TW: Minor language, blood, violence
CASSIOPEIA: The blind and arrogant queen. Her child must be made to bear the burden of her presumptuous nature. All in the name of foolish pride and vanity, can such a being be saved from herself? Or will she lose that which she values the most?
Ghosts don't usually hang around his parent's lab… Well, ghosts other than him that is. Must be something about having the walls lined with tools literally meant to combat the very nature of your being seems to repel the brunt of the ghost masses. Those that do spend the time to peruse the lab tend to flee rather quickly after realizing the destructive power of some of the equipment.
Of course, this comes as no surprise. The first theory of ghosts does have to do with self-preservation. After all, what is a ghost if not something that defies the very nature of death?
That, however, didn't seem to be driving this particular ghost who was currently staring at the wall adorned with potentially lethal ecto weaponry. If not for the slight tremor of her hands (and the undeniable frosty bite of his breath), Danny would have thought she was a statue on account of her current unmoving and thoughtful stance.
He sucked in a breath, grateful for his invisibility. Ghosts by themselves were dangerous enough. Ghosts armed with weapons were even more so. This was a situation that required tact, care, and subtlety. If she realized that she was being hunted, then she'd no doubt grab the nearest weapon and open fire.
Slowly, and with an almost eerie grace, she reached out and removed a side arm from its wall hook. The barrel shone with strips of brilliant green and the Fenton logo decorated its handle. It was his mother's most recent favorite. She built it herself. All the power of a hand grenade filled with napalm was stored within that less than innocent device.
Hopefully, this new ghost doesn't know how to use it…
*Click* The gun happily whirred to life at the release of its safety, startling Danny with its almost perversely loud thrum. He unintentionally flicked back into the visible range and knocked a beaker filled with… well he wasn't really sure what it was filled with, but he did knock it over.
Way to go, Fenton. Your clumsiness knows no bounds.
He looked back up from the oozing mess on the floor just in time to see the opposing ghost gawking at him. "Um… That was an accident."
Her face quickly contorted from shock to fury. "You!" she roared, "What are you doing here!?"
The sudden change from quiet and thoughtful to utter and outright rage didn't quite give Danny the time he needed to prepare himself for the onslaught of projectile chemical solvent. She managed to graze him with a shot before he had the brains to duck beneath the ground.
But he didn't have the time to worry about his arm, the flesh of which was already blistering and leaking toxic ectoplasm. He pulled the thermos from his back and steeled himself for battle. Any minute now, she should come rushing under the ground for him, and he'll be able to bait her from the house, throw a couple of punches, and suck her into the Fenton thermos. Boom! Problem solved.
So there he waited…
After about a minute of nothing (which is a lifetime given the amount of adrenaline that was pumping into his veins), Danny cautiously resurfaced. No sooner did his eyes breach the surface did Danny have to retreat back into his earthly cover. Fenton Foamer goo coated his hair and bit at his scalp. It was enough to cause irritation, but thankfully not enough to really cause any damage.
"What the heck is your problem!?" he yelled to the floor above. Silence was his only response.
Okay, Fenton. How do you get yourself out of this one? She's angry, she's clearly got a grudge, and she knows how to operate the Fenton weaponry.
He hissed in frustration. This situation went from mundane to dangerous very quickly, and he really didn't like this battle's proximity to his blissfully asleep family members. He seriously needed to find a way to get her out of his house before the worst happened.
She's clearly not interested in chasing me…
After waiting a little longer to see if she'd follow him through the ground, Danny gave up, choosing instead to play hot cold with his ghost sense. The colder his breath got, the closer he got to her. He'd drag her out into the open if he had to.
Finally, his breath puffed out in a frosty burst making the more sensitive of his teeth ache. "Gotcha," he breathed.
Pooling his energy into his legs, he fired himself like a rocket skyward, intangible to everything except the other ghost. He couldn't help the satisfied smirk when he heard her yelp in surprise.
The victory, however, was short lived. They burst into the night sky like two fighting stray cats. She clawed and scratched and spat angry insults at Danny as he attempted to ward away the worst of her assault with his free hand.
Something hard and strong struck his gut, and as Danny was taking the time to recover, she twisted and kicked him with both of her feet, sending the two sprawling in opposite directions. Being accustomed to much stronger and more devastating blows, Danny quickly righted himself in the air. His arm now throbbed from the abuse, ectoplasm running down to his hand and dripping onto the world below him.
But at least she's not in the house anymore. No access to weapons, and my family is safe.
He watched her streak across the night sky like some sort of orange supernatural comet. How strange it was that she wasn't even attempting to slow her descent.
Wait… no way… is she screaming?
Sure enough, screams of terror accompanied the ghost on her descent back to Earth.
Oh crud! She can't fly!
Arm already forgotten, Danny made a beeline for what was soon to be an otherworldly pancake on the road. He groped for his thermos to secure her with, but came up empty.
Must've dropped it. Great job butterfingers!
He eased into a relaxed stop just below her, hoping that there was enough of a buffer still left to allow him to slow their combined descent without crashing into the ground.
Her fall was quick, violent, and punctuated by flailing limbs, each one powerful enough to do some decent damage. Once caught, Danny would have to make sure to immobilize her for both of their sakes.
His breath turned frigid again as he snapped both arms out to capture her. The force pulled uncomfortably at his shoulders, and if it weren't for his already amorphous nature, he was sure that his bones would've snapped at the impact.
At least she's not kicking me right now. I gotta find a place to stash her until I can toss her into the Ghost Zone.
Her stupor didn't last long though, as she soon realized that her life (afterlife?) wasn't in immediate danger. She quickly regained her wits and began pummeling him with her fists. "Let go of me, ghost!" she all but screamed.
"Are you crazy?! You'll fall to your death!" Danny reasoned between hits, but this ghost was anything but reasonable. She seemed far more interested in trying to twist away from him again than she was in not becoming a spectral splatter on the pavement.
Acting fast, Danny roughly deposited her on the roof of a taller building. No stair access, and no ecto-weaponry, she was as good as trapped.
He leveled her a livid glare, the green of his eyes accented by a darkening bruise across the bridge of his nose. "There. I let go. Happy now?" He threw his arms up in exasperation, hissed, then pulled his injured arm back towards his chest. "You throw a nasty right hook, y'know?" he commented as he wiped some of his ectoplasm from his nose.
She didn't dignify him with a response, instead choosing to crouch into an offensive position and return his glare.
"So what? We both stare each other down? News flash, psycho, you can't fly, so you can't reach me." The corners of his lips turned upwards in victory. "And it looks like you can't get down without my help, so we can either talk this out like reasonable adults or I can go grab another thermos. Your choice." He examined his gloved nails in mock vanity.
Ha ha. Looks like it's my win after all.
She growled in frustration. "Get down here and fight me!" she demanded.
"And then what? Lose or win, you're still stuck there," Danny snapped back. Her attitude was really starting to grate on his nerves. "Seriously, what is your problem!?"
"My problem? My problem!? My problem is that ghosts like you think you're so high and mighty. You think you can do anything! And then I find you in my house, under MY roof! No one is safe so long as you're around, Phantom!"
Danny was flabbergasted.
Her house!? Who does she think she is!
"Look lady, I don't know who you are, but its common knowledge that I live there. Not you. How can you possibly expect to run me out of my own home when you can't even float a foot off the ground. Heck, even Skulker has the sense to not ambush me there. Skulker!" He punctuated his rant with flamboyant gestures and furious finger pointing. "How could you expect to even touch me?!"
She smiled despite her losing situation. "Explain that to your new bruises."
Danny growled as he subconsciously reached for his aching nose. "How was I supposed to know you couldn't fly! And what the heck were you doing in my house?"
"My house," she forcefully corrected. "And I'll do as I please in my house. You," she pointed threateningly, "are not welcome there."
He scowled. "Okay. I'm officially drawing the line. That," he gestured to the hideous neon Fenton sign, "is my family's house. I live there. Everyone knows this. I don't get why you want to lie about it so bad, but touch a hair on any one of them, and I'll personally escort you to the Ghost Zone's own vortex of pain and misery. Got it?"
"You are NOT part of my family!" she spat. "And don't you dare enter that house again, ghost! I don't want you anywhere near my kids!"
This is going nowhere.
Danny groaned and held up his hands in mock surrender. "Alright, alright. I get it. Thermos trip for you. Sit tight. I'll be right back."
The ghost's angry chatter morphed into furious caterwauls as he approached his house.
There's gotta be an extra one under my bed.
Mixed together with the horrid and enraged bellows, Danny could just make out a small mechanical whirring noise. Another signature tickled at the back of his throat like an early morning itch, too muddled to ever truly trigger his ghost sense. That underdeveloped ectoplasmic presence could only mean one person…
Please don't let her notice me. Please don't let her notice me.
But there was no way she could not notice him. He was a brightly glowing silhouette of black and white in an otherwise darkened street. Didn't help that the other ghost was screaming herself hoarse and drawing all attention to him.
The Red Huntress burst into the scene as extravagantly as usual. Weapons were already drawn, and over a dozen self-piloting drones were buzzing around her like a nest of angry hornets. Her hoverboard was gracefully positioned beneath her feet for a quick advance.
Why do the crazies always appear when I have a test in the morning? It's almost like they have a 'Danny needs to be a functional human being tomorrow' timer.
Without even looking, Danny listed lazily to the left, narrowly dodging the preliminary round of miniature missiles that Valarie always starts her battles off with.
"Hold still, ghost boy! I promise I won't let it hurt for long," she demanded, her familiar voice distorted by the external speakers of her battle suit.
Danny turned to face her and gave her a tired frown. "Val, you know I don't want to do this…"
"Yeah?" she replied unflinchingly. "Well I do!" The drones began their first attack, firing small but powerful ghost rays from the forward mounted barrels like tiny floating tanks.
Danny peeled away from the drones' immediate range. If he stayed, then she would've likely used them to corner him and deliver a final blow. Danny shuddered. He had no desire to be killed by her today.
Keeping close to the ground, he flew around buildings, looped around trees, phased in and out of the ground, all in an elaborate, evasive dance to confuse Valerie. And it worked! For all of her strengths, she was still human. She couldn't hope to ever do the kind of things that he could.
Taking cover behind an old dumpster, he quickly switched back into Fenton. With his ghostly persona gone, he successfully eluded the Red Huntress's sensors. He breathed a sigh of relief when she unwittingly blew past him overhead. He could already imagine the rant he would hear from her tomorrow at lunch about how terrible Phantom is. Somehow, he found it a little endearing that she would vent with him. Endearing, but still dangerous.
Groaning, Danny stood up to find that trash juice had already bled into his Jack Fenton pajamas… the phase-proof Jack Fenton pajamas guaranteed to never go intangible…
Ew. Tuck was right. Nasty Burger smells the same before and after.
He wiped himself off to the best of his ability, but not being able to phase the garbage infused clothing really hampered his ability to get clean. He'd just have to wash them properly when he got home.
Frustrated, tired, and more than a little bit embarrassed to be outside in (smelly) pajamas, Danny stomped homeward. He dared not switch back to Phantom, because he could still hear the distant destruction of Valarie raising hell somewhere.
Oh no… I totally forgot…
Well, the hell raising that Valarie was doing just happened to be against that ghost he fought earlier tonight. Under normal circumstances, he'd just leave the two to duke it out, but this ghost was losing in a bad way and Valarie was not one to spare her victims.
Kicking himself for dropping the thermos in the first place, Danny pulled hard at his ghost core and reentered the fray in dramatic fashion, letting loose a round of (mostly) harmless ecto-blasts.
Hey, if I'm gonna do it, I might as well make it look cool.
As the resulting smoke cleared, he propped his chin against his fist and shot Valarie a flirtatious smile. "We gotta stop meeting like this, Val."
He could almost hear the gears in Valerie's head grind to a halt. Obviously, she was not expecting him to reappear so soon after supposedly running away. She threw aside the other ghost and immediately opened fire on Danny.
Okay wise guy. You've got her attention. What's the plan now?
Crap! He forgot to think of a plan before he plunged head first into live fire!
Duck, roll, serpentine, punch, counter, shield. With no plan of action, it was all he could do to fall into his standard anti-Val attack pattern. Avoid the long range weapons, swoop in, strike her equipment (but not her) with as strong an attack as he can manage, and throw up a shield to avoid getting pummeled. Rinse. Repeat.
But somewhere along the way between the baseless accusations and gun fire, Danny had completely forgotten that the Red Huntress was not his only opponent. Well, he was imminently reminded when the ghost from before caught him with a hooking clothesline and curb stomped his already hurt arm.
Slightly panicking at the new onset of pain, he sank into the building, now thankfully evacuated of residents courtesy of the extra loud and flashy ghost fight happening overhead.
Knowing that Val couldn't go intangible, and that the other ghost probably didn't know how to go intangible, Danny took the time to look over his arm and mutter obscenities.
Definitely broken, but not bad off considering. Probably a hairline fracture. Gonna have to end this sooner rather than later.
With not much more to fall back on, he quickly swapped back to Fenton and peeled off his dirty pajama shirt. Then, after transforming yet again into Phantom, he wound the shirt around his arm. It was gross, but better than nothing. Besides, he didn't even think that ghosts could get infections.
When he surfaced, he came across the Red Huntress and the other ghost arguing about who had dibs on Phantom. Unfortunately, it looked like the debate was hideously one sided as Valarie was not opposed to using violence to get her way, especially if the opposing party was comprised primarily of ectoplasm.
She's distracted. It's either now or never.
Making quick use of his invisibility, he snuck up behind the Red Huntress and stuck an intangible hand through a plate of her hover board. His hand gripped a bundle of what was probably a wiring harness essential to normal operation, and he chuckled out loud.
"Hey Val," he sang from behind her. "I think you might have a loose cable somewhere." With no further warning, he ripped the wires free from their encasement, causing the hover board to drop lifelessly to the ground, rider and all.
Danny looked between the cables in his hand and the deceased board at his feet with a face of forced comical disappointment. "I'm gonna be honest with you guys," he stated with a deadpan look, "I thought pulling these cables would do something a little more spectacular."
Valarie roared something unintelligible, and redoubled her attack efforts, but with her board gone, she was really just like any other human ghost hunter. She threw a punch here, fired a blast there, but none of her attacks were hitting their mark and her power supplies were quickly exhausting.
Man she's really gonna hate me for all of this later. I'll never hear the end of it.
The end of her bombardment was signaled by one final ecto blast. It was so weak that it couldn't even properly exit the barrel of the gun, and instead dropped to the ground with a wet slap of unearthly magenta. She ruthlessly tossed aside the malfunctioning weapon and dropped into a similar combat pose that the other ghost was taking.
Good. I'm making some progress. Now all I've gotta do is take Valarie home and capture that ghost.
Pinkish ectoplasm dripped from a head wound and trickled down the female ghost's face. She'd break her pose every once in a while to wipe her eyes, but immediately drop back into a defensive position. The huntress beside her shot her the occasional distrustful glance, but overall kept her concealed gaze on Danny.
Danny took the moment to compose himself and tighten his bandages. Upon inspection, they were already tinged acidic green. If he didn't already smell like trash, then he was sure that he'd smell the rotten citric tang of his own ichor. He grimaced. Hopefully his skin would knit itself back together before he made it back to bed.
"Are you two satisfied yet?" Danny spat. He couldn't really help the venom that made its way to his voice.
"I'll be satisfied when you and every ghost punk like you," Valarie shot a sharp look at the other ghost, "get what you deserve." She ground a fist into her palm. "And believe me, you will get what you deserve!"
Danny crossed his arms and scowled. He has had this argument with her far too many times, and he was way too tired to deal with her right now. "Look," he said, "I can carry you down to the ground, and you can go home yourself, or I can force you to go home. Either way, you've lost this one."
Valerie started to protest. Something akin to 'touch me, and you're dead!' but Danny cut her off prematurely. Using his supernatural speed and intangibility, he was able to quickly maneuver around her brandished fists and possess her. The Red Huntress's body stood ramrod straight and shivered at the foreign contact. Green began to leak into the red circuit traces decorating her suit.
Ew. This suit always feels so weird. Why does she even wear it?
Danny, now in Valerie's body, flexed his hand in front of his face and smirked. "Just like old times, eh Val?" he asked aloud, fully aware that Valarie would be unable to respond.
With a thought, the suit unequipped itself and went back into its dormant mode. The oversized wrist watch beeped steadily as it slowly drained Danny's ectoplasmic power to recharge its batteries.
"You… you possessed her?"
Danny, still smirking, turned towards the other ghost. "Yep!" he easily replied, ignoring how much he sounded like Valerie.
"She's only a kid!" she yelled in outrage.
Danny shrugged, seemingly nonplussed. "So what? I'm a kid too. Think that would've stopped her from hurting me? She'd've killed me if I got caught by her." Danny frowned, a little bit forlorn at that confession. He never really got over their breakup. "At least this way, she isn't hurt," he muttered. Then, with a little bit more confidence, he added, "She'd've destroyed you, too, if I gave her the chance."
The opposing ghost huffed, clearly annoyed. The ectoplasm that was leaking from her head had finally stopped, but that still left numerous bruises and lacerations that had yet to heal over.
He floated over to the remains of Valerie's board and began collecting the lifeless bits of metal. The strange vampiric drain almost doubled its speed as her suit began its healing process. He put up with it, though. After all, he didn't want Val to be caught in a ghost fight and not have her glider.
The unnamed ghost cautiously watched him from afar, too beat up to really start another fight. She cocked her head, careful and analytical. "You'll let her go?" she tentatively asked.
Danny turned to face her. Immediately upon making eye contact, the ghost slipped back into her defensive posture. "You really don't know anything do you?" When the ghost gave no answer, he continued. "Look, as much as I want to stay and chit chat with the person who just shot at me and broke my arm, I gotta take her home. You. Stay. Here."
The ghost huffed again, but gave no indication of fight. Apparently, Valerie had really done a number on her. Her chest heaved with vestigial breaths, highlighted by her ridiculously orange jumpsuit.
Rolling his eyes, or rather, Valerie's eyes, Danny took off in the direction of Valerie's new apartment. It was still cheap and run down, but at least it wasn't in the dangerous part of town like her old one used to be. Her dad had begun making a comeback by marketing special cameras that could capture video footage of everything, even invisible ghosts, to security contractors. Of course, he never mentioned that his cameras were just rebranded thermal cameras that he bought for cheap somewhere online.
Ah well, beggars can't be choosers. And Valerie's family could really use the money, so Danny supposed that it was all done with good intentions, though if a little bit shady for his own personal tastes.
He made his usual entrance through the wall of their living room, and was a little bit startled to see Daman sitting on the shabby loveseat. He was, thankfully, still invisible, but he still felt wrong for invading the privacy of his home. Hopefully, he wasn't waiting up for Valerie. That would be awkward.
Silently, he slipped past Daman and through Valerie's bedroom wall where he allowed himself to drop back into the visible realm. The watch on Valerie's wrist continued its drain of Danny's spectral radiation, and he was beginning to really feel the exhaustion start to wear down on his psyche.
Maybe I could skip school tomorrow. I mean, it's just one test. I could just pretend to have caught some sort of cold…
He collapsed onto Valerie's bed, deeply appreciative of the cozy nest of pillows and blankets. "If only this were my room," he mused aloud as he shed the huntress's body from his own. "You really wore me out."
Absently, he scratched at the stinking shirt that he had somehow managed to keep itself tightly wrapped around his arm. Apparently, being phase proof didn't hamper its ability to overshadow. Little green pinpricks of luminescence peppered the tacky material now. It was high time it was replaced with some proper first aid.
"Now, where has she hid it…" Danny whispered to himself, as he poked around her bedroom for her first aid supplies. Though she rarely got hurt, she kept a rather large supply of emergency medicines and bandages, something that he had been having to make more and more use of the better she got at ghost fighting.
"Aha!" he held up his prize with victory, before wincing and pulling his injured arm back to his chest. Making himself comfortable, Danny dropped into the office chair across the room and began tinkering with the little plastic tab that locked the lid in place. Seriously, the little bugger could get really wedged into place.
It finally worked itself free with a barely audible click, and Danny helped himself to the rubbing alcohol, gauze, and medical tape. The bone would heal itself rather quickly, but the lesion was large and made worse by chemical burns and scarring. It would take at least a week before it would be presentable again, he noted with apprehension. Keeping it hidden away would be difficult.
When Danny returned to the rooftop, he found that the orange clad ghost had left, probably via the fire escape that zigzagged its way down the building like some sort of metallic snake.
He was just about to start looking for her, when he noticed the telltale color of dawn begin to wash away the dark blues of nighttime. The new crazy ghost would have to wait. His parents would be coming into his room any moment now to wake him up for school, and he was NOT about to have them find an empty room at six thirty in the morning.
Thanks for reading :) I'm new so any critique is most welcome, even flames can be somewhat useful.
Believe it or not, I actually do have a modicum of an idea as to where this story may lead, but I'm also a VERY lazy person with a full time job, doggos, and a husbando that I must care for. So, no promises on whether or not I'll update this one.
If you like what you see, please review! I'm powered by attention! :0