It was dark when he first woke up.
Stale air was sucked into his lungs as the young man gasped awake. The faint taste of wet earth danced in his dry mouth as he opened his eyes only to be met with pitch black.
He tried to raise his arms, only to feel them knock against something solid. His hands met the same feeling when he tried to touch in front of him.
"H-Hey!" he rasped. His throat was dry and felt like he had swallowed glass. "L-lemme out!" The boy weakly slapped the top of the box he was in, a thud sounding out in the cramped space. "Somebody! HELP!" Everything around him seemed foggy, the feeling of grogginess pulling at the male's exhausted mind.
The pain hit without warning.
Bones snapped back into place, skin stitched itself together, every fiber of the boy's body felt like it was on fire as it seemed to piece itself back together. His heart raced as he arched his back. Cracked lips parted but no sound came out; the pain was too intense for him to even cry out. His head and chest hurt the worst; the caved in portion of his skull slowly resettled back into its original position while the lungs worked overtime to pull in the musty air.
The pain was almost too much, the shocks dancing up and down his spine as he writhed inside the space.
And then, just when he was about to pass out, it all stopped.
His muscles slowly relaxed and his jaw ached as he unclenched it; a warm liquid dribbled its way down his chin and the tangy taste of iron hit his tongue. Panting, the young man loosened his curled fists and tilted closed his eyes in exhaustion. The adrenaline that had coursed through his veins a few moments ago began to ebb away, a dull ache and weariness taking its place instead. The boy let his head fall back onto something soft beneath his head.
A pillow. A box. Smells like dirt.
His eyes shot open as he made the connection.
He was in a coffin.
The adrenaline that had faded away came back full force as he screamed the first name that came to mind.
"BRUCE!" he yelled.
Hist fists pounded against the top with renewed vigor as the reality set in.
"SOMEBODY! DAD! HELP!"
Panic blinded any bit of clarity the boy had as his hands patted himself. When he felt the cool metal of a belt buckle, he ripped it free and dug it into what felt like cloth above him. As soon as he could feel wood, his other hand joined in, clawing at the lid. Wood splintered and chipped, his nails cracked and blood began to run down his hands, but he kept going.
When he deemed the wood thin enough, the boy rammed his fist through it. Dirt cascaded from the small hole, falling onto his face and into his mouth. He paid it no mind however, his goal so close to him as he continued to dig and haul himself up.
His hand hit cold air without warning, the feeling of rain mixing in with the blood on his hands. With the last of his remaining strength, the boy hauled himself out of the hole he dug.
The wind around him howled, as if to signal his arrival as he stumbled to his feet.
Distantly, the boy thought he could hear the echo of a laugh as he stumbled away from his spot.
"It's time to wake up, Jason Todd," a voice hissed in his clouded mind."I've got big plans for you."
The boy stumbled his way through the headstones, leaving only the stone angel guarding the grave to be the sole witness to Jason Todd's miraculous resurrection.
"Are we there yet?" a man whined.
A white 1959 Cadillac professional chassis sped down the dark, rain-slicked road, its headlights being the only source of light for miles on end. A logo of a ghost in a circle with a line through it was painted onto both sides of the vehicle while the license plate read 'Ecto-1' was stamped into the metal.
"How much farther?" the same man whined.
That man was Eduardo Rivera, a tall Latin American with brown hair, brown eyes, and a scruffy goatee. Often profiled as a slacker, it wasn't entirely wrong as he did often act that way; but when it came to his friends' well-being, he was in a by their side in a heartbeat, even if he wouldn't admit it. His body was slouched down in one of the backseats of the vehicle, head resting against the window as he watched the scenery zip by.
"You asked that five minutes ago," the driver snapped.
That was Roland Jackson, an African-American with close-cropped hair and brown eyes. His hands were gripping the wheel tightly, a headache starting to form thanks to Eduardo. He may seem boring and a goody two-shoes on the surface, but his mind was a well of knowledge and curiosity that would shine in his eyes whenever he came across a new piece of tech or information.
"And?" Eduardo asked innocently.
"It means that we're not and to stop asking every five minutes!," this time, it was a female that spoke.
The woman was Kylie Griffin, a pale and petite woman that preferred black over any other color and wore dark makeup that emphasized her goth tastes. She was what some would call creepy because she loved everything to do with the paranormal; to her friends, however, she was just Kylie, someone they could trust to smack sense into others.
"Well we'd be there by now if it weren't for Roland driving slower than my grandma," the last voice to speak belonged to a red-head who sat in a seat next to Eduardo.
Garrett Miller, a born paraplegic who refused to let his ailment dictate his life. He was a sports nut and could be a bit hot-headed at times, but meant well in the end.
Together, the four made up the renowned ghost-hunting group, The Ghostbusters. Or Extreme Ghostbusters, depending on who was asked.
"Hey, if you want to drive in a thunderstorm in a city none of us are familiar with, be my guest," Roland snapped. "I don't want to miss the road or hit something."
Eduardo rested his chin on the front seat and sighed. "I don't understand why we didn't just get a hotel and left in the morning instead? Would be easier than doing this." He gestured to the road.
"Hotels are expensive in Gotham, Eduardo," Kylie explained. "The nice ones at least. It's too dangerous to leave the proton packs out in Ecto-1."
"Then we just take them into the hotel," the Latin American countered. "Probably wouldn't be the strangest thing they'd seen be brought in."
"Tire jacking is pretty common in the seedier parts of Gotham," Garrett chimed in. "Even if we have the packs, no tires means no ride out of Gotham."
"Alright, alright, I get it!" Eduardo cried out, his hands thrown up in surrender.
The group sat in silence, the rain pounding against the car. Garrett slumped over, soft snores escaping with every breath. Eduardo's eyes started to slip shut, head falling forward.
"JESUS!" Roland yelled suddenly.
The car swerved violently, tires squealing against the concrete as Roland spun the wheel and slammed the brakes. Everyone was thrown forwards, seat belts locking up at the force.
Eduardo and Garrett jerked awake.
"Roland, what the hell is your problem?" Garrett snapped.
"Oh my god," Kylie muttered as she stared at something in the road.
The African-American didn't seem to hear him as he unbuckled his seat belt, Kylie following his lead.
"H-hey, where're you going!" Eduardo called after them. He huffed when they didn't respond and made to follow them.
Roland and Kylie were already crouched by something a few feet from Ecto-1 when the male had stepped out.
"What's going on?" he asked as he moved closer. "Guys?"
He paused when he saw a small figure sprawled out on the asphalt. Black hair framed a pale face, and blue eyes were hazy and unfocused as they stared at the sky. The black suit was wrinkled and dirty, jacket hanging off of one arm.
Kylie pulled the kid into her lap.
"It's a kid," Roland mumbled in astonishment. "What's a kid doing in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere?"
The boy was mumbling something under his breath, too quiet for Kylie to hear over the sound of thunder and rain.
"What do we do?" Eduardo asked.
"We need to take him to the hospital," Roland said.
A slight humming noise emitted from the satchel attached to Kylie's belt. She tugged it out, eyebrows raised in surprise at the way the PKE meter was flashing.
"Again?" Eduardo huffed as he started towards the car. "Man, I don't think we even have enough proton canisters after the last job."
The Latin American paused and turned back to his friends.
The PKE meter was going wild when Kylie held it over the boy's unconscious form.
"We need to get him to Egon."
I'm sorry if the characterizations seem a bit off. It's been a while since I've seen the show so I'm going off memory and the wikis.
Let me know if there's anything I need to fix.
Until next time!
Chapter 2: Egon Isn't Pleased
Egon wasn't exactly pleased to find out the group basically kidnapped a kid.
I know, I know. I said there'd be longs periods without postings, but being on here has really driven my creative spark (not to mention it's midnight and my brain refuses to sleep). That means that you guys get another chapter so soon!
I'm surprised with the number of hits I've gotten so far! I didn't think many people would notice this, but thank you to those that have!
Enough talk. On to the story!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"You did what? "
The deep voice of Egon Spengler was colored with shock at the news his proteges gave him. Already, he could feel the headache building up in his head at the realization of what could possibly happen.
"We found a kid in the middle of the road and took him here," Eduardo repeated.
Kylie elbowed him in the ribs, eliciting a slight yelp from the taller male.
Egon sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses up further. "Did it ever occur to you to bring this child to a hospital or the police instead?" The possible outcomes were already playing out in his mind, each worse than the last. The four were no doubt giving him more gray hairs in the last hour than they had since they first started. "You practically kidnapped a child," he stated. "Do you have any idea the amount of legal trouble this could bring to all of us?"
"Well..." Garrett drawled as he shrugged. Roland scratched the back of his head while Eduardo whistled innocently. Kylie was the only one that was willing to look the scientist in the eye.
"Egon," she started. The girl pulled out her PKE meter and handed it to him. "When we found him, the meter was going crazy- like off the charts. It's nothing like I've ever seen before. And get this- It was coming off the kid."
The blonde grabbed the device and readjusted his glasses before peering at the screen. The energy spikes had leaped wildly on the screen, harsh jagged spikes jumping up and down without a pattern.
"Curious," Egon hummed. "These readings don't resemble any form of PKE readings I've ever seen either." He turned towards the group. "Where is he? I'd like to take a look at him to make sure that whatever was giving off these signals isn't directly harming him."
"He's in the car," Garrett jabbed a thumb back at Ecto-1. "By the way, the kid's gonna need someone to patch him up. We did what we could with the first-aid kit, but I don't think that's gonna do it."
A grim look settled onto Egon's face as he nodded. "Roland, help get him up to one of the beds upstairs; Kylie, go find the medical kit in the upstairs bathroom; Garrett, Eduardo, get Janine and get some towels."
Nobody moved at first.
"Well?" Egon asked. "Come on!"
Everyone scrambled for to do their jobs, Kylie, Eduardo, and Egon racing up the stairs while Garrett rolled his wheelchair to the elevator. That left Roland standing next to the Ecto-1 by himself.
"Okay, buddy," Roland sighed as he opened the door. The boy had a blanket wrapped around his frame that shifted with each rise and fall of his chest. He had been out like a light since he had passed out in Kylie's arms, and it looked like he wouldn't be awake for a while. Gauze had been haphazardly wrapped around the injured hands and already stained red with blood. "Let's get you patched properly."
The kid was surprisingly heavy despite his small frame, forcing the African-American to pause several times to readjust his grip as to not drop him.
When he finally made it to the second floor, everyone was already there waiting for him.
"Finally! Took you long enough," Eduardo said.
Janine Melnitz, the red-headed secretary stood nearby with a bundle of towels in her arms. Meanwhile, a floating green ghost, Slimer, hovered near the secretary's shoulder. Janine gasped at the state of the child in Roland's arms while Slimer blubbered something incomprehensible.
"Oh my goodness! What happened to him?"
"That's what we're trying to figure out," Egon explained. With one hand, he motioned to Roland to deposit the boy onto the bed while he started to unpack the medical kit with the other. "Janine, can you help me with his hands? You have the most experience with these sort of things."
The kid's hands were a bloody mess. Splinters embedded into the skin, split knuckles, ragged fingernails, and a few of said fingernails missing altogether.
"Jeez, what'd this guy do? Dig his way out of a grave?" Eduardo asked.
"That could be a possibility," the scientist responded absentmindedly as he dug out a chunk of wood with a pair of tweezers. The slivers were dropped into a jar one-by-one. "We won't know for certain until we ask him if he wakes up."
Slimer sputtered out a concerned noise.
"You mean when he wakes up," Janine emphasized.
"Right, when he wakes up," Egon corrected. "For now, all we can do is fix him up and analyze what evidence we have at hand."
Nobody said anything as Egon continued to fix the kid's hands.
Instead, their minds were plagued with worry for their new guest.
So? What do you think?
Comments, feedback, kudos, constructive criticism are all welcomed and will be fangirled over!
Until next time!
Chapter 3: Awakenings and Revelations
Waking up and coming face-to-face with a class five full roaming vapor isn't exactly normal or ideal for some people.
I apologize for not posting this yesterday, but I was busy writing it since I fell asleep the night before and never finished. Currently, I'm trying to get out a chapter a day or every other day in order to figure out when is a good time to update for you guys.
But hey look, a new one! And this time a longer one!
Also, did I look up Slimer's classifications just to make a joke in the chapter summary? Why yes, yes I did.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Black was everywhere he looked.
The sky, the floor, everything was an endless void around him.
Dark sludge coalesced around his knees, forcing him to stand still.
"Hello?" Jason called out. "Where am I?"
Laughter echoed across the void and Jason whipped his head around, hoping to find a source.
When he looked back, a stone angel stood before him, her arms spread wide and a blank look on her face.
Jason reeled back at the surprise, his arms windmilling as to keep his balance.
The laughter sounded again, only louder.
The stone angel lurched forward suddenly, its once blank face cracking into a cheshire grin.
“Hello, Jason Todd,” the statute spoke. Its voice was deep and echoed through the dark expanse. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Who are you?” the boy demanded. “How do you know my name. Where am I?”
“Those matters are trivial for the time being.” The angel waved a hand before leaning closer until its face was only a few inches from Jason’s. He leaned back in response. “What matters is that I need your help with something. And I know you could benefit from mine.”
The boy wracked his brain for any reason but came up blank. “What’re you talking about? I don’t understand.”
The statue stepped down from the pedestal and waded through the slime as if it were air. The boy kept his eyes on the figure until it moved behind him and became too hard to follow.
“Why, for revenge, dear child.”
A cold, stone hand squeezed one of his shoulders while the face leaned over his other. Its face was still stretched into the creepy cheshire grin.
“Don’t you want revenge on the man who killed you?” the angel cooed. “Such a vivacious boy like you did not deserve to die- especially in such a terrible way like you did.”
The boy shrugged the hand off his shoulder and somehow managed to take a step away, albeit with a degree of difficulty.
“Killed me?” he asked as he turned to face the statue. “I can’t be dead! I don’t remember that!”
The angel froze and the grin fell from its face. “You don’t remember?”
Jason shook his head hesitantly.
He shook his head again.
The angel frowned. “That was not supposed to happen,” it admitted. A sigh was released. “No worries. I can fix that for you.”
Creeping closer, the statue’s hands were outstretched and made to grab at Jason’s head. The boy closed his eyes, bracing for the pressure, but it never came. When he opened eyes, Jason was met with the confused face of the statue staring at him. It made to grab at him again, but instead, the stone hands simply phased through his body.
“No.” The statue tried again. “NO!”
Jason took a step back and watched as the angel’s face filled with rage as it tried and failed to touch him. It lunged at him suddenly and the boy stumbled back in fear, only to trip and fall into the viscous liquid.
Black goo wrapped around him, crawling up his arms and neck, squeezing his chest and pulled him down.
The last thing Jason saw was the face of the angel tilting its head back and letting out an enraged roar before the inky slime covered his face.
“So tell me where you found him again?”
The Ghostbusters and their mentor were congregated around Janine’s desk, a map spread across its surface. A PKE meter rested on a nearby empty space.
“I’d say around here,” Kylie said as she pointed at a spot on the map. “It’s only a rough estimate, though. It was a really long road and not many identifiable features.”
Egon hummed and leaned over the map, pushing his glasses up slightly. There was a calculating look in his eyes as he scanned it before grabbing a marker and circling several places.
“Cemeteries?” Eduardo asked. He glanced at the older man with a confused look. “You know I was only kidding about that, right Egon? Didn’t think you’d take it so literal.”
The man straightened his back with a grunt and took off his glasses in order to clean them. “Yes, well, it’s the best theory that matches what little information we have right now. How many kids do you know go walking down the middle of a road in a dirt-covered funeral suit and with bloody wood chips embedded into their hands?”
Garrett wheeled his chair over to the mini fridge and got out a soda. The loud crack of the can being opened interrupted the others’ thoughts.
“What kind of nutjob goes around burying kids in funeral suits and leaves them to fend for themselves?” Garrett asked before taking a sip of his drink.
“It’s Gotham, Garrett,” Kylie said. “Nutjobs are practically a staple part of the city at this point. Anyone could have done it, but that doesn’t explain the energy readings John was giving off when we found him.”
“John?” Rolando asked.
Kylie shrugged “Hey, until we can get his name, we gotta call him something. Can’t keep calling him Kid all night.”
“Fine, but Kylie’s right. What about those PKE readings, Egon? Did you find anything out about them?”
Egon picked up the spare PKE meter that was laying on the desk. “Unfortunately no,” he started. “When I went to scan him again for a second sample, any signs of the energy have vanished; there’s not even any residual energy left behind.”
“But that’s not possible!” Kylie interrupted. “There should’ve been at least a trace or something. If there’s none of that, then what does it mean?”
The scientist sighed and rubbed his chin. “That whatever emitted the power in the first place wasn’t from our John Doe, but something else entirely. But why it was latched onto him in the first place is the real question.
“If we can find the place where the kid dug his way out, then it might gleam a little more information on what this entity might be and why it’s around.
“You four are going to have to go back to Gotham and see if you can find wherever John was buried.”
“Might I suggest waiting until the morning?”
The group turned and saw Janine walking down the stairs with a tray full of mugs. Her heels clicked on the stone floor as she moved to set the tray full of steaming coffee and tea down.
“It’s late and you guys already spent the night busting ghosts,” Janine said. “It’s not safe for you to go out in this state, especially with the weather being so terrible. Rest up for the night and leave in the morning.”
“I suppose you’re right,” the man relented. “Speaking of rest, how is the kid?”
“Sleeping like a baby. I have Slimer watching him; he’ll tell us when he wakes up.”
A loud scream followed by a crash echoed from the second floor.
Every bone in his body was aching when he woke up.
It felt like he had been put through the ringer, not a single muscle left out.
When Jason had opened his eyes, he was met with the sight of a wooden ceiling and the feeling of warmth encasing him. Struggling, he sat up and stared at his surroundings.
The room he was in was filled with other beds, some neatly made and others rumpled up and haphazardly thrown together. A night stand was pushed to the wall next to his bed and a dresser sat on the other side.
Clanging pots could be heard from the next room, the sound of a fridge opening and closing along with a few cupboards before the door to the room opened.
Instead of a person like Jason expected, it was a strange floating green thing, carrying a plate stacked with food. It stopped when it noticed Jason was awake, blinking a few times before floating closer. Disbelief filled Jason as he tried to figure out what exactly that blob was; there was no way the thing was real, it had to be a figment of his imagination.
The boy kept his body still and his eyes trained on the thing as it moved close to his face.
“Hi,” the green thing blubbered.
Jason screamed and jumped out of bed, only for his legs to give out on him and send him crashing to the floor. He scooched back until his back hit the frame of another bed, body trembling as the creature made noises and waved its hands in front of itself.
Footsteps sounded outside the door and the next thing Jason knew, the door was slammed open and several people streamed into the room.
“What’s going on?” the African-American man asked. His head was whipping side to side while his body appeared tense and ready for action.
A red-headed woman stepped forward and whistled sharply.
“Slimer,” she called. Jason watched as the blob turned towards her and watched as she pointed towards the door. The thing, Slimer as she called it, sulked and moved around her and out of the room. When it was gone she turned back towards the boy and moved to kneel in front of him.
“Hey, calm down it’s alright,” she reassured. She laid a hand on Jason’s shaking shoulder. “Take some deep breaths.”
The boy shakily sucked in a lungful of air and blew it out slowly, watching as the woman did the same.
“That’s it, nice and easy.”
Eventually, the shaking subsided and Jason watched as the others warily gathered around him a few feet behind the stranger.
“W-who are you people?” Jason questioned “Where am I? What was that thing?”
“In order?” the African-American man stepped forward. “I’m Roland, that’s Eduardo, Kylie, Garrett, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Janine Melnitz.” He gestured to each person who waved when introduced. “You’re currently in the Ghostbusters’ Firehouse, and that thing you saw was Slimer, our resident ghost mascot.”
“Ghostbusters?” Jason muttered.
“Yes, the Ghostbusters,” Egon stepped forward. “My team found you wandering the sides of a road in the middle of the night in Gotham earlier. Can you remember what happened, young man?”
Jason frowned. “My name is Jason Todd, not young man .” He paused. “At least, I think it is.”
“Think?” Eduardo questioned skeptically. “You don’t know your own name?”
The boy shrugged. “It-uh- it's what that thing called me earlier."
The Ghostbusters shared a look while Janine held out a hand to the boy. Jason took it, noting the bandages wrapped around his hands as he was gently helped up and made to sit on the bed behind him. He nodded his head in thanks.
“You said something called you Jason Todd,” Egon started. “What do you mean by that?”
“It’s all a blur, really.” He flexed his bandaged fingers slightly and stared down at his lap. “The only thing I remember is waking up in this really small space and in a lot of pain- it felt like I was on fire. It’s fuzzy after that but the next thing I knew, I was standing in darkness and there was this black slime around my legs. And then that thing appeared.
“It looked like an angel statue, but it moved and spoke to me in this deep voice. It wanted me to do something for it, and that it promised to help me in return.”
Egon moved forward towards the boy and kneeled down in front of him. Jason looked into the tired blue eyes, matching his gaze with his own green ones.
“Jason, what I’m about to ask is very important and I need you to be honest with me. Did you agree to whatever the thing asked of you?”
The boy shook his head. “No. It wouldn’t tell me what it wanted, just that it promised me-” he stopped and looked away.
“Promised you what?” Kylie questioned.
“It promised me it would get revenge on the man who killed me.
"But I don't remember that. I don't remember anything at all."
The Ghostbusters paled at the news.
As always, constructive criticism, feedback, comments, and kudos are welcomed with open arms.
Until next time!
P.S. I will have other fandom works out soon hopefully, but I do have a few original stories on my profile that are horror based if you want to see them!
Chapter 4: Decisions and Plans
Plans are made and the gang goes searching.
Hey, sorry this is a bit later than I expected.
Life got a bit hectic and I haven't gotten the chance to sit down and properly write.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The group watched as Jason and Janine sat at the kitchen table, the woman muttering about something while Jason warily watched Slimer hover nearby with a plate of cookies. Poor kid looked positively tiny in Kylie’s spare pajamas.
Eduardo decided to break the silence first.
“So, what’re we gonna do about zombie boy?” he whispered.
Everyone shot dirty looks at the male.
“What? We’re all thinkin’ the same thing.”
“Maybe not as you so eloquently put it,” Roland muttered. “But Eduardo’s right. What’re we going to do with him? It’s not like we can just keep him here; Jason obviously has a family somewhere in Gotham.”
“Well it’s not like we can take him to the police,” Kylie added.
“And why not?” Garrett crossed his arms. “We’re not exactly qualified to take care of him. The police would have a better chance with finding his parents than we would. Do you know how common the last name Todd is?”
“You want to be the one to tell the police why the amnesiac kid we picked up from Gotham is covered in a bunch of scars, including an autopsy scar?”
Garrett opened his mouth for a second before closing it with a click. There was a slight look of annoyance as he conceded with a shrug.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Besides, what happens if that thing that emitted those energy spikes comes back while he's with the police?"
“Enough, both of you.” Everyone in the huddle stared at Egon, waiting for him to continue. “We’ll stick to the original idea we had before. If we can find the place where Jason was, we might be able to find out who his parents are.”
“And if we don’t?” Roland asked.
“Then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” The scientist started to make his way to the kitchen before turning back to group. “I suggest you all and try to get some sleep. You have a lot of work ahead of you tomorrow.”
“So there I am, focusing on trying to control my dream after being hit by the Sandman’s sand. I keep thinking over and over in my head, ‘I’m a Ghostbuster. I’m a Ghostbuster’ and then I was in my dream!”
If there was one thing Jason could admit, Janine was a great storyteller. The woman kept his attention with tales of the old Ghostbuster crew and the mishaps that occurred during their time. It was entertaining listening to them, and helped settle the younger man’s nerves even if the presence of Slimer still left him a bit cautious.
Jason propped his elbows on the table and leaned closer. “And then what happened?”
Just then, Egon walked into the kitchen.
“What’re you talking about?” he asked as he sat down. “Nothing embarrassing, I hope.”
“Just some old stories about when you were out in the field. I was just talking about the Sandman ghost before you came in.”
"I remember those days. That was an interesting case and you and Winston did great work; without you two, who knows what would've happened to the whole city.”
"Several thousand years of sleep if I recall correctly,” Janine said. "Although, with how much work we've had recently, a few thousand years of sleep sounds like a blessing right now."
The two adults laughed at the joke.
"Speaking of sleep, what’s gonna happen to me?” Jason interrupted hesitantly. Both adults quieted down and looked at each other before looking back at him. “Where do we go from here?”
"Well," Egon started."That's what I came here to discuss, actually.” He cleared his throat."It's been decided that you'll be staying here tonight with us and tomorrow, the Ghostbusters will head back to Gotham and see if they can find the source of the psychokinetic energy that you were emitting earlier."
"Psychokinetic energy- essentially spirit energy. You said something spoke to you while you were unconscious. Whatever it was, it's powerful and we need to figure out what it wants- preferably before anything bad happens."
"Then I want to come. Whatever this thing wants, I'm a part of it." Jason made to stand, only to have a coughing fit overtake him and force him to sit again.
Janine placed her hand on Jason's forehead."Looks like you're not going anywhere. You're burning up."
He shoved the hand away and tried to stand again.
"I'm fine," he coughed. "If I can dig my way out of a grave six-feet underground, then a cold is the least of my worries.”
Try as he might, however, he was no match for his body rebelling against him and collapsed back into the chair. Jason's face was flushed and sweat dotted his forehead as he coughed violently.
"I believe that you just proved our own point,” Janine sighed as she stood up. The woman made her way over to Jason and helped him up, ushering him towards the beds. “We’ll talk more tomorrow but for now, it’s best if you try to sleep off your fever."
Jason was out before his head even hit the pillow.
The Ecto-1's engine revved as it raced down the streets of Gotham, its occupants tiredly searching the city's streets.
"What number is this for us?" Garrett muttered, his hand hiding a yawn.
"This'll be graveyard numero ocho," Eduardo answered.
“Nine,” Kylie interrupted. "You were asleep during the first graveyard."
"I think that we should head back. There's no way that the kid walked over ten miles to the spot we found him. Not in the condition we found him in,” Garrett spoke.
"You'd be surprised what the human body can be capable of," Roland said. "There have been stories of people doing insane things when under great duress- it's quite possible."
Eduardo scoffed and slouched in his seat.
"What's the next place on our list?"
Kylie flipped through the notepad on her lap. “Saint Thomas' Cemetery."
"Sheesh, why are there so many cemeteries in Gotham?" Garrett questioned.
Roland parked the car across the burial place. "Well, it's as Egon always says- new people die every day."
The cemetery was eerily quiet as the group traversed through the rows of headstones and statues. There wasn't even the sound of any wildlife as they searched the empty grounds, PKE meters at the ready. So far, nothing had happened.
"Anything?” Garrett called out.
“Nada,” Eduardo. “Kylie?”
Garrett sighed and stopped rolling down the path. “Let’s just head to the next one, guys. There’s nothing here and we’re wasting daylight.”
“Hang on, I’m getting something.”
The guys turned towards the female Ghostbuster, watching as the device in her hands came to life and began to whir. She began to move down the path and veered off to the left, oblivious to the other tailing after her. The PKE readings were steadily rising as she moved deeper into the graveyard, but it still wasn’t as strong as the first readings from the night before.
“Excuse me, miss.” Kylie glanced up and locked eyes with an annoyed man. His brown eyes were narrowed and his mouth was turned down into a frown as he leaned against a shovel. “What do you think you are doing?”
Kylie gave a sheepish smile, knowing exactly how bizarre she looked to the man with her uniform and equipment. “Uh, investigating?”
The stranger raised an eyebrow and gave her a disbelieving look. “Investigating what exactly?”
Kylie could feel the panic as she tried to think of a reason. Luckily for her, Eduardo came to the rescue.
"Sorry man, but that's confidential,” he said as he walked up to them. “Important scientist stuff, I'm afraid."
The man's disbelieving look did not let up as he eyed the Latin American. Meanwhile, Kylie was peering behind the male and noticed something strange at the base of a statue.
"Sir, I don't mean to be too intrusive when I ask you this, but what is wrong with that grave?" she asked as she pointed at the angel statue behind him.
The ground below the statue, whose hands were clasped together and wore a solemn countenance, had obviously been disturbed recently. A small patch of grass was missing and filled back up with dirt, mud clinging to the unharmed strands surrounding the patch.
The man glanced back and shrugged. “Eh, probably a wild animal or graverobber.” At the shocked looks of the Ghostbusters, he merely waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it. Whatever it was, it didn’t get very deep.”
“Shouldn’t you notify the family of this grave?” Roland asked as he strolled up. “Could be important.”
“Would if I could, but there’s no record of them. Anonymous donation, unfortunately.”
Roland barely acknowledged him as he stepped past and crouched down. His eyes widened as he read the epitaph. “Guys, check this out.”
The others came up behind him and could feel their faces morph into similar shocked expressions.
Because there, clear as day, was the same name of the boy in the firehouse.
With a death date of six months ago.
The PKE meter in Kylie’s hand buzzed with energy as she held it close to the memorial, the lines on the screen jumping wildly.
“Jackpot,” Kylie said. “Looks like this is the one. Roland, can you call Egon and tell him we found it?”
Roland reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, only to feel it start to buzz on its own.
“Speak of the devil,” Eduardo joked.
The other ignored him as they watched him answer and put the phone on speaker.
“Egon, we found the spot but not much information on it,” Roland said. “Looks like we’re back to square one.”
“Actually,” the scientist’s voice was tinny as it came out of the phone. “Janine managed to find something online. Get back here as soon as you can.”
Back at the firehouse, only Janine, Egon, and Slimer were the only ones that were awake; their new guest was still asleep upstairs, having barely stirred since last night’s events.
Janine was tapping away at the computer while Slimer and Egon sat at another desk with a board of checkers out. All was normal until Janine let out a gasp and stood up from her chair.
“Egon, you need to see this!” she gestured frantically before pointing at the screen. “Look!”
The man moved over to her desk and readjusted his glasses as he bent closer to the screen.
“Oh my,” he muttered.
The smiling face of Jason stared back at him.
The words ‘Bruce Wayne’s Son Dead’ also read right next to the picture as well.
“We need to get the others back here. Now.”
I'm more than likely, at this point going to be updating around Tuesdays around 12 p.m. PST/ 3 p.m EST as it is easier on my schedule considering I have things going on recently. If I do decide to post more than once in the same week, it is still going to be the same time.
Keep and eye out for any schedule changes in the future because I probably change it as I am starting up college soon in September.
Until next time!
Chapter 5: Pick Your Path, Boy
With the discovery of who Jason's father is, it's up to him to decide the next step.
Heyyyy 'nother chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Ecto-1's sirens wailed continuously as it raced down New York’s streets. The locals, used to the sounds and its meaning, easily pulled over and watched the vehicle swerve around the corners of the roads. The tourists were baffled at the sight, but those used to the sight simply shrugged it off and continued on with their day.
Meanwhile, the occupants in said vehicle were gripping the sides of the car in an attempt to steady themselves from the harsh turns.
“Eduardo, slow down!” Roland cried out. “You’re gonna hit something!”
Said man waved a hand as he jerked the wheel again. “Relax, Roland. Everything’s fine, quit your nagging.”
“Whose bright idea was it to give Eddie the keys?” Garrett huffed.
Eduardo rolled his eyes and continued to drive until he came up to the Firehouse and pulled into the garage. The gang stepped out of the car and came across the sight of Janine and Egon hunched over the computer and murmuring in low voices.
“We got here as fast as we could,” Kylie said. “What’s going on?”
“Yeah, we just found the place when you called us back,” Garrett added as he rolled his way out the back. “Why call us back, now?”
“Good, you’re here.” Egon rounded around the desk and made his way towards the group. “We discovered who Jason’s father is.”
“Really?” Roland unhooked the proton pack and hung it up on the hook. “Who is it?”
“Bruce Wayne," Janine said.
Eduardo, who had been drinking from a bottle of water at that moment, choked on the liquid
"I'm sorry, but did you just say Bruce Wayne ? As in, billionaire Bruce Wayne? The same Bruce Wayne who owns Wayne Enterprises, the biggest company in the world ?” he coughed.
Kylie raised an eyebrow at him as she turned towards her teammate. "I didn't think you'd know that. Color me impressed."
In response, the male stuck his tongue out in a childish manner.
"How can we be so sure about that?," Roland interrupted. Eduardo and Kylie kept making faces each other while the others ignored them. “The last thing we need is to end up getting in trouble with the owner of a multi-billion dollar company because we got the wrong kid.”
Janine smirked and gestured to the computer. "Take a look. The resemblance is uncanny.”
And it was. From the black, shaggy hair and blue eyes to the small scar through his right eyebrow and slightly crooked nose, there was no doubt about it. The Jason that was residing upstairs in one of their spare beds was the same Jason that was adopted by Bruce Wayne almost four years ago. The same Jason that had died six months ago.
“Huh. So now what?” Garrett asked. “It’s not like we can just keep him. He’s got a family back in Gotham.”
“Well, it’s not like we can just ring him up,” Eduardo pointed out. “How do you think it would go if we called Bruce Wayne and said ‘hey, we have your kid that died six months ago, better come pick him up.’”
"Well do you have any better ideas?"
Janine decided now was a good time to intervene.
"Why don't we wait until Jason wakes up before we make any life-altering decisions? This is his life we're talking about."
“There’s no need.”
The group turned towards the staircase and saw said boy leaning against the railing with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. His black hair was disheveled and pale cheeks flushed red from his cold.
"'m right here,” he mumbled as he clambered down the steps.
"How much did you hear?" Janine moved over to the boy and ushered him to an empty seat. "You know you're supposed to be resting,” she scolded.
"I'm fine," he coughed. "I heard what you guys were saying. Is it true? You guys found out who my dad is?”
Everyone looked away awkwardly, some rubbing the back of their necks while others shifted uncomfortably. Eduardo whistled innocently, much to the annoyance of the others.
"What?" Jason questioned. "What's the matter?"
" Well ,” Kylie drawled. “It’s just that, uh, it’s just that…”
The goth trailed off, scratching her head as she looked away.
"'It's just that' what?" Jason could feel the frustration welling up in him as everyone skirted around the subject. "What are you guys not telling me?"
Eduardo decided to be the bearer of news.
“You’re dad is the owner of one of the biggest tech companies in the world and we have no idea how to get you back to him without causing a lot of problems for all of us,” he stated simply.
“Eduardo!” several of the others shouted in dismay.
Said male imply shrugged nonchalantly. “Someone had to say it.”
The group just shot annoyed looks at him while Jason seemed shocked at the news.
Egon moved closer and placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder with a sigh. “What Eduardo said is true, and it unfortunately makes it more difficult to proceed. Since this is new territory for us as well, we wanted to wait for you to recover and see what you thought we should do next.”
“What I think?” Jason looked down at his bandaged hands. “C-can I have some time alone? I need some time to think about all of this.” He waved his hand to gesture to the room around him. “This is a lot to handle.”
"Yeah, sure," Kylie said. She turned towards Slimer, who had been hovering around the group for a while. “Slimer, can you show Jason the way to the roof. That's usually where I go to think."
The ghost made an affirmative noise and floated over to the boy. He latched onto one of the younger male's arms and started to pull him out of the chair. Jason glanced at the others in confusion as he hesitantly got up and let the ghost lead him up the stairs.
The minute he was gone, the Ghostbusters all huddled closer.
“Guys, I know you want to do what’s best for Jason, but I think dropping Jason back with his family is a really bad idea,” Kylie started. “We don’t know what long-term effects Jason could experience from being resurrected.”
“Well we can’t just keep him here against his will, Kylie,” Garrett pointed out. “Kid has a family back in Gotham and he probably wants to go back to them.”
“But Kylie isn’t wrong,” Roland added. “We don’t know what could happen to Jason or if this is all temporary for him. Besides, there’s still the fact that we don’t know who was the source of Jason being revived or what it wanted with him.”
“I know, I know,” Egon said. “When Jason decides on what he wants to do next, we’ll have to work with it somehow. We can only hope that we’ll be able to keep in contact and check up on him if he goes back.”
Jason sat on the gravel rooftop, back leaning against the bricks of the wall ledge. In the streets below, cars honked and sped by, people shouted, and dogs barked loudly. Despite it being a different city, everything felt familiar to him and made him feel right at home.
When Jason tilted his head back, his eyes found the partially clouded sky, blue eyes locking onto the fluffy clouds
While his eyes were laser-focused on the sky, his mind was whirling with the new information that had just been revealed to him.
“ Bruce Wayne is my dad and a billionaire, and I was his kid, ” Jason thought. “I died and now I’m back and the only ones that know are the Ghostbusters. ”
He watched as a flock of birds flew past the building, chirping as they went.
“ I can’t remember anything from before, only that I dug my way out of my grave and that weird dream thing.
“ I have no idea what my dad is like, or how he’ll he react. ”
He sighed and closed his eyes in an attempt to block out the world and focus on the feeling in his chest.
It was hard to explain, but when he thought about Gotham and returning to it, dread would fill every bone in his body and his heart would start to race at the prospect of going back.
And there was the fact that despite only knowing the Ghostbusters for a less than a day, he couldn’t help but feel at home with the group. There was something about the way they acted around each other and to him that gave him a sense of comfort. Something he didn’t feel when he thought about Bruce and Gotham.
" Why do feel this way? Shouldn't I want to go back? "
To return or not return?
The conflicting feelings didn't let up no matter how much he kept thinking.
Jason didn't come back inside until the sun was starting to set. Some time before his return, the team had been called out on another job, leaving the two adults and ghost to be the only ones in the old firehouse.
The boy was silent as he came back inside, feet barely making a sound as he crept down the stairs. The sounds of machinery and a TV playing downstairs were the only thing he could hear upon entry.
"Hello?" Jason called out. " Egon? Janine?"
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as alarm bells went off in his head. Jason whirled around, his hands curled into fists and muscles tensed for a fight.
Slimer barely had time to dodge, a yelp escaping his mouth as Jason swung wildly. When the boy's mind finally caught up with what was happening, he lowered his fists and breathed out a sigh of relief.
"Slimer," he breathed. "You scared me."
Truth be told, the boy was still unsettled by the ghost. He had never truly seen a ghost before, at least as far as he knew, and Slimer was nothing like he expected.
Said ghost was still quaking from the sudden surprise attack as he floated closer to him.
“Sorry,” the ghost mumbled. A look of guilt was painted across his face as he apologized, and Jason felt his own guilt well up inside him.
“Hey, don’t apologize.” He shrugged and gave a reassuring smile. “It was my fault, actually.”
That seemed to cheer the ghost up, the look of guilt vanishing just as quickly as it had appeared.
“Do you know where Egon and Janine are? I think I’ve made my decision.”
Slimer nodded enthusiastically and started to push Jason towards the stairs. The enthusiasm the ghost exhibited almost distracted him enough to ignore the slime that the ghost left on the back of the shirt.
True to his word, Slimer did know where the two adults were. They ended up being in the kitchen on the second floor, nursing cups of coffee .
Both of them looked up to see Jason awkwardly standing in the doorway.
“I think I have an idea of what I want to do now.”
Neither said a word, simply just gesturing for him to continue.
The boy shifted from foot to foot, fidgeting as he tried to figure out how he wanted to phrase his decision.
“I don’t want to go back to Gotham,” he blurted out.
The answer provoked shocked expressions on Janine and Egon’s faces.
“What?” Egon asked as he stood up. “Don’t you want to go back to your family and Gotham? How come you want to stay here?”
Jason glanced down at his bandaged hands and shook his head. “There’s something telling me not to go back. I-I can’t really explain it- call it a gut feeling- but I keep getting this feeling that going back would do more harm than good for me.
He glanced up and locked eyes with the scientist. “I want to stay here, if that’s okay with you guys.”
“With us?” Janine asked.
The boy nodded and the two adults looked at each other, a silent conversation happening between the pair. The longer the silence prevailed, the more fidgety Jason became until finally they turned back to him.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Egon questioned carefully. “This isn’t something that should be taken lightly.”
Was he? The thoughts had been buzzing around in his skull since he had gone up to the rooftop, and were still there ages after he had made his decision.
“I’m positive Doctor Spengler. Something in my gut is telling me that Gotham would not end well for any of us.”
No one except Egon knew about the relief that had filled the scientist when Jason gave his answer.
Keep an eye out for Tuesday guys because I will still post to that schedule (if you have not seen the edit yet, I changed posting date to Tuesdays instead as that will be a freer day for me compared to everything else).
I decided to post this one early because the next chapter is sort of short and both parts tie in together. I felt that it was easier to just post them in the same week than space them out over a week apart.
Until next time!
Chapter 6: New Home, New Life
With Jason's decision to stay comes the dilemma of how the Ghostbusters are going to pull it off
BTW, I know I said Wednesdays, but I decided to switch to Tuesdays instead to post. I know, I know, it;'s annoying when there's no schedule but I'm trying to figure it out.
But I've currently got one other chapter written up and have made some progress on chapter eight, which I'm happy about! With chapters prepared in advance, I should have a more concise posting schedule, so yayyy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
None of the others would admit it, but they were also elated to learn that Jason had decided to stick around. There was just something about him that seemed to fit in well with the motley crew of ghost hunters, some hidden quality that made him fit seamlessly.
It wasn’t until the joy of the news dissipated that the group felt reality come crashing in.
It seemed easier in theory to simply take Jason in and make them one of their own.
In reality, it would be challenging and a hard fight for the group, and all of them knew it.
The boy was legally dead and claiming he was the dead son of a billionaire would raise dozens of red flags.
The first step they took was for Janine to go with Jason and the Ghostbusters to the closest police station and file a report. On the way to the station, they ended up piecing a story that was convincing enough to pass police inspection while also being vague enough to keep anyone from discovering it was a lie.
Imagine the shock the cops had when the Ghostbusters had arrived with a kid in tow. But they got their act together quickly and started interviewing them.
It was all the same story for the Ghostbusters.
They found Jason wandering the side of the road on the way back from a bust in Gotham and brought him back to be patched up. They hadn’t thought to call the police because they were too focused on him and it slipped their minds.
Jason’s story was mostly the truth, minus the dream and digging his way out of a grave. He simply told them that he woke up injured and started wandering before passing out on the road and waking up at the Firehouse.
They had almost been home free until the end of the questioning.
“Well, you five can go back home,” one of the officers stated. “We can take care of Jason for you, find him a suitable home to stay in while we look for his family and get him the necessary-”
Everyone shared small looks of panic.
“Actually office,” Kylie interrupted, the worried tone just barely masked. “We’re willing to take him in if you’d let us.”
Another cop scoffed and crossed his arms. “Tch, and let him stay in where exactly? There is no way he is staying in that firehouse. It’s not a stable environment for him and I doubt any of you kids are capable of keeping up with the standards that are required to foster a kid.”
“Actually,” Janine started as she stepped forward. “I believe I can fit the bill. I’ve got plenty of space in my home and savings to provide for the both of us easily.”
The two officers glanced at each other before one of them flags down the captain of the precinct. They exchanged a few words before the captain gestured for Janine to follow him into a separate room. No one said anything as they waited for her to come back.
None of the teens knew what they were talking about in the room, but they know it had to be extensive as the conversation took over ten minutes.
Just as the ten minute mark was up, Janine walked back out with a triumphant grin on her face.
“We can take him home!” she cheered.
The others all grinned, Garrett slapping a smiling Jason on the back as they made their way out to Ecto-1. There was a moment where the captain stopped the group and handed Jason a card while whispering something in his before he let them depart from the station.
"Say, Jay," Garrett started. "What did the captain say to you before we left?"
"Huh?" Jason, who was daydreaming, shook his head and turned towards the male. "He just gave me his phone number and told me to call him if I'm ever in trouble."
"Yeah, well, hopefully it won't come to that," Eduardo muttered.
There were thankfully no more calls that night and the group had ended up celebrating Jason’s addition to the Ghostbuster family with ice cream and pizza. Although, Slimer had been the one to end up eating a majority of the food, much to the ire of the Ghostbuster- mostly Eduardo and Garrett though.
The celebration ended up lasting until the clock struck twelve and everyone agreed to head home for the night.
Jason had ended up falling asleep on the way home to Janine’s apartment, the sounds of the red car lulling him a gentle doze until Janine shook his shoulder and guided him up to the door.
He could barely remember the journey there, only the fact that one minute he was in the car and the next he’s falling into the sheets of a small, twin-sized bed and was out like a light.
Morning came earlier than Jason would have liked, and he woke up to the smell of something burning. His eyes shot open and he leapt from the bed, bolting to the kitchen as quick as he could.
The smell of smoke and burning food invaded his nostrils and he coughed and tried to wave the stench away from his face. When he managed to blink the tears away from his eyes, he found a sheepish looking Janine holding a pan with something charred in it.
“Good morning!” Janine greeted. The pan was promptly placed in the sink and she moved over to the counter. “You hungry?”
Jason gave a bewildered stare at the woman as she tried to scrape the burned remains from the cooking dish.
“Uh, do you even know how to cook?” he asked.
“Of course I can!” she huffed. “I’m forty years old! I know how to cook!”
He raised an eyebrow and pointed to the charred food. “The evidence says otherwise.”
Janine pursed her lips. “Well, I didn’t know what you’d want for breakfast, so I decided that eggs would be a safe bet. Guess I’m not as good at making them as I thought.”
There was something so innocent and comical about the whole situation that Jason couldn’t help but laugh. Somehow, deep inside, he could tell that the whole scenario just felt right.
“Hey, don’t laugh!” Janine pointed a spatula at him. “I’m trying to do something nice.”
He managed to stifle his laughter after a moment, and let out a gasp. “I appreciate it, Janine.” The boy straightened and gave her a smile. “But next time, just ask.”
He moved over to the sink and grabbed the pan from the woman’s hands.
“Here,” he said. “Let me take care of that. Then I’ll show you how it’s really done.”
Looks like we're finally getting somewhere!
Thoughts, comments, feedback, and kudos are welcomed!
Until next time!
Chapter 7: Late Night Talks
Jason has finally settled in with the Ghostbuster family, but troubles arise when ghosts of his past start to haunt his dreams.
Oh boy, gotta have a little dash of nightmare angst to go with fluff.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Life returned to an odd sense of balance once Jason settled in with the group. He ended up sleeping mainly at Janine’s, but spent most of his days at the Firehouse, trying to catch up with school lessons and often helping around with Egon’s experiments or Roland’s repairs to the car and equipment. He became a common staple at the headquarters, often popping out of nowhere when the group least expected it.
There were some nights, however, where Jason would stay the night in one of the many spare beds when it was too late and Janine was too tired to drive them home. Other times, it was because calls would continuously happen throughout the night, and the constant calls would force the secretary to stay overnight.
One night, about a week prior to when Jason was to be enrolled into high school and also a week prior to Halloween, he ended up spending the night again.
Egon had been the one to find him, Jason’s small frame curled up on the couch while clutching a pillow to his chest. He ended up covering him with a blanket while everyone did their best to be quiet while he slept. At one point, the Ghostbusters silently departed to complete another job that had popped up, leaving Jason, Egon, and Slimer upstairs and Janine down at her desk, typing away at her computer.
All was silent for all of twenty minutes, Egon studying a sample from one of his experiments until he heard a noise coming from the living room. He got up and crept closer, pausing to listen again.
And it was coming from Jason.
The man moved to stand behind the couch, watching as the boy toss and turn, fingers digging into the pillow.
"Jason." The boy didn't wake up.
"Hey, Jason." Only more tossing and turning.
Egon gently placed a hand on Jason's shoulder and shook it slightly. "Jason, wake up. You're having a nightmare, it's not real."
The boy sat up sharply, a choked cry escaping his lips. A few tears escaped his blue eyes, streaming down his face as he gasped for air.
Egon waited patiently for Jason to regain his composure, neither saying a word until Jason’s shudders subsided.
“Are you alright?”
Jason jumped and let out a yelp at the sound of Egon's voice. The scientist felt a flash of guilt as he watched the tremors start back up. With a sigh, he moved to sit on the couch, making sure to leave a foot of space between the two of them.
"You’re okay, Jason. It was just a nightmare,” the scientist said. He didn’t dare to touch him again, deciding that it was simply best to let the boy calm down on his own first. “You’re okay.”
The boy hung his head and elbows propped on his knees while his chin rested in his hands. It took a few minutes and several deep breaths before the glazed look vanished from Jason’s eyes and his form untensed.
Gently, Egon placed a hand on his shoulder, the flinch not going unnoticed.
“It’s alright, Jason.”
The man felt awkward as he tried to comfort Jason. He wasn’t normally one for emotional moments, often preferring science over social interactions. But he knew that this was something that had to be addressed; the nightmares had been going on and off ever since the second night, and the others had originally agreed to let Jason come to them. Unfortunately, now it had reached its peak and was starting to boil over. One way or another, Egon was going to get Jason to let it out, whether Jason wanted to or not.
“Whatever you saw, it’s not going to hurt you.”
Jason mumbled something under his breath.
“What was that?”
“I said I know,” Jason sniffed.
“Wanna talk about it?”
The boy shook his head. “No. It’s just a stupid dream. I’ll get over it.”
Egon shot a skeptical look and sighed before standing up, the familiar shocks of pain running through his knees as he started towards the kitchen. He kept watch of the kid out of the corner of his eye as he pulled out two mugs and got to work. A few minutes, a kettle of hot water, and hot chocolate mix later, the scientist was back on the couch and handed one of the cups to Jason.
“Coffee?” Jason asked hopefully.
“No. Hot chocolate.” The blonde took a sip of his own mug. “You’ll stunt your growth if you drink that stuff. The coffee is for me.”
He could see the pout on the boy’s face and quickly took a sip to hide the smile that threatened to spread.
Neither of them said a word as they drained their drinks, and only when they were finally emptied did Jason speak.
“Don’t you have some sciencey experiment to work on? Why are you here?”
His tone was harsh, riddled with self-loathing and annoyance.
“ No doubt trying to push me away, ” Egon noted. “ Probably a self-defense mechanism for him. ”
“Those can wait,” Egon responded with a shrug. “Why don’t we focus on your problem for the time being.”
Jason scoffed and looked away. “There’s nothin’ to tell. Just a stupid nightmare. Nothin’ you need to concern yourself with.”
Egon raised an eyebrow as he set his empty mug on the table. “Jason, this has been going on since you’ve been here. At this point, this is something far bigger than some ‘stupid nightmare.’ You need to talk about this at some point. It’s not healthy.”
Jason simply scoffed and crossed his arms, refusing to utter another syllable.
The scientist watched Jason’s behavior before deciding to go with a different tactic.
“You know, I used to get nightmares all the time when I was younger.”
There was no visible acknowledgement from Jason, but that didn’t deter the man.
“They used to get really bad and I would try to hide them because I didn’t want to appear weak to my parents.”
There was a slight shift from Jason, and Egon knew he was on the right path.
“They would get so bad sometimes that I wouldn’t sleep some nights. I’d end up staring at the ceiling and wait for the sun to rise. Counting the minutes until it was time to get up and go to school.
“Eventually, it got to the point where I was falling asleep in school and had my teacher pull me aside to see what was wrong.”
“What were they about?” Jason interrupted.
Jason snorted and glanced at the blonde.
“The Boogieman?” he asked skeptically. “Isn’t he, ya know, not real? Just a kid’s story?”
“Oh trust me, he was very real,” Egon said seriously. “He used to terrorize me as a kid and back when I was a Ghostbuster, we faced him twice.”
“What happened?” Now Jason was facing him, curiosity peaked.
“Well, the first time, we managed to lock him in his realm with a device called a ghost bomb, but he later managed to gain enough strength to escape. The second time, we used an atomic destabilizer to force him into a corporeal form and trap him. But you wanna know something?” He locked eyes with the black-haired male. “I still had nightmares after both encounters, and I did the same thing you’re doing now. I’d stay silent, kept it bottled up until Janine forced me to sit down and talk about it.
“So, I’m going to stay here with you until you decide to talk about it,” Egon finished. “I’m going to put on the TV and we can watch it, but I’m not leaving until we deal with this.”
Jason chewed on his lip, staying silent before he nodded.
Egon grabbed the remote and switched on the television, a gameshow being the first thing on the screen. The pair settled back and watched the contestants try to guess the answer to a question.
It wasn’t until ten minutes later did Jason decide to speak.
“I can’t remember much of it,” he spoke quietly. “Whenever I wake up, it keeps slipping from my mind. The only thing I can remember is that weird angel standing in front of me before it changes into this weird shadow-man. Next thing I know, the shadow is hitting me with something and laughing.” Jason’s eyes never left the screen as he spoke, but Egon could see the haunted look in his eyes as he recounted his dream.
“I couldn’t move no matter how hard I tried. It was like someone had tied my hands and feet and it hurt so much. I can still feel it even now.”
Tears started to build up in Jason’s eyes, one dripping down onto his cheek. He rubbed his eyes harshly before continuing.
“But the worst thing was that laugh, that fucking laugh. It wasn’t normal, Egon. It was like a psychotic hyena’s laughter, one that never ended! I’ve been hearing that laughter every night in my dreams ever since you found me, and all I want is for it to just stop!” he choked out.
Egon watched as Jason finally broke down, silent sobs shaking the boy’s shoulders. He moved closer to him, feeling helpless as Jason continued to cry. The scientist wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulder and tugged into an awkward side-hug. Egon could feel the way the boy went limp against him, trying to discreetly burrow deeper into the hug.
Unbeknownst to Egon, the hug was exactly what Jason needed. He wouldn’t have admitted it outloud, but he craved for a moment where he could just be weak and let everything out all at once without any consequences. He was tired of bottling up those nightmares, tired of hiding the fear everyday.
The two stayed that way until Jason sat up and wiped his runny nose on his sleeve.
“Sorry,” he apologized.
Egon simply waved him off. “It’s fine. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let it all out.”
He watched as the boy shifted uncomfortably at the reminder of his outburst, Egon taking it as a sign to move on.
“You know, the project I’m currently working on could use an extra pair of hands,” Egon said. “Would you like to help me with it?”
Jason’s form radiated relief as he gratefully took the out. He stood up and dusted imaginary dust off his pants. “Sure, I don’t see why not.”
The scientist chuckled slightly at the boy’s attempt at nonchalance, letting out a slight grunt as he stood up as well and started to head towards the lab. Jason followed beside him, easily keeping pace with the older man.
“So what kind of project are we doing this time?” he asked. “We gonna blow somethin’ up?”
Egon couldn’t help shake his head in amusement.
“No, Jason, it’s too late to do that,” he responded. “We already have enough noise complaints filed against us as it is.”
There was a slight pout on Jason’s face as his shoulders slumped.
“There are upgrades for the Proton Packs that I’ve been working on for a while, and I should be able to complete sooner with your help if you feel up to it.”
The Proton Packs always seemed to peak Jason’s interests, and the reveal of the upgrades brought a spark of enthusiasm to his eyes, one that Egon also shared.
The pair sat down at the desk, parts scattered about while a blueprint rested on the only empty space in the middle. A comfortable silence settled between the two as they worked, only a few words being exchanged between them once in a while.
“Hey Slimer,” Jason said suddenly, one hand going up to wave while he kept his eyes firmly on the project.
Egon jerked in surprise and turned around to see Slimer floating by the doorway, a plate of cookies in hand.The ghost waved back before turning and going down the hall. The scientist turned back towards Jason.
“How did you know Slimer was there?” he asked curiously. “I didn’t even hear him.”
Jason just shrugged as he screwed a piece of metal together.
“Dunno, to be honest. I just get this feeling whenever he gets close by,” Jason responded. “Like alarm bells in my head. Kinda hard to explain.”
Egon hummed and put down his wrench before turning towards the boy.
“Has this been going on for a while?” he questioned. His mind was in full-on researcher mode. Something about that little tidbit seemed odd to him. “Have you experienced this with anything else?”
Jason shrugged. “I think it happens whenever the team gets back with a trapped ghost. I definitely feel it when I’m near the Containment Unit, but it’s kinda more- I dunno- muted , than when it’s with Slimer. Like I said, it’s kinda hard to describe. I guess the best analogy would be like Spidey Sense in the Spider-Man comics, ya know?”
No, Egon didn’t really get the analogy. He always preferred reading science and paranormal books over comics growing up, but he nodded and pretended to understand him.
“Fascinating,” Egon muttered. “Perhaps you may be experiencing some sort of ecto-sensitivity or something akin to that. That would certainly explain why you get these ‘feelings’ that you described whenever you get near Slimer or other ghosts, trapped or otherwise.”
Jason just hummed and continued on with the upgrades, barely paying any heed to the slight rambling Egon had started to go on about Jason’s own ghost version of ‘Spidey Sense.’
The team ended up finding the pair hunched over the table, bouncing possible ideas off each other and oblivious to the picture Janine had taken.
Is ecto-sensitivity even a thing?
I have no clue.
But it is now!
Until next time!
Chapter 8: Roland the Tutor
Sometimes, despite Jason's intelligence, he can still struggle with school.
Thankfully, he has Roland to help.
Roland bonding time!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Most of the time, Jason enjoyed school.
He may have been late starting up and new to the district, but he had adapted to the new environment easily. The abundance of people made it easy to find a group of friends and the building wasn’t too hard to navigate after a few days of looking.
Everyone at the Firehouse thought he was doing fine until one day, he finally let his frustration show.
It started with a loud groan, followed by a loud thump as Jason’s head hit the kitchen table.
Garrett looked up from his spot across the boy, sandwich paused halfway toward his mouth. He set down his food.
“You alright, Jay?” he asked. He took note of the book and papers scattered around him. “You’re looking a little rough, buddy.”
“No.” Jason’s voice was muffled by the wood.
“What’s the matter?”
“Math,” Jason grunted.
“Math?” Garrett repeated in amusement. “Thought you liked math? What about it is causing causing you to decide that brain damage is better than learning?”
Jason sat up and threw his hands in the air. “It’s just this chapter that I don’t get! Normally, I can figure this stuff out, but it’s just not making any sense! And it doesn’t help that the teacher isn’t good at explaining things.”
Garrett took a peek at the book before grimacing and wheeling away. “Eesh, that brings back memories. I’d help you if I could, but I’m more of a sports guy that a math guy.”
Jason just groaned in response and let his head fall back onto the table. Patting him on the back, Garrett took his plate and started towards the kitchen.
“Good luck with that, Jay!” he called.
In response, the boy flipped him off. Garrett simply snickered and left, leaving the teen to be alone.
Jason let out another groan as he pulled the book closer and picked up his pencil. His eyes scanned the paper, but nothing seemed to process as he stared at the same problem. He barely even noticed when another person entered the room.
“Hey, Jay,” Roland greeted. “How’s it going?”
Jason huffed. “Horrible.”
“Oh yeah?” the African-American asked. He pulled out a seat and sat down. “What’s going on?”
“It’s these math problems! I just don’t get them!”
Roland pulled the book closer. “Hey, I remember this stuff.”
Jason looked towards the older male. “Really?”
“Yeah, I had to do these same problems back when I was in high school. Man, that brings back memories.” He picked up a notebook that rested nearby. “Having trouble?”
Jason made a noise and nodded.
“Want some help?”
Jason’s head shot up, his eyes wide as he nodded rapidly. “Oh my god, please!”
Roland chuckled and pulled out a fresh sheet of paper. “Alright, let’s get started.”
They sat there for several hours, Roland easily explaining any questions Jason had. By the end of the night, Jason had his homework done and a better understanding of math.
As well as some blackmail on the others, courtesy of Roland.
A bit shorter than I would've liked, but these are just fluff chapters for now, I'm afraid.
Until next time!
Chapter 9: The Time Jason Called Janine Mom
Sometimes, Jason will have a slip of the tongue.
Not that Janine minded this time.
Look out! Mom!Janine is here
Yeah I posted two chapters. I felt that the last one was too short, so here's a gift for all the people that have viewed this story.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Janine always had mom tendencies, there was no doubt about it. Each member of the Ghostbusters could easily recount numerous times the secretary had doted on them, forcing them to take breaks and rest up or encouraging them to focus on their studies instead.
When Jason first came to live with her, those tendencies went into overdrive.
She would constantly check up on him, making sure he was comfortable and content with his living arrangements. Her behavior stayed that way until Jason sat her down and explained to her that he was fine. After that, the mother-henning was toned down greatly.
Despite Janine taking up the role as mom in Jason’s life, he never really called her that. Always Janine.
At least not at first.
When it first happened, it was thanks to a slip of the tongue.
Janine had been driving him to school one day, the car dipping in and out of traffic as the woman tried to get him to school on time. She had been internally cursing herself for waking up late as well as internally swearing at New York’s traffic.
Jason sat in the passenger seat, leg bouncing as he kept an eye on the time. They had seven minutes before the bell would ring.
Janine pulled the car up to the school and Jason leapt out of the car.
“Jason, wait!” Janine called. The boy turned back towards her, and the woman held out a brown paper bag. “Your lunch!”
Jason jogged back and grabbed the bag and raced towards the school.
“Bye Mom!” he called back.
Janine watched him enter before the words finally processed.
“Mom?” she mumbled.
Behind her a car honked, shocking the red-head from her stupor. She jerked and shifted into drive before stepping on the gas and sped away.
Back in the school, Jason had just made it to class on time and was sitting at his desk. He suddenly stiffened and cringed, a slight groan escaping the corner of his mouth as he sunk down into his seat. The girl sitting next to him, Hailey, looked at him in confusion.
“You alright, Jason?” she whispered.
In response, he just shook his head, his mind too caught up with the fact that he had called Janine Mom.
When school had ended and Jason caught a bus to get the Firehouse, he dreaded what Janine would say about his slip up. He was praying to every deity that came to mind that Janine had forgotten it by the time he had gotten there.
In all honesty, Jason had no idea how Janine would feel if he had thought of her as his mom. Would she be happy it about it? Or would she hate it?
Thankfully, the secretary didn’t bring it up and saved the boy from dying of embarrassment. He was under the impression that the event had slipped her mind and that he was safe.
The next day when Janine had again dropped him off at school, she had tacked a ‘Son’ at the end of her goodbye. Jason stumbled and looked back, a red blush blooming across his face. Janine simply waved at him with a smile and he returned it hesitantly before turning back and walking into school.
After that, it was easier for Jason to refer to Janine as Mom. Even if the others teased him for it, he wouldn’t change it for the world.
Awww Jason finally has a good mom figure!
Until next time!
Chapter 10: When Old Blood Meets New
Jason meets some unexpected faces.
It goes as well as you'd expect.
Kicks down door
After like... 4 months?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
November was essentially a filler month in Jason’s opinion. It bridged the gap between fall and winter, between Halloween and Christmas, between October and December. There were only two important events in November that made Jason care about the month.
One was Thanksgiving, the holiday where family got together and stuffed their faces with food and spent time together without the hassle of gift giving.
The second was Egon’s birthday.
In all honesty, had Janine not marked the date on the fridge calendar, Jason wouldn’t have ever known that it was the scientist’s birthday. When he had asked Janine about it, she explained that Egon disliked making a big deal about his birthday and preferred to keep it on the downlow.
October came and passed pretty quickly, Halloween bringing a large amount of jobs for the team while Jason stayed back to help pass out candy at the Firehouse. The weather got colder and more miserable, a mix of rain and snow slush. Already, Christmas songs and decorations started to pop up, much to Jason’s annoyance.
Janine had plans for Egon’s birthday, taking him out for dinner and come back for cake. The others were to go out and grab the snacks last minute- a precaution that they agreed on after Slimer had managed to eat half of the candy meant for Halloween. That had been a real nightmare, everyone scrambling to find bags of candy literally the night before Halloween was nearly impossible and pure hell for them.
Jason had been tasked with protecting the cake, Janine offhandedly mentioning a previous mishap with Slimer taking a bite out of it the last time. Which meant that he was alone in the Firehouse babysitting Slimer.
“Slimer, got on any threes?” Jason asked as he shifted in Janine’s desk chair. His feet were propped up on the desk as he stared the ghost down.
“No,” Slimer responded.
Jason watched as the ghost fidgeted, refusing to look him in the eye. He narrowed his eyes and leaned forward.
“Slimer,” he warned. The specter shifted and held his cards closer. “Cough it up, bud. Don’t even bother attempting to pull that on me.”
Slimer pouted and held out the three to him, slime covering the paper. Jason pinched it by the only clean corner as he placed it down with his own three.
The sound of the entrance door opening echoed off the stone walls of the building, and Jason sighed in annoyance. He knew that it couldn’t be the team since they had left less than five minutes ago. Which meant that it had to be customers.
“Welcome to Ghostbusters Headquarters,” Jason drawled. He didn’t even look up from his cards. “Right now, our team is currently busy, so please leave an address with a description of the problem or come back at a different time.”
“Wow, I didn’t know Egon hired a kid to be the secretary,” a man spoke. “Did Janine finally quit?”
Jason finally glanced up to see a brunette man with a mullet and brown eyes walking towards the desk he was at. The man wore a black sports jacket and jeans and had a lopsided smirk on his face.
“For your information, sir , Janine is currently out on personal business.” Jason’s voice dripped with a fake sweet tone. He removed his feet from the desk and propped his head on his fist. “If you give me a name, I’ll tell her you came and asked for her.”
“Sure thing kiddo. It’s-”
Slimer’s pout suddenly melted away and he launched at the stranger, latching onto him.
“Peter!” Slimer exclaimed. He went on to make a series of noises that Jason couldn’t even translate before leaving a slimy kiss on the man’s cheek.
‘Peter’ made a noise of disgust as he tried to tug the ghost off of him. “Damnit Slimer, let go of me!”
Behind Peter, two other men laughed at the sight. Jason peered around the struggling male to see two other men watching the scene in amusement.
One was a ginger with warm brown eyes and a slightly pudgy frame. He wore a simple polo and jeans while carrying a duffle bag.
The other was an African-American with salt-and-pepper hair and smile lines in his face. His outfit consisted of a brown leather jacket and green shirt and jeans.
“Looks like Slimer missed you,” the ginger chuckled.
“Yeah, Pete,” the other agreed. “You always were his favorite.”
Jason watched the three strangers in confusion, his head cocked to the side. Peter finally managed to pry the ghost off and wiped the slime off his face in disgust. It wasn’t until they calmed down did their attention focus back on Jason.
“Hi,” the ginger said with a wave. “I’ve never seen you here before. What’s your name, son?”
Jason crossed his arms. “My name’s Jason Todd. Not son. And who the hell are you three?”
Internally, he cringed at the swear, knowing full well that he’s going to get an earful from Janine if word of it got back to her.
Thankfully, the men took it in stride, albeit Peter looking a little miffed at the tone.
“I’m Ray Stantz,” the red-head started. “This is Winston Zeddemore,” he gestured to the African-American, “and Peter Venkman,” he pointed at the brunette. “We worked with Egon as part of the original Ghostbusters and wanted to surprise him for his birthday again.”
Jason looked at them. “Huh,” he muttered.
“What?” Peter asked.
The boy shrugged. “Nothin’. You’re just not what I expected.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothin’. Janine didn’t say you were coming in.”
“We wanted to surprise them both,” Winston explained. “Nobody except you knows we’re here.” He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “We didn’t really expect you to be here, actually.”
Jason watched the group before sighing and leaned back in the chair. He picked up the abandoned stack of cards and started to shuffle.
“So,” he began. “Any of you guys good at poker?”
In all honesty, Egon’s old coworkers weren’t half bad.
Winston was laid back, easily cracking jokes and witty one-liners faster than Jason could come up with. They were mostly aimed at Peter, but they were still funny. He ended up being dealer for most of the rounds.
Ray had a good eye, naturally curious and was able to pick up smaller details. There was one point where he had taken note of Jason’s scarred hands and the missing fingernails, and decided to bring it up.
“What happened to your hands?” Ray had asked. “Looks like you’ve been through hell.”
The boy glanced down at them, flexing his fingers slightly.
The gauze had thankfully came off the day before he started school and he only needed some band-aids to cover the three fingers that were missing nails. After about a week and a half, the band aids were able to come off and only scabs and scars were left behind. Egon had told him that unfortunately, his nails wouldn’t be fully back until six months later so he was left with the scarred nail beds.
“Just something stupid,” Jason lied. He didn’t know for sure if Egon would be okay with him telling the others, so he decided to omit the truth for the time being. “Don’t worry about it.”
Ray didn’t seem convinced, but a slight nudge and head shake from Winston made him close his mouth.
Peter, well, he was Peter . The guy was mostly fine in Jason’s opinion, but he did accuse Jason of cheating after winning for the third time in a row despite Winston’s reassurance that he wasn’t.
“No, I’m telling you, Winston, the kid has to be cheating!” he exclaimed. “How else can he have won that many times!”
Jason smirked and flashed a shit-eating grin at the older man.
“What can I say?” the boy taunted. “It’s not fault that you’re not good at this.”
The scowl that was directed at him caused him to laugh until his sides hurt.
The team had managed to get back a half hour they left. It was a surprise to see the originals back and it was even weirder to see Jason sitting with them, and laughing while Peter waved his arms around in a fit of anger.
“I’m tellin’ you two! He has to be doing something! How else could he be winning so much!” Peter yelled.
“You just have a shit poker face,” Jason pointed out. He casually scooped the poker chips he had won closer to him. “Not my fault that you’d be screwed if we were playing for cash.”
“Why you-” Peter made to grab him, but the boy leaned back in his chair and watched as the man winced and grabbed at his shoulder. “Ow, sonofa-”
“What’re you guys doing here?,” Garrett asked. He moved forward first. “And where’d you guys get poker chips?”
Jason looked over towards the team and waved. “Hey guys!”
The other men turned towards the newcomers and waved as well.
“Hey kids,” Ray stood up and made his way towards the group. “Good to see you again. Sorry we popped in without notice, but we wanted to surprise Egon on his birthday again.”
Jason watched as the two groups caught up, noting how they interacted before he noticed someone was missing.
With a sigh, he went up the stairs and could feel the familiar tingling sensation in his mind as he headed towards the kitchen.
“Slimer,” he called out. “You better not be eating that cake! I’ll put you in the trap again if you even think about it!”
He rounded the corner and found Slimer in the kitchen, whistling innocently next to the fridge. With a sigh, Jason placed his hands on his hips and shook his head in exasperation.
“Uh-huh, that’s what I thought.” He pointed to the stairs. “Downstairs, bud. You know I’m willing to go through with that threat if I catch you up here again.”
Slimer pouted and looked absolutely dejected as he started to move down the stairs. A slight stab of guilt went through Jason as he watched the ghost and he sighed.
“Slimer,” he started. The ghost turned back towards him. “I’ll make you some pancakes later if you’re good, okay?”
That did the trick. Slimer immediately perked up and flew at Jason, leaving a slime-covered kiss on his cheek before darting down the stairs. Jason simply laughed and wiped it off before moving over to the firepole. He slid down, his feet hitting the floor with a solid thud.
Thankfully, he hadn’t missed much, nor did he feel like he’d understand much if he was there. The boy grabbed the groceries bags and started to set everything up, noting the small amount of time they had left.
“Hey guys, I hate to interrupt this reunion, but they’re gonna be back soon,” Jason warned. "Better get a move on."
Thankfully, they had managed to finish just in the nick of time. The last candle had been put in place and gifts wrapped and placed neatly just minutes before Janine unlocked the door.
The shock on Janine and Egon’s faces ended up making Jason cackle as he watched the Winston, Peter, and Ray greeted them with open arms. Eventually, Janine had pulled away and glared at the boy.
“Jay, why didn’t you tell me that Ray, Winston, and Peter were here?” she questioned. “It would have been nice to know ahead of time.”
In response, he just shrugged. “Sorry, Mom. Didn’t want to ruin the surprise.”
“Mom?!” all three men exclaimed.
“So you finally decided to adopt a kid,” Peter leaned back in his seat as he observed the scene in front of him.
Jason tossed a football back and forth with Garrett and Eduardo while Slimer tried to intercept each toss. Off to the side stood Kylie and Roland, watching the scene in amusement, all while throwing banter and quips to the four.
“It’s about time.”
“Technically, I didn’t adopt him,” Janine sighed. “On the record, I’m acting as a temporary guardian until we can find his parents.”
“And off the record?”
Janine didn’t answer as she watched the young team continue to banter and play. She wouldn’t admit it out loud, but a part of her felt joy when she watched the older kids dote on Jason and treated him like he was their younger brother. She didn’t want to even begin to consider the possibility of him leaving.
Glass shattering was what brought her out of her reverie and Janine snapped back to reality, her eyes landing on the fallen desk lamp. Nearby, the football wobbled on the ground. When Janine looked up, she saw the four culprits frozen in fear.
Jason was the first one to snap out of it.
“It was Eduardo’s fault!” He pointed towards said man.
“Hey!” Eduardo shouted. “You’re the one who threw it!”
“You didn’t catch it!” Jason retaliated.
“Slimer was in the way! Besides! Garrett was wide open!”
Garrett held one of his hands as he slowly started to roll backwards. “Hey! Don’t drag me into this!”
That just caused more arguing, and Janine could only just sigh and roll her eyes as she made to pick up the metal lamp. It was times like these that reminded the woman that despite their job, the Ghostbusters were still practically children, not even out of college yet.
Thankfully, the bulb was the only thing that had shattered, and Janine was grateful for investing in the lamp when she had redecorated. If there’s one thing Janine had learned when working with the Ghostbusters, it was that fragile items had a very short life span in the firehouse.
Behind her, the boys were still arguing over who was at fault, so loud in fact that she nearly missed the phone ringing. One of her signature ear-piercing whistles later and the boys quieted down long enough for her to answer.
“Ghostbusters,” she drawled. “What seems to be the problem?”
On the other end, the voice of a frantic woman spoke rapidly, her words almost blending together to the point that Janine started to wonder if she had even paused to take a breath. Nonetheless, she was still able to decipher her words and wrote down everything.
The woman reassured the caller before hanging up and handing the paper to Roland. “Looks like you have another job. Fast food joint, we’ll do cake and gifts after. Try not to blow anything up.”
The team nodded, Eduardo giving a two-fingered salute as they all moved to the lockers and changed into their uniforms quickly before taking off in the Ecto-1.
“And you,” Janine said as she turned towards Jason. The boy had a longing look as he watched the car drive off before turning towards Janine. “The lightbulb broke when you guys were playing around with the ball. I need you to go upstairs and get a new one for me.”
Jason nodded before he started to race up the stairs.
“And no more throwing things in the firehouse!” she yelled after him. “The same goes for the others! If one more thing gets broken, you’ll be cleaning the firehouse from top to bottom!”
The only response was the sound of the boy’s footsteps as he ascended the stairs, and Janine could only sigh and shake her head in exasperation.
“Off the record,” she began as she turned back to the men. “He stays until he decides he wants to leave. But I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.”
Peter snorted. “You sure about that? If I were him, I’d be running for the hills by now. And where did you even find him anyways?”
“That’s a story for later,” Egon said. “It’s a long story.”
She watched as Jason reappeared, and went to change the lightbulb.
“Doesn’t matter how we found him,” Janine added. “He’s already a part of this crazy family whether he wants to be or not.”
In the end, the call was nothing more than a class two poltergeist that flung around a few chairs and cups. Beginners stuff for the team. They were back at the station before the hour was up, all of them gathering upstairs.
“So, gifts first or cake first?” Janine questioned. “Your choice, Egon.”
Everyone watched as said man stared at the small pile of presents and the stack of plates nearby. He rubbed his chin as he weighed each option.
“Gifts first, I suppose,” he decided. “Saves the chance of cake getting on anything valuable, but I don’t understand why you keep insisting on buying me things every year.”
It was a common occurrence for Egon to veto presents every year, stating that he had no use for small gifts and that he’d rather have everyone save money. Regardless, there was always at least one gift bought every year, much to his annoyance.
Peter slung an arm over his friend’s shoulder before locking it around his neck and pulling him down. Jason could only watch in bemusement as Peter ground his fist harshly into Egon’s scalp.
“Because, you never treat yourself!” Peter exclaimed over his friend’s yelps of pain. “If you aren’t going to, then we will!”
He waited a few more seconds before releasing Egon, who merely straightened up and glared.
“Alright, I get it,” he grumbled before pointing a finger at Peter. “Never do that again. Got it?”
Peter raised his hand. “Alright, alright. I won’t do it anymore. Scout’s honor.”
Those that stood behind him could easily see the crossed fingers.
Each member took their turn handing a gift. The most recent version of Tobin’s spirit guide from Kylie, a rare theology book detailing the customs of a small tribe in South America from Winston, the list went on and on. Oddly enough, there was a box filled with petri dishes that looked like the contained fungus from Ray. Jason didn’t question it, especially after he saw the way the man’s face seemed to light up as he studied the fungus.
And then Jason stepped forward with a box of his own, much to the scientist’s surprise.
“Happy birthday, Egon,” he said as he handed it to the man. “It’s not anything crazy, but I thought it was a good idea and Janine helped with it.”
Egon took the box, watching Jason as he subtly shifted from one foot to another and fidgeted with the hem of his hoodie.
“He’s nervous,” Egon thought. “He probably thinks I won’t like it.”
The lid came off easily and inside was a white lab coat, neatly folded and brand new. Egon pulled it out, taking note of his last name stitched onto the front left side and the small Ghostbuster logo resting proudly on the right sleeve.
“It’s supposed to be stain and damage resistant to a lot of the chemicals you work with,” Jason mumbled as he shifted uncomfortably. “After the last one got ruined, I figured you would like this one better. I haven’t got a clue about how this will do against ectoplasm and other stuff, but I figured it could still be useful.” He sighed. “It’s kinda dumb, I know.”
Egon’s heart swelled with affection, a smile spreading across his face as he stood up and put the coat on. “It fits perfectly,” he said. The man turned towards the others, arms outstretched. “What do you guys think?”
Winston whistled. “Lookin’ sharp, man.”
Several of the others also gave their praises as they admired the coat.
The scientist turned back towards Jason, smiling as he pulled him into a hug. He could feel the way the boy jerk in surprise at the unexpected show of affection
“I love it, Jason. Thank you. This is the best gift I’ve ever gotten.”
Jason could feel the way his face heated up at the praise. “It’s nothin’, really,” he mumbled. “Mom was the one who helped me get all the stuff anyways.”
“But it was your idea in the first place,” Janine interjected. “Don’t sell yourself short, Jay.”
The blush seemed to grow redder as Jason squirmed in the hold. “Okay, this hug has gone on long enough.” He gently pushed on the man’s chest.
Egon quickly let go and took a step back while the others were all smirking at them.
Affection was a hit or miss with Egon, and this time it just happened to be a hit.
“Alright, time for cake!” Janine’s voice broke the atmosphere as she stood up and made her way to the fridge. “Hopefully we can actually have cake this year!”
“We should. I kept an eye on Slimer all night,” Jason said while he went to get the plates. “Besides, I promised him pancakes if he kept away, so he knows he won’t get any if the cake was touched, right Slimer?”
The last part was directed at said ghost, the warning obvious as Jason stared at Slimer. He got a rapid nod from the ghost in response.
The cake was in perfect condition when Janine brought it to the table, and after a quick rendition of Happy Birthday and blown out candles, the dessert was divided up for everyone.
“Not gonna have a slice, Jason?” Roland asked as he watched the boy handed his slice to Slimer.
“Nah,” Jason said while he leaned back in his chair. “I promised Slimer my slice if he helped me win poker.”
Peter’s fork clattered loudly against the table as he slammed the hand holding it on the table and stood up. He pointed an accusatory finger at Jason.
“I knew it!” he exclaimed. “You were cheating!”
Jason flashed a shark-like a grin as he put his hands behind his head and tilted his chair back. “I prefer the term ‘utilizing my resources.’”
In all honesty, Jason had been a bit wary of the old Ghostbusters. He only knew them from stories told by the others or through the casefiles he read, so meeting them, especially on his own, had been daunting. He had no idea how they’d react to him or how he’d react to them.
Seeing the way they had interacted with everyone, he felt relaxed. The old team was just as human as he was, and just as accepting. Never once did they try to openly pry at his past, merely accepting that he didn’t want to talk about it and moved on.
With a content sigh, he made his way up the stairs after saying goodbye to the others, all of them deciding to retire to their own homes for once.
Just as he was about to reach the top, he could hear the voices of the adults talking.
“So they found him on the side of the road after he dug his way out of a grave, and their first thought was to take him to you instead of the police?” Winston’s voice was incredulous as he spoke. “And he has no memory of himself besides a name?”
Jason froze, his mind immediately making the connection.
“They’re talking about me,” he thought. “They probably think I’m some kind of freak.”
“That sounds awful. Poor kid,” Ray said. “Is there anything we can do to help? That doesn’t sound like something you just shrug off without lasting effects.”
Jason’s hand gripped the railing tightly as he waited for a response. The last thing he wanted was to be treated with pity because of what happened.
“For now, just treat him like he’s a normal kid,” Janine responded. “Don’t bring it up unless he says something, and give him the same amount of respect as you would anyone else. He’s still a person, and one who doesn’t like to be treated like a fragile vase, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Jason could feel the way his lips curved into a smile as he listened.
“And that means no questioning him like an experiment, Ray,” Egon’s voice was stern, a protective undercurrent laced in the warning. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that look. He doesn’t like to talk about it and we’ve agreed to respect that; I’ll give you what we know in the hopes you can find something, but I’m afraid it isn’t much.”
“We’ll do the best we can to help, Egon. Jason seems like a good kid. I’d hate for anything to happen to him.”
There’s a beat of silence before Peter decided to chime in his two cents.
“Looks like that kid is starting to turn you into a dad,” he teased.
“Shut up, Peter.”
Jason silently laughed at the fondness in Egon’s retort before turning and leaving the adults to reminisce once more.
The old team had talked long into the night, long enough that Jason had started to fall asleep at Janine’s desk. The boy knew he was welcomed to go back up, but he wanted his mom and Egon to have fun catching up with their friends.
Sleep was just starting to take over when several footsteps started down the stairs. Jason could faintly hear the jabs Peter was making while he shifted and burrowed his head deeper into his folded arms. He barely paid attention to the voices that had grown softer, nor to the sound of someone moving closer as he tried to summon the tendrils of sleep to pull him under again.
Only for an unexpected harsh thud to sound next to the boy, startling him from his hunched over position as he jerked awake.
“Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty!” Peter yelled. “Time for you to go home!”
Jason groaned and blinked awake while the ache in his back became painfully obvious.
Janine was chastising the man while the others stood back and watched in amusement. A book that wasn’t there before sat on the desk, right where the noise had been.
When he looked towards Peter, the boy could see the smug grin on his face despite Janine reprimanding him.
“Was that payback for the poker game?” Jason interrupted tiredly.
“Oh, absolutely,” Peter responded. The grin never left his face as he turned and started to head towards the door with the two other guests in tow.
“Well, it’s been fun you two, but I really need to get going,” Winston said. “I’ve got a flight to catch at nine, and I hate to be late!”
“Yeah, it’s been fun. We need to do this more often,” Ray added as he shrugged on his coat.
Jason watched as Janine moved to the door and held it open. “Just give us a call whenever you’re in town. We’ll always be up for another get together, you know.”
The three men said their goodbyes once more before departing, and leaving only Jason, Janine, and Egon in the entrance area.
The secretary put her hand on Egon’s shoulder. “Will you be alright cleaning up while I take Jay home?”
The man nodded and Janine turned to her son. “C’mon Jay, let’s go home. It’s a school night.”
Jason stood up and stumbled over to the woman, sighing as she draped his jacket over his shoulders and started to usher him out to her car down the street. He could feel the cool air blowing on his face as he was guided to the red car and got in.
“So how did you like the guys?” Janine asked as she turned the key. The engine revved to life and the car was guided out onto the road.
Jason glanced and the radio and saw the faint glowing numbers proudly proclaiming that it was well after one in the morning.
“They’re pretty cool,” he mumbled. “I think Peter is still upset about the poker game.”
“That’s just Peter,” Janine sighed. “He won’t admit it, but he was impressed at your thinking. He’s just stubborn and doesn’t like to be embarrassed. Don’t worry about him.”
Jason smiled and watched the buildings pass by as Janine drove back home.
“Don’t worry. I’ll just make sure to beat him at poker again. He could benefit from his ego being knocked down a few pegs on occasion.”
Janine merely chuckled at that.
Guess you probably weren't expecting this, huh?
So I guess the best explanation is that I had some real life stuff that kinda sent me into a depressive funk and I hadn't been able to find any inspiration to write. And then college started up, which gave me NO time to write anything until I got to winter break.
I want to give a big thanks to everyone on the r/fanfiction discord server for giving me the motivation to pick up my pen and write again. They were a big help in finding my footing and giving me suggestions when I wrote.
I'm probably going to switch to updating every other Tuesday at the same time so that I can have more time to write and create a buffer.
As always, thoughts, comments, and constructive criticism are always appreciated! :)