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Icebound

Chapter Text

The sun was high in the sky in Central City on this beautiful, mid-summer, early-afternoon day, but the ice was still not melting! Flash spun around to make a hard right and dodged another ray of ice as Captain Cold shot at him. Usually, the fight would be over by now, but Flash had learned fairly quickly that he needed to be very careful not to get shot by Cold’s new gun. He couldn’t afford to get covered in this weird, apparently unmelting, ice.

“Nice upgrade, Cold. Where’d you get it? ‘Cause I know you couldn’t have built this by yourself,” Flash taunted. Captain Cold shot at Flash again, but the speedster had already moved.

“As much as I would like to take credit for this, Flash, no, I didn’t build it. But it was a good enough deal for magic ice.” Cold was shooting at Flash any time he so much as slowed down. Flash needed to end this soon; he couldn’t possibly escape every single blast, especially as the battle dragged on longer. He ran in a wide circle around Cold, purposefully kicking up the dust and dirt as he went. He gradually narrowed the circle, and Cold started shooting wildly, hoping to catch the speedster while he was concentrating on running in circles.

Flash took a deep breath and tapped into the Speedforce.

Everything around him seemed to stop.

The dust hung in the air, only moving to the side as Flash walked through. Cold was unmoving in the center of the circle, face contorted in concentration as a blast of ice was slowly making its way to where the Flash used to be standing. He quickly walked over to Cold and started carefully unbending his fingers, making sure he wouldn’t break the man’s hands, to let go of the gun.

After a few minutes of relative time, Flash had a complete hold of the weapon, and started to disassemble it, leaving bits and bolts in the space next to him as he went. Soon enough, he was left with the power source of Cold’s upgraded gun. It looked like a light blue sphere covered in frost, about two inches in diameter, which seemed to radiate cold and gave off a blue mist as it moved.

Right before he left this state of extreme time distortion, he tapped on Cold’s face with his fist, knowing that when time went back to normal, the force of the punch would likely knock him out.

He forced his body to slow down as time started picking back up again. The ray of ice shot off, missing its intended target. The pieces of the gun fell to the ground, clattering and rolling away in random directions. Captain Cold let out a pained grunt as he staggered back in a daze before he, like the scrap metal of his former gun, fell to the ground with a thud. Flash hand-cuffed the unconscious villain to a nearby pole, to be picked up by the CCPD when they get there.

When the dust finally started to settle, Flash took this time to properly examine the apparently magical power source. As he held it in his hands, he could feel a sort of fear coming from the icy orb; as if it had its eyes shut tight, not wanting to see what was going on. But it was just a sphere, right? Just an inanimate object, how could he be feeling emotions coming from it?

Slowly, the fear subsided, replaced with a hopeful wariness, as if it were peeking out from its shell. Suddenly, the orb was flooded with a sense of overwhelming relief and happiness as all of the ice around the Flash started to melt and evaporate into the air like it was never there to begin with. Flash stared wide-eyed at the small orb in his hand.

“Woah! Are… are you alive?” He asked quietly. He felt the frosty orb go into a state of what he could only describe as ‘shocked speechless.’ Then, as if finally comprehending the meaning behind Flash’s words, the orb was filled with hope, but a small amount of worry and anxiousness tickled the back of the emotion. Flash got the sense that the sphere was trying to ask for help, what kind of help, Flash was unsure, but without the words, or any other means of direct communication, the orb was preparing itself for disappointment. There was no way in Flash’s mind that this was just a simple magical object. The Justice League needed to see this.

“Hey, uhh, little cold ball… thing… How’s about we go to the Justice League? Maybe they can figure out a way to communicate with you!” Flash really hoped that this thing wasn’t some sort of evil artifact or something, but judging by the relief and happiness it felt after it was out of the gun, and how quickly the ice melted once it realized it was in control, he highly doubted it and dismissed the thought.

At his words, the ball let out a burst of optimistic surprise; like that solution was more than it was expecting. Flash noticed that the worry and anxiety were still present at the edge of the emotions. He wanted to try to put the thing at ease, but got the feeling that no matter what he said, it would still be worried about the League’s reactions to it until they actually got there and he explained what he had found.

He heard the sirens of the CCPD, breaking him out of his thoughts. Captain Cold was down for the count, the ice was melted, and the police were close; Flash felt that his job here was done, so he zoomed off in the direction of the nearest zeta-tube to the Watchtower.

… … …

As they approached the zeta-tube, the orb’s anxiety rose until it was at the forefront of the emotions instead of just at the back. Flash tried to comfort the thing by lightly patting its top, and smiled.

“Hey now, don’t worry little guy, this is a zeta-tube; it’ll teleport us to the League. It only lasts a couple of seconds, so it’ll be over in a flash!” He chuckled lightly at his pun as he felt the anxiety in the ball decrease slightly, replaced with a sort of begrudging trust, as if to say: I still don’t want to go in, but I’m kind of helpless at the moment, so lead the way.

They entered the tube and signaled the Watchtower to request a zeta activation.

“Flash.” J’onn’s voice addressed him through the communicator. “I sense another presence with you, but it does not appear on the scans.” Flash felt another burst of worry come from the orb.

“Uhh, yeah. About that, I kinda found this… magic ball? But it has emotions and responds to questions and stuff so I’m pretty sure it’s sentient? I wanted to show it to the League to see if we could find a better way to talk to it,” Flash tried to explain the best he could. The orb’s worry did not lessen as the seconds ticked on in silence.

“Alright. I shall gather everyone to the meeting room,” J’onn informed them as the lights and buttons around them started to blink and brighten as the tube whirred to life.

“Awesome! Beam us up, J’onnie!” Flash grinned as he felt the frosty orb’s amused, nonexistent eye-roll.

… … …

The trip up to space where the Justice League’s headquarters were really did only last a couple of seconds, but Flash could still feel the same sort of eyes-shut-tight fear from earlier the entire time from the cold orb in his hands. He really hoped this trip was going to be worth it, he felt bad for causing the little thing any undue stress.

Flash walked out of the zeta-tube in the Watchtower and started making his way towards the meeting room where the rest of the League was supposed to be, trying to fill the silence as they went.

“Now that wasn’t too hard, was it? Welcome to the Watchtower, little guy!” He lifted sphere and moved it around, showing it around the base. He felt that if the cold little ball had a jaw, it would be on the ground with awe. The background worry was still there, and slowly growing the longer it took them to get to the rest of the League, but Flash knew that they would try to help with whatever is was the little ball needed.

Right before they got to the meeting room, Flash felt every ounce of the worry and anxiousness coming from the orb disappear, and be replaced with amazement, wonder, and a good dose of giddiness. He instantly stopped and looked around, wondering what caused such a massive change in the sphere’s emotions. A wide grin spread across his face when he realized what it must be.

The Flash leaned up against the large window and held the ball closer to it, just enough so that its mist wouldn’t fog up the glass.

“So, I take it you’re a fan of space?” Flash could tell that if the ball had a head, it would be nodding vigorously. “Well, maybe I should have mentioned earlier that the Watchtower was is space. It would have been easier to get you inside the zeta-tube,” Flash joked. The orb directed a bit of sarcasm-laced amusement towards him, then allowed its whole attention to be placed back to the window.

Flash let the icy ball stare out into space for a couple of minutes, knowing that this was probably a much-needed distraction.

However, he also knew that they came here for a reason, and that everyone was waiting just behind the doors next to them.

“Okay, come on, time to get back to business, the League is waiting,” Flash gently reminded it. He felt a small bit of disappointment from the orb in his hand, followed by acceptance and cautious optimism. “Hey, when this is done, I’ll take you to the observation deck! It has a much better view than some old window.” The orb gave him a burst of appreciative happiness.

Flash opened the doors and saw the remaining six members of the Justice League: Batman and Superman were talking with Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman was with Green Lantern and Hawk Woman. The room fell silent as they all turned to the Flash expectantly. He felt all of the optimism from the orb evaporate, replaced completely with nervousness and worry.

“Hey, don’t worry, they’ll like you, I swear,” Flash whispered to the sphere as he turned to the rest of his team with a smile.

“What’s all this about, Flash?” Hawk Woman asked, frowning. A tiny bit of fear leaked from the orb. “J’onn tells us you found a little ball of emotions?”

“Okay, so this is what happened: I was fighting Captain Cold when I noticed that his gun was upgraded, ice that wouldn’t melt ohmygoditwassuchapain, and he says that he got a new power source for magic ice. So I went super fast and I broke his gun and knocked him out. Then I picked up this little guy,” Flash raised the icy sphere so the others could see it.

“When I touched it, I could feel emotions coming from it. So I asked it some questions and it responded with different emotions! I told it we could try to figure out a way for it to talk to us, so I brought it here.” He looked up hopefully to the faces of the other Leaguers. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman looked surprised, while Batman scowled, and Hawk Woman looked furious.

“You brought an unknown weapon onboard the Watchtower?” Hawk Woman took a step forward, but Batman put a hand on her shoulder. She frowned at him but stepped back nonetheless, growling to herself. Batman walked over to the red speedster. Flash could feel the orb’s anxiety grow with each step; Batman had that effect on people. He stood in front of the Flash and scrutinized the crystalline ball.

“You said that you could feel its emotions when you touched it?” Batman asked, his voice giving away nothing of what he was thinking.

“Uhh… yeah. You wanna hold it?” Flash felt a small bit of betrayal aimed at him from the frosty sphere, then the nervousness picked up again when Batman wordlessly held out his hand. “Hey, stop worrying so much, it’s just Batman, there’s nothing to be scared of,” he told the ball as he put it in Batman’s black gloved hand.

Batman’s eyes widened slightly when he touched the orb, and as soon as the Flash let go, he was left with a small empty feeling as he could no longer feel the little ball’s emotions.

Batman turned the sphere over in his hands. Frowned, then sighed.

“What’s wrong?” Flash asked, a little worried.

“It’s afraid of me. I doubt that I’ll be able to get any proper responses out of it through questioning,” he explained. Martian Manhunter cocked his head to the side and stepped forward.

“May I test a theory?” He asked as he held out his hand towards Batman. Batman remained silent for a few moments before he set the icy ball in the Martian’s hand. His eyes widened in shock as he held the sphere closer.

“Intriguing,” the Martian said as he looked around the room to the other Leaguers.

“He has a voice.”

Chapter Text

J’onn could feel the emotions coming off of the small blue orb in Flash’s hands ever since he entered the room. He could feel the nervousness when the League focused their attentions on it, and the fear when Batman held it.

They said that they could only feel the emotions when physically touching the object; so the Martian wondered that, if he could already feel the thing’s emotions from where he was, what might he be able to gather if he actually held it? J’onn walked over to Batman.

“May I test a theory?” He asked as he held out his hand towards Batman. The orb’s fear of Batman was briefly overshadowed by curiosity directed towards the Martian. Batman remained silent for a few moments before he set the icy ball in J’onn’s hand.

‘Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh! That’s an alien, he’s an alien, that’s so awesome! Okay, stay calm, be cool.’ J’onn’s eyes widened in shock as he held the sphere closer. A wave of excitement and curiosity rushed over the ball as he heard the boy’s voice in his mind.

“Intriguing,” the Martian said as he looked around the room to the other Leaguers. “He has a voice.”

Silence.

From both the orb and the Justice League.

J’onn could feel shock and disbelief from the little sphere in his hand, and could see the same plainly displayed on the faces of his team-mates. A trickle of hope leaked from the orb, then bloomed into a sort of hope that encompassed the entire sphere and beyond.

‘You can hear me?’ came the boy’s voice.

“You can hear it- him?” Flash’s face looked like it would split in half with how wide he was smiling.

“Indeed,” J’onn said, answering both. “I believe, if I can establish a mind-link, we all might be able to hear his voice as well.” Flash instantly looked excited.

“Yes!” He looked around at everyone else for conformation. Meanwhile, the frosty sphere became nervous once again.

‘A mind-link? Do— do we have to? I mean… I don’t really like people in my mind,’ the boy stated quietly. J’onn looked back at the sphere.

“Do not worry, child, we will only be able to hear what you ‘say’ so to speak. The mind-link goes no farther than surface thoughts,” J’onn explained. He noticed Flash’s smile fall, and Batman’s and Hawk Woman’s scowls soften. Green Lantern frowned slightly and stepped forward.

“What do you mean ‘child?’ Are you telling me that’s a kid?” The military man folded his arms and stared critically at the icy ball. J’onn felt exasperation come from the small sphere.

‘I’m not a kid! I’m like, fifteen!’ the boy said with a tone that implied that he had to deal with that a lot. J’onn smiled lightly at the childishness displayed by the little orb.

“He says that he’s fifteen,” the Martian relayed. He then felt a small wave of annoyance and reluctant acceptance from the boy.

‘Fine. Let’s do that mind… thing. Just so you don’t have to repeat everything I say,’ the boy sighed. Though the nervousness was still present, J’onn could feel that the boy trusted his words.

“I shall start the mind-link once everyone has approved,” he stated, looking at Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The three shared looks, nodded, and turned back to Martian Manhunter.

“Whenever you’re ready,” said Superman.

… … …

The mind-link connected to everyone without a problem. Everyone shifted in their spots as the boy’s emotions washed over them as if they were holding the sphere itself. They all felt nervousness, hesitation, and hope coming from the direction of the small orb.

‘Umm…’ the boy’s voice rang throughout their minds. ‘Hi?’

The reaction was instantaneous.

Flash ran over to the orb that J’onn was holding, Green Lantern dropped his arms, and everyone else looked fairly surprised by the youth of the voice.

“Wowthat’samazing!Youcantalk?Whatareyou?Whatsyourname?Areyouanalien?Areyouhumanfifteenoralienfifteen?Isthereadifference?Whatplanetdidyoucomefrom?Isthatwhyyoulikespacesomuch?Whyareyouaball?Ohmygoshwasthatrude?Areallofyourpeoplelittleballs?HowdidyougettoEarth?Doyoulikeithere?HowdidyouendupinCaptainColdsgun?Isitbecauseyouresocold?Whydoyouhavemist—” Flash rambled on at high speed and didn’t notice that the icy sphere felt a little overwhelmed at all the attention. Superman put a hand on Flash’s shoulder, causing him to stop mid-sentence.

“Slow down there, Flash. Maybe ask the kid one question at a time?” He suggested.

“Oh, right, sorry,” Flash deflated a little, and tried to choose a single question. “What’s your name?”

‘My name’s Danny!’ the orb said cheerfully, with a wave of appreciation directed at Superman.

“Danny? That doesn’t sound like an alien name,” Flash mused. The ball snorted with amusement.

‘That’s because it’s not. It’s a human name. I am—‘ he stopped, amusement gone, replaced with hesitancy and worry. ‘…was… human…after all.’

The League looked at each other in confusion when they felt the little orb release a burst of nervous regret, as if he thought that he had said too much.

“Danny, what do you mean, ‘you were human’? What are you now?” Wonder Woman asked gently, knowing that harsh words would only make the boy clam up tighter. They all felt the worry, hesitation, and evasiveness before he even spoke.

‘Does it matter?’ he squeaked. The Flash waved dismissively.

“Come on kid, we’ve got several non-humans on our team, you can tell us!” He hoped that his nonchalant attitude would put the boy more at ease. It didn’t work. Frustration flared throughout the link.

‘Yeah well their very existences aren’t illegal, are they?’ he shot back before apparently realizing what he said. The nervous regret had returned, but this time it was flooded with panic and anxiousness. Batman narrowed his eyes at the sphere. This whole situation just became more complicated; complicated meant trouble, and Batman did not appreciate trouble.

“You need to start answering our questions, now,” he demanded.

‘I’m a ghost. But I’m not evil, I swear!’ the boy quickly said with panic in both his voice and emotions, along with a sort of pleading desperation. The heroes’ confusion only grew as the boy’s unease increased.

“A ghost?” Hawk Woman laughed, “Ghosts don’t exist.” Her voice broke through the tension in the room as a bit of irritation surfaced through the mind-link.

‘Uh, rude. I’m right here,’ the icy sphere exclaimed with annoyance.

“Real or not,” Batman interrupted, “Why would that make your existence illegal?”

“And why would we assume that being a ghost would make you evil?” Wonder Woman asked.

The boy stayed silent for a few moments as confusion spread throughout his mind.

‘Uhh… because everyone thinks we’re evil? Probably because the only ghosts that people see are the ones that attack them. They even made laws, the Anti-Ecto Acts, saying that ghosts are just physical manifestations of post-human consciousness, and thus are not capable of displaying emotions, empathy, or any sort of sentience, only malice and violence, and therefore banned from the living realm,’ he explained with frustration and anger lacing his words. ‘But my home is here and I haven’t attacked anyone, I promise!’

“I’ve never heard of any Anti-Ecto Acts,” Superman furrowed his brows in contemplation. Batman turned to the large computer on the wall of the room and started typing. Superman continued. “And you clearly have emotions, we’ve been feeling them through J’onn’s mind-link this entire time; and Flash thought you were sentient even before we found out you had a voice and a name, and wasn’t just a magical object.”

Flash raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah! But uhh… speaking of that, Danny, how can you attack people? You’re like, a little ball thing,” he asked. Martian Manhunter cocked his head to the side.

“Indeed, I was not aware that this was what ghosts looked like,” stated the Martian. A small exasperated groan from the frost-covered orb broke them from their musings.

‘No—this isn’t—I don’t actually look like this,’ the ball sighed in their minds. ‘I was attacked by Plasmius, and he pulled out this new device he made and blasted me with it, and it sealed me into my core!’ Anger and frustration welled up as he grumbled to himself. ‘And then if that wasn’t bad enough, he goes and sells me as a weapon! If this gets out, everybody’s going to hate me even more…’

“Who’s Plasmius? Another ghost?” Asked Hawk Woman, trying to wrap her brain around the idea that ghosts exist. Everyone cringed slightly as a burst of loathing shot through the link.

‘Yeah. He’s a crazy fruitloop that wants to kill my dad and marry my mom, and make me his son-slash-evil apprentice. The guy just doesn’t know how to take no for an answer!’ the boy growled. Hawk Woman made a face, and Green Lantern stood next to her.

“Your parents are still alive?” he asked. The loathing dissipated, replaced with a twinge of confusion.

‘Uhh, yeah, I only died about a year ago,’ the ghost boy told them. The Leaguers turned to each other in dismay; with everything that’s come to light in the past few minutes, they failed to connect the facts to the larger picture. Danny said that he was fifteen; that he used to be human; that now he’s a ghost: the kid that they’ve been talking to is dead.

“H-how did you die?” Flash asked tentatively.

Some of the Leaguers stepped back as waves of emotion hit them. Fear; fear of the memories, fear of pain. But at the edges of the waves, they could feel a bit of happiness, gratefulness, and pride.

‘It was an accident,’ the boy started. ‘My parents are inventors, scientists. One day they finally completed a machine that they’d been working on since before I was born, it was supposed to be a portal to the Ghost Zone, where the ghosts… uhh… live. But it didn’t work. When my parents left, I went inside and kind of… found the back-up “On” switch when I tripped on some wires. I got zapped, and I woke up as a ghost.’

“Sorry,” Flash whispered.

‘Hey, no worries, I get cool powers from being a ghost. I can walk through walls, disappear, and fly! And when other ghosts attack my town, I have ecto-blasts and ice powers,’ he explained. ‘You know… when I’m not trapped in my own core.’

“Ghosts attack your town? Why?” Superman asked. A small wave of guilt emanated from the orb.

‘Because they can. When I turned on the portal, the more violent ghosts found out, and came through to the living world. And because it’s my fault that the portal’s on in the first place, I have to stop them before they hurt anyone,’ the boy said sadly. The Flash lit up a bit at that.

“So you’re a hero!” he grinned. “Man, this is not what I was expecting when I picked up a weird magic ball today.” Hopeful amusement filtered through the mind-link as everyone smiled.

Sadness and irritation trickled through the fringes of the emotions, and they looked back at the orb.

‘Now if only everyone in town and the GIW saw it that way…’ The other Leaguers looked at each other, confused.

“What’s the GIW?” Green Lantern asked. The League felt the anger that the boy felt when thinking of the mysterious organization.

‘They’re a government agency, the Ghost Investigation Wing, though everybody calls them the Guys in White. They hunt ghosts, especially me, and they were the ones that passed the Anti-Ecto Acts,’ the little frost-covered ball explained.

“No, they didn’t.”

Everyone turned over to Batman, who had been typing on the computer until recently. The confusion coming from the boy matched their own. Batman walked back to where the Leaguers were grouped in front of Martian Manhunter.

‘Excuse me?’ the boy’s confusion rose with the tension in the room.

“The Anti-Ecto Acts don’t exist.” 

 

Chapter Text

All emotion from the boy ceased.

The team glanced at J'onn, who was hosting the mind-link allowing them all to feel the boy's emotions as if they were holding the small icy orb themselves. He studied the little ball in his hands, and looked back at the group.

"He is in shock," he concluded.

Confusion, happiness, irritation, surprise, relief, anger. Emotion after emotion flooded into the link, drowning out others, then being drowned out themselves. Hawk Woman was about to ask the Martian to break the mind-link when the emotions faded back to a tolerable level. She sighed in relief, rubbing her temples.

'Can… can you repeat that?' the boy asked, coming out of his shock.

"The Anti-Ecto Acts don't exist," Batman repeated. "The only records of them are bills that died very early in the legal process. The GIW doesn't exist either."

'But—no! That's impossible!' the ghost interrupted. 'They have a government facility right outside my town!'

"The GIW got disbanded twenty years ago when a college student got hospitalized after a project they were funding exploded," Batman explained. "I don't know who's in your town, but they are not government agents."

"Hey, Danny, where is your town anyway?" Flash asked, looking at the sphere worriedly.

'Amity Park, Minnesota,' he supplied. Batman turned back to the computer and started typing once more. After a moment, he pulled up some pictures and local news articles of the town.

The other heroes looked at the computer. No mention of any government agents, and the town looked normal enough—

'WHAT?' the little ball of ice yelled, confusion and panic flaring throughout the bond. 'I've only been gone for a couple days, max! How can this be?'

"How can what be?" Green Lantern asked, looking at the orb with a raised eyebrow. "Your town looks fine." Anger flitted through the link.

'That's my point! Amity Park has never been normal!' The boy started panicking again. 'It's called "The Most Haunted Town in America," there's always ghost attacks, property damage, articles blaming it all on me—but now there's nothing? That's not possible!'

"It seems like a lot of impossibilities are coming to light today," Batman mumbled.

"What's your hero name, Danny?" Flash asked, a little excited, despite the situation. "We could look you up!"

'What? Oh, uhh… I go by Phantom, or Danny Phantom,' the little ball provided, a little bit of pride filtering through his emotions.

Once again, Batman was at the computer, typing away. It took longer this time. Minutes passed when he finally turned away from the computer. Everyone looked to see what he had found on the little hero.

Nothing.

Not even a blurry photo.

The ghost teen's confusion and panic all but doubled; there was always stuff about him, whether it be an angry newspaper or a fan's blog. Batman smirked.

"Whoever wanted to get rid of you certainly put a lot of effort into erasing your existence," Batman turned slightly back to the computer and pushed a button. "But I'm better."

A video popped up on-screen as Batman turned to the rest of the team.

"This was the only thing I could find without alerting anyone that I was in the system," he explained before pushing play.

… … …

A man in a grey suit was nervously fiddling with his blond hair, trying to get loose strands in place, and mumbling what sounded like "Why does it always have to be me?"

"Lance, we're live!" a voice off-camera whispered. The man looked at the camera in slight horror, halting all movement, then quickly put his hands down and a forced smile slid across his face before picking up a microphone.

"This is Lance Thunder reporting. We are live at the scene of the latest ghost attack, where our resident ghost, Danny Phantom, is fighting—"

"Look out!" A familiar voice called off-screen. Not a second afterward, a large, glowing being crashed into the ground next to the reporter, making a crater. He jumped out of the way, screaming, protecting his hair from any debris. A large hand made of metal emerged from the crater and hoisted the rest of the being into view.

It looked like a huge metal man, about the same build as Superman, with a flaming green mohawk. He had all sorts of guns, blasters, and knives strapped to his arms, legs, and back. Every inch of him was glowing a pale green. He snarled.

"I'll get you Whelp! I'll skin you where you stand! I'll have your pelt at the foot of my bed and your head hanging on my wall!" the mechanical ghost screamed at his off-screen opponent.

"You know, hunting me hasn't been working out for you, Skulker; you should get a new hobby. Have you tried gardening?" the boy taunted.

Lance Thunder broke out of his stupor and turned to the camera operator.

"What are you doing? Get a shot of Phantom!" he pointed up to an off-camera target. Before the camera could move, a pink light flashed somewhere behind them, and the operator whipped around to see what caused it.

Another ghost was floating in the air, white cloak billowing behind him. His black hair was styled into two points, accenting his teal skin and glowing red eyes.

"Still playing the little hero, hmm, Daniel?" he smirked, showing his pointed fangs.

"Vlad!" the boy's voice called from somewhere behind the camera. Lance paled.

"T-the W-W-Wisconsin G-ghost!" the reporter stammered, shaking. Said ghost looked down at the pair of journalists and grimaced. He raised a black gloved hand and a pink energy pooled around it, creating a glowing ball. He grinned as he threw the ball at the camera.

"NO!" they heard the boy yell as the video went pink, then static.

… … …

The Justice League stared at the computer with various looks of horror on their faces.

'Don't worry, they're okay,' the ghost boy said, making the team turn back to face the little sphere in Martian Manhunter's hands. 'He just did that to distract me to get the jump on me.' A small wave of annoyance and anger wafted off of the ball.

"Who were those guys?" Flash asked, wide eyed. They heard the frosty sphere snort.

'The fruitloop that looks like a vampire is Vlad Plasmius, and the metal moron is Skulker, the so-called "Greatest Hunter in the Ghost Zone."' They could almost see the air-quotes. 'He works for Plasmius.'

"That blue vampire's the guy that did this to you?" Flash stared at the screen.

'Yeah, I guess you could call him my nemesis, but then he'd say that I'm "being dramatic, Daniel,"' he said with a mocking tone.

"And why does this Skulker hunt you, Danny?" Wonder Woman asked with worry in her voice.

''Cause I'm "unique," and he's an idiot,' the orb explained dismissively.

"What makes you unique?" Green Lantern wondered. A surprised hesitancy came over the boy, followed then by avoidance, deception, and guilt.

'Nothing, he's just a moron,' the boy said quickly, hoping to change the subject. 'I'm just a regular old ghost.' Superman raised an eyebrow, this was the first time that the boy had lied. Hawk Woman opened her mouth to say something when J'onn raised a hand.

"If you do not wish to tell us, that is fine. At this moment, protecting your town takes precedence," the Martian said, effectively moving the topic away from the ghostly hero. Batman walked up to the group.

"I agree. We need to find out what's going on in Amity Park," he turned to Flash. "Flash, I need you to scout out the town, make sure the citizens are safe. But most importantly, stay hidden; we don't exactly know what we're up against."

'Yeah, I don't know if any of you guys can actually fight ghosts,' the boy interjected. 'They can just go intangible when you try to hit them.'

"Don't worry, I'll be careful," Flash said confidently. "Be back in a flash!"

A red streak zoomed away in the direction of the zeta-tubes.

… … …

Flash was gone for ten minutes; the closest zeta-tube to Amity was in Central City, about four hundred miles away. Everyone felt the nervousness coming from the orb, as if he would be pacing back and forth had he had legs. They all looked up at the sound of beeping. J'onn walked over to the security panel and pushed a blinking button.

"Flash," he acknowledged.

"Hey everyone, I'm back!" Flash's voice panted through the communicator. "If you wouldn't mind beaming me up now?"

J'onn did some standard security checks before speaking into the communicator again.

"I am activating it now." He pushed one last button before, after a few seconds, Flash was once again in the meeting room with his team. He was smiling with his arms folded across his chest. They all felt the urgency that came over the little icy sphere as soon as he saw the Flash.

'Howwasit?Didyouseeanything?Waseveryoneokay?Werethereanyghosts?Didyougetattacked?Areyouokay?Youlookokaytome,doesthatmeanthatnoonesawyou?DidyouseePlasmius?Whatwasheupto?Howdidheeraseeverythingaboutthetown?' the boy asked rapid-fire. Everyone raised their eyebrows, even Flash looked impressed.

"Relax, I went to the town and everything looked fine to me," he reassured the panicking ghost.

"What about the citizens?" Batman asked in monotone, creasing his brow. Flash stilled, his eyes widened, and he dropped his hands and his jaw. He nervously rubbed the back of his neck.

"I… didn't go in?" At Flash's words, their minds were filled with the teen's disbelief and a hint of betrayal. Hawk Woman stepped forward angrily.

"You didn't go in!? You were supposed to check on the people! You saw that video, you know that those ghosts have no qualms about attacking the civilians!" she yelled. Flash stepped back and raised his hands in a placating gesture.

"I'll go again! I'll check on everyone and make sure they're safe. Uhh, be right back!" he said before he zoomed away once more.

… … …

Flash was gone for twelve minutes this time. When the security panel beeped, J'onn teleported him up. Flash was standing in the middle of the room while the League looked at him. They had all gotten used to the nervousness that the orb had been emitting constantly for the past twenty minutes.

"How was it?" asked Wonder Woman. Flash shrugged.

"Everything looked fine to me," he said nonchalantly. Batman narrowed his eyes.

"And the citizens?" he asked, frowning. Flash's eyes went even wider than before as he took a step back and clutched his head.

"I…" he squinted at the floor before he looked back to the rest of the group. "I didn't… go in?"

"Is it a spell?" Wonder Woman stepped closer to Flash.

"It could be hypnosis," Green Lantern said as he examined the Flash as well. Curiosity and confusion filtered through the mind-link as the ghost teen thought.

'It doesn't look like any sort of spell or hypnosis I've seen some of the other ghosts do, he would be acting differently,' the boy explained. 'But he seems to break out of it every time as soon as the town is brought up.' A flash of recognition slid across Batman's face before he furrowed his brow in contemplation, a hand resting on his chin.

"Danny, you said that Plasmius created the devise that sealed you into your core?" he asked the orb.

'Yeah?' the teen answered as his confusion steadily grew.

"And he's also interested in your parents, the scientists and inventors?" Batman smiled faintly as he felt realization dawn on the boy.

'Yeah, and he also has access to a lot of resources, and as much as I hate to say it, he's smart enough to build pretty much anything he wants,' the ball supplied. 'What are you thinking?'

"Attention Deflectors," he answered. "They work just as their name implies, causing people's attention to slide off of whatever it's hiding, either making the viewer not notice the subject entirely, or make it seem like nothing is out of the ordinary."

"Then how are we supposed to get past it?" Hawk Woman asked Batman. He frowned.

"Even I wouldn't be able to overcome something like this," he looked at J'onn. "We need someone who, for at least the majority of their life, has been dedicated to psychic mental discipline." The Martian looked down at the orb in his hands, then made his way over to the Flash.

"I will go. Though I will not be as fast as Flash; I predict the journey will take about an hour," he told Batman, then faced the speedster and held out his hand with the ghost core. "He feels the most comfortable with you."

The League smiled a bit when they felt the little hero's embarrassment directed at the Martian. Flash grinned.

"We should go to the observation deck! J'onn will be back before we know it, right Danny?" He tried to sound upbeat, but he knew that the kid understood the gravity of the situation concerning his town. The appreciation the orb sent him made his smile a bit more genuine, before a wave of exhaustion hit him like a train.

'Thanks Flash, but I think…' the boy yawned. Some of them wondered how a disembodied voice inside a little ball of ice could yawn. 'I think I'm just going to take a nap.'

"Do you wish to say any else before I leave?" the Martian questioned. "I will not be able to host the mind-link while I am gone."

'Yeah, umm…' They waited a few moments while Danny thought of what to say. 'I really appreciate this you guys. If… if I knew you would be so helpful to something like me, I think I would have tried to seek you out sooner.' He chuckled a bit. 'I probably could have avoided this whole situation.'

The Leaguers looked at the little sphere sadly, but when the teen yawned again, Flash took the orb and J'onn departed. 

 

Chapter Text

The Justice League decided to follow their new acquaintance’s lead, and take this time to rest. Most of them found themselves in the rec-room, talking amongst each other. Flash still went to the observation deck so that Danny could have a quiet room to sleep, and so that he could look at the stars. Flash didn’t know a lot about space, but being friends with a couple Green Lanterns and multiple aliens made it difficult to not pick up a book or two about the stars.

He didn’t know exactly how long he was sitting there as the little ball of ice snoozed before he started to feel something weird from the orb. Flitting emotions, just grazing the surface of his mind. There, then not there. Not any of the powerful emotions he had felt earlier that day, just a flickering presence in the back of his mind. Flash raised an eyebrow.

“Little guy’s dreaming,” he thought out loud. He looked around the room just in case anyone had come in without him noticing; when he saw no one, he held the blue sphere a little closer and concentrated on deciphering the emotions to see if he could tell what the kid was dreaming about.

Annoyance, sarcasm, pride. Flash knows that feeling, is he taunting someone?

Protectiveness, righteousness, joy. He smiled a bit, the little guy’s fighting bad guys in his dreams.

Surprise, anger, protectiveness, determination. He frowned, what happened?

Shock, fear, exhaustion, fear, anger, fear, Fear, FEAR! Flash gasped and stood up, looking around the room in a panic, then ran to the other Leaguers in the rec-room.

“Guys!” He whisper-shouted, cradling the little orb in his hands. They all looked at him with surprise, some standing up in defensive positions, looking around the room.

“What is wrong, Flash?” Wonder Woman asked when she saw nothing out of the ordinary. He held out his hands to show them the ghostly core.

“I think Danny’s having a nightmare,” Flash whispered in slight panic. “What should I do? Should I try to wake him up?”

“How are you going to wake him up? Have you tried shaking him?” Hawk Woman suggested, placing a hand on her hip. Flash quickly moved the frosty orb closer to him, up to chest as if protecting it from their view. He had a scandalized expression on his face.

“I’m not gonna shake him! Wouldn’t that… I don’t know, scramble his brains or something?” Flash whispered. Hawk Woman growled.

“I didn’t say to shake him that hard!” She whisper-yelled. Green Lantern looked as though he was trying not to laugh, and Superman stood up.

“Alright everyone, no need to start panicking,” he tried gently. Hawk Woman glared at him.

“I’m not panicking—“

Flash tuned out everyone when he heard a noise from the orb. He stared intently, trying to decide if it was just his imagination or not when he heard another noise, like a groan.

‘Ugh…’ He heard Danny’s groggy voice in his mind. ‘Why is everyone yelling? Can I get five more minutes?’ he complained, still half-asleep. Flash looked up at everyone.

“Is J’onn back?” Everyone paused and looked at him. Green Lantern glanced at the clock.

“He’s been gone for less than an hour. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back within fifteen minutes, why? Do you think he’ll be able to wake the kid up? With how you were acting, I didn’t think you’d want to wait that—“ he stopped when Flash started waving one of his hands that wasn’t holding the blue sphere.

“No no no, he’s already awake. I mean… he woke up and was like ‘why are you guys yelling?’ and I think he went back to sleep again, but my point is that he spoke and I heard him!” Flash said in a single breath. The heroes blinked. They looked at Flash, then to the orb, then back at Flash.

“You heard his voice?” Wonder Woman stepped closer. Flash could feel some of the grogginess clear from the sphere, replaced with alertness, confusion, and curiosity.

‘Wait what? You can hear me? Is Martian Manhunter back from Amity?’ a not-so-sleepy Danny asked.

“Yes—No, I mean… uhh… Yes, I can hear him, because he’s awake again; and no, Danny, he’s not back yet but I can still hear you.” He looked back to the rest of the League. “Could you guys hear him or is it just me?” They shook their heads.

“May I?” Wonder Woman held out her hand. Flash looked at the icy orb expectantly. He felt the ghostly hero become slightly flustered.

‘Uhh, sure?’ he agreed as Flash placed the ball in Wonder Woman’s outstretched hand. She smiled gently.

“Hello, Danny. I hope you have rested well,” she greeted. Her smile became more amused when she felt the teen’s bashfulness and embarrassment.

‘Um, yes, thank you!’ He became thoughtful for a moment. ‘I actually feel really great; I think I might be able to re-form soon.’

“Hera! That is wonderful news!” She looked back up at the curious faces of her team. “He says that he may be able to re-form soon.” Everyone’s joy was interrupted when they heard the Watchtower’s overhead speakers turn on.

“Batman to the Justice League: Someone is trying to hack into the Watchtower’s security systems.” Batman’s monotone voice rang through the compound, then the speakers clicked off. Wonder Woman felt a burst of panic from the frosty orb in her hands.

“What is wrong, Danny?” she asked with worry in her voice. Flash looked at the ball with concern.

‘It has to be Vlad. He must know I’m here,’ the boy explained. Wonder Woman turned to the Flash and offered him the ghostly core.

“Superman and I are going to check on Batman; the rest of you stay here and wait for J’onn,” she ordered before the two heroes took off towards the meeting room.

… … …

Green Lantern, Hawk Woman, and the Flash sat down to wait for an update. Flash strummed his fingers on the table before he got an idea. He grinned at the blue sphere.

“So Danny, what’s got you interested in space?” he asked. Green Lantern and Hawk Woman gave him curious looks before going back to their own conversation. Flash lit up when he felt pride coming from the orb, and tried to keep the smile on his face when it turned into sadness and regret.

‘Well, uhh… I wanted to be an astronaut, but…’ the ghost trailed off. Flash mentally slapped himself.

“Uhh, how about you tell us—well, just me, I guess—about your adventures?” He suggested.

‘My adventures?’ the boy asked with curiosity.

“Yeah! You are a hero, you must have seen some pretty wild stuff, right?” Flash internally sighed in relief when the previous negative emotions were replaced with thoughtfulness and pride once again.

‘Sure, what do you want to know?’ Flash tapped his finger on his chin as he thought about what to ask.

“Who was your first villain?” That’s probably a good start, he thought.

‘That’d have to the Lunch Lady,’ the teen supplied. Flash almost burst into laughter.

“Yeah, I didn’t like my lunch lady either when I was in school,” he chuckled.

‘No—she was a ghost. She uhh, she tried to take over the school with a ground beef meat monster when my friend tried to change the menu to be vegetarian,’ the boy explained. That didn’t stop Flash from laughing. After a minute, he calmed down when he noticed the irritation from the orb.

“Okay, okay, sorry about that,” he thought of another question. “Who’s your strangest villain?”

‘Hmm… that would probably have to be Klemper,’ the little hero said thoughtfully. ‘He’s not a bad guy, he’s just… a bit clingy. But his temper tantrums can be dangerous, and his hugs are killer,’ he snickered. Flash started laughing again and the two other heroes in the room looked back at them.

“Let’s see, who’s your most annoying—“

‘Box Ghost,’ the teen interrupted. ‘Definitely the Box Ghost.’

Box Ghost? I can only guess what he does,” Flash laughed. Green Lantern and Hawk Woman smiled fondly at the two and the one-sided conversation that they could hear. “Oh, one more!” Flash snapped his fingers.

“Who was your toughest villain?”

Hatred. Anger. Guilt. Self-loathing. The emotions hit him harder than a punch from Superman. He gasped and fell backwards out of his chair. Hawk Woman and Green Lantern were up and by his side in an instant.

“Flash! What happened?” They asked, concern and panic threatening to infiltrate their voices.

“Danny? Are you okay?” Flash sat up and held the core closer.

‘Sorry. I don’t want to talk about it,’ the ghost boy whispered. ‘Umm… don’t worry about him though, he’s sealed away where he can never hurt anyone again.’

“What—“ Before Flash could press the issue, they heard a beeping sound from one of the security panels. Green Lantern walked over and pressed the button.

“J’onn, did you find anything?” he questioned the now returned Martian.

“I did. It was quite… troubling,” the alien answered. Panic bubbled up from the little orb at the news of his hometown. “Gather everyone in the meeting room and I shall explain further.”

… … …

Flash held the ghost hero’s core and resisted asking about the massive amount of emotions earlier as he, Green Lantern, and Hawk Woman entered the meeting room where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were trying to disrupt the potential hacker. The latter two turned to face the newcomers.

“J’onn’s back,” Green Lantern informed them. “He wanted to tell us what he found in Amity Park. He called it ‘troubling.’” He looked to Batman, who was still hunched over a keyboard, typing rapidly. “You want us to go to a different room?”

“No,” he said without looking up. At that moment Martian Manhunter entered the room and looked at everyone individually, then settled on Flash, or rather, the orb.

“Do you wish to start the mind-link again?” J’onn asked, expecting to have to decipher the teen’s emotions, and was surprised to hear his voice without actively holding the core.

‘Yeah, go ahead, what about Amity?’ the boy quickly accepted, hoping to get this meeting rolling already.

“He said to—“ Flash started, before seeing the look of shock on the Martian’s face. “Oh! Can you hear him too? Awesome! We’ll uhh, we’ll explain later,” he dismissed, letting J’onn do his thing.

As the mind-link connected to everyone, they once again felt a blanket of nervousness and anxiety; but this time it was not directed at themselves, but instead, the hometown of their little friend. J’onn stepped forward to summarize his journey to Amity Park. He cleared his throat.

“What I have seen on the outskirts of Amity Park, Minnesota, was troubling, to say the least. Batman was correct; whoever is responsible for attempting to hide the town is using attention deflectors. Had I not already known to prepare my mind beforehand, I would surely have been susceptible to that level of technology,” J’onn explained. Flash let out an audible sigh of relief.

J’onn continued. “However, even with my resistance to the deflectors, I was still unable to enter the town itself, due to a dome-like shield made of green energy. I could not get through with my density-shifting, and I suspect that none of the townspeople could leave either, if they could even get close to the shield without being detected.” Some of the Leaguers looked at him in confusion. “There were ghostly animals that I could only assume were patrolling the area; moving in organized groups and structured patterns.” He stopped when the heroes felt recognition coming from the orb.

‘Vlad has a small army of ghost animals, though he usually keeps them near his… uhh, territory in Wisconsin,’ the boy confirmed, with a touch of evasiveness. At this point, they all suspected that the little hero was hiding something; but what and why, they had no idea. They did not feel any maliciousness coming from the boy, so they decided to let it go… for now. J’onn continued his recount.

“Indeed. Yet, that was not the most troubling observation,” He stared at his team-mates intently, so they knew his sincerity. “In what I assume was the center of town, was a large, purple and black dragon.” A burst of surprise made everyone turn to the small, blue sphere in Flash’s hands.

‘Aragon!? That creep escaped Dora’s prison again?’ he said with exasperation and more than a hint of anger. Wonder Woman’s lips curled upwards.

“You have fought a dragon before?” she said with a small amount of pride. The ghostly core became thoughtful for a moment.

‘Well, he’s not technically a dragon. Both he and Princess Dora have these magic amulets that turn them into dragons when they get mad. He used to rule a kingdom in the Ghost Zone that he kept in the Dark Ages through his tyranny, then I helped convince Dora that she didn’t have to obey him just because he was her brother, and she overthrew him,’ he explained. ‘He’s pretty much hated me ever since, for filling his sister’s head with “modern ideas.”’

The Leaguers looked impressed at their new friend’s past accomplishments, but shifted as a cloud of caution and anxiety loomed over the group.

‘If he’s working with Vlad, this could be really bad for Amity,’ the ghost boy mumbled. Superman stepped forward.

“What we need to do, is figure out a plan of attack; first to get past those attention deflectors—“ He was cut off by a low growl from Batman. They turned to see him typing furiously on the computer.

“What’s wrong?” Green Lantern asked as he prepared for the worst.

“I can’t block them out much longer,” Batman hit a few more keys before all the screens in the room turned on to show static. “It’s too late,” He walked back over to the group. “They got through.”

The static cleared, and a face filled each screen, leering over the heroes. Dread filled the minds of the Leaguers.

“MUAHAHAHAHA!!”

‘Oh no.’

Chapter Text

"I AM TECHNUS! MASTER OF ALL TECHNOLOGY!" A green-skinned ghost with a white 19th century cloak on top of a black trench-coat with white hair in a long mullet laughed as he appeared on every monitor screen in the Justice League's meeting room.

'Oh no,' the voice of the little orb was filled with annoyance and exasperation. The images of the ghost, now known to the League as Technus, all came together and merged into one on the largest monitor. He then reached his hands out to the sides of the screen and, to the heroes' surprise, went through the glass and held onto the frame, pulling himself through the computer screen.

Everyone jumped into defensive positions, and Flash moved back behind everyone, shielding Danny's ghostly core from view. Technus floated above them all, turning his whole body, looking around the room dramatically.

"WHERE IS THE GHOST CHILD?" He yelled in a shrill voice. "I KNOW HE'S HERE, PLASMIUS HAS DEMANDED THAT I BRING THE GHOST CHILD TO HIM!"

"I don't think so!" Superman flew up and aimed to punch the glowing ghost while Batman readied several batarangs. Wonder Woman and Hawk Woman moved to flank him, preparing to attack. J'onn and Green Lantern stood in front of Flash, guarding him and the core.

Superman's attack fell short when his fist went through the ghost as he stumbled, losing his balance while he flew. Batman threw three quick batarangs. Everyone's eyes widened when they halted their course in mid-air. Technus had his hand stretched out towards the batarangs, as if keeping them in the air himself. He held out a finger and waved it at the League.

"I TOLD YOU! I AM THE MASTER OF ALL TECHNOLOGY!" He made a stirring motion in the air with his finger. The batarangs spun around, and as Technus thrust his outstretched hand at the Justice League once again, the bat-shaped razors flew at high speed back towards Batman. He quickly dodged and blocked them with his reinforced cape.

Technus laughed maniacally as he slowly raised his hands as if lifting a large, unknown force.

Various objects around the room started to glow green and lift off the ground. Technus raised his hands higher and the objects started to spin around him faster and faster until they made what seemed to be a tech-tornado.

"FOOLS! YOU SHALL ALL BE DESTROYED UNLESS YOU TELL ME WHERE THE GHOST CHILD IS!" He thrust out his hands and random objects from the tornado threw themselves at the heroes.

"This is getting us nowhere, fast," Hawk Woman remarked. They all felt the instant that the icy core in Flash's hands got an idea.

'Get him talking!' the boy suggested. Technus looked directly at the Flash and creased his brow.

"I KNEW YOU WERE HERE! SHOW YOURSELF GHOST CHILD!" he shrieked. The surprise everyone felt didn't come from just the orb.

'He can hear me?' the ghost boy asked in shock.

"OF COURSE I CAN HEAR YOU, GHOST CHILD! WHY DO YOU SOUND SO MUFFLED? WHERE ARE YOU?" Technus shouted as he kept throwing random objects at the Leaguers. Green Lantern created a shield to protect himself, J'onn, Flash, and the core from the onslaught of flying technology.

"Get him talking about what, Danny?" he prompted. The sphere's urgency filled their minds.

'Anything! Just get him talking! He gets distracted when he starts monologuing!' the boy shouted.

"HAHA! DIM-WITTED HUMANS! I NEVER GET DISTRACTED, I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND ME AT ALL TI—" The objects around the room stopped spinning and dropped to the ground as Technus's face hit the floor. Hawk Woman stood behind him, holding her mace on her shoulder.

"He was starting to get really annoying," she said with a smirk.

… … …

Wonder Woman had tied Technus up with her lasso and set his limp form in the middle of the room, waiting for him to wake up. Batman turned to the orb, a slight glare apparent on his face.

"You've encountered him before, correct?" As soon as he went into interrogation-mode, a light nervousness wafted off the icy core.

'Umm, yeah. He can control and manipulate any form of technology… like you saw, uhh, just now, I guess,' the ghost boy answered.

"Is that how he got through Batman's defenses so easily?" Green Lantern questioned. Said Bat shot him a quick glare.

'I mean, I wouldn't have said it was easy for him; Batman was able to keep him out for, what, twenty minutes? I was convinced that it wouldn't be Technus if it took him that long. He can usually get past even advanced firewalls in seconds,' the boy explained. Superman gave the, now less irritated, Batman an appreciative smile. The Dark Knight just huffed in response.

Then, the spectral villain started to stir, and the orb's anxiety grew as he started filing through different scenarios in his mind.

'Are you sure your lasso's enough to hold him?' the ghostly hero asked worriedly.

"It has been blessed by the goddess Hestia herself, imbuing it with the Fires of Truth. It should be able to hold a being such as this, little one," she said confidently.

No one blamed the boy for the nervous skepticism they felt from him; they heard him mumble something that sounded like 'I hope you're right.'

The techy ghost groaned and sat up, looking around the room in a daze. He suddenly gasped and looked down at the golden rope around him; he tried to stand up, only to have Hawk Woman poke him in the chest with her mace.

"Down boy," the winged heroine taunted. He glared at her through small black glasses.

"FOOLISH HUMANS!" Hawk Woman made a face as the ghost shouted. "YOUR PATHETIC MORTAL BONDS CANNOT CONTAIN ME!" Technus puffed up his chest in defiance and became transparent. Panic welled up in the orb as the villain went intangible.

"HAHAHAHA—WHAT?" he shrieked. "IMPOSSIBLE!" The ghost started to struggle more against the rope when he could not simply slip through it. He let out a small 'eep!' when Wonder Woman tugged on one end of her lasso to lift him up to eye-level.

"You will tell us, spirit: Why are you here?" the Amazon demanded. Technus squirmed under the harsh scrutiny of the princess.

"I TOLD YOU BEFORE! I'M HERE FOR THE GHOST CHILD!" he squawked. They were all starting to get tired of the villain's antics. Batman walked over and got right in the ghost's face.

"How did you, or rather, Plasmius, know he was here?" he questioned darkly. His tone made sure that Technus knew that the Bat was not messing around. The mulleted ghost cowered as Batman stared at him with controlled fury.

"I—HE—PLAMIUS SAW YOUR RED-SUITED GOODY—" he started, before turning to the Flash and dropping his jaw with a look of horror on his face. "I-I-IS THAT A—IS THAT A GHOST'S CORE!?" he screamed. The heroes felt surprise, then irritation from the little blue sphere that the speedster held.

'Yeah, it is! It's me, you moron! What, did Vlad not tell you what you were coming to pick up?' the boy mocked, though the rest of the League knew that he was just as confused as the ghostly villain appeared to be. Technus's glasses seemed to move with his eyes as they widened.

"NO, HE DIDN'T! I THOUGHT—" he shut his mouth and looked down. After a moment, Technus looked back up, brows furrowed, with an oddly serious expression on his face. "Phantom, is it true that Plasmius did this to you?"

'Of course he did, or do you know another crazed up fruitloop with a Plasmius Mortus, or whatever stupid name he called it?' the teen growled.

Technus's expression darkened and he snarled. His aura flared dangerously until Wonder Woman tightened the lasso, earning her a surprised yelp from the ghost. The others moved closer to the Flash, sensing their little friend's increase in fear and helplessness. The techy ghost looked solemnly at the core.

"Phantom, I swear to you, if I had known that Plasmius would do such a thing… I would never had allied myself with him." Technus looked very serious and the team could feel the ghostly hero's growing confusion.

'I—but—I don't… Why?' the boy stuttered. Technus's glasses widened with his eyes in shock before narrowing them in confusion.

"You… you mean you don't know?" At that, the teen, as well as the other heroes, became frustrated and angry.

'Don't know what, exactly?' The icy core huffed in annoyance. Technus's face became deathly serious once again, and he began to speak in a slow, calming voice that made sure that the ghostly hero was paying attention.

"Phantom… What Plasmius did, it's…" he took a breath. "Forcing a ghost into their core violates one of our oldest, and most sacred laws. Not even Pariah Dark would have done something like this." He looked directly at the core. "I will do everything in my power to assist you until Plasmius has been defeated."

This made the teen hero's mind come crashing to a halt. Flash would have laughed if the situation wasn't so serious; the kid had been rendered speechless several times today, which, he got the feeling didn't happen a lot. As Danny's mind restarted itself, they could feel his confusion, which then led into anger and denial.

'But—but why? You hate me, why would you help me? I have no reason to trust you!' he practically shouted. Technus hung his head in guilt. Wonder Woman raised an eyebrow. Superman coughed, getting everyone's attention.

"Uh… Lasso of Truth," he pointed out, motioning to the rope currently binding the villainous ghost. "Everything he's said since he woke up has been true." Batman folded his arms.

"So you can help us then," the Dark Knight stated. "Can you get the information concerning Amity Park back? And get us past the attention deflectors?" Technus nodded.

"Yes. I was the one who erased Amity's records, and I also helped Plasmius build the shield and the deflectors," he looked thoughtful for a moment. "But I can't do it from here. If you release me, I can get all the information back, and have the deflectors down by morning."

"And the energy shield?" Green Lantern reminded them. The ghost looked at him and shook his head.

"Bringing the shield down this early would cause too much suspicion. Once you arrive at Amity tomorrow, I can make a hole long enough for you to enter," Technus assured everyone. They all glanced at each other and nodded. Wonder Woman moved him so that he was standing up once more, and Hawk Woman jabbed him in the chest with her mace, letting her face get uncomfortably close to his.

"If you do anything to compromise this… deal we've made?" She smirked, "I'll let your imagination fill in the rest," she patted him on the check and stepped back as the Amazonian started to untie the green ghost. As soon as he was free, he floated above everyone's heads with a frown.

"I'll need to tell the others about Plasmius's crime. No self-respecting ghost will ever work for him again, I can promise you that," Technus smirked evilly. He seemed as though he was about to leave, but hesitated, and looked back at the ghostly core. "Phantom, I certainly hope you are able to re-form by tomorrow; your town's going to need you. I said that no one would want to work for Plasmius after this, but I can't guarantee that they will work with you, either. You need to be at full strength to beat him."

With that said, he sunk back into the largest computer monitor, and with a flash of light, he was gone.

… … …

Delight.

It was a surprise, a pleasant one to be sure, but a surprise nonetheless, to be feeling a burst of delight from their little orb. After everything that had happened and everything that had been said in the past couple hours, they had gotten used to the ever-present anxiety that came with their new friend. Flash looked down at the blue sphere.

"Hey, what's up, buddy?" wondering what put the ghostly hero in such a good mood.

'I think I have enough energy now to re-form!' the teen said excitedly. Flash grinned and glanced at the others' smiling faces.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Give it a shot!" He smiled encouragingly when both hesitancy and confidence radiated from the ball. The rest of the Leaguers circled around Flash as the core started glowing. It shined brighter and lifted itself out of Flash's hand, hovering just below eye-level at the center of the circle.

'Here goes nothing.' The light from the orb grew and expanded, then after a moment, condensed into a humanoid shape, floating about two feet off the ground. Two white rings appeared around the waist of the figure, making some of the Leaguers take a step back. The rings split apart, one moving up and the other going down, and wherever the rings passed, the heroes could finally see what the young ghost boy looked like.

He had a black, one-piece suit, with a white belt, gloves, boots, and collar-piece. On his chest was a stylized D with what looked like a small P in the center. When one ring went over the form's head, they saw that the boy did not have blue or green skin like the other ghosts they've seen today, but a tanned, brownish skin-tone. His hair was pure white, like freshly fallen snow; and a mess, like it has been permanently wind-swept.

He kept his eyes closed while he was re-forming. After the rings were done, they disappeared, and he hovered to the ground. When his feet touched the floor, he opened his eyes and looked up, with glowing green irises, into the faces of the Justice League, and smiled wide.

"Uhh… hi? Again, I guess?" He waved shyly, then frowned slightly, and started stretching. The heroes heard a series of loud pops and cracks. "Man, remind me never to get stuck in my core again." Flash laughed and ruffled his hair.

"Well hey kid, it's nice to finally meet you in person!" He grinned as Danny tried to push his hands away.

"Come on, I've been here the entire time!" the boy said with amusement. He glanced over to Superman, who had a small frown on his face, and tensed. "What's wrong?" he asked with worry in his voice.

Everyone turned to the Kryptonian. He looked up, seeming to realize that he had been frowning, and replaced it with a forced smile.

"Nothing, it's just…" Superman mulled over his words. "It's just a little disconcerting for me, to see someone so young and, well frankly, alive looking, without hearing a heartbeat." Danny smiled and waved his hand dismissively.

"You get used to it." He winced and held his head. "Aww man, I think I should've…" He stumbled backwards and bumped into Flash.

"Hey bud, what's wrong?" the speedster asked, trying not to panic. The others looked worried too.

"Ugh, I think I should've waited until morning," the ghost boy started to explain. "I used up too much energy to reform." He looked up at everyone with a tired smile. "Don't worry, I just need to—"

The boy collapsed in Flash's arms as they all gasped. Flash picked him up to get him to the medical bay, but almost dropped him when two white rings appeared around his waist.

Flash's mind went into overdrive.

These are the same rings that appeared when he was re-forming! Does this mean that he's destabilizing? Is he going to get trapped in his core again? He just got out! We have to do something!

It seemed like the other Leaguers were having the same thoughts, as Flash could hear their panicked voices, "No!" – "Hera!" – "We've got to do something!" – "What can we do?" –

A second after the rings appeared, they started to split apart, and the heroes went silent.

The white rings moved across the unconscious boy's body, and the Leaguers saw him transform once again. But this time, his black bodysuit changed into a white t-shirt with a red oval in the middle and jeans. His skin became slightly paler, and his snow white hair turned jet black.

But the most surprising thing that Superman noted was—

"Guys… he's got a heartbeat."

 

 

Chapter Text

The Justice League stared at the unconscious, but very much alive, boy resting in Flash’s arms. Batman came out of the trance first.

“Get him to the infirmary!” he ordered. Flash jumped.

“R-right!” He zoomed off in the direction of the medical bay, with the rest of the League quickly following.

Flash set the boy down on one of the medical beds and started hooking him up to various machines while he waited for his team to arrive. He looked up when the bay doors opened.

“Well he’s definitely not dead,” Flash said, pointing to the heart monitor. “But I don’t get it, how can a ghost just come back to life like that?”

“We won’t know anything for sure until he wakes up,” Batman stated. The heroes forced themselves to calm down and relax; they knew that they wouldn’t be getting answers any time soon. “In the meantime, we need to wait for Technus to bring back the records for Amity Park. I suggest that you all go home. We’ll reconvene in the morning.”

“No way,” Flash pouted. “I’m staying here.” And to somehow prove his point, he sat down in a chair. The others looked at him with amused expressions.

“I’ll take monitor duty,” Hawk Woman waved and walked off. Green Lantern raised an eyebrow.

“I’ll help,” he jogged to catch up to the Thanagarian. Batman turned to the remaining three members. Superman rubbed the back of his head.

“I should return to Metropolis,” he admitted. “Call me if anything happens.” He turned in the direction of the Zeta tubes and flew away.

“And I shall take my leave as well,” Wonder Woman bowed slightly, and followed Superman. Batman raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at J’onn. He just shrugged and sat down next to Flash. Batman sighed and made his way to a chair next to one of the infirmary’s computers and started typing.

… … …

It was late into the night when an alert softly beeped on the computer. Flash and J’onn were both asleep. Batman clicked on the alert.

Technus was able to retrieve Amity’s records sooner than he had anticipated; curious, he started to look through them. As he read through the files, his frown deepened. Things just got more complicated.

It was a few hours later when he decided to call the team back to review what he had discovered. Everyone’s communicators chirped, startling Flash awake. He examined the unconscious boy first; seeing nothing had changed, he realized that Batman had summoned them for a meeting, and walked over to the Bat. J’onn blinked and stood up gracefully, following the Flash.

“What’s up, Bats?” the speedster tried to ask casually.

“Everything on Amity Park is back,” Batman replied, folding his arms. He glanced at the sleeping kid. “Apparently, nothing is as it seems,” he mumbled, and looked back up to the Flash. “The situation is more complicated than we first thought.” The speedster’s eyes widened as they heard the Zeta tubes activate, signaling that Superman and Wonder Woman were back.

About a minute later, the six heroes were gathered next to Batman, at one of the infirmary’s computers.

“What’d you find out about the kid?” Green Lantern asked, arms folded across his chest.

“More than he wanted us to.” Batman pulled up two pictures, one of the white-haired ghost boy, Danny, and another of the black-haired definitely-not-dead boy, Danny. He turned around to face the League.

“His real name is Daniel Fenton, son of Doctors Jack and Madeline Fenton,” Batman explained. “And he’s been alive… mostly.”

“Okay, first, what do you mean he’s alive? I mean, I know he’s alive now, but it didn’t feel like he lied when he said that he was dead, and a ghost, right?” Flash turned to the rest of the team, who murmured confirmations. “Second, ‘mostly’?”

“I won’t be able to confirm anything before he wakes up, but I have a pretty good idea about what happened,” Batman stated. The Leaguers motioned for him to continue.

“What he told us about how he died was true. His parents, ghost experts and skilled inventors, built a portal to a parallel dimension known as the Ghost Zone. When it didn’t work, he went inside and turned it on. It electrocuted him and he turned into a ghost,” he reiterated. “What he failed to mention, was that it actually turned him into, what I suspect is, a hybrid. Half ghost, and half human.”

The heroes’ eyes widened as they looked over to the sleeping boy on the other side of the room. Before anyone could properly gather their thoughts, the Dark Knight continued.

“And I don’t believe he’s the only one.” He pulled up two more pictures. One was of the vampire-like ghost that they saw in the earlier video, the one that Danny had confirmed to be his arch enemy, Vlad Plasmius. The other was a picture of a man with grey hair pulled into a low ponytail, dressed in a very expensive-looking suit.

“As we know,” Batman began, pointing to the vampiric ghost. “This is Vlad Plasmius, also known as the Wisconsin Ghost. He’s Phantom’s nemesis, as well as the one who sealed him inside his core.” He then motioned to the man in the suit. “This is Vladimir Masters, multi-billionaire, new mayor of Amity Park, and…” he pulled up an article, one dated to over twenty years ago. “He was the student that was hospitalized when the GIW-funded ghost portal prototype exploded when he was working on it with the now, Jack and Maddie Fenton.”

“You think he’s also a hybrid?” Superman asked, inspecting both pictures. Batman nodded.

“Yes. He was hospitalized for quite some time with a disfigurement they had called ‘ecto-acne;’ afterwards, there was a string of bank robberies throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Masters became an overnight billionaire, and the culprit was never found,” he explained. “Recently, however, he got back in contact with his ‘old college buddies,’ the Fentons. After that, Plasmius started showing up in Amity Park, displaying most of the same powers as Phantom, excluding cryokinesis; and some powers he doesn’t, including duplication and teleportation, which Phantom has started to show the beginnings of.”

“So his arch enemy is friends with his parents? That’s gotta be rough,” Flash sighed. “Hold on a second, didn’t Danny say that the guy wanted to kill his dad and marry his mom?” He blinked, then—“Wait! Do his parents even know?”

“I highly doubt it, considering that they are one of the main opponents of Phantom in the first place.”

“I don’t understand,” Wonder Woman said, glancing to the boy, then back to Batman. “Is he not a superhero? Even if they did not know that he was their son, why would they not support him?”

“There were some…” Batman frowned, “incidents when he first started out.” He pulled up two articles, titled ‘Inviso-Bill Kidnaps Mayor’ and ‘Ghost Boy Goes Bad’. The heroes grimaced as they read the accounts. Green Lantern scrunched up his nose and scowled.

“Alright, I know we’ve only known the kid for a couple of hours, but we all felt his emotions when he was talking; I don’t think he’s capable of doing any of these things!” he defended. Batman raised an eyebrow.

“He didn’t.” The Leaguers looked to him, confusion and relief evident in their eyes. He pointed to the first article. “They said that Phantom, previously dubbed ‘Inviso-Bill,’ kidnapped and threatened the former mayor. However, in the footage of the event, it’s clear that the mayor is being controlled somehow, probably by another ghost, and was making a scene by grabbing Phantom in such a way that it looked like Phantom was kidnapping him.” He paused before continuing.

“Ghosts, in this town, already had a bad reputation. This incident fostered distrust between himself and the greater community. That, coupled with the anti-ghost propaganda, solidified—“

“Anti-ghost propaganda?” Flash interrupted. Batman tightened his jaw, but pulled up a video nonetheless.

… … …

A large man in an orange jumpsuit, along with a curvy woman in a teal jumpsuit, were walking out of a huge white building that looked like it would be city hall. Several reporters shoved microphones and cameras in their faces, though the two seemed unfazed by the intrusion.

“Mrs. Fenton, what do you make of the ghost boy’s claims?” an off-camera reporter asked. The woman in teal turned to the camera.

“All ghosts are liars and manipulators, Inviso-Bill is no different. I wouldn’t trust anything that ghost says. He threatened our mayor, and we will not stand for that,” she said calmly. The man, which the League assumed was Jack Fenton, practically bounced into view of the camera.

“Don’t worry! Once we catch that ghost, we’re going to rip it apart, molecule by molecule!” He smiled wide.

… … …

“Oh,” Flash said lamely, slightly pale. Superman frowned. Hawk Woman glared at the screen.

“And he lives with these people?” she growled. Batman only nodded, a scowl apparent on his face as well.

“This would have solidified his reputation, however, he continued to protect the town from other ghost attacks, changing the minds of most of the younger citizens. He was starting to grow on more of the adults, until…” he motioned to the second article.

“The robberies,” J’onn mentioned. “The report indicated that everything that was stolen had been found in the possession of a circus ringmaster and returned. But the real question is: Why would Phantom steal for a circus?”

“He never did anything willingly; the ringmaster had an artifact that could control ghosts,” Batman explained. “However, due to his already tarnished reputation, no one believed him. Even now, nearly a year later, most of the older citizens think that he will turn on them at any moment.

“In fact,” he cleared the screen and opened a singular video. “Vlad Plasmius, or rather, Masters, is using that to his advantage.”

… … …

A silver-haired man in a pristine suit stood behind a podium, a solemn look on his face, ready to give a speech. Flashes of light could be seen every now and again as reporters took photos. He looked up and into the crowd, and took a breath.

“Today, I have witnessed a barbaric, and downright savage, act of violence. One of our own, young Daniel Fenton, has been murdered.” Vlad paused as the townspeople gasped and murmured amongst themselves. After a moment, he raised a hand to silence them. “I know that Daniel had been working with Phantom, our so-called ‘hero,’” he spat bitterly, “and today, he has paid the price for his naivety.”

As the crowd grew louder, Vlad didn’t bother to wait or quiet them; instead, allowed his voice to steadily increase in volume.

“Danny Phantom has murdered Daniel Fenton!” he yelled, letting his anguish show, riling up the mass of people. “I watched, as Phantom brutally vaporized the poor boy, leaving nothing behind for his family to mourn!”

The citizens began to yell in confusion and anger, calling for proof, justice, and blood. Vlad raised both of his hands in a placating gesture, waiting for the mob to silence once again.

“Thankfully, I have been working with the GIW, the government sanctioned ghost hunters that I called to our town some months ago, and I have invented this,” he reached a hand behind him, pulled out a small device, and showed it to the crowd. It looked about the size of a remote, with two antennae sticking out, giving it the shape of a tuning fork. It had a large red button in the center.

“This is a device built to end any ghost it comes into contact with…” the evil flash of his eyes went unnoticed by the townspeople. “Permanently.” He took a breath and let sorrow gracefully contort his face once more as he brought a hand to his forehead.

“I had to use it on the villainous Phantom,” he looked out into the crowd; every single one of them eating out of his hand. “I know that a lot of you looked up to him, thought of him as a hero, a friend… but he was a ghost, and I am not the first to tell you—“

Screams broke out at the back of the group. Vlad looked beyond the camera, fear plastered on his face. A dark laugh echoed throughout the park, easily sending shivers up the spines of even the most courageous of people. Vlad gasped and dived to one side as not a second later, a pink blast of ghostly fire smashed the podium, sending debris over the screaming and panicking citizens.

The camera’s operator had gotten blown backwards during the blast. After a few moments of muffled shouting and shuffling, they were able to point the somewhat cracked camera back to the podium, where a very familiar teal-skinned, vampiric ghost could be seen floating slightly above the ground. Plasmius had his hands folded behind his back, as he sneered over a cowering Vlad Masters.

“Pathetic,” the white-clad ghost drawled. “You may have been able to get rid of my apprentice, but no mortal can stand up to me!” He threw his head back and laughed. Vlad’s eyes shone with determination as he stood up and glared at him.

“I won’t let you harm any of my constituents!” Vlad fumbled with the remote-like device, trying to point it towards the ghost. Plasmius’s face twisted with manic glee, and he swiped the little device right out of the other man’s hand.

“Mayor Masters, no!” – “Get out of there!” – “Mr. Mayor!” The cries of the public could be heard off-screen, yet the mayor paid them no heed, and continued to stare down the evil ghost. Plasmius brought the remote up to Vlad’s face.

“If you think this,” he crushed the small device in his hand, “can stop me…” he threw the broken remains down and took a step forward as Vlad took a step back, “then you are more idiotic than I had anticipated.” Vlad’s eyes widened as Plasmius raised a hand. Gasps and cries of outrage flooded the video when the ghost backhanded the mayor with some amount of force; Vlad fell to the ground, barely keeping consciousness. Plasmius grabbed him by his suit collar and lifted him off the ground, dangling him in front of the crowd of people.

“If you ever want to see your precious mayor alive again, it would be wise to do exactly as I say.” The ghost smirked as he raked his eyes over the fearful townsfolk. He spotted the camera and snarled. The screams started up once more as he lit a hand in pink energy and threw a small fireball directly at the camera. The video was overcome by bright pink, and the screaming stopped as the video went to silent static.

... ... ...

Chapter Text

The heroes blinked, staring at the static of the video, trying to process what they had just seen. Hawk Woman huffed and folded her arms across her chest.

“Well, that was quite the performance,” she looked over to Batman. “That was his duplication ability, right?”

“Until we get something concrete, I can only assume so,” he replied.

“He’s better at playing the humanitarian than Luthor is,” Superman said with a stern face. “It certainly helps when he has a disguise that—“ He cut himself off when he heard faint sounds of movement from the other side of the infirmary. The others followed his line of sight and saw that Danny was starting to wake up. Flash was already by the boy’s side, unhooking him from the various machines, by the time the rest of them started moving.

Danny groggily sat up, held his head in his hands and groaned.

“Ugh, did anyone get the plates on the train that hit me?” he chuckled. The Leaguers gave small, relieved smiles; the kid was going to be just fine.

He opened his eyes and stared at his hands, looking a bit confused. Panic flew across his face after a moment, he grabbed a bit of his hair and pulled it down, going cross-eyed to examine it. He gasped and released his ebony locks. The boy hesitantly looked up to the Justice Leaguers around him and gave a nervous smile.

“Uhh... I can explain?”

“Please do, Mr. Fenton,” Batman said as he crossed his arms, narrowing his eyes slightly at the boy. Danny froze in place and turned to the Dark Knight.

“H-how…?” he trailed off.

“Technus,” Batman revealed. “He was able to retrieve the records on Amity Park a few hours ago.”

“Hours?” Danny yelped. “What time is it? How long have I been out?”

“Woah there, kid,” Green Lantern said, trying to calm him down. “It’s only six o’clock in the morning, you’ve been out for about twelve hours.” Danny let out a breath and flopped back down on the cot.

After a moment of silence, Batman coughed into his hand, getting everyone’s attention.

“About your… transformation?” he questioned. Danny bit his lip and looked hesitantly to the Dark Knight.

“H-how much do you know?” The worry in his voice was unmistakable; not only did a group of people he’s spent less than a day with find out his secret identity, but the poor kid was probably still in the mindset that the GIW forced him into, that any authority figures should turn him over to them. And the Justice League was pretty much the highest authority around. The other heroes also looked to Batman, waiting for him to speak.

“We know that your name is Daniel Fenton, son of ghost hunters, Doctors Jack and Maddie Fenton; that your grades and attendance at school have dropped significantly since you’ve gotten your powers,” he listed. “We know about your more newsworthy mishaps during your first year—“

Danny paled. He opened his mouth in order to defend himself, but snapped it shut again when Batman raised a hand.

“And we know that none of it was entirely your fault,” he finished. Danny stared at them all, wide-eyed. He blinked a few times before sputtering.

“You—you mean that you believe me?” he asked in astonishment. Green Lantern put his hands on his hips and looked at the boy with an eyebrow cocked.

“Do you have a reason why we shouldn’t?” the man said, not in an accusatory tone. Danny’s eyes still shot to his as he frantically shook his head.

“No! Everything I told you was true,” he winced slightly. “Well, almost everything. What I said about how I died was true, except that I didn’t just die. The energy that killed me, saved me at the same time, turning me into what the other ghosts call a halfa: half-a-human, half-a-ghost; a halfa. Half alive, and half dead.”

At that, Wonder Woman looked thoughtful, rubbing her chin with a finger.

“I have never heard of such a state of being,” she thought out loud. “One would think it should have been in my teachings on Themiscyra.” Danny lightly snorted.

“Well, there’s only been three of us in the history of the Ghost Zone, the first one being only about twenty years ago—“ He suddenly shut his mouth tight and stared down at his twiddling thumbs.

“Vlad Masters,” Batman guessed. The teen looked up at him horrified.

“You can’t tell anyone, please!” The heroes were confused at Danny’s outburst; they glanced at each other. Superman folded his arms.

“Why not? When he’s arrested, people are going to find out anyway,” he reasoned. “It would be easier for you if you told your town that their mayor was a villain.” Danny shook his head with wide eyes.

“No, you can’t—“ he bit his lip and looked away. He sighed and held his head up, worry and resignation in his eyes. “Vlad and I… kind of have an agreement. More like a stalemate,” he shrugged. “I don’t tell anyone what he is, and he doesn’t tell anyone what I am.” He doesn’t tell my parents, went unsaid.

“So…” Flash drawled. “If we arrest him, he’ll out your secret identity?” Danny nodded. Hawk Woman shifted in place and rested her hands on her hips.

“Who else knows? I mean, you must have allies, right?”

Danny nodded again, but with more vigor.

“Yeah! I have my two best friends, they were there at the time of the accident; my older sister, she saw me transform once; and all of the ghosts know, and some of them are my friends!” He smiled.

“And what about the third halfa?” J’onn asked, the new term feeling odd on his tongue. Danny tensed, then forced himself to relax and put a wavering grin on his face.

“Oh, right, she uhh… she likes to travel a lot, so I don’t see her much. But she’s cool, I promise!” he added quickly at the end. Batman raised an eyebrow.

“Do you know who she is?” he questioned. Danny tensed a little once again.

“She’s my uh, cousin.” he hesitated. Superman huffed and crossed his arms.

“You’re going to have to learn to lie better than that, son.” Guilt, anxiety, and hesitancy passed across the boy’s face. They could read him almost as well as when they could directly feel his emotions.

“She’s my… clone,” the League’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. That, they were not expecting. “Vlad created her a few months ago.”

“Wait. Your arch enemy cloned you!?” Flash yelled. “Why?” Danny snorted and crossed his arms.

“Probably because he realized that I would never agree to be his evil apprentice,” he explained, “so he tried to create one. It didn’t turn out well for him; once she figured out that he was just using her, she helped me kick his butt!” he said with pride in his voice.

While Danny had a faraway look in his eyes, remembering the event, the Leaguers looked to each other and silently vowed to continue to help the teen hero even after everything was said and done. He would make a great addition to the Justice League when he was older.

 “We need to make a plan of attack if we want to defeat this Vlad Masters,” Wonder Woman stated, as she turned to Danny. “Do you have any suggestions?” He blinked at her, then tapped his chin with his finger.

“Well, we should try to figure out his plan first. I mean, I know why he would want to get rid of me, but why block off the town?” he thought out loud.

“The video’s one clue,” Hawk Woman said. Danny turned to her with wide eyes.

“What video?”

He got up and out of the medical bed with only mild protesting from the Flash. He walked over to where they had set up the recording of Vlad’s speech. He sat down and played the video.

“Today, I have witnessed a barbaric, and downright savage, act of violence...”

… … …

Danny was livid.

“He said that I murdered me?!” he yelled, throwing his arms up in the air. “Or, I mean, that Phantom murdered Fenton?” He let his hands slide down his face as he leaned back in the chair. “And they believed him. I didn’t know that my reputation was that bad. Did you see his act? He’s cheesier than the Dairy King!” The League watched as he ranted, slumping down into his chair even more. He let out a dramatic groan and the heroes allowed themselves to smile a little bit at his antics, despite the situation.

He suddenly shot straight up in the chair, eyes wide, making a couple of the Leaguers jump.

“Wait. Something wasn’t right in that video,” he whispered.

“You sure got that one right,” Flash chuckled. Danny just glared at him.

“No, I mean, something was missing.” He clicked the video and watched the speech once more. His eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. The League watched him with anticipation.

“Where…?” he whispered. “Where are they? They should have been there.”

“Who’s ‘they’?” Superman prompted. Danny started to panic. His breathing became heavier as he just stared at the static. He slowly turned to the other heroes, eyes shiny with worry.

“My parents. They weren’t there!” He stood up and grabbed his hair. “They’re always there, it’s their job to be there! Ghosts always attack public events, they know that! Why wouldn’t they be there? Hell, Val wasn’t even there!”

“Danny. Calm down; we won’t know anything for sure until we actually get to Amity Park,” Batman tried to reason. Danny’s eyes flashed the toxic neon green of his ghost form as he glared at the man.

“’Calm down’? My parents are out there, trapped in a town with a psychopath that’s trying to kill them!” he yelled, his face heating up. “They don’t even know he’s a threat! They would happily walk right into a death trap if he asked them to.” He sat down heavily in a chair. “And it’s been days… I’ve already been gone for days. Once Vlad has a plan, he doesn’t hesitate. They could already be dead.”

“We can’t just jump to conclusions.” Batman’s voice was unwavering. Danny glared at him as he glared right back. The temperature in the room dropped. “They most likely need your help, and to do that, you’re going to have to calm down, and think about this logically.”

Danny blinked, the room slowly went back to its normal temperature. He closed his eyes, took a few calming breaths, and stood up. He faced Batman with regret in his eyes that quickly turned into determination.

“I’m sorry, you’re right,” the teen apologized. “We need to come up with a plan, and fast. No amount of worrying or freaking out will get us anywhere.” He walked over to where the rest of the heroes were, then hesitated, and shifted in place uncomfortably.

“So uhh… how do you plan stuff?”

… … …

Danny sat with the rest of the Justice League around a circular table, in between Flash and Wonder Woman. He rubbed the back of his neck while the others looked at him incredulously.

“I mean… I don’t never plan out fights,” he tried to explain. “It’s just, you know, I don’t usually have time to come up with a long-term strategy. I’m better with tactics, short-term battle plans, you know, ‘Fight the ghost until I can trap it in the thermos while making sure no one gets hurt.’”

“Thermos?” Superman wondered. Danny blushed slightly.

“Uhh, yeah. It’s actually a ghost containment device, but my parents built it to look like a soup thermos for whatever reason,” he clarified. “Speaking of—when we get to Amity, I’ll need to pop by my house to grab some thermoses for everyone…” he quickly glanced at each hero. “And gear. You guys are going to need some actual ghost hunting equipment if we want to stand a chance against Vlad and Aragon and who knows how many other ghosts hate me enough to work with him after this.”

“What kind of equipment are we talking about?” Green Lantern eyed the boy with growing interest. Danny thought for a moment before counting on his fingers.

“Well, everyone’s going to need Spector Deflectors, for one. Ecto-guns for those who want them, I think we have a couple Ghost Gauntlets for Superman and Wonder Woman, and Batman can use our brand new Fenton Boo Staff!” He grinned wide. “J’onn has similar powers to ghosts, so he doesn’t need anything; Hawk Woman’s mace is made of Nth metal, which is a natural ghost repellant; and Green Lantern uses hard-light constructs, which ghosts can’t phase through.”

“What are Spector Deflectors?” Flash asked, trying to stifle some giggles. “And… F-Fenton Boo Staff?” He failed at covering up his laugh, but Danny just rolled his eyes at the speedster.

“My parents aren’t very good at coming up with names for their inventions,” he said. “But back to your first question: Spector Deflectors are belts that shock any ghost it comes into contact with, they prevent the wearer from getting overshadowed, uh, possessed. And since Vlad can duplicate, that’s a very real possibility.”

“Could we expect any backup on your end?” Wonder Woman questioned. “You did say that you had allies, correct?” The teen winced and made a noncommittal noise.

“Yeah, but…” he tried to explain. “I usually go to them for help and advice and stuff, but they’re all leaders of clans and kingdoms with a lot of responsibilities. I can’t expect them to leave their people unguarded while they come to the human world.” The heroes looked surprised at that, Flash patted Danny’s back.

“Wow kid, you’ve got friends in some pretty high places!” he laughed.

“Yeah, and enemies in higher,” the boy said with an amused smirk. Batman cleared his throat and everyone turned their attention back to him and the matter at hand.

“Since we can’t rely on any reinforcements, we’ll have to gather information on what exactly we’re up against once we’re past the shield and have the proper equipment,” he suggested. Everyone nodded as he continued. “Wonder Woman, Hawk Woman, Flash, and Danny: You will pair up to fight and contain any hostile ghosts you see. Green Lantern and Superman: You two will assist any civilians in the area to safety. J’onn and I will find and assess Plasmius’s defenses.”

“Vlad probably already knows we’re coming, he just doesn’t know when,” Danny added, standing up. “The sooner we leave, the less time he’ll have to beef up his security.”

“He’s right,” Hawk Woman stood up and grabbed her mace. “Enough planning, now is the time for action.” The rest of the team nodded and rose from their chairs. They started making their way towards the hanger, if they took one of their jets, they could all make it to Amity in under an hour.

Superman hesitated for a second, looking like he wanted to say something, and caught Danny’s eye.

“Danny,” he called to the boy. The halfa tensed slightly and looked at Superman. The Kryptonian paused again, as if worried about the teen’s reaction to whatever he was about to say. Everyone was staring at him now. He cleared his throat.

“Are you sure you should go? You did just wake up after collapsing on us,” he reasoned. The Leaguers’ eyes widened as they realized that Superman was right. Danny just gave them a cocky grin as he rocked back on his heels.

“Yeah, I’m good; I’m pretty sure I’m back at full power now!” Danny raised an eyebrow at the skeptical looks he got from the heroes. “Come on, Green Lantern said that I slept for like, twelve hours! That’s probably more time than I get in my average week, I’m good you guys, I swear.”

Several members of the Justice League glanced at each other in concern for their young friend. He rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Look, I’ll go ghost if you need me to prove it!” Danny shut it eyes and two white rings appeared around his waist. As they split apart, revealing the ghost boy’s black suit and white hair, Superman cringed, taking an aborted step forward. The teen opened his now glowing green eyes, and sent a confused look to the big blue hero, tilting his head to the side. “What’s wrong now?”

Before Superman could answer, Danny winced and rubbed the back of his neck. He had a pretty good idea of what was bothering the Kryptonian so much.

“Is it the heartbeat thing again?” he guessed. When the hero nodded hesitantly, Danny stepped off the ground and floated about a foot in the air, adopting a casual, if tense, posture. He shrugged stiffly. “Told you before; you get used to it.”

Superman’s brows knit together as he folded his arms across his chest.

“I don’t think I want to get used to hearing a kid’s heart suddenly stop all the time, especially when they’re right in front of me. It’s disturbing.” His eyes widened, that wasn’t what he wanted to say! Well, it was, but not like that! He looked around the room; everyone had stopped. All eyes were on him. He glanced back to Danny and internally flinched.

The ghostly teen had dropped back to the floor, arms hanging limply at his sides, and eyes as big as saucers. Danny lowered his eyes to the ground and rubbed his arms, wrapping them around himself.

“I… I didn’t mean—“ Superman started, but was cut off.

“No… no, I get it,” the boy turned his head away, not meeting anyone’s gaze. “As soon as I find out if my family’s okay, I’ll get out of your hair. I wouldn’t want to be disturbing any of you.” He turned and floated out of the room in the direction of the hanger.

Superman stared at the spot where the ghostly hero had just been. He glanced up when he noticed the Flash standing next to him, arms crossed.

“Nice going, Supes,” the red speedster said before turning around to try to catch up to Danny.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Hey Danny!” Flash called out to the sulking ghost boy in the hanger. The young hero looked up at the sound of his name, but he turned away from the scarlet speedster after their eyes locked. Danny crossed his arms around his chest as Flash came closer.

“Look, I don’t need your pity,” the teen said, still not looking Flash in the eye. “I just need to get back to Amity; I need to know if my friends and family are alright.”

“Look, kid—“

“I’m not a kid.”

“Danny. Superman was out of line back there—“

“Can—“ the teen interrupted again, “can we just go?” He looked up into Flash’s eyes, trying to convey that he was fine. The older hero sighed in resignation as the others entered the hanger.

They all boarded one of the jets, and they were off.

… … …

Wonder Woman and Batman took the co-piloting seats, being the most experienced flying jets at high speeds; J’onn, Hawk Woman, Flash, and Danny sat in the passenger seats behind them; and Green Lantern and Superman opted to fly outside the jet, as they could handle the conditions of space travel.

Danny was running through scenario after scenario in his head, ranging from bad, to worse, to deadly. He was bouncing his knee in nervousness, arms folded across his chest, just staring a hole in the chair in front of him. He offhandedly noticed quiet conversations going on around him, but he ignored them and allowed himself to wallow in his anxiety.

He hadn’t seen any of his friends or family in the crowd during Vlad’s speech, and they always go! His parents attend to support their friend and mayor, and his friends go to see if they could find anything on what Vlad’s scheming that week. None of them would have missed it… but, they all did. And the worst part was that he had no idea why or how! They could have not known about the speech, which is unlikely. They could have been captured and locked away by Vlad, which is likely, except why would he imprison his parents? They love him! They could be dead. He could have killed them before the speech. But why wouldn’t he blame their deaths on him as well? And he doesn’t want his mom dead, just his dad… and his friends by association, Danny guessed.

A hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts; he realized that he had been glaring at the back of the seat in front of him as if it were Vlad himself, and his muscles were tense enough that they were sore, now that he has relaxed a little. He looked up to see the concerned face of the Flash looking back at him.

“We’re almost there,” Flash smiled. “I figured the chair could use a break; it’s a good thing you don’t have heat vision, or else we’d be down one Hawk Woman before we even land.” He chuckled when said heroine turned in her seat to glance over her shoulder.

“If you think that’s enough to take me down, Speedy, I’ve got some news for you,” she smirked. The tension in his body lessened as Danny let out a light laugh.

The jet trembled slightly as the pilots began to make more manual adjustments.

“We’re coming in now,” Batman stated. The jet descended to the ground; the passengers looked out their windows to see a large, glowing green energy dome over the entire city, just as J’onn described. Danny gasped, face-palmed, and turned frantically to the rest of the heroes.

“Vlad definitely would have seen us land,” he sighed. “So much for the element of surprise.”

The crew unbuckled and stood up. Wonder Woman faced Danny with an amused twinkle in her eye.

“We entered stealth mode about ten minutes ago,” she reassured him. “Not only is the jet invisible, but completely silent, and undetectable by standard instruments.”

“Nice,” he smirked. It felt good not being several steps behind the evil mastermind for once.

… … …

They stepped out of the plane just as Superman and Green Lantern set foot on the ground. Flash waved.

“Have a nice flight GL? Supes?” he called. Green Lantern just shrugged. Superman searched the group for Danny, who was at the back. They locked eyes and Kryptonian stepped forward, opening his mouth to say something. The ghost teen immediately turned on his heel and started walking to the edge of the dome.

“Come on, Technus should be ready to let us in by now!” He carefully put his hands up to touch the dome as the rest of the heroes gathered around him. Before he could do anything, he gasped as a blue puff of mist escaped his mouth. Green smoke swirled and condensed just inside the barrier. The Leaguers tensed.

The smoke evaporated with a comedic ‘pop’, and in its place, floated Technus. He looked worried as he quickly scanned the areas to his left and right, then settled on the group in front of him.

“Good, you’re all here,” Technus placed his hands flat on the surface of the dome, then dug his fingers inside, and pulled.

When the hole was large enough for even Superman to pass through relatively easily, the trench-coated ghost grunted with exertion.

“Ggh!” His cheeks were puffed out and his arms started shaking. He made a face at the heroes. “Well? Even I can’t hold this all day!” Danny jumped and rushed through the tear in the barrier, stuttering an apology while the others came through as well.

The moment the last Leaguer was past the threshold, Technus dropped his arms with a melodramatic sigh, and the green energy snapped back into place. He turned back to Danny and rubbed the back of his head, not looking the ghost boy in the eye.

“Phantom, I have good news, and bad news.” He looked around nervously before leaning in close, not noticing that the teen was internally panicking, preparing for the worst. “The good news is that I was right, of course. Everyone has left Plasmius’s employment! The bad news is that I, unfortunately, was wrong. Everyone has left Plasmius’s employment… except for Prince Aragon.”

“That’s great!” Danny grinned. “I kinda wasn’t expecting anyone to actually leave—“

“And he told Plasmius about our betraying him. He’s preparing for your arrival as we speak.”

“Oh,” he said lamely. He was really hoping to have some sort of upper hand at the start of the battle. Technus floated back a bit, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but there.

“You should go to your human lair; get one of your strong friends to get the door open,” he whispered hurriedly, gesturing towards Hawk Woman. “Now I need to go… try… something.” The ghost took off like a shot; too late, Danny tried to reach for him, but grabbed nothing.

“Wait! What’s that supposed to mean?” He sighed, and turned to the heroes. “We need to go, I’ll lead the way. Try to stay out of sight, and keep a lookout for ghost vultures.” Danny hopped into the air, and darted in the direction of his home, with the Justice League quickly following.

… … …

By the time they stopped, they had seen about five ghost rabbits and a ghost bear patrolling the streets; thanks to Danny’s ability to make anyone he touched invisible, they were able to avoid detection.

As the group turned a corner, they came upon a two-story house with a large, blinking, neon sign that read ‘Fenton Works,’ and a structure on top that nearly doubled the height of the building. All sorts of telescopes and satellite dishes stuck out at odd angles, making it look like it would topple over with a stiff breeze. Flash whistled at the sight of it. Green Lantern craned his head up, taking in the massive machine.

“That can’t be safe,” he commented. Danny just shrugged and floated closer.

He reached for the doorknob, but was pulled back when Batman put a hand on his shoulder.

“Wait,” the Dark Knight ordered. “Does your house always glow green?” Danny gave him a confused look but examined his home further.

He was right. The whole house had a slight green hue radiating off of it. The ghost boy tentatively raised a finger to poke the house, and yanked his hand back with a yelp as he got shocked. The green energy rippled where he had touched it, then settled after a moment.

“I guess this was what Technus meant by ‘get one of my strong friends to open the door.’ It’s probably a two-way shield, no one in or out,” he muttered hopefully. “They could be trapped in there!” Hawk Woman sauntered up to them and pulled out her mace.

“Let me handle this, boys.” She raised the weapon over her head, ready to swing down. Danny’s eyes went wide as he realized that she was just going to bust her way in. His parents are not going to like this.

“Haa!”—“No, wait!”

Hawk Woman swung down hard, using all of her weight to force her way through the door, as Danny rushed forward. The wooden door splintered and exploded inward; the young hero tripped on one of his own feet, and barreled into the Thanagarian before she had a chance to re-balance herself. Both forward momentums pushed them into the now open house, causing them to land face-first into the front room.

Then he heard the tell-tale whine of an ecto-gun warming up.

He bolted upright, with his hands in the air, as Flash and Superman ran into the building.

“It’s not what it looks like, I swear!” the ghost yelled, knowing that it looked like a ghost breaking-in to a ghost hunter’s house… Though technically it is, he thought. He looked around the room, happily recognizing the figures. A goth looking girl and an African American boy were pointing their hands at the intruders, armed with little wrist-rays. A curvy woman in a teal jumpsuit and a giant of a man in an orange jumpsuit held large bazookas over their shoulders. Behind everyone was a petite red-haired girl, holding a bat over her head.

Nobody moved. The Justice Leaguers eyed the group of ghost hunters warily. The hunters just stared in disbelief.

The bat slipped out of the older girl’s hands, and landed with a loud clank. That seemed to break everyone out of their trance, and the room exploded into motion.

“Danny!” The three teens dropped their arms and ran over to the ghost boy, enveloping him in a hug, knocking the young hero off of his feet and back on to the floor. The two older ghost hunters dropped their bazookas, and the teal-clad woman fell to her knees with tears in her eyes and covered her mouth with a hand.

“Danny? Is… is it really you?” She gazed at her son with a mixture of sorrow, regret, and hope. Danny gasped and gave a quick questioning glance at his friends and sister. The goth glared at him, barely holding in her own tears.

“Vlad said that you were dead, of course we told them!”

“Yeah dude, we didn’t want you to be blamed for your own death. Especially when we knew that it was Vlad’s fault!” Tucker spoke up, and the pile of teens finally moved so that Danny could stand. He turned to face his parents and rubbed the back of his neck with a gloved hand.

“Uhh… yeah, mom, dad. It’s me.” With a flash of white light, two rings appeared around his waist and moved outward; changing the black jumpsuit into a tee-shirt and jeans, white hair to black, and toxic green to icy blue. “I was going to tell you… eventually… maybe.”

The Doctors Fenton burst into tears and ran to their son’s side, scooping him up in a bone-crushing hug on his dad’s side.

“My baby boy!” – “Oh Danno, we’re so sorry!” – “We’ve shot at you—“ – “Thought Vladdie was my friend—“ – “That man’s going to pay for what he did!” Both of his parents were talking at the same time, but that last part caught his attention. He pulled away from the two sniffling adults and quickly turned to his friends.

“Wait—they know about Plasmius too?”

“We told them everything,” Jazz stated quietly. “You were dead, little brother. Vlad claimed responsibility for ending you, then he took over the town as Plasmius! He wants dad dead, and you were the only one standing in his way, how could we not tell them?”

Danny just nodded and looked back to his parents.

“Well, obviously, Vlad didn’t end me,” he explained. “Instead, that little device of his seals ghosts into their cores. The Justice League found me, and with Technus’s help, we were able to get through the ghost shield, so now we can stop Vlad!”

“Why would Technus help you?” Sam asked suspiciously. Danny shrugged.

“It turns out that sealing a ghost into their core is a major taboo in the Zone,” he said. “As soon as he found out, Technus offered to help us; and even convinced almost all of Vlad’s lackeys to turn against him.”

Jack opened his mouth to say something, but was silenced when Green Lantern stepped forward.

“Sorry to cut the reunion short, but we really need to get back out there while we still have the element of surprise on our hands. And to do that,” he gestured towards the bazookas on the floor, “the kid mentioned something about gear.”

“Right!” Jack grinned, bouncing up and down. “What were you thinking of? We’ve got all sorts of—“

“Two pairs of Ghost Gauntlets for Superman and Wonder Woman, a Boo Staff for Batman, an ecto-gun—or do we still have an extra wrist-ray?—for Flash, and how many extra thermoses and Specter Deflectors do we have?” Danny listed.

“Enough, hopefully; we’ll—“ Maddie cut herself off when the sound of large, flapping wings in the distance got everyone’s attention. They listened for a few seconds, and when the sound became quieter, she continued. “We won’t have time for a lengthy tutorial, but I have a feeling you’ll know what to do.”

At that, she ran down to their basement lab, accompanied by her orange-clad husband.

… … …

The pair returned within a few minutes, carrying the requested items. They distributed the belts and thermoses, and gave a quick demonstration on how they worked. Once everyone had those locked into place, the ghost hunters handed the heroes their individual weapons to those who needed them.

“Now, these are built to withstand high-force blows, but still try to avoid punching through walls,” Maddie commented, handing the Ghost Gauntlets to Superman and Wonder Woman.

“This is the Fenton Boo Staff! It works just like a regular Bo staff; Mads can show you—oh, duh, you’re Batman, you probably already know how to fight with one of these,” Jack trailed off and handed Batman the staff.

“Now you just aim and press… this button—but not in the house!” Sam and Tucker were instructing Flash on how to use the wrist rays, and trying not to give the house an impromptu window.

Green Lantern had just finished putting the door back together using his ring when Superman whipped his head around to the front of the building, and signaled everyone to be quiet.

“I hear those giant wings again, do you think it’s that dragon you mentioned earlier, J’onn?”

Sam peered slyly out one of the windows, and quickly ducked her head out of the way.

“Definitely Aragon, and he’s making a b-line straight for us,” she whispered. “Is everybody ready to kick some ghost butt?” She smirked when the heroes got into ready positions. A blue mist emerged from Danny’s mouth, and he quickly changed into his ghost form, readying himself alongside his friends.

A moment later, there was a loud thud, accompanied by the entire building trembling at the force of the large ghostly dragon landing outside of their home. A booming voice echoed throughout the streets.

“Plasmius has demanded the presence of Jack and Madeline Fenton!” Aragon roared. “I suggest you come quietly, or else the life of your mayor shall be forfeit.”

 

 

Chapter Text

The slight green-hued glow of the walls and ceiling faded, as Aragon released the ghost shield.

Danny was really confused. He turned to look at his parents, then back to his friends.

“Does… he think that they don’t know about Vlad by now?” He wondered. “I mean, it seems kind of obvious now that you guys would tell them.” Jazz suddenly gasped, everyone’s attention turning to her.

“We weren’t supposed to be here!” she exclaimed. “My university tour got canceled last minute—“

“And we were here by coincidence when Plasmius sealed the house,” Tucker said, pointing to himself and Sam.

“We came looking for you after you never came back from fighting Skulker,” she explained. Danny looked at her with his eyebrows scrunched together.

“But… that was like, at least three days ago,” he drawled. “And you haven’t been able to leave the house the entire time? Have—“

“I GROW TIRED OF WAITING!” The thundering voice of the ghost dragon pulled them back to the situation at hand. “Jack and Madeline Fenton: Come out immediately or I shall raze this mortal dwelling to the ground!”

Danny smirked and turned to his parents.

“You better do as he says. I’ve got a plan.”

… … …

The Doctors Fenton, each in their orange and teal jumpsuits, respectively, exited their house with their hands raised, showing that they had no weapons. The dragon eyed them with contempt. Jack worriedly looked up at the massive purple and black creature.

“Alright, ghost, we’re here! Just don’t hurt my best bud Vladdie!” he pleaded. Maddie glared at the prince, but nodded anyway.

Meanwhile, the Justice League and the three ghost hunting teenagers readied their new ecto-weapons and waited for the signal. J’onn and Phantom both went intangible and invisible, and silently flew up through the house and out through the roof. The ghost boy hung in the air for a moment, taking in the scene before him. He mentally signaled to the Martian that their plan was now in motion.

Phantom flew around Aragon, giving himself a relatively wide radius as he got behind the dragon. He inched towards the amulet around Aragon’s neck, the ghostly artifact that allowed the prince to change forms, ready to quickly swipe it off the dragon. J’onn was to get in between Aragon and his parents, ready to defend them or get them out of range if the ghost decided to attack.

When he was almost within range to reach out and grab the necklace, he saw the dragon tense up, as if ready to pounce; and then several things happened at once, before he could register his plan falling apart.

Through the mental link he and J’onn had set up so that they could move around silently, he felt a spike of panic; then a visible Martian Manhunter flying towards him on what seemed to be a collision course.

“Phantom, watch out!” The warning came too late, and Phantom looked up right into the smirking face of Aragon. The dragon took a deep breath, and the young hero only had time to raise his hands to block his face before a large ball of ghostly fire engulfed his vision. He shut his eyes tight.

A scream.

But not Phantom’s. He opened his eyes immediately to see the Martian covering him, gritting his teeth in agony. The fire ended, and the smoking body of the alien went limp as gravity overtook his ability to stay in the air, and he fell.

“You think you are the only one who can sense when other ghosts are near?” A sinister chuckle filled Phantom’s ears as Aragon laughed. “Foolish child.”

“No!” Phantom dived for the falling Martian to catch him before he hit the ground. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that the rest of the Justice League, as well as his friends and sister were already outside, most likely signaled by their comrade’s shout of pain.

Hawk Woman flew up and smashed the dragon in the jaw with a heavy upwards swing of her mace. Using the surprise attack to her advantage, Wonder Woman threw her lariat around the ghost’s muzzle, effectively tightening it shut. Green Lantern and Superman handed the elder Fentons their bazookas, while the other teens started to shoot the prince with their wrist rays.

Phantom caught J’onn, one hand under his arm and the other around his waist, and gently lowered him to the ground, ignoring the stinging shock from the Spector Deflector. Flash ran over to them, concern clearly plastered on his face.

“Danny! J’onn! What happened? Are you guys okay?” He placed a hand on the young hero’s shoulder, only to pull it back sharply at the boy’s hiss of pain, where he noticed a small burst of electricity jumping from his hand to the other’s shoulder, like a static shock. He glanced over to where Phantom was holding his Martian friend, and saw the same electricity crackling where the two were in contact. Phantom grit his teeth.

“He shielded me from Aragon’s fire breath,” the boy explained. “Apparently, he knew where I was the entire time and caught me off guard.”

Flash moved to take the still-smoking J’onn off of the teen’s shoulder, and lead them back behind the line of fire. Superman and Green Lantern flew off to help Wonder Woman and Hawk Woman. Batman had somehow gotten on the beast’s back. Aragon harshly swung his head up, pulling the Amazonian along and causing her to bodily collide with Superman and loosen the rope holding him.

“And what about that electricity? What was that about?!” Phantom looked at Flash incredulously.

“Umm, from the Spector Deflector? The one that shocks ghosts to prevent overshadowing? That electricity?” he asked a bit sarcastically. “I told everyone earlier what it would do.”

“Well, yeah, but I didn’t think it would hurt you too!” They got behind the teenagers still firing at the dragon, doing minimal damage. Jazz, upon seeing the injured Leaguer, rushed inside to get their extensive first-aid kit, telling them not to move.

“If it didn’t work on Halfas, what would be the point—“ A cold blue mist froze the rest of his sentence before he could get it all out.

INCOMING!” They heard Green Lantern bark, and a moment later, two explosions hit Aragon in his side that almost had him topple over before he regained his balance. Batman jumped off of his back to regroup with the other Leaguers. The dragon whipped his head around, looking for whoever had shot him.

“Who dares attack the mighty Prince Aragon!” he screeched. A taunting laugh bellowed around them as a familiar form appeared in the air.

“You are no mighty Prince, Aragon,” the metal ghost with a flaming green mohawk sneered. “The entire Ghost Zone knows of your cowardice now! You are a disgrace to all ghostkind still working with Plasmius after all he’s done.” The dragon snarled at the hunter, baring his fangs. Green smoke seeped from his mouth and nostrils as he growled.

“Cowardice? Disgrace?” he roared. “I thought the Greatest Hunter in the Ghost Zone would know how to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses.”

At this point, the Leaguers had stopped their attack and regrouped near the house, tensely watching the two ghosts argue. They recognized the newcomer from one of the videos the previous day: Skulker. But he was one of Phantom’s villains, why would he be helping them now?

“Never compare yourself to me! I hunt for the sport,” Skulker glared at Aragon. “And there is nothing sporting about exposing a core.”

“I don’t care about the sport! That child took everything from me!” the dragon spat. “It doesn’t matter of the method, as long as he is ended.”

Another burst of cold escaped Phantom’s mouth. He jumped up into a fighting stance and looked around. A quiet and oddly gentle cackle filled the air around them.

“Hey Dipstick, good to see you’re in better shape!” Another form appeared next to the group of heroes; this one looked like a teenage girl with grey skin and flaming blue hair in a ponytail. She wore a black crop top and leather pants with grey platform boots in the shape of skulls, on her back hung a purple and blue electric guitar.

Hawk Woman moved closer to Phantom.

“Friend of yours?” she asked, never taking her eyes off the new arrival.

“Ember? What are you doing here?” the ghost boy asked, moving in front of the group. “And why is Skulker helping us? I thought you guys hated me.” The rocker blanched.

“Oh come on man! I know we fight sometimes, but we’re not monsters!” Ember face-palmed when she was met with the confused face of the ghostly hero. “No wonder you’re taking this so well… You have no idea what cores are to ghosts, do you?” Phantom rolled his eyes.

“Well, yeah. They’re your source of power,” he started. Ember looked at him like she was waiting for more. He rubbed the back of his neck and glanced at his parents as if they might have the answer. “And… it’s where ectoplasm comes from?” The punk ghost sighed.

“I can’t believe I’m giving a biology lesson…” she grumbled. “Look babypop, cores are our everything, not just the source of our power. Our bodies are made up of ectoplasm, but our cores are us. By exposing that to the world… having people touch it,” she shivered, “don’t you feel violated?”

The Justice League collectively looked away, in different directions. Some shifted in place; others, especially the ones that had spent the most time holding the young ghost’s core, folded their arms around them or placed their hands behind their backs.

“I mean, sure it felt weird and honestly pretty terrifying being that defenseless, but I got better,” Phantom said, feeling more than a little embarrassed. Ember just looked annoyed and opened her mouth to give a retort when they heard a roar from the dragon prince. They turned around just in time to see Aragon swipe at Skulker with a faster-than-should-be-possible tail swing. The mechanical ghost, unable to dodge in time, took the force head-on, effectively destroying the armor. Ember turned back around to face the Leaguers, now looking slightly frenzied.

“Okay, time’s up babypop. We need to get that amulet off of Aragon, now.”

“Insignificant worm!” the dragon bellowed, blowing fire into the air. “I do not have time to waste on you! I shall end the child myself!”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to get close enough to take it,” Phantom said hurriedly. “He’s really out for my hide this time.” J’onn groaned and sat up.

“I should be able to get it.” The Martian winced slightly at the movement, but stood up nonetheless.

“Nuh uh, no way. You’re still hurt,” Green Lantern said, gesturing to the burns that were still healing. J’onn put a hand on his shoulder.

“I am the only one that can hide my presence from this ‘Prince Aragon,’” he explained. “As long as you can distract him for a few minutes, I should be able to take his amulet. Hurry.” They turned back to the dragon when they heard his massive footsteps.

“Let’s see how well the cockroaches can scatter,” the beast taunted, before swinging his tail down right where the group had been mere moments before. In the chaos, J’onn turned invisible and started to fly around to the back of the dragon. Superman, Hawk Woman, and Phantom flew up in front of Aragon’s face, weapons bared.

“How about we give him some good old-fashioned— Woah!” Phantom leaped out of the way of a vicious bite from the dragon. Hawk Woman moved to swing at him with her mace, but without taking his eyes off of his chosen prey, he swiped his claws at the Thanagarian and batted her out of the sky. Green Lantern quickly dived to catch her before she hit the ground.

Aragon took another swipe at Phantom, but yelped in pain as he was met with a blast from an ecto-bazooka. He trained his gaze downward to see the two elder Fentons, their oversized weapons aimed directly at him.

“Nice shot, honey!” called Maddie. Jack grinned and threw a fist in the air.

“That’s even what I was aiming at, too!”

“Pathetic mortals,” Aragon growled and lifted a massive, clawed foot over their heads. He slammed it down, but felt nothing underneath but earth. A whistle caught his attention as he looked to one side of him and saw the red-clad speedster lounging lazily near the two ghost hunters as if they had always been there. The dragon bared his teeth at them and took a deep breath.

“Hey lizard-breath! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”

The humans on the ground let out a small breath as the dragon turned his head away to find the ghost boy. In the middle of the sky, Phantom and Superman floated, arms crossed. Phantom was grinning in triumph. Aragon narrowed his eyes.

“Or should we say,” the hero in blue continued after Phantom. “Why don’t you come down to our size?”

Aragon’s eyes widened as he felt his power start to leave him. He looked down to his neck to find that his amulet was gone! He whipped his head around to find the Martian, holding his ancient necklace.

“NO!” He made to claw at the alien, but found that his arm had shrunken down to its original size. His tail and wings disappeared, and his whole body started to shrivel up. After a moment, he was left with his original form, a blue-skinned ghost with a purple tunic and a green, spiked crown.

He looked up just in time to see two fists coming straight at his face.

… … …

Danny capped his thermos and looked at his parents.

“That went well, I think?” He rattled the thermos a little, for good measure. “Now all that’s left is Vlad!”

“I think you’re forgetting something, dipstick.” Ember floated over to them from the remains of the metal ghost, she had a green blob on her shoulder. The Leaguers looked solemn.

“We are sorry for your loss,” Wonder Woman started. Danny crossed his arms.

“Yeah, sorry about your suit Skulker, but thanks for the assist, dude,” he smiled. Flash blinked, confused. But then the little green blob on the rocker’s shoulder started to speak.

“Yes, well… if my distraction was able to help you in some way, then I suppose it was worth it.”

Danny smiled wider, and Flash’s jaw dropped.

“But don’t think that this little truce will last, Welp!” the blob continued. “The next time we meet, your pelt is mine!”

“Wait. That big guy was a suit? And this little guy was inside the whole time?” Flash sputtered. “But he’s so—“

“I would advise you not to finish that sentence,” the blob glared. Ember waved her hands.

“Enough about that,” she dismissed. “I meant: You’re forgetting about those.” She pointed to some ghost bears that had just rounded a corner and started snarling at them. “Plasmius still has his little animal army running around.”

“Not to worry,” Maddie aimed her bazooka and fired, hitting the ghost square in the face. While the bear was stunned, Sam took out her own thermos, and in a shock of bright light, the ghost was pulled in. “We’ll handle Vlad’s army. You go do your hero thing and kick his butt for us.”

“But—“

“No buts, mister,” Maddie put a hand on her son’s shoulder. “We’ll just get in the way, and we don’t want you worrying about us or the other ghosts. This is the best option. We’ll split up into groups, so that way, we can cover more ground!” Danny smiled up at her.

“I will go with them,” J’onn volunteered. “I am still not up to my full strength, and am afraid I would be a liability to you in the coming battle.”

“Now we can split up into teams of three,” Jazz pointed out. Danny nodded and examined the group.

“Okay,” he conceded. “Mom and Dad will go with Martian Manhunter as one team, and Sam, Jazz, and Tucker will be another team.”

“Yes!” Jazz threw her fist in the air. “The Ghost Getters are back in action!” She opened her fist for a high-five, looking expectantly at her younger friends. After a beat, Tucker gave her a high-five.

An awkward cough made them turn their attention back to Ember and Skulker.

“Well, this was fun and all, but Aragon was one thing, and there is no way I’m going up against Plasmius. Plus, I gotta go back to the GZ so my babypop can rebuilt his armor,” the rocker said, rubbing her nose on the green blob affectionately. “See ya later, dipstick.” As she flew away, they could hear Skulker yell something back at him, and while they couldn’t understand what was said, the following shriek of “Gross!” by Ember allowed them to get the gist of it.

Danny turned back to the Justice League with a grin.

“Let’s go kick some vampire-wannabe ghost butt!”

 

 

Chapter Text

“Vlad’s most likely at City Hall,” Phantom thought out loud. “We should probably find him before he realizes that Aragon’s not coming back any time soon.” He turned around and started flying at a pace everyone could keep up with. Green Lantern flew next to him.

“So what can we expect with this guy?” he asked in a professional tone. Phantom rubbed his chin.

“Well, he’s a master strategist, and a manipulator; he’ll try to knock you off your game by getting into your head. He’s also really good at adapting and improvising,” he explained. “As much as I hate to say it, the guy’s pretty smart for a crazy fruit loop.”

“How have you defeated him before?” Green Lantern wondered.

Phantom skidded to a halt in mid-air, causing everyone to give him curious looks. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“I’ve never technically defeated him before,” he said with a stiff shrug. “He’s always ran away whenever I got close to beating him, or if mom showed up.” Flash ran up below him.

“Hey, uhh, speaking of defeating this Vlad dude,” the speedster started, “didn’t you say that if we arrest him, he’ll just tell everyone who you are?” The League turned to a wide-eyed Phantom, who floated in the air for a few moments and creased his brow in thought.

“I… don’t know,” he sighed. “Like I said, we’re at a bit of a stalemate: if he tells, then so do I. We both have something to loose. But this is too important to let that get in the way right now! He went too far this time, and I don’t want him getting away with this just because he might reveal my identity.” He crossed his arms and nodded to himself, cementing his decision, and started flying to City Hall.

… … …

It was nearing midmorning, yet there was no one on the streets as the Justice League made their way to the center of town. Flash looked around, worry clear on his face.

“Didn’t think that this would be a literal ghost town,” he joked. Superman turned his head, examining the buildings.

“Everyone’s inside,” he noted, using his x-ray vision. “Plasmius’s army of ghost animals only just started to get picked up; it’s reasonable that they’re still scared.”

The group neared a large, white, rectangular building. As they got closer, they saw that it had white marble pillars and a portico emblazoned with the words City Hall.

“Okay everyone, this is it.” Phantom landed at the front of the group. “I really hope he’s actually here,” he muttered quietly as he opened the doors and lead the heroes inside.

The lights in the large room turned on one by one on either side, revealing rows of chairs, and television monitors on the walls, each separated by a few feet. The last set of lights blinked to life to illuminate a stage with a row of chairs in the back and a podium in the center; a few more monitors could be seen on the walls behind them.

Standing in front of the podium, hands behind his back and waiting for them, was a teal-skinned ghost with black hair in a white suit and cape.

“Plasmius,” Phantom growled. The vampiric ghost grinned, showing off his pointed teeth, then shrugged nonchalantly.

“Well, well, well, young Daniel… you finally decided to show up,” Plasmius drawled in an increasingly sinister tone. “I had thought, for a moment, that you might take the lives of your little townsfolk more seriously than your education… but alas, I see that you’re still just as tardy.”

“We won’t let you get away with this, Vlad!” Phantom shouted, puffing up his chest. “I’ve got the Justice League on my side!” Plasmius rolled his eyes in distaste.

“Oh really, ‘you won’t let me get away with this?’” he mocked. “What could you possibly do, little badger, arrest me? Not when I could tell the whole world what you are!” Phantom narrowed his eyes as the Leaguers got into ready positions.

“It’s the twenty-first century, Vlad. No one believes in ghosts anymore, let alone half-ghosts like us,” the teen pointed out. “You think your reputation could handle becoming a laughing stock?” Much to Phantom’s chagrin, the man remained unfazed by the taunt. Instead, his smile became even wider.

“Oh, my mistake; I almost forgot to mention,” he pulled one hand out from behind his back to reveal a small remote that looked like a presentation clicker. Phantom felt the Leaguers behind him tense, ready to move at a moment’s notice.

“What was that phrase again?” He pushed the button. “’Seeing is believing?’”

One by one, the television monitors on the walls flickered to life, each one showing a loop of the same video: Danny Fenton, standing in his kitchen at home, shouting the phrase “Going Ghost!” then two glowing white rings appearing at his waist, splitting apart, and transforming him into the well-known ghost, Danny Phantom.

Said ghost teen blinked. Once. Twice.

“I…” he tried, his mind a total blank. “When…? How?” He shook his head and started over. “That’s in my house! You put cameras in my house?” he shouted. “That’s—that’s—“

“Creepy,” Batman finished. Phantom rubbed his temples.

“Yes, exactly, thank you. That’s really creepy, and what’s to stop me from telling everyone who you are?” he huffed. “Why couldn’t you have just gotten an old-guy-cat and call it a day?” Plasmius grit his teeth.

“Daniel, you already know that I have a cat, why must—“ he cut himself off and took a breath. “It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘creepy’ or not; my point, little badger, is that I have proof that you’re a Halfa, and you do not—“

The monitors still looping the video of the ghost boy began to flicker and turn to static.

“What?!” Plasmius growled. He whirled around when the monitors behind him started to cackle. The static vanished and the screen was left with an image of a familiar green-skinned, white-haired ghost with a love of all things beeping and blinking.

“THIS IS A PRERECORDED MESSAGE OF ME, TECHNUS! MASTER OF ALL TECHNOLOGY!”

For a moment, the vampiric ghost was left floundering.

“PLASMIUS, YOU HAVE VIOLATED ANCIENT GHOST LAW, AND WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!” Technus shrieked. “ALSO, I HAVE ERASED ALL OF YOUR FOOTAGE OF THE GHOST CHILD!”

’All of your footage?’” Phantom repeated, cringing. The older heroes made various faces.

“Well that’s not disturbing,” Hawk Woman murmured sarcastically.

The recording of Technus continued as the ghost leaned in close to the camera, his face filling up the entire screen as he spoke in a low, menacing tone.

“Mark my words, Plasmius. You will pay for making me an accessory in this crime.” He snarled, baring his teeth, then all the screens went black.

To say that Plasmius was furious would be an understatement. His normal, light teal skin, was now a deep turquoise as all the ectoplasm rushed to his face. He turned around to face the Justice League once again, hands alight with a dark pink flame. His eyes glowed a fearsome crimson as he growled, displaying his fangs.

“I guess I’ll be dealing with all of you the hard way—“

“AND ANOTHER THING!”

The screens turned back on, showing Technus with a smirk plastered on his face.

“I ALMOST FORGOT TO SHOW YOU!” his grin borderline arrogant. “I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF RECORDING THIS.”

… … …

The picture on the screen switched to a scene of the inside of that very building; a human Vlad was lounging in one of the chairs, while a duplicate of Plasmius was standing in front of the podium.

“Everything is falling into place perfectly,” Vlad chuckled, tapping his fingers together. “That meddlesome badger is out of the way, and the town is entirely under my control.”

“Soon, we’ll call that buffoon Jack and our dearest Maddie here,” Plasmius smiled darkly.

“You’ll kill him,” Vlad continued.

“And you’ll ‘end’ me,” Plasmius picked up.

“And then my lovely Maddie will love me like she was always meant to before that oaf Jack stole her!” Vlad spat.

“It’s such a perfect plan, it’s a wonder how I didn’t come up with it myself,” Plasmius sighed melodramatically.

“Oh, but we did,” Vlad smirked. Both sides started cackling as if they were in on a joke that no one else—

CRACK

… … …

Plasmius punched the television screen that had been playing the recording.

“Enough!” he snarled. “No one will make a fool out of me!”

“Except for yourself, am I right?” Flash snickered. Plasmius disappeared in a puff of pink smoke and reappeared right behind the group of heroes. “’Cause you already did that— AAH!”

“Get down!” Hawk Woman shoved Flash out of the way of a pink ecto-blast aimed at his back; it hit the podium on the stage in front of them and it exploded into a million pieces. Phantom immediately tried to blast him back, but the vampire-ghost dodged, causing the wayward ecto-blast to hit one of the back walls, creating a large, black burn mark.

“We need to move this outside,” Superman called. “There isn’t enough room in here to fight!”

“Speak for yourself!” Hawk Woman shouted as she slammed her mace right into Plasmius’s chest, making him fly backwards into the wall with a satisfying—

At the last moment before impact, the ghost made himself intangible and went painlessly through the wall, and out into the open, mid-morning sky.

Hawk Woman deflated as she took a glance at Superman.

“Outside. Got it,” she yielded.

… … …

Plasmius hovered in the air as he waited for the team of heroes to exit City Hall. He looked around at the various houses and apartments lining the streets. Most of the windows had their blinds shut, and if he did see a few people looking out, they quickly pulled their curtains closed or ran away from view.

Shame.

He would have liked to have an audience when he defeated the Justice League.

“Vlad!”

His eyes were pulled back to the group of heroes as the ones who could fly now surrounded him, while Batman and Flash remained earthbound. His sight landed on Phantom, who was a little off to the side, as he had let Superman take point.

“Give up, Plasmius,” the Kryptonian said authoritatively. “You have nowhere to go and we don’t want any unnecessary destruction.”

“Nowhere to go?” the vampire barked a laugh. “I own this town!”

“Yeah, as much as you own the Packers,” Phantom quipped. Some of the other Leaguers raised their eyebrows at that. Vlad felt the ectoplasm rush to his face again.

“Your point is moot, seeing as you and your pathetic team will never be able to defeat me,” he spat as he ignited his hands in a glowing pink energy.

“Very bold for a man who is outnumbered seven to one,” Wonder Woman taunted. Phantom just face-palmed at the evil glint in the older ghost’s eye.

“You see, I knew that young Daniel was bad at math…” Plasmius glowed a bit brighter as his image seemed to split off from himself, creating six more identical ghosts that now surrounded the five heroes that were in the air. “But I expected more from you ‘superheroes.’” The duplicates all spoke together, creating an eerie echo.

They cackled maniacally as they suddenly attacked each of the League members, pairing off, as if to isolate them. Phantom focused on the original, even though he could hear the sounds of battle around and below him. Plasmius smirked arrogantly.

“You know, dear child, that this could all have been avoided if you had just renounced your father and joined me in the first place,” he said, as if he was being reasonable. Phantom growled and blasted him with a green ghost-ray.

“I’ll never join you!” the teen shouted. “When will that get through your thick skull?”

The blast had pushed them apart a few feet in the air; but before they could move back, Hawk Woman was launched in between them, followed quickly by a Plasmius duplicate.

“And he says that I’m thick,” the vampiric ghost muttered loud enough for the boy to hear. “Why do you think I decided to just get rid of you?” Plasmius feigned an ecto-blast to the left, which Phantom easily dodged, but then gathered his energy in his right hand and sucker-punched the young hero in the gut. The teen fell a few feet in the air before he regained his balance and shot the older man in the shoulder.

As the battle continued, all the participants started to get lower and lower to the ground as they fought and periodically switched opponents. Wonder Woman had gotten her lasso around her duplicate, whirled him around a couple times to gain momentum, and slammed him into Flash’s and Batman’s duplicates on the ground. Green Lantern made a giant, hard-light tennis racket and batted his Plasmius next to the others.

Phantom looked down and noticed that all of the Vlad clones were grouped together, and away from the League; this sparked an idea. Before anyone could initiate another fight, he landed in front of the heroes; Plasmius shortly following and landing in front of his duplicates as they got back up and readied themselves.

“I could have taught you so much, you know,” the older ghost said, gesturing to his clones. “I have powers that you couldn’t even possibly hope to grasp.”

“Oh yeah? Could you have taught me this?” Phantom sneered. “Everyone stay behind me and cover your ears!” he ordered to the group behind him.

The ghost boy took a deep breath, and just as the last Leaguer was able to comply, he let out a wail that reminded them of the Canary Scream, if the Canary Scream sounded like a thousand souls of the damned trying to claw their way out of whatever pit they were doomed to reside for all eternity. The waves of energy pounded into Plasmius one after another, and as he fell to his knees, all of the remaining duplicates evaporated.

The wail faded, and the older ghost collapsed on his side, defeated. Phantom staggered a bit as he tried not to fall down himself. Superman was right by his side, and put an arm around the boy to try to keep him steady. Phantom, however, grit his teeth in pain as electricity suddenly leaped from Superman to wherever he was in contact with the ghostly teen.

“What?” Superman asked worriedly, instantly taking his hands off of Phantom, causing him to wobble a little without the physical support. The young hero looked up at him with a tired smirk.

“Did no one listen to the descriptions? It’s a wonder how we won at all,” he remarked sarcastically.

“It’s the Spector Deflector!” Flash called. “The belt hurts ghosts, including him.”

“Oh, right.” Superman looked down and pressed a button on the front, releasing the clasps, and unlocking the belt.

“No, wait!” Phantom yelled as he saw the hero removing the device. In a flash of pink light and movement, the ghost boy noticed Plasmius open his gleaming red eyes, smiling malevolently, turn intangible, and with all of his remaining strength, rush towards the Kryptonian on a collision course.

Before he could get his bearings, he found himself staring into the once blue, now red, eyes of Superman.

“You need a lesson in humility, little badger,” ‘Superman’ said with disdain.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

'You need a lesson in humility, little badger,” ‘Superman’ said with disdain.

Phantom’s eyes went wide as Superman raised a hand and backhanded the teen into the ground with an audible clap.

“Superman!” The Leaguers jumped up to grab onto the possessed Kryptonian. He scowled at them as he tried to move his arms, but his teammates’ hold just got tighter.

“Come on man, snap out of it!” Flash tried.

“You must fight him!” Wonder Woman ordered. Superman rolled his eyes.

“Oh, Superman can’t hear you, can I take a message?” With some amount of effort, he threw off the Leaguers only to be bound once again by a giant glowing green clamp.

“You can’t beat all of us,” Green Lantern glared at the red eyes. “You may have his body, but you’re no Superman. You have no idea how to use his powers.” Superman stopped struggling for a moment and looked up at him, smirking.

“You’re right,” the Kryptonian flexed his arms, trying to break the Lantern’s construct. When he noticed cracks starting to form, Green Lantern put more power into his ring. But it was futile, as not a moment later, Superman broke out of the clamp, sending disintegrating hard light shards everywhere. He flew up to Green Lantern so that they were face to face. “I’m not Superman.”

Green Lantern had only enough time to bring up a shield before Superman punched him, sending him flying to the ground.

With a shout, Hawk Woman leaped at the possessed man, swinging her mace at him in a powerful downwards strike. Superman caught it in one hand before it could make contact, and threw it down hard, the leather strap around the woman’s wrist taking her with it. He looked back up to be greeted with Wonder Woman’s fist, who had been right behind Hawk Woman, using her as a decoy, sending him plunging back to Earth.

As he was getting up from his small crater, he was hit in the face with a force that was too fast to see. A moment later, he was hit again from the other side, then again, and again, and—

Superman thrust out his arm, clotheslining Flash as he made to hit him once more. He grabbed the speedster’s face and threw him into an oncoming Batman.

“Nuisances! All of you!” Superman shouted, red eyes glowing brighter. “I don’t know how Superman deigns to work with any of you. He has all this power and yet he decides to make a little club of do-gooders? How quaint,” he sneered, standing up straight. He eyed all of the Leaguers as they regrouped. “It’s a good thing that I know how to really use this power—“

“Oh no you don’t!” Phantom, who had taken advantage of the man’s rant to get close, leaped and turned intangible, flying into Superman. The Leaguers watched as the Kryptonian stiffened, eyes switching from red to green, back and forth.

“I—won’t let you—“ Superman chopped out. He suddenly snarled, eyes going red. “Why you little!” He bent over, hands clutching his head. “You—can’t—AHH!” The man arched backwards as a black and white figure tumbled out of his chest and landed in front of the League.

“That… didn’t go exactly as I had planned,” Phantom stated, looking back to a still red-eyed Superman.

“Of course it didn’t, Daniel,” the man said with false sympathy. “I will always be stronger than you—AHH!!” The man abruptly fell to his knees, holding his head in pain. “What—what is this!?”

Batman stepped forward, bouncing a glowing green rock in his hand.

This is for Superman,” he said. As the Dark Knight got closer, Superman leaned back and tried to scuttle away, but Batman grabbed the front of his suit, sending him a small shock from the other man’s Spector Deflector. “Now, either you get out, or this,” he held up the Kryptonite to the man’s face as he flinched away, “is going to get closer than you ever want it to be.”

Superman’s eyes darted between Batman’s masked face and the Kryptonite.

“Fine,” he growled through clenched teeth.

A moment later, his eyes rolled backwards as his body went limp, and the white-clad form of Plasmius fell out from behind Superman, breathing heavily, still reeling from the pain of the radioactive rock. Batman quickly put the chunk of Kryptonite back into a lead-lined pouch of his utility belt. Wonder Woman tied her lasso around the fiend and tightened it roughly, silently daring him to make a move.

“Ugh…” Superman groaned and opened his eyes, displaying his baby-blues. “What happened and why does it feel like I got Kryptonite shoved in my face?” He rubbed his temple with a hand, trying to sooth his headache.

“You got overshadowed,” Phantom answered, picking up the discarded Spector Deflector. “That tends to happen when you take off your anti-overshadowing gear near a ghost that’s known to overshadow people.” He turned to Wonder Woman and held out the belt. “If you put this on him, it’ll short out his powers.”

“It would be my pleasure,” she said, taking the device from the ghostly teen. Plasmius scowled heavily as he tried to resist the woman, but she just pulled him back and wrapped the belt around his waist. As soon as she locked and activated the Spector Deflector, Plasmius gritted his teeth and spasmed from the electricity until two black rings formed around his waist and split apart, revealing a human Vlad Masters.

Superman turned back to Phantom.

“It was supposed to be a gesture of apology,” the Kryptonian said. The boy turned to him as green started to spread across his face as he blushed.

“You mean from this morning? No—I should be the one apologizing; I overreacted,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “It just surprised me, is all. No one’s ever mentioned my heartbeat before.” Superman smiled as Flash ran up to them.

“Does that mean that we can take these off now?” He asked, pointing to his own Spector Deflector.

Before anyone could say anything, a swirling green portal appeared a few yards away from where everyone was gathered. The Leaguers tensed up, ready for another fight when three creatures, more ghosts, they assumed, charged out.

The first one was a large woman with blue skin, black and gold armor with bright purple flames coming out of the helmet, and four arms; one holding an odd looking spear, and another with a shield. The next ghost looked like an abominable snowman; a huge white bear with a long tail, horns, and an arm that looked like it was made of ice and bone, wearing a blue cloth cape and gold armor, holding a strange scroll. The last was a massive pale blue dragon that looked almost exactly like the black and purple ghost dragon that they fought earlier that morning.

The dragon roared, spitting green fire into the air, and the four armed woman pointed her spear at the group.

Plasmius! We—“ She blinked, then lowered her spear. “We’re late?”

The dragon stopped shooting fire and looked at the League. It put a hand up to its mouth and shrunk down into the form of a young woman with green skin, blond hair, and a blue medieval-looking dress.

“Oh my,” she glanced up at the large woman with the spear. “It seems that we are.”

The group of heroes allowed themselves to relax slightly, but still not lower their guard at the three newcomers—that is, until Phantom ran up to the front of the group and shouted happily.

“Guys! What are you doing here?” He was greeted by relieved and cheerful faces.

“Great One!” the massive yeti-like creature shouted, before wrapping the young teen in a bone-crushing hug.

“Danny! You’re okay!” the large four armed woman ruffled his hair before the other ghost set him down.

“Sir Phantom, we were so worried!” the green-skinned ghost cried as she grabbed his hands.

“We’re not here for you, punk.”

Two more ghosts exited the portal before it closed: A man with a skull for a face in a white zoot suit and black fedora floated by and frowned at Phantom, followed closely by the only familiar ghost to the League, Technus.

“NEVER FEAR, MORTALS! FOR I, TECHNUS, MASTER OF ALL TECHNOLOGY, HAVE RETURNED! With the help of Frostbite, of course,” he loudly proclaimed.

“Did we miss something? Who are these new guys?” Flash leaned over and whispered to Superman, who just eyed the ghosts warily.

The white ghost ignored the Leaguers and went straight for Vlad. Wonder Woman tightened her grip on the man and moved herself slightly in front of him, making the other ghost pause and narrow his eyes at her.

“Who are you, and what do you want?” she asked sternly. The white ghost scowled.

“The name’s Walker, prison warden of the Ghost Zone. I’m the judge, executioner, jury, executioner, jailer, and, if necessary, the executioner,” he introduced. Wonder Woman raised an eyebrow. “And I’m here for Vlad Plasmius.”

“Oh, come now, all I did was try to get a little revenge; that’s not against the rules is it?” Vlad tried. “A-and look! Daniel’s right there! Isn’t he number one on your Most Wanted List?”

Walker snarled and jabbed a finger into the man’s chest.

“You broke the rules,” the warden said in a dangerous voice. “And not just any rule. One of the oldest rules. A rule so old it pre-dates the book.” Walker pulled a glowing green book titled ‘Rules’ out of nowhere and shoved it in Vlad’s face. “You’re going away for the rest of your afterlife.”

“Wait.”

Batman stepped forward.

“He needs to go through our court system and clear Phantom’s name first,” he stated. “If Masters disappears while under the eye of the Justice League, it would only cause more problems for both of our worlds.”

“If it makes you feel any better, you can have him after he’s convicted,” Green Lantern spoke up.

Walker considered the man for a moment, then looked back at Vlad with a deep frown across his face, and back to Batman with a glare.

“Very well, I accept your terms,” the ghost held out his hand. As the Dark Knight shook it, the warden pulled him in close. “It’s a good thing that your little Justice Club has a reputation in the Ghost Zone. You don’t add your problems to my prisons, and I respect that; but if you try to butt into my jurisdiction again, I won’t be so lenient.”

“Understood,” Batman replied coolly.

Walker stepped back and eyed everyone in the group, shooting one last glare at Vlad.

“I was looking forward to a good fight, so I’m hoping to get back to some rowdy prisoners,” he tipped his hat at the League, then pointed to Phantom, narrowing his eyes. “If I ever catch you loitering around my territory, punk, we’re going to have some words.”

With that, he disappeared.

“Geez, what is that guy’s problem?” Phantom groaned.

“Let’s not worry about him now, Great One,” the yeti patted him on the back, causing the teen to stumble forward with the force. “Instead, let us celebrate your return!”

“Indeed! This is a most unexpected yet wondrous turn of events!” the green woman cheered.

“Speaking of unexpected, who are your friends, Danny?” Hawk Woman was the first to ask. The other curious Leaguers turned their attention on Phantom, as a green blush started to overtake his face.

“Right! Uhh… everyone,” he addressed, and gestured to one of the ghosts. “This is Dora—I mean, Princess Dorothea; she’s Aragon’s sister, and now the ruler of her kingdom.”

“A pleasure,” the green-skinned woman, Dora, greeted and curtseyed. “Any friend of Sir Phantom’s is welcome within my boarders.”

“This is Frostbite, leader of the clan of yetis from the Far Frozen,” the ghost boy continued, now pointing at the large white furry creature. “He helped me control my ice powers when I first got them.”

“It is an honor to meet you, Justice League,” the yeti bowed. “I have heard many tales of your heroics from the Great One.” Phantom blushed more and hastily continued on before anyone could comment.

“And this is Pandora from the Acropolis in Athens,” he said. “I helped her get her box back once.”

“That he did,” the large four armed woman ruffled Phantom’s white hair as the rest of the Leaguers just stared wide-eyed. Flash’s jaw was practically on the ground.

“Pandora… like, the Pandora?” the speedster asked. “Like, Pandora’s Box Pandora? Wait, is that the box you were talking about?” Phantom smiled and nodded.

Wonder Woman stepped forward and bowed.

“Lady Pandora, this is an honor—“ Before she knew it, she was being lifted in the air and given a tight, four armed hug by the blue woman.

“Oh, Diana, it’s been too long!” the Greek Demigoddess laughed. “Oh my… I bet you don’t even remember me. Oh how silly of me, of course you don’t; you were barely even in the kiln at the time.”

“I—“

“GHOST!!”

“No, Mr. Fenton! Those ones are good!”

Everyone’s attention was brought to the group of five ghost hunters and J’onn, one of whom, was bounding his way over to the heroes.

“Dann-o!” Jack yelled, and proceeded to mimic Pandora by giving Phantom another bone-crushing hug. The others caught up with the man, not too worse for wear, and smiled triumphantly at the sight of Vlad bound by Wonder Woman’s lasso, grumbling to himself.

“We’re pretty sure we caught most of the ghost animals,” Tucker explained.

“Though we’re most likely going to be seeing a few stragglers for the next couple of days,” Sam said. “All of us should try to have a thermos on hand for the next week or so.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Phantom smiled. He looked around for Technus, who had been uncharacteristically quiet since his arrival, and spotted him off to one side, apparently deep in thought. “Hey, Technus!”

“Huh? WHAT DO YOU WANT, GHOST CHILD?” He sounded annoyed, but floated closer to the group anyway.

“They said that most of the animals are caught, so I think it’d be okay if you took down the ghost shield now,” Phantom said, pointing to the sky. The green-skinned ghost looked up at it as if only just now remembering that it was there.

“RIGHT, YES! I, TECHNUS, SHALL FREE THE TOWN FROM ITS CONFINEMENT!” He started to fly away when—

“Uhh, wait! Technus!” Phantom called again. The other ghost turned around.

“WHAT?”

“Umm, you know,” the boy said, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m always looking for more ghosts to join the ‘I-Don’t-Hate-Danny’ Club… You in? I’m pretty sure Tucker would love to work with you on some tech,” he added as a bonus incentive. Technus rubbed his chin in thought and hummed to himself.

“I, TECHNUS, MASTER OF ALL TECHNOLOGY… shall think about it,” he said right before he took off.

On the other side of the group, the Leaguers turned to the Martian as he approached them.

“So,” Hawk Woman teased. “How was your adventure in ghost hunting?”

“I… learned a lot,” J’onn stated, “… about fudge.”

… … …

After a few minutes of talking and various questions and answers from each party—

“—and that is why we of the Far Frozen call him the Great One!” Frostbite concluded, ignoring Phantom’s embarrassment. Pandora leaned over and started poking the teen’s cheek.

“Plus he gets all flustered when we call him ‘Prince Phantom,’” she teased, dodging his attempts to bat her hand away.

’Prince?’” they all repeated, shocked. Almost everyone; as Sam and Tucker already knew about this revelation. Sensing the storm of questions that was sure to come, Dora stepped forward.

“Forgive me for cutting our reunion short,” she said, gesturing to where the portal used to be. “But we must soon return to our realm, seeing as our dear Sir Phantom is safe once more, and the villain has been caught.”

“Right, of course,” Frostbite unraveled the scroll he had in his hands.

“Oh! Wait, I almost forgot!” Phantom rushed over to Dora, and handed her a thermos. “Aragon’s in here. I figured it’d be best if you decided what to do with him.” J’onn pulled out the amulet that he had taken off of the dragon earlier and handed it to the princess.

“Oh, yes. Thank you,” she said as she took both items. “Fare thee well, Sir Phantom.”

To the Far Frozen,” Frostbite commanded. The scroll started glowing, and then green energy started to pool and swirl behind them, creating a portal to the Ghost Zone. The three ghosts waved and wished the young hero luck as they entered the portal and disappeared.

Flash walked over to Phantom and rested his arm on the boy’s head.

“Well, that was sure something,” he commented casually. “You really do have friends in high places, Your Majesty.”

Phantom was in the middle of trying to push the speedster off of him when Batman turned around and threw several batarangs in the air. The teen turned around just in time to see the shredded remains of what looked to be an anti-ghost net land by his feet. He looked up and groaned, sliding a hand down his face.

“The Justice League?” a bald man in a pristine white suit carrying a futuristic-looking bazooka said in surprise. Another man narrowed his eyes behind his dark sunglasses and pointed accusingly at Phantom.

“What are you doing helping ghost scum like him? He’s a wanted criminal!” the other shouted.

Maddie leaped in front of her son and pointed her own bazooka at the two GIW agents.

“How dare you speak t—“ she snarled, but was cut off when Superman put a hand on her shoulder. He gave her a look of assurance, then walked over to the agents.

“You know, it’s almost funny, hearing you two talk of scum and criminals,” he stopped in front of them. “Because the only ones I see here are you.”

“What—w-we—you—“ they stuttered. “We’re not criminals! We—“

“Have attacked innocent civilians; don’t care for the safety of bystanders; have threatened children with physical harm; have stolen and illegally recreated patented technology; are impersonating government agents,” Batman listed. “Take your pick.”

The agents’ faces became a shade paler than their namesake.

“Your whole organization is going down,” Green Lantern said, crossing his arms. “I suggest you leave. Now.”

Looking completely stunned by their unanticipated situation, the agents dropped the bazooka and fled back to their base just outside of town. Sam and Tucker ran over to Phantom’s side and high-fived him.

“Yeah! Those bozos won’t be able to get away this time!” Sam cheered.

Flash went back to leaning on Phantom. 

“You know,” he said, looking at his nails, “if someone had told me yesterday, that fighting Captain Cold and picking up a weird magic orb-thing would lead to taking down a supervillain and a rogue government agency, I would have said…” he trailed off when he caught a glance of Superman giving him a look. “’All in a day’s work?’”

Phantom snickered.

All in a day’s work.

 

 

Chapter Text

Three years later…

“Hey!” Flash called out.

Phantom spun around, eyes wide as he tried to take deep breaths. He clenched his fists to keep them from shaking; his palms were sweaty and he didn’t know why he was even here in the first place.

“And I thought that I was the only one who could vibrate that fast,” Flash laughed, pulling Danny’s mind back to earth… metaphorically speaking. “Come on man, don’t worry. Everything is going to be okay! Just go in there, do your thing, and then you’re done!”

Wally,” Phantom whined. “I don’t know if I can do this! Everyone’s out there, and they’re all expecting—“ he puffed up his chest and made a pose “—and I’m just—“ he let out his breath and slouched. He looked back up and glared when he heard Flash start to laugh.

“Oh—no, I’m—I’m sorry Danny, it’s just—“ the speedster choked out through giggles. “You just went through your Ghost King coronation thing like, what, two months ago? You looked fine then, what’s so different now? Aside from the fact that no one in there spent years trying to kill you.”

Phantom sighed, a green blush threatening to make its way to his face.

“Clockwork—uhh… right before my coronation, Clockwork promised to stop time for me… if I froze, or if I started panicking,” the eighteen-year-old admitted. Flash raised an eyebrow.

“Did he ever have to?”

“… No.”

“Then you’ll be fine!”

The speedster grinned wide and patted the nervous Phantom on the back. Flash’s enthusiasm and confidence was incredibly infectious, making the teen give a genuine smile before long.

Phantom wasn’t the scrawny kid that they had met those few years ago; three years of training with his ghost allies, his parents, and the Justice League has done him, and his reputation, a world of good. Without Vlad and the GIW trying to make him look bad, and without his parents misinterpreting everything and spitting out anti-ghost propaganda, the town slowly accepted him as their protector; especially after the League helped him create a cover story as to why both Daniel Fenton and Danny Phantom went missing for those couple of days when he was sealed in his core. They had said something about Phantom learning of Vlad’s plot, and taking the youngest Fenton to the Justice League for assistance. It really helped that Danny himself could corroborate the story in both forms.

Now that he was getting older, he had started to grow into his genes somewhat, as he was now almost as tall as Superman; but instead of growing into his father’s bulk, he had more of a lean build with toned musculature. About a year after he had indirectly come out to his parents as Phantom, they had presented him a new costume that they made specifically for his duties as the ghostly protector of Amity Park. He was surprised, to say the least, when he first saw it, because it looked almost exactly like the suit that his darker-self wore in the alternate future, except the cape didn’t look tattered.

At first, he had refused to wear it, scared that the future was trying to reassert itself. But after he explained the situation and his fear to his parents, with the support of his family and all of his friends, he decided that he was not going to let the fear of a man who he was never going to allow to exist ruin anything else in his life. That day, not only did Phantom change his look, but the people in Amity could tell that he was more content, in some way.

“Lastly, I would like to introduce the newest member of the Justice League…”

“Oh, that’s your cue!” Flash said in a rush. “You remember what you’re going to say, right?”

“What? Oh, uhh, yeah!” Phantom blinked, bringing his mind back to the here and now. “Just gotta remember to breathe. Just breathe.” He walked on stage, next to Superman at a podium, and looked down at the audience, which consisted of the growing number of League members and reporters from around the world.

“Danny Phantom,” Superman announced. The teen waved sheepishly. “As of today, like Wonder Woman of Themyscira and Aquaman of Atlantis, Phantom will also be acting as a diplomat and representative of his people from our sister dimension, the Infinite Realms… Now, I believe that Phantom has something prepared for us.” Hushed whispers spread throughout the crowd on the Watchtower as Superman stepped back from the podium, and shook hands with Phantom. “You’re going to do fine, Danny,” he whispered before he stepped to the side and allowed the teen to take his place at the microphone.

With the glare from the lights shining on his face, and the occasional flash of a camera, Phantom could not see anyone in the audience, just an unidentifiable mass of people that could have anywhere from encouragement to outright hatred and disgust on their faces; he would never know for sure. He gulped.

… … …

“Hello from the other side, I guess,” Phantom started with a smile. He breathed a small sigh of relief when he heard a few chuckles from the audience.

“As you all know, my name is Danny Phantom, and I’m a ghost, and yes, we are real. Throughout history, ghosts have been seen as evil, unfeeling, and non-sentient beings; one of my goals here is to dispel that rumor once and for all. Ghosts, for the most part, are just like people. Some lean towards violence, and will attack if provoked; others will go out of their way to protect, or do good; but most just want to live out their afterlife in the peace of their own realm.

“It is my duty as King to allow my people to have the most peaceful, prosperous, and fulfilling afterlife as possible; and that includes reaching out to the living world to ensure the continued safety of my realm, and its occupants. So far, the Infinite Realms—or the Ghost Zone, as it’s known today—has just been viewed as a mystery, an unknown, something to be feared. I believe that it is time that we come out of the shadows, and shed some light on things.

“Just like humans and aliens, ghosts can form bonds, relationships, and even families, with both the living world, and the dead. We have our own cultures and technologies, laws and traditions, and interests and ideas, which we would be more than willing to share, if you’ll have us. This may be the first time that we of the Ghost Zone have come to the living world in an official capacity, but we have always been here, running parallel to your world, and we will be here long after this planet is gone.

“As long as we have time on this world, we would like to share our resources in order to make both of our societies better for all of those who dwell within them.

“I, Danny Phantom, as Protector and King of the Infinite Realms, would like to thank the Justice League and the people of Earth for this alliance. We will work hard in order to solidify this union for many years to come. I look forward to working with all of you.

“Thank you.”

… … …

An applause rung out around him as Phantom took a step back from the microphone. The flashes from the cameras increased dramatically as Superman stood next to him and patted him on the back. He took one last calming breath and smiled.

“Phantom will now be open to taking your questions,” Superman informed them.

The reporters burst into noise and waving hands trying to be the first one to get their questions answered. Superman nudged Phantom slightly, indicating that he should be the one to choose. The teen stepped back up to the podium and pointed to a random journalist. The crowd quieted, and she stepped forward, notepad in hand.

“Mr. Phantom, is it true that you pulled the town of Amity Park into the Ghost Zone to take it over?”

“What? N-no!” Phantom stuttered. Not a good start. “That was the old Ghost King, Pariah Dark. That was actually when I got the title; I—how did Frostbite put it—I ‘bested him in single combat and inherited his status as Ruler of the Ghost Zone.’ So, yeah, that wasn’t me. Next question… um, you.” He pointed to a reporter near the back of the group.

“What does this mean for your apparent home town of Amity Park? Will you be leaving it unprotected?”

“There are many extremely competent and experienced ghost hunters in Amity Park, some of which I have worked closely for some time. Whether I’m there or not, the town will not go unprotected,” he answered. The teen then pointed to an older-looking man near the front row.

“Are you able to tell us who you were when you were alive?”

Phantom frowned, it seemed like he needed to teach these people a lesson—he unnoticeably winced at his internal wording—literally, not metaphorically. He sighed.

“I know this is very new to all of you, and most of you don’t know what lines shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to ghosts; so I’m just going to lay some quick ground rules,” he started, looking into the crowd. “First, it’s not cool to ask about our past lives. We’re dead. The memories of our lives are very personal to us, if we remember it at all. If a ghost wants to talk about their lives, they’ll let you know. Second, do not, under any circumstances, ask how a ghost has died. It is often one of the most traumatic experiences one has to go through. Again, if they want to talk about it, they’ll let you know. A hot-tempered ghost might get violent if these questions come up without their consent… so no, I’m sorry, but I can’t let you know anything about my life. Last question…” He pointed to a person in the center of the audience.

“What made you want to join the Justice League?”

Phantom thought about it, for a moment, with a fond smile on his face.

“Aside from the fact that they’ve saved my bacon a couple times,” he paused for some chuckles in the crowd. “It would have to be because outside of my closest friends and allies, they were the first people to accept me for who I am without any judgement for what I am. They’ve helped me through some tough times, and have even changed the way I see humanity. Without them, I would not have thought that an alliance between the living world and the Ghost Zone to be possible, let alone accepted. Plus, you know,” he rubbed the back of his neck, “I wanted to be a superhero ever since I was alive, so… who would say no to chance like that? Umm, thank you.”

He stepped back again to let Superman have the podium, and walked offstage as the older hero made his closing statements.

… … …

About half an hour later, Phantom was standing next to a round table where all of the original seven Leaguers were seated.

“You could have joined earlier, you know,” Flash commented. “I mean, Clark’s kid cousin is in the League and she’s what, sixteen?”

“Yeah, I know,” the ghost boy said. “But I promised mom and dad that I would at least finish high school first.”

“Smart,” Batman interjected.

“In any case,” Superman stood up and walked around the table, handing something small to the teen. Phantom looked at it, eyes wide, with a grin slowly growing on his face.

It was his official League Membership card.

“Welcome to the Justice League.”

 

The End