Chapter 1

Danielle's chest heaved as she clawed her way onto the shore, white hair bleeding black in an effort to conserve energy. Surrounded as she was by the trash and debris strewn across the beach, there was no one around to see the odd change come over the young girl or the glowing green trail she'd left in her wake. Behind her the glow slowly faded, disappearing from sight as the waves continued to crash against the sand and wash her clean. Despite being soaked to the bone and barely able to lift herself off the damp earth there was a small smile on her face as she closed her eyes and finally went limp. She'd actually made it.

The sun had nearly set before her eyes cracked open, looking around she found that the view from her sandy bed left much to be desired. Towering piles of trash that contained everything from tires to fridges to old furniture stood between her and whatever lay inland. The soft sound of waves breaking against the shore and fine sand beneath her hands were a startling contrast from the mountains of human debris in front of her. She did what she could to brush off the sand from her stained clothes, wincing at the stiffness and pain she felt with every movement. The pain and soreness were temporary though, she had expected it and there was no time to waste. After all, this world wasn't going to explore itself.

All thoughts of exploration and some grand adventure came to a grinding halt once she encountered the sign at the entrance to the oceanside dump. It was overall unremarkable, just one of the many government regulated ones that displayed what she assumed was the name of the beach. Assumed, because it was written in some unintelligible chicken scratch that looked vaguely asian. Dani's stomach sank to her feet and she groaned as she realized she had no way of communicating with anyone in this reality. Angry muttering filled the air as she stomped towards the buildings in the distance. She hadn't signed up for learning a whole new language, she was going to give Clockwork a piece of her mind for this stunt the next time she saw him- her steps faltered. If she saw him again. The thought sobered her and she paused, anger fading away as it was replaced with a quieter, lonelier feeling.

It was hard to think of the people of her past and remember that they would have little to no impact on her future. Everything that would happen from now on depended only on her. Tears welled up in her eyes and her vision misted over, a deep ache filling her heart as the loneliness took over for a moment. She'd been on her own for a while, but there were always people she could turn to for help if she really needed it. Here...she was alone. She didn't have Danny or Valerie or anyone to look out for her anymore, anyone who cared about what happened to her. Vlad, the creatures of the Ghost Zone and the hunters from back home could never hurt her again, but at what cost? She knew how to take care of herself, but starting over again in a new world with absolutely no one was a daunting task for even the most independent of 12 year olds.

With that thought in mind, Dani walked over to a nearby bench to take stock of her options and think about her next plan of action. She didn't speak the language, she had no money, she had no idea where she was, and there was no one in this reality that she knew. As she was mulling this information (or lack thereof) over she heard a scream and whipped her head around, worried that something paranormal had followed her and been released on an unsuspecting populace. Pushing aside her turbulent thoughts, she looked up and down the empty street before transforming and jumping into the air, flickering out of visibility as she did so. There was no time to think, someone needed help and it might be because of her.

Phasing through the buildings between her and the scream, she expected to see something out of the ordinary but nothing could have prepared her for this. Across the street a woman covered in iridescent green scales screamed about being robbed while onlookers with animal appendages, robotic limbs, and multi-colored hair consoled her or pointed in the direction of a fleeing man with a purse in his...hands? Dani wasn't sure how to classify the u-shaped magnets at the end of his arms that seemed to have a tight hold on the chain that made up the strap of the bag. The shock at what she was seeing made her pause in her attack, her brain firing on all cylinders as she took in the scene before her. It looked supernatural, but the lack of blue fog from her mouth confirmed that there was nothing ghostly about this. Before she could spur herself back into action, a man with bulging muscles and arms that looked to be about four sizes too big for his body jumped in front of the criminal from around a corner and clotheslined him so hard he was sent flying into a nearby building, cracking the concrete wall. The magnet man slumped to the ground and looked for all intents and purposes to be down for the count, but as the muscled newcomer approached he raised his arms and used the magnets at the end of them to rip a metal mailbox from the ground and slam into the back of his assailant, jumping out of the way as the large armed man was pinned to the wall where he had been only moments before.

A bystander shouted to the downed man, drawing cheers from the people around the area. Was it encouragement? The language barrier reared its ugly head and frustration returned to Dani as she realized just how much work it was going to take to get help from any locals as she figured out where she was. Across the street the man shook himself off, removed his metal helmet and wristguards, then ran back towards his thieving opponent to reengage.

"What kind of place is this?" Dani whispered to herself as she invisibly drifted down to the ground, quite literally floored by what she was seeing. Slowly but surely, the strong man with the large arms wore down the magnetic villain and managed to restrain him, walking over to return the scaled woman's belongings and check on her himself when the police showed up to take the villain into custody. Suddenly the idea of sneaking around and stealing what she needed seemed less appealing, the people here were no doubt prepared for such a thing and by the looks of it there were heroes trained to take superpowered criminals down. While she wasn't sure if they had the ability to deal with ghostly energy she didn't want to take her chances.

With the chaos now over Dani found a quiet alleyway and hid behind a dumpster to transform back, more comfortable with walking around now that she was more confident that a ghost from home hadn't followed her. The meandering walk went on for the rest of the day as she unhurriedly explored, revealing a large and fairly clean modern city full of heroes in costume protecting the normal citizens. Normal being a relative term of course. Everywhere she looked, she saw people with strange physical mutations, and despite not seeing them do much she doubted that only the heroes and villains had special abilities here. As someone who was used to having to hide her abilities for fear of destruction, the idea of being able to come out and be herself was a novel one. Here, it seemed like everyone had something odd or powerful about them. While she doubted she could tell anyone about her extra-dimensional ghostly origins, the fear of a slip up that would cause someone to see her using the powers that felt as natural as breathing to her disappeared. She felt less like an animal that could be hunted at any moment, the bone-deep relief making her realize just how tightly that fear had coiled around her heart and mind. Life on the run from Vlad who saw her as a possession that had been stolen from him, filled with ghost hunters like the Fentons and attacks from random ghosts that popped up through natural portals had been rough on her. Saving people made her feel good and she never hesitated, but there was always the worry that the commotion would catch the attention of someone who saw her as one of the vermin to be exterminated or a property to be returned to its owner. She had to work fast and disappear even faster, constantly on high alert. This world offered her something she never dreamed she'd have, the chance to let go of the omnipresent state of fight or flight that she'd found herself in for the past 2 years of her 3 year existence, to actually live instead of just surviving.

Of course, surviving meant knowing how to communicate with the people around her, it meant a roof over her head and food on the table. The reality was that she was dirty, didn't know the language, and didn't have any papers or ID. She desperately needed help, it was just a question of from who. What she did have going for her was her age, it had been a hindrance in the past but now she was in a society with so many heroes whose sole purpose was helping people. The illusion of innocence and helplessness would hopefully help smooth over some of the inevitable questions she'd face when they realized she had essentially popped up out of nowhere with no guardian. Back home there were foster systems and public schools, she didn't know if this place had an equivalent but there was only one way to find out. She had no idea what it was like to be part of a family, but maybe this was her opportunity to find something that resembled one. If things went poorly she was confident in her ability to escape as she always had in the past, but she had to at least try to give herself a chance at a semi-normal life here.

What she needed was a hero, or even a police officer. Having seen both earlier, she was confident that she could find another soon. With the calm way that they interacted with the police and citizens, there had to be an established relationship. Maybe it was a kind of job, like firefighter? If heroes here worked anything like Danny did at home, they would probably have a designated area to patrol since they were human and had to live nearby, she might be able to find the long armed man from earlier but if not there had to be someone else patrolling the area. Since most people dressed in regular clothes as they went about their daily business she kept an eye out for anyone wearing a strange outfit or a police car. After an hour or two of searching, she finally found her target. Taking a deep breath, she prepared to go against everything instinct she'd built up in her short life and draw attention to herself, trying to be brought into custody by unknown adults. Her nerves screamed at her to run in the opposite direction but she clenched her hands and focused in on the wooden man in the blue jumpsuit. She had to try, that was the whole point of coming here. A new start, changing her life for the better.

Kamui Woods was having a rather boring morning, it was a quiet morning in Mustafu and other than a thief or two there had been nothing to do other than patrol his route and talk with the occasional fan. He'd only recently had his debut so there weren't many who knew him and he made sure to thank as many as he could for their support. Seeing a young girl jumping around and waving to him as he walked down the road, he smiled under his helmet and made his way over, ready to answer questions or pose for a photo. As he neared he realized that something was off and started to pick up his pace, seeing more clearly the frightened expression on her face and how her clothes were dirty and ripped.

"Is everything alright? Where are your parents?" The girl frowned and wrung her hands as she replied in another language, her voice wobbling. Kamui scratched his head, English hadn't been his best subject in school but he knew enough to recognize it. What was a western kid doing here looking like that? He looked around and listened, hoping to see the worried face of a parent searching for their child, but they would be calling for her in English and there was none to be heard in the vicinity. The girl spoke up again, grabbing his hand softly in shaking hands as she repeated her plea. He sighed and kneeled in front of her as he tried to remember his lessons from school, pointing at her with his free hand. "You name?" Her face lit up with a smile and she squeezed his hand, excited that she could finally understand him.

"My name's Dani." She said something after that but it was too fast to understand and his vocabulary was limited. He held up a hand to stop her then pointed to himself,

"My name Kamui Woods. My English bad," He paused, searching for the words he needed, "I, ah, I help you." The dark haired girl nodded her head slowly as he stood and pointed in the direction they needed to go, but didn't move when he tried to start walking with her. He turned to look at her and saw her shallow, quick breaths as she stared at their joined hands. He wanted to ask what was wrong but didn't have the words, so he gently tugged at her hands and shot her a questioning glance, snapping her out of whatever had frozen her in place. She sent him a shaky smile in return and her feet finally started moving.

Above her, Kamui reached up to the radio on his shoulder and called the local law enforcement for assistance.

Officer Tamawaki stared down at the girl sitting across the table from him, unsure of what to do next. When Kamui Woods had brought her in they figured it would be a rather simple open and shut return-to-parents case, but the longer the interview went on the more confused he became.

It had been 3 days and they hadn't found anything. They'd taken her prints, asked her name and where she'd come from, who she'd come with and where they might be, but despite their best efforts they continued to find nothing. The US government didn't know anything about any Fentons or a missing girl matching her description and weren't about to go through the process of repatriating someone when there was absolutely no proof of their citizenry other than speaking the language and claiming to have been from there.

"Please ask her to reverify the names of her parents, the liaison at the U.S. embassy couldn't find anything and the ministry of foreign affairs didn't find any names that matched incoming travelers from the U.S. or Canada." Asked Tamawaki as he pushed a notepad and pen in her direction. The translator turned to the girl and she sighed but grabbed the pen and scribbled her answers down. Taking the page from her when she slid it back across the table, Tamawaki looked down and felt his whiskers twitch. 'Jack and Madeline Fenton', the same names he had been entering on every database and social media he could find for the last few days. The girl said something and he glanced back up at the interpreter.

"She wants to know how long you're planning on keeping her at the station." Not knowing where she was and claiming she had no memory of how she ended up on the beach was difficult for detectives to believe but other than inspecting the area she told them about and taking her information there was little else they could do. He sighed and rubbed his face.

"I'll get into contact with a local foster family that has some knowledge of English. With any luck this will all be sorted out within the week, someone's got to be out there looking for their lost kid, she can't have popped up from thin air." He pulled out another piece of paper and slid it over to the girl, "Here is a quirk registration form, can you please help her fill it out?" When the interpreter turned to the girl to explain, she paused with a thoughtful look before fading from view before their eyes and reappearing a moment later.

The interpreter laughed and sent Tamawaki a look.

As it turned out, no one seemed to be looking for their lost kid. Tamawaki stared down at the open file on his desk for a long time, brows furrowed. The child in the glossy photograph stared back at him, guarded blue eyes set in a somber face. Parents moved mountains to find their children…why hadn't hers? It was one of the strangest cases he had ever worked.