?” Dash yelled.
Shrugging, Danny just looked at Dash. “It’s not like this is the first time that’s happened.”
Dash’s shoulders slumped down and he dropped his face into his hands.
“Doesn’t that terrify you?”
“Well, yeah.” Danny said. “But it’s not like I can just disappear because then they always come blasting at Phantom wondering where their son is.”
Dash let out a short laugh. “I wonder if that’s what happened yesterday when they were talking to you.”
They fell quiet after that. Dash stared at the bed, thinking, while Danny fidgeted with the blanket draped over him. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Danny spoke again.
“Well, I think I should probably go home now before they start wondering where I am. Wouldn’t want them to keep looking for me around town.”
“Are you sure you’re okay to go?” Dash asked. “You’re injury-”
“Isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever had. I’ll be fine in no time.”
Dash huffed. “If you say so.”
He watched as Danny started trying to scoot forward and out of the bed.
“Here, let me help.”
Dash helped pull Danny to his feet, keeping him steady on his feet. They looked at each other for a moment before both looking away.
“You’re not going to tell anyone are you?” Danny asked quietly.
Dash gaped at him. “Why would I tell anyone?”
Danny shrugged. “You’ve bullied me all the time that we’ve known each other. It's a valid question.”
“I guess you’re right.” Dash said. “But no, I’m not going to tell anyone. Realizing it was your parents who have been chasing their son this whole time… I wouldn’t want to put you into that kind of danger. Who knows what could happen.”
Nodding, Danny looked back up at Dash. “Thanks for, you know, helping me.”
“It was the least I could do.”
Nodding again, Danny stepped away from Dash and a bright flash of light appeared around his waist. Dash watched in awe as it split and traveled up and down Danny’s body until it left Phantom in his place.
“Woah.” Dash whispered.
Danny smiled at the look on Dash’s face and gave a small wave before turning to the wall. He was about to fly away when a hand grabbed his wrist.
“Just.” Dash met his gaze and then looked away. “Be careful out there.”
He chuckled and patted the hand that was around his wrist. “Don’t worry, I’ll do my best,”
With that, Danny gently pulled his wrist from Dash’s hand and flew through the wall and up into the air. He took a deep breath. He wasn’t looking forward to the questions and scolding he knew he would get from his parents, but he hoped he’d at least be able to get a clean shirt before they could see him.
He took off and began flying away from Dash’s house and towards the fate his parents had waiting for him for breaking curfew.
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A Ghost in His Bonnet (Phic Phight)
Two prompts this time! Outsider POV of the crazy things that college student Danny Fenton gets involved in & Danny is struggling to be taken seriously later in life (college or work) it probably has something to do with the fact that he still looks 14
For @mystyrust and @bubblegumbeech
uh, and I’ll tag @phicphight cuz why not?
The University knew about Daniel “Danny” Fenton (whiz kid or neanimorphic?), especially after having the ki- student on campus for a good two, going on three, years. He’s that teenage-looking boy you’d see in the corner of your eye and, the next second, disappears. Nobody knows how he does that, but it adds to the mystery of him.
Needless to say, Danny Fenton is the University’s “Ghost Boy.” He’s the scary story you tell the freshman about. The man who gets the most unbelievable rumors that not even his dorm mates know are true or not. And, no matter what, Danny never bats an eye on any accusations. Never confirms or denies. This only gets the fabricated stories to increase.
“He’s a modern-day genius, skipped every grade in high school.”
“Oh, him? He has powers, the professors keep an eye on him so he doesn’t go rogue.”
“Danny’s parents are scientists. He accidentally got infected with a chemical that stopped his body from growing.”
“You see that boy? No one knows why he’s here. People say he’s a hit-and-run victim that haunts the University.”
“He accidentally got buried alive when the campus was first built.”
“He died during midterms from sleep deprivation. Great for the students, terrible for him.”
The most common rumor’s the ghost one if it isn’t obvious. From his messy lopped hair and pale-white skin, his appearance only supports the theory. It’s gotten to a point that his dorm would tease him with the ‘Ghost Boy’ title.
But the mill keeps moving and it’s a fruitful scare for new students. This time, the victim of the grain is Wes Weston, criminal science major and self-named paranormal investigator.
“There’s this boy,” Wes’s student guide tells him in an above whisper voice. “Some say he’s a professor’s kid, but others say he’s the ghost of a boy that died when Infinity Hall was still a small clinic. Nobody knows his name, but most call him Ghost Boy.” She has this smirk that makes Wes roll his eyes, but he still stores the info in the back of his head.
He doesn’t have a reputation here, unlike his high school. Nobody sees him as the person who accused his substitute teacher of being a vampire and his neighbor’s dog as a werewolf. He knows that it must be some new student hazing, but she had just released a bee in his bonnet and it is buzzing loudly.
He forces the bee quiet though because he didn’t want to make that reputation. The University is far away from Wisconsin and he had a chance to reinvent himself. Sure if they do have a Conspiracy Club or something of the like, he wouldn’t mind joining. But he will not stalk- study people anymore.
The student guide shows him more of the campus, the mini-mall, and the rest of the halls. The buildings themselves have a very welcoming appearance; all of them are tall brick buildings with sky-high pane windows and great wooden staircases that lead up the next floors. There are intricate stone canopies along the walkways to the classes and beautiful parapets above. Flowers line the sides. It doesn’t appear to be the site of a place that has a haunting.
However, even with the easing of the beautifully flourishing flowers and architecture, Wes’s bonnet bee hums loudly at the back of his neck. Why did he have to be such a paranoid person?
Days pass and the bee is still. He finds his classes well enough and makes friends with his roommates. One is a greasy-haired guy named Spice—he’s fairly sure the guy’s a junky but he’s only seen him use legal marijuana—and Miles, who has a habit of snarking in a somehow kind manner. They’re fairly cool and he’s glad that he has good roommates in the first year of college. He’s heard enough horror stories about bad roommates to make him fear for his life.
It isn’t long after that he does see the so-called “Ghost Boy.”
It’s in the dead of morning, the sun barely making skids along the sky and the air still chilly from the night. Wes is at the library, accidentally stumbling on a supernatural research paper while trying to find sources for his essay. It wasn’t his fault that the electromagnetic field of the nonliving is more interesting than philosophy.
It’s dark since the overhead lights don’t operate until 10 AM. He’s using a green lamp to read and take notes. No one else is there, mostly because it’s still the beginning of the semester and exams haven’t started up. Well, that’s what he believes anyway.
Wes spots a figure in the corner of his eye, half-expecting it to be Miles giving him an early scare. (The man had discovered Wes’s infatuation with anything supernatural and it has not been a good couple of days.) He has a prepared shout in his throat when his eyes land on a teenager.
He’s beneath the skylight, which is the exact center of the room. The moon’s beam showers him and he almost looks transparent. His white complexion has light bouncing off his skin, and it makes his surroundings glow. Dust motes swirled around and his head tilted up, looking at the stars that stare back. He can’t make much out in the low light but he tries his best to.
His pitch-black hair falls messily and even Wes could notice that his eyes were a chilling green. He’s wearing a faded band shirt that’s so beaten up that Wes couldn’t tell what it used to be. The boy is standing, unmoving. His eyes are knitted together as if in deep thought.
Wes doesn’t know what to make of the scene, it’s almost unnerving.
He’s about to call out and ask why the boy is there until he starts to move. The pale boy does a full-body shudder—unsettling to see a boy start shaking for no reason, even for only a second—and parts his lips. Wes half expects him to say something but, instead, a wispy breath of air escapes his mouth.
Wes looks down confused. It couldn’t be that cold, could it? He cups his hands near and blows a steady stream of air and carefully watches it. Not even the faintest cloud appears in them.
His eyes move back up, but the boy’s not there anymore. He hastily stands up, not caring as the chair is sent crashing to the floor—that’s a lie, he glances very apologetically at the seat and mutters a sorry—and dashes to where he last saw the boy.
No matter where he looks, it feels as if there wasn’t anyone there in the first place. He hadn’t heard the boy move at all.
The clouds above move and close the moon behind it. It’s completely dark right now, the only light coming from the lamp that’s still lit. The darkness reminds him of the boy’s hair and the green lamp are his eyes.
He swears to Miles and Spice that he met the Ghost Boy when he meets with them in their room. His roommates laugh at him instead.
“Dude, c’mon,” Spice giggles, “Ghost Boy’s a legit student here. You probably just saw him for a sec.” He’s on the top bunk, his head hanging upside down off the bed. His hair, which usually is in a ponytail, flows freely down like a river of tar. Wes used to wonder how he does that without feeling a head rush, but it’s pretty much a Spice thing.
Miles nods in agreement. “I know you’re a freshman and I should encourage this behavior to the extreme as your junior—”
Wes scowls which gets Spice to laugh loudly, interrupting Miles for a moment.
“—But Ghost Boy’s seriously just a normal guy. I think he has some chronic illness that makes him look fourteen.” Miles pauses and a no-nonsense expression appears. “It’s noncommunicable so don’t start avoiding him like the plague. And treat him like any other person, the only thing different with him is how he looks, not his head.”
Wes cringes at his own accusation and nods towards Miles. He didn’t want to be a jerk to someone who has a medical problem. However, that doesn’t stop the theories from stinging his brain.
A week goes by and Wes passes the meeting with Ghost Boy as an early-morning hallucination. A combination of sleep deprivation and his student guide’s story made him see things for a brief moment. No matter how realistic it was, it is just his imagination.
And then the right situation comes along that tells him it was not.
It’s around lunch and Wes is heading to the vending machine. He would have had lunch at Infinity Mall—Infinity Hall’s basically closer than twins to the mini-mall, thus dubbing it Infinity Mall—but his allowance had yet to come in. Besides, he’s feeling potato chips and a cereal bar anyway.
As he veers the corner, he is met with the sight of Ghost Boy standing right in front of the vending machine.
He takes a sharp step back, pressing his body against the wall that hid him from the kid- full-fledged adult. Wes doesn’t know why he’s hiding, but he thinks it’s connected to his embarrassment. If he has to ever talk to Ghost Boy—he needed to find out his name, honestly—he’d be awkward as hell. It’s like when he had to hand in his English paper to the teacher he tackled for thinking she was a selkie. Not fun for anyone.
He peeks his head around the corner to see if he left. To his dismay, he stays standing there. There’s an angry look on his face directed to the vending machine. He kicks at the machine a few times.
Ghost Boy’s eyes are clearly blue. Almost as piercing as his library encounter—which did not happen—but not green. Wes feels as if he should be relieved, but a chill runs down his spine at the sudden change of color.
“Stupid frickin’ money eater,” Ghost Boy mutters loudly. Then he takes a moment to think. He looks to his left as if he’s scoping the area and Wes quickly retracts his head.
Oh gosh, is this stalking? Am I stalking someone again? He physically shakes his head. I’m just waiting for him to leave, nothing to do with Ghost Boy. Nope. Not at all.
He waits before he juts a bit of himself to watch Ghost Boy again. He’s crouched down and Wes could barely understand what he’s doing from the angle. One thing’s for sure though, it looks as if he just pulled a bag of BBQ chips through the vending machine.
In his hands were the chips and his annoyed face turns into a knowing, pleased-with-himself grin. He juggles the chip from hand to hand and walks away.
Wes, once again, scrambles as fast as he can to the place where Ghost Boy once stood. Nothing strange seems to have taken, also in a similar fashion as before. The only evidence that anything at all happened is his own eyes. Yet again, an almost repeat scenario.
Kyle, his brother, always said his hair is pulled over his eyes. Metaphorically and physically. His quiff would obstruct his vision sometimes and Kyle tells him that’s why he sees things (unfair coming from the man who has bangs covering the entirety of one of his eyes.) But people always say stuff about his hair—mostly because he’s a redhead—and it never has been in downfall.
He can’t be simply paranoid now, can he? He knows the saying is ‘once an accident, twice a coincidence, and three times a pattern’ but a coincidence is more than enough to get his bonnet in a twist.
He decides to put it to study.
“You wanna know more ‘bout Ghosty?” Spice repeats Wes’s question, pulling his lollipop from his mouth for a second.
Wes nods in affirmation, looking up to Spice from his desk. The older always conversed from the higher platform of his bed, and Wes couldn’t have the faintest idea why. In the end, it’s just another Spice thing to do.
Spice rests his head on the metal railing, the rest of his body belly-flat on his bed. His eyes wander the room lazily as he thinks. “Man, I haven’t talked to the dude in a while. Real cool though. Has the wildest stories, you wouldn’t believe. Pretty sure his name is…” Spice snaps his fingers a few times, trying to recall. “Randy? Tammy? Dah… Daffy? D something I’m sure.”
Wes hums at the new knowledge. Ghost Boy’s name starts with a D. It’s not the best lead and it is coming from a man who looks as if smoked something just before the conversation, but it’s better than nothing. He also had the slightest suspicion Miles would mess with him a little if he’d ask. Love the guy, but he does like to tease his supernatural obsession. And this is an investigation.
“Have you seen Ghost Boy do anything… spooky? Walk through walls? Disappear? Fly?”
“He’s much more unique than the other guys!” Spice smiles to himself in an inside joke sort of way. Wes stares at Spice weirdly but Spice completely ignores it.
He pretends he hadn’t even said anything and answers, “Ooh, one time I think I saw his eyes change color. I also think I took half a joint, and colors are always more,” he mimes two explosions with his hands, “POP! ‘know? Anyway, they turned green for a sec. Not like a grassy or a dark, full-on acid green.” He’s waving his hands comically while he speaks.
Wes thinks that’s all the confirmation he needs.
“Wait, you legitimately believe in the supernatural, no jokes?”
“Yes, for the last time, Miles.”
“Oh, sorry man. Hope I wasn’t mean or anything. But you do know I will still joke about this all, right?”
“It’d be weird if you didn’t.”
“Good. By the way, what’s your take on baby ghosts? Can two ghosts just… get at it?”
“Oh, what the hell-”
Wes actually puts off the ghost hunting business to pay attention to his classes. They started to pick up and he did want to get his Criminal Science degree.
He begins to notice whether or not Ghost Boy—now dubbed D—is around. Spots him on the opposite side of his class, hanging out with friends in the courtyard, and just casually walks by. The more Wes stares the more he’s convinced that D might be a normal student. But then he recalls his experience and his stoner roommate.
Before he knew it, it’s Halloween.
Miles lassos him into some student haunted house that is Infinity Hall. Spice tags along too, just because he likes to.
Wes wears his old basketball shirt that still fits him, adding some fake cuts on his face and arms for extra effect. He planned to go more zombie but the sentimental value of the shirt stopped him. Miles decides to wear a partly faded Captain Crunch shirt with some painted on red streaks. Spice went for a goth lumberjack, which isn’t any different from what he normally wears. Black and white flannel and his hair tied up in a bun.
He had to hand it to the Infinity Hall students, the building is incredible. The once comforting brick aesthetic now towers over them menacingly. The series of windows on every dorm room has not a single bit of light pouring out of them, vaguely impressive to see everyone in the hall work together to give the illusion. Vines coiled up at the sides in a rundown way; Wes finds that they are fake, obviously, but it’s extremely real in the darkness. Cassandra Hall—his own dormitory—pales in comparison to the dorm in front of him. They’d only put up a few cobwebs and tacky decorations.
“I’m pretty sure Danny’s the main planner this year,” Miles says conversationally, pushing past the large metal doors of Infinity Hall. “He makes a helluva good haunted house. He usually co-plans with Link, that’s the RA, but he got full reigns this time.”
A wicked expression crosses Miles as he looks at Wes, “He likes going full throttle, just so you know. Link’s the one that holds Danny back so don’t be surprised if you get a few nightmares from today.”
They’re in the main hallway, at least Wes thinks he is. Up till now, they’ve just been following Miles absentmindedly. Wes surveys the room and realizes that he has no idea where the entrance and exit are. He scoots closer to his friends.
A low fog is at their feet that obscures the ground below. Wes didn’t even notice when it washed in but it settles as if it has always been there. No matter where he looks, he can’t find the fog machine or the glycerine-water combination that’s pushing it into the room.
Spice nudges Wes slightly, he jumps in response and then glares at the taller male. Spice smirks a little and rolls the lollipop in his mouth to his cheek.
“Heads up, I chose Suspense Experience instead of the Jumpscare one. Also removed the Entertainment Package.”
Wes’s eyebrows knit together but Spice doesn’t elaborate. It feels as if Wes is the only one completely oblivious to what he’s going to experience. Even Spice is in on it, choosing the ‘experience’ they’re going to have.
As they keep moving, Wes sees there is a clear direction they need to head. A path lit by hanging lanterns, the type used in camping and at the lowest level imaginable, directs them. The walls are lined with broken mirrors and masks. Broken, wooden support beams scatter around them and the hall gets narrow.
Miles’ face contorts into a tight smile and Spice’s usual blazed, lazy face holds a steady stream of tenseness.
A boy’s giggle echoes behind them.
They snap in the direction, but nothing’s there. The sound of bells clinking together is the only thing left.
They continue into a narrowing path, a doll hung by a thread dropping suddenly at Wes’s face. He yelps loudly and his friends do the same. He pushes past it and leans towards Spice. He’s taller than all of them, even if it’s just skin and bones.
More dolls hang down in a random order, and it spooks them every time. They look to the walls and, sometimes, the masks would jut forward without warning. A clear mop of hair revealing and their heads tilting and following them.
With a few more scares and bells ringing, they make it to an open room. All of their relief is sucked out when they find themselves in a hall of full-body mirrors, numerous mannequins with jet-black hair and dragging white robes scatter it. Wes reaches a hand to touch one of them, hand jerking back as it connects to cold plastic. Yeah, they’re fake. As if the information made it any less scary.
“Dude,” Miles hisses, “Do you have a death wish?”
“Sue me if I’m curious!”
“Heaven forbid you to get curious, lest we all get attacked by a crazy banshee lady!”
Spice pushes them forward, gaining instant protests in the process. “The exit is right there, guys! Can’t believe I gotta be the sensible one here.” He mutters at the end.
They hesitantly walk toward it, jumping every time they see a not-mannequin staring. They never move from their place, but their hands inch towards the group whenever they draw close. It makes a creaking sound when they do, like prying wooden puppets open. With the long robes held higher, the red scratch marks on the fabric clearer in the dim light. It instantly has them recoil, only to almost walk into another not-mannequin.
They’re less than a few feet away from the open doorway when a howl of laughter resounds. It gains their attention.
All of the not-mannequins lift their arms straight and give a crooked point of a finger. They giggle and laugh in unison to create a symphony. The sound blends so much that it’s hard to differentiate who’s laughter is who’s.
Suddenly, a much taller, ganglier figure walks forward. Wes doesn’t remember seeing this one, but it is so tall and large that it couldn’t have gotten in through the entrance normally. It has the same hair and robes as the rest, but its back is hunched forward. Even then, it reaches the top of the ceiling with ease. There’s a clear, sickle of a smile plastered on its face and it creaks another step forward.
“Oh perfect dolls, in my walls.”
Another wooden step, this time the rest of them follow suit. A faint blur is in the background the continued sound of bells chiming.
“Would you let me keep you all?”
They all book it through the door as fast as they can, screaming and yelling and cursing loudly. An increase of masks on the walls blurs by. They catch a breath as the hallway makes a turn.
Spice completely sprawls himself on the floor, his lollipop long since lost. Miles’ hands are on his knees and seem seconds from collapsing. Wes leans towards a wall, taking numerous breaths.
“What… the hell did you choose, Spice?” Miles asks between breaths, glaring at the man.
Spice lets out a quiet laugh, his breathing getting calmer. “I did whatcha asked me to. Choose a scary option.”
“I said scary, not terrifying!”
“Well, I was high! You know better to stick me with something after I take a couple.”
Wes interjects, “Wait, it isn’t always that scary?”
Miles shakes his head, lifting his body back up. “It’s usually milder than this. Man, I did not realize how much Link holds Danny back, damn.”
Wes lifts his head and whips it to the left. He kicks Spice from the ground; he barely sees Spice through the fog but his faint outline is a good indication. Wes points down the hall.
“Hey… that’s the exit, right?”
The hall is long and thin like the rest, but there’s a light at the end. A distant rustle of leaves is distinct enough that all of their heads bend towards it. He knows what they are all thinking: freedom. With shaking knees, they walk as fast to it. There are more puppets and dolls from the ceiling and sides but they’re all too determined to get out.
They’re moments away and are almost jogging at this point, but stop suddenly.
Wes takes an unsteady hand and presses forward.
A large glass pane separates them from the exit. The edges are obscured by the fog and props, but they can all see them clearer now that they are closer. It fogs up just a bit at Wes’s breathing and he sees his own, wide-eyed expression. He can map out every piece of horror and hopelessness in his eyes.
A giggle just like from the beginning echoes again. When they turn to the right, they see what has been making it.
A boy is sitting on a waiting room chair, swinging his legs back and forth. He’s wearing a rugged and crumpled suit and his black hair is gelled back.
“Where are you going?” His voice echoes as he asks.
His mouth doesn’t move. It only takes a moment to see that he’s wearing a porcelain mask. A quick look at the rest of his body and it almost looks as if the rest of his body is porcelain too.
“Don’t you want to be a doll?” He asks another question, standing up. He doesn’t sound as if he’s wearing the mask, instead of talking from every direction simultaneously. His legs clatter together and it makes a high-pitch ding. It sounds like bells.
The ringing bells were never bells.
It’s the sound of porcelain.
They all take a step backward as the boy continues. It’s unnerving how his mouth stays still. “You’ll be perfect. Forever! Don’t you want to be perfect?”
Miles grasps at Wes’s shoulder and they make eye contact. There’s terror in them. He points behind them, another open doorway. There’s also a light coming from there, just as the one next to them promised. The hall is completely dark, with no lanterns at all. The only thing illuminating it is the open door.
“Let’s go!” Miles urges, and it doesn’t take much convincing to run to the new promise of freedom.
Unlike the last time, the porcelain boy doesn't stay in his room. He sprints just as fast as them. The jingle of bells—no, porcelain flesh—reverberates. He laughs like he’s playing a game that nearly makes Spice trip on his feet. Wes grabs at Spice’s arm and drags him faster.
“Stay!” the boy screeches. “Come back! STAY!”
Wes feels like he’s in an actual horror movie, sweat clinging on his brow and adrenaline pumping.in his veins. He still can’t see the sides of the walls, an endless abyss to his left and right. It only makes the end light more alluring.
He nearly trips on a fallen doll, but he’s quick to bounce back up. Within a split second, he sees the boy behind them. Even with the porcelain mask, he can see the eye color.
Wes keeps running to the light, nonetheless. Heavy breaths escaping him and his legs beginning to ache. They’re echoed by his friends’ pants and footsteps.
Then it’s all bright.
He’s through the door and he tumbles into the grassy area right outside. He’s flat on the ground and is willing his body to take more breaths. His hands are free to clamp onto the soil below him. To his sides are Spice and Miles, both equally exhausted.
In a moment of panic, he faces his body towards the door they came from, terrified that the boy will continue to chase them.
He’s standing there right at the doorway, looking somehow disappointed through the mask. He doesn’t dare take a step onto the outside concrete. His chest doesn’t move up and down as rapidly as theirs, doesn’t even look like he’s breathing.
He takes a moment to look at them each in the eye.
“Fine. You’ll never be perfect.”
The wind slams the metal doors.
The echo in his voice never left, Wes realizes with the hammering of his heart. In the broken mirror path, the seemingly full hallway, the straight course of darkness, or even right outside the door, it always sounded haunting. He thinks (and hopes) that it’s a voice modulator, but an old buzz of a busy bee resurfaces.
It’s silence until Miles lets out a large whoop. He pumps his fists high in the air.
“That was amazing! He was all chase-y and we were all screaming!”
Spice shares the sentiment and speaks through deep breaths, “Damn good haunted house.”
Wes gives a queasy smile, “Yeah, yeah… Scary as hell.”
Miles barks laughter, “And Danny as a creepy child? Now that was perfect!”
And something drops in Wes’s stomach. The look of the small boy starts to become familiar. “Wait… does that mean-?” He does his best to iterate the question, even with his mind fuzzy with adrenaline. “Is Danny Ghost Boy?”
Miles huffs a laugh, “Yup, local Infinity Hall resident and Astrophysics major, Daniel Fenton. Also known as Ghost Boy.”
“You’re an actual ghost, aren’t you?” Wes interrogates, crossing his arms.
It took him until mid-November and two weeks of on-and-off stalking studying to initiate a confrontation. He manages to corner D—now dubbed Danny—in a fenced gazebo within the courtyard. Danny had the habit of drawing star maps in it, something about ‘natural lighting’ if Wes’s eavesdropping ears are believed.
Danny looks up in confusion from the wooden seat attached to the gazebo. He has a ruler in one hand, a pen in the other, and a large sheet of paper in his lap. His hair is in an unruly mess and he’s wearing the University’s sweater. His eyes are blue and no matter how hard Wes stares at them, they remain that way.
There’s a re-ignition in the very center of Wes’s being, one he can’t ignore anymore. The bee in his bonnet burrows inside of him and makes a hive of his innards.He wanted to keep his old beliefs back in high school, but this is too big for him to hold back. Ancient determination swarms him and the bees that stung him now hum with tenacity.
Wes can’t help but glare, thinking the question sounded nothing more than mocking. As if his accusation has no basis.
“You,” Wes extends an exaggerated point to Danny, “are a ghost. I’ve seen your eyes change to green. Spice’s seen your eyes green too.”
A grin appears on Danny’s face that appears even more mocking, though in a more purposeful sense. “I don’t think changing eyes mean I’m a ghost. Plenty of studies show that eye color can change according to the season.” He’s twirling his pen in his hand as he speaks.
Wes’s eyes narrow, “But it wasn’t seasonal! Your eyes literally change from blue to green spontaneously.”
“Well, I don’t know else to explain it to you. It’s how my eyes work.”
“How about your disappearances? Care to explain how you can just vanish in thin air?”
Danny puts an elbow to a criss-cross knee and props his chin with his hand. He’s leaning in as if he’s amused by everything. All of his work is set aside to the empty space beside him.
“I just have quiet footsteps,” Danny shrugs. “Trick of the light too. And, not to be blunt, but I’m pretty short. It's easy to look past me.”
The temper inside of Wes bubbles up but he keeps himself planted in his spot. “Your voice echoed during Halloween when you were playing that creepy ghost. Even when you were right outside.”
Danny pokes his cheek with the hand beneath his head. “I mean, I never left the building. And the halls echo like crazy when you clear everything out. It's very effective, wouldn’t you say?”
Wes notes that Danny hasn’t refused the three accusations. He diverts it into something reasonable. It’s a very effective technique. It nearly works on Wes but he recalls a lecture that explains that a criminal does this to gaslight their innocence. But they sometimes don’t refuse because they are guilty and their mind doesn’t want to lie.
“How about this?” Wes roughly takes out a printed photograph from his pocket and shoves it in his face.
It’s a picture of Danny’s arm phased into a rosebush. Wes had taken it when Danny was playing frisbee with some of his friends. It had been such a small moment that Wes barely got it on camera. He’d been studying Danny for a good half hour, calling him obsessed, and it’s the first bit of a coherent lead he’d gotten.
Wes watched Danny like a hawk—not in a stalking way, only when Wes had some time on his hands—and the times Danny shows symptoms of being a ghost were slim.
Danny pokes the photograph down a little, giving it a gimlet look. “The angle’s pretty weird.”
Danny hands it back to him, and he harshly snatches. He examines it closely. And, yeah, the phasing could be passed off because of the awkward angle, but it's still proof!
It’s a sharp laugh that distracts Wes and has Wes scowling more ferociously.
“I’m sorry,” Danny wipes a tear from his cheek. “I’ve been accused of being an actual kid, eternal youth, and some sort of Benjamin Button, but never a ghost.”
Wes’s fists tighten up and his brow forms a permanent knot. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Danny shrugs again, “You’re the first, I guess. Something to be proud about, I tell you.”
It doesn’t sound very taunting, more like it’s something Wes should actually be proud of. But the knowing smirk makes any pride worthless. It's telling Wes that he doesn’t have enough evidence, that he can’t get more evidence.
He pockets his proof photograph and slams his foot angrily to the floor. He spins on his heels to the open entryway, giving one last glare.
“I’ll show you, Fenton! I’ll prove that you aren’t what you seem!”
“Bye guys, thanks for- Wes?”
“Hey, Wes! What’re you doing in that tree? Oh, where are you going? Well, see you during study hall.”
“I’ll get you next time, Fenton!”
Wes starts having a difficult time with his not-stalking.
Before, when it was a casual thing, he had no problem watching out for Danny, but now it’s downright impossible. He points a camera and snaps a picture; Danny looks behind him and throws up a peace sign and a stuck-out tongue. He looks as if he’s turning the corner and is, instead, waiting for Wes to follow him; then he makes some idle conversation that just riles up Wes.
The more determined Wes got, the more it escalated. He starts taking far away approaches, using a telescopic camera that he always keeps in its case to gain more distance. Watching to see if Danny’s shadow stays when he’s out of sight. He’s better at hiding if he thinks Danny is going to spot him.
It’s only increasingly aggravating that Danny seems to be improving at the same pace, yet one step ahead. He moves around fast enough that it takes a good second for his camera to refocus, he still manages to catch Wes off guard, and all with that amusement like he’s playing a game. Some kooked up version of Tom and Jerry that’s very fun to Jerry, but not kind at all to Tom.
Miles sets an intervention after a late-night and returning to the dorm.
Wes is pulled into the desk chair and is half-disorientated by the swiftness of it. He tries to say something against what’s happening but he barely gets a single word in.
Miles’ carefree expression has boiled down to something serious. Spice stands beside him but looks more lazily dazed than anything. He has one of his weed vape pens in his mouth and is keeping up with his left hand.
“Okay, that’s the fifth time you came, like, ten minutes before curfew. What gives, Wes?”
“Yeah, are you off getting high or something? Let me tell you, I can get you better stuff if that’s it,” Spice supports, and nobody in the room bats an eye. They already know it, with how many times Spice has offered.
Wes mimics Miles’ crossed arms. “I’ve been in the library.”
“And I’m a Business Major,” Miles says sarcastically. “Look, you better not have gotten yourself messed up with something-”
“Geez!” Wes waves away the accusation. “I promise I’m not doing any bad stuff.”
“Then what’s got you busy?” Spice asks, leaning against the frame of his bed and taking another inhale.
Wes puckers his lips subconsciously, not wanting the prepared speeches slip off his tongue. His roommates already knew he had an obsession with the supernatural, but will they react if he says he accuses Danny as a ghost? Wes has lost a good few friends in the past with his constant paranoia.
But it’d feel so good to say it. Share his research despite the reactions he gets because being heard is enough.
Wes wordlessly goes to his bed and leans down to take something from underneath it. Miles and Spice watch him curiously and it takes all of Wes’s strength to do the next few moves.
He’s gotten it all out and propped it up onto the chair he once sat on. He snags a ruler from the desk and slaps it at the dead center.
It is a corkboard, full of printed photographs and red yarn connecting points. At the top a push pinned title, “GHOST BOY IS A GHOST.” There’s the photo of Danny posing for the camera, messily written sticky notes, and articles about ghosts from Amity Park. There isn’t much online information about Amity Park online but it’s known for being a ghost-obsessed town and it is such a coincidence that Danny comes from it.
“This is Danny Fenton,” he says with all the confidence of a lecturer with ten years of experience. “I have reason to believe that he is a bonafide ghost.”
Miles tries to say something, maybe point out how insane it is, but Wes continues.
“I’ve caught him on numerous occasions doing actions that can be determined as unordinary,” his ruler moves along the yarn and onto areas with several blurry pictures. “His origins also connect to my theory. A past in Amity Park, self-established as the ‘Most Haunted Place on Earth.’”
“—Also the biggest tourist trap.”
“That’s obviously a cover. Simple hidden in plain sight tactic.” He corrects, glaring at the skeptic-eyed brunet. “But this fact—because this sure as hell went past just being a theory—is exactly why I have been going out later.”
Miles’ face scrunches and he has the biggest look of disbelief. His hands fell to his sides and his shoulders sag down. Spice has pocketed the weed vape pen and does a full-body lean. His face is much more amused.
“Man, I could not have been smoking that much. All of this,” Spice draws circles with his hand, “is not just a weird trip, right?”
Wes nods, taking the question seriously. “No, it isn’t. I, one-hundred percent, know that Fenton is an actual ghost.”
Miles covers his face with his hands and lets out a small screech. It somehow encapsulates all the anguish and the ‘what has my life become?’ energy in the high-pitch noise. Wes is all too familiar with it.
He peaks through his hands to stare at Wes. “You-you’re stalking Danny? Is that what this is?”
Wes rolls his eyes and takes a seat on the desk. His confident appearance drops and he’s just annoyed. “No, stalking would mean he doesn’t know I’ve been following him. That ghost even taunts me a few times when he catches me.”
More shock crosses Miles and he repeats his earlier screech.
Spice steps in, looking halfway to laughing. “Wait, new question: is this some weird kink thing?”
“WHAT? NO!” Wes sputters, almost falling and knocking the cork board off the chair. “This is me proving my research and Fenton… ‘letting’ me for his own amusement,” Wes growls at the floor, the annoyance in his voice more evident.
It is partly true that Danny had been more than lenient when it comes to Wes’s study. Usually, Wes’s subjects report him or threaten to file a restraining order at this point. Danny hadn’t even muttered a single inkling that Wes has been any sort of creep—which he isn’t, he’s a dedicated scientist—because Wes would surely have heard rumors if he did. Not a single soul, aside from the roommates he just told, know about his obsession.
Spice’s amusement increases but he’s leaning even more to the bed. It’s as if he’s moments away from jumping into it. “Ah, gotcha. As long as both parties are cool, I guess.”
Miles snaps back up, a brave face secures on his face, n. He looks Wes in the eye and steeples his fingers. “So this is all… consensual?” Miles pauses and whispers a low, “and crazy?”
“Don’t say it like that, Miles!”
“Well, I don’t know how else to phrase it! Acknowledged following? Look, just answer.”
Wes puts a hand to his cheek, finding it tiring to keep his head up. “Yeah, yeah. Not really negotiated but… understood? I really hate this phrasing.”
Miles stares for a very long time and Spice has wordlessly started to climb into his bed. He mutters a goodnight as he lays completely down. Wes could tell that he is tired—Wes is too—and the guy had an early class. They let him do so freely as they continued their staring contest.
“I’m going to talk to Danny about this,” Miles says with finality.
“Go ahead!” Wes grumbles a bit peeved that his friend would talk to the enemy. “He’ll tell you the same thing.” It doesn’t even sound convincing to Wes, but he hopes it suffices as an end to the conversation.
“Fine,” leers Miles and he rushes over to his bed. He gives Wes one last stink eye before he pulls the covers over his face. Wes could definitely hear him say, “I’m living with crazy people.”
Spice, who so happens to not be asleep, howls in laughter.
“So I talk to Danny—”
“Tell him all my secrets why don’t you?”
“Shh. Anyway, fine. It’s consensual or whatever—”
“And you couldn’t have believed me?”
“Stop interrupting! And yes, I couldn’t have just believed you. Both sides, remember? Back to my point, you’re only going to do your whole stalking thing on the weekends, okay?”
“Wha- you can’t just dictate when I study a ghost!”
“Weekends. Got it.”
“Hey, nearly missed you, Wes. You know, your friend is pretty cool. The whole weekend rule actually works better for my schedule. Ooh, do you want to plan by the hours? I’m the freest on Saturday afternoons anyway.”
“You good, Wes?”
“…you are an absolute menace, Fenton.”
A year passes.
Wes is just about to earn his Associate's Degree in Criminal Science. It would have felt a thousand times better if it wasn’t Danny’s last year in the University. The specter managed to evade everything Wes has thrown at him. He worked to the last day to gain that evidence but nothing became fruitful.
People, miraculously, have no idea about the ‘agreement’ between Danny and Wes. Danny’s friends don’t seem to know either—or if they did and they didn’t make it known—so this whole ordeal felt as if it never even happened.
Wes has bags packed and is ready to leave by the end of the week. He hasn’t said goodbye to Miles or Spice yet but he is when they get together on the last day. One last day at Infinity Mall and buying whatever they want. It doesn’t sound like much, but they never bought more than a five-dollar meal at the Mall in the place. Spice has been dying to buy this one display blender since the first semester.
He’s walking to the library when he feels himself dragged in by something. A hand secures itself on his wrists and another covers his mouth. Panic fills and he thrashes, but the adversary is much stronger than him.
And then he is being pulled through a wall. Shock fills his very core and his movement tenses and stills.
The room is cramped and he could feel cold metal prodding at his sides and several smaller objects. It is completely dark and it makes his heart thump loudly. The hands let him go and he pushes himself to the furthest wall, ignoring as he feels more stuff poke his shoulder blade.
Light fills the room in a second and he’s greeted with the sight of a goofy smiling Danny Fenton. His hand is on a chain connected to a low-hanging light bulb.
“What-!” Wes says loudly but Danny rudely cuts him off. As if kidnapping him isn’t enough.
“Wesley Weston—mega cool name by the way—I gotta say my goodbyes to you. I’m going to miss you, weirdly enough.” Danny has this nonchalant demeanor that makes Wes think it is any normal weekend. He’s gesturing wildly despite the tight area.
Now that Wes could see, he knows that he’s in a janitor’s closet. The metal shelves were what poked his side and he’s slightly leaning into a push broom. He moves a little closer, knowing his assailant isn’t an assailant but a stupid ghost kid.
“You—” he pokes at Wes’s chest suddenly, “—are the first one who’s ever accused me of being a ghost. I’ll say it again, that’s something to be proud of.”
Wes swipes away the hand harshly, bumping into some chemical bottles while he did. There’s that grin on Danny’s face that is scarily similar to the mocking yet amused smile from their first confrontation. Wes’s scowl that he falls back to is another akin to that day.
“Did you phase through the wall? And me?” Wes says accusingly, his teeth grinding together. He expects Danny to divert the blame to something else. Make some sense and say that it isn’t like that at all.
“Duh, I’m a ghost, aren’t I?”
Wes’s brain short-circuits. His mouth drops and whatever broom has been leaning on him is ignored.
Danny snaps his fingers in front of Wes a few times. “Dude, you are so broken right now. Bet I can get you to break further. Okay, okay, watch this.”
Another light starts up, but its white rings around Danny. They flow over Dann’s figure and his University hoodie turns into a black-and-white HAZMAT suit. His hair went from a black to a snowy white. And his eyes. They’re the acid green that Wes had wanted to see for the past year. His smile never changes, like a teenager just amused with life.
“Tada!” Danny exclaims and does jazz hands.
“I—?” Wes wants to say he was right, but he always knew he was right about this. “Why?” He asks instead.
“Like I said, you’re the only one to seriously think I was a ghost.” Danny shrugs, glancing at his gloved hand as if inspecting his fingernails. “Besides, you’re also the only person to never think of me as a kid. Sure, a ghost feels no better, but I’d take it any day from being mistaken as a kid.”
There's a sincerity that warms Wes just a bit. Though it gets overtaken by the fiery burn of knowing he’s right and that the supernatural does exist. A need to know takes over him and he thinks of all the questions that need answering. His obsession has finally met its justification and it’s absolutely perfect.
“Why now of all times?”
“It's consolation, for the both of us I mean. We’ve been playing this game for more than a year for ghost’s sake—and yes I say that unironically. I just had to let you know, you know?”
Wes slowly nods, because he does understand it but it is still off-putting talking to a glowing boy.
“So… can I get a quick picture? Or-or blood test. That’d be good too.”
A sickle grin creeps into Danny’s face and he shows all of his teeth. There’s mischief in his eyes and Wes knows it's because it leaked in through his head. It sends a small shiver in Wes's spine.
“No, no,” Danny chuckles a few times. “I’ve kept this secret for a long time, Wes. I didn’t tell you just to reveal it to the world.”
Wes’s shoulders drop and his brow knits. “Then why…?”
Danny laughs more heartily this time. He floats off the ground, surprising Wes, and leans in close.
“Because no one will ever believe you.”
Danny disappears at that, evaporating in-air. He leaves Wes alone in a janitor’s closet, half-dazed and confused. It takes a second for Wes to compute that he is completely alone. The magnitude of Danny’s asshole-ry then catches up with him.
He takes a small look around him and feels the words bubble from his mouth.
“FUCK YOU, FENTON!”
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That’s right, we’re back for our third year! Feel free to follow us @phicphight to see the prompts and phics from the past two years!
What is Phic Phight?
Phic Phight is an event for Danny Phantom Fanfiction authors that is loosely inspired by Art Fight. In Art Fight, the participants are split into two teams, and score points for their team by drawing the opposing team’s OCs! We’ll be doing something similar.
Every participant will be able to create up to four prompts to enter and will be randomly assigned to either Team Human or Team Ghost. Team Ghost will have access to the prompts the members of Team Human wrote, and Team Human will have the same with Team Ghost’s prompts! You’ll get points with each fic you write, and whichever team has the most points at the end of the month wins!
This year, we’re also implementing Team Halfa - made up from the three returning writers with the highest word count from last year, they can write prompts from either team for full points - and everyone else can do the same with their’s!
When is Phic Phight?
Officially, Phic Phight will be from April 1st - 30th, 2021. You have until 11:59 pm PST on March 26 to join. After that, I’ll be in contact with everyone who’s joined with more information on their team and the prompts they’ll be working with.
How do we get points?
For every 10 words you write of a prompt, you’ll get 1 point. For every fic you complete, you’ll be granted an additional 20 points. You can also write fics based on your own team’s prompts, however, you’ll only receive half of your eligible points for doing so.
As a returning feature from last year, you can also get points for commenting on other people’s fics! For each comment you leave on another person’s fic on Tumblr, FFN, or AO3, you’ll be able to receive 1 extra point!
We’ll be keeping track of which prompts have had the most fics, who’s written the most, and which team gets the most points!
What should our prompts look like?
Your prompts should be a brief, 1-4 sentence summary of a fic concept you like. You will be required to submit at least two, but can do up to four if you’d like.
Don’t worry about duplicates of ideas, but please be sure to include any ships or trigger warnings that apply at the end of your summary. AUs are fine as long as they are widely known and not another fandom au. For example, a coffee shop au would be fine, but a Buffy the Vampire Slayer AU would not.
Due to the controversy surrounded them, prompts where a minor and adult are shipped together are not permitted in this event. Prompts that crossover with another fandom, have a heavy focus on original characters, or AU prompts that rely on intense worldbuilding known only to the author that cannot be simplified to fit the summary limit are also not permitted. Phandom OCs, such as Kyle, Wes, or Flynn however are permitted. If there is a problem with one of your prompts, I’ll let you know and give you a chance to alter it. You can find some example prompts in the FAQ!
I have another question!
We have an FAQ, where I give some more in-depth explanations about the specifics of this event in addition to example prompts. If you’re still confused, feel free to shoot me a message, here or @phicphight! ^-^
I like it! How do I join?
Fill out this form HERE. We’ll be in contact after the 26th with more information!
Aside from the Tumblr, we also have our own channel on the DP Fanfiction Palace Discord. You can access it easily by requesting the Phic Phighter role after you join! It’s the best place to be if you want quick access to any updates or changes in the rules! The link to it is right HERE!
Have a great day, everyone, and I hope to see you in the Phic Phight! <3
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Phic Phight 2021 let’s go!!!
Prompt from KC: Summer Camps is not complete without a courage test of walking to the haunted woods at midnight. Amity Park campers are weirdly prepared for this. Other campers are not sure how to deal with that.
Mikey didn’t really consider himself a daredevil. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you asked his classmates, or his parents, or his teachers, or heck, even his boss, they’d all say, without a moment's hesitation, that he was a coward. Maybe not as much of a coward as Fenton, but that was more a lack of convenient getaways than actual courage. If Mikey had Fenton’s seemingly supernatural ability to always just up and leave before the ghost-of-the-week appeared, he would. As it was, he was only able to run away maybe half the time. The other half of the time, he hid as best he could and hoped for the best.
Say what you want about bravery and cowardice, it had been a sound strategy so far. He wasn’t dead yet, which was more than could be said for the ghosts he avoided. Mikey knew he was a coward, and he didn’t care.
“Mikey, what the unmitigated fuck?” The stage-whisper carried between the trees, twisting and curling like mist. Mikey shuffled himself around to face his co-counselor, balancing precariously on the log that had fallen across the small brook three summers ago.
“What?” His voice rang out into the night. Aaron jumped at the sudden noise, and began frantically shushing him, voice still barely into the audible range.
“Shh! Dear god, what the fuck, don’t you know this place is haunted?” Aaron had moved to stand at the base of the improvised bridge, and Mikey could tell they were debating whether or not to join him on it.
“Really? Doesn’t feel like it,” Mikey said, just as loud as before but now more thoughtful, more considering. “There’s not enough…” He paused, and gestured vaguely in a windmill motion. “...You know?”
“I really don’t. And I swear, there’s a ghost out here. Caty saw it!” Aaron hadn’t moved onto or away from the log, and was instead wringing their hands and pacing. “At least, she said she did. And Caty doesn’t scare easy-”
“Caty? Caty wouldn’t know a ghost if it came up and threw a cardboard box at her.”
“Believe me, if there’s a ghost out here, it’ll be too weak to do anything besides stand there and glow funny.” Mikey turned back around, and began to continue his way across to the other side of the bridge. “Would be interesting to talk to, this far from any portals. Probably couldn’t though, this far from any portals. Not enough ectoplasm to keep anything stable for a conversation.”
“Mikey, you are saying a lot of things that make very little sense right now,” Aaron whispered, still on the opposite bank. “Can we please just go? I’d really rather not meet any angry spirits tonight. I’m on Morning Duty tomorrow, and you know how bad the kids are at seven in the morning.”
“Just five more minutes? I want to check if there’s any residual ectoplasm, or anything else fun. Besides, you were the one who wanted to go ghost-”
Mikey cut himself off as the world in front of him began to shimmer and twist, sparks flitting through the air as a vaguely humanoid shape began to coalesce in the empty space ahead of him. He could taste the burnt coppery tang of old ectoplasm in the back of his throat, feel the faint tingling of static electricity, smell the distant ozone of a long-dead portal.
“Holy shit fuck what the hell!” Aaron had given up on the pretense of a whisper, and instead let their shouts carry through the dark woods. The ghost had stopped forming, just a faint silhouette of energy with barely-discernible arms reaching out to Mikey. “Mikey what the fuck is that?!?!”
“Looks like an imprint. Old one, if I had to guess. I’ve never actually seen one, they don’t really form near open portals; there’s always enough energy for a full ghost. Hi! I’m Mikey. Can you hear me?” Mikey held out his hand, as if to grasp the ghost’s own hand and give it a firm shake. The ghost didn’t react. “Hmm, shame. I don’t think it knows I’m here. I wonder what called it to manifest. Hey Aaron-” Mikey turned back to look across the brook and found himself alone. He hadn’t even heard Aaron leave. “Huh. I mean, you’re just an imprint,” he muttered, turning back to the glowing form. “Not like you could hurt me-”
The ghost was holding his still-outstretched hand and tilting it’s head.
“Oh. Okay. So you can see me. Cool.” He shook his hand up and down, and the ghost’s hand followed the motion half a second behind. Mikey let go and pulled his pack around to dig through for a notepad.
“Can you talk? Or, I don’t know, do you know ASL? Or can you hold a marker? I brought a whiteboard,” Mikey grunted, pulling the whiteboard and two dry-erase markers out of his pack. “I’d love to ask some questions, talk a little bit- Huh.” He looked up to where the ghost had been to find himself completely alone. “Dang. That’s, well, huh.” He shoved the writing tools back into his bag and cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hey ghost! If you can hear me, I’ll come back tomorrow night! Stay safe! Bye!”
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Haunted Towers and Hidden Truths
Phic Phight prompt by @lexiepiper
Write a more traditional ghost story. How would things change if ghost powers weren’t super powers, but closer to old horror movie tropes?
“We shouldn’t do this Danny,” Sam said, ever the voice of reason. “This place isn’t like our usual haunts.“
But Danny shook his head, “No Sam, I have to do this. I have to know what that dream meant, if it was really a dream or something else.”
He moved to take a step forward when his other friend, Tucker, grabbed his arm, “I don’t know man, I think she’s right. There isn’t a possessed item to destroy, or an overactive ghost to try and calm down, heck even Vlad has a weakness we can exploit, we don’t know anything about this place. What if we don’t make it out of this one?”
“Come on Tucker,” Danny argued, his own confidence nothing but a mask, “It can’t be as bad as the haunted video game right? You die in the game you die in real life!”
Tucker didn’t laugh, “this is serious Danny, I know that dream had you messed up, but what if it was just that? A dream?”
“Or,” Sam cut in, “What if it’s a trap? Remember how Desiree tried to get us with that monkey’s paw when she realized we were getting involved with every scary story and urban legend in town and she didn’t want us to find out about her?”
There was also the time a ghost discovered Danny’s secret and decided to haunt him personally and make his life a living hell until he and Tucker were able to exorcise it. It had involved a gorilla, a lot of research into dead safari hunters, and one of his parent’s inventions that they rigged to do what they needed before destroying it so it couldn’t be used against Danny himself.
“We made it through all of those things together, remember when we first saw Cujo? And we thought he was to blame for Valerie’s mother?” Danny said.
Sam deflated, “and then we did research and discovered that Cu Sith only foretell death, not cause it… But Danny, we tried to research this place, remember? We found nothing. It’s like it doesn’t exist.”
“Yeah man,” Tucker scratched the back of his neck uncertain, “I couldn’t find so much as a blueprint. No building plans, nothing. The only thing we have to go on are stories from reckless kids trying and failing to spend the night.”
“You don’t have to follow me, the last thing I want is to put you both at risk. Especially after last time.”
Tucker groaned, “Danny you know we aren’t going to let you do this alone right? Especially not after Walker’s prison. Who knows what would have happened if we didn’t come in and save you?”
Danny smiled, “I probably would have starved to death to be fair, but yeah, I’ll try to avoid getting locked in any metal cages, deal?”
“To be fair,” Sam said, returning his smile with one of her own, strained though it was, “you probably would have died of thirst first.”
Chuckling at his friends' attempts to lighten the mood once they realized his mind wouldn’t be changed, Danny finally let himself look up at the place in question. It was a tall, crooked looking clocktower with old, brittle wood and peeling paint. In the low light of the evening it looked almost purple and with the dust and cobwebs covering it, it was clear no one had been inside for quite some time.
The Clocktower was a recurrent presence in his dreams, the ones he’d started having since the accident that made him the way he was: different from any person, but not quite anything else. It was always there in the background, but he’d never gone inside.
Once, during a particularly dull recurring dream where he relived the life and consequent death of a warehouse worker, he’d walked away from the endless piles of boxes and tried to go inside the clocktower instead. But no matter how far he traveled, it was always the same distance away. He just couldn’t get to it.
Danny couldn’t shake the feeling though, that something inside might have the answers he’s been searching for. So he stepped forward, and knocked on the door.
There was no answer, of course, and Danny almost felt foolish doing it, but also, ghosts and spiritual beings all had their own rules and perceptions of what is or isn’t polite, most of which Danny had stumbled into learning the hard way, and it really didn’t hurt to check.
“No answer,” Sam said and Danny nodded, turning the handle. It was old and brass and when it turned it made a loud grinding noise that vibrated along his arm. But it did open, and without Danny needing to persuade it, so that had to be a good sign right?
Unless it really was a trap.
“Maybe we should leave someone outside, in case it really is like Walker’s prison.” He offered, but both of his friends shook their heads and stepped past him. It was dark, musty and smelled in a weird way, like a library. If a library had locked its doors and not let anyone enter for a good century or so.
Sam took the lead, her flashlight catching on unfamiliar shapes and shadows. “Do you know what we’re looking for?” she asked, her voice uncertain.
Danny shook his head, “Not really, just… answers.”
They looked around the ground floor at first, but if it held anything particularly supernatural or important, it wasn’t going to be found. “This just looks like my grandma's living room.” Tucker complained, taking the sheet off of one of the couches, “we need to go further in if we want to actually find something.”
He wasn’t wrong, Danny looked over to the spiralling staircase in the back of the room, and then to the other doors that surrounded it on the first floor. “It’s probably better to do this systemically right? Go through every room on each floor and move our way up?”
“You mean like in a video game?” Sam asked, “sure, we can do that.”
They started on the left, but that room wasn’t much better when it came to finding any kind of clues. It held a kitchen, a very old kitchen, with a stove and oven that Danny had only ever seen in period movies. But…
“Why does it smell like cookies?” Danny asked, turning to his friends who both looked at him like he was crazy.
“Cookies? Yo, Danny this place smells like straight up death. Not cookies.” Tucker said, backing away from the oven and starting to open up cabinets.
Sam rolled her eyes and did the same on the other side of the kitchen, “it doesn’t smell like death you dolt, it smells… like a graveyard.”
Danny walked to the middle of the room, towards the oven- he always made sure to be the one seeking out the more dangerous or suspicious things in the haunts they went to- while the two of them bickered. They tended to start these smaller, petty arguments when they were scared, it took the edge off.
“Duh?” Tucker said, and Danny heard him slam one of the cabinets shut, “graveyards are death? What does it smell like to you? Your Mom’s perfume?”
“No, it smells like someone dying, you know all hospital chemicals and gross stuff.”
There wasn’t anything in the oven, but oddly, Danny had felt a wave of warmth when he opened it. Almost like it had just been used. But, ghosts didn’t need to eat, right? And there couldn’t have been a person living here, they’d notice that. At least, Danny hopes they would notice that. After being in dozens of life or death scenarios hinging on whether they noticed important but minute details, they’d become pretty good at that kind of thing.
“Ugh! Don’t talk about hospitals, I’m still not over North Mercy, that was horrible,” Tucker turned to Danny, leaning on one of the counters and ignoring the cabinet he opened right behind his head. “What do you think death smells like Danny?”
Danny walked over and closed the cabinet, he didn’t want something to suddenly appear inside of it all twisted limbs and empty eyes or for something to crawl out and scare them, or even have it slam shut on Tuckers head, like some ghosts were known to do. He didn’t have to put much thought into his answer, “It smells like burnt flesh, electricity, and polished wood.”
Tucker paled, “oh… right. Sorry.”
He shrugged, “anything yet?”
“Not unless you count cobwebs, dust, and deteriorating cooking books,” Sam answered, walking over to both him and Tucker.
Danny looked around at the kitchen, it looked normal, even some dying light shone in from the one window along the outer wall. The only thing weird was the shape and that was because it was at the bottom of a spiralling clocktower. There was nothing particularly scary about the place, and frankly Danny didn’t know what to do with that.
“Let’s move on, this place is giving me the creeps,” Sam said, crossing the room and going to the next door.
Danny and Tucker followed, unwilling to be left behind, or to let her go on her own. The next room was the same size as the other two, but it had an extra window and was crammed absolutely full of books. Just books. Stacks and stacks of them where they didn’t fit on the shelves, which were completely packed themselves, and Danny had the thought that this was probably what he was smelling when they first walked in.
It was a library. A personal one, but without any room to sit or anything to sit on despite the genuinely impressive display of books and Danny found himself gently stroking his hand against the cover of a book on the top of the nearest stack, When Ghosts Speak: Understanding Earthbound Spirits.
“Please tell me we aren’t reading all of this,” Tucker whined. Danny frowned, why wouldn’t he want to read these? It was a treasure trove of information, these books could have countless, researched, answers to questions they’ve been asking since the start of everything!
What if one of these books could tell them why Amity Park seemed to attract the supernatural, why they seemed to gain power within the city’s boundaries, why Danny wasn’t dead. He wanted nothing more than to grab any one of these books, walk into the next room, with the couches and comfortable chairs, sit down and read and read until he found something, anything he could use.
These books might even be able to help him deal with the supernatural threats that plagued their town. Mostly they’ve been surviving through luck and half baked internet searches with the occasional trip to the town library. And while it had been enough so far, Danny was practically salivating at the thought of being properly, genuinely prepared for something for once.
“Of course we aren’t,” Sam said, dragging Danny out of his fantasies of maybe knowing what he was doing, “they’re completely deteriorated. If we even tried to open one it would probably fall apart.”
Danny frowned, and then looked down at the book he’d subconsciously grabbed. It didn’t seem as bad as Sam was describing, but he also didn’t want to risk it either. He’d realized early on there was a difference between what he was seeing and what was actually real. He set it down gently and looked around the rest of the room with his friends.
“Are we so sure this place is haunted?” Danny asked. By then, the sun had set entirely and the only light left was their flashlights. High powered and with fresh batteries they were still little use against the encroaching dark and Danny wanted to move on to the next floor already if he wasn’t going to be able to open a book.
Tucker stood up from behind a precariously leaning shelf and dusted himself off, “Dude you’re the one that said there was something here and we needed to investigate. Remember, like an hour ago when the two of us were trying to stop you from going inside?”
Danny scoffed, “that’s not what I mean.”
“What do you mean then?” Sam asked, stepping closer so she could meet his eyes. There was something in her expression, curiosity or suspicion, Danny couldn’t quite parse.
“I…” Danny stopped to think, what did he mean? Was it just that the place didn’t feel haunted? There wasn’t anything here trying to scare him away, no ominous winds or loud knocking, but they’ve gone into haunts before that took a long time to start actually reacting to them. “There’s no, I don’t know how to explain it. Usually when we go somewhere haunted, that a ghost has a claim to or whatever… there’s this feeling that I’m trespassing? I don’t feel like I’m trespassing here.”
That probably didn’t make any sense, and despite everything they didn’t usually act on Danny’s gut instincts as a group without evidence. The issue with the circus and it’s terrifying owner was a lesson too well learned after all.
True to expectations neither Sam nor Tucker looked convinced. They shared a quick ‘what now’ look between each other and Danny resisted taking a step back and sinking into the wall. Not that he could do that, as far as he knew he couldn’t do that. Only actual ghosts could do something like that and despite everything Danny was still human- well, still had a physical form.
“Let’s move on upstairs,” Sam reasoned, “if Danny’s right there won’t be any harm in it, and if he’s not we’ll find out once whatever’s here starts actually reacting to us, right?”
Perfectly reasonable and logicked as always. Danny nodded and walked to the next door, if he was right it would lead into the room they had first entered with the staircase that twisted and climbed higher and higher into the heart of the tower. That was the next place to go. He knew that.
Tucker gently patted his shoulder as they walked towards the base of the stairs, “yeah, maybe the ghost doesn’t consider this bottom part his haunt? Maybe he just likes the clock on top?”
Danny smiled, “like the hunchback of Notre Dame?”
Smiling back, Tucker nodded, “exactly! Oh man, we gotta find out if that guy is real one of these days.”
“We have our hands a bit tied with Amity Park without going after disney characters,” Sam said, pushing the two of them from behind so they’d actually go up the stairs. “Now let's get a move on, I want to be back home before breakfast so my parents don’t realize I snuck out again.”
There was something Danny could say but he bit back the comment about how at least her parents would notice and quickly walked up the stairs instead. As soon as his feet touched the first step a bubbly feeling lifted in his chest, and it made him want to go higher as fast as he could there was someone up there waiting for him-
“Danny!” Sam called out, grabbing him by the arm, “calm down!”
Her grip on his arm was tight and Danny looked down to see what had her panicked only to find his feet had left the stairs entirely and he’d started floating upwards instead of walking. Like a human. Like his friends. Like what he was supposed to be.
He swallowed and let himself sink back down, forcing the feeling in his chest back as much as he could. It was like trying to kill the fizz in a shaken soda by screwing a cap back on it and he struggled with it for a moment. He’d never felt like this before- sure, most ghosts and other supernatural entities tended to broadcast emotions to a higher degree than humans, and with them also being natural empaths and Danny’s unfortunate situation it often led to him being overtaken by emotions that weren’t necessarily his own.
It’s just, they’ve never been this overwhelmingly positive before.
Even with Vlad, as human as he was, his emotions were always tinted with obsession and desperation. His need to have Danny and his mother for his own colored every interaction he’d had with the man and it often left a bitter, strained feeling in his chest. Right now, Danny felt almost giddy. And he wasn’t even sure it wasn’t just his own emotions, reacting to the environment around him. It was a nice environment after all.
But Danny was good at ignoring things like that.
“My bad. I’ll try and keep my feet on the ground from now on.”
Sam looked conflicted, “Danny you know we don’t mind you using your powers,” Danny nodded, they’d told him so many times over and over again, “But we don’t want to lose you to them. You promised to stay with us, remember?”
Danny smiled, “I remember. I won’t end up like that, I promised. That’s why we’re here right? To stop it?”
Sam nodded and let him go.
The second floor was similar to the first, in that it had three rooms leading into each other with the spiral staircase in the center. Danny started with the door on the right. It was a study. There was a desk, paperwork, and a bottle of ink with a quill and Danny found himself wondering just how old this clocktower really was. And how long it had been since its occupant was truly here, alive, if ever.
They split up and started looking around, eagerness exposed in their movements. This was the most likely place to have something useful, especially if whoever spent their time here was as studious as the lower floor suggested. Danny went for the desk.
There was a note on it, in perfect, looped handwriting and the ink was still glistening, fresh from the bottle if the smell had anything to say about it. Danny ran his hand across the words hoping to smudge it, but it had dried already, if barely.
It’s nice to meet you, little anomaly.
Danny grit his teeth.
“Guys,” he called out, holding the paper, “It knows we’re here.”
Sam and Tucker rushed over, and Sam grabbed the paper from his hand to read for herself. “Little anomaly? Isn't that kind of insensitive?”
“Yeah,” Tucker agreed, “you just have weird ghost powers right? Vlad’s the same way it’s not like you’re the only person on the planet like you.”
Hesitant to correct him, Danny bit his tongue. It was true that Vlad was a person who had unfortunately gained the abilities of a ghost, things like floating, making objects move with his mind or using his spirit to control people while he slept safe and sound at home. And he’d gained them in a similar way to Danny as well, trusting the wrong people and delving into things he never fully understood and still didn’t.
It was just … less true for Danny was all.
But he wasn’t going to tell them that, he wasn’t going to tell anyone that. So how did whoever, or whatever this was, know? Or was it just saying things to get under his skin, that was pretty par for the course when it came to ghosts. So why wasn’t it doing anything else? Trying to get them to leave? Was Sam right? Was it really a trap this entire time? What would happen if they went back downstairs and tried the door, would it open?
He grabbed the paper and shoved it into one of his jackets pockets, there was plenty of time to freak out over it later after all. “Let’s keep looking around, there has to be something here that it’s trying to distract us from.”
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything more useful than there had been downstairs. Just what one would expect from a normal office. What papers he did find had detailed extensive notes, yes. But they were in a language Danny couldn’t read and neither Sam nor Tucker even recognized. It was infuriating!
Almost like whoever was haunting this place, was telling them it had all the answers they wanted but wouldn’t give them any. He just wanted to know how - Danny shook his head. There had to be something. He wouldn’t have been led all the way here, had all those dreams, if there was nothing he could do at all.
He threw one more frustrated look around the office before he threw the stack of papers he’d been digging through on the floor and marched over to the next door. It was unlocked, again, just like all of the others and it only served to increase Danny’s frustration.
“Wait, Danny,” Sam noticed him leaving and quickly followed, the door slammed shut behind them, locking Tucker inside the office.
“No,” he whispered, this was all his fault, he shouldn’t have let this ghost get in his head like this! He never should have let his emotions take him over, he knew better. It led to bad things. Horrible, terrible, things.
There was a loud bang on the door, someone was pounding against it and Danny flinched. Was the actual haunting finally starting? Was everything really just a way to lure them deeper into the tower and away from each other?
“Guys?” he heard Tucker call out from the other side of the door, “did you seriously just leave me behind? Don’t we have like, a rule against that?!”
Danny sighed in relief, it was just Tucker. “Are you okay Tuck? Did anything happen over there when the door shut? Any oozing walls or flying papers-”
There was another thump, probably Tucker banging his head against the door, “I know what to look for Danny I’ve been doing this the exact same amount of time as you.”
“Yeah yeah,” Danny acquessed. “Just get to the stairs and we’ll meet you there.”
He exchanged a glance with Sam, she was glaring a hole into the side of his head and he felt guilty for being the cause of everything going wrong, again. So he apologized and ignored her exaggerated eye roll when she said he should have known better, because well, he did. But what was he going to do, apologize twice?
The room they were in was a simple one, likely some kind of storage space that he and Sam could dig through for hours on end, but it was more important to get to Tucker than to try and make sure they didn’t miss anything.
Which, in hindsight, was probably exactly why they’d been separated.
A cold breeze tickled at Danny’s hair and he felt himself relax despite it all. It felt nice, the cold, and Danny liked when the haunts they went to leaned towards the chillier side like this. Sometimes, especially if Vlad was involved, it felt like he was walking into an overwarm swamp when he entered a haunt and it made him itchy and uncomfortable the entire time. Vlad never seemed to notice, and his friends complain equally about both, so Danny had mostly kept it to himself.
The entire tower felt nice, cold dry air, the smell of books, ink, and cookies, even the playful, excited feeling that seemed to permeate throughout the tower. Like someone had designed it to appeal in every way to both sides of Danny’s instincts.
It was unnerving.
He followed Sam out of the room and back into the middle where the stairs were, but Tucker wasn’t there.
Sam pulled out her phone, and Danny held his breath as it rang, once, twice, and then a click and Tucker’s familiar, annoyed voice came through the speaker and Danny sighed in relief. “Uh guys? I couldn’t get out the door so I tried to climb out a window, and there was uh, a ladder. So I’m outside right now. Come get me?”
Danny met eyes with Sam and nodded, they headed back down, “we’re coming Tuck,” he said.
“Cool, cool, actually rather than coming to get me, can we just go home? Come back later, like in the day time? How come we never do these things in the daytime?”
“You know that’s not how ghosts work Tucker.” Sam said, bored, as they walked to the front door. Danny felt a tug, something like a hand on his shoulder and turned to see what was behind him. There wasn’t anything there.
He turned back around to see that Sam had already walked outside, and was holding the door open for him, one of her eyebrows raised. Awkwardly, Danny jogged a little, so as to not hold them up too long. But before he could actually walk outside the door slammed shut.
“Danny! Are you okay!” Tucker asked, his voice panicked and muffled from the other side of the door.
“I’m fine,” Danny said, gritting his teeth and turning around. The room didn’t look or feel any different. There was nothing screaming at him to get out or anything else malicious. If anything it seemed even cosier than before, and Danny didn’t really know how to react to that.
He looked back at the door. There was a way, no. He couldn’t do that. Danny pinched at the bridge of his nose, the only thing to do, really, was to see who had invited him in. That’s what it was right? Some kind of weird ghostly invite?
“I’m going to go check upstairs,” he called out to his friends before walking back towards the staircase.
They pounded on the door, “Danny don’t you dare go up there without us! Just wait, we’ll find a way in! It’s dangerous alone!”
Ignoring their protests Danny took the stairs two steps at a time, fighting the rising excitement in his chest and firmly planting his feet against the polished wood. There were answers waiting for him, he knew there were. He just had to find them.
The third floor had a bedroom, it was nice, cozy and the bed even looked inviting. Danny didn’t bother to stay long. Whoever it was that called him here wasn’t in this room, nor were they in the next or the one after that. Just two bedrooms and a bathroom on that floor and Danny quickly made his way to the next.
This room was different from the rest. For one there were windows, everywhere, that seemed to play different scenes of different people from all over the world. If Danny strained his ears, he could even hear them speaking different languages. On the other side from the windows was an entire wall of clockwork that chimed and churned as the gears moved, keeping the face of the clock on the outside ticking along in sync with the rest of the world.
When Danny stepped into the room properly the carpet sunk easily underneath his feet and he felt a nice, cold breeze that came from a purple flamed fire housed properly in a fireplace in the middle of the room. He hadn’t even noticed a chimney from outside.
There was a man in front of the fire. He was tall and hooded and he carried an equally tall and gnarled staff in one of his gloved hands. Danny felt himself freeze, he had never seen a ghost this solid before. There was always a little bit of transparency, no matter how powerful, they didn’t have physical forms afterall. Not like Danny.
“Who are you?” he asked. His voice was dry and soft and Danny was thankful when it didn’t crack on his question. How embarrassing would that have been?
The man turned around, his face changing as he did from old and aged to a younger one, closer to his parent’s age, a large jagged scar marking it’s way through one of his eyes and down his cheek. He smiled, “I am Clockwork, Master of time. All that was, All that is, and All that will be. I understand you have many questions for me. I hope to answer them.”
A thousand questions ran rapidly through his mind, why did you call me here? Did you call me here? Why get rid of my friends? What are you and why haven’t I seen anything like you before?
“How do I prevent myself from becoming that.” Danny asked the most pressing question first, desperate. The man-ghost-Clockwork, sighed and gestured for him to sit. There was a comfortable looking couch with an equally comfortable chair across from it and a plate of cookies set on an elegantly carved coffee table between the two.
“That’s easily answered, sit, have a cookie.” Clockwork floated over, crossing his legs and settling into the chair before grabbing a cookie for himself.
Danny glanced at them, uncertain, before taking a seat. The couch was even more comfortable than it looked and he found himself sinking back into it, confused. The room was a nice, cold, temperature as well, despite the fire clearly burning in the fireplace.
He grabbed one of the cookies, “can I eat these?” he asked, looking over at his host.
“Of course,” Clockwork smiled, taking a bite of his own before leaning back, “I made them for you. Though your friends would have to be more careful, I’m not sure what food like this would do to a human.”
“I am human,” Danny argued, placing the cookie back on its plate. He had to, denial was all he had left at this point.
Clockwork frowned, “yes, well, I suppose we’ll get there next. You wanted to know about your dreams.”
Finally, Danny nodded, “they’re different ever since- uh well… ever since the incident.”
“It’s natural to not want to talk about one’s death,” Clockwork said, he leaned forward and tilted his head, “or one’s birth.”
“My dreams,” Danny asked, avoiding that conversation with all the grace of a blind hippo, “why are they different. You know right?”
Sighing, Clockwork nodded and leaned back, “yes, I know everything. They’re different, frankly, because they’re dreams. It’s unsettling to you because it’s new, you’ve never dreamed before.”
Danny scowled, “that doesn’t make any sense, I had plenty of dreams when-”
Clockwork interrupted him, disappointment plain under his hood, “You can lie to your friends Daniel, but I already know the truth. Just as you do.”
“I was astral projecting. Like what Vlad does… but then why-?” Danny bit his tongue. He couldn’t say it, not outloud. It was too difficult, he’d spent too long hiding it, pushing it away and doing everything he could to keep anyone from noticing.
“Why can’t you do it anymore?” Clockwork answered for him, Danny nodded. “The simple answer is that you aren’t like Vladimir, despite what he believes and would like you to believe as well. But that’s something else you already know. Ask me a question you don’t have the answers for.”
Danny grabbed another cookie, biting into it fiercely just to have an excuse not to speak. It tasted really good, better than anything he’d had in a while and Danny wondered if maybe there was something in it meant to sate his less human cravings. The thought didn’t help his inner turmoil.
Clockwork smiled softly at him though and sighed, “Fine, in order to answer your question, first I have one of my own.”
“Didn’t you just say you know everything?” Danny mumbled before shoving more cookie in his mouth.
“What good is a teacher that only lectures?” Clockwork said in retort, “do you remember how you died?”
He did, of course he did. “Kinda hard to forget that. Lab accident, electrocution, nothing fancy.” he said, curling in on himself. Clockwork had been right before, it was painful to talk about. But he wanted, no, needed the answers to his questions. He’d survive this.
“Well, that’s where your first mistake lies. Yes, that is what stopped your heart, and likely the most memorable part, but you didn’t die from that Daniel. What killed you came after.”
Danny frowned, “that doesn’t make any sense? What happened after?”
“Your spirit was never particularly bound to your body in the first place, likely due to your parents dabbling where they shouldn’t for as long as they did before you were ever born. There was a summoning, I think you remember, that your parents were holding when your accident happened on the floor below them.”
It was frustrating, that he was right. That he knew it. “I remember them recognizing me, my spirit. I remember them finding my body and shoving me back in. I remember the pain, and waking up and seeing-” Danny choked on the realization. It couldn’t be...
“Seeing the world in your dreams?” Clockwork asked, “the way you saw it when you were a spirit, free from the confines of your body, correct?” He floated over the table, sat next to Danny, and placed a hand on his back. Danny realized he had been shaking.
He grabbed the fabric of his jeans in a tight grip and tried to stop, “It’s all real, right? It isn’t… I’m not still dreaming? Please, I need to know.”
The hand on his back pulled him close, tucked into Clockwork’s side and Danny felt comforted despite himself, he fought to blink away tears that had been building behind his eyes as he tucked himself into Clockwork’s side. He was so solid, unlike any other ghost Danny had ever met and he seemed to radiate comfort where most just gave off fear and hurt.
“You’re not dreaming Daniel, you never were. The world is different when you see it through our eyes, that is all. When you woke up, you weren’t human anymore. Of course you wouldn’t be limited by a human’s sight.”
Danny curled into himself tighter, despair clouding around him and likely leeching unpleasantly into the air. It would be a wonder if Clockwork didn’t feel it. “So I’m a ghost.”
“Hardly,” Clockwork said and Danny stopped breathing, “Do you think the world is so simple it is split between what is ghostly and what is not?”
“I…” Danny had actually assumed that. So far everything they’d dealt with so far, short of Vlad, had either been a ghost or spirit of some kind, or a human that used magic or ghostly artifacts. Even Vlad had simply been a person who had learned how to control his own spirit the way a ghost would. If Danny wasn’t a human, and he wasn’t a ghost, then what was he?
Clockwork ruffled his hair, “I suppose you’re young. It is easier, afterall, to think of it that way. But Daniel, ghosts don’t have physical forms. They can possess one, or control one, and sometimes even mimic one, but they are spirits.”
He sighed, “you are something entirely different. You’re something remarkable.”
Danny leaned back, using the sleeves of his hoodie to quickly dry his tears so he could look Clockwork in the eye, “What am I?”
Danny shoved him, “Agghh, I knew that you jerk!” It was probably a bad idea to attack or antagonize someone as clearly powerful and knowledgeable as Clockwork, but really he’d been asking for it. And Danny’s patience was only so strong.
Clockwork didn’t fight him back though, nor did he get offended. Instead he just smiled that soft smile that Danny was starting to realize was affection, and said, “did you? Weren’t you trying to read my books to find out if there was anyone else like you?”
“Well yeah-” Danny stopped, “Oh. There wouldn’t be anything would there? If I’m the first?”
He groaned, that really was just his luck. He’d never figure out anything at this rate. Clockwork, the bastard, just hummed and grabbed another cookie, offering it to him. “No there wouldn’t. But you’re not the only one who was the first or only of their kind. Who had to figure out on their own, who and what they are.”
“You mean Vlad?” Danny asked, the thought left a sour taste in his mouth, wow he really hoped he didn’t mean Vlad.
Clockwork’s smile turned brittle, “I don’t mean Vlad.”
Danny chuckled, his thoughts turning mischievous, “I don’t know, he seems pretty unique, what with all those different abilities he has and the way he can choose to be human or ghost-”
“Oh please,” Clockwork interrupted, “there’s plenty of humans like Vladimir Masters, you were fully capable of astral projecting like that from birth, no black magic necessary. Just because he found a way to twist-”
He stopped, then looked down at Danny who was trying and failing to hold back a shit eating grin. All at once the air seemed to leave him and he deflated, the irritated look on his face replaced with open and honest affection and Danny felt it sing in the air around them.
“You were messing with me.”
“To be fair I didn’t think it would work, all knowing and everything.” Danny said, unable to fight the bubbling feeling in his chest as it rose to meet the affection around them. Usually it sucked having the empathy of a ghost and being near one or at least, something with the same traits. The negative emotions tended to bounce between him and them and amplify and it always made Danny struggle to parse his own emotions from theirs. But right now, in the top of a clock tower with the most powerful entity Danny had ever met, he felt happiness and joy to a degree he’d long forgotten. It was dizzying. He was almost giddy with it.
Clockwork patted him on the head, purposefully messing his hair, “yes well. I think in time, it will be more obvious just how different you truly are, how crucial every small coincidence was that came together that night to create you. But until then, you had another question? I can answer it now.”
Danny frowned as he realized what Clockwork meant, “You! I asked that question first! How did you only answer the one you wanted to!!”
“It was important,” Clockwork said, relaxing into the couch next to Danny, “to answer that question I had to be sure you knew what you were.”
He sputtered, “But I don’t?! I’m just something new! Something different!”
“Something physical that exists with the laws of the spiritual.”
“Yeah!” Danny said, “Wait, what?”
Clockwork nodded his head, “a physical entity that exists within the realms of spiritual possibility. It must be such a struggle, to deal with both sets of instincts like that.”
Danny’s head hurt, it was too much to try and understand the details of all of this. Maybe Tucker was right and he should just have let it be, learn to live with the new normal his life was now. Wasn’t that kind of what Clockwork was suggesting anyways? Then again, unlike Tucker, he did seem to thrive off of all of Danny’s questions, whether he actually answered them or not.
“Yeah, I have to fight my more ghostly instincts all the time. It’s exhausting.” he said, leaning into Clockwork. It should have been embarrassing, seeking comfort like that, but he’d already cried into his shoulder and there wasn’t really any way to come back from that so Danny did as he pleased.
He felt Clockwork’s hand return to his back, a solid comforting presence, “Now why would you do that?”
Danny tilted his head in confusion, “what do you mean?”
“Why would you fight against one half of yourself so thoroughly? But embrace the other side entirely?” Clockwork elaborated. “Did you think there wouldn’t be any consequences in fighting against your nature?”
“But,” Danny struggled to speak, pieces of the puzzle he’d thought hopeless putting themselves together in ways he had never expected and didn’t quite understand, “my nature is bad.”
Clockwork frowned and turned to look at Danny properly, “Daniel, it’s your nature. There is nothing good or bad about it. It is only as it is. Everything is as it’s meant to be.”
This was too much, Danny sat up fully and turned entirely towards Clockwork, “are you saying, the way I become that thing from my nightmare, is by… doing what I’ve been doing to avoid becoming that thing?!”
“Yes,” Clockwork answered like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
He blinked, the answer really couldn’t be that easy. “But in my dream, I, my instincts-”
Clockwork grabbed a cookie and placed it in his hands, “even humans react poorly, when they starve themselves. As you exist now, you simply need a different kind of sustenance. One you’ve been denying.”
Danny felt dread crawl down the length of his spine, “what kind of sustenance?”
“Spirits exist for reasons, and they exist differently from humans. In order to keep existing they need emotions, experiences, something to keep them held together. A spirit that has no reason to exist will simply disappear, you’ve seen such before it is relatively common after all. But you can’t do that, since you are physical in a way that they are not. You can starve yourself endlessly, into madness even if you’re desperate enough.”
“I do it to myself?” Danny asked, flustered and frustrated. It was true then? He really was his own worst enemy?
Clockwork shook his head, “it is not inevitable Daniel. As you were, it was the most likely path forward. Yes. You would have noticed the symptoms, seen yourself losing control and then, in reaction, suppressed yourself further. Starved yourself further.”
Danny cringed, yeah, that sounded like him. “How do I stop it then? I just embrace what makes me ghostly? What about my parents? If they think they failed the resurrection, that I’m not human anymore, they’ll kill me for real! Or worse!”
“That is indeed troublesome, and the paths of the future where they know your truth are twisted and sharp, every small decision every tiny change causing a greater effect on their reactions as a whole. But you do not need to reveal yourself to your parents to live your truth.”
Relieved, Danny fell back into the couch. He hadn’t even noticed he’d floated off of it, was that good? Bad? He shook his head, this was all too confusing. “How then?” He asked, maybe this time he’d actually get a straight answer.
Clockwork ruffled his hair and stood up, er, well, floated up and over towards the fire. “You continue doing what you’re doing with your friends, protecting your town and interacting with the truth of the world around you. And…” He turned around, “you can come visit me. It’s quite lonely in the clock tower they trapped me in, and there is much I can teach you about becoming. I had to learn such things about myself once after all.”
“You’ll let me come back? To visit you?” Danny didn’t know what to say. He could come visit, ask more questions, get more answers. It seemed too good to be true, and Danny found himself eager and excited at the prospect.
For some reason, the entire conversation, he’d thought this would be a one time thing. That the clocktower would disappear behind him and leave any question he didn’t ask unanswered. To find out that wasn’t the case, that he had somehow, against all odds, made some kind of ghostly ally, was beyond expectations. “You’ll help me?”
The answering smile had Danny floating out of his seat, “Of course Daniel. I’ll even bake cookies.”
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Phic Phight 2021: The Reluctant Apprentice and The Mentor Frenzy
Prompt: New ghosts often get under the wing of older ghosts. After the accident, Danny is approached by each trying to convince him join them as a very promising ghostly apprentice.
Note: I changed "After the accident" to "after Danny's first Death Day" and I hope that's alright!!
Team Ghost: 2,173 Words, Complete.
It started with the Box Ghost. It was always the damn Box Ghost.
Danny would agree that the fight between the two in the mall storage room was pretty standard. They fought, Danny obliterated him, the Box Ghost got sucked into the Fenton Thermos, and Danny would call it a day.
This time the Box Ghost shouted: "wait!!"
Foolishly, Danny complied.
"When is your death day?"
Danny furrowed his eyebrows.
"My what-y what now?"
The Box Ghost looked aghast.
"You've never celebrated a Death Day before?? YOU'RE A BABY," the Box Ghost wailed.
Danny could barely suppress covering his ears and quickly scooped him into the thermos.
"Jeez, what was that about," Danny said to himself and scratched his head.
Danny shrugged it off. It was just the Box Ghost after all. Nothing would really come of it.
Sidney Poindexter popped his head out of a locker in front of Danny suddenly, who was returning from the bathroom, and Danny yelped.
"Jesus Christ, why would you do that, Sidney?"
Sidney waved him off.
"Now the Box Ghost is not the most credible source but is it true you've never celebrated a Death Day?" Sidney used his thumb to push up his glasses.
"What is a Death Day?"
Sidney's eyes widened comically.
"I knew you were young but not this young. Umm, alright so a Death Day is a celebration on the anniversary of your death."
"Why would I want to celebrate my death," Danny asked incredulously.
"Why would you celebrate your birth," Sidney pointed out.
"Touché," Danny said with a nod. "What do you even do on your Death Day?"
Sidney tapped his finger against his chin as he recalled the information.
"Well, typically it's a day of truce and there's a party held in the Zone."
"Is that all?" Danny asked with interest. A day of no Ghost fighting sounded nice.
Sidney hesitated and chewed his lip before nodding quickly.
"Yep," he said, his voice cracking at the end.
Danny narrowed his eyes, it was obvious that he was lying.
"So, when is your Death Day?"
Danny hummed as he tried to remember.
"Like a few months from now."
"Well, I'd expect a visit from the others around then," Sidney said as he slipped back into the locker.
Danny was about to ask him what the hell he meant by that when the bell gave an aggressive ring. Lunch break was over and Danny was going to be late soon. He didn't even get to finish his food.
Sidney was right. The other ghosts did come for him on his Death Day. They tore him from his bed and dragged him to the Ghost Zone through a portal Wulf made. The celebration lasted all day and well into the night. Danny didn't know there was such a varying amount of ghost cuisine.
Danny hadn't realized how unknowledgeable he was in Ghost Culture. Apparently Ember, Johnny, and Kitty were doing "Ghost Nip." The Lunch Lady had told him he wasn't old enough to have any.
The only downside was everyone kept referring to him as an infant or baby. Especially Skulker, it was probably the highlight of his night.
Danny assumed that his first Death Day would get rid of any of the lingering weirdness the others had around him but he was wrong. So wrong. In fact it increased.
Unsurprisingly it started with the Box Ghost. Again.
"It is I, the mighty Box Ghost," he proclaimed as he appeared out of the floor of the cafeteria.
The students looked up from their trays with a sigh as the ghost alarm sounded off. Idly the students evacuated, only moving when the staff members ushered them out.
The Box Ghost waited impatiently. Slowly Danny came back this time as Phantom.
"It is I, the mighty Bo-," he began again before Danny cut him off.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. What ya want this time Boxy?"
"I come with a proposal for you, Phantom," the Box Ghost yelled with an exaggerated point of his finger.
"You didn't even buy me dinner, let alone finish my lunch," Danny joked with a tilt of his head.
The Box Ghost scoffed.
"Silly child–," Danny rolled his eyes, "my proposal is for you to become my apprentice!"
Danny slapped a hand over his mouth.
"I know it is a great honor that comes with great responsi-"
Danny couldn't take it anymore and let out a caterwaul of a laugh that had him doubling over.
"You laugh at the offer of apprenticeship of the strongest ghost–" he was caught off by the whirring of the Fenton Thermos.
Danny capped the lid, his shoulders still shaking from his giggles.
Man, he couldn't wait to tell Sam and Tuck.
The second time was less humorous than his first and happened during his nightly patrol.
Danny was lazily floating through the park when he felt the cold vapor flee from his lips and the air vibrate with the force of the oncoming ghost.
What weapon would he have this time?
Danny reluctantly turned around and went into a fighting stance. He faltered in surprise at the gun in Skulker's hands.
The gun shot off and Danny was easily caught in the net in his distraction.
It wasn't difficult to disentangle himself from the net but when he was done Skulker was standing over him with an oozing smirk.
"Wow, you're losing your touch. How are you going to skin my hide with this," Danny asked with a raised eyebrow and gesturing with the net in his hands.
"Your hide would be better and more valuable being my apprentice," Skulker said proudly.
Danny furrowed his brows and groaned. Not Skulker too.
The fight that ensued was an interesting one. It mostly consisted of Danny shooting ectoblasts and Skulker shooting nets while loudly stating why he would be Danny's best bet of survival if Skulker became his mentor.
The fight eventually ended much to Danny's relief.
He went to bed with questions on why ghosts wanted to be his mentor all of a sudden.
Danny was excited. He had woken up on time and the breakfast table conversation was barely about ghosts and ripping his alter ego "molecule by molecule" wasn't even mentioned. He ate his favorite chocolate chip waffles and a rich cup of coffee. Jazz must have noticed his good mood and offered to drive him to school.
The grin on his face was big and easy. He walked out the door with a bounce in his step, so much so he had to concentrate on not floating. Jazz giggled at this as she trailed behind him.
Though as soon as Danny caught sight of what was across the street he deflated.
Johnny and Kitty were leaning against Johnny's motorcycle and were wearing matching black, square sunglasses. They smiled widely at him and Danny knew exactly where this conversation was going.
Danny quickly crossed the street looking both ways before tackling the pair into the bushes.
"What do you think you're doing just hanging out in front of Fenton Works?? Are you asking to get caught?"
"Nah, little dude. We wanna mentor you," Johnny replied.
Kitty nodded eagerly.
"Yeah, the both of us as we are a package deal." Kitty pulled herself up into a sitting position and crossed her legs. "We could be like your cool Aunt and Uncle!"
"No," Danny said vehemently, horrified at the thought.
Kitty pouted and Johnny threw up his hands pleadingly.
"Please, dude. We'd do a good job, promise."
Danny rubbed his eyes and he felt Jazz put a soothing hand on his shoulder.
"I can't deal with this right now. I have to go to school."
The siblings left despite the ghosts' protests.
The rest of the day carried out similarly.
During fourth period science Ember showed up.
Danny flew out to the parking lot and eyed Ember warily.
"Let me guess. You want to offer me an apprenticeship?"
"Spot on," Ember said with a smirk. Now I love, Skulker, I truly do." Her voice filled with fondness at the mention of her boyfriend. "But there's no way in hell am I letting him have you for an apprentice."
"Why is this so important to you people!?" Danny charged his hand with an ectoblast.
"So, that's a no then?" Ember punctuated this with a scowl.
"Yes, that's a no," Danny shouted in exasperation.
"Oh, come on!! Your Ghostly Wail would go so well with my guitar," She whined as energy gathered at the head of her guitar, pink and angry.
He was so interrogating Sidney later.
Danny unfortunately had to wait until after school before hobbling over to Sidney's locker.
He knocked on the locker door and rubbed at his sore thigh.
Shyly, Sidney poked his head out with an abashed expression.
Danny glared at him with impatience.
"Something to tell me, Sidney?"
"Okay, okay!" Sidney put up his hands defensively in front of him.
"So after a ghosts 'survival' to their first Death Day they are considered safe enough for another ghost to take care of them, so to speak. It's regarded as an apprenticeship as the mentor ghost teaches the younger ghost how to fight and fend for themselves and of course Ghost Culture as a whole.
"This is a very important occurrence for ghosts. They're asking not only for an alliance after your maturity but also a familial relationship with you. Think of it like adoption." Sidney fiddled his thumbs.
"Huh," Danny replied as he absorbed the information. "That's why everybody is hounding me for? An alliance?"
"Everybody assumed you were older because of how tough you are in battle so we were very surprised that you weren't even a year old yet. Very much a thing of personal gain." Sidney cleaned his glasses nervously and put them back on his face.
"Makes sense, unfortunately," Danny said with a sigh. "Thanks for telling me Sidney."
"No sweat," he said as he watched Danny turn away.
Danny turned back around and looked at Sidney curiously.
Sidney cleared his throat and slightly averted his eyes before continuing.
"I know I said most ghosts are offering you apprenticeship for an alliance but… not all of them are like that.
"Basically I'm offering you an apprenticeship. I know that we might not be that close and well, we died at the same age so that might be strange but I've been around longer and… I guess I could sortamaybementoryou?? Just putting it out there. You don't have to accept it of course!!" Sidney waved his hands in a panic flurry as if he was trying to dispel the words he just said from the air.
Danny chuckled at Sidney's reaction.
"Thank you, I appreciate it. I'll think about it."
"Sure why not," Danny said with a shrug.
Sidney nodded to himself a little dazed.
Eventually he came back to properly say goodbye to Danny before he left.
Danny thought he could just tough it out and that the other ghosts would soon lose interest. They didn't. They also had infinitely more patience than he did.
After a few weeks and a few too many times being caught in Skulker's net and half-dragged to his lair, Danny had finally had enough.
Danny decided that he could find reprieve in Clockwork's tower.
The tower was the same as always: a black and green looming mass that emanated power (and a strong, constant ticking noise). Modeled like a Grandfather Clock surrounded by gears most ghosts didn't think of just appearing on the Master of Time's doorstep. Most ghosts that weren't Danny that is.
Danny knocked three times on the double doors before letting himself in.
Clockwork hovered over a chair that was placed near a table with a teapot and cookies on it.
Danny zoomed over to the empty chair across from Clockwork and tucked into the cookies with an enthusiastic "Thanks!"
"I see that the others are giving you trouble about your apprenticeship," Clockwork asked as his form shifted into an old man.
Danny nodded, not speaking because of his full mouth.
Danny downed his swallow with tea and licked his lips.
"Yeah, I just need a minute or I'll tear my hair out." Danny ran a hand through his messy hair as if to demonstrate.
"Hmm. Apprenticeships are very important, so, it is highly advised that you choose wisely."
Danny groaned and hid his face behind his arms on the table.
"Do I have too?"
"It is customary to do so, yes," Clockwork said as he took a savoring sip of his tea.
"Aww, man," Danny whined, lifting up his head.
The conversation soon lapsed into silence as Danny finished off the cookies and tea.
"You know," Clockwork eventually said, "it would be beneficial to possess an apprenticeship with me."
Danny slammed his head onto the table again and was almost on the verge of screaming.
Maybe Danny should just give in and take Sidney up on his offer.
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honey, you’ve got a big storm comin’
This is for Phic Phight 2021! I’m on Team Ghost, with team leader @ecto-american!
Prompt: Danny Fenton has been kidnapped! Unfortunately for his kidnappers, he finds this hilarious.
Word count: 1648
Prompt by: @currentlylurking
Characters: Danny, Jack and Maddie (mentioned)
Warnings: slight language
Extra notes: i had a looot of fun writing this one. i love this trope and i wanted to finish it before april fool’s day was up!! :3
[writing tag] | [Phic Phight 2021 tag] | [My fills] | [fic index]
FFN/AO3 links to come following the end of the event.
Being snatched up on the street on the way home from school—walking, for once—was not how Danny expected his afternoon to play out, but, alas, here he is. At first, he was too shocked to do much except put up the token protests; yelling, kicking, the works. Then, as reality set in, he found himself too dumbfounded by the sheer audacity of these bitches to do much more than stare at them blankly.
“Huh,” he says, the fifth time in the last twenty minutes.
“Would you knock it off?” one of his kidnappers snaps, slapping his hand against the table he’s standing over. Tweedledee and Tweedledum are hunched over a tiny laptop screen while Danny sits, unwillingly, tied to a chair with the most weak sauce knots he’s ever seen in his life. Seriously. Cujo might be able to tie a better knot.
“No, I don’t think I will,” Danny says, faking a yawn as best he can with his wrists tied behind his back. He leans back and kicks his feet out—his ankles aren’t even tied. Amateurs. “Though, I gotta say… This is the worst kidnapping I’ve ever been a part of.”
Thing 2 gives him a weird look, then returns to his scrolling and typing. Thing 1 groans and slaps a hand on the table again. “I’m getting sick of your mouth, kid.”
“Hey! You’re the ones that grabbed me. I didn’t ask to get taken here against my will.” Danny pouts and gives them his most pitiful look. “I’m just a poor innocent kid. A simple child on his way home from another day of school.” He sniffles, forcing his eyes to go watery. “How could you do something like this to someone like me?”
The second goon scoffs. “You’re the Fenton kid, yeah?” He looks up and pins Danny with a look. “Your parents are scientists. They’re sure to pay a lot of money to get you back.”
Danny squints at them. “If you actually knew anything about me or my parents, you’d know already how bad of an idea this is.” He snorts. “My parents aren’t the kind to just sit back and let someone else do their dirty work.” He pauses and sits up straighter. “Wait. That came out wrong.”
The two men don’t seem to have been paying much attention. They both start laughing. “Yeah, right. All scientists are eggheads. What’re they gonna do? Bust in here and rescue you themselves?” Goon One laughs even harder as if his own words are the best joke he’s ever heard. “Give me a break.”
Danny rolls his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up now. You’ll see.” With the men distracted, he carefully phases his wrists out of the rope and crosses his arms in front of his chest. “Wake me up when they get here. Or rather… Don’t bother. I’ll know.”
The laughter slows to a stop as Danny tilts his head back and closes his eyes. “Hey…” Grunt Dos starts, sounding confused. “How’d you get out of those ropes?”
“I was a scout when I was a kid,” Danny says, lying. “Knots are easy.”
He can hear the head scratching from across the room—the darkened room; these two really went all out with the kidnapper aesthetic, what with the single chair under a single lit bulb in a tiny, dank room. Danny thinks they might be in someone’s basement. “I coulda sworn I tied those tight?” Number One mutters to himself.
Danny snorts and covers it with a cough. These two are just… so dumb. Even without ghost powers Danny doesn’t think he’d be intimidated by the two of them. Barring the initial grab and the transfer from the vehicle to this room, neither of them had so much as laid a hand on him, not even to whack him upside the head for his unusually smart mouth. Even now, the two are keeping their distance.
Well. Maybe it’s about time he turns up the heat—by turning it down, of course. These two deserved to get fucked with a little.
Danny takes a deep breath and focuses on the tight ball of ice in his chest. Usually, he keeps it under lock and key, otherwise he tends to shed cold like an open freezer. Now, however, he loosens his grip on and lets the ghostly cold rush through his veins. He keeps his eyes shut and his breathing regular as he slowly infects the room with his ethereal chill.
He moves a hand to the rope that held his hands and freezes it over entirely, something small and inconspicuous to coat in a layer of ice to help him maintain his focus on his cold. Frost spreads from this focal point and within minutes, it’s cold enough that the three of them are breathing out colds of smoke.
He doesn’t open his eyes right away, waiting for the tell-tale glow to die down. Sure, his cold powers don’t turn his eyes weird colors, but they still glow, and the last thing he wants to do is give these losers any reason to suspect he’s anything but a poor innocent civilian.
Of all the times to wish he could duplicate invisibly, now is definitely the hardest time he’s had pushing away the disappointment. Maybe after this he can get together with Sam and Tucker and squeeze in a quick power training session.
“What the hell?” one of the chuckleheads says through chattering teeth. “What happened to the heat?” Danny opens his eyes in time to see him turn and slap the absolute shit out of his partner. “I told you to pay the heating bill!”
“It’s like seventy degrees outside!” the other man yells, rubbing the pain from his arm. “Why do we need heat at a time like this?”
Kidnapper A gestures at the room around them in answer. Kidnapper B squints and scratches his head like it’s the first time he’s ever seen it. “Huh,” he says, an echo of Danny earlier.
“God, you’re such a copycat,” Danny snips, crossing his arms again. The cold never bothered him anyway. “Let me go,” he says, if only to continue his shitty, internal Frozen reference. The irony of his words is not lost on him. But, hey. At least he’s the only one that’s aware he’s making a terrible joke.
“Yeah, right.” Bert scoffs. “We’re not idiots.”
Ernie elbows him and turns back to his typing. “Well. I’m not. Him I’m not so sure of.”
Danny rolls his eyes and taps his feet against the floor. The chair slips, briefly, and Danny has to scramble to not fall onto the floor, but the absolutely buffoons don’t appear to notice in the slightest. He wonders if he can just… get up and walk out. Their passive perception has to be ridiculously low if they don’t notice any of Danny’s abysmal stealth and sleight of hand rolls.
Though. To be fair. They think they’re dealing with a normal kid.
Danny yawns, loudly and, testing the waters, rolls to his feet in one smooth motion. The first guy doesn’t notice, having turned his attention to the phone he pulled out of his pocket, but the second one looks up, eyes blowing comically wide.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” he yells, making his way around the table.
“Stretching my legs,” Danny says, doing just that. He bends on the waist and touches his toes. “My knees hurt if I sit in one place for too long.” With a quick flick of his wrist, smooth, hard ice coats the floor near the table.
Computer guy pays his no mind as he continues his way around the table. As soon as he steps on the ice, he lets out a scream as he goes down, busting his ass on the floor. “Shit!”
Danny stands up with a dramatic gasp. “Oh my god, are you okay?” he asks, voiced pitched up, laying it on extra thick. “Wowie, that was quite a fall!” He lays a hand on the side of his face. “Poor thing.”
Phone guy looks up with a shout of his own. “You dick, I did pay the bills! You’re such an—what happened to you?”
Danny looks up at the single light bulb dangling from the ceiling. Please. Someone. Anyone. Give him the strength to deal with This Shit. “He fall down go boom.” He shakes his head. “Tragic.”
The dumb duo gives him looks that could kill. Too bad, so sad, been there done that.
Before either of them can make another move or make another sound, Danny hears the distant sounds of doors slamming and tires screeching. And not just any tires—the distinctive sound of treads like those used on the Fenton Family Ghost Assault Vehicle.
Danny smirks. “So, you guys must be from out of town. Maybe you’re just renting this place or you’re new here or you don’t get out much. Whatever it is, you can’t be native to Amity Park, because if you were, you’d know something. Specifically, about my parents.” There’s a crashing sound from upstairs. The men exchange frightened looks and the man with no more ass trips to his feet, also hitting his knees on the floor.
Danny moves to lean against the wall, melting his ice as he sweeps past. Eat your heart out, Elsa. Or would Jack Frost be a more appropriate comparison? Eh, details. “The thing about my parents is that they don’t just sit around when someone threatens their kids. My dad is built like a brick shithouse and my mom is a black belt.” There are footsteps on the stairs—he knew they were in a basement—and Harry and Marv’s eyes widen comically. No, really, it’s hilarious.
“They also drive what’s basically a tank.” Danny gives a shark’s grin. “So, honey? You’ve got a big storm comin’.”
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Phic Phight - The Invisible Crown Of A Child
Maddie was observant and the Crown Of Fire wasn’t something she was about to miss... even if it’s wearer seemed to have no clue.
Maddie chews on her lip, watching Danny head out of the front door, back slung over one shoulder and waving with the back of his hand. Part of her wanted to tell it was rude to wave goodbye without even looking at who he was saying bye to but... the faint reflection of green in his hair reminds her that maybe silence was best.
She wasn’t sure what was best with him these days. What would be good to say or what would be bad. What things that were only supposed to affect ghosts would react to him and what wouldn’t. What she did know though was what hid in that green reflection, the thing their most specific and efficient detector showed.
The crown. The green flaming crown that stays upon his head.
She’s sure he doesn’t know. If he did then surely he wouldn’t touch his head so carelessly. Surely his friends wouldn’t give him nudgies or ruffle up his hair so much. Surely he wouldn’t flee from the ghosts. Surely the ghosts wouldn’t ignore or terrorise him or his friends. For on his head sat the Crown Of Fire. The mythical crown only able to be worn by the king of death, the king of all ghosts. Inherently the most powerful of them all. And yet...
It sat on her sons head. Her perfectly human son's head.
She’d even tried hinting at it, even being almost blunt. Not even a hint of recognition from him. Sure he recognised the crown itself from their books and that incident with the Pariah ghost, but that was all. She knew the ghosts knew though, the way so many would glance at his head before anything else; they’d pause for a second before going on with what they were doing, almost as if they were testing the waters for a second. Seeing if he knew now perhaps. Because if he did, her Danny would tell them to cut it out. To stop and leave humans be. At the very least he'd demand they stop hurting anyone. But that just wasn’t the case.
It made sense to a degree. He was human. It was reasonable that he could not feel nor see it. She couldn’t, the scanner could, but not her nor Jack. And being human, it probably couldn’t affect him right and he probably couldn’t ‘use it’ truly or fully; however it was that crown got ‘used’. For that she was honestly thankful, though she always worried that one day one of their devices would react just right to change that. Or she’ll say something and suddenly he’ll become aware. Or a ghost will do something that’ll change everything. So she did her best not to risk it. And made sure to scan him frequently, to see how it looked, if things had changed.
Some things she’s noticed? Sometimes it could flare up with his emotions. Anger especially. On the scanner the blaze from it would be so bad it would obscure his hair and even eyes, it looked nearly demonic. She tried to avoid making him upset a lot more these days. Somehow it looked heavy when he was sad, would spin when exited. Beyond startling her at first it really was fascinating. Jack found it far more fascinating than she did though...
The incident that made her nearly have a heart attack was when he seemingly accidentally ordered a ghost to ‘screw off’ and they had jerkily followed his order. He had possibly controlled the ghost. She had been terrified that would do it, he would notice, become aware. But no, he had been confused and he hadn’t even known she was there at the time; she had been far too stunned by the ghosts behaviour to make her presence known. He had yet to repeat that result though, she hopes he never does though; because maybe once was luck and twice would be doom. It wasn’t worth it. Truly.
But if he somehow did become aware someday, which she’s sure he will because that never happening seemed truly improbable in every way, then she’ll do what she can to help him. Even if it forces him to become one of them, one of the ghosts. For now though, she’ll just keep an eye on that crown and hope for the best for him:
Prompt: Danny is somehow completely oblivious to the fact that he has been crowned the new Ghost King.
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They’re Not Anywhere
TUE was great and all but there are so many ways a hero can fail. Danny fails to save one person, or many, or even the entire city. What would be enough to drive him off the deep end? What would a villainous Danny sans any Plasmius influence look like? Prompt by @anthropwashere
word count: 646
this ones shorter than the rest but the brain juices are drying up
“It’s all your fault!” Danny shouted.
“My dear boy, I have no idea what you mean. Where have you been all this time?” Vlad stood up straight facing Danny as he studied his fingernails.
“Don’t pull your bullshit Vlad. The GIW told me that an anonymous benefactor was funding the project.”
“Anonymous is anonymous. That could’ve been anyone.”
“But it wasn’t just anyone.” Danny pulled out a phone and started scrolling through news articles. “You convinced everyone that I ran away. That I ran away from home as I was dying.”
Vlad just stared at him.
“And then if that wasn’t bad enough. You convinced everyone that Sam and Tucker ran away with me. What’d they do? Try to expose you? Try to get me out?”
Danny floated closer to Vlad’s face. “I need you to tell me where they are.”
“They’re not anywhere.”
Danny’s face pinched at that response. “What did you do to them?”
“You wouldn’t like the answer.”
His stomach dropped and he picked Vlad up by the front of the shirt. “What did you fucking do to them, Plasmius?!”
Baring his teeth Vlad finally gave Danny the answers he wanted. “I killed those two rotten, good for nothing children. Is that what you wanted to hear? All they did was stand in my way. Once they broke into the GIW facility I paid them to experiment on those two worthless children as well.”
Danny couldn’t hear Vlad anymore over the pounding of his pulse in his ears.
“It needed to happen in order for you and Maddie to be mine.”
Danny’s anger overflowed and he grabbed Vlad and held him up by the throat instead. “What’s left of me to take, Vlad? I’m fucking dead.”
Vlad started to talk but Danny’s grip on his throat tightened. “This is all your fault Vlad. Yours and everyone who believed you. Why would no one even come looking for us? They just abandoned us.”
Danny met Vlad’s gaze, a hot rage filling his eyes.
“I will demolish every single person who let this happen. Starting with you.”
Much of Amity Park was left in ruins. Dotted along every street was the occasional house that wasn’t destroyed, even if they were somewhat damaged, someone who had pleaded with him that they knew something was wrong. That they didn’t know how to help. They thought that the police would have taken care of it.
There were only three houses left completely intact and unharmed. The Fenton’s, the Foley’s, and the Manson’s. They had begged and begged and begged for someone to listen to them. Their children were troublemakers but they would never just run away. They would skip class and show up home late for curfew but they always, always came home.
Danny thinks Sam and Tucker had started organizing something because as he flew down the street confronting the A-listers he found along the way, many knew who he really was. Apologized for what had happened. Pleaded that they wanted to help break Danny out but were stopped by Sam and Tucker because it would be too dangerous. Dash nearly cried when he saw Danny and they were all spared from his anger.
Now he sat atop Fenton works, watching the destruction he caused. Feeling too torn between being sick at his actions and the satisfaction of finally getting revenge.
Danny began to grow tired and at the edges of his vision he saw light begin to fade in. In front of him, two familiar silhouettes appeared and understanding dawned on him. He didn’t know if this light was taking him to heaven or hell or maybe some other place altogether considering what he’s just done, but he didn’t care. He just closed his eyes and let himself fade.
Much of Amity Park was dead, just like Danny was, but it wasn’t his problem anymore.
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Stumbling in your Sleep
Phic Phight prompt fill for @the-only-wife
It was the ticking sound that woke him.
Danny yawned, blinking sleep out of his eyes and stretching out his sore muscles. Looking around only served to confuse him though. He wasn’t in his room anymore, and he wasn’t downstairs either (which sometimes happened with his body’s penchant to fall through not only his bed, but the floor). He was in a large, heavily shadowed room that was on the edge of familiar, and it was taking him a moment to place it in his sleep fogged mind.
“It’s not healthy to fixate on what could have been,” came a deep, familiar voice from behind him.
Startled, Danny spun around to see Clockwork floating a few feet away. He was in his eldest form, long knitted beard and all, and was gazing past Danny towards something further in the room.
Following that gaze, Danny saw what exactly Clockwork had been talking about and flinched, flying quickly away from it and over towards the Ancient.
It was a Thermos, horridly familiar and just- sitting there on a pillow as if for display.
“How did I get here?” Danny asked, putting Clockwork between himself and that thing .
Clockwork hummed, stroking his beard a moment before slowly answering, “I suppose, the likely answer is that you were having a nightmare.” He lowered a hand to Danny’s shoulder and led him out of the room and back into a more familiar part of the clock tower. “Let’s get you some tea before I send you home, it might calm your nerves.”
Danny followed, eager for distance, before asking, “the likely answer? Does that mean you don’t know?”
“Despite what you and certain others seem to think, I am neither omniscient nor a mind reader, I cannot see into your dreams,” Clockwork said and Danny chuckled softly. “Besides, Nocturn would likely be unappreciative if I was interfering in his domain.”
“You know Nocturn?” Danny asked stopping and tugging lightly on Clockwork’s cloak so that he’d stop as well.
He did, lifting one of his eyebrows and answering with a dry tone, “of course I do, I know everyone.”
Because of course he did. It wasn’t like he didn’t just tell Danny that he wasn’t omniscient, that was clearly a different skill set to someone as determined to be mysterious as Clockwork. Danny found himself wondering if the intrigue surrounding the older ghost was not mostly of his own creation, an attempt at seeming aloof and beyond comprehension while simultaneously laughing behind everyone else’s backs.
A wash of amusement filtered through the ambient ectoplasm of Clockwork’s lair and Danny scowled up at him, “I thought you weren’t a mind reader?”
Clockwork tried to hide his smile, unsuccessfully, and nodded, “I do not need to be, to hear the accusations you make towards me,” he guided Danny to the main room of the tower where the screens were kept along with the relatively recent addition of a couch and coffee table. There was warm tea, purple and slightly glowing, already waiting for them.
“So I’m right then? You are just messing with us all the time?” Danny grabbed his own cup, dubious, Clockwork wouldn’t poison him right? He would know whether a half ghost could drink something if anyone did.
If Danny was expecting an answer, he’d be dissapointed, but when a ghost spent enough time with the mysterious Ancient it became increasingly clear that straight answers were not something they would get in large supply. So instead he rolled his eyes and took a sip of his tea, Clockwork could be as obnoxious as he wanted after saving Danny’s family like he did.
The least Danny could do in return, was accept his eccentricities.
“Do you remember your dream?” Clockwork asked and Danny shook his head. There were bits and pieces, sure. Certain emotions and feelings that flashed to the surface when he closed his eyes or tried to think about it. He’d never been good at trying to recall something once he was awake, and despite Jazz once offering to buy him a dream journal to ‘help him decode his inner turmoils’ he’d never felt the need to try and change that.
He sighed into his tea, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you. I know you’re busy.” There was no way he was going to get a decent amount of sleep now, especially since he’d have to fly all the way home first and he didn’t even know how late it already was.
Clockwork’s lips twitched slightly upwards, “Daniel you’ve never once cared before how busy I am when you’ve come to visit,” Danny flinched, well he wasn’t wrong , “and besides, I quite enjoy your company. It’s no trouble at all.”
“Ah,” Danny didn’t know how to react to that, he was pretty sure he was nothing but trouble, especially with a certain future of his locked up in that other part of the clock tower they’d been in, “thanks?”
His host sighed, taking the time to sip his own eerily glowing tea. The silence stretched, but not uncomfortably and Danny found himself starting to drift towards sleep again, the struggle to try and keep his eyes pried open quickly becoming a losing one.
That was probably his cue to leave, as nice as it was to just sit here and not worry about things like classes and ghost attacks, he was probably already pushing it close to the first bell at school. He stood up and Clockwork’s eyes followed, “I have to head out, thanks for the tea Clockwork. I’ll try to be more considerate the next time I drop by.”
There was a small pinch between Clockwork’s brows, something he wasn’t saying or that Danny wasn’t hearing. “I’d rather you didn’t,” he assured and Danny let out a chuckle. He’d probably respond with something equally sarcastic, if not quite as dry, if he wasn’t so tired.
Clockwork seemed to be of the same mind, “Daniel, when was the last time you slept through the night?” He asked it as a question, as if he didn’t already know. Then again, maybe Danny was giving himself too much credit, it was entirely possible Clockwork didn’t waste his incredible power watching to see if Danny bothered to sleep at night.
“Yesterday,” Danny lied, a yawn built behind his jaw as if to discredit him but Danny held it back stubbornly. It didn’t seem to work though, as Clockwork’s lips tightened. He looked over at his screens, eyes flicking quickly over each one while his fingers tapped a steady rhythm against his staff. That, combined with the gentle ticking of clocks and general comforting atmosphere of the other ghost’s lair was making it more and more difficult for Danny to keep his eyes open.
He flinched awake fully as a hand shook his shoulder, shit, did he fall asleep standing up?
“Daniel,” Clockwork’s hand was still on his shoulder, practically holding him up at this point, “you can always sleep here.”
Danny shook his head, “I don’t have time-”
“Daniel,” Clockwork interrupted, his expression flat.
“I don’t want to…” he tried, “It’s just, you already help me all the time, you’ve fixed so many of my stupid mistakes and-” and Danny was tired of being a burden. He was tired in general, but ancients was he tired of that specifically.
He was tired of seeing his friends lose sleep to help him as back up, he was tired of constantly having to go behind his parents backs and lie to their faces he was tired of watching as Jazz’s once perfect grades started slipping just enough because of all the time she spent helping Danny with his and he was especially tired of knowing that he wasn’t worth the effort in the first place.
Not if he could turn into that .
But Clockwork didn’t let go of his shoulder, in fact, he pulled him closer into a hug, a real, full hug like the ones he used to get from his parents before they started wearing their weapons and he was scared to get near them. “I’d rather you slept here than wandered around the realms half asleep. Who knows where you’d end up,” he said, speaking gently into Danny’s hair.
“You would,” Danny said before losing the battle against another yawn and relaxing fully into Clockwork’s arms. “You know everything. Can I really sleep here?”
“Of course,” Clockwork released him, leaving one hand on Danny’s back to guide him to a staircase he hadn’t ever noticed before. Just how big was this clock tower anyways?
The room Clockwork took him to was a little bigger than the one he had at home and nothing like what Danny had expected. Most of the tower was colored with dark purples and muted greens, with the occasional brush of silver or brass from the multitude of gears and cogs that littered the floors and walls. This room however, was full of dark blues and greys, a swirling galaxy floating above a single full sized bed that Danny easily sunk into when Clockwork led him to it.
He blinked up at the stars, they were perfectly accurate to the night sky above Amity Park if it didn’t have the light pollution and had to stop himself from counting every constellation rendered there in perfect detail or he’d fall asleep just like that without even bothering to thank Clockwork for offering to stop time for him.
“You made me a room.” It should have been obvious, of course, but Danny hadn’t fully processed what the room and it’s decorations meant until he’d said it out loud and Clockwork didn’t even try to deny it.
Clockwork fazed the blankets through Danny in order to pull them over him properly, tucking him in. Danny was almost tempted to ask for a bedtime story, just to see how he’d react. “Yes, I made you a room.”
Danny frowned, he didn’t understand, “why?”
“I suppose it’s a bit of an excuse to have you visit more often,” Clockwork said, ruffling his hair before sitting at the foot of the bed, “and an offer for you to get some proper sleep before you sleepwalk into someone else’s lair and I have to fight for custody.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Danny mumbled into the pillow, his eyes drifting shut.
The last thing he heard before he drifted off was a soft chuckle and a gentle reassurance that he needn’t worry about anything like that just yet. Maybe, if someone like Clockwork could see the absolute worst of Danny, the monster he could become, and still care enough to make him a room and be sure he slept, then maybe Danny couldn’t be as terrible a burden as he thought. Surely Clockwork, who could see all the futures stretched out below him like a parade, wouldn’t waste his efforts if he didn’t think Danny was worth the time.
He dreamed of stars and ticking clocks and didn’t worry for once about how soon he’d have to wake up.
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Phic Phight 2021: A Little Too... (Third Times A Charm).
Prompt: As soon as Maddie saw Phantom, she KNEW. It had happened, the thing she dreaded and feared but in the back of her mind she knew would happen. Her Danny, her baby wasn't human anymore... but then again he never had been.
Team Ghost, 1,555 words, Complete.
Maddie felt dread settle in her stomach as she watched the figure of a teenage ghost streak across the sky. She knew in her bones that it was Danny.
She looked at Jack, whose face was filled with shocked fear, and shuddered out a sigh.
One of her greatest fears had come true. Her baby boy was no longer human. But Maddie had to ask herself as he disappeared if he had been human in the first place at all.
She came to the conclusion that he hadn't been for a very long time.
Maddie looked from the blueberry bush Alicia and her were picking at to cast a smile at her four-year-old son, Danny, and six-year-old daughter, Jazz, who waved at her from a few yards away.
Jack, sitting two bushes away, laughed off a particularly harsh barb from Alicia and Maddie smacked her arm.
It had started off as one of Maddie's favorite summers ever. Then Jazz screamed for her.
Maddie didn't think she would ever get the panic of her daughter's voice out of ears.
The three adults raced over to a crying Jazz.
"Danny's gone! Danny's gone! I looked away for a second… and he wasn't… wasn't there," she huffed out tearfully.
Maddie scanned the trees surrounding them.
"He couldn't have gotten far, Princess. We'll find him." Jack picked her up and cradled her close to his chest.
"He should be close, I reckon'," Alicia said, gazing at the depth of the woods. She cupped her hands around her mouth and hollered. "DANNY!!"
"Danny," Maddie yelled as she started walking deeper into the woods.
They searched until the sun was setting, wandering and calling. No luck and no sign of Danny.
As soon as they made it back to Alicia's cabin they called the police. In Maddie's opinion they couldn't gather and start the search soon enough.
They must have searched a twenty mile radius around Alicia's home; everyone looked in every shrub and tree-top. Over and over again for a month. Nothing, like he had never been there at all.
The four had just come back from the police station and the prospect of announcing him dead hung heavy over their shoulders. Maddie couldn't bear the body shuddering sobs from Jazz. Jack was on the verge of tears himself and Alicia was rubbing her shoulder and stubbornly looking down. Maddie felt a strong wave of numbness smothering in her chest.
As soon as they opened the door, much to their shock, Danny greeted them from the couch.
"Hi, guys! Where were you?" Danny stuffed a strawberry in his mouth. The previous three containers were empty and strewn across the coffee table. Jazz bolted towards him and bundled him into a hug despite the fact he was covered head to toe in mud and grime and sticky strawberry juice clung to his cheeks.
Maddie felt her arms shake as she reached out to give Danny her own hug when she felt something slam her with the sense of wrong.
It was Danny, no doubt about it, Maddie could never mistake anything as one of her kids but Danny… wasn't the same. Not anymore.
The grin he shot her was a little too wide, teeth a little too sharp, small fingers a little too long, and the gaze of his bright eyes a little too manic.
Danny met Maddie's hug with great enthusiasm and Maddie patted his back half-heartedly. Soon he was moving towards Jack and it wasn't until the two parted that Jack seemed to realize the same things she did.
The entire time Alicia leaned on the wall by the door observing everything with critical, steely eyes. Danny waddled up to her with a giggle and made excited grabbing motions with his hands. Alicia slowly crouched down to his level and gave him a hug with the same caution you would give approaching a raccoon milling about in your yard. Like she should leap back in case he would go rabid.
Jazz furrowed her brows. Maddie deduced that it wouldn't take her long to figure out Danny's peculiarities. A year at most.
Danny didn't seem to mind or notice and eagerly pestered them into watching a movie. Maddie found herself saying that he should take a bath first though it didn't feel like it came from her mouth at all.
Jack walked up the stairs with Danny to help him with the bath.
Alicia went to phone the police and explained the situation to them. They'd most likely needed to give statements some point during the week.
Maddie gingerly sat herself down on the couch and coaxed Jazz into her lap so she could braid her hair. Maybe that would soothe her nerves.
Eventually everyone had gathered in Alicia's quaint living room. Alicia sat in her worn, leather chair and the other four squeezed themselves onto the couch with Jazz and Danny between Jack and Maddie.
Midway through the movie Maddie felt uneasy and spared a glance at her son right next to her. The glow from the T.V. made his eyes a little too unearthly. Maddie returned her gaze to the movie and didn't look to the side of her again.
Everything had finally settled down and the Fentons returned back to their home in Amity Park.
Maddie decided that since Jack was down in the lab and Jazz at a friend's house that it would be the best time to ask Danny what had exactly happened.
Maddie laid a plate of his favorite cookies –snicker-doodle– and sat across from him.
"Danny, is it okay if I ask you some questions about what happened at Aunt Alicia's place? About when you were gone," Maddie asked, trying to not fidget her fingers.
Danny gave a nod as he stuffed his mouth to the brim with cookies.
"Well, we were picking blueberries..."
Maddie hummed in agreement.
"And when Jazz was busy I heard, I heard a lady."
"Yes, a lady. She was calling for me. She was whistling too. I just wanted to play with her, Momma. I didn't know I was gone for a long time, promise," Danny said earnestly.
Maddie shakily inhaled and rolled her shoulders.
"Anything else, Danny?" Maddie weakly smiled at him.
"Yeah, who's that thing behind you?" Danny pointed to just above her shoulder.
Maddie whipped her head around to see nothing but thin air.
"It's gone now."
Maddie didn't want her hands to shake but shake they did.
"Okay, thank you, Danny," Maddie said almost inaudibly. "I'm going into the lab now. Let me know if you need anything from me."
Maddie nodded to herself and stiffly walked into the lab; she tried to ignore the almost innocent burning of Danny's eyes on her back.
Maddie shouldn't feel nervous. She shouldn't. It's just her son. It's just Danny. Danny who was talking to someone in his room. Jack and Jazz were out.
She sneaked to peer through the crack of Danny's door. He sat alone in the middle of his space-decked room and was murmuring to his opened closet.
Maddie thought she did well not making any noise; she had avoided all the creaky floorboards and knew she could silence her footsteps but Danny instantly snapped his head to face her.
Uncontrollable terror wormed its way through her chest and writhed behind her teeth. His gaze was unwavering and blank but it seemed to hide something barely suppressed, something crazed. Maddie thought no one should be afraid of a four-year-old let alone when that four-year-old was your own son but her hands were slicked with sweat.
Danny turned his head back to the closet and said something akin to "it's just my mom."
"Awww, don't go," Danny said clearly.
"Danny," Maddie asked with a tremor in her voice.
Danny faced her again but this time there was life in his blue eyes.
"Wanna watch a movie with me," Maddie asked after a moment of hesitancy. She was conflicted between getting her boy the Hell out of that room and wanting to get away from the oppressive, uncanny aura cloaking Danny.
Danny shouted in excitement and rushed towards her. The situation was partly solved.
Danny's tendency to see and speak to things that weren't there was a pattern that would persist. Including Danny's sense of a little too wrongness.
Maddie and Jack trudged home with their hearts heavy. It was hard losing your son seemingly a second time.
A strong wave of numbness overtook Maddie's chest once again.
The pair opened the door and was greeted by Danny from the kitchen.
"Hi, guys! Where were you?" Danny stuffed a spoon filled with cereal into his mouth.
Jazz looked up from her book anxiously, obviously knowing that Danny wasn't exactly the same anymore.
Danny's eyes were a little too green, hair a little too wispy, breathing a little too shallow, and voice a little too echo-y.
Maddie gave a half-hearted wave and Danny met it with enthusiasm.
Another part of her son was gone. She wondered how many times it would take until her son was gone completely, finally dead and laid to rest instead of a shadow of him that haunted her relentlessly. Danny's eyes flashed an ectoplasmic green and Maddie thought that third times a charm, surely.
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Phic Phight:Ghostly Inconvenience
@currentlylurking Team Human My First 2021 phic phight phic
Prompt from @Slyph-feather :Would love to see Danny dealing with some of the minor inconveniences/differences in being a ghost; slower heartbeat, sickly pallor, maybe not showing up correctly in photographs, etc... bonus points if this is like in the school setting (because I think that would be funny)
Danny thought he had all his ghost problems figured out, or at least was aware of all of them, at this point. Afterall he’s had his powers for almost a year now. He was wrong, oh was he wrong.
It was the first day of his sophomore year, no longer at the bottom of the high school food chain. He stood in line to get his picture taken for his school ID. Sam and Tucker had different classes for first period so they were off getting their pictures somewhere else. After a few minutes of board waiting it was his turn. Paulina skipped past him to get her ID and look at the picture she just took.
Danny told the photographer his name and she entered a few things into her computer before gesturing for him to stand in front of the camera. Danny tried to make a few last second adjustments to his hair. “Okay smile!” The camera woman called out as he was blinded by a flash of light.
Danny started walking over to the ID station but was stopped. “Oh hold on dear the photo came out pretty blurry I’ll have to retake it. It’s no big deal don’t worry you probably just moved too quickly after the flash went off, stay still after the picture is taken okay?”
Danny sighed but did what he was told. After another blinding flash and staying as still as possible Danny looked towards the woman. The camera woman bit her thumb staring at the computer in front of her. “Okay it still was blurry stay there I’m going to take a few at once one of them will turn out good.”
Danny was pretty sure at this point he was going to go blind as he blunk the spots out of his vision from the repeated flashes. Honestly this was getting pretty tiresome already. He walked up to the woman silently praying at least one picture turned out fine. She clicked through the photos face growing more and more confused with each one. “Uh is something wrong?” He asked.
She shook her head. “I’m not sure. Almost all of the photos turned out blurry and the ones that didn’t are weird.” She saw his questioning face. “You’ve heard of red eye right? What happens when you take a picture and sometimes the eyes of the people in the picture show up red? Well I can’t say I’ve seen this version of it in all my years of photography.” She turned the computer to face him more. On the screen it was a photo of him. The area around him was blurred, the only thing in focus was him, almost too in focus, and what really shocked him was his eyes in the photo. His eyes were glowing green in the picture, almost like when you took a picture of a cat in the dark.
Danny felt like a deer in headlights, what were the chances that she would make the connection of him not being human? The woman just shrugged. “Well it looks like we won’t be able to get a proper photo today. You can use your school photo from last year for your ID for now until retakes in a week.”
He let out a sigh, it wasn’t too bad though he didn’t really look much different from the year before. At most he grew two inches. Though it was weird that it happened. He wondered if it was because of his ghostly half. He didn’t exactly take many or really any photos of himself. Danny walked over to the ID station to explain his situation and hoped that this wasn’t how the rest of the day would go.
During second period it was time for the sophomores to get their health checks done. Though most students were pretty sure it was mostly just an excuse for the local college’s medical students to get some more patient contact hours and hands on practice. This time he did share a class with his friends which was nice. Though it wasn't like they could go into an exam booth together. Calling them booths was a bit of a stretch though really they were just four curtains with equipment to take vitals and a chair inside. There were about a dozen or so lined up in the gym.
“Daniel Fenton come to booth five please.” A man called stepping out of one of the booths as he pulled a pair of gloves on.
Danny walked over to said booth and pulled the curtain shut behind him. The man motioned for him to sit down in the chair. Danny obliged and sat down he bounced his leg as he watched the man prepare the equipment. “Alright good morning Danny. I’m Josh, I'll be doing your check up today. It’s just a simple overview of your health no need to be nervous. All I’ll be doing is taking your vitals and checking your reflexes and the sort. Any questions?”
Danny shook his head. He was nervous though, he couldn’t help it. He had tried his best to avoid any type of medical setting ever since the accident. It would be the first time since then that someone actually took a close look at him. But it would probably be fine right? Not like he would be giving a blood sample here or anything.
It went fine at first as the man -Josh- checked his reflexes, checked his ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. He then affixed a blood pressure cuff to Danny’s arm and stuck a temperature probe in his mouth. Once the results appeared on the machines screen his head tilted a bit. “You usually run a bit cold? Hm your pulse is a bit slower than average than normal too.”
Danny silently cursed. “Uh yeah that's normal for me.”
“Well as long as it’s within your baseline there’s nothing really to worry about. I’m going to listen to your heart and lungs now okay? The stethoscope is a bit cold so be prepared.” Josh warned. When he started to listen to Danny’s heart he seemed at a loss again. “Give me one second okay? I’ll be right back.” He stood up and walked out through the curtain. Well that probably wasn't a good sign.
Josh returned a minute later with an older man in tow. “Danny, this is Dr. Bears he’s just going to double check something for me.”
Danny nodded his head giving the doctor an awkward smile. The doctor pulled out a stethoscope of his own and placed it over Danny’s chest. He seemed to listen for a few seconds before moving onto a different region. He gave a small grunt before motioning Josh over. “It’s faint but he does have a heartbeat.”
“Well I know that. He’s clearly alive, he's going to have a heartbeat Doc.”
Danny laughed awkwardly as he continued to watch the two interact. “Try listening again. You’ll probably have issues with the mitral and tricuspid regions though, even I could barely hear it.” The doctor motioned towards Danny before walking out of the booth.
A few minutes later a bunch of other medical students filled into the tent to try to listen to his heart beat. Danny wasn’t sure how he felt about being a case study for a bunch of med students but as long as they didn’t figure out his secret he wouldn’t worry about it too much.
By the time the bell rang to signal the end of the period half the college students there had listened to Danny’s chest. After emerging from the booth he was met with confused looks from his friends he waved them off promising to explain it to them later.
By the pattern that was emerging Danny was dreading third period. It was english with Mr. Lancer. After everyone took their seats Mr. Lancer stood in front of the class and clapped his hands to bring the classes attention to him. “Alright class I hope you all enjoyed your summer break. I have exciting news for this school year. Due to the grant given to our school we now have laptops for you all to use during class.”
The class broke out in whispers and Danny started to have a bit of hope for the rest of the day. Once the laptop cart was wheeled in and each was assigned and passed out to each student they were instructed to make accounts for them.
The moment Danny turned the laptop on it gave him a shock. He let out a yelp and barely managed to restrain himself from knocking the thing off of his desk. He shook his hand trying to dispel the pain. He gave the laptop a hesitant poke, no shock. He started on his task of making an account, but was quickly interrupted by the screen glitching out. Danny groaned, occasionally electronics would bug out around him if he was in a particularly sour mood, of course it had to happen today. He waited for the screen to return to normal before trying to continue.
He just managed to get the account created when it gave him another shock. He yelled in shock once more. Immediately after the lights flickered and all the laptops in the room shut off and the one in front of him started to smoke. The whole class was staring at him and he shrunk under their gaze. They all had bigger problems though as his laptop caught fire and set off the fire alarms.
“Great Gatsby! Everyone out of the building now!” Mr. Lancer yelled ushering the teens out and leading them to the parking lot.
Once Mr. Lancer made sure they were all accounted for Sam elbowed Danny in the ribs. “Nice going Danny.”
Danny just put his head in his hands and groaned while Tucker pat him on the back. Why couldn’t he just have a normal life? Or just a normal day for once in his half life.
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Am I a Ghost? Fear Me
Valerie, hoping to improve her skills and learn more about anti-ghost tech, interns at Fenton Works for @kinglazrus
word count: 1069
yo hi laz
“Hi there, Valerie!”
Seconds after knocking on the door, Valerie was greeted by a very energetic Jack Fenton who looked like he was trying very hard to contain his excitement.
“Hi, Mr. Fenton.” She said, smiling up at him.
“Come in, come in.” He stepped out of the way. “Maddie’s upstairs but she should be down shortly. I can’t wait to get started! We’ve never had an intern before!”
Valerie smiled and bit her tongue. She knew why no one wanted to intern here. Everyone was getting more and more interested in learning about ghosts but no one wanted to listen to the Fenton’s ramble on about them everyday. But Valerie needed to learn more about ghosts to help with her ghost hunting and the Fenton Works internship was paid anyways. It was a good option all around.
“I can’t wait to see what you guys all do downstairs. I’ve been down there a handful of times but I don’t think you guys were ever actually working when I was there.”
Jack laughed. “Amazing stuff we do in the lab. We engineer stuff, study ectoplasmic samples, research the behavior of ghosts. All sorts of neat things that we’ll get into soon!”
Valerie nodded and was about to respond when she was interrupted.
“Hi Valerie!” Maddie said from the top of the stairs. “You’re here! I think it’s about time we head down to the lab and get started for today.”
“You betcha, come on Valerie!” Jack ran out of the living room and into the kitchen, already disappearing by the time Maddie and Valerie made it into the kitchen.
“Okay.” Maddie said as they walked down the stairs into the basement. “The first thing we’re going to do today is get your measurements so we can make you a jumpsuit. It’s very important to wear it when in the lab for safety, no matter what our children and their friends think. Do you have any particular colors you’d like your suit to be in?”
Valerie pondered it for a few moments. “What about red and black?”
“Excellent. Now just stand here while I take a few measurements.”
Valerie stood still and moved as Maddie directed while she took note of Valerie’s measurements. Jack was on the other side of the lab listing off the name of each invention that he picked up and telling her what each one did.
“And this one is the ghost gabber! It translates the wails of the ghost language into something we can understand! It also still registers when a ghost is speaking in a human language which is good for confirming if someone is a ghost or not.” Jack turned on the invention.
“Wow, that’s cool. I didn’t know that ghosts had their own language.”
“Wow, that’s cool. I didn’t know that ghosts had their own language. Fear me.”
Valerie frowned at the invention and her gaze flicked back up to Jack’s face when he laughed.
“We finally got this thing to stop picking up on Danny and now it’s registering you too! I guess we never actually fixed it.” Jack said, turning it over in his hands.
Her brows furrowed. “Danny?”
“Ever since our portal started working all of our inventions started picking Danny up and trying to tell us he was a ghost.” Maddie said as she laughed. “Which is ludicrous because we know our son and we know he’s not a ghost.”
“But why does he set off the inventions?”
Maddie paused for a moment. “He was involved in an accident with the ghost portal, the day it started working, which is why lab safety is so important.”
Jack nodded. “Ever since Vlad had his accident in college, we upped our safety protocol as high as we could but that doesn’t really stop stubborn teenagers.”
Valerie’s blood ran cold. “Vlad? As in Vlad Masters?”
“Oh yeah, he was our buddy back in college. It was the three of us against the world!” Jack stared off into space longingly. “But he was hospitalized for a long time after his accident and he never wanted to see us.”
Valerie’s brain was starting to turn as Mr. Fenton kept talking.
She knew half ghosts existed and that both Vlad and Dani were halfas but-
Oh god she was so dumb. She knew about Dani and Phantom’s relationship to one another, but she never stopped to consider how much she looked like Danny when she found her in her human form. Or stopped to think what Dani being both human and ghost meant for Phantom, especially after seeing Vlad transform.
But what did that mean for her?
She showed up on the ghost gabber just like Danny did, but she never had a lab accident where ectoplasm or ghosts were involved. The only thing-
She could feel her suit tingling just under her skin, available to her with the command of a simple thought. She didn’t have to store it anywhere on her anymore, not like how her old one was in her backpack. This one was just there all the time. She never stopped to actually consider the implications of that ghost melding her suit with her beyond having easy access to her equipment that her dad couldn’t take away.
Was she a half ghost too? Was she just severely ecto-contaminated? Was-
“Alright, I’m all done, Valerie!”
She started as Maddie cheerily announced the end of her measurement gathering. The woman had stood back and moved to a cabinet and was looking at different pieces of fabric.
“The earliest I can get this done by will be two days from now, but for today we’ll just continue going over what each of our inventions do and seeing if there are any others that we need to tweak like we did for Danny!” Jack said.
“Okay, yeah. What does that one do?” Valerie pointed at one that she didn’t recognize.
“That’s the Fenton Ghost Weasel! It…”
Jack’s voice slowly faded from Valerie’s hearing as the implication that all of these weapons could hurt her arose in her mind. If she set off the ghost gabber, who knew what could happen with the other ones.
“I caught Phantom with this bad boy once! Had him trapped inside here real good! Until he, uh, escaped! Yeah.”
The more Valerie learned, the more and more it really did seem like a good option all around.
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Phic Phight Prompt by @hauntedozone
Sequel to Home with no Memories
He’d been alone on the road for a week now.
In all honesty he should be half dead, exhausted and starving and desperate to find something to eat or drink. But he wasn’t. Well, he was exhausted, just, more emotionally.
It would be easier, he thinks, if he knew who he really was.
His memories were still so fractured so damaged, he didn’t even really know what he was looking for. Just that he was following some vague idea, a concept, a feeling of family and comfort and home and everything a parent was supposed to provide.
So why was he walking away from them?
Easy, Danny thought, It’s because parents or not, those feelings of safety and comfort? Weren’t something they could provide. Even when they tried, even when all that effort was put forward to be those perfect, sitcom style parents, they couldn’t do the bare minimum and not lie to his face .
He wanted Jazz.
He didn’t even know who she was. Not really. But he wanted the feelings that came with the odd memory of her, the comfort, the warmth. The vague annoyance that he was so sure family members were supposed to feel towards each other instead of the full blown fear that held him in its grasp whenever Maddie- his mother - got near him.
In all honesty he wanted to know who he was. What he was. Daniel James Fenton. Missing for five years before being found, unconscious by his parents and brought to a hospital where they kept him for a month, planning their fake lives, their lies, and everything else.
That’s what he does remember. But who else was he?
Why didn’t he look any older? Where were the others? Why was he the only one found and why was it five years later?
But Danny didn’t have the answers. He might never have the answers. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to go look for them. First, however, he needed a place to start.
It was novel, being alone. It was pretty freeing as well, no pressure to pretend to be the child that someone else had been missing, no fear of being discovered doing something wrong. No fear of discovering something and it being wrong.
Danny had gotten used to being a wanderer, following a gentle tug in his core that seemed to pull him further and further away. There was no knowing where he was going, and he didn’t exactly have fair for a bus, or food, or really anything at all. So he had to just keep walking.
It took him a week before the hunger hit, and it hit harder than he’d expected. There was something wrong about it, he couldn’t help but think, he’d never heard of hunger being this deep, of seeping into one’s chest. His stomach growled, and he felt a tug towards something. He followed.
The tug took him towards a rest stop with a small diner, open 24/7 and full to the brim with truckers and other poor souls either caught on the road late at night or spending their lives transient and traveling. Just like Danny was now. He wouldn’t mind it, honestly, if he didn’t have the bone deep feeling that he was supposed to be somewhere, and that it was wrong for him to be away.
He walked in, hoping he passed for old enough to be driving on his own, and sat down at a table in the corner. The hunger was so much, just so much and he hadn’t eaten in so long. He’d been convinced that whatever it was his parents had done to him, it had taken away his hunger. It seemed now, that hadn’t been the case.
Maybe he could order food and run? There were plenty of places to hide in the woods, and he’d be good for at least another week right? Unless he just couldn’t feel hunger until it was pressing, didn’t he read somewhere that humans can go a week without food? He was still human, right?
“Hey sweetheart, where’s your parents?” asked an older lady in a waitress uniform, her hair was tied back in a tight but messy bun, and her apron was covered in stains. She set down a glass of water, looking worried and Danny smiled, tried not to look as tired as he was.
“I just got my license,” he lied, “so this is kinda my first roadtrip.”
A flicker of understanding passed behind her eyes and she smiled, “got lost huh?”
Danny ducked his head, an attempt at feigning embarrassment. She just shook her head and handed him a menu, “let me know what you want okay? And don’t let any of these old losers bully you, they’re the rough and rowdy kind.”
Nodding his thanks, Danny opened the menu. It was full of foods he couldn’t fully remember, things he wanted to try, but his eyes landed first and foremost on the burger on the top right. Out of all of them, that one felt the most familiar and he tucked the Menu away.
He sipped on his water, trying not to gulp it down too quickly. He didn’t want anyone to think he was desperate, they might think he was a runaway. They might call his parents. He needed to make it through this without being too suspicious, just eat, and run. Easy. People did it everyday.
When the waitress came back and he placed his order she didn’t look twice at his half empty water, just filled it quickly with the water from her jug and promised his food would be out right away. He waited eagerly.
Eventually, in an attempt to ignore the hunger eating away at the very center of him, he started people watching. He was in a small booth in the corner, so it wasn’t difficult to look around, see all the different people living their lives in the exact same place Danny happened to be.
There were a few sitting alone, silently reading the newspaper or some book, but most were sitting in groups, talking loudly and sharing exploits. Danny had no way of knowing if these people were strangers or friends with each other but he ached none the less.
What would Sam be like, sitting here surrounded by rednecks? In the few fuzzy memories Danny had, she always looked so elegant, all black clothes, sharp eyeliner, expensive fabrics. He couldn’t picture her in a place like this. Then again, he could barely picture her at all. The only truly solid image he’d had of her was from the article.
The one that proclaimed her missing. Along with Tucker and Jazz and Danny himself. He fought back tears, there was no use in breaking down now. He had to find answers, somehow.
His stomach growled again.
After he ate of course. The waitress came back with a huge burger and a whole plate of fries he hadn’t ordered and set it down in front of him. Danny had looked up at her, ready to tell her the mistake, but she simply waved him off and explained it was on the house. He looked hungry after all.
And well, he was. He tucked into the burger, and then the fries, and by the time he’d finished it all along with his third glass of water, his stomach was full to bursting and he had to sit back and take a deep breath. But despite the meal, he was still hungry. He could feel it, the pull in his chest screaming out for something, but he couldn’t eat another bite. He’d tried.
He fought back tears. What was wrong with him now?
The waitress walked over once she noticed he was done, “are you alright? Was the burger no good?” she asked and Danny shook his head, trying not to let her see his face.
“It was fine. Better than any burger I can remember,” he forced a smile.
She frowned, not taken in at all, “Sweetheart, I know our food ain’t that good. Something wrong? You want me to call someone-?”
“No!” he shouted, a touch too fast and far too loud. “No, I … I have to do this on my own.”
The waitress shook her head, she was practically flooded with worry and concern and it tasted almost bitter on his tongue. Tasted. Danny frowned.
“I- Do you want to hear a joke?” he asked.
Startled the waitress set down her jug, “of course sugar, let’s hear your joke.”
It was clear she was humoring him, but Danny didn’t care. He needed something, and there was an inkling of a possibility, a thought that maybe this might work, and he was going to jump on it with everything he had.
“Where does the General keep his armies?” he asked, banking on his knowledge from reading popsicle puns when he was sneaking out back home. No, not home. Back where his parents were.
The waitress rolled her eyes, “I suppose in the barracks?” she smiled.
“Nope, in his sleevies. Do you think glass coffins will be a success?”
“I don’t-” she tried to say, caught off guard by the pun and trying to humor him with a laugh, but failing, obviously, in her confusion.
“Remains to be seen. Did you hear about the guy who lost his left arm?”
“Uh no I-”
“Ehh, his hand writing’s all right now-” his joke was interrupted when he heard her bark out a laugh, a genuine one and Danny’s chest hummed with the sound. He breathed it in, and felt something ease, just a little, in his chest.
“I’m glad you laughed, my usual clientele don’t usually get my jokes. It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs. They always take things so literally.”
This one had her snorting behind her hand and looking at him completely anew, “kid you are something else you know that? This your attempt at getting a free meal?”
Danny smiled awkwardly, “is it working?”
She rolled her eyes, “keep trying charmer. I’ll go get your bill.”
Danny absorbed just a bit more of her laughter before she left, letting it settle under his skin, comforting and energetic. It wasn’t enough, not nearly, he realized, but it took away the edge and he found himself feeling mostly normal again. Well, as normal as someone who could apparently eat emotions was.
He was gone before she returned.
It was an unsettling feeling to be sure. He still wasn’t fully confident he still needed to eat, if the only thing that had taken away the painful emptiness in his chest was going to be emotions. What else was wrong with him? He didn’t age, or if he did it was slowly, he didn’t eat actual food, the cuts and scrapes he had gotten while walking through the trees to follow that tug, that pull in his chest that kept him going, all went away as quickly as they appeared. He was almost tempted to cut his hand deeper and time it as the skin stitched together.
Was that something his mother had done?
One thing he did know, he needed sleep. It was to biggest hurdle in his entire time traveling, almost a week away from home and he’d needed sleep more than anything else and it was almost grounding. It helped him feel human even as he laid awake, looking at the stars and somehow knowing the names of every constellation but not remembering why.
He wondered if Tucker was okay. If he’d complain about traveling like this or insist they took some gas guzzling car. Would he have counter arguments to Danny’s fractured morals, comment on how one little meal won’t hurt a restaurant but it could be life or death for him. That felt like something Tucker would say.
Danny kept walking.
He’d prepared after the first stop at the roadside diner. First, he’d shoplifted protein bars and trailmix,then he’d charmed the rest stop cashier into a roiling laugh after defending her from a particularly rambunctious drunk that had wandered in and made a mess of things. She’d thought it was hilarious to watch a grown man get his ass handed to him by a teenager, and Danny’s chest had practically purred with the satisfaction. As if that right there had been the first meal he’d had in months.
After that he felt lighter, like gravity wasn’t affecting him as much, and the pull on his chest got stronger, leading him away and into a certain uncertainty. He was excited now, pushing all the thoughts of experiments and inhumanity aside, there was an adventure to be had. And he was going to have it.
Looking at the stars helped too.
It was secondary of course, but whenever he felt frustrated, or tired, or on the edge of just stopping and giving up right then and there, he’d look up at the stars. Orion was there, watching over him, the big dipper and canis major, and every other constellation he could point out with ease. It gave him the energy he’d needed to go on, keep moving forward. To find the answers he so desperately needed.
One of the things he stole had been a watch. It was a large, ticking one that had caught his eye as he walked around the large store, trying not to seem to suspicious. It reminded him of something, the analogue clock he'd convinced Maddie and Jack to buy before he ran away perhaps? Or maybe, it was the ticking that was familiar. Either way it had been a comfort when he wrapped it around his wrist, holding it up occasionally to his ear just to listen. He let himself have it, this one thing that brought him comfort as he fled the only possible home he could remember.
It helped him sleep at night.
The first time Danny disappeared, it was because he was scared.
He was in the middle of the woods, decently far off the trail and mostly unconcerned with being found. Most people wouldn’t be out this far, this late, and they certainly wouldn’t be so far off the trail. Which was why, when he’d heard voices, hushed and excited, he went still.
Danny knew why he was here, the instinct he was following, homing beacon, whatever it was, it didn’t care where roads were, and it cared even less for forest paths. He wouldn’t get lost, and even if he was out here in the woods for sometime, he’d figured out exactly how to keep the hunger at bay. At least, for long enough.
The voices grew louder and Danny tried to think of what to do. Did they know he was out here? He hadn’t exactly been bothering to keep quiet, and if he could hear the crunch of leaves and foliage underneath the stranger’s boots as they walked nearer and nearer, then surely they had heard his own, far less careful steps.
Thinking, quickly and with no small amount of panic, Danny stayed still and calmed his breathing. If they knew he was in the area but he didn’t make a sound, it would take luck to find him, or some kind of tracking skill, shit. His eyes started looking around at the trees, picking out branches he might use to climb, but none of them looked like they’d hold his weight. Even if he himself felt lighter, it was unlikely a tree would agree with him.
He struggled to calm his breathing as the voices stopped, but the steps grew louder. What should he do? They were coming straight towards him? Why would they stop talking if they were trying, somehow, to sneak up on him?
His heart beat in his chest, an uncomfortably fast rhythm and Danny squeezed his eyes closed just as he heard someone break through the thick of trees in front of him.
“Brett there’s no one here,” a voice spoke, less than a foot away and full of gravel.
Danny opened his eyes.
There were two men in front of him, both holding weapons, one was a large pistol that had Danny’s heart almost stop once he caught sight of it, while the other was holding a large machete, likely used to make traveling through the wood like this easier.
“He’s hiding then,” said the stranger with the gun, “you saw the snag of blue fabric on the tree. He definitely went this way. Just, look in the bushes or something.”
The other guy, the first one to push past the trees and into the small space Danny was now standing, sharing with them, started swinging his weapon around and calling out in a sing song voice that had the hairs on the back of Danny’s neck rising.
“Come on out kiddo~.” he said, “we’re just worried about you. It isn’t safe getting lost alone in the woods at night. I mean, who knows what kind of scary people you could run into-”
Bret had slapped him on the back of the head, and ignoring his partner’s cry of outrage, said “you idiot. Do you even know how not to run your mouth?”
“Oh come on,” he’d said, carelessly waving his machete around, inches from where Danny was standing, back flush against the bark of a tree. Danny sucked in his breath to avoid being nicked. Even if they apparently couldn’t see him, the last thing he wanted was them getting a bit of blood on the blade and wondering where exactly it was from. “What’s he gonna do? Run? It’ll be easier to catch him then.”
Danny had to admit, that was certainly true. But he was eying a small trail between two of the trees nonetheless, maybe even if he made noise, if he was still invisible they wouldn’t be able to find him right?
The blade slid through his chest and into the tree.
He didn’t breath, didn’t risk the rise and fall movement of his chest, and braced for the pain. Like an idiot he’d gotten distracted, let them put a giant knife through him, and now he was going to bleed out in the middle of the woods on some quest for answers he didn’t know existed. His thoughts raced past, half formed memories that he’d been holding onto with desperation and emotions he didn’t properly remember feeling, interspersed with the image of his parents, crying on the driveway as he walked away. Was this what happens when an amnesiac watches their life flash before their eyes?
The blade got taken out of the tree, a thick piece of bark falling off and onto the forest floor before the man sheathed the thing. Danny raised his hand to his chest, confused. The pain had never come.
In fact, it was like nothing had happened at all. The blade had simply gone through him.
Like a ghost.
He ran away, running through trees and their branches, his steps silent and weightless, his hands barely there and transparent as he lifted them in front of his eyes. This wasn’t possible. It didn’t make sense, people can't just stop existing like this. That’s something he’d know, someone would have mentioned it as a possibility.
Something was wrong, horribly wrong and Danny fought against the feeling bubbling up in his chest, tried to force it down, and ran face first into a tree.
Groaning, he felt around his tender nose. Apparently being incorporeal wasn’t a permanent thing, it was just… something he could do now. Or maybe, it was something he could always do. How much of him as he currently existed, was from his parents experimentation, and how much was from when they’d tried to “fix him”. Would he ever get an answer?
Danny let his head fall back into the grass and listened for the sound of anyone following him. It would be quite a feat, he supposed, if they even realized he’d left with the way it went down. So instead he looked up at the sky, started counting stars, and let himself fall asleep right there. This dream was of an endless forest and a strange, guttural language he’d never heard before, but found himself understanding.
After he got out of the woods he went to a small town. It was nice, cozy even and the people were pleasant to be around. Even if they threw him the occasional odd look due to his filthy worn hoodie and unwashed hair. He took the chance to sneak into a gas station bathroom and try to wash some of the dirt that had caked on his face, there was nothing he could do about the dark circles though. They were a permanent fixture at this point and Danny almost wouldn’t recognize himself without them.
Once he was finished with that, he walked around a bit more, looking for stuff he could do, people he could help. The ache in his chest had come back after his long stint in the woods, and he was eager to take this opportunity to try and soothe it.
Unfortunately, a filthy stranger walking around town wasn’t exactly the most trustworthy character and Danny struggled to find anything he could do that wouldn’t just scare someone off. It was when he’d asked around outside the arcade if anyone needed help with something around town, that an adult man had stopped what he was doing, looked him up and down, and said “you trying to get a job?”
Danny, not knowing really how to answer, just nodded. He was, in reality, just trying to find someone to help payment not needed, but he wasn’t going to turn down an offer like that either.
The man just sighed and said that he’d needed help moving some of the machines into the back and that, legally, it was a two person job. He offered twenty bucks and Danny shook his hand eagerly, a large smile on his face.
The man introduced himself as Marsh Hangreeve and explained that there were about half a dozen machines that needed to get moved, either they were broken without repair, no one really played them any more, or they were so outdated that all the cords were starting to fray and become a health hazard to the younger kids that sometimes wandered around the arcade.
The first one they lifted had been lighter than Danny was expecting, and they were able to easily maneuver it exactly where Marsh had wanted it in the back storage closet. Once they’d set it down, he’d had given Danny an approving look, nodded, and led him to the next one.
They were on their way back from carrying the fourth, and Danny was feeling pretty pleased with himself, when a kid no older than six had ran past them and tripped over the wire of one of the damaged games, pulling it off balance. The entire machine tipped back, towering over the fallen child and Danny couldn’t stop himself from running forward if he’d wanted to. His very being hummed and pulled, and he was there, one arm holding up the machine and the other curled around the child, protective.
Marsh had screamed a warning, but it hardly mattered. Danny lifted the machine easily back into place and gently picked up the child in his other arm, before stepping away and setting him back down.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked the frightened child, concerned.
“Is he okay?” Marsh scowled, “are you? Boy I told you those were a two man job why would you run over trying to get yourself squished like that!”
Danny rolled his eyes, clearly it wasn’t as heavy as it had been made out to be, “and let him get crushed instead?”
Looking over at the kid Marsh breathed out a frustrated sigh, “I guess you have a point. But don’t do it again or you can forget the twenty bucks I owe you. Here kid, let’s find your parents.”
Danny smiled, it felt good, helping people.
Was that the human part of him though? Or was it something else?
When Danny and Marsh finished the job he’d gotten his twenty dollars and a free dinner, and Danny gratefully accepted. Despite everything, he really did like being around people. Humans were kind by their very nature, and Danny basked in that feeling as much as he could on his journey. Sure, sometimes he felt more like he was taking advantage than anything else, and it was selfish almost, to seek out civilization only for his own needs.
But he tried not to think about that too much either- it sometimes caused a physical ache in his heart- and let the free meal settle as he fell asleep again, under the stars. They were particularly bright that night and he could have sworn he heard the ticking off a clock as he drifted away to sleep.
It was getting colder. It made sense really, he was headed north afterall. And he’d made plans for that, for the winter cold and the snow. He’d gotten a winter coat from walmart by sneaking in through the walls, it turned out he could spread that particular power to anything he touched, and fought the wave of guilt that hit him every time he did something like that.
He justified it in his mind with two different familiar voices. One that was easy going and carefree and told him, “hey you need that more than anyone else does, besides who’s going to miss one silly coat if it’ll save your life it’s worth it right?” The other was more steady, almost righteous and it said that “large conglomerates like Walmart and other stores gain most of their fortune on the backs of workers. They could stand to lose a bit of merchandise.”
His plan, once it got too cold to stay outside, had been to use the truck stops and sleep there, insulated from the cold at night before heading out again in the morning and continuing to walk. He’d had the fleeting thought, that perhaps he was headed to the north pole, and that there was no way for him to get there, no matter how long he walked, because that just wasn’t what humans can do.
Then again, he should have known better than to think himself limited to what humans can do.
It was when he woke up, covered in snow and more comfortable than he’d been any time Maddie had tucked him into bed under layer and layer of warm blankets, that he realized the cold didn’t just not affect him: it was a comfort.
Danny had held the snow in his hand and marveled at it. It didn’t melt, nor did it’s cold sting at him, and Danny found himself sitting, enraptured, by the intricate detailed designs that every flake formed as it fell. He blew the snow from his hands and watched as more formed, icy and solid and buzzing with the same kind of energy he felt just underneath his skin. Could he make ice now?
Was he Jack Frost or something? It certainly made sense, Jack Frost could apparently turn invisible and supposedly took the form of a young man riding on the wind. Then again, he’d never read anything about Jack Frost being able to turn visible, and Danny didn’t think he could fly.
How would someone even go about discovering that?
As eager as he was, Danny wasn’t about to go jumping off cliffs or anything, not when he was so close to his answers. To the end of the rope that’s been leading him, tugging at his chest. So Danny just shook the snow out of his hair, marveled at the comforting soft feel of it, and continued his trek.
Amity Park had a sign on the outskirts proclaiming it “a nice place to live” and Danny felt something click into place as he walked past the town’s boundary. His emotions were suddenly running wild, as if he’d been starving them, and suddenly he could feast. He had to take a step back but there was something stopping him, a cry for help and he ran towards it, energy flowing all around him too much to keep inside too much to hold and he felt as a bright light surrounded him and he flew forward, his legs fading behind him until he came upon a scene straight out of his nightmares.
It was a monster, terrorizing a young woman, probably in her early twenties if that. The monster was large, glowing, and only just opaque enough to not look like some kind of hologram. Danny flew in front of it, putting himself between it and the girl and growling a warning. He wasn’t thinking about how his feet weren’t touching the ground, he refused to question it for fear of the ability going away without his control. He didn’t look down.
The monster stopped, a stunned look on its face, “ghost boy?” it asked. Danny frowned, why did that voice sound familiar? Was he really something from his dreams? How much had he dismissed as fantasy only for it to be reality, law of nature breaking reality?
“What did you call me?” Danny asked, risking a glance to see if the woman had run yet. She hadn’t, instead she was just standing there, smiling, and when she noticed him looking, she waved. He fought a blush, what the hell?
The monster laughed, “I knew you hadn’t Faded! They all told me I was crazy to hunt for prey long dead, But I, Skulker, was right! And here you are!”
Danny didn’t know how to react to that. Did he know this thing? Wait, no, clearly he knew this thing. It was somewhere, scrambled with the rest of his memories. Flashes of cages, and fights, constant paranoia, and Danny felt his hand grow cold as he built ice in it to attack with.
The woman called out though, no longer afraid, “oh please. He’s only been gone, what a year? Weren’t you crying just last month about how much you missed him?”
Danny turned around to face her, “weren’t you scared? Why are you still here?”
At the same time the monster, Skulker, sputtered, “I was merely lamenting the loss of such rare prey!”
The woman just giggled, “how can I leave when my hero has finally retuned to save me~”
There was something weird going on here. For one, everyone seemed to recognize him, but neither of them had used his name. For two, he and this Skulker were clearly floating in the middle of the day and almost no attention was being paid to them at all beyond the woman who’d originally called for help.
Who clearly no longer felt she needed it.
“Hold on,” Danny said, struggling to sort through the information he was being given, “you two know me?”
Skulker’s grin dropped and the girl gasped.
“What do you mean by asking such an absurd question! You and I are mortal enemies! Of course we know each other!” geez, he didn’t have to get so offended.
Danny crossed his arms, “what’s my name?”
“Uh,” Skulker looked down towards the woman before looking back at Danny, “you know you’re usually a bit more tightlipped about that. It’s really not sporting to hunt prey that isn’t in it’s right mind.”
Danny scowled, “why would I be tightlipped about my name? Ugh, this is a waste of time. Just,” he pinched the bridge of his nose, “leave the lady alone and go do something I don’t know, Hunter-y that won’t piss me off.”
“Why would I-”
“Or I can freeze you into a block of ice that doesn’t melt,” Danny threatened, feeling the energy build behind his eyes.
At Danny’s glare, the hunter gulped and feigned looking at his watch. “Huh, looks like it’s time to go feed that gorilla, I’ll uh, be back to hunt you later Welp!” He flew away.
Danny sighed and let himself float gently downward until his feet touched the floor. The woman ran over to hug him, eager, and Danny just let himself go intangible, unwilling to be touched so casually by someone who basically amounted to a stranger.
“Do you know my name?” he asked, warily.
She blinked, “Of course! You’re Phantom, ghost boy and savor of Amity Park. Did you hit your head or something?”
“Or something,” he answered, still stuck on something she said, Skulker had called him that as well, “what do you mean when you say ghost boy?”
Her eyes widened and she brought one of her hands, slender and perfectly manicured, to cover her mouth as she gasped. “There is something wrong. I knew you wouldn’t leave for so long without a reason!”
Quicker than he could react to, she grabbed his shoulders and led him to a store front window. Whatever she was trying to show him was probably inside, but Danny was struck instead by his own reflection, ghostly and glowing with bright green eyes.
The woman called out to him, not thrown at all by his display of power, or by how much a freak he must be. Was he the same as the monster he’d almost fought earlier? They’d called him ghost boy, was Skulker a ghost? Was he?
But he couldn't be. That didn’t make sense.
Someone couldn’t be alive and dead…
“We were trying to fix you Danny.”
His chest hurt again. And he followed it subconsciously, taking a path through town on auto pilot, and trying not to think about his changed appearance. When had it happened, why? Was it something he could undo, like the other powers he had?
Why did this town feel so different from all the others? What was the giant spike of energy drawing him like a moth to flame in the center of everything. Was that what was pulling him here? Or was this just where he needed to be?
How long was it going to take to get him memories back anyways. There wasn’t even a clock tower here! Hadn’t that been his goal, the one thing he knew to look for?
His path had brought him to an old torn down building on the end of a residential street. It hurt, for some reason, to look at the rubble around him and not know what happened here, or even what it used to be. But he knew there was something here. He could feel it. The energy buzzed around him and he looked around, checking if there was any other crazy people or dangerous “ghosts” before he simply, let himself fall down through it.
He found a lab.
Not just any lab, but the lab from his nightmares. The beakers, the buttons, the ominous table with thick metal cuffs and dark green slime long dried on it. He put his hand to his chest, almost feeling the scalpel as it sliced into him. Taking a breath, he pushed it away, buried and hidden, he could think about that another day.
For now, all his attention was on the glowing green and purple swirling mass of energy that was singing at him like a song. It pulled him in, and he floated towards it, this power newly discovered and yet second nature, just like all the rest.
He hesitated for a moment, before he went through it. What if what he was looking for was over here, on this side of whatever that was, and he couldn’t get back out? What if he really was dead, and that led to the afterlife? What if he was missing the answers to his questions by going through?
But he’d followed the pull to this town and he’d found familiarity as foreign as it was, and now he was following his gut.
He braced himself and flew through.
What he found was a swirling green void that made no sense and defied what little laws of nature Danny remembered existing, like gravity and sense. Danny had the feeling that it went on, winding and stretching, for an eternity and that no matter what way he went, he could get lost forever and never find his way back.
That didn’t matter though, because right in front of him, larger than life and bigger than anything around it, was the clock-tower he’d been searching for.
It didn’t look like it belonged there, in fact, with it’s size and the relative barrenness of the collections of floating rocks and doors around him, it seemed rather ill placed. Like something had forced it somewhere it didn’t fit and Danny approached it cautiously.
There was no reason to believe that this was safe, just because he wanted it to be, just because his shattered mind had somehow put together that it was. He stood at the doors. In all reality they were ominous and foreboding. The entire tower was, sharp angles, deep purples and glowing greens. He didn’t feel scared though, so he lifted his hand to knock.
The door opened before he even touched wood and there, right in front of him, was another ghost. One he’d never seen before, with blood red eyes and a nasty, twisting scar hidden partially under a deep purple hood and a clock, ticking, familiarly, in his chest.
Danny felt tears build, his lips wobbled, his hands trembled as he clenched them tightly into fists, and when the ghost lifted his arms Danny flew into them clutching tight and crying. He heaved large, ugly sobs into his shoulder and felt a hand stroke down his back to comfort him.
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Sometimes Valerie wished she could show Phantom what it was like to be her. She doubted that he would care--the ghost only thought about himself--but the roleswap would at least annoy him, surely.
Prompt: Valerie, as the Red Huntress, is chasing Phantom and they end up both accidentally flying through the Fenton Ghost Catcher together. This causes Danny to end up with the hunter suit and Valerie to end up with ghost powers. (Optional: When Val goes ghost she still looks exactly like Phantom.)
Prompt by: @echoghost1 (who I can’t seem to tag?)
Word count: 3,846
[AO3] [FFN] [more Phic Phight fics]
“Phantom!” she snarled, tugging on the mental connection between her and her hoverboard, trying to push just a little more speed out of it.
Ahead of her, Phantom’s tail inched further and further from her grasp. No matter how hard she pushed, he managed to be just a tad faster than her.
Infuriating is what it was. Sometimes she wished she could show him what it was like.
Not that he would care, of course. Despite his little hero act, Valerie knew that Phantom didn’t care about anyone but himself. The only thing a roleswap would do was annoy him. And that was if she followed the common assumption that ghosts could feel emotion at all, which she honestly kind of doubted.
The ghost dove, suddenly, and Valerie growled to herself. Trusting her suit to keep her locked onto the hoverboard, she leaned back, angling herself into a rolling movement to follow Phantom down the alley he’d disappeared into. This was her chance. In a straight flight she couldn’t catch Phantom, but in tight maneuvers she stood a chance.
Well, until he remembered he could go intangible, anyway.
Their chase continued through several more alleys, Phantom managing to keep frustratingly far ahead of her—they were too close in speed and maneuverability—until he seemingly disappeared. Or, that had clearly been his plan. At the far end of the alley Valerie entered, she could see him pressed flat against the wall, practically radiating ectoplasmic contamination.
Ha, and he thought his invisibility would save him here. Well, Valerie would let him believe that, if just for a moment longer. She kept flying towards him, not drawing back her speed; Phantom would assume that she was still chasing him down.
And, in a way, she was.
She kept herself turned forward, kept up the pretense that she couldn’t see him, until she was within a bodylength of him. And then…
Her board retracted into the soles of her shoes, its engines giving her just that little boost she needed, and she collided with Phantom at full speed. Her arms, covered in the hard plating of her upgraded suit, wrapped around him, fingers digging into his soft ectoplasmic flesh.
Too often he’d gotten away from her, but now, now she knew how to catch him. No injury ever stopped him, but her armor? Her armor was phase-proof. As long as she held onto him, he couldn’t get away from her.
With one arm wrapped around Phantom’s neck, the other digging for purchase on his upper arm, Valerie went ahead and wrapped her legs around his waist too, making sure he couldn’t buck her off. For a moment, she was glad for the fact that it was the middle of the night, if only so no one could see the Red Huntress clinging onto Phantom’s back like a monkey.
And then they were falling.
“Val!” Phantom hissed, white-gloved fingers scrabbling over the arm around his throat even as he turned intangible. “Let go!”
“Fat chance, spook!” she snarled back, tightening her hold on him even further as they careened towards the ground. “I’ve finally got you!”
“Yeah?” he asked, his voice strained, as they closed the last of the distance to the ground— and then kept going.
Shit. Intangibility carried over.
“What was—” was all Phantom managed before they broke through the soil again, and Valerie caught a short glimpse of an underground room clad in shiny metal, before they hit their next obstacle.
Which, in hindsight, was probably the first clue that something was massively wrong. They hit an obstacle. While intangible.
This time, they hit the ground hard, Phantom wheezing out a grunt when she landed on top of him. She deliberated her hold on him for a moment, then rolled off, keeping just one hand wrapped around his upper arm.
Instead, she took a longer moment to look around the room Phantom had dragged them into. And, more importantly, the object they had flown through before they had hit the ground.
Her first impression of the room proved true, as it was, indeed, clad in shiny metal plates. As was the ceiling, and the solid floor they had hit. Most of the floorspace seemed to be taken up by equally metal tables, and it took only a moment for her to place them. Lab tables. They were in an underground lab.
Jerking her eyes back to the object they had phased through, Valerie grimaced. Yep, that looked like Fentonworks tech alright. A huge metal standard, topped off with a ring large enough for her and Phantom to fit through—as they obviously had—which was webbed with ecto-green netting. It must’ve shut down Phantom’s powers when he flew through it.
Great. Just great. Now she was down in the Fentons’ lab, forced to either attempt to stealthily break out without anyone noticing her, or let them claim Phantom—because they absolutely wouldn’t let her leave with him, and like hell she was giving up her catch to them.
Dammit, her best option was probably to get Phantom to phase them out of the lab again. He probably wanted to be here even less than her. Maybe the shorting out of his powers was just a brief thing.
Mind made up, she turned to confront him. And found herself staring straight into her own helmet.
“Uh,” she managed, blinking at the shiny visor she was faced with.
“Yeah,” Phantom agreed, his voice oddly distorted by the helmet. And… lacking the usual echo?
Valerie tore her eyes away from the helmet, instead moving them over his chest, down to where she was still holding his upper arm. She hadn’t noticed at first—black was black—but he seemed to be wearing her suit, now, instead of his usual jumpsuit.
“What the hell,” she managed, and then caught sight of the white gloved hand wrapped around Phantom’s upper arm. “What the hell.”
“Yeah,” Phantom agreed, the helmet tilting like he was cocking his head at her. “I, uh. Didn’t think this was something the Ghost Catcher could do.”
“The what?” she asked, despite herself, then immediately shook her head. “No, never mind, I don’t want to know. What the hell happened, Phantom?”
“You’re asking me?” He sounded incredulous, pressing his free hand against his chest. “I’m hurt, Val.”
He paused, looking around them in a way that almost seemed meaningful, before turning the visor back to her. “And we should probably leave first, before we talk any of this through.”
“What, afraid of getting caught by the Fentons?” she scoffed, even if that had been her plan as well.
The helmet facing her turned down, slowly but meaningfully casting over her body before stopping back on her face. “Sure,” Phantom allowed, finally, drawing the word out. “And so should you.”
Before she could say anything to that, he pushed himself up, forcing her to get up as well. “Come on, before they realize we’re here.”
Instead of answering that—how would they know?—she hummed, willing to follow his lead for the moment. She wasn’t sure how accurate the rumors were that Phantom regularly broke into the Fentonworks lab, but he did carry their equipment, and it wasn’t like she knew any better.
They made their way to the staircase, dodging around the half-finished (or half-broken?) equipment scattered around the lab. There, at the bottom of the stairs, Phantom paused again, turning to look at the hand clamped around his upper arm.
It was so weird to see him dressed in her armored suit. Because it clearly was him, wearing it, the suit shaped to fit him much like his jumpsuit usually would.
She really, really hoped that he was wearing clothes underneath it.
Scratch that. She really hoped she was still wearing underwear underneath the jumpsuit she’d received in trade for her armor.
“Are you going to let go of me?” Phantom asked her, in a low hiss.
She quirked an eyebrow at him. “And let you run away with my suit? No way.”
He answered with an odd rolling motion of his helmet, and she got the distinct feeling he’d just rolled his eyes at her. “Fine,” he grunted, twisting his arm and sticking out his hand at her. “Let’s at least hold hands? That’s slightly more convenient while moving around.”
Valerie narrowed her eyes at him, but, well. He kind of had a point there. Begrudgingly she slid her hand down his arm, ignoring the way her stomach fluttered at the sight of Phantom’s white gloves trailing down her black-and-red armor. He caught her hand when it reached his, twining his fingers with hers. Now neither of them could get away.
Was this some kind of weird power play? Phantom was just odd enough to try it, she thought, then immediately shoved the thought away as not useful.
Phantom kept his helmeted head turned towards her for a moment longer before turning back to the stairs, finally climbing them. Valerie turned her own gaze towards their tangled fingers, then shook her head and followed him up. Something here was wrong, but it could wait until they were away from this place.
The staircase ended in a door, which Phantom opened without hesitation, and which led into… a kitchen?
What the hell, Fentons? Did they really have an unlocked door to their ghost lab in their kitchen?
Phantom’s helmeted head turned to the right, and Valerie followed his gaze to a door. The windows next to it had their blinds shut, but it probably led out to the backyard. She stepped towards it, but made it no more than two steps before realizing that Phantom hadn’t moved.
He shook his head, then hissed, low, “It’ll be locked, this time of night.”
Ugh, yeah, probably. She paused to take him in instead, for a brief moment, and realized something she hadn’t before: Phantom stood as if he was grounded.
Sure, there had been moments before when Phantom had landed, had walked with his boots on the ground, but he always moved like gravity didn’t quite affect him. Like he was just one moment away from floating off.
Not now. This whole time, he’d been moving like gravity pressed down on him, like it would on anyone else.
So that was a no on ghost powers, then. She moved closer to him, dropping her voice in a whisper as well, “And how do you plan on getting out, then? Breaking a window?”
He paused, like he was mulling over his words. “Well…” he finally whispered back, “Danny never locks his window?”
“Danny should also be in his bed,” she snarled back, as quiet as she could, “asleep.”
“So you’d prefer to break a window and set off the defense systems?” Phantom cocked his head at her, something distinctly challenging about the motion, “Because it’ll be your grave, not mine.”
“That’s because you’re already dead, spook.” Damn that ghost. How would he even know whether Danny Fenton locked his window or not? “Besides, how do you plan on getting to Danny’s room without running into anyone else?”
Phantom visibly stilled at that, like he hadn’t considered that.
“Not so easy without ghost powers, huh?”
“I…” He sighed, his shoulders visibly heaving. “No.”
Unfortunately, that left them with few options. They could try a window, but that would absolutely cause a stir, and with Phantom wearing her armor, that left her identity completely unprotected. Not to mention whatever security system the Fentons might have, which very well could target her just for wearing Phantom’s jumpsuit. The thing was probably seeping with ectoplasmic contamination.
Ugh. She shoved the thought away as something she didn’t want to think about, now or ever.
So that left two options. They could try searching the house for some keys, risk getting caught as burglars, and hope that the security system didn’t require separate deactivation.
Or they could try Danny’s room, upstairs, and hope they could somehow sneak past him—and everyone else asleep in the house—to escape through that window. Curse her for even considering it, but…
“So what are the chances we could get to Danny’s room unnoticed?”
Phantom hummed, quietly, then tilted his head like he was listening. “I don’t hear footsteps, so the Fentons are probably asleep. Either we didn’t set off their alarm, or they forgot to activate it.”
“That seems… oddly lucky.” She strained her hearing, but couldn’t hear anything either. Not that you needed to strain to hear Jack Fenton’s footsteps, but Maddie would probably be far quieter—and far more problematic. “How do you plan on getting past Danny?”
“He’s probably not even here,” Phantom said, something… odd about his voice. Something Valerie couldn’t place. “He sneaks out a lot. Why do you think I know about his window?”
“I honestly didn’t want to think about it,” she admitted dryly, before shaking her head. “Fuck, fine, we’ll go for Danny’s room. If he’s there…” She paused, weighing that. “I know him. We’re… We’ve dated. He’s a good kid. I think we can play it off.”
Phantom’s gaze on her was heavy, but after a long moment he nodded. “If you say so.”
“I do say so,” she bit back, but it lacked venom. “I assume you know the way, for some godforsaken reason?”
He snorted but nodded, leading her towards the doorway to the left, pulling on the hand he still held. “You don’t have to assume the worst of everyone, Val.”
“I don’t assume the worst of everyone,” she snapped back, quietly. “Only of ghosts.”
“Oh, yeah, that makes it much better,” he agreed airily, before freezing suddenly. Valerie froze as well, straining her ears… still nothing.
It seemed that Phantom agreed, because not a moment later, he started moving again. They were heading towards another set of stairs, these ones—not very surprisingly—much cozier than the ones down in the lab.
For now, she was content to follow Phantom’s path, watching him carefully sneak through the Fenton’s living room and then up the stairs. It was… odd. She never saw Phantom really walk, like a human, yet he seemed to have no trouble adjusting to it now. Hell, he even stepped carefully, moving around parts of the stairs that threatened to be creaky.
How would a ghost like him know what bits of the stairs tended to be the loudest? What point could that knowledge possibly have, for a ghost that could just float over them entirely?
Once they reached the top of the stairs, Phantom pressed a finger to the front of his helmet—like Valerie needed the clue to be quiet—and then pointed towards one of the doors in the hallway. Danny’s room, presumably.
At her sharp nod, Phantom sneaked closer, Valerie right on his heel. They paused in front of the door but, failing to hear any signs of Danny being awake behind it, quickly opened it.
Phantom pulled her inside before she could hesitate, closing the door behind her while she took in the room.
Well, not empty. There was plenty of stuff in the room itself, most of it space-related. Not entirely surprising, considering what she knew of Danny, but still.
No, it was empty of life. Danny Fenton wasn’t there at all.
“See, no problem,” Phantom hissed at her, tugging her over to the window. “He’s not even here.”
Valerie stopped, forcing Phantom to stop as well, just before he could reach the window. “Are you for fucking real, Phantom?”
“What?” the ghost snapped back, helmet jerking in her direction. He immediately dropped back into a quieter voice. “What did I do now?”
“Danny Fenton is not in his room, and none of the lights in any of the other rooms were on, so he’s not in the bathroom either.”
“Yeah?” Phantom tilted his helmet. “So?”
“So?” she hissed back, angrily. “So? Where the fuck is he?”
Phantom shrugged, but the motion looked awkward. “How am I supposed to know? He must’ve snuck out, like he usually does!”
“With his window still closed?” she asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow. “There’s something suspicious going on here, Phantom, and I want to know what.”
“You’re really gonna do this here?” He gestured wildly with his free hand at the room they were in. “Really, Val?”
She grimaced, then shook her head. “Fine. I’m adding it to the list of things we’re discussing the moment we’re out of this, got it?”
“Yeah, I figured as much.” He sighed, then turned to the window, and she let him guide them to it. “We can get out via this window and then fly to some nearby rooftop to talk, if that’s alright with you?”
“How do you plan on flying out? I figured your ghost powers were out of the question.”
He hummed, grabbing onto the window’s handle with his free hand and cautiously opening it, probably wary of it creaking. “Your suit has a hoverboard, doesn’t it?”
“You think you can use that?” She scoffed. “Good luck with that.”
“Well, worst come to worst you can probably steer it while I try not to overbalance it.” He shrugged, leaning out of the now-open window. “Looks like the coast is clear.”
Valerie closed the remaining distance to the window, peering outside it while Phantom sat down on its edge, swinging his legs outside. He seemed… oddly cautious not to crush her hand against the windowsill.
“So, uh…” Phantom swung his armored feet meaningfully. “How, exactly, do you summon the hoverboard?”
“You just— Urgh. I don’t know, I just do it.” She gestured vaguely, biting down the frustration. “I just tell it what to do via my mind, I guess.”
Phantom stared straight into her eyes then nodded, suddenly, jerkily. “Alright, I think I can do that.”
She made to snap a reply at him, but was cut short by the sound of metal shifting, her hoverboard bursting free from the boots on Phantom’s feet. He held it vertical, parallel to the wall, and shifted to the side slightly.
Valerie took the motion for what it was and sat down next to him, letting her own legs dangle outside the window as well—and ignoring the black jumpsuit and white boots she saw from her peripherals. She really was not gonna think about any of this shit until they were away from here.
“So now we just gotta…” Phantom fell quiet, trying to maneuver the hoverboard underneath the window. It took him a few moments before he had pulled it off, parallel to the ground without hitting the wall. “Uh.”
Ignoring any protests he might put up, she hooked her shoulder behind Phantom’s and shoved him out of the window. The hoverboard caught him—as she had expected it to—and he barely dropped at all. She was even willing to ignore the yelp and the way he’d crushed her hand in the split-second he’d spent falling.
“You good?” she asked, quirking an eyebrow at him.
Phantom grunted, and she jumped out of the window as well, landing neatly on the hoverboard, distinctly missing the clicking sound of her boots connecting to the board.
“Now, I assume— Woah!” Phantom flinched as the hoverboard jerked underneath them, and Valerie found her free hand clutching onto Phantom’s upper arm quite against her will. “Okay, no, I think I got it. Val?”
“Just go,” she hissed, shifting her feet slightly as she stood behind him.
“Going,” he said, voice tight. And, true to his word, the hoverboard lifted, starting to glide forward surprisingly smoothly.
Within moments they were above the roofs of Amity Park, and Phantom relaxed slightly, tension leaking from him. “Okay, I think I got it. It’s not so different from ghost flight after all.”
She snorted despite herself. “Well, good for you. Put us down somewhere so we can talk this shit through already.”
“Bossy,” Phantom snarked back, but the hoverboard started dropping before he’d finished the word.
They came to a stop just above an otherwise-unreachable rooftop, the hoverboard almost grazing its surface. “Here’s your stop, my lady,” Phantom said, waving their still-linked hand.
Valerie rolled her eyes, releasing her grip on his upper arm and stepping off of the hoverboard. A moment later the thing retreated back into the soles of Phantom’s boots and he, too, touched down on the ground.
“So, uh… About what happened,” Phantom started, shifting his hand and then flinching when he realized it was the one he had linked with Valerie’s. “So the Fentons have this thing they call the Fenton Ghost Catcher…”
“The dreamcatcher-looking thing, right.” She nodded at him to continue.
“Now, I think they designed it to decontaminate stuff?” He shrugged, awkwardly, and then moved his free hand to rub his neck. “Like, it’s supposed to purge ghostly contamination from stuff. I’ve used it before to pull overshadowing ghosts from their hosts without harming either.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “So what the hell was supposed to happen if just a ghost went through it?”
“I honestly couldn’t tell you. But…” Phantom paused for a moment, like he was weighing his words, then marched on. “That’s not what happened. We went through it together, and it must’ve tried to purge the contamination from both of us at once, and somehow stuff got mixed up in the process.”
“You’re saying my suit was ecto-contamination?” she snarled, ignoring the implication that Phantom had contamination to purge—that he wasn’t just 100% pure ghost.
“You did get it from Technus, didn’t you?” he pointed out, almost casually. The hand in his neck stilled, fingers hooking into the edge of the helmet. “And, uh. Well…”
And, in one swift motion, Phantom took the helmet off.
“Hi, Valerie,” Danny Fenton said, his hair undeniably black and his eyes dull blue in the little light they had on their rooftop.
Valerie felt something in her stop, stutter and skip a beat. Her first thought was that it was her heart, but the feeling was wrong, it was—
She didn’t know what it was.
Light flashed, blinding her, and she automatically let go of Phantom’s—Danny’s—hand to rub in her eyes.
She could hear Danny groan in front of her, could almost imagine the echo that separated his voice from Phantom’s. “Why is that so much worse when it’s not me!”
Hands still pressed against her eyes, she bit at him, “What the hell, Danny!”
“What?” he snapped back. “What are you blaming me for now?”
Dropping her hands, she glared at him. “What the fuck was that flash of light?!”
He grinned at her, somehow looking both pleased and awkward. “Uh. My equivalent to taking off the suit?”
She blinked at him. Once. Twice. Then dropped her gaze to her hands. No longer dressed in Phantom’s suit.
Only now did she realize that her hands had been shaped wrong under the gloves.
Valerie jerked her eyes back to Danny, who once more raised a hand to rub the back of his neck.
“Uh,” he muttered. “Surprise?”
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Phic Phight 2021: Misplaced Mothering.
Prompt: A garden filled with Blood Blossom/Maddie starts growing Blood Blossoms around the house.
Summary: Maddie plants Blood Blossoms around the house with good intentions before she realizes it had been misplaced.
Team Ghost: Complete, 2,129.
Maddie wiped her arm across her sweating forehead and shoved her gardening shovel into the dirt to shake the neckline of her tank top. The rest of her usual teal hazmat suit was unzipped down until her waist while the sleeves were tied to keep it up. Maddie beamed proudly at the blood red roses with a deep, dark purple stem that spanned across the much-larger-than-normal flower beds.
Blood Blossoms, this'll keep those pesky ghosts out, Maddie thought to herself.
You see, Maddie had been noticing the strange collection of ghosts that had been gathering around their house in the late hours of the night. She hypothesized because of The Portal in the lab. It would be one hundred percent plausible as the true reasoning but it didn't explain the affinity the ghosts had to lurk outside her son's bedroom window. She had made sure to put a slightly denser amount of Blood Blossoms on the lawn underneath his window (the bed there looked engorged and bloated).
Maddie attributed the ghosts' appearances to her son's lack of sleeping which resulted in the dropping of his grades and of course the withdrawal from the family. Poor Danny didn't even mention it. The boy tended to bottle things up and keep to himself to avoid being a "burden." It was also why it took her so long to notice the bullying her son suffered at school. He just never said anything.
That's why she waited until her two kids were at their school field trip to New York to put her plan in action, to surprise him. Her husband, Jack, had helped gather the seeds and information to grow them (it was extremely difficult) but they managed. Currently Jack was on his way to getting more so they could incorporate them into their anti-ghost weapons. He would return a day after the kids did.
Maddie picked up her gardening tools and returned back inside to take a shower. When she got out she decided that the morning of Jazz and Danny's return she would bake fresh cookies with some Blood Blossom petals. Maddie wanted to see if a consistent diet containing the petals would prevent possession or at the very least have ghosts be averse to being close to the individual.
Maddie didn't mind using her children as experiments in this case as she and Jack would also be involved. Besides, Blood Blossoms didn't hurt humans.
Maddie pulled out the Chocolate Chip and Blood Blossoms cookies from the oven as she hummed. Carefully she put the cookie sheet on the second oven mitt that laid on the kitchen counter. She closed the oven and slipped the first oven mitt off and glanced at the clock on the microwave. It read 12:15 PM and Maddie smiled; the kids would be here in five minutes.
Soon the cookies were cool enough to be placed in the cookie jar, it was modeled after Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original Ghostbusters, and Maddie frowned. Her daughter and son should have been home by now.
Ten more minutes past before Jazz opened the door with Danny shuffling anxiously behind her.
"What took you two so long?" Maddie tried to keep the accusation out of her voice. They were fifteen and seventeen after all; teenagers that could take care of themselves as much as Maddie's heart loathed to admit it.
"Just a quick stop to share a milkshake at Nasty Burger. We were hungry after the trip," Jazz assured but her eyes flickered nervously.
Danny nodded in confirmation still behind his older sister although he looked a little less like he was going to crawl out of his skin.
"Oh, I see," Maddie said before grabbing the cookie jar and opening it with a flair, "well, if you're still hungry I made these!"
The pairs' faces lit up with excitement before Danny's expression morphed into a frown.
"What's up with the flowers covering, like, the entire yard," Danny asked with concern before grabbing a cookie.
"They're Blood Blossoms! A flower with anti-ghost properties that will keep those menaces out and away and also keep the ones coming out of The Portal here for capture. It's a natural ghost shield," Maddie chattered excitedly as she gauged her childrens' reactions to the cookies.
Maddie hoped that the herbal taste of the flowers wouldn't put off the sweet taste of the chocolate.
Jazz's face looked thoughtful as she tried to place it and Danny froze with a vague look of panic after the first bite; his hand numbly held the cookie in his hand and seemed torn between swallowing the bite in his mouth or spitting it out.
Maddie couldn't help but mildly fidget her fingers. None of the kids had given the exact response she'd wanted….
Danny carefully swallowed but he didn't chew and Maddie watched with concern. Danny fiddled with the cookie idly as if to stall finishing.
"It's good, Mom," Jazz said quietly with a polite smile.
Maddie returned the smile.
"I got some homework to catch up on, thanks for the cookie," Danny said as he turned towards the stairs.
"Don't you want more," Maddie asked as she shot up from her slouching position.
Danny hesitated before nodding.
"Yeah, I'll take some more."
Maddie eagerly set a few on a plate and gave it to him before turning to Jazz.
"Want some, hun?"
"Of course," Jazz said slowly.
Maddie gave her a plate as well and grinned at them as they went up stairs to their rooms.
Maddie opened Danny's bedroom door to collect his laundry. As she grabbed the laundry basket she caught a glimpse of the trash can. The unbitten into cookies sat barely visible underneath balls of paper.
Maddie watched as her son appeared through the front door with her arms crossed.
"You're doing your own laundry from now on," Maddie said flatly.
Danny stared at her, clearly confused, but agreed anyway.
Maddie couldn't ignore the look of subtle distaste from Danny as she set down a plate of dinner for him, especially at the mashed potatoes which had the most amount of Blood Blossoms out of everything served.
"Something wrong, Danny," Maddie asked daringly with a slight glare.
Danny shook his head.
Jazz glanced between them.
Jack looked up from his plate.
Maddie sat down.
Dinner was silent.
Maddie had noticed that Danny never ate at home anymore. In fact, his presence was nonexistent at the table. Well, he would take cereal and Spaghetti-Os up to his room while doing homework but that was about it.
Maddie knew it had something to do with the flowers but she couldn't wrap her head around why.
It was supposed to help him so why wasn't it??
Maddie woke up at way-too-damn-early in the morning to the front door quietly creaking open. Maddie slipped from her covers and grabbed her ecto-gun (the intruder was clearly human and the gun would do nothing against them but it made her feel safer).
She barely cracked open her door and watched as Danny still decked in his pajamas headed into his room.
Maddie knew it was him who came inside but gave a cursory check around the house anyway.
Maddie's last thought before falling asleep, after struggling to do so for hours, was:
What the Hell was her boy doing??
Jack was tinkering with one of their ecto-blasters at the bench in the lab.
Maddie glanced up at the door at the top of the stairs. Should she confront Danny about his late night rendezvous?
Maddie glanced at Jack bobbing his head to the song he was singing under his breath and completely absorbed in his work.
Maddie made her decision.
Maddie crept up the stairs and closed the door softly behind her.
She gently tiptoed up the stairs but stilled at the peak. Voices were coming from Danny's room. She pressed herself against the wall and stood by the door with her ears perked.
"–old you that can't hide it forever. At least not with these flowers around," Jazz's voice leaked through.
Maddie furrowed her eyebrows in confusion.
"I'm fine, Jazz, seriously! I'll figure something out."
"The Blood Blossoms are giving you welts just using your ghost powers in human form," Jazz hissed.
"I'm lucky that's all they do when I use my powers. In ghost form it completely paralyzes me. It's almost like getting electrocuted all over again," Danny said with the shudder evident in his voice.
Maddie all but tumbled down the stairs as she could no longer bear listening to anymore of the conversation. She will get to the bottom of this tonight. Maddie swore it to herself.
Maddie waited until she heard Jack's even breathing before quickly changing into her teal suit and placing her ecto-blaster in its holster at her waist.
Almost as soon as she was ready she heard Danny leave his room and waited until he was in the living room before sneaking quickly down the stairs. Danny went outside and as soon as the door was closed bolted and Maddie rushed to follow him with her eyes tracking him through the front window.
She burst through the door and swung her head around in a frenzy. Her son was gone but Phantom was just taking flight from in front of her neighbor's house. He didn't notice her. A tug in Maddie's gut told her that Phantom would know something about Danny and she raced towards his glowing, flying figure.
Maddie watched Phantom cap the ghost in the Fenton Thermos. This was it; she would confront the menace.
Phantom whipped out a phone and Maddie faltered her approach from the bushes.
"Hi, Sam. Hmm. Yeah, it went well. Not as bad as I thought. Nah, no Val yet. Yep, I'm going to go circle around the school before checking out the mall then I'll turn back to scope out the park and Nasty Burger. Depending on how it goes I'll call it a night," Phantom said, curling his knees to his chest and rocking back.
Sam? As in Sam Manson? Why would Phantom be calling Danny's friend…, Maddie wondered as her mouth scowled downward.
Phantom responded to the other end with hums and mono-syllable answers. Before letting out a groan.
"I don't wanna talk about the Blood Blossoms, it's only been a few days and those flowers are a major pain in my ass." Phantom said with annoyance. A pause. A snort. "You don't have to chew out my mom. Jazz and I will find a way to get rid of them. It'll work out again."
Maddie's head began to spin. There was no way… no way in Hell… she needed to get home and fast. She needed to see… just…
Maddie turned tail and tried to keep her breathing even.
Maddie peered through over the window sill, making an effort to stay crouched. She spotted Phantom (Danny?) land a healthy distance away from the lawn and Phantom disappeared in a white ring to reveal her son. Despite already knowing this Maddie still felt her chest seize.
Danny started walking towards the door and Maddie quickly ducked behind the lab door.
Danny's footsteps patted up the stairs and Maddie soon followed.
Maddie passed out as soon as she crawled into bed.
"Jack, I need you to listen to me."
Jack looked up from his ecto-gun and beamed at Maddie despite the tension in her shoulders.
"It sounds crazy but Danny is… Phantom. The Blood Blossoms are hurting him… we're hurting him," Maddie said, her voice raised a pitch and started quivering at the end.
Jack leapt up and gave her a tight hug.
"Whaddya mean? Danny's a spook? It doesn't make any sense."
"I know, I know!! But I saw him! I saw him go from Phantom to Danny and he was talking to Sam and Jazz knows! She knows! I heard them talking about the Blood Blossoms hurting him."
Maddie tried to reel in her outburst and Jack rubbed circles into the small of her back as he tried to wrap his head around the revelation.
"Shhh, it's okay, it's okay, Mads. We'll fix it. Just like we always do," Jack promised her.
"So, what happened to the Blood Blossoms outside," Danny asked cautiously as he returned from his study session with Sam and Tucker.
Maddie smiled up from the soup she was making.
"Your Dad and I decided that they were unnecessary so we got rid of them."
"Oh." Danny drew his eyebrows down in confusion.
Jazz looked up from her book and glanced between the two. She let out a slightly frustrated groan and slapped a hand to her forehead.
Maddie wondered what that was about before returning to the soup.
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