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Literature
Because of Him Ch 22
Because of Him Chapter 22
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Ch 22: What You Want
Phantom
It was dark. Night. I was supposed to be sleeping but there was something scary. I had just seen something really scary and I couldn’t sleep. Even though it was nighttime and I was supposed to sleep in my bed, I couldn’t. I was afraid. I was terrified. I huddled in a ball on my side, eyes open and staring into the darkness. The only gleam of light amidst the black was a faint blue-green glow from under my half-closed door. I focused on the way it lit the top edges of the carpet that covered the flo
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 21
Because of Him Chapter 21
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 21: Far from You
Phantom
The night sky was quiet and uneventful as I flew. Considering my last flight four days ago and the tumult of the last twenty-four hours, I was very grateful for that. The only thing I struggled with was my draining strength. I didn’t notice it right away but after a few minutes I could feel my body begin to drag. I felt winded, though I didn’t need to breathe, and a shaky weakness pestered me every few minutes. I frowned with frustration. I had been doing nothing but resting for three whole days!
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 20
Because of Him Chapter 20
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 20: On His Own
Phantom
I had never given much thought to how I would return to the warehouse once I left the hospital. I had thought it would be simple: float high enough to see the whole cityscape, find the ocean, search along the coast for the docks, and find the place I guarded. The city I was in—Amity…something?—hadn’t seemed that big compared to some of the other places I had been. I had been able to cross it from one end to the other that night Skulker chased me and it hadn’t taken that long, right
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 19
Because of Him Chapter 19
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 19: Open the Door
Maddie
Hearing Detective Lowry give his consent had sent my emotions spiraling. I almost didn’t hear Jack ask if the detectives wanted us to drive them or Lowry’s partner, Tanner, respond with surprise that we expected to go right now. Lowry, fortunately, seemed to know this already and simply said that they would follow.
The trip to the hospital could not go quickly enough. Even with Jack at the wheel it still seemed to take forever. The detectives managed to match our pace, so we didn’t have to w
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 18
Because of Him Chapter 18
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 18: Before it Breaks
Detective Lowry
I looked out the nearest window of the station and studied the darkening sky, a warm mug of coffee in one hand. Clouds had rolled in during the night, low and heavy with rain. The storm had already hit east of the city and we’d be under a wet curtain ourselves soon. I wondered if this was the cause for the Fentons’ delay. It had been hard to convince them to wait until morning to come in with Danny’s dental x-rays. I expected them to be here at first light, but instead I had been
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 17
Because of Him Chapter 17
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 17: Who I Am
Phantom
There was a bug caught in the large spider’s web that stretched across the window between the kitchen and the rest of the abandoned diner. It struggled fiercely, the thin strands bouncing and warbling as it jerked in each direction. I could see it even though there was no light where I was, sitting on the table shoved between the fridge and two large sinks. The candles he had lit earlier in the front room were glowing just bright enough to illuminate the intricate net and its captive. Moving around didn&
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 16
Because of Him Chapter 16
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 16: Inquiries and Obsessions
Maddie
Driving with my husband always proved to be an interesting experience. Jack liked to live life to the fullest and he did everything at one speed: full throttle. Even though we had a scheduled time to meet and had left with plenty of time to spare, he still insisted on driving like our lives depended on arriving at Axiom Laboratories as soon as possible. And that meant that certain things like speed limits, stop signs, and construction barricades were more like suggestions than the law of the
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 15
Because of Him Chapter 15
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 15: The Mystery Kid
Phantom
I slept until a nurse came in with breakfast the next day. The food at hospitals wasn’t bad and the best part was it came three times a day. I could always get more too—if this place was like the other one. The nurses at the other hospital had been very nice like that. Whatever I asked for, they would give it to me: drinks, food, blankets. And they gave it to me with smiles. They smiled a lot, cheerful smiles that tried very hard to reach their eyes. For some it worked, for others a strange tir
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 14
Because of Him Chapter 14
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 14: Where is He?
Sam
The click of my bedroom door closing behind my parents as they finished saying their oh-so-innocent goodnights to me was music to my ears. It had taken a day of equally “innocent” behavior on my part to get what I needed to escape my home without them noticing. Now it was Sunday night and I was ready to go.
I tossed off the comforter I had been under while “reading a book before bed” and stood up. I was fully clothed (including my combat boots) and, with a quick grab under my bed, I had my
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 13
Because of Him Chapter 13
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 13: To Protect Them
Tucker
Sunday mornings should be spent in one of two places: in bed or in front of a screen. I had spent a good portion of the day doing the first, now for the second… I half-walked, half-stumbled down my stairs, stretching out the stiffness that came with sleep as I went. At the bottom, I turned into our living room and promptly collapsed onto the couch face first. One hand blindly tried to find the remote as I sank into the cushions.
“’Morning, Tucker,” I heard my mom call from the kitche
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 12
Because of Him Chapter 12
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 12: The Phantom Chase
Sam
I lay sprawled out on my bed, staring gloomily at my ceiling. Saturday’s were normally one of my favorite days of the week, but being grounded meant that all my usual avenues of enjoyment were cut off: I couldn’t go hang out with Tucker (not that he’d talk to me), I couldn’t call him on the phone (not that he’d answer), I couldn’t play video games (not as fun without Tucker, who wouldn’t play with me), I couldn’t watch movies in our basement movie theater, I co
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 11
Because of Him Chapter 11
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 11: Change of Plans
Sam
The last bell of the day rang at school and there was the usual craziness of everyone trying to leave campus. Because it was Friday, the crowds of students were even noisier than usual as friends caught up with each other to make plans for the weekend. I weaved my way in and out of pockets of teenagers, unable to celebrate with my peers. Unlike them, I wasn’t going anywhere in the next two days. I was grounded. And, though that was annoying, I would take it in a heartbeat if I didn’t have to deal w
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 10
Because of Him Chapter 10
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 10: What Was That?
Sam
Looks of surprise and then wariness appeared on the faces of every teenager I passed as I walked across the yard in front of our school and up its front steps. I couldn’t blame them. Anyone would be startled by the look on my face. Because I was scowling. No, that wasn’t a strong enough word. Glowering. I was glowering.
If I wasn’t so angry—again, not good enough. Furious. If I wasn’t so furious, I would feel a little guilty sending such dark looks at everyone around
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 9
Because of Him Chapter 9
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 9: Promises Between Friends
Tucker
“Tucker, where’s Danny?”
“I…”
“Where is he? Where’s my son?!”
“I don—I don’t know!”

I tried to shove the memory away, push it into the back of my mind where it couldn’t get out. At least not while I was conscious. But the images kept finding ways into my mind. Mr. and Mrs. Fenton’s frantic faces, red and blue flashing lights, Jazz crying at the kitchen table, police officers with a million questions, a gr
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 8
Because of Him Chapter 8
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 8: A Long Day
Sam
“No…” the word echoed in the space between us and I shuddered. The halo of light around his body shrunk and darkened. It had always been a pearly white, soft but bright enough to cast a glow around his body. Now it was turning red like his eyes. “No,” he repeated in a growl.
I took a small step back, exhaling unsteadily. The cloud of warm air drifted between us for a few moments before fading away. Phantom still stood rigid and tense, his face hidden from my view, and I was at a l
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Literature
Because of Him Ch 7
Because of Him Chapter 7
By: Dizappearingirl (2015)
Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)
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Chapter 7: In the Shadows
Phantom
I had checked every corner of the warehouse for any sign that Sam had been there. As expected, there wasn’t anything besides the remains of the snacks she had brought. The last few times she had left food I had stuffed the wrappers into one of the many crates around the room. I did the same thing this time, phasing my arm through the weathered wood and dropping the trash inside.
The only place I didn’t check was the back rooms. I wasn’t supposed to go in there and so I hadn’t. I had to
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Because of Him Chapter 22
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)

Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)

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Ch 22: What You Want

Phantom

It was dark. Night. I was supposed to be sleeping but there was something scary. I had just seen something really scary and I couldn’t sleep. Even though it was nighttime and I was supposed to sleep in my bed, I couldn’t. I was afraid. I was terrified. I huddled in a ball on my side, eyes open and staring into the darkness. The only gleam of light amidst the black was a faint blue-green glow from under my half-closed door. I focused on the way it lit the top edges of the carpet that covered the floor, highlighting them almost white.

Looking at the light didn’t help me fall back to sleep. There was a monster and I was scared and I wanted someone to make it better. I blinked. I knew who would make it all better. I could ask them. But they were so far away…they were all the way down the hall. I bit my lip and curled in a little tighter. I didn’t want to leave my bed. It was scary here but at least I was safe under the covers. If I moved I would be exposed! But if I didn’t, I would just remain here awake and terrified.

I held back a whine, unwilling to make a sound and let whatever monsters hid in the shadows know where I was. I had to move. I had to go, but I couldn’t move, I was afraid to go. But I had to. I had to. I repeated this to myself several more times until I got the courage to pull back the covers. Cool air brushed over my now exposed feet and goose bumps prickled over my skin. I shivered, eyes darting back and forth to check that nothing had changed.

After several moments of tense silence, I unfolded my body and pushed myself up into a crouched position. I scooted to the edge of my mattress and peeked over the edge. Nothing was down there that I could see but I studied it for a long time before deeming it safe. Okay, time to go. Time to get out of bed. Just jump down and run, run straight for their room. Nothing would be in my way. I could do this. I continued to psych myself up, hands reaching for a stuffed puppy dog I slept with and pulling it tight against my chest once I found it. Okay…go!

I sprung from my bed and landed a few feet away from the edge before shoving myself forward towards my door. I darted around the edge of it and found myself bathed in the blue-green glow of the nightlight that was plugged into the hallway wall. I paused for a second to get my bearings, feeling a little safer now that I was in the halo of soft light. But I didn’t let myself stay too long before moving on. The door I wanted was farther down, past the safety of the nightlight.

My feet padded quietly across the carpet until I was at their door. It was closed so I reached up for the handle, twisting the knob until the door creaked open. I pushed it in and the faint glow from behind me lit the stretch of floor between me and the large bed that took up most of the room. The consistent rumble of snoring resonated from one side of the bed and I found faint comfort in the familiar sound. They were sleeping… I remained still in the doorway, suddenly feeling a little shy. Would they be mad at me if I woke them?

But I was scared and they would make it better. I inched my way forward, hugging the puppy doll closer.  I crept to the non-snoring side and paused again once I was next to the woman sleeping there. She would be okay with me waking her, she would wake up and tell me it was okay. She loved me, she cared for me, she would make it better.

I reached out a hand and shook the arm closest to me gently. She didn’t move and I frowned before deciding to shake her harder. This made her shift and hum quietly. I stopped and waited, biting my lip. She rolled onto her back but didn’t open her eyes. My shoulders sagged and a little whimper escaped me. I pressed myself into the side of their mattress and shook her again.

“Mom,” I called quietly. “Moooom.” She shifted again but I didn’t wait to see if this was enough to rouse her. I kept jiggling her shoulder and repeating the word over and over until her eyes flickered open and turned towards me.

“Danny? What’s the matter?” she murmured. Relief washed through me and brought tears to my eyes. Finally. I reached out to her as the first drop fell down my cheeks. Her eyebrows drew together and she sat up, grabbing me under the armpits and pulling me into her lap. “Did you have a nightmare?”

I nodded and curled into her body, finding an immense amount of comfort now that I was surrounded by her warmth and smell. I was safe now. I was okay now. She’d keep the monsters away from me.

She wrapped her arms around me as I sniffled. “It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re not alone anymore. I’m right here.”


A creaking moan woke me up. I opened my eyes blearily, blinking several times until the world around me came into focus. I was curled up in a ball on the crate I had sat on last night, my back wedged between the two stacks of boxes next to me and head propped up against one of them. It wasn’t very comfortable but moving would have meant losing the small amount of heat that had accumulated around my body so I had stayed balled up most of the night.

I wondered if that was why I had the dream about the woman hugging me…it was almost the same position. Maybe I just really wanted comfort, wanted to pretend to be like a human kid who could go running to his parents. Why else would I call her mom? I didn’t have one. My mind must have just taken the first woman to pop up in my head and used her to play the role of a caretaker. So why had I chosen that woman in the blue suit?

I sighed and shook my head. This made it throb a little and I grimaced. I rubbed it for a moment and then made myself stretch out, wincing as my limbs ached and popped. My chest felt irritated and I mentally noted to check the wound later and see how it was doing. I shivered a little as I let my legs dangle off the edge of the box, refusing to huddle back together and further irritate my body. The morning air seemed much cooler than usual. Or maybe that was because I was generally in my ghost form and didn’t notice it. Though normally I didn’t mind the cold much in either of my forms… Was it some aftereffect of being inside the hospital? Maybe…? And maybe the headache was too. I rubbed at my forehead again, trying to massage the throbbing ache that pulsed behind my eyes and nose.  

“You’re back.”

The sudden sound of the voice startled me and I jerked around to see where it came from. The Angry One stood a few feet away, just having turned around the corner of a row of crates and come into view. His eyebrows were up in a rare show of surprise, though they quickly creased as his expression turned guarded. I stared back, shock freezing me in place. When had he come in? A brief stab of anger directed at myself followed as I realized I had not been paying attention. But that feeling was just as quickly overwhelmed by thick and heavy relief—especially as two more figures stepped out from behind the boxes to join him. The Big Man…and him.

They were okay. They were here. They came back. I wasn’t alone. I could still do my job. My eyes landed on him and the happy feelings deflated under trepidation and a little bit of fear.  Except that I hadn’t done my job, not completely. I had left. Would they let me explain what happened? Would he be okay with the choices I had made? And what would happen when I told him where I had been? He had been anxious last time I had been in the hospital, he had hated it. What would he think now?

“Halfa,” he said, his red eyes locking onto me. I met his gaze, unable to move as I waited to see how he was going to react. The other two also seemed to be waiting, The Angry One—Neil’s—expression watchful and, his brother, Donovan’s impassive. He took a few steps forward, closing the gap between the two of us.

“Where did you go?” He was watching me closely, his eyes narrowed and calculating. “What happened?” I licked my lips. My apprehension grew as all their eyes bored into me. They wouldn’t like my answer, but I had to tell them. Besides, I was being given the chance to explain. I had to take it.

I opened my mouth and then coughed when I tried to speak with a dry throat. I coughed again and then rasped out, “A ghost attacked me here. He chased me and I wanted to get him away from here so I…I ran…” I flinched, unsure of how he would respond. His eyes had widened at first when I had said ‘ghost’ but then they narrowed again.

Neil muttered something to his brother, his usual glower back in place. The Big Man did not reply though he crossed his arms over his chest, frowning slightly. He remained silent, his face indicating that he wanted me to continue. So I did.

“He chased me a long time. I tried to hide but he found me and then he attacked me and I…I blacked out.” Once again I paused and this time he did speak.

“Blacked out? Where? Did anyone see you?”

I hesitantly nodded, thinking of the two security guards. He scowled, his gloved hands curling into fists.

“They saw you were half-ghost?”

“N-no!” I quickly shook my head. “I was already human. That’s…that’s how I hid from Skulker.”

“Who’s Skulker?”

“The ghost. He was the one chasing me.”

“And what happened to him?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. The police said they scared him off.”

“The police?!” He exclaimed, making me jump. “You talked to them?!”

I cowered under his glare, my eyes darting to the other two, who had both gone rigid. “I…I didn’t say anything—not anything I couldn’t. I did what you told me last time.”

“What last time?” he demanded, bringing my focus back to his face.

“The last time I was in the hospital.”

“The hospital!” He stared at me and then whirled around. He began pacing back and forth between me and the other two. He cut his hand through the air towards me. “Elaborate!”

“I…I was in the hospital because Skulker hurt me,” I explained. “They tried to find out who I was and I didn’t tell them anything. I did what you said.” He continued his rapid movement and I felt compelled to add more. “They…they said they were going to try to find out who I was. They were going to take me away to another place—Heather was, the CPS lady.”

“CPS…” he muttered. An intense look of concentration was on his face and I couldn’t tell if he had said that to us or to himself.

“If the authorities are involved we’ve got a problem,” Neil said tersely. “I haven’t been monitoring them—not for this. They could have all sorts of information on the freak in their system now.”

“You can erase it, can’t you?” he asked, pausing in his movement to focus on him.

The Angry One scoffed. “Of course. But that’s not the point. They’ve had whatever he,” he jerked his chin towards me, “gave them for however long he’s been with them—days. It’s not just in the one system anymore. Half of them could have local copies, printed copies…I can’t delete all of those from the outside…not to mention that certain other organizations might have caught wind of this too.”

He shook his head, his curly hair flopping, and crossed his arms. “There’s no way we can stay off their radar now if that’s the case. Not with what happened a few nights ago. They’re gonna be all over this. We should cut our losses—like we told you—and skip out of town before we have the whole idiot brigade breathing down our necks.”

“No!” he shook his head sharply. “We can’t leave yet!  And we don’t know if they even have anything. All the police knows was that a ghost was after a human boy, who was injured and brought to the hospital—“ He whirled back towards me, his red eyes fierce. “—Right?!” I jerked back at his sudden movement and nodded vigorously.

“And you didn’t tell them anything?” I nodded again. Nothing that could give them away that I could think of, at least. Everyone had seemed much more interested in me and who I could be. And they had thought I was that boy and then they took my picture…Oh, should I tell him about that?

“Yes, a human boy who was being chased by a ghost!” Neil spat out, diverting his attention back to himself. “Who do you think the police are going to inform about that?!”

He pressed his lips together, nostrils flaring, but he didn’t immediately respond.

The Angry One sneered. “Yeah, now you’re getting it. Even if they don’t have anything else yet, they’re going to be crawling all over this thing just because a ghost was involved. And if they do have anything, it could lead them right back to us!”

“But they don’t,” he growled.

Neil shook his head again, rolling his eyes in exasperation before jabbing a finger in my direction. “You trust that thing too much!” I winced, though he was easily ten feet away from me. “He could say anything and you’d just take it at his word! How do you know he’s telling the truth?!”

There was a moment of tense silence where his hand wrapped protectively over one of the pockets in his trench coat. “I know,” he said simply. There was a beat of silence and I felt a little bubble of happiness rise within me at the confidence in his tone. He…trusted me?

Neil opened his mouth but he interrupted, “And that’s all that you need to know.” He pulled his shoulders back, straightening his stance. “We have an agreement, Neil, remember? And part of that is letting me deal with what is mine. I know that Halfa is telling the truth. He cannot lie—not to me.”

The Angry One’s lip curled. “Forgive me for not being so blindly trusting of your little half-ghost freak. I’m not willing to risk our necks,” one of his hands jerked in the direction of the Big Man, “on his word alone. Give us proof, Showenhower.”

The two men glowered at each other and then a cruel smile stretched across his pale face. “Proof, “he repeated. “Solid, concrete proof. That’s always what you want, isn’t it? Easy, straightforward, and mundane.” He spat out the last word.

“I told you once that you were stepping into the shadows with me, that the world you knew had a much darker and stranger underside to it than even you had experienced.” He took a step towards the brothers, his hand still wrapped around the pocket in his coat. Both men watched him warily. “Halfa is part of that shadowy world and he listens to me. Whatever I tell him to do, he will do without hesitation. You know that.”

He moved closer to them, coming eye to eye with Neil. “Maybe I need to have him show you just exactly what that means,” he said quietly, his voice deadly calm. “Would that be proof enough for you?”  The Angry One swallowed hard and his eyes darted to me before returning to him.

A long moment of tense silence passed between the three of them and then he stepped back, his tone smug. “Yes, now you’re getting it.” Neil’s face reddened but he didn’t say a word.

He turned towards me, the dark smile still on his face. “But I don’t mind giving you the proof you need. Halfa, what did you tell them? What did you say exactly?” I bit my lip. He didn’t look angry but I knew that smile and the ice in his voice put me on edge. As far as I knew I had done what he had told me to do. But what if I had messed up? What if I had said something I shouldn’t have? But I had to answer him of course.

I took a deep breath and said, “I-I… I did what you told me. I…I only said if I was hurt or if I was hungry. I didn’t tell them about you. I didn’t say anything about this place. I did my job.” My tone was turning defensive and I paused to take a breath. I did do what I was supposed to, but…I had spoken more than that. That’s what they wanted to know.

“They…they asked me about me. They wanted to know things, but I didn’t tell them anything. I…” I shrugged, my eyes dropping to my hands which were fiddling with the strings of my new hoodie. “There’s nothing to tell. I’m not…I’m not…” I stopped, unable to finish that thought out loud. I’m not like them, I’m not real.

“Lots of them came,” I said instead. “They asked me about the ghost. I talked to them about him.” My eyes jumped up to him, not sure what he would think of that. It had nothing to do with them, but it also wasn’t on the list of things I could or couldn’t talk about. He seemed to be thinking hard but did not interrupt me.

I opened my mouth to continue when Neil spoke up. “’Lots of them’?” We both looked to him. “Lots of who?”

“Police,” I replied.

Just police?” I tilted my head at the question, unsure of what he meant. He didn’t explain and I looked to him. He was staring at Neil but not in the same manner as before. Instead he clenched his jaw, looking almost anxious.

He then asked through tight lips, “What color suits were they wearing?”

My forehead crinkled in further confusion, but I said, “the detectives wore blue and brown…?”

“No one in white?” As he said those words images of men in white suits popped up in my mind. Men in white. Men with guns. Men with black gloves reaching out to me from the room in my dream... I suppressed a shudder. Oh, they meant them

“No,” I told him seriously. He studied me for a moment and then exhaled noisily, looking away.

“Then you were luckier than us,” he grumbled, so quietly I was sure I was the only one who could hear him. A wry smile twisted his lips, “But when have I ever been lucky? No, I can’t rely on luck. I must rely on myself…and what I can control.” His eyes focused on me still sitting on the box. He then twisted his head back towards the others. “Does that satisfy you?”

Neil’s usual scowl had returned, though his body remained tensed. “Well, was there anything else?” All three of them looked at me. My eyes jumped between each of them as I tried to recall anything else during the last four days. I couldn’t think of anything else…

“I don’t think so…They just…wanted to make me be someone. They wanted me to be this boy that went missing…”

He frowned. “What boy?”

I shrugged again. “I don’t know. A boy…they said he went missing a few years ago and they thought I looked like him.”

“That’s impossible. You were never here before,” he muttered. I gave a little nod. He was right. I had never been to this city before. I couldn’t be the boy, even if the police and that couple in the hazmat suits wanted me to be. His eyebrows were creased tightly, one hand rubbing his chin. “Still, we can’t have the police looking for you, even if they are mistaken…”

“I can clean them out, but it’s probably too late,” Neil commented. “Amity Park isn’t like Chicago; the police actually have time on their hands. I can’t just sluff the case and have it drop off their radars like last time.” He shrugged. “We’ll just have to monitor them too. Make sure to throw them off our scent if they poke their nose too far.”

He nodded, the intense look of concentration still on his face. “We have to be more careful…” he trailed off. I waited, my anxiety lessening when it appeared that they weren’t mad at me for what I had said. My head continued to pound. I had forgotten about it until this moment of silence. I focused on twisting my sweatshirt strings, resisting the urge to rub at the spot between my eyes to try and lessen the pain. I didn’t need to draw his attention back to me, not when he had calmed down.  

“But at least now I can start on my new plan, now that I have you back.” It took me a moment to realize he meant me and I only did because his tone shifted suddenly from thoughtful to cold amusement. I looked up to meet his red gaze. A new plan?

His eyes dropped to my clothes and he arched one eyebrow. “You have new clothes.” I nodded. “Where did you get them?”

“A store.”

He frowned. “With what money?”

“I…didn’t have…money,” I mumbled, shrinking a little. He shouldn’t care that I did that; he wasn’t against stealing, but maybe he would be mad anyway.

“Did anyone see you steal them?”

I shook my head and then paused mid-motion. “A girl…told me to pay for them,” I admitted, before quickly adding, “but she didn’t see me leave with them. She didn’t know who I was or anything.”

“Hmmm…” He scrutinized me once more and I waited, my eyes dropping to my lap. “I suppose it was time to get you new clothes. And a sweatshirt will be good for winter. It’s not like there will be much warmth in our new place.” I peeked back up at him, any fear towards him disappearing with the news. We were moving to a new place? Where were we going? Was it still in Amity Park?

Wait, but, what if I didn’t want to leave here yet?

He shrugged and took a step back, crossing his arms while keeping his eyes on me. “You will need to do your job better than ever before,” he told me and I realized we were returning to the previous topic. Frustration fizzled inside me since that meant I wouldn’t get an answer to my unspoken question for a while, but I clamped down on it. What he wanted to talk about was more important.

He pinned me with a forceful look and I dropped my inner commentary to focus on him. “It is vital that you protect us after our poor performance earlier. We can’t afford them to get any closer to us.” He paused here as if expecting a response. I nodded solemnly.

This seemed to satisfy him and he turned away from me, taking a few steps in the direction of the other two. His voice flipped once more back to humorous as he continued, “And I think it’s time to expand your skills. Time to teach you a new routine that is sure to satisfy our cohorts.” He waved a hand above his head and there was a mocking edge to the action.

He stopped in front of the Angry One. “Then maybe they can stop their complaining.” Neil opened his mouth to retort, the ruddy color returning to his cheeks, but it was the Big Man who replied first.

“They make a valid point, Showenhower,” he said in his low lilting voice. “We have been loyal to your cause for eighteen months and nothing has come of it but danger. We will keep our agreement, but you should consider giving up on your goal.”

“Never,” he growled back, his hands clenching tightly. “I will get her back!”

“And if they do come after us?” Neil inquired.

“Are you worried they’ll outsmart you?”  

Donovan’s eyes narrowed, a rare show of irritation seeping into his features. “My brother’s skills are unmatched.”

“Then you have nothing to worry about,” he coolly replied. “I will get her back and you three will get what I promised.” He whirled back around and I straightened up as his eyes landed on me.

“Change,” he commanded. I hastily stood up and pulled forth my ghost half, ignoring the lightheadedness that attacked me at the sudden movement. He dug a hand into one of the inner pockets of his trench coat, the same one he had been clutching earlier, and pulled out the black box. The box with the red glow. Red like the light that chased me in my dreams… I took a deep breath.

“We are moving to a new place,” he said, his voice dropping low. He held the box close to his chest, level with my eyes, and opened it.  Red light radiated from within, instantly grabbing my full attention and washing away all other thoughts.

“You will follow me to the new place. You will not leave my side. You will be invisible and intangible the whole time.” Each phrase struck hard, cementing themselves in my head. They were the only things that mattered.  

“Understood?”

“Yes.” I phased out of sight and corporality and waited for him to move. Of course.

It was my job.

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Sam

“My brain hurts,” Tucker grumbled as we exited Mr. Falluca’s classroom. I nodded in agreement, my own head throbbing a little with the motion. Neither of us was horrible at math but forty-five minutes of algebra problems on a Friday morning was enough to make anyone develop a headache.

“At least it’s over,” I sighed. “And the next unit should take a couple weeks based on how big it is, so no more tests for a while…”

“That is not comforting.”

I chuckled, once again on the same page. The bigger the unit, the bigger the next test. We turned towards our left and took the stairs down a level, heading towards our biology classroom.

“Shouldn’t you like math, techno geek?” I teased with a sideways look.

“Code and algebra are very different,” he sniffed. “And so are geeks and nerds. I like computers, not math and science.”

I smirked but gave a nod. “Alright. Well you can keep your computer class all to yourself, geek. I think I’ll just stick with art for my elective.”

His lips twisted into a smile, “and scare the teacher with all your depressing themes and dark colors?”

“Gotta have fun somehow. Besides, my class could use a little more variety. It’s not all about bowls of fruit, flowers, and pop culture when it comes to art. Not real art.”

Tucker didn’t reply and I glanced his way as we walked down the hall. The troubled look from yesterday had returned to his face. What did I say? “Tuck?”

He sighed and slowed down to a stop. “I gotta tell you something…”

I paused next to him. “Okay…”

“I was in computer class on Wednesday and I looked out the window and I…” he shifted uneasily. “I saw a ghost.”

My eyes widened. “A ghost? Really?” I had never seen one in this area before. You heard about people seeing them, but I never had. Phantom was still the only ghost I had met.  “What did it do?”

He shrugged. “Not much. It looked in the window and then flew off. I saw it land across the street…” He waved a hand in that general direction, his eyes looking anywhere but at me. “Then it went into the park…but that’s not the point.” His tone turned annoyed and his brows creased angrily.

“The point is…it wasn’t just any ghost.” He looked up and met my confused gaze, his jaw tightening. “I’m pretty sure it was yours.”

Confusion escalated to shock. “What?”

“Your ghost—the one from the warehouse,” he replied. “I remembered that you said your ghost looked like the one in the photo from the news.” His eyes darted away again, his words coming out faster as he continued. “And in the picture there was the one that was gray and green and the other was white and black. You never really told me which was which, but I kinda thought it was probably the second one, the smaller one.”

He looked at me again, almost like he was expecting confirmation, but I was too stunned to react and he added. “So I saw this ghost and it was in a black hazmat suit thing with white hair and I realized it looked just like the one in the photo. And I thought that’s probably Sam’s ghost.”

There was a moment of silence as I tried to work my mouth into forming a response. Tuck had seen Phantom? Phantom had been here?! Emotions and questions tumbled like a load of laundry in my head.  He was okay! Why was he here? Was he looking for me? Why? Where did he go? What had happened? Why didn’t I see him?!

Finally I managed to sputter one of them out, “Where did he go?!”

“The park across the street,” Tucker tilted his head towards the building entrance and then gave me a speculative look. “I was right—that was your ghost?”

“Yeah,” I nodded, still too overwhelmed to have any idea of what kind of expression I was wearing. I felt torn somewhere between elation and bafflement. “White hair, black tight clothing, green eyes…he’s okay?”

Tucker gave another nod. “It was kinda far away but I didn’t see anything that made it look hurt.”

This helped me settle on happy, a smile stretching across my face. “That’s great! That’s…that’s really good. Oh man, I feel so relieved...” My mind was racing now. Tucker’s computer class was during sixth hour so it hadn’t been quite two days since then. I wondered if Phantom had stuck around there…I’d have to go check for myself after school and see. It might have been too long. I mean, why would Phantom hang around at the park? I wish I had known right away… My thoughts grounded to a halt. Wait a second…

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I asked. “I could’ve gone and checked right after school.”

Tucker grimaced and I felt a flicker of annoyance at the tell-tale expression of guilt. “I…well, you’re grounded and I knew you’d want to go look for it if I told you. I didn’t want you to get into more trouble; you’ve been grounded for a week and a half already.”

“I’ve been out before without my parents finding out,” I countered.

He gave me a look. “Yeah, ‘cause that’s a good reason to keep breaking the rules.”

I frowned, though I couldn’t disagree. Still… “You should’ve told me anyway. We just talked about this on Monday; it’s not your job to decide whether I should do this or not.”

“Yeah, I know,” he crossed his arms. “That’s why I’m telling you now.”

“When it’s too late for me to go looking for him?!”

“No,” he raised his chin defensively. “I just…I knew that you would want to know, but I…I wasn’t sure if it was something I should do. I mean, encouraging you to break your curfew to go chasing after a ghost? That seemed really stupid.” He took a deep breath and some of the tension left his voice. “But you’re my friend and I knew I had to tell you, so here I am, telling you.”

His teal eyes met mine. “I don’t want us arguing again.”

I looked back at him, all the indignation leaking out of me. “I don’t want to either,” I said, sighing. “Though I kinda wish you had just told me right away. I doubt he’s there now…”

“Yeah…sorry. I wasn’t even sure if it was your ghost, but…” He shrugged.

I nodded, sighing again. I could still check. There was a chance he was still out there—maybe he got lost after that other ghost chased him across Amity Park—but I doubted it. Phantom seemed so adamant about protecting the warehouse. Even if it took him the whole week, he wouldn’t stop searching until he found it again. It would make more sense to go check back there…and, hey, maybe I could…

The shrill sound of the bell rang out over our heads and we both instinctively moved in the direction of our biology lab. I glanced at Tucker out of the corner of my eye. I could keep that idea to myself, but he had been open with me—even if it was belatedly. I should be the same. His hostility had gone way down this week.

“I wonder if he’s back at the warehouse…” I began as we turned down the hallway where our class was.

“Maybe,” Tucker said.

“I could try going there again and see if he went back.”

“Yeah, I guess,” he replied. There was a heartbeat of silence and then he added, “but that could be dangerous—especially if the people it’s protecting are there too.”

“Yea, but I need to make sure Phantom’s okay,” I told him. “I’ve done it before; I can go there again.”

“But you’re grounded.”

“I got out before,” I said with a mischievous smirk. I let it drop quickly and said more seriously, “but I’d probably wait until my ‘sentence’ was lifted.”

This only seemed to comfort him a little. “It’s still not that safe going there all alone…”

“Well,” I looked at him sideways, “you could come with me.”

He grimaced at me.

“What?” I asked with fake innocence. “I’m just saying if you think it could be dangerous, you could come along. Then I wouldn’t be alone, I wouldn’t be lying to my parents when I told them I was with you, and…” my eyes glowed impishly, “you could meet Phantom.”

“I don’t want to meet him,” he said, though it was with a lot less venom than the last time we had this conversation. Now, he just sounded annoyed. And did I hear a hint of resignation?

“Come on, Tuck,” I tried to persuade him. “He’s nice and he won’t hurt you. He’s—don’t tell anyone I used this word, or you’ll pay—he’s sweet.”

Tucker gave me an incredulous look, jerking to a halt outside of our classroom. In fact he looked stunned. Finally he sputtered, “Do you like him?”

“Of course I like him,” I rolled my eyes. “Why do you think I’ve been trying to get you to come meet him? You—”

“—No,” Tucker interrupted, looking uneasy, “do you like him? Like, like him like him.” The question surprised me and it took me a second to even articulate a reply.

“No,” I recoiled, holding up my hands defensively. “He’s just my friend! And we’ve only known each other for, like, three weeks! I can’t even say I know him really well yet! I mean, he’s great and I’m not saying there’s anything—I just, wow, Tucker, why are you saying that?!” A blush blazed across my cheeks.  

“You said it was sweet,” Tucker said with a shrug, still looking a little unsettled but also slightly amused.

“He is,” I growled, embarrassed by the lingering blush, “but that doesn’t mean I like him! He’s just…I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s like he’s…still a kid in a way, y’know? Not that he isn’t smart or mature or whatever; it’s just that he’s…” I struggled to come up with the right word. It didn’t exactly fit, but I finally went with, “he’s innocent.”

“Aww, that’s nice,” Tucker teased, definitely looking amused now. “A nice, sweet, innocent ghost. I guess you’re right, who wouldn’t like that? Especially not Sam, the resident goth…” There was a heavy layer of mocking in what he was saying and I didn’t like it one bit.

“Shut up,” I scowled at him, “Are you going to come with me or not?”

“Do you want me to come?” he asked, his tone suggestive.  

I gave him a look. “Yes, Tucker! I want you to come! So…?!”

The humor left his face and he huffed. “I don’t want to come…” he trailed off. He didn’t continue and I took that as his answer. Disappointment hit me—harder than I expected considering it was a long shot that he would even consider it.

“Okay,” I sighed, grabbing the classroom door handle.

“I don’t want to come,” he repeated, “but, maybe…well, I’ll think about it. When you plan on going back, let me know.”

As quick as it came the disappointment was replaced with hope. “Yeah, okay,” I gave him a very small smile, still a little annoyed with his teasing.

“But only if you’re not grounded anymore,” he stated as I opened the door.

“Right…”
Because of Him Chapter 21
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)

Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)

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Chapter 21: Far from You

Phantom

The night sky was quiet and uneventful as I flew. Considering my last flight four days ago and the tumult of the last twenty-four hours, I was very grateful for that. The only thing I struggled with was my draining strength. I didn’t notice it right away but after a few minutes I could feel my body begin to drag. I felt winded, though I didn’t need to breathe, and a shaky weakness pestered me every few minutes. I frowned with frustration. I had been doing nothing but resting for three whole days! I had eaten food three times each of those days! Yes, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast this morning, but normally I was lucky to get two full meals. Why did a flight like this drain me so much? I had even slept earlier today!

With a sigh, I shoved the complaints of my body and mind to the side and focused on flying in a straight line. About ten minutes later I saw the glittering blanket of lights below end abruptly in darkness ahead of me. The ocean! I floated downwards as I came closer, aiming for the docks I saw sticking out from the coast on my left. My eyes swept across the area, searching for the warehouse I had lived in the last few weeks. A smile stretched across my face in recognition…I had found the right place! I fell slowly towards its roof and phased through the metal sheeting, exchanging the night sky for the shadowy gloom of the warehouse. My warehouse.

Nothing looked different. There were the piles of boxes, rows of rusted machinery, the door to the outside, the other to the adjacent building, the large garage-like door… The only things that stood out were the smashed crates from when Skulker and I fought. Their remains had been left scattered across the cement floor, seemingly untouched. I continued my descent until I landed on the ground near one of them. Had no one come here since then? When they came back, they had to have wondered where I was, had to have seen that something had happened. He would want to wait for me. He needed me. Where was he?

I wrapped my arms around my middle, careful not to scrunch the healing wound on my chest, and listened to the distant sounds of traffic and the lap of the ocean. I couldn’t hear anything else. I turned in a slow circle, my eyes wide as I tried to catch any hint of movement. Nothing stood out amongst the grays and blues surrounding me. No strange noises, no unusual sights. The place was empty and still just like it was supposed to be. Instead of bringing me the usual comfort, it only made me feel…lost.

Didn’t they miss me?

No answer came to my unspoken question and I began to wander, walking silently across the ground between the stacks of crates. I passed the area where Sam and I usually sat, feeling a second pang of loneliness as I wondered if she had come back while I was gone. Had she missed me? It was probably too late in the night for her to be here, so it was possible she had come while I was gone, but I wasn’t sure if I could believe it. I hugged myself a little tighter and moved past that part to the place I had fallen when Skulker attacked me. I frowned and skirted around the crushed wood. I guess one positive to being alone meant that he wasn’t still trying to…capture me or whatever it was he was trying to do. I just hoped that he wouldn’t come looking for me here again.

I continued my meandering path towards the other side of the warehouse where the machines sat, still finding no change to the place I had protected. My steps began to slow when I reached the back, another wave of that lightheadedness from my flight hitting me hard. I had tried to avoid using too much of my energy by walking instead of floating, but it wasn’t enough. I probably needed to change back…and sit down. My body seemed to agree and the rings of light appeared before I consciously made the decision, switching me to my human half in a shimmer of energy.

The shaky feeling intensified, accompanied by a wave of exhaustion, and I closed my eyes as I swayed a little. Yeah…I needed to sit down… I walked slowly to the closest stack of boxes and grabbed onto the corner of the top crate to steady myself. There was one next to it that was on its own and I climbed onto it, resting my back against the taller stack. I shivered a little and burrowed deeper into my new clothes. I could feel the chill in the air again now that was I human. Was it from the rain? Or the upcoming autumn? Probably both. It was good I had grabbed the sweatshirt. I would have been really cold otherwise…

What should I do now? Should I wait here? They usually came back in the morning. Maybe…maybe they would show up like they usually did. Maybe it was just lonely…because it was night. My jaw cracked as I yawned widely, rubbing my face afterwards. Maybe…maybe he still needed me and he just…knew I’d come back. I would have to wait…and see. But…yeah, waiting sounded…good. I could just rest. Just let my eyes close…for a moment…

-----------------------------

Sam

Thursday morning dawned cool and cloudy. It was the kind of weather I loved and I went around the house with a faint smile on my face, dressed more warmly and with plans to pack soup for lunch. If I weren’t grounded and everything were okay with Phantom, things would have been perfect. But even with those two things hanging over my head, I still found plenty to enjoy on this early-fall morning. I even had the gumption to be friendly to my parents and I think I completely threw them off. That earned another smile from me, which was way past my usual quota for this early in the morning, and I left for school chuckling at their expressions.

I arrived earlier than I normally did and wandered around for a while in search of Tucker. He usually got here before me due to his bus’s schedule. I perused the front yard for a short while but, not finding him anywhere, switched my search to inside. I worked my way through each of the main halls and came up empty. With a faint frown, I returned to outside and watched as more and more students appeared and filled the grounds surrounding the school. Maybe he was running late today…

Just as I thought that, I caught sight of a yellow shirt out of the corner of my eye. I twisted around from my post on the front steps and confirmed it was him. He was walking from the parking lot and next to him was that redhead from a week ago. Who was she? I had seen them talking before, though more so in the last few weeks. I had never met her myself and I had never really asked or cared. Now I couldn’t help the spark of curiosity rising in me.

I jumped off the steps and headed for him. With him coming towards me, it didn’t take long for our paths to meet. “Hey,” I greeted. He looked at me, an emotion passing over his face too quickly to catch before he smiled.

“Hey,” he said back. Had I interrupted something? He didn’t sound like I did. I was distracted by the girl as she gave me a guarded look and I remembered that the last time (and pretty much the only time) we had interacted I had been very upset—furious. I gave her an apologetic smile.

“Sorry about, uh, earlier,” I told her.

She relaxed a little. “No, it’s fine. Obviously you two had something you needed to resolve...”

“Uh, yeah…” I looked at Tucker, trying to indicate that he could jump in at any point and introduce us to each other. Luckily, he got the hint.

“Jazz, this is Sam,” he said to her and then turned to me. “Sam, this is Jazz.”

“Nice to meet you,” Jazz held out a hand. I took it and we shook.

“Yeah, you too.” I then looked back at Tucker. “How do you two know each other? I mean, I don’t see you around very often.” Jazz also turned to Tucker, her eyebrows rising in surprise. His gaze dropped to his feet and he fidgeted nervously.

“Um, she’s…” he paused and started again, “my friend that…disappeared two years ago? This is his sister.” My eyes widened and I looked back at Jazz.

“Oh…” was all I could say. That could explain the funny look on his face as I joined them. I had never considered the idea that his friend from back then had siblings. I guess it was because I was an only child. Wow, if losing this person was tough on Tucker I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for Jazz. Some sort of form of pity must have been evident on my face because she gave me a small smile that seemed to say that she knew what I was thinking and she was far too used to it.

“I guess you came here after all that happened, huh?” she asked.

I nodded. “I moved in during winter break.” There was a moment of awkward silence that I instantly wanted to fill, but with what? What did you say to someone who lost a sibling? I mean, I could say I was sorry, but it’s not like that really did anything. Besides, I didn’t know her, or her…I guess he was her brother. I knew Tucker so I could say more to him, but she and I were basically strangers. A sorry just seemed kinda empty in that case.

“Well, I have a few things I need to do before class starts…” Jazz broke the silence. “I’ll see you later, okay?” Tucker gave a nod and she walked off. I watched her for a moment and turned back to him. Dozens of questions buzzed in my mind, questions I had harbored since the last time we had talked about this. I debated whether to bring them up now, but before I could make up my mind he spoke.

“It’ll be two years on Monday.” He kicked the ground with his shoe. “That’s why I’ve…been in a bad mood.”

It only took me a moment to realize what he was talking about. “Two years since he…disappeared?”

“Yeah.”

My next question burned on my tongue. I had used the word ‘disappeared’ when I had wanted to say ‘died’. That was what he had said before so why had he used the word ‘disappear’ a moment ago? Was it just to be nicer about it? Or was it some legal thing like they couldn’t actually claim he was dead until a certain amount of time passed? Or was it uncertain? I opened my mouth to ask but then chickened out and closed it again. That just didn’t seem like the thing to bring up now while our peers were standing around us.

“So, will you…do something that day?” I decided to ask instead.

He shrugged. “I dunno, I might not come to school.” I nodded and we fell into another uncomfortable silence. I kind of wanted to change the subject since he seemed reluctant but I also felt insensitive if I did that. Fortunately it seemed Tucker was of the same opinion.

“So you’re here early,” he said, turning towards the entrance to the school. I took his lead and we walked inside the building.

“Uh yeah, it was a good morning actually.”

His eyebrows rose over his glasses. “A good morning? For you?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, I know, the miracles of miracles, but yeah. The weather’s nice, not too much sun, and I have garbanzo bean soup for lunch today.”  

“Yeah, cold, shade, and bean soup. Nothing else says ‘good morning’ like that combination.”

I pushed against his shoulder at the thick layer of sarcasm that coated his statement. I jibed back, “Well it’s no PDA, but I think it’s pretty good.”

He shook his head. “Hey, don’t diss the tech!”

“Technology is one thing,” I replied. “Your unhealthy obsession with it is another.”

“I’m a techno-geek.” He jabbed his thumb towards his chest. “It’s my job to be obsessed with technology.”

The smile slid off my face. It was funny; the comment would normally make me chuckle and say something snarky back, but I found myself unable to continue the usual battle of wits. All I could hear was Phantom saying “it’s my job” and think about how he obsessed over protecting the warehouse, the warehouse where he wasn’t anymore and I still had no idea why. I didn’t know if he was okay, if he would return, if…

“Sam?” Tucker looked at me with concern.

I smiled apologetically. “Uh, sorry, Tuck. You just reminded me of…Phantom.” I sighed and rubbed one arm. “I’m just worried about him and it sucks that I can’t even go try to find him since I have no idea where he could be!”

A peculiar expression stole over Tucker’s face. It looked almost brooding. I grimaced. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to bring up Phantom right after we had that chat about his friend who had died—or disappeared or whatever—because of ghosts.  

“Sorry, Tuck. Just ignore that. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me ramble on about a ghost.”

“Uh, no it’s fine. It’s not you,” he muttered back, his eyes dropping away from mine. “I’m…” he paused, fiddling with his backpack straps, and then continued, “I’m sure your ghost is fine, Sam. They’re pretty tough, so…” He shrugged. I watched him curiously, trying to figure out why he was reacting this way to a subject he usually avoided or handled with disapproval or resignation. Was he trying to be nice to me? Reassure me? I smiled. That was new and very welcome.

“Thanks, Tuck. I hope you’re right. And I hope I can see him again. I’d hate to never find out, y’know?”    

A smile flickered onto his face but disappeared as he pressed his lips together again and his eyes wouldn’t meet mine. I guess it was awkward for him. Maybe he was waiting for me to tease him about changing his attitude. Or maybe this still had to do with his friend. I decided to act like it was normal instead, even if it did seem kind of odd…

“Okay…I guess I’ll head to class. See ya later?” I turned towards the stairs that were down the hall. I had history first but Tucker had P.E. so he’d be sticking to the ground floor while I went up.  

“Yeah…”

I had made it a few steps when he called out, “Sam?”

I stopped and twisted back to face him. “Yeah?”

“Uh…” he paused and then shook his head, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Never mind. I’ll…see ya later.” He gave me a half-smile that wasn’t very convincing.  

I furrowed my brow. Was it something more than just awkwardness? Did it have to do with his friend’s anniversary? “You sure?” I asked out loud.

He nodded quickly. “Yeah, really. It was nothing.” The half-smile returned and then he turned to head to class. I watched him walk away, frowning a little. That was strange…

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Jazz

“Hey!” someone called as I stepped out of my car. I didn’t realize that it was for me until I heard the same voice say, “Jazz!” I looked up and saw Tucker waving at me as he walked by. He changed course and veered my way as I locked the car door.

“Hi Tucker,” I said as he reached me. I picked up my bag and we began the walk from the parking lot to the school building.

The silence between us wasn’t really awkward, but it wasn’t common for him to come and talk to me. We would say hi and he’d come by sometimes to our house, but he tended to avoid me at school. I was sure it was because of how badly he had been badgered by his peers after my brother disappeared. Being barraged by questions and having to hear all the rumors floating around wasn’t easy—I would know. We both tried to avoid that as best we could, and that meant keeping our interactions to a minimum. The only time that changed was when…

“Hey, so,” Tucker spoke up, “can I still come over on Monday?” The only time that changed was when the anniversary came up.

“Yeah, I think you can,” I told him. “I haven’t asked my parents yet, but I don’t think they would mind. I was thinking of watching some home movies of him; you could join me.” Because I was pretty sure my parents wouldn’t. It would be too hard for them. It was hard for me too, of course, but it was…therapeutic. It was good to focus on positive memories instead of only dwelling on the negative. Or the realization that there wouldn’t be any new memories.

“Thanks,” he smiled. “Um…do you plan on going to school?”

I pressed my lips together. “I should…but part of me thinks it might be a good idea to stay home.” For me. For my parents.

“Yeah, I was thinking that too…”

“Well if we both do, you could come over at any time,” I told him. “I’ll let you know.”

“Okay, thanks Jazz,” he gave me a smile.


I sighed as I reflected on that conversation from this morning. I wish I didn’t have to see that kind of smile so often. The kind that hid pain. It was one that my parents often used. It was one I had worn myself. Because what else can you do? You can’t let your grief come out, though that would be much healthier for all of us if we did. Unfortunately our society doesn’t consider it polite or respectful to openly grieve. You were supposed to be strong in front of others. It was a philosophy my parents stood by.

My thoughts then turned to Tucker’s friend Sam. I didn’t know her, but I had been happy that someone had befriended Tucker after Danny was gone. He had needed a friend desperately, someone in his grade with no connection to what had happened. When I had heard that he had befriended a girl who had just moved into our area, it sounded like the perfect match. And as far as I could tell it was; Tucker was much better now than he was two years ago.

Though, my first meeting with Sam last week had me wondering exactly how positive their relationship was…I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a girl that hostile before. Well, that openly at least. Girls could be vicious in high school—I was well aware of that—but they usually directed it through snide comments and passive aggressive actions, not walking straight up to a person and dragging them off. I had half a mind to go after them at the time, but decided I probably should stay out of it. Tucker seemed okay when I saw him later. And they seemed perfectly fine with each other today. Maybe it was just how their friendship worked. Maybe, for some reason, that was exactly why Sam was good for him.

I shook my head and pushed my musings to the back of my mind. It was the end of the school day and I was just pulling into the garage at home. Now was the time to focus on family and homework. I got out of my car and gathered my belongings before heading inside. I hadn’t seen my parents since yesterday morning. I had been at a friend’s working on homework last night and when I came home they were still gone. They must have come back sometime after I fell asleep and then I left early this morning so I could get some things done before school.

It wasn’t too unusual for us to not see each other sometimes; their schedules were sporadic with ghost hunting, but I couldn’t help but miss the chance to begin and end the day with them. So, when I came inside, I immediately called out, “I’m home!” and waited for a response.

There was a moment of silence and then my mom’s voice carried out from the kitchen, sounding distracted. “Jazz? We’re in here.” I followed the sound and found both her and my father sitting at the table. Various devices were spread out on its surface, some looking complete but most of them still under construction. Stuffed between them were blueprints and maps of the city with various markings on it. I raised an eyebrow in question. Usually they tried to keep this stuff in the lab.

“What are you doing?” I asked when they didn’t look up.

“We’re gonna go hunt down that ghost,” my dad replied, his eyes gleaming with his usual passion. “We’re gonna find it, take it down, and rip it apart!”

“No Jack! We can’t rip it apart,” my mom shook her head, her expression serious and lacking its usual exasperation. She set the weapon in her hand on the table. “We need to interrogate it first, remember?” My dad looked ready to pout but then he clenched his jaw and nodded. He became absorbed again in the giant gun resting on his knees. I smiled in amusement. How sad was it that this conversation wasn’t that far out of the ordinary? I had heard a hundred variations of it over the last year. But it had been a while since I had seen them so intensely focused. I wonder what the ghost had done…

Not caring quite enough to actually ask, I turned to go upstairs to my room. I had only walked a few steps though when my mom called my name.

“Jazz?” I turned and saw her give my dad a significant look. He reluctantly sat up and set his gun down on the table. “We have something we need to tell you.” I gave them a questioning look as I returned to the table and sat down in the closest chair.

“Okay,” I said expectantly.

They exchanged another look and my mom spoke, “Do you remember we went to Axiom Labs two days ago to help the police investigate a ghost attack?”

I nodded. “Yeah, you said they attacked a boy there.” And I remembered that they both had been a little funny about it, like the meeting had not gone as expected. Then again, how often did they go to the aftermath of a ghost attack instead of in the heat of it? And to have a boy involved…well, I had mainly chalked up their reaction to the fact that they probably thought of Danny in that situation.

“Well, that boy…he…is about thirteen with black hair and blue eyes…” She trailed off, looking at me as my eyes widened. What?

“The main detective on the case is Detective Lowry,” she continued, her face carefully neutral and incredibly sober. I quickly looked at Dad to see he had also adopted a serious look before refocusing on my mom. Every word seemed to add itself to a weight on my chest. They…they couldn’t mean…

“He…we,” she looked at Dad, “asked him if it was a possibility that the boy was Danny. He said he would check and that night he asked for Danny’s dental x-rays.” I could only stare, my whole body rigid in my chair. If they were asking for dental records then that meant there was more than just a random possibility. That was considered conclusive evidence!

“Then we went to the hospital—“

“—he didn’t want us to go,” Dad interjected, a rare scowl on his face, “but we had to see for ourselves! They couldn’t keep us away from our son!”

Those last words jolted me out of my shock. I opened my mouth, struggling to get my voice to work, my eyes darting back and forth between my parents. Did that mean? Was he saying…? I finally choked out, “Was it him? Was it Danny?” They once again shared a look, eyebrows drawn together but tentative smiles breaking out across both their faces. I waited impatiently for one of them reply, trying not to overanalyze the mixed signals they were sending.

Finally, mom said with her voice cracking, “Yes, Jazz. It...it was him.” Her smile grew and her eyes turned glassy with tears as she covered her mouth with a hand. I felt a stinging behind my own eyes and I bit my lip as I watched a few tears slip down her cheeks. It was him? Danny was alive? Danny was alive?!

It had been two years without any idea of where he had gone. He had completely disappeared off the map. My parents had come up with many theories based on what had happened with the ghost portal, but none of them had been positive. He was lost, taken, or dead. After so much time had passed, we had pretty much given up hope that he was one of the first two. This…this was amazing news!

But… I struggled to hold back my own emotions, trying to remain logical. But this didn’t make a lot of sense. Where had Danny been for two years? Why did he show up now? How did they find him?! I watched my mom trying to regain composure, Dad rubbing a hand on her back while looking a little choked up himself. My mind continued to race with questions and I finally sputtered one out.

“What happened to him?!”

My dad opened his mouth to answer but I didn’t let him, because my mind threw out a new thought followed by a wave of anger. “Why didn’t you tell me as soon as you found out?!” I stood up. “I want to see him!”

“Jazz,” Mom said, her voice still tight though she seemed to be in control again. Her smile was gone as another emotion pinched up her face.  

“I can’t believe you saw him yesterday and you didn’t even tell me!” Now the tears came, gathering in the corners of my eyes and leaking slowly.

“Jazz!” She repeated my name more loudly just as Dad said, “Jazzerincess…”

“What?!”

“We saw him, but only for a second.” Pain flickered in my mom’s eyes. “Just one second he was right there, and then he…he disappeared.”

“We were looking for him all day after that, Jazzypants,” my dad added. “All day and night. We wouldn’t have stopped if the detectives didn’t threaten to throw us in jail if we didn’t take a break.” He narrowed his eyes, looking out towards the front door. “They wouldn’t have taken us down without a fight,” he shook a fist in the air before letting it drop, “but your mother said we shouldn’t fight the police, so we came home instead.”

“He’s…gone?” I sagged back into my chair, the anger vanishing as quickly as it had come and leaving me feeling hollow.

“For now,” Mom explained. “He disappeared from the hospital and we haven’t been able to find him yet. But when we woke up, we remembered that there was that ghost that had attacked him. If that ghost was after him, then maybe it knows where he is. We’re going to hunt it down and find out what it knows.” Dad smiled, taking this as his cue to drag the gun he was working on from the table and back into his lap.

That’s right. The boy was attacked by a ghost and ended up in a hospital… “How hurt is he?” I leaned forward on the table, ignoring the bits of wire and metal strewn across its surface. I had been around it long enough to know what was dangerous and what wasn’t.

The anxiety on Mom’s face increased and I felt a tickle of worry. “He was electrocuted with some type of claw-like weapon. It left a second-degree burn across his chest.” I squeezed my eyes shut. That sounded bad. My mom rested a hand on my shoulder and I looked back at her.

“But he was healing well,” she assured me. “In fact, they said that he was healing much faster than you would normally expect.”

“That’s ‘cause he’s a Fenton!” My dad stated proudly. “We Fentons are tough!”

My mom smiled a little at this. “He’s right. We are.” She looked back at me, determination filling her eyes. “And we’re not going to stop until we find him.”
Because of Him Ch 21
I failed at getting this up very soon DX Sorry about that! My hubby and I have been preparing for our little one who is supposed to come any day now and it has been nuts these last few months. I will post chapter 22 later today since that one has also been done for a while. And I sent chapter 23 to my beta today. Updates will continue to be sporadic for the next six months or so due to the baby but hopefully after we get into a routine then I can get this back into one!

Enjoy and love
-Dizgirl

dizappearingirl.deviantart.com…
dizappearingirl.deviantart.com…
dizappearingirl.deviantart.com…

PS: I don't own Danny Phantom
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Because of Him Chapter 20
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)

Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)

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Chapter 20: On His Own

Phantom

I had never given much thought to how I would return to the warehouse once I left the hospital. I had thought it would be simple: float high enough to see the whole cityscape, find the ocean, search along the coast for the docks, and find the place I guarded. The city I was in—Amity…something?—hadn’t seemed that big compared to some of the other places I had been. I had been able to cross it from one end to the other that night Skulker chased me and it hadn’t taken that long, right? Surely, I could search the whole place in a matter of hours.

Apparently I had not been paying attention. The city seemed much larger now that I was stuck in the middle of it with thick clouds pressing down from above and buildings rising up to meet me on all sides. The weather turned everything outside of a few blocks’ radius hazy and indistinct and I found myself wandering in circles, squinting through the gloom in search of the coastline without any luck. I had no idea which way to go and no one to help me.

And it had started raining again.

I grimaced, keeping my body intangible and invisible as I floated above one of the many busy streets below. There had to be a way for me to find the docks without combing the entire city. What did I remember from my hectic flight across town? Axiom Labs had been at the opposite end of the city from the warehouse. I currently seemed to be somewhere in between, the noise and bustle of the area a sharp contrast from the quiet I had found at both locations. Had I noticed any landmarks along the way?

The park! The one I had crashed into…. I looked hopefully around for a smudge of green amongst the grays and browns and to my dismay found several scattered around. Okay, that was not going to narrow it down. What else?

The building.... The one I had almost hit that had that strange top. It wasn’t like the rest of the brick buildings around it and there had been that neon sign out front—green and orange? Could I find that again? That had been right before the park. There was a good chance I could use that as a landmark. I rose higher into the sky and tried to get a better view. I needed to find that building and the park nearby. Those two should give me a trajectory to follow.

Nothing stood out to me from where I was and I finally decided I would need to search near each of the parks I could find until I saw what I wanted. I took in a deep breath, my chest stretching uncomfortably but not painfully, and took off towards the closest patch of green.

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It was not the closest one. And it wasn’t the one after that. But after several hours and a few more tries I was pretty sure I had found the park I had hidden in the night that Skulker had chased me. It was one of the larger green areas I had found during my search with a generous amount of trees, sloping hills, and a large, fountain at the center. I wandered around it invisibly, watching people hurriedly walk along the slick cement pathways that weaved through the area under bright colorful umbrellas. Not many of them seemed to be coming to the park to stay but rather used it as a shortcut between two parts of the town.

I followed the main line of traffic until it exited out at one end before stopping. If this was the park where I had come before, then the building I was looking for would be nearby. I spun around from my spot about fifty feet off the ground and tried to make out the strange outline of the top of that place. It had been round, oversized, with things sticking out of it. It had definitely been really different. Weird.

Even with my enhanced senses I was struggling to see very far; the rain was coming down still in a pounding pour that washed out the color and distinctness of everything else. I had kept myself dry so far by remaining incorporeal but I really hoped the rain would stop soon. Those four days in the hospital and the injury that had put me there were taking a toll on my stamina, and it was becoming a struggle to stay out of sight and also intangible.

I finished my circle and frowned with disappointment. I could not see the building I wanted—not from here at least. I would need to start scouting out the surrounding neighborhoods. I floated away from the park, debating which way I should start, when there was a loud trill of a bell from below me. I glanced down and saw a large rectangular building just across the street from the park. The noise was emanating from there.

Curious, I dropped down until I could read the words across the front. Casper High School. A school…a high school…teenagers…My eyes widened and I perked up. Was this Sam’s school? Was she in there right now? I darted across the street and up towards one of the windows along the face of the building.

The movement was much faster than anything else I had tried that day and a wave of dizziness caught up with me as soon as I stopped. I curled up in the air, holding my head against the feeling until it passed. Eventually it did, but a wave of exhaustion followed on its heels, dragging at my body and almost forcing me to the ground. I groaned. This really shouldn’t be so hard! I spent most of my days invisible, intangible, and floating. These abilities should be second nature to me, but now I found myself barely juggling all three. One of them would need to go if I was going to keep moving. Reluctantly I faded back into visibility. It was either that or getting soaked…

Feeling slightly better, I refocused on the building in front of me. I needed to get going, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek and see if I could spot Sam, right? If she went here of course…

I peered into the window I was next to and saw a group of teenagers filing into a room and plopping down in small desks all facing one way. An adult, a man with no hair on his head and a large belly, stood in front of them. He had a clipboard in his hand, his eyes shifting between that and the teenagers periodically. A quick scan confirmed none of them were Sam and I moved to another window. This room held the same set up and still did not have Sam so I moved on. I did this for five or six more windows without success and finally pushed myself away. I could keep looking, but it would only waste what little energy I had. I needed to find that building and head back towards the docks. I couldn’t waste it looking for a friend I wasn’t sure liked me still or not.

I floated back towards the park and touched ground on the opposite sidewalk, trying to ignore how heavy my limbs seemed. I thought wistfully of the hospital bed I had used the last few days. A nap sounded amazing... I grimaced and shook my head. No, I needed to go back. I had been gone too long already. Find the weird building, go back to the warehouse. That was the plan. I pushed off the ground again and floated further into the park, repeating those words to myself. Weird building, warehouse, weird building, warehouse. Then I could sleep, then I could rest…

My vision blurred, everything turning a greenish-gray. I slowed down, but was struck with lightheadedness next, making it even harder to concentrate. I…I needed to stop. I tried to touch down, ground myself, but before I could, I felt the tingle of energy signaling the rings that changed my forms. Wait, no…!

I flopped onto the sopping grass below me, rain bombarding down on my now very-corporal human form. The dizzy feeling grew ten-fold and I had to lie there a few moments before I could move, gritting my teeth as I was soaked. Move…come on, move! With a groan, I finally pushed myself to my feet and stumbled under a nearby tree, pressing myself against its trunk to avoid the rain as much as possible. Ugh, I was drenched! I picked at my shirt only to realize that it wasn’t my shirt. I wasn’t wearing a shirt…

My eyes dropped to take in the white hospital gown I was still wearing, dripping and now a little see-through. Heat seared up the sides of my face and I disappeared from sight. I looked around frantically and was relieved to see that I was completely alone. The rush of people I had watched earlier was not near this area of the park.

I was in a hospital gown that barely covered the vital parts of my body in the middle of an open park! What was I thinking?! I wasn’t thinking…my body had given out on me. But, how weak could I get? I had managed to stay in ghost form and awake for days plenty of times before. I should be able to handle one day of flying around invisible and intangible, right?! I was stronger than that!

My body, apparently, didn’t agree. It trembled slightly as I held onto the invisibility and my legs struggled to keep me standing. I felt shaky, weak, and even a little cold. My mouth twisted into a frown. But I never felt that way about the temperature. Ghosts didn’t feel cold. That was what he said. I knew I could stand cooler weather much longer than the rest of them, so it had to be true. But this rain and the minimal amount of clothes I was wearing (my blush returned with vigor) was getting to me. I needed warmer clothes—any clothes!—as soon as I could get them. But where?

To get clothes you needed money, right? Then again, sometimes they took stuff from stores without paying. I had done it for him before. When we really needed stuff, he said it was okay to take it. And I really, really needed clothes. My stomach grumbled under my arms which I had wrapped around my body. I guess I needed food too. I paused as I realized that was why I was feeling shaky. I had become used to three meals a day and now was about the time I would have had lunch. Normally I didn’t need to eat so much but after growing used to it, my body must be expecting the extra food. This had happened after I had left the hospital last time, too. I had to readjust my body back to the old routine.

“No food,” I mumbled under my breath. “Food later, clothes now.” I took a step forward and one of my legs gave out under me. I crumpled to the ground again, banging my knees and splashing water up into my face. My shaky grip on my invisibility disappeared as I landed and I groaned. Okay, not now. In a little bit. I needed to rest first.

I crawled back to the tree trunk and used it to heft myself back to my feet. If I couldn’t keep up any of my powers then I needed to hide myself in another way. I sent another furtive look around to reassure myself I was alone and then headed off into the thicker stand of trees not too far away. I would find a place to rest and then…a clothing store.

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Tucker

The bell signaling the end of class rang and students immediately jumped to pack up and leave Mr. Lancer’s class. I couldn’t blame them. Sometimes his lectures were all right, but getting a history lesson about the changes in playwriting over the last century just wasn’t high on my interest list. I had barely stayed awake and only because I had been daydreaming about some programs I wanted to add to my new PDA. I didn’t care how much Sam teased me about it, my new tech rocked!

Sam and I separated once we left the classroom, her towards the stairs to go to gym and me towards computer class. Now talk about a class I could get into…It’s a shame I knew more than the teacher, but then again that meant I got to goof off as much as I wanted without paying the price since I always knew the answers. I worked my way to the computer lab and sat down in my usual spot, dropping my backpack next to me. I flicked the mouse to wake up the computer and glanced up at the window. It was still raining pretty hard. I wondered how long… my thoughts stuttered to a stop and I froze in my seat.

A face had appeared beyond the glass: pale skin, bright toxic green eyes, shockingly white hair all faintly translucent. A ghost. I stared at it as it glanced around the room, frowned, and then moved on.

A ghost.

I sat stunned for a second longer before jumping to my feet and moving closer to the window. I couldn’t see it so I pressed myself against the cold glass to see around the sides. Where was it? Where did it go? Why was it here? Should I tell someone a ghost was lingering about?

A flash of black and white distracted me and I saw the same ghost land across the street, looking back towards the school. It was wearing a tight hazmat suit. It looked like a teenager, a guy about my age. I had never seen this one before—not that I had really ever stuck around anything ghostly long enough to say it was new. But I could at least say this one wasn’t a regular on the news.

Wait, except for the news report from the weekend with the two ghosts…one had been gray and green and the other had been black and white! Was this that ghost? That could be the case. And, wait, didn’t Sam say that one of those two ghosts had been the one she had met in the warehouse?! Was this her ghost? It was a fifty-fifty chance…but I could see this one being it.  It looked pretty normal, even almost human. Most ghosts had exaggerated features of some kind or another and they liked to sport a lot of bright colors. I think Mrs. Fenton had some theory on that… This ghost actually looked pretty simple in comparison and wore black. That kinda sounded like a ghost Sam would like—and it would explain why this ghost was here. It was looking for Sam.  

The ghost floated off the ground and headed into the park. I lost sight of it after it ducked around a few trees. Or maybe not? I frowned and was forced back to my seat as our teacher called the class to attention. Why did the ghost leave? Was it because it wasn’t her ghost? Or was it waiting for her? And what would I do about it?  Sam would want to know. And if I was right that this was her ghost, she’d want to head out right after school and try to find it. She was grounded, but I wasn’t sure that would stop her. She went to the warehouse while she was because of this ghost. Searching the park on the way home from school seemed pretty mild in comparison.

Man, and just when she had started to give up on the whole thing! Just an hour ago she had admitted there was nothing she could do! But now I had the next piece of her puzzle—if I was right of course, but I had a feeling I was. And she would want to check it out at least; Sam was far too persistent to let it go if she had any hope of success. I really didn’t want to give her that hope and send her off on a wild ghost chase…

I quirked an eyebrow. I guess I could…not tell her. I mean, I didn’t even know if it was her ghost for sure and it could be anywhere in the city by the time we could search for it. It would be almost mean to give her hope, right? I shook my head. No, that was just wishful thinking. She would want to know. I just wasn’t sure I wanted her to know. I could keep her safe if I didn’t, but that would mean going behind her back just after we had gotten on the same page again as friends. I liked being open with her, but I also didn’t want her going near the ghost—especially when she admitted that the people it hung out with weren’t that great! Even if I ignored the ghost, it still sounded dangerous!

So I shouldn’t tell her. Right? I sighed and slouched in my seat.

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Phantom

I was standing in the doorway, looking out into the hospital hall, and the woman was standing there. The woman in blue with Sam’s eyes. She was staring back at me and seemed upset. She was upset at me, but not because I had done anything wrong. No because I wasn’t doing something. She wanted me to do something. I felt the urge to go to her, to walk across a few feet of space and reach out to touch her. Why? No one besides Sam was okay with touching me.

“Be safe, okay?” Sam was beside me now, smiling at me with her mouth though her eyes were worried. She stepped forward and hugged me, her warmth briefly overpowering the chill I felt. It was cold in here…so cold. I shivered and the whole scene warbled just a little. No white walls, no bright lights, no clean floors…


Grass, trees, green, darkness, cold…

I was in the hospital again but Sam and the lady were gone. I was alone. Where were they? Where had they gone? Sam had hugged me but now she was missing. Did she not want to be my friend anymore? I stepped out tentatively into the hallway, my head swinging back and forth as I searched for them.

There was a loud slamming sound and I whirled around to see my door had closed. I reached forward for the handle but paused as I saw a dark red light stretch out beneath the door. It was coming towards me and I backed away slowly to avoid its reach. I shouldn’t stay here. I shouldn’t stay in the hallway. The red light would come for me. The shadows…the twisting halls…I had been here before and it was scary.

The doors. I reached out to the closest one, half expecting it to be locked…they were all locked before. But no, this one opened inward. I looked into the room and froze.

The woman with the short auburn hair and purple eyes was standing there with her back turned towards me. She was at a counter with beakers and Petri dishes filled with fluorescent green liquid. She held one small vial up and poured a portion of its contents into another, squinting at them with a faint frown.

I took a step in and she seemed to hear me. She looked over her shoulder, her eyes hidden behind red goggles. “No, Danny,” she said firmly. She set the items down and came towards me.  “You can’t be in here, remember? No coming down into the lab unless we say it’s okay.” She held her hands up as if to herd me into the hall. I backed away and stumbled until I was surrounded by the white walls again. The door slammed shut.

Confusion and anxiety rippled through me. Why couldn’t I go in there? Why did I have to be out here? In the hallway with the red light? I glanced in that direction to see the ruby color still pooling out from under the door of my room. It was moving slowly, but steadily towards me. I moved further down and reached for another door.

The door swung inward, creaking slightly and revealed a group of people within. There were four or five of them, all men, tall and large and wearing white. They were crowded around a large cylindrical tube filled with a green liquid, a vague humanoid form floating inside. Their heads jerked up as they heard my entrance. They didn’t say anything but began moving towards me. Hands reached out, hands covered in black gloves. Fear stung me, sharp and sudden, and I backed away from them, scrambling to grab the door handle. I managed to snag it and pull it closed just seconds before they were within reach.

The whole hall disappeared for a moment, white changing once again to
dark shadows and the silhouettes of trees, before it snapped back into place.

I stood panting in the hallway, my heart pounding away and fear still fizzling through my body. I ignored the shift, my thoughts still on the room. Not them. Stay away from the men. They would take me away. They would take me like the others.

Red sparked in my peripheral vision and I looked to the side to see that the red had covered the floor and was seeping up the walls, soaking the white like a blood-stained cloth. I turned and ran, seeking out a door that would prove safer than the ones I had tried so far. Every once in a while I glanced back only to find that the red was right behind me like I hadn’t moved at all. Why couldn’t I get away? My legs were pumping hard but I felt like I was running against a river, the force pushing against me and keeping me in place. I needed to get away!

I dove to the side and tried to grab a door on my left. I missed on my first attempt but managed to grasp it the second time around. I wrenched it open and threw myself inside, not caring what was waiting for me. I rolled across a tiled floor, darkness sweeping over me as I fell into the room. I came to a stop and stared up at blackness. Where was I now? What was in this room? It was tall and dark and the light from the door… it wasn’t white anymore. And it wasn’t red either.

It was green. Shafts of emerald light pierced the darkness, illuminating shiny edges of tables and beakers and machinery. I tried to move to see why the color had changed, but a fiery pain sizzled across my body. My limbs spasmed and I moaned with each new wave of agony the small movements caused. I…I knew this pain. This was the first pain. The first thing. All I remembered…

Something walked into the light, casting a sharp black shadow over me. Something…someone…they were leaning down to grab me…


I took a deep shuddering breath and pushed myself up off of the ground, my eyes snapping open halfway through the movement. I was surrounded by darkness and the green light was gone. Where was I? Where had I been? Was the shadow still there? There was something there, lots of dark shapes surrounding me… I wiped at my eyes to try and clear away the bleariness and recoiled as I realized my hand was wet and cold. I looked down at myself and saw the bare arms of my human form covered in wet pieces of grass and the dim glow of the white of the hospital gown I was wearing…

Oh, right. The park. I was in the park after escaping the hospital. Looking back up, I was able to connect the shadows to the trees and bushes crowded around my hiding spot. I had found a rickety old gazebo in one corner of the park and had sat down behind it, just under its roof but out of sight of anyone coming by. I had meant to only stay there for a few moments, maybe until the rain decided to stop. Obviously I had failed in that regard and had quickly fallen asleep.

My dreams only seemed to be getting weirder and weirder. Things were colliding together that didn’t make any sense. The hospital and that woman in the blue jumpsuit? Okay, that fit considering earlier today, but why did Sam show up? Because I kept thinking about her, probably. And she hugged me. Just like she had hugged me the last time I saw her. I wrapped my arms around myself, shivering a little as I pressed the damp material of my hospital gown against my skin. I tried to avoid thinking about that. It had been…it had felt really nice but confusing. Touching my hand was one thing, but a full hug? Didn’t she feel weird doing that? Was that why she didn’t come back? I sighed and pushed the saddening thoughts to the side.

The dream just got stranger after that. The hallway, the red light…I had dreamed of something like it before. Why? It was scary…and then there were those men in that one room. I huddled closer to the wooden side of the gazebo. Those men…they were the ones he feared the most. Shaking my head I shoved that away as well and focused on the lady in blue with eyes like Sam. She had called me Danny in the dream. That was the boy the police officers had talked about. Just thinking the name gave me that funny feeling again, the feeling like I was missing something, like there was something I should remember but I couldn’t grasp it. I tried once more but whatever it was slipped away like smoke.

I pulled my arms away from my middle and rubbed my face. I needed to let this go and focus on getting myself back to the warehouse. I moved myself onto my knees and then dragged myself to my feet by holding onto one of the gazebo’s pillars. I didn’t feel quite as tired as before, though I still felt a little shaky. I would be strong enough to use my powers now at least. I turned myself intangible for a moment to lose the excess water that had still clung to me. Now at least I was dry. That helped a little with the chill that had seeped into my body as well, though not enough for me to feel comfortable.

I leaned against the pillar and sighed, my eyes sweeping over the darkened park around me. Twilight had fallen. I had slept through the rest of the day. I had wasted hours of precious time. I shouldn’t have done that. I needed to get back to them. I could have had new clothes by now and food and have found that house with the neon sign…

I groaned and massaged my face again. Unfortunately I had slept and now I would need to make up for it. I pushed away from the creaking structure and called my ghost side forward. The rings of light swung over me in opposite directions and I took off into the sky, turning invisible along the way. At least the rain had stopped some time during my nap. The whole town glistened in the street lamps but no more water came down from above.

Turning to my left, I headed in the direction of a strip mall I had passed earlier. I was pretty sure I saw a store there that sold clothing. After a few minutes of searching I found it and landed just outside of its doors. The lights were still on inside and a few people milled about the racks and racks of clothes scattered throughout the building. It was still open…did clothing stores stay open so late? Or maybe it wasn’t as late as I thought. The days were starting to get shorter now and the sun set earlier each night.

I phased through the door, keeping myself invisible, and began to wander. I had no idea how the store worked. There were signs that said Boys to one side and Girls to the other so I at least knew which section to enter, but other than that it seemed the organization was pretty scattered. Plus, I had no idea what to get. I had worn a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes before. I suppose I would just find the equivalent.

I perused the area, careful not to tug on the clothing too much when others were nearby. I didn’t need to scare anyone here. That was meant for the warehouse. I eventually found what I was looking for only to realize I had no idea what size I was. The Ice Woman had been the one to get me clothes when I had out-grown something and she never bothered to let me know. I guess I would need to try some on. I yanked out a few shirts and pairs of jeans randomly, snagged some boxers along the way, and then looked for a place to try them on.

I eventually discovered the fitting rooms and hid in a stall in there, turning myself human once I was inside. After trying on several different pieces of clothing I found ones that were comfortable enough. I had to phase out these hard pieces of plastic attached to them, though. They didn’t seem to be needed as far as I could tell and they weren’t nice looking either. Then again, fashion was completely foreign to me…

Now dressed, I realized I could walk out without even hiding. It would be good to save my energy and…it would be kind of interesting to pretend I was normal like them. Just for a moment. I crept out of my stall and into the store. No one even glanced my way and, feeling a little less nervous, I moved back into the section in search of shoes. I found a pair after trying on several different ones and had to find socks too to go with. I felt a little bad, taking so many things, but there was so much clothing! Surely one outfit wouldn’t be noticed, right? I stood up with the shoes now on my feet and started towards the front of the store.

“Remember you gotta pay for those, okay?” The voice startled me and I stumbled into a nearby shelf. I spun around to see a girl, her light hair back in a ponytail and white name card pinned to her shirt, standing behind me. She held a heap of clothing in her hands, hangers dangling off of one end. Her eyes flicked down to the shoes and back up, sending me a stern look. “And don’t forget the box.” She jerked her head towards where I had left it on the ground. I gulped and nodded, quickly picking it up. She watched me for another second and then left.

Time to leave. I shoved the box into the nearest shelf and waited a few moments. Then, I walked towards the front, eyes darting around until I spotted the girl, her back turned to me as she hung up clothes on a rack a few rows over. I slunk a little lower and scurried away until I reached the last row of clothing before the front displays. Sweatshirts lined this rack and there were signs about autumn season and upcoming winter weather stuck all over. I ran a hand down the soft material of a dark blue hoodie closest to me. It would be chilly outside…I could take one last thing…

I tugged it off the hanger and quickly pulled it on, relishing in the soft fluffy feel of the inside. It had been a long time since I had had new clothes and even those hadn’t felt as nice as these. I phased off the same heavy plastic thing that all of these clothes seem to have pinned on them, fiddling with it a little before I let it drop to the floor. I had no idea what those were. Why would people want them on their clothes?

The sound of two voices across the store shook me out of my thoughts and reminded me of the urgency of leaving. I shook my head and then crept down the aisle until I was as close to the entrance as I could be without being seen. The girl was talking to a guy by the checkout area and I grimaced at the proximity. There was no way I could leave without them noticing. I guess I was done playing the normal human kid…

I focused on turning myself invisible and then took off at a quick trot towards the doors. They slid open as I approached and I walked through them into the cold night air. Not wanting to stick around and have the girl realize I had left without paying, I kept up the fast pace as I crossed the parking lot. I didn’t see any food places in this particular plaza, but there was a Nasty Burger on the other side of the street ahead of me. I would grab what I could there and then go back to the park.

I entered the street and started to cross when a blinding pair of lights suddenly swung onto me as a car turned on to the road I was crossing. It sped up, heading straight towards me. I froze as the headlights grew closer, blinding me and scattering my thoughts further. It was going to hit me! The vehicle abruptly braked, tires squealing as it attempted to slow down too quickly. The sharp sound broke me from my paralyzed state and I stumbled back, tripping over the new shoes and tumbling to the ground. The car stopped inches away from one of my feet.

The driver side door swung open, creaking on the hinges, and a man’s voice cried out, “The Great Gatsby! Are you all right?!”

I dragged in a deep breath, my heart pounding so hard I could feel my pulse in all of my limbs. I lifted my head a little, propping myself up on my elbows. I couldn’t see who was speaking, the headlights still filling my vision and scattering dark spots across my eyes. Still inhaling in big gulps, I looked in the general direction of his voice and nodded.

“Did I hit you?” The man moved in the way of the lights, reaching out a hand. I shook my head. He sighed in obvious relief. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. It was like you came out of nowhere.” That’s right, I had been invisible. The shock of the oncoming car must have startled me out of using the power. I hadn’t even noticed, though I’m glad I had. It was the only thing that had saved me from being run over!

“Here,” the man gestured with the hand that was outstretched towards me. “Let me help you up.” I hesitated for a moment and then offered my own hand. He pulled me up to my feet and, now that I wasn’t in the direct line of his car’s lights, I could finally see him. I recognized him. He was the teacher at the high school. The one with no hair on his head and a rather large middle. He studied me as well, his eyes flicking down and up. I should say something, right? Did I say sorry or thank you?

Before I could decide the man spoke again. “What are you doing out at this time of night? Do you need a ride home?” I pressed my lips together and shook my head. No, he didn’t need to help me, he couldn’t help me. That would mean directing him to the docks.

Something seemed to dawn on him and he gave me a reassuring smile. “My name is William Lancer. I’m the Vice Principal at Casper High School. You don’t need to be afraid of me and I’d be happy to drop you off at your home.”

I wasn’t afraid of him, but I couldn’t let him take me anywhere. I tried to mimic his expression. “Um, that’s okay. I…I can get there myself. You don’t need to…to do that.” I took a few steps back. He moved as if to follow me and I quickly added, “Thank you—and sorry. I didn’t mean to…um, scare you.” I turned around and took off at a sprint. He called out but I didn’t look back or slow down, running until I could turn a corner. Once out of sight, I quickly switched into my ghost side and disappeared from view before flying off.

I made it back to the park but didn’t try to land. I had wasted enough time wandering around this city and indulging in my own needs. I had to get back to them. Now that it was dark, maybe I could see that orange and green neon sign from the building I was looking for. I pushed myself higher into the air and then carefully searched the neighborhoods around the park. I had turned three-quarters of the way when I caught sight of the colors I wanted. Green and orange! I took off in that direction, flying swiftly over homes and businesses until I reached it.

It was the brick building with the strange top! I found it! I circled around the odd mass of machinery that overtook its roof and then dropped down to read the neon sign below. “Fentonworks” it read. The word made me pause. Fenton…Fenton…that was the name of that boy they talked about. Daniel Fenton. The same tingling sensation as before rippled through me and I shivered. I was tempted to peek inside the windows, just to see what his home looked like, but I resisted. I needed to go and now I knew which direction to head.

I floated back up above the buildings and confirmed which direction would put the house first with the park after it in a straight line. If I went the opposite way, I was sure to find the ocean and the docks. I smiled and took off in that direction. It had been a long four days away from the warehouse. Though I was sure they had to be mad at me for disappearing, they had to be happy when I returned, right? They needed me. I protected them. Even if they didn’t like what I was, I was helpful. Necessary. And that was good.
Because of Him Ch 20
And here's the last one that has been posted. I am posting chapter 21 this week and I'll do my best to get up here too :)

Enjoy and love!
-Dizgirl

Because of Him Ch 1
Because of Him Ch 19
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PS: I do not own Danny Phantom
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Because of Him Chapter 19
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)

Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)

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Chapter 19: Open the Door

Maddie

Hearing Detective Lowry give his consent had sent my emotions spiraling. I almost didn’t hear Jack ask if the detectives wanted us to drive them or Lowry’s partner, Tanner, respond with surprise that we expected to go right now. Lowry, fortunately, seemed to know this already and simply said that they would follow.

The trip to the hospital could not go quickly enough. Even with Jack at the wheel it still seemed to take forever. The detectives managed to match our pace, so we didn’t have to wait for them at the entrance. That was a relief. Instead, we were able to walk right in and onto the elevators, headed for the third floor.

Jack rocked back and forth impatiently as it rose and I had to grab his arm to stop him. Instead we gripped each other’s hands tightly. Every fiber in my body seemed stretched and taut. My stomach twisted and flopped. I wanted so badly for this to be it, for this to be the moment when I was finally reunited with my son. What would I do when I saw him? What would he do? Would he know me? Of course he would…except there was the fact that the detectives kept saying he said he wasn’t Danny. Why? Was it because something had happened to him?

Or was it because he wasn’t Danny?

I had to keep reminding myself that that was the likelier option. After two years of a complete lack of clues, it would be a miracle for him to show up alive in our hometown. I had to prepare myself for the worst. This could all be a mistake and he would be someone else’s child. And Danny would still be missing. His room would still be empty. Jazz wouldn’t have her brother. We wouldn’t have our son. My stomach clenched and I squeezed Jack’s hand harder. He looked down and gave a small reassuring smile that quickly faded away. I did the same. I knew that was the expectation, but please. Please let it be Danny.

“Now remember,” Detective Lowry said as he gestured for us to turn left down the hall, “we’re not sure this is Danny. You could walk in and realize that it isn’t him.” It seemed we were on the same wavelength, him and I. Both of us just trying to be reasonable and not let our hopes get too high. I nodded.

“Please don’t…” he hesitated, glancing back at us, “don’t upset him if he isn’t.” This is why I respected this man. He cared. He cared for us but he also cared for the boy we were going to visit, whether he was Danny or not. He just didn’t want to see anyone upset. I understood all of this, admired it, but knew that we had to see him. Whatever the outcome.

“And even if you’re sure it is him, you can’t just go up and hug him,” his partner added, looking back himself with the hint of a frown on his face. “We don’t know how he is going to react, so take it slow. We don’t need to spook him. Let him make the first move.”

Detective Tanner hadn’t been with Lowry when they were investigating Danny’s disappearance and I hadn’t paid too close attention to him until today. At Axiom Labs he had seemed like a good detective, relaxed, in control, and friendly. He had answered each of our questions promptly and as best he could. Now, he seemed closed off and almost irritated. I suppose I couldn’t blame him for not liking this unorthodox approach, but I found his antagonism frustrating. Didn’t he realize just how hard this was for us? I wanted to tell him just how big of a mess of emotions you were when one of your children goes missing, but he wouldn’t understand it. And I couldn’t blame him for that.

“We just want to see him,” I replied, trying to keep my voice from shaking.

He nodded and reluctantly replied, “He’s right down this hall.” The hall we were standing in hit a ‘t’ a few feet away and branched to the left and right. He nodded his head towards the left turn as he told me that. We followed it, went a few feet, and then had the wall turn us again to the right this time so that we faced a long corridor of doors. People milled about, walking in and out of rooms. I stared, wondering which one sheltered the boy that could be my son.

We walked down the corridor at a slower pace. Funny, now that I was here, possibly seconds away from seeing him, I couldn’t seem to move my feet properly. It was like I was walking through water. Jack, strong and steady at my side, pulled me along. Tanner quickened his pace, moving away from us towards an African-American woman with a curly mane of dark hair. She was talking to a nurse in pink scrubs, papers passing between them. They both looked up as he approached and he spoke to them quietly.

The woman in the suit suddenly looked over at us, her eyes oddly fierce. She whispered back to him and he responded quickly. Several different emotions flitted over both of their faces and finally she turned her focus back on us, her expression now speculative.

“That is Heather Strade,” Lowry informed us as we continued our slow approach. “She’s the CPS agent for this case.” Then that meant…one of these rooms just around us were the one. I glanced at each of them. Several were partially closed and a few were dim, though the ones on our left were generally lighter since the sun was on that side of the building. I could see into those who had their doors open and I was tempted to go and peek inside each. To stop myself, I tightened my grip on Jack’s hand and focused on following Lowry.

It didn’t take us very long to catch up with the CPS agent and Tanner. The nurse that had been talking to her walked passed us as we stopped at their side in time to hear her say, “—should probably go in first, talk to him and see what I think.”  

“Ms. Strade,” Lowry said. She turned towards us and nodded.

“Detective. You’re throwing me a curve ball here.”

“I know, but it could help. It’ll be faster than the x-ray at least,” he replied. “And it’s completely up to you exactly how you want to do it. First, though, let me introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Fenton.” He gestured at us and we gave each other brief nods. I would have offered my hand but it was still securely in Jack’s and I didn’t think I could let go of that right now.

“Nice to meet you,” Heather smiled, though it disappeared quickly into a thoughtful look. Her eyes swept towards the room across the hall and then back to us. I followed her gaze and stared at the partially open door. Was that the room? “I can’t say this is the best idea for him, but since we already have some evidence that supports that he could be your son I am willing to consider this.”

She sighed and continued, “I would like to speak to him before I let you see him. He isn’t exactly forthcoming with information right now and I would hate to overwhelm him.” I forced myself to nod again, my mind still on that room. If I shifted my position slightly I could see into it. The door was open enough and if a curtain wasn’t pulled closed I would be able to see the bed. Even if she decided not to have us talk to him, at least I wanted a glance of the boy. I rolled my weight to my right foot, moving myself over just a few inches.

As the inside of the room came into view, my whole world seemed to slow. The blue curtain was pulled back, the bed situated so that the person in it would be facing the door, but I couldn’t see much as someone was standing in front of it. It was a young teenage boy dressed in the standard hospital gown, which hung loosely off of his body. It made him look thin—much thinner than he had been. But it also made him look younger than they claimed him to be and closer to the age I still had cemented in my head for my son. Like he hadn’t been missing for two years, but only a few days. He had a messy head of black hair and bright blue eyes—oh, familiar blue eyes—peeked out from underneath, widening as they caught sight of me. How could they say he looked ‘like’ Danny? He was Danny. In every way he was my son.  

I meant to say something to garner Jack’s attention but all that came out was a choked gasp. I stared at the boy and he back at me, both of us frozen. And then the others turned around and the moment passed, everything suddenly speeding up like it was trying to make up for the pause. The detectives and CPS agent began to speak, Jack’s hand crushed mine and he took a step forward, and the boy—my son, Danny—wrenched the door to the room shut, disappearing from our view.

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Phantom

I watched as Heather and the nurse spoke out in the hall. I couldn’t see them well from my angle of the bed and the partially closed door, but that was good. Hopefully that meant that they wouldn’t see me move. I threw off the blankets and swung my legs off of the bed. I paused here as cool air swept over my exposed legs and I looked down. Oh crap. I was still in the hospital gown. My clothes…I glanced around the room instinctively though I already knew they weren’t there. I had studied every inch of this room and the adjoining bathroom and there weren’t any places to hide them.

What did I do? I couldn’t just return to the warehouse in nothing but a hospital gown! Yes, that wouldn’t matter when I was in ghost mode, but it would be very uncomfortable when I changed back. I would need to get clothes. Were there any in the hospital? Did they keep my t-shirt and jeans? What about my shoes? They wouldn’t like having to go get me new ones. The few times they had had to buy me clothes, they had made it seem a big hassle. I looked around again, knowing that my time alone was limited. I would need to figure out clothes later. For now, changing into my ghost half and leaving had to be my priority.

I ran a finger over the small tube that led from an IV bag to the crook in my right arm. Holding onto one end, I turned it intangible and then dropped the end so it dangled near the floor. A bead of blood rose from the pinprick and I swiped a tissue from a box next to me, pressing it against my arm to catch it before it trailed down my skin.

Next, I stood up and had to stop again as my body adjusted to standing. I hadn’t done much of that in the last few days. I shook off the weird stiffness mixed with light-headedness and moved towards the front of the room. The bathroom door was right next to the one that led out into the hall. I needed to get inside there without Heather or any of the nurses noticing. I would need to change into my ghost half and the best way to hiding the blinding rings of light that were included in that transformation was to hide in there. I edged closer, keeping to the right of the door to remain out of sight.

I could hear Heather’s voice and…wait, was that Detective Tanner? I listened closely, my hearing amplifying as I tapped into my ghost side’s abilities.

“What? What are they doing here?” she asked, sounding startled and a little annoyed. What about the x-ray?”

“They came with their son’s copies and insisted on coming here.” Yes that was definitely Tanner’s voice and that doubly-confirmed when I heard him say, “Lowry said it was ok. He thinks it might trigger something in the kid…”

I gripped the wall that I was pressed against, a fresh wave of panic crashing over me. Why were the detectives here too? And who else was with them? Heather didn’t seem to like that they were here but Lowry thought it would trigger something…? In me? Who could they possibly have with them?

I shook my head, bringing up both hands to either side of my face. Focus. Focus on getting out of here. It didn’t matter what was going on because I was leaving. I was flying out of here and never looking back. They could investigate and search all they want but they would never find me. They were very good at disappearing and I could do that too—literally.

I could hear Heather speaking again and I was pretty sure Lowry’s gravelly voice had joined them. It was now or never. I scooted around the little wall that extended out for the bathroom and moved next to the door that led into the little room. I was at my most exposed, so close to the hallway that I could see a portion of it better now. I couldn’t help the glance out in the direction of their voices, hoping to see them all too busy to notice me going in here. It was then, as my eyes swept over the now-familiar forms of Heather, Tanner, and Lowry, that I saw who was with them. That I saw her.

Standing near the detectives, was a woman and a man in skin-tight body suits that were very similar to the one I wore as my ghost self, complete with gloves, boots, and a belt in black which contrasted sharply with his neon orange and her blue. Despite the glaring color of the man’s clothes, I found myself drawn to the woman. She seemed small compared to the man at her side, though I would probably be shorter than her if we were standing next to each other. Her hair was cut to chin length and was a beautiful auburn color. But what really stood out to me were her eyes. They were lavender, the same color as Sam’s. And as I met her gaze—because she was already staring right at me—my mind exploded.

Images and sounds suddenly bombarded me, slamming into my brain and flying away in random snippets that were bewildering.

The same woman smiling, laughing, her arms reaching out towards me.

The man in orange, holding something up that was blinking and buzzing and gesturing animatedly in the air, talking loudly about something like it was the most exciting thing in the world.

The woman patting me on the head as she stood next to me, leaning over a little to meet my gaze with her purple eyes.

A little girl with long red hair holding my hand and guiding me through a room.  

The woman walking around a kitchen with a mixing bowl—a place I felt like I had seen just recently though the thought was gone before I could fully process it.

The man pulling me up onto his shoulders and bouncing around while laughing goofily.

The woman kneeling in front of me while I sat on something, her expression solemn and tone serious. The man was in the background with a similar expression.

The man picking me up off of a couch and carrying me up the stairs.

A large room full of metal tables and science equipment and a deep hole dug into one end, both the woman and man gesturing towards it and talking fast with excitement.

A flash of blinding, painful green light…


I took in a shuddering breath, the images still coming, still confusing and terrifying. What was this? Some of those…weren’t they my dreams?

Sitting on a couch between the two of them, eyes on a glowing screen not far away.

The redheaded girl sprawled out on the floor, surrounded by papers covered in colorful drawings.


Why was this happening? What was I seeing?! I was still staring at the woman and I tried to breathe in again, my lungs struggling to work as my mind spun and head began to ache. Was she causing this?

Both the woman and the man lying in a large bed sound asleep as I ran towards them in the darkness, holding a stuffed animal in my arms.

The man throwing a ball my way and I reached up to catch it with both hands.


The others with her were turning, looking my way, speaking to me. I couldn’t hear the words but I recognized the fact that they were paying attention to me and I didn’t want that. I needed to go. I needed to get away from them. And from her. The woman with Sam’s eyes. Away from her and the man who were showing up like wisps of dreams in my mind, though I had never met them once in the last two years.

The woman crouching down beside me while I lay in bed, pressing one hand to my forehead as a worried frown played across her face….

I reached out blindly until my hand found the door handle and I threw it forward, slamming it shut. I stood there for a moment, my eyes now on the white-painted wood of the door as I tried to get my brain to work again. I…needed to focus…I needed to…to get out of here. Right. That’s what it was. I needed to leave.

I closed my eyes and pulled forth my ghost half, the twin circles of lights sliding from the center of my body over the rest of me with its familiar chill. The feeling helped clear my head and I immediately pushed off of the ground and headed towards the window. I turned intangible and invisible and was just about to slip through the wall when I heard the sound of the door handle being pushed open. I shot forward with a burst of speed and left the building behind me.  

-----------------------

???

The room was dim, the only source of light coming from a large computer console against one of the walls. Its screen glowed faintly, barely illuminating the four walls, tile floor, and the contents of the room. A variety of machines was scattered around, humming and whining with small blips of lights flickering on and off on their screens and panels. Across from the mainframe were several tables and a long counter covered in neat rows of glass beakers, coiled wires, and several contraptions in different stages of development.

Abruptly the large monitor’s glow brightened, throwing sharp shadows across the empty room. The screen went black and then green letters appeared.

Record change detected

The words were replaced by an empty bar and the word,

Downloading…

The bar quickly filled and the image changed to a document with blocks of text and a picture in the upper left corner. The photo was of a boy with black hair and blue eyes. At the top of the page it read,

Missing Person Report

Name: Daniel J. Fenton
Age: 12 years


The document continued to describe the initial report, a description of the missing person, a witness testimony, interviews with family members, and notes of the investigation. The screen scrolled down and paused at the start of a second document after the first. The text and picture on the page became illuminated in green. Text in the same color appeared again.

New Document Found



Identified: Request to Re-open Case



Downloading to mobile device


A new bar flickered onto the screen only to fill quickly and disappear. The document then closed leaving the black backdrop once more. Ten minutes passed. The monitor had just lapsed into sleep mode when it beeped and was brought back to life. More text scrolled across it.

Receiving from mobile device



Instructions: Request clearance for private flight to Amity Park for Saturday.



Sending request


Images flashed across the screen too quickly to recognize and once again there were green words.

Request granted
Because of Him Chapter 18
By: Dizappearingirl (2016)

Summary: It was his job. It was what he did. It was all he thought half-ghosts were allowed to do. But then he meets her and everything changes. His world expands. His memories begin to return. And he remembers. Remembers who he was, what happened to him, and who was responsible (AU)

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Chapter 18: Before it Breaks

Detective Lowry

I looked out the nearest window of the station and studied the darkening sky, a warm mug of coffee in one hand. Clouds had rolled in during the night, low and heavy with rain. The storm had already hit east of the city and we’d be under a wet curtain ourselves soon. I wondered if this was the cause for the Fentons’ delay. It had been hard to convince them to wait until morning to come in with Danny’s dental x-rays. I expected them to be here at first light, but instead I had been waiting for over an hour.

Tanner strolled up, his own cup of coffee steaming in his grip. “Is the sky that interesting to you?” he asked as he stopped next to me. “Kinda looks like you, I suppose. Gray as your hair, glum as your face…”

I sent him a warning look.

“Alright, alright,” he held up his hands in mock surrender. “Just thought I’d break up the monochrome going on around here.”  

“I’m waiting on the Fentons,” I said, turning back towards the window. “I don’t want to be halfway through something when they arrive.”

“Oh, well, I could’ve told you they were going to be late. There was a ghost attack happening across town. Some crazy big green dog, I heard. I bet they just finished that up.” I grunted in response. That made a little more sense.

“Well then that means they should be here any—“

“Detective Lowry!” a voice boomed across the open floor. We both turned to see the bright fluorescent orange of Jack Fenton’s jumpsuit in the doorway of the building. Next to him was his wife, Maddie, her gaze sweeping our office, a large envelope in her hand.

“Right on cue,” Tanner chuckled.

I shook my head and started towards the couple. “Come on, before they start tearing the place apart to find me.” I was only half-joking and was relieved when the couple caught sight of me. They hurried toward us, and Maddie thrust out the envelope to me before they had even come to a complete stop.

“Here’s what you asked for, Detective,” she said, her voice a little breathless. “Sorry for taking so long. A ghost decided to start attacking the mall and it took us a while to handle it.”

“Let us know if anyone else sees that ectoplasmic mutt and we’ll take care of it right away,” Jack told us, one of his gloved hands resting on a gun in the holster around his large waist.

“Yeah, we’ll do that,” Tanner replied, his eyes on the man’s meaty hand. I was probably the only one who noticed the apprehension in his voice. I decided to let him stew in his discomfort, knowing full well that the Fentons wouldn’t do anything dangerous in here—as long as there wasn’t a ghost. I looked over the envelope in my hands and stretched open the slit on one end to peer at the x-rays inside. I could feel Maddie’s eyes on me, an unspoken expectation thickening the air between us. I had not given her much on the phone last night except the promise that I would elaborate today.

“Come with us.” I gestured to a door down the hall that led into a meeting room. They had used it many times before two years ago and headed for it without delay. Tanner and I followed them and he closed the door once we had all entered. “Please take a seat,” I suggested as I took one on the other side of the table. They obliged and Tanner joined me.

There was a moment of uneasy silence before Maddie broke it. “I…” she sat up straighter and restarted, “I guess if you are asking for these you think there’s a possibility this boy could be our son.” Her voice was controlled but I could hear the bare tremble in it.

“It’s possible,” I agreed, “He looks a lot like Danny’s photos, but there are some complications that make it difficult to verify his identity.”

Maddie’s eyebrows drew together, her hands twisting in her lap. “What do you mean?”

“Well,” I scratched the side of my face, “he is a visual match and is about the right age, but…” I looked at Tanner for help.

“But,” he picked up instantly, “he says he isn’t Danny.”

A grimace of disappointment crossed her face and I could see Jack’s shoulders sink a little beside her. “Who does he say he is?” Maddie inquired quietly.

“He won’t tell us,” I replied. “And that means we have to figure out his identity through other means.” I patted the envelope they had given me from its place on the table.

Jack wrapped an arm around Maddie and asked, “But he looks like Danny?”

“Yes,” I nodded.

Maddie was staring at the table now, a mixture of emotions swirling across her face. Without looking up, she asked, “Can…we see him?”

I met Tanner’s eyes and gave him a pointed look. This was exactly what we had expected to happen, but we had very different opinions on where this conversation would go from here. I knew the Fentons; they were practically unstoppable once they decided to do something. Telling them they couldn’t see the kid when he might be their son and was a key witness to a ghost attack they were investigating was like trying to stay dry in the rain by holding up your hand. He still felt we should convince them to wait until we had solid proof. I agreed that it would prevent some potential problems, but I doubted we could persuade them to stay clear.

Still, I figured I might as well let him give it a go. He had valid points they needed to hear.

Tanner refocused on the Fentons. “We’d feel better if we waited for proof first…” he hedged.

“How long would that take?”

“It might take a couple of days,” he replied. “CPS is working on getting an x-ray done so we can have the dental records compared.”

“We could make it faster if we saw him,” Jack suggested. “We’d know Danny anywhere.”

Tanner shook his head. “We need a little more proof than you claiming him to be your son. These,” he gestured at the envelope, “will give us that.”

“But what if it is Danny?” Maddie questioned. “How can we wait around for days while you try to figure that out?” Her voice grew stronger as she continued, “If you think there’s a chance that it could be him, we want to help. We want to see him!”

“That’s right,” Jack nodded firmly. “Let us see him.” I watched silently as Tanner sighed and pulled his chair closer to the table.

“Look, they’re trying to get an x-ray done today and we’ll try to get the results as fast as possible,” he reasoned. “Just wait a few days and we’ll know for sure.”

I saw a frown work its way onto Maddie’s face and was not surprised when she sputtered, “We can’t wait! You’re saying our son could be close by and you’re telling us to wait? We’ve been waiting two years! We just want to know, just have an answer.” Her voice turned plaintive.

“Where is he?” Jack demanded beside her. “Just tell us where he is.”

“But we don’t know if it is him,” Tanner told them. “And having you two visit him when he says that he isn’t, could not only be hard for you but for him too!” This had been his strongest argument and I full-heartedly agreed that this could be our greatest risk—one that the Fentons needed to understand. What if they were too enthusiastic when they met him? What if it closed the boy off even more? And what if it wasn’t Danny? How would both parties handle that?  

“But if it is him, he’d recognize us,” Maddie argued. “He’d know who we are. We’re his parents and we love him!”

She opened her mouth to say more but I interrupted her. “Of course you do, but you have to understand he says he isn’t Danny. And believe me, he seems very sure that he isn’t. From what we can tell he has been through a lot—we can definitely confirm he has been through some trauma in the last few days, as you know. It’s possible he could be Danny but he doesn’t want to say so, or it could be that he doesn’t remember.”

Those were the dominating theories that had bounced around between Tanner and myself, and Ms. Strade as well when she had spoken to Tanner last night on the phone. If the boy was Danny, there were usually only a few reasons why he would refuse to admit it: he was afraid to because he had done something he considered bad enough to run away, something had been done to him that scared him enough to deny it, or he flat out didn’t remember who he was.

Maddie and Jack fell silent for a moment as they digested my words. Then Maddie spoke up. “What do you mean…he has been through a lot? Do you mean more than just the ghost attack?” Tanner and I shared a cautious look.

It wasn’t something we had addressed directly yet, but it had been plain to all of us involved in this case that whatever the situation the boy had been in recently it had not been very good. Painfully thin, the doctors had confirmed that he was malnourished. His hair was untidy, barely cut enough to keep it manageable, and his clothes had been in a sorry state, worn down and dirty in a way that suggested they had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Add in his generally wary attitude and it was the natural conclusion.  

Tanner was looking at me to answer this question now that I had rejoined the conversation, and I finally said, “We can tell the boy has most likely been living on the streets or in less than ideal circumstances. His appearance makes that pretty obvious.” Jack’s arm tightened around Maddie and she gripped his hand.

“In what ways?” Maddie closed her eyes and took a deep breath, her whole body tensing like she was expecting a blow. “Why is it obvious?” My partner and I shared another look, both of us not sure what to say without upsetting them further. I needed them to be cautious, not distressed.

“It…” Tanner began, hesitated, and continued, “We can’t really give you details on that. But don’t worry, the doctors are taking good care of him.”

I could see that his answer was not satisfactory as Maddie set her jaw. She spoke in that carefully controlled voice again, “Which hospital is he at?”

“Mrs. Fenton…” I started but she interrupted me.

“No, Detectives. I understand you’re trying to protect us—and him—but you keep saying you can’t confirm he is my son. Well I can,” she leaned forward, her eyes hard and overly-bright. “I know my boy. It may have been two years but I will know if it’s him. And if he’s hurt or sick in a hospital, then I really need to know. I can’t go home to the house he disappeared from without knowing whether he’s been found or not!”

“You can’t stop us anyway. We’ll just go visit every hospital if we have to!” Jack said, a determined gleam in his eye.

Tanner scooted forward in his chair, a rare look of frustration passing over his face. “You can’t just go searching through each hospital for every kid that looks like your son—“

“—Of course we can!” Jack retorted. “He’s our son!”

“Are you deaf? Or do you just not listen?” Tanner snapped back. “We haven’t confirmed it’s him!”  

“We can help you do that!”

Both men rose from their seats, scowling at each other. Tanner opened his mouth to continue, but I jumped to my feet, pressing one hand to his chest to stop him.

Gentlemen,” I growled out, sending a hard look at both of them. “There is no reason to argue about this! We have the same objective: to help this boy. Now sit back down.”

Tanner’s frown deepened but he dropped back into his seat. Jack did not follow the action. I met his eyes and waited calmly for him to comply as well. Maddie’s hand reached up and rested on his arm. Instead of coaxing him back to his seat, though, she rose up to stand beside him.

“Detective Lowry.” Her voice was heavy and thick with grief. My heart gave an uncomfortable thump at a tone I knew well and hated to hear. “Please. Just let us see him. He doesn’t even need to know we’re there. Just let us see him for a moment.”

I studied her and then Jack, whose eyes darted back and forth between us. They were ready. At least as ready as we could manage. I just hoped that Tanner’s warnings had sunk in deep enough that they wouldn’t blunder in as they usually did. We needed tact, not brashness, which was not exactly the Fentons’ strength, but I believed they could manage it if needed. Maddie sounded willing and Jack usually followed her lead. It was as good as it was going to get.

“Alright,” I said, ignoring the look Tanner was probably sending me. “We’ll let you see him.”

--------------------------------

Sam

The heavy blanket of clouds that had covered the city overnight had begun to pour their contents on our portion of the city around noon. The weather brought with it the chill of the upcoming fall and I was grateful for the jacket I had brought with me at the last minute. Even though I was indoors all day, the school hadn’t changed their climate control to match the weather yet and the A/C was still kicking on periodically. Now if only I had brought soup instead of a salad, things would be perfect…

I glanced down at the mixed greens and veggies I had set on our usual lunch table before looking around for Tucker. We hadn’t really had the chance to finish our conversation in the last two days after our initial talk before school on Monday. Lancer had kept an annoyingly close eye on us every time we met between classes (what, did he think we were plotting something?) and Tucker had some library thing he had to do during yesterday’s lunch. He was supposed to meet up with me today as usual, though.

After a few minutes of searching I finally caught sight of him in the cafeteria line. He had a PDA in one hand as he slowly slid his tray along. I munched on my salad and waited for him to be done. Fortunately, it seemed to be moving pretty quickly today and he was soon headed towards me. He dropped his tray on the table, causing the gravy piled on top of his mashed potatoes to slop over onto the faux wood surface. I raised an eyebrow when Tucker ignored this. In fact, he was so completely engrossed in the electronic device in his hand that he seemed to have forgotten to sit down as well.

“Hey Tucker,” I called.

“Hey…”

“Gonna join me anytime soon? Or should I just leave you two alone?”

He pulled his eyes away from the screen just long enough to send me a scowl and plop down in his seat before they were back on the device.

“I just got this yesterday. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and it finally arrived!” He grinned, thumbs flying over the buttons. This baby is the latest in PDA technology on the market and I’m making it even better with a little programming of my own…”

“So I should leave you alone,” I intoned, my voice a mix of sarcasm and amusement. I took another bite and, after swallowing, continued, “And here I thought you were worried about my trips to the warehouse with the ‘dangerous’ ghost. If I knew that buying you a new PDA was all I needed to do to distract you, I would have totally done it earlier.”

“Don’t use my love for technology as an excuse to go off and do something stupid,” he threw back, his tone matching mine.

“I’m just saying, I was expecting you to start lecturing me as soon as you sat down but instead I find you two inches away from making out with a piece of tech.”

He rolled his eyes before caressing—really? Caressing?!—the PDA and whispering, “Don’t listen to her, baby. She just doesn’t understand.”

“Nope, and I never will,” I muttered. He gave me a cheeky grin and I rolled my eyes. We fell silent for a while after that as we worked through our lunches, though I was definitely more effective at getting the food actually into my mouth because I was willing to look at it. I shook my head as another plop of mashed potatoes missed its mark and landed on the table. I let my attention wander to avoid seeing the rest of his lunch follow suit and only turned back when Tucker cleared his throat.

“You’re right, though,” Tucker said, slipping the new device into his pocket. I quirked an eyebrow up again at the seriousness that stole over his face. I kinda liked falling back to our usual banter, but I guess I couldn’t be too surprised. This was my original expectation. “We need to talk about it.”

I gestured at him, “Alright, go.”

He frowned, pausing for a few moments before blurting out, “So, what part about going to the docks at night, trying to befriend a dead guy, and running into some shady people isn’t dangerous?”

I struggled to hold back a smile. I knew that was an honest question but for some reason hearing my last few weeks summed up in that way was funny to me.

“I’m serious here, Sam,” he sent me a look. “I get that things have been fine so far, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t go wrong the next time. I mean, just ‘cause you don’t get electrocuted the first time doesn’t mean you stay out in the storm holding an umbrella under a tree.”

“No, sorry, you’re right, I know,” I bit down on my lip and exhaled slowly so I’d lose the urge to laugh. “It’s just, I mean, it sounds so weird when you say it like that.”

“Yeah, well it is weird.”

“Weird that I like it? That I’m friends with a ghost?” I asked.

“Ghosts can’t be your friend,” he muttered back, digging his fork into the remains of his lunch.

“Why not?” I leaned forward, trying to catch his eye. “I get that some ghosts out there are bad and they hurt people, but have you met every ghost that exists? How can you decide that every single one of them is bad just because the ones you dealt with were…were…” I waved a hand as I tried to think of a word strong enough for what had happened to him. “Were the worst dead people you could meet?”

“Okay fine,” he looked up at me. “I can’t guarantee that all ghosts are evil, but how do you know this ghost is okay? The same argument you just gave me can apply the other way too. Ghosts have been documented as destructive and dangerous so who’s to say that the one you’ve met isn’t going to turn on you?”

“Because I’ve gotten to know him and he isn’t.” The image of the red-eyed version of Phantom returned to my mind and I carefully shoved that thought back. I was not convinced that that was part of Phantom—definitely not a big part of him.

“What about these people he’s protecting? Do you think they’re good people?”

I opened my mouth to argue, but had to pause. No. Not really. I didn’t think they were good. In fact, I was pretty sure they were the opposite. I mean, who else talked about being on the inside and alarms going off while meeting late at night in empty warehouses but criminals? Plus, they had been rude about Phantom. I didn’t like them and I definitely wouldn’t go back if it wasn’t for him.

I had hesitated too long and saw the satisfied gleam in his eye. I grimaced. “Okay, they’re not good people. I didn’t know that until this Sunday, though. And I don’t plan on ever going back when they’re there. But just because you don’t like someone’s…I dunno, friends? Acquaintances? Whatever they are to Phantom, doesn’t mean I just ditch him.”

He mimicked my expression and nodded. Before either of us could continue, the bell rang shrilly. I stood up, throwing my empty Tupperware into my lunch box. He picked up his tray and the two of us headed for the doors.

“Does it matter, though?” he wondered. I looked at him questioningly. “You said your ghost was gone from that place and that it never leaves the warehouse. It could have moved on or decided to go haunt some other building in the city. Amity Park isn’t huge but it’s not small either. You can’t just go searching every building to try and find it.”

“Him,” I corrected. “Phantom’s a him, not an it.”

He shrugged and dumped his tray by the trash cans at the end of the room. “Whatever.”

I scowled but decided not to argue further. Instead I reflected on his question. “I don’t know. I mean, you’re right. I can’t just go looking for him blindly, but I can’t just give up either. What if he’s hurt? You said that what I saw on the ground at the warehouse was ectoplasm and that ghosts are made of it. If it was on the ground then that means he got hurt, right?”

I flicked my eyes over to him. His expression was thoughtful, but he didn’t answer. I licked my lips and the question I had been dwelling on since I learned that came bubbling back up. “Do ghosts…have to lose a lot of that for it to be dangerous. Y’know, like blood?”

He still didn’t reply and I found myself trying to fill in the silence. “It’s just I only saw a little, so I’m hoping that means that Phantom’s okay, wherever he is. I just don’t want him to be…hurt and unable to do anything about it.”

Tucker continued to have that brooding look on his face, but finally he replied, “I think they’re okay if they lose a little. Actually, maybe they can lose a lot. I mean, they’re made of the stuff but they can create it too.”

“Really?” I asked. I didn’t remember Phantom saying that was one of his abilities. Maybe only some ghosts had it. We walked down the hall outside of the cafeteria and headed towards Mr. Lancer’s classroom for English. At least we wouldn’t have to worry about seeing him in the hallway watching us since he would just wait for us to show up to class. That man took his job as Vice Principal and teacher way too seriously.

“So what are you gonna do?”

I sighed. That was the question, wasn’t it? I stopped at my locker, which was on the way, and shoved my lunch box inside. I swung the locker door shut and turned towards Tucker. “I have no idea. Guess that makes you pretty happy, huh?”

He shrugged again. “I’m not gonna lie. I like the idea that you won’t be going to the warehouse.” We started walking again and I frowned to myself. Yeah, there wasn’t a point now. I just wish I knew where Phantom was. If I at least knew he was safe and healthy (or whatever the equivalent for a ghost was), I’d feel a lot better. But until I was ungrounded and had some sort of hint, I was stuck with my normal not-weird life again. I sighed, finding the thought a lot more depressing than it probably should be.

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Phantom

“And how are we feeling today?” The shing of the curtain rings sliding along the metal bar over my head echoed in the room as Doctor Middel swung it aside. I was in the middle of breakfast, a forkful of scrambled eggs halfway to my mouth when she entered. The food scattered across my plate as I jolted from the sudden sound.

“I-I’m fine,” I replied automatically, my heart pumping fast. I raised a hand to my chest and took a deep breath to try to calm my nerves. Ever since last night’s conversation with the detectives and the CPS lady I was feeling jumpy. I didn’t know how much they would figure out with my photo and I didn’t know how fast Heather was going to try to find me a home. I decided I probably had enough time for breakfast and one last round of cleaning the burns on my chest before I would attempt to leave. But that was just a guess and every footstep walking towards me had put me on edge.

“Are you sure? Still feel a lot of pain right there?” She tilted her head to the side, her eyes on my chest. I followed her gaze and lowered the hand in front of it.

“Not a lot of pain.” And that was true. I was feeling much better. The skin was still very sensitive and movement made it stretch uncomfortably, but it was healing and didn’t burn anymore.

“That’s good,” she smiled and picked up the chart at the end of the bed, her eyes roving over it and the machine next to me. Two of the nurses joined us and we went through the same procedure we had each day of undressing my chest, cleaning it, and redoing a new bandage. Dr. Middel didn’t usually stick around but she did this time, commenting periodically (and rather enthusiastically) at how quickly I was healing. She had seemed impressed before but now she was enraptured by it, claiming that no one ever healed this fast. I found the extra attention uncomfortable, especially in light of yesterday. I really just wanted people to ignore me, let me keep to the shadows, but that seemed impossible here.

Eventually, they finished and left me in peace. I half-heartedly attempted to eat more but found myself tired out by the whole ordeal. Instead I relaxed against the raised back of my bed and closed my eyes. I would give myself a few minutes and then I would need to go. I couldn’t risk staying any longer and I was strong enough now that I could do the rest of the healing on my own. I would just change into my ghost side and disappear...

Three sharp knocks sounded at my door. My eyes snapped open and I focused on the person standing there. Heather from the CPS. My heart jumped into a sprint again and I clenched my fingers into the blankets on top of me.  No! I should have left right away! Why did I wait? Now I was stuck.

“Hello,” she greeted me, entering the room and coming to stand on my right side. “How are you doing?”

It took me several minutes to calm myself enough to answer. Finally I said, “Fine.”

She smoothly sat in the chair she had used before and placed an umbrella beside her. “The doctor says you’re doing great. I’m glad to hear it.” I nodded as I continued to mentally berate myself. I had let the luxuries of this place get to me. I shouldn’t have waited for breakfast or another redressing. I could’ve gone last night. That would have been the smart thing to do, but I had convinced myself that that would give me an extra boost. I wasn’t wrong, but now I might not be able to leave at all!

“I’ve talked to them and we have scheduled you for an x-ray in a little bit.” I looked up, pulled out of my thoughts by the strange information. An x-ray…that was to see your bones, right? Why would they need that? I didn’t break any. “I thought I’d sit with you while we wait.”

I tensed again as she leaned back in her seat. She was going to stay? But I needed to leave. I had been gone for four days now and I didn’t want to be taken to some new place to live. I had to do my job. The silence stretched between us and I fidgeted with the edge of my blanket as I tried to think of a good way to make her go. Or I guess I could go. There was a restroom by the door. I could go in there and then change…

“You know, we could chat while we’re waiting,” Heather spoke up, her dark eyes on me. “There’s a thing I do with some of the kids I meet up with. We could try it, if you want.” I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to leave. I opened my mouth, but before I could say something she carried on.

“It’s the ‘no-detail conversation’,” she said. “I ask you questions and you try to answer—honestly—but without details. Some people don’t want to talk about their life, but this lets us get to know each other without learning things we don’t want to talk about.”

I sat rigidly while she spoke, feeling even more nervous about where this was headed. I couldn’t tell her anything. Wasn’t that obvious now? Why keep trying? Should I just get up and go into the restroom? What if that made her mad? They didn’t like it if I was distracted when they were talking and I was never allowed to just walk away. I didn’t want to upset her and have her decide to make me go now to some new place.

“How about I start?” She crossed her legs and continued, “Before being here I’m sure you had some other place you stayed? Or maybe many places? How do you feel about those places? Did they make you feel happy? Sad? Afraid? Safe?”

My forehead wrinkled. That was a weird question. Why would she want to know that?  How did that help her do her job? She said it was to get to know me. That was for her job, right? Or what if she was just curious like Sam? Maybe I could answer this question. I didn’t think it would give her any more info. I just wouldn’t say anything that would give her details and maybe giving her something would make her stop asking me the questions I couldn’t answer.

So what would I say?

I thought of the warehouse, quiet and still, dust collecting on boxes and slivers of sky peeking through the narrow strips of windows. I thought of the places before that: the subway tunnel where it was always dim and the steady hum of underground trains reverberated from miles away; the dilapidated apartment building with sagging ceilings, creaking floors, and a pretty view of the city; the diner with the spider webs and linoleum booth seats that were surprisingly comfortable to sleep on. Better than the floor at least. There were also the places before that, dozens of places. And there were the tents, red and black and gigantic. And the place before that, the one that was fuzziest. High ceilings, stone walls, the faint smell of cheese…

Every place was different. I liked some better than others. The warehouse was nice. And that was where I met Sam. “I…sometimes I feel happy,” I mumbled, Sam’s purple eyes aglow with mirth rose up in my mind. “And…and safe.” When it was just me, invisible to the world, it was a comforting place. I protected it, I kept it safe. Except when Skulker arrived… I hugged my arms closer to me. And when he was mad… “Sometimes…sometimes not.”

“Okay,” she said in a neutral tone. I snuck a look in her direction. Her expression and posture were relaxed though her eyes continued to watch me sharply. They weren’t intense like the older detective or the Big Man. They were more like…maybe like The Ice Woman’s but not cold. They were warm, actually. A warm brown.

“I feel very happy at my place,” she added, her eyes crinkling with contentment. “There are people who live with me there. They make me happy and loved. How do the people you know make you feel?”

The wariness came back full force. Why did she want to know about the people I was with? Did they find something out from my photo? Was this all to lure me into telling her more about them? I pressed my lips together, my fists clenching tighter.

“Do…they make you feel scared?” she asked in a soft voice. No…no, I wasn’t afraid of them. I wasn’t. I mean, they could be scary. They could very scary when they were mad. And they could be…they could say things, or do things…But I was supposed to protect them. That was it and when I didn’t do what I was supposed to, of course they’d get mad.

“Did they—“ she was cut off as a nurse in bright pink scrubs walked in.

Her eyes were on Heather, some papers in her hand. “Can I ask you a few questions for the x-ray?” There was a momentary pause and then Heather stood up.

“Yes, of course,” she walked around the bed before looking at me. “I’ll be right back,” she said before following the nurse back out into the hall. I exhaled slowly, my fingers unclenching painfully.

I needed to leave. I needed to leave now.
Because of Him Ch 18
I really need to remember that I am posting this story here too....Sorry :/ Here ya go.

And I'm working on posting the next few chapters too to catch you up!

Enjoy and love!
-Dizgirl

Because of Him Ch 1
Because of Him Ch 17
Because of Him Ch 19

PS: I do not own Danny Phantom.
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Hello dA World!

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 6, 2016, 9:44 PM
Hello hello!

It has almost been a year since I posted a journal entry... Ha. Wow.

Normally when I'm this quiet I am also completely not doing anything but lurk. It's kinda weird to realize I have been consistently posting deviations yet not talking to anyone on here! |D; Well except for the rare comment here and there which I love :3

So, hello! Hello dA world! Anyone out there still that I used to chat with? XD It's so strange how you can have a group you chat with all the time on a website and then suddenly, in a year or two, that group has all moved on. Maybe you moved on. And you come back and it's like walking onto your school campus during the summer after you graduate. It's like, hey I know this place! I know it so well and had so much fun (or maybe just so much that happened)...and now it's empty. Everyone's gone. It's not the same but it is. Strangeness...

Anyways, why not put a little update of my current works in progress? I dunno, why not?

I am, quite obviously, working hard on my Danny Phantom fanfiction titled Because of Him. I have posted through chapter 17 and have sent chapters 18 and 19 to my beta. Thank you Alidragon! *heart* This project is massive. I have a feeling it will end up being about 50 chapters in the end. Maybe not, but I'm currently at chapter 22ish in writing and I am a little more than halfway through my plot line. But climaxes are always the longest part, so...

I am not actively working on other things but passively I am. I have two Rise of the Guardian fanfictions I want to finish/post. I have a few DP one-shots to finish/post. I have three original novels from previous NaNo's to finish. I have a few comics I want to draw along with a variety of other crafty projects. I'm hoping to work on one of the original novels next after BoH is on its way to finishing. Gotta get going on that, though, if I want to get to that point!

So, tally-ho and all that! Onward to future creative ventures!

I hope all is going well with y'all. :) Enjoy and love!
-Dizgirl

PS: Hey, I'm going to the Phoenix (Arizona) Comicon again this year. :3 Anyone else heading that way?

  • Listening to: Nightvale
  • Reading: ROTG fanfiction, Fruits Basket
  • Watching: Leverage, Phineas & Ferb
  • Eating: superbowl party snacks

deviantID

Dizappearingirl
STRIKES AGAIN!
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I am an overprotective sister, responsible daughter, crazy friend, quiet classmate, developing writer, compulsive drawer, avid reader, enthusiastic fangirl, public speaking mentor, accountant's assistant, and a crazy American muggle girl!

Personal Quote: I keep my ideals because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart
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:iconalmostastrid:
AlmostAstrid Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016
Thank you for the fav! :happybounce: 
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:icondizappearingirl:
Dizappearingirl Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :3
-Dizgirl
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kyubifan Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks at the fav :)
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:icondizappearingirl:
Dizappearingirl Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! :D
-Dizgirl
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ElwynAvalon Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the :+fav: on
Sherlock: Valentines? by ElwynAvalon
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:icondizappearingirl:
Dizappearingirl Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You are welcome :D
-Dizgirl
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EveVictus Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the llama! :llama:
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Riprunningfalcon Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Student Artist
thanks for the llama 2 
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:icondizappearingirl:
Dizappearingirl Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! Thank you for the llama as well. :)
-Dizgirl
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Riprunningfalcon Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2014  Student Artist
np
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