Listen to "Hear You Me" by Jimmy Eat World before/while you read this
I can't believe they've been gone for eight years and I'm just now thinking of this possibility. Since I was little I could see and talk to spirits (which are in fact different from ghosts, mind you) and the circus is a magnet for these beings. It would only make sense my parents' spirits would be here considering the premise of their murder.
All I can think about is seeing them, talking to them, again as I dash through the circus to find Robin. After initially being caught by Batman wrestling in the train car, the Dark Knight has been keeping a close eye on my brother and trying to keep me out of the circus so I won't mess up their investigation. Every time the hero kicks me out I've found a way back in -ghost powers have been especially advantageous in this situation.
It's kept me pretty occupied the entire day, so I wasn't thinking too much about the memories this circus has. That is, until the sun began sinking in the sky and shadows stretched across the circus grounds to reveal the spirits that have attached themselves to this place. At first I brushed them off, forgetting that I'm probably one of a few in the crowd of superheroes gathered here that can see the trapped beings let alone talk to them. When I did come to this realization, it clicked in my mind that said spirits could be useful in the investigation.
They would know what happened to the members of the circus or at least have seen who is behind the disappearance, right? So I went around talking to the spirits and ignoring the strange looks I got from the other heroes for seemingly talking to empty space ('cause I knew it wasn't because I found my way back in, again). It was after talking to the fifth spirit that I saw spirits lurking in the train cars and the thought hit me: my parents were murdered in this circus. If anyone's spirits are going to be here it's theirs and Dick and I will be able to see them! And where else would they be but the train car we used to live in?
I can feel my grin widen when I see Robin gathered at the entrance of the circus with his team and some of the other heroes, all of them going over any findings that might help the investigation before leaving for the night. Without hesitation or explanation, I grab his wrist and sprint back to the other side of the circus where the train cars are. The yells of the heroes behind us mean nothing to me compared to the slim chance of Dick and I seeing our parents again.
Already a few of the costumed individuals have caught up to us and are trying to stop me, but I just phase right through them not caring one bit that now they know I have powers or that they may think I'm a danger to my own brother. My thoughts are stuck on seeing my parents again, just one more time and I'll be satisfied for the rest of my life. I just need to see their faces, hear them say I love you and hug me, reassuring me that everything's okay like parents are supposed to do when people die even if it's for their own death.
I can see the car now, the door having been closed after Robin and I were removed. With a brush of ghostly power and a swipe of my hand the door is open again with a bang, the flicker of movement inside making my legs work harder. Dick is barely keeping up without tripping, not used to plain running without adding jumps and flips in between steps. The heroes are still after us, probably under the impression I'm kidnapping Robin, but that fact is pushed to the back of my mind because we're so close.
Suddenly Raven is in front of us, blocking the way with her dark magic and I have to dig my feet into the ground to keep from completely smashing against it. Smile gone, my glossy eyes frantically search past the heroine, landing on the doorway of the train car. It could be my imagination or my frantic mind on overdrive, but I think I see them, Mom and Dad waiting for us, worried about us.
Panting, I ask Dick, "D-do you see them?" Because he'll be able to see them; they're our parents and he's my brother and even though he can't see all spirits he can still see some and he has to be able to see Mom and Dad, and I have to know if I'm just crazy here or if they're really there. He stops swatting at the hands that are trying to drag his intangible body away from me and focuses where my sight is still glued. I feel him tense; his mouth hangs open and there's a tremble in his arms -or is that just me? Either way it snaps me out of my trance just before their images flicker away and I continue with renewed energy my goal to get to them.
Forcing ecto energy into my free hand, I bang it against the dark wall blocking our way. My efforts send slight tremors across the black surface and do little damage to it. I want to use both hands, but letting go of Dick means the other heroes will take him away from me and I can't bear to lose him right now when we're so close to getting to our parents. With a frustrated growl, I try with more energy and when that doesn't work I add my ice powers.
I send a pleading look to my brother, tears ready to spill from my eyes out of frustration and hopelessness. It's enough to snap Dick into action and he dawns his commander face, the same he no doubt learned from Batman to get people to follow orders, and fixes it on his teammate. "Raven."
That's all it takes to weaken the barrier and get the half-demon to actually look at us, see that I'm not just some kid trying to run away with her leader and see that Dick is just as ready to break as I am. The nod she sends him is all the permission I need to break my way through the dark wall and bolt to the door of my old home. Knowing Raven will keep her powers going to keep the elder heroes at bay, I drop my intangibility and Robin and I step onto the edge of the doorway to wait just inside the train car.
For a moment, everything settles. The sound of the heroes melts away, my arms and legs go numb, any warmth that was once in the car has vanished, and all memories of the Fentons dissipate to make room for years in the circus. My entire body is shaking with anticipation as my eyes scan the room, silently begging my parents to reappear. Eight years of not seeing them and it can't compare to the eight seconds we've already waited here just now.
The dark train car is suddenly illuminated by an emerging light from the floor. Up rise two figures and I'm surprised I haven't run over to them yet, hugging them and telling them how much I've missed them and that the Fentons are great but will never compare to the parents that really raised me; that I've longed for them every time I see a circus on TV, every time I've fallen and scraped my knee, every time I've sat in my room crying over the parents and circus I was forced to leave. All I've ever wanted was to hold them again.
Gasps echo from outside the car and I distantly register Mom and Dad sending teary eyed smiles and waves to the heroes watching us before they shut the door the same way I opened it minutes before. In seconds we're united again and even though I know they're just spirits and their touch is ice cold, warm tingles run through my body when they hug me and kiss my face, wiping the tears away.
I can't speak through the knot in my throat, but that doesn't matter anymore. We'll have the next few hours at least to stay in this perfect moment, pretending it's just another day on the train talking away the miles to our next destination, laughing about our fellow circus folk, and being a complete family. It doesn't matter that Mom and Dad might move on after this or that the superheroes outside are going to get restless soon enough and drag us away.
As long as we can have this moment, I'll be satisfied.
What would you think of me now, so lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said thank you for that, now I'll never have a chance.
I was listening to that Jimmy Eat World song and instantly thought of this story. I'll admit I shed a few tears while doing this chapter and hopefully it has the same affect on you guys ;)
I have this little head-canon that Danny has been able to communicate with spirits since he was a little kid and he had some crazy misadventures in the circus because of this. I'll probably write about it later and post it as its own story/one-shot.
By the way, I don't own Danny Phantom, Teen Titans, any of the Justice League, or the song. I do own this picture that I drew for this story that you can find on DeviantArt ( mandolindoodler .deviantart art/ Circus-Secrets-471117680). Thank you everybody that has stuck with this series -your reviews and enthusiasm have kept me motivated to keep writing for these stories, so keep it up if you want more!