Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom or Teen Titans or anything DC related. If I did then it wouldn't be as popular as it is.
The story was written & developed by Nightmares Around Winter. The story is based on 'The Forgotten Hero' by TheWhiteTitan.
Author's Note: Happy (late) Holidays everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the season and were safe and healthy during this year that, let's be honest here, mostly crappy for everyone to some capacity. Let's hope the 2021 would be a happy for everyone and filled with good fortune for all who need and deserve it. Hope you enjoy the chapter and as always don't be afraid to leave a review telling me what you like, dislike about the story. Note that if you have suggestions for the harem then I take special notice of those who give more in-depth explanations and why.
Also, the site seems kinda iffy with updates recently, so I did reposted this chapter twice to see if the issue was solved. Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.
"Demonic/other-worldly voices or thoughts"
(Author's Note/Translation) The ANs that are numbered are at the bottom.
Chapter 13: A Haunting in Gotham City. Part 2
Bruce Wayne had seen many things since creating the mantle of the Batman. He held his own against insane psychopaths, criminal geniuses, and even aliens invaders. Yet none could match the mass of lashing black tendrils and whirling hair surrounding a human shape he could barely make out even with the light of a helicopter overhead. His heart was rapidly beating inside his chest both from fear at the unnatural sight before him and in rage that this thing murdered his ward, Tim Drake, so callously and at himself for failing the young boy, the second one who died since taken up the name of Robin. He closed his eyes and focused; even if he couldn't avenge Tim then he would make sure this thing wouldn't claim any more innocent lives. His eyes opened as he focused on the creature before him. His observant eyes quickly scanned the distracted creature, looking for a weak spot, an opening in the whipping tendrils', anything he could exploit to take this creature down.
He noticed that the creature was missing an arm; the cut seemed to be too clean to have been an injury...surgically done perhaps? The figure was wearing clothes, bloody as they may be, so this thing was or is some sort of human. His eyes rapidly but thoroughly scanning till finally, he saw it. The creature's pale flesh was starting to smoke as if a flame was being pressed against it. The creature seemed to take notice and made a watery growl in annoyance as several tendrils lurched forward towards the helicopter.
Batman throw a sharp batarang, slicing most of the tendrils but missing one that dodged out of the way, still hitting the helicopter's spotlight and now shrouding the rooftop in only the soft glow of the full moon. The creature turned its attention back towards the dark knight, its tendrils quickly growing back as it jerked its head to the side with a serious of loud cracking as its bones dislocated themselves once more. The look it gave him made it seem like it was measuring him up as well. 'So it's weak to bright light,' Batman thought to himself. He carried several flashbangs in his pack, though that would just be a temporary solution, a quick flash of light to distract and anger it.
An idea clicked in his head as he thought of the Asylum's botanical gardens and the power lights there. Prolong exposure to the lights there should be enough to weaken it for capture. Meanwhile, the creature got down on its legs and hand, several of its bones dislocating as it made a guttural hiss as its body jerked around unnaturally as its tendrils ready for action. The Batman slowly reached for those flashbangs, ready for it to make its move.
Within a fraction of a second, tendrils lashed out towards Batman. The hero gritted his teeth as he narrowly dodged the attacks with a flick of his hand, tossing a flashbang at his attacker. With a loud concussive bang, a bright flash of light explode near the creature causing it to cover its face as it howled in shock and pain as smoke wafted from its form. Batman allowed himself a small smirk as his deduction was right, now all that was left was to lead it. He ran towards the garden through the small patch of forest on the grounds.
The creature made a quick recovery as it rapidly searched for its target before spotting him fleeing. With a low growl it ran towards him on all threes, hair and tendrils following close behind. The sight of the disjointed crawl towards him made the Batman slightly ill right as he jumped off the roof and spread his cape to glide towards the tree line. The creature followed right up to the edge as it stopped, eyeing the Caped Crusader before seemingly melting into the roof.
As soon as the Batman landed on a branch, he started leaping from tree to tree. When he was certain he put up a fair amount of distance, he stopped as he readied another flashbang while placing his back against a tree. He surveyed the area, looking for the slightest trace of...well whatever it was. He paced his breathing to keep his thoughts cleared. The warden said that the survivors claimed this thing can appear and disappear at will, so an attack could come from anywhere. Maybe it even lost interest and started going after easier targets? He pressed a button on his wrist, a distress beacon. Soon someone from the Justice League will come and help him entrap the creature or, if he were to fail then they will help keep others safe.
His line of thought was broken as several black tendrils appeared out from inside the tree itself. His eyes went wide and he cursed under his breath as he jumped onto another branch, but not before a tendril sliced at his back. He let out a pained cry as he barely made it to the other tree just as he could see the rest of the creature phasing out of the previous tree from a mass of darkness emitting from the side. Now that he was closer, he could see the pale face looking back at him without the hair blocking or covering it.
It was clearly human, a pale face with black almost empty eyes. Black hair hung slightly over the face, as the tendrils were moving in a calmer fashion, but still ready to pierce his skin and rend his flesh. Yet now that he was seeing it clearly, he couldn't help but find something recognizable about the entity. Something that was grating at the back of his head. "Phantom?" He said softly to himself.
The creature noticeably twitched and as if it recognized the word, the creature dislocated its jaw, allowing a bellowing cry that made him cover his ears as he groaned in pain. The creature's joints became dislocated once more as it sent out it's tendrils to render the hero into pieces. Batman tossed the flashbang out; once again blinding and enraging the distraught specter as he quickly leapt between the branches towards the garden. A howl echoing throughout the woods made him turn back to see the creature coming after him, sometimes leaping like a beast while other times seemingly fading into and out of the darkness, trying to slash at him and tear him into pieces.
He could see the botanical garden in a break in the trees, and as he made a final leap he tossed out one more flashbang only for the creature to cover its eyes with its arm before the resulting flash could blind him as he leapt onto the Bat. The two spun in the air as the Bat tried to fight off his assailant, as it managed to plunge some of its tendrils into his side making the hero cry out in pain as they both crashed through the ceiling. The entity was under him and he used it to cushion the impact as it became a black mass, fading into the shadows of the green house.
Batman quickly got to his feet, the new wounds in his side forcing him to groan as he slowly got up. The place was dark and filled with tropical plants and the air was humid and heavy making it harder to breath as his sides ached. Yet he remained ready for the next attack as he tried to find the switch. The creature seemed to be able to use and manipulate the shadows themselves, so trying to hide from it would be useless. It wasn't often that he was the hunted; admittedly it wasn't a pleasant experience. That was with people, insane bloodthirsty sadistic people but sill people. This thing...may have been human once but now it's just a monster.
A pale hand spouted out from the darkness, grasping for his throat. Batman could only let out a startled grasp as he was being lifted up, the rest of its form emerging from the darkness as he struggled to break free. Slowly the tendrils emerged from the darkness all around them, forming a cage that encompassed them both. Batman started to wheeze as the figure began to squeeze his windpipe with an immense amount of strength. As the caped crusader was beginning to lose consciousness, he saw the tendrils getting nearer to his face as they readied to pierce his eyes. Yet out of the corner of his vision he could see the switch for the lights.
Quickly he threw a batarang at the switch; the creature's eyes went wide, seemingly surprised that the Batman could muster enough strength to do anything. It had its tendrils try and get to it but it was too late. The throwing star found its mark as the bright lights of the garden sprung to life illuminating the area. The tendrils disappeared with the darkness forcing the creature to releases its captive so it could cover its face as it wailed in pain as the sound of flesh being burned echoed through the air and smoke was emitting from its body.
Batman coughed as he tried to crawl away, his sides burning in pain as he struggled to get air into his lungs. Managing to get to a shelf with several flowering plants on it, he tried to use it as a crutch to help him to his feet. The creature stopped flailing in pain as it steadied itself, determined to kill the bat before the pain was too much. Dread filled the Dark Knight when it spotted him as it charged at him in a fit of blind fury. Batman grabbed the first thing he could, a flower pot in a last ditched effort to defend himself. The creature swiped at the pot, smashing it into pieces and causing pieces of clay and dirt to fly as the flowers landed at his feet.
Batman closed his eyes as he readied for the finishing blow; least he knew that soon someone would see what had happened to him and Robin and would know how serious this threat is. He waited for death only to hear the creature roar once more in distress. He opened his eyes to see a strange red mist emitting from the rose-like flowers. The creature backed away and retreated out of the room. As soon as the ghost left, the flower's vapor faded away. Batman's legs went out from under him, pain coming in waves as with his last amount of strength he reached for one of the flowers and brought it closer for a look.
The flower had a rose red bud with black stems and leaves with a strange purple trim. He looked out the door that the creature left though just as Gordon and a few officers came in. "Batman!" Gordon came running and started to help him up; an officer came to the other side to help carry the hero up. "What happened? Where did it go?"
"Ran...away...it ran." He said with slow breaths. "Others will be here...soon...tell them...everything."
In one of the many alleys of Gotham City, a sudden mass of shadow came forth and the pale figure that raided the asylum appeared. Its body was tired and aching as it leaned against wall, panting softly as two black rings appeared in the center of its body, before going in opposite directions and changing it back into his human form. The excess hair seemingly burned away, pale skin gained a healthy amount of color, joints snapped back into place and eyes turning back into a pale blue. He groaned at his headache, the gem in the center of his forehead glowing brightly before fading back.
Like the time he transformed into the 'Stag Man' his memories of the events were choppy bits and pieces. He remembered that he found what he was looking for...the book, the book was now in his collection but he tore a page from it and read it. It was what triggered the transformation, but then what? Rage. So much rage and anger. Screaming too. He then saw a red and green suit. Robin...he killed Robin though...not the one he wanted. This one was too young; he spent the past three years as a test subject and little over a few months as an actual person. His Robin would be older. That one was just a kid; about as old as he was when he became Danny Phantom.
He placed his back against the wall and slid down it till he was sitting on the dirty ground, but he didn't care. He then remembered that he was dueling the Batman. He scoffed to himself; if he wasn't so blinded by rage he would have known that the winged rat was leading him to a trap. Yet he probably could have still killed him if it wasn't for..."Those flowers," he said as he shuddered lightly, remembering the sheer agony that ran through his body at the contact with the vapor they emitted when he went in for the kill. He may have become stronger than he ever was before, but part of him was still a ghost and they stilled had weaknesses that could be exploited. If just a mere flower can do that to him then what other more natural elements can be out there?
Despite that he couldn't help but smile, he got what he came forth. He turned to look at a shadowy corner in the alley and began concentrating. He was able to form the very darkness into a tendril, not bladed like before but more like a cephalopod's tentacle. As he moved his hand side to side, the dark construct followed. He smirked, he was gonna have to practice a lot more with it later. For now, he had to rest.
Few Hours Later
Arkham Asylum was under a full lock down as the police investigated the area for any potential clues with some members of the Justice League aiding with their efforts. As for Batman himself, he was in the back of an ambulance. He knew his wounds wouldn't be fatal; they weren't deep enough for that. Yet the sight of Tim Drake's bloodied and mutilated body made him feel as cold as the grave.
"Bruce," a voice called to him. He looked up to see Diana, AKA Wonder Woman, approach him with a sympathetic frown and soft look in her eyes. "I...I am so sorry about Tim. He was a good soul."
Bruce could only nod in understanding. "He deserved so much more," he said as he hardened his gaze. "Did you find anything along the perimeter?" He asked.
Diana shook her head. "No, nothing." She sighed. "Hopefully Hawkgirl and Supergirl will find something." Batman could only frown more as he saw Hawkgirl and Supergirl fly towards him.
"I couldn't find anything that we could use for a DNA or identity search," Supergirl explained. "No hair, no skin cells, not even finger prints. Just...well this." Supergirl said as she held up a mechanical arm. The Amazon and the detective stared at the object in mild awe. "I think this is your creature's missing arm but there isn't anything special about it. It's just steel and titanium."
"I have been looking over the footage taken by the cameras." Hawkgirl added. "Even before he became...whatever form he was when you dealt with him, I doubt that he was human. He kept fading in and out and even walked through walls."
"Do you think it was another ghost attack? Like back in Dakota City?" Supergirl asked.
"It is a possibility. Arkham has a sad long history. According to Red Huntress those places can be a hot bed for ghost activity." Batman started, a part of him felt a bit overwhelmed that he now has to consider ghosts as a possible answer.
"There is more," Hawkgirl said. "Before he transformed, he went to the archive and found a book that was locked in a safe hidden away." The group interests peaked. "He...somehow knew where it was exactly and what he wanted from it. He tore something from it and threw the rest of it through some sort of...portal. It must have been some enchantment as it triggered the transformation into that."
"Did you happen to see what the book looked like?" Batman asked.
Hawkgirl nodded. "Yes, the Warden said that it belong to an inmate back in 1880 named Babar Alrahzad who claimed to see and hear spirits who gave him knowledge of the dead. He claimed that it was only valuable as a case study for Schizophrenics hence why it was under lock and key. There isn't anything mystical or magical about it so he didn't know what it would trigger such a change."
"Maybe it isn't to us...but to them it might be." Batman stated as he turned towards the winged woman. "How quickly can you get Red Huntress here?"
"I don't think it will take long," Hawkgirl said.
"I'll take another look around, maybe I missed something over in that greenhouse that you and...it faced off in." Supergirl said as she started to take flight.
"Wait...I have something I need to ask you and Hawkgirl." Batman said.
Wonder Woman looked a bit hurt at that statement. "Well then, I shall go look for traces for those escaped inmates." The Amazon said as she started to fly towards the asylum.
Hawkgirl and Supergirl looked at each other for a moment, a quick look asking if the other knew what the bat wanted but after seeing that the other had no idea they turned back to him. "What do you need?" Supergirl asked.
Batman fixed the two with a stern look. "I got a look at his face." He stated. "I could be mistaken but...he looked familiar to me." The two women grew a bit more concerned. "Shayera, Kara...it...it looked like Danny Phantom."
The comment turned the two pale for a second as their eyes went wide at the possible horror. "No." Shayera started, instantly refusing to accept it. "You're wrong."
"I wish I was," Batman said, "but I know what I saw. It looked similar to him...too much to just be a coincidence."
Kara had her hands covering her mouth in shock. "N-No...Danny...Danny wouldn't do this."
Hawkgirl clenched her hand into a fist. "Bruce...you recently had someone close to you die, you clearly aren't thinking straight."
Batman glared at her and stood up, ignoring the pain in his sides. "I'm telling you this because I know you and Kara were close to the boy, Shayera." He started. "So I wanted to tell you what I saw...not what I thought I saw. Because if all of this is directly linked to him, then I am worried how you will react." The winged woman glared harshly at him. "If that thing is...was Danny, then the one you knew is gone and replaced by that...monster."
"And I am telling you that Danny would never do this." She said as she tightened her hand around her mace, causing it to crackle with energy. "So you need a better theory."
Batman gritted his teeth at her response before leaving. "I have better things to do. Because whoever or whatever that thing was, I still know it has at least one weakness." He said as he held up the red flower. "I am going to use it to find a way to prevent something like this from happening again."
So that's the chapter, Hopefully you enjoyed it and I will try to work on the next one soon. Call it a New Year's resolution that I will try to update a story at least once every so often. While I can't make it an actual promise to all of you who read it and enjoy it but the best that I can do is try. So stay safe and healthy and let's all try to make this new year better for everyone.