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So Kindly Stop for Me

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Danny was absolutely miserable when he made it back to the hotel. He had wanted desperately to wait with Peter and Fido until Wade came back, but it was nearly eleven at night and Jazz would be getting worried enough to call the police or their parents soon enough. He sent her a quick text to let her know he was on his way back, morosely climbing down the stairs to the first level with Peter behind him and Fido hanging on to his shoulder, chirping sadly into his ear. Peter had insisted he take a taxi, even though the safe house was within walking distance from the hotel; Danny still didn't have enough energy to fly back invisible, and Peter was worried he could be mugged again if he walked. Before they made it out to the street, Danny handed Fido over to Peter after nuzzling the shade in goodbye. Fido went dejectedly, but didn't resist when Peter hid them in his front hoodie pocket. They all went outside and Peter hailed a cab, talking sternly to the driver to take Danny directly to the hotel and giving the cabbie two twenties while Danny got in the car. He and Peter exchanged one last goodbye, Fido peeking out Peter's pocket to give a tiny wave, before the cab pulled away from the curb and made it's way to the hotel.

He stepped inside the hotel room, the table light in the middle of their beds illuminating the room and saw Jazz sitting in the cushioned chair by the window, wringing her hands together. She turned her head when he stepped inside and got up to walk over to him. She opened her mouth to ask him questions but paused when she saw his pale complexion and shaking hands. The last thing Danny wanted to do right now was talk, so he quickly kicked his shoes off by the door and rushed over to wrap her in a hug. Jazz held her arms out for a few seconds before she returned the hug, gently guiding them to sit on his bed. Danny felt like he wanted to cry as his core basked in his sister's affection, so he just hugged her tighter and hoped tomorrow would be better.


"Danny," Jazz whispered softly while shaking his shoulder. "Danny, I think it's time you got up." Danny whined in his throat as he groggily blinked his eyes open, slowly sitting up in his bed while Jazz stepped back and sat down on her own bed across from him.

"What time is it?" Danny asked, scratching his head and swinging his legs out from under the covers and on to the floor.

"It's nearly ten in the morning," Jazz replied, and Danny stilled; he hadn't slept in that late since he first got his powers.

"Why didn't you wake me up?" Danny asked, anxiously reaching for his phone to check if Peter or Wade had texted him any updates, and was both relieved and concerned when he found none.

"You didn't have a great sleep last night," Jazz stated, but it came out with an inquiring lilt. "You got up to pace about three times in the middle of the night. You don't remember?" Danny stiffened as a ghostly chill seeped down his spine; he didn't remember doing that at all.

"No, I don't. Sorry for waking you up," Danny apologized, clenching his phone. Jazz opened her mouth briefly before closing it and sighing, reaching over to ruffle his hair.

"It's okay, Danny," Jazz relented, "Why don't you go take a shower? You look like you need one." Danny blinked, finally realizing he had slept in his clothes from the day before. He skin felt grimy, his hair was greasy, and his clothes were practically stiff with dried sweat. Ugh, Danny thought as he wrinkled his nose in disgust, Gross.

"Why did you let me sleep in my clothes?" Danny groaned as he got up and got his suitcase, unzipping it and gathering some new clothes.

"You were a bit out of it when you came back, Danny," Jazz said stiffly, crossing her arms. Danny paused briefly before zipping his suitcase shut and started to make his way to the bathroom. "Danny-," Jazz tried again, but stopped when he turned to look at her.

"Jazz," Danny said softly, hunching his shoulders. "I know you're worried and want me to tell you what happened last night but-, I don't want to talk about it, please. Not right now. I-, I'm still trying to sort it out in my head." Jazz dropped her arms and walked over to him, giving him a brief hug before pulling back.

"All right," Jazz said sadly as she smoothed his bangs out of his face. "Just make sure you talk to someone. It doesn't have to be me, but I'm here if you want me to listen."

"Thanks, Jazz," Danny replied, and she nodded in satisfaction.

"Are you planning on going anywhere today?" She asked, taking a small step back.

"Not really," Danny answered as he shrugged with his clothes in his arms. "I'll probably stay in the hotel; just take it easy for today."

"Good idea," Jazz said, "I'll tell Mom and Dad not to bother you until later today. Text me if you decide to go anywhere, okay?" Danny nodded, letting Jazz ruffle his hair one last time before he slipped into the bathroom to take a shower. He didn't notice Jazz glance over at the nightstand and pick up his phone.


By the time Danny was done with his shower, Jazz had left to go talk to their parents and explore more attractions. He deposited his dirty clothes in a plastic bag he stored in the hallway closet, then crawled back into his bed while grabbing his phone off the nightstand. He checked for any new text messages from either Peter or Wade, and bit his lip when he found none. The ghostly chill he had felt earlier came back, making him shiver. Danny dragged himself over to his suitcase to pull out his dark hoodie and swiftly ducked inside, flipping the hood up and shaking the long sleeves to cover up his hands before settling on top of the covers and tried to figure out what to do.

He should probably find something to eat, but it felt like too much a of a hassle to try when he didn't feel hungry. He debated going to his parents and seeing if he could borrow one of their laptops to play Doomed, but decided it wasn't worth getting pulled into helping them if they were cannibalizing the phones and tablets from the other day into new ghost tech. He decided to try and watch TV, hoping something interesting was on one of the limited channels. Danny grabbed the remote on the nightstand, clicking the power button and then started to flip through the channels. He was about to call it quits when he stumbled upon a news channel, and froze at the scrolling headline at the bottom of the screen.

Police still baffled by sonic boom heard across New York City.

"And we're back with update from the police on the mysterious sonic blast that occurred last night," A news woman stated, shuffling some papers on a desk. "Officials have discovered what they think is the origin point of the blast at an abandoned shipyard at Little Neck Bay. We have Brett Bruno, reporting live from the scene; Brett?" The shot changed from inside the news studio to a smartly dressed news man standing in front of yellow crime scene tap that blocked off the the chain-link fence that surrounded the shipyard, the abandoned warehouses in the background.

"Thank you Medina," Brett replied as the camera changed focus to the shipyard in the background. "Around eight-o'-clock last night, a sonic blast was heard throughout uptown New York City and upper areas of the Bronx. Now, police officials were able to deduce the origin of the blast based on calls from witnesses who had personal property damaged and were awake during the event." The camera cut to a shot of a street lined with cars that had broken or cracked windows, glass littering the ground like glitter, before going to Brett interviewing a supposed resident.

"It was like a punch, ya' know? A wall of air just goin' through me," A middle aged man said, standing next to a shop window that was spider webbed with cracks. "Next thing I know, car alarms are going off and my windows are cracked all to hell." The camera changed to another interview.

"It wasn't like a regular 'boom'," A young woman said, her purse hanging at her side while she stood next to a car, the window completely blown out. "You see explosions in movies and TV shows, and those are quick; they happen real fast. This one, it almost felt drawn out." Again, the shot changed.

"We thought it was a broken police siren at first," A teenage boy said, hands hanging on his backpack strap with a friend standing by his side. "Those things can sound pretty spooky, but it was louder than anything we've ever heard." The camera came back to Brett in front of the shipyard.

"So when police investigated the area, they found evidence of a struggle and quarantined the area off as a crime scene, " Brett stated for the viewers. "We were told that while blood was found at the shipyard, a body has yet to be discovered or any victims with extensive injuries checked into nearby hospitals; however, what has the police baffled is the lack of evidence to suggest what even caused the blast in the first place." A shot of the Queen's City Police Chief standing behind a podium in front of a station appeared on screen, depicting part of a public press release.

"After combing the area," The Police Chief intoned, "We have found no evidence to suggest a bomb or a device of any sort was used to cause a blast loud enough to be heard by nearly half of New York City. As such, we are encouraging any witnesses who have not previously come forward to tell us what they can about the incident. We ask for your continued patience as we determine the cause of this blast. Thank you." The TV continued to drone on, but Danny's head was starting to fill with static as his core started to vibrate, because that couldn't be right. They had left Vlad passed out cold at the shipyard; even if anyone didn't immediately investigate the area after they were gone, Vlad should have been found fairly quickly and taken to a hospital.

Unless he wasn't there to be found.

Danny's pulse jumped as he started to panic, getting off the bed and pacing as he tried to think of who Vlad would take a shot at in his haggard state. Vlad wouldn't take a chance with Mom, Dad, or Jazz; they all wore anti-possession devices on them at all times, and his parents were never without at least three ectoweapons. That left Peter and-! Wade! It had to be Wade; Peter's spider sense would give him an edge, but Wade was still recovering and Fido wouldn't be able to warn him sufficiently if Vlad tried to attack. Danny raced to his phone and immediately typed out a message.

To: Expired Puddle

Where are you and please tell me you're with Peter

From: Expired Puddle

Um, hey home slice

Peter went to visit his aunt

?And I'm getting... supplies

To: Expired Puddle

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RN!?

Don't you guys watch the news!?!

Get back to the safe house, NOW

I'll be there in 10

From: Expired Puddle

?Danny, what's going on

To: Expired Puddle

Just get there or I stg that I will search the entire city if I have too!

From: Expired Puddle

All right, all right

geez

Danny quickly stuffed his wallet and phone into his hoodie, jamming his feet into his shoes and raced down the hallway to the staircase, taking steps two at a time. He burst through the door and slowed to an energetic walk as he made his way into the lobby. His heart jumping in his chest when he saw his parents sitting in front a lobby TV, the news channel from earlier up on the screen and relaying other news. Danny nearly turned around to take one of the emergency exits out to the street, but took a breath when he realized now would probably be a good time give them an excuse so he could go out for a few hours. He doubled back behind a wall and was about to walk in front of them when he heard their voices.

"Do you think it was that ghost?" Mom murmured sharply. Dad sighed softly.

"Could be," Dad answered, making sure to keep his voice low. "We don't know many ghosts that have a Ghostly Wail; on the other hand, Phantom is known for staying at Amity Park." There was a brief, strained silence before Mom spoke again.

"I hate this," She said crisply, "I hate it!" Danny's breath hitched. "Why is this ghost so fixated on our family, Jack? Why can't it just stay in the ghost zone where it belongs?" More static filled Danny's head and he felt something in his ghost core splinter off, and he brought one of his hands to his chest to clench at his hoodie in discomfort. Later, Danny thought as the static increased in pitch and he unconsciously slipped into invisibility, I'll think about it later.


Danny didn't quite remember anything that happened on his way to the safe house; if he stayed invisible, if he changed forms and flew, or if he bumped into anyone on the street. He just remembered walking out of the hotel with static in his ears as his core pulsated irregularly, and then he was standing in front of the door to the apartment building. He phased through the door into the lobby, keeping invisibility wrapped around him like a cloak before making it to the stairway. Once he was sure that it was empty, he went ghost and flew through the floors until he got to the correct level, phasing through the hallway door and finding the correct unit, and then phased through that door too and turned visible.

"Agh!" Wade yelled as he jolted in one of the kitchen chairs, the chip bowl he had in his hands spilling onto the table and Fido hovering inquisitively above his head. "What have I told you about scaring me half to death!" Danny blinked in confusion, the static falling away as his core thrummed at a lower pitch. Wade was wearing his Deadpool mask with the bottom rolled up past his mouth, but instead of his suit he wore a plain t-shirt under a well worn leather jacket, a pair of jeans, and dark combat boots. He showed no signs of being nearly disemboweled from the night before; in fact, he was the picture of cheerful as he scooped the spilled chips back into the bowl and continued to eat them.

"You're okay?" Danny asked breathlessly, and Wade stopped eating to tilt his head in bewilderment with his hand still in the bowl.

"Yes?" Wade answered questioningly, raising a handful of chips to his mouth. "Why wouldn't I be?" Danny swallowed as his ghost core finally relaxed.

"Okay," Danny exhaled as he changed back, falling slightly backwards on to the floor when his legs gave out while Fido let out a chirp of alarm."I think I need to sit down." Wade instantly shoved the bowl to the edge of the table and leapt out of his chair to go to Danny's side.

"Danny!" Wade said urgently as he kneeled down, Fido trailing behind him. "Hey, home slice, talk to me! What's going on?"

"Vlad wasn't found at the shipyard when police blocked it off earlier this morning," Danny gasped out, clenching Wade's hand when he offered it and pulled himself up, letting Wade lead him to the table to sit down. "I thought-, I was scared that he might try and attack you while you were still healing but-, you're all right?"

"Yeah, home slice, I'm picture perfect," Wade answered as dragged the chip bowl in front of Danny. "I thought Peter told you about my mutation?" Danny nodded, absentmindedly bringing a small handful of chips to his mouth.

"He did," Danny answered after swallowing the chips, Fido snuggling into his neck, "He said you could heal from anything. I didn't think it would be that quickly though." Wade sighed as he dragged a hand over his face.

"Jeez Pete," Wade groaned leaning against the table, "The one time you don't give enough details. Listen Danny, my regeneration speed is basically on crack. I don't just heal quickly; I can regrow limbs or whole organs if I have too. Not even a bullet to the head can keep me down for long." As soon as the words left Wade's mouth, he flinched and Danny's eyes widened; clearly that wasn't something Wade had meant to share. There was a tense silence as Wade straightened and walked over to the fridge, grabbing a beer and popping off the top before he sat down in the opposite chair while taking a huge swallow. Danny gulped and ate another handful of chips, trying to get his thoughts in order while Fido whined, curling more securely around his shoulder.

"So," Danny started, watching Wade intensely for unease. "You've died before?" Wade snorted, taking another mouthful of his beer.

"Yeah," Wade answered quietly, rolling the bottle between his hands. "Yeah, I've died kinda a lot."

"Well, I've only done it once," Danny tried to joke, "And half-assed at that, so you beat me to the punch on that one." Wade laughed derisively, staring at him pensively while he picked at the label on the bottle.

"You know," Wade started, "When Peter first told me about you, I was excited to meet you. I've never heard of anyone else that came back from the dead."

"Didn't really come back alive," Danny replied, reaching up to pet Fido.

"You're weirdly okay with this," Wade commented, and Danny chuckled darkly, pushing the bowl of chips to the side and leaning back in his chair.

"I've been hearing about ghosts since I was two years old," Danny stated, crossing his arms. "I practically grew up around death."

"So, what?" Wade asked, continuing to peel the label of his bottle. "You're not afraid to die?"

"No," Danny answered easily. "I'm terrified of dying, mostly because I don't know what will happen to me. Will I continue on as Phantom, or will I just imprint on a shade? Will I still remember my friends if I become a full ghost? Will I stay me? But that doesn't mean I don't understand or don't accept death. Everybody dies Wade; some just take it bit longer than others." Wade hummed thoughtfully.

"Even ghosts?" Wade asked. Danny smiled cynically.

"Even ghosts," Danny nodded playing with the strings of his hoodie, "My friend Sam is a goth, so she likes to research other cultures' ideas about death. She told me that in some places, they believe that if the living forget the memories of the dead, then the souls experience a "second death" in the afterlife and they're gone for good. It's sort of true. I've never seen it happen to a specter myself, but some of the other ghosts have told me that if a ghost's core gets destabilized enough, or if they can't control their obsessions they just-, fade out of existence." It was quiet for a moment as the implications sank in; even Fido was uncharacteristically somber as he sidled down Danny's chest and into his hands.

"Do you remember what it was like?" Danny asked after a moment, keeping his attention on Fido as he continued to play with his hoodie strings. "What it felt like when you died?" Wade stilled for a moment before putting the bottle to his lips and taking a swig.

"Usually it hurts; not a lot of ways to die peacefully," Wade answered as he set his bottle on the table. "But sometimes it's a relief." Danny jerked his head up, and found Wade had pulled off his mask and thrown it on the table. His entire face was covered in scars that stretched all along his head and snaked down his throat and under the neck line of his t-shirt. "These scars aren't just decorations Danny. Sometimes they're pure agony. Or sometimes the thoughts in my head are a too loud and I can't make sense of things. Other times, I'm just tired of doing the same shit on a different day and I hope the next bullet I put in my brain will stick." Danny flinched and Fido rushed to nuzzle Wade's chest in comfort. Wade paused, slowly lifting his hand; Fido floated up to it and plopped down on Wade's palm. Wade squinted, like he was trying to see something, and then gently rubbed his thumb along Fido's back.

"Having Peter around helps," Wade continued, "Hell, having you and Fido around helps; it still doesn't change the fact that ever since my mutation activated, death was my only source of relief for a long time." Danny bit his lip, hugging his arms.

"I've never really thought about it like that," Danny whispered. "My mom and dad always talk about death like it's 'the end', even though they study ghosts. I've always thought of it as just starting over; I mean it's called the afterlife for a reason, right? Wade snickered softly.

"Why don't your parents believe in the afterlife if they study ghosts?" Wade asked and Danny stiffened.

"I dunno," Danny answered nervously while he shrugged. "I think it's because they don't think of ghosts as sentient. Just, echos of people."

"Well, that's BS if I've ever heard it," Wade replied while he continued to pet Fido; after a few moments Wade jolted as a thought occurred to him. "Danny," Wade asked worriedly, "Do you remember? What it felt like when you died?" Danny shivered, hunching his shoulders.

"Yeah," Danny breathed, and Wade froze as his jaw dropped; even Fido ruffled his ectoplasmic body nervously. "It was like-, have you ever seen people cook hotdogs using an electrical outlet? It felt like that; like I was being cooked from the inside out. And then there was this-, this wall of ectoplasm. Felt like I was bathing in acid. That's what caused my-, that's what killed me in the end, I think. But it's also what brought me back, I guess. I got so much of it in my system that it-, it changed me." Wade closed his mouth and swallowed, the sound echoing in the quiet room.

"I'm sorry you have to remember that," Wade finally stated. Danny took a breath and rested his head on his arms as he leaned forward on the table.

"Yeah," Danny mumbled, "Me too." Wade straightened further in his chair, shock covering his face.

"Danny, what do you mean-?" Wade started, but Danny cut him off.

"Hey, Wade?" Danny asked softly, "Do you think I'm a bad person?"

"What!?" Wade asked incredulously, straightening in his chair and nearly dropping Fido, "Danny, where the hell is this coming from!? You're like, on Peter's level of goodness, okay? And he takes time out of his patrol to get cats out of trees!"

"I don't know," Danny sniffed, his eyes getting wet, and Fido made a beeline for his ducked head and burrowed into his cheek with a whine. "It's just-, sometimes I wish I had just died in that stupid accident. Maybe if I was a full ghost I would understand why my parents hate me so much." Wade clenched his hands.

"Danny," Wade said seriously, "If your parents are hurting you because you're a mutant-!"

"Metahuman," Danny interrupted sullenly, making Wade sputter in confusion. "Mutant is slang for metahuman: a human who has the x-activated gene. My friends and I looked it up after my accident."

"What the hell does it matter!?" Wade yelled as he stood up. "It doesn't give your parents the right to hurt you!"

"They aren't hurting me!" Danny yelled back, lifting his head from the table while Fido whimpered. "And it's all that matters! Don't you get it Wade! Whatever happened in that accident didn't just change a part of me, it changed all of me! I'm not a mutant because I'm̖̜͂̕ ̢̢̰̾̚̕ñ͓o̰̪̭̺̐͊͡t h̪͊u̯̳̫̾͋̉͘͢m̘̥̗̳̊͌͑͠a̺̫̘̯͋̈́͗n͇͖͕͗̅͡ ͈̠̺͇͙̾̋̌̈̕a͔̍̇͟ṅ͖̦͉̰̃̎̾y̗̞̑̓m̭͘o͉̾̀͜r̹̱͖̻̋́̿e͎̒!̬̰̽̕" Wade stomped over and hauled Danny up by his hoodie, gripping his shoulders and tilting his face up so they were looking at each other.

"I don't care what you are," Wade told him sternly as Fido soundlessly hovered above them. "You could be an alien from outer space, and it still wouldn't matter, to me or to Peter! To us, you will always be that dorky ghost kid with a mischievous streak that's trying to be a hero. And that will always be enough for us! You're not human - so what! That doesn't make you a monster!" Danny's eyes got blurry as his breath hitched, and he hid his face in Wade's chest as he started cry.

"I don't understand, Wade; what did I do?" Danny sobbed, bringing his arms up to wipe his face with his sleeves. "I'm trying to help. I'm always just trying to help! So why do they hate me so much!?" Wade hesitantly pulled him into a tighter hug, gently rubbing his shoulders as Fido crooned sullenly while wiggling themselves under Danny's chin.

Wade's silence was Danny's only answer.


 

From: DP 1.0

Whatever plan you had for Danny, you better kick it into overdrive

To: DP 1.0

What happened!?

From: DP 1.0

I'll tell you about it later

Just talk to him tomorrow, ASAP

Typing...

Typing...

To: DP 1.0

I think I know what this is about

From: DP 1.0

?How did you know

To: DP 1.0

I'll tell you later

Peter gnawed his lip as he re-read Wade's text on the subway, dread slowly forming in his gut, and switched to a text he got earlier this morning.

 

From: Unknown

Hello Spider Man

 

My name is Jasmine, and I'm Danny's older sister

.I just wanted to thank you for looking after my brother

 

These first couple of days we've been here are the happiest

I've ever seen him. It looks like he finally has someone

.to talk to

 

I know this is probably a lot to ask, but please do

whatever you can to help him. I know he doesn't say

.much about our home town, but it can get bad there

 

.Really bad

 

I guess that's all I wanted to say. Thank you again

Peter swayed as the subway took a turn, exiting out of the text app and opening a web browser. He's was gonna have to tread very carefully if he wanted to pull this off.