This is for WhyCan'tIJusttBePerfect's contest. I hope all the characters aren't too terrible OOC - I don't really watch Batman. Yeah.
Disclaimer: I do not own any TV shows, movies, etc.
Edit: 3/29/12: This was originally a oneshot, but this is now up for adoption because there have been people asking for more.
The Voiceless Suspect
They were surrounding Gotham's David Von Goethe Institute of Natural Sciences. There was a robbery in progress, according to an anonymous tip-off they'd received earlier that day. It didn't exactly surprise them. Somebody had been robbing the museum for months. They'd gotten away with three robberies so far, and no one knew how they'd gotten past the constantly upgraded security systems.
Batman and Robin had gone inside to apprehend the thief. They stood the best chance of catching the criminal. The police were surrounding the building, in hopes of preventing the robber's escape.
"Chief, they're coming out!" called one of his most experienced men. Batman and Robin were bringing out the small figure of a boy.
The chief's first thought was, 'How's a kid been getting past all the security in these museums?' Then the chief realized the illumination on those leaving the building wasn't coming from the streetlights, but from the boy himself. The boy was glowing, as were the handcuffs that held him.
The boy had a humanoid form, but the chief could tell that the boy wasn't actually human. There was something paranormal about him.
Batman and Robin brought the boy to him. "He's a ghost. That's how he kept getting past security!" Batman explained.
Robin nodded. "It's just lucky Batman got some ghost proof gear from an anonymous benefactor. That ghost proof net and those ghost proof handcuffs were perfect for capturing this thief."
The chief of police looked at the boy in the ghost proof handcuffs. The boy's eyes were bloodshot, and he kept sniffling as if he were sick. He had white hair, and was wearing a black and white jumpsuit. What the boy wasn't wearing, though, was the look criminals normally wore when they were caught, and their illegal plans foiled.
What was more, the boy wasn't making any attempt to resist. This would be the first criminal Gotham had seen for a while to come quietly.
The boy had a few bruises, and there was a green glowing substance sticking to his right shoulder. The right side of his jumpsuit was otherwise scraped up and torn a bit around his torso.
"He's been roughed up. Did you have to resort to force then? Did he fight you?" the chief asked the two that had caught him, Batman and Robin.
"We didn't. He was like that when we found him." Batman said.
"Besides," Robin added. "Do you really think we could've done that to a ghost? I hate to imagine what could."
"Batman, Robin," he said. "Are you sure this is the cat burglar from the Von Goethe Institute robberies?"
"We caught him red handed," said Robin.
The chief nodded. "Thank you, gentlemen," he said. "As long as those handcuffs hold up, we can handle him from here."
Batman and Robin got back in the Batmobile, and drove off. They were, doubtless, off in search for more crime to fight that night.
"You are under arrest. Anything you say can and will be said against you in court," the chief recited.
The boy just nodded.
"Get him in the cruiser!" the police chief ordered. Two of the policemen took the boy's arms and guided him into the backseat of one of the police cars. The boy still didn't put up a fight.
The boy, who hadn't made so much as a peep since Batman and Robin came out of the Von Goethe Institute with him, remained amazingly speechless during the whole ride back to the station. It seemed he took his right to remain silent seriously.
The journey was filled instead with talk between policemen in the front seat, and sniffles and coughs from the boy in the back seat.
Climbing out in front of the station, the chief spoke to the boy. "Okay, we're here, kid. We're going to need your name, and your parents' number."
The boy said something in a whisper. "You've got to speak up kid. We can't here you!" one of the policemen said.
The boy turned to the closest policeman, and again said something in a whisper. But this time, someone could make out what he says.
"He says he's got a bad cold, chief, and he's lost his voice," the policeman said.
"Oh is that why he was quiet all this time?" the chief asked. The boy nodded. "What's your name?" the chief asked again.
The boy turned to the closest policeman to answer. "No, that can't be right. What sort of name is that? We want your real name!" The boy frowned and said something in reply.
Sensing an argument coming, the chief interrupted by asking. "What did he say his name is?"
"He says his name's Danny Phantom, but 'Phantom' couldn't be a real last name, could it?"
"Let me deal with him, Davies!" The chief moved closer to the boy so he could hear what he said. "Your name?"
"My name is Danny Phantom," the boy answered.
"It's my ghostly name," Phantom explained.
"There's . . . " the chief started to say.
"Before you say 'there's no such thing as ghosts'," Phantom said. "Let me just point out that I'm glowing, I'm translucent, and it took ghost-proof handcuffs to arrest me." He smiled. "It's okay chief. A lot of people don't believe in ghosts."
"There's still the matter of calling your parents," the chief finished. Phantom looked surprised, assumingly because the chief hadn't protested that there was no way he could be a ghost. It was the chief's turn to grin at Phantom's surprise. "You'd be surprised what we see in this town."
Phantom, now over his momentary surprise, looked uncomfortable, even a little scared now. "Do we have to call my parents?"
"Of course we have to call your parents! You're still under eighteen. You're not an adult yet!" the chief said.
"Are you sure chief?" someone asked. "He's a ghost. Who know how long he's been dead, and how old he really is?"
"I'm still fourteen," Phantom said. "I've been keeping up with everything around me. I know it's only been a few months since I became a ghost. It's just that my parents wouldn't recognize me, and they've always hated ghosts. I don't want to think of what would happen if you called them to come pick up a ghost. Please, don't call them." He shivered. "Could we please go inside the station now?" he asked. "This cold air is not gonna help my cold."
The chief nodded, and they all went inside. They let Phantom out of his handcuffs, and got him to agree to give his account of things with a polygraph test. They weren't entirely sure it would work on ghosts, but they were willing to take that chance. The chief headed for his seat, and gestured for Phantom to sit down. "Davies, could you speak for him?" he asked.
Davies nodded, and sat right next to the arrested boy.
Subconsciously, the chief picked up a paper clip from his desk, and began to toy with it with his hands as he interviewed the boy.
"I wasn't trying to steal anything," Davies said for the boy. "I'd got a text from someone who only gave his name as WhyCan'tIJustBePerfect. WhyCan'tIJustBePerfect warned me that some professional ghost hunters were hot on my tail, and said they knew where I was, and were coming after me. WhyCan'tIJustBePerfect said they were only a few blocks away, and coming quickly."
"I was scared. Professional ghost hunters tend to not care whether the ghost they're after is harmful or not, just as long as it's a ghost. I flew away from there as fast as I could. I flew through buildings, 'cause it'd be faster than go around them, and I really didn't want to be caught by those ghost hunters."
"After about fifteen minutes, I was starting to get tired. I didn't have my usual stamina, thanks to my cold. I flew lower, close to the ground, to save my energy. I was hoping I'd given the ghost hunters, and their all-too-effective ghost trackers, the slip 'cause I'd be an easy target flying that low."
"I was still flying through buildings to prevent the ghost hunters from catching up. I was just flying through this science building when . . . "Here, Phantom's story broke off as he had a small coughing fit. His mouth formed a word, presumably 'sorry', that Davies didn't translate.
"A science building? You mean the David Von Goethe Institute of Natural Sciences?"
The ghost whispered something to Davies. "He says, 'I guess so. I wouldn't know, 'cause I'm not from around here.'"
The chief put down the paper clip he was fidgeting with to write a question for later down on paper. "Continue," the chief said.
"I was just flying through the ground floor of that place when this big heavy rock with some sort of crystals growing out of it falls on top of me. I wasn't expecting it, and I was saving my stamina by only going intangible when I needed to, so it hit me instead of going right through me. If I'd been human, the rock would've seriously hurt me. But being a ghost, I just got a few lumps and bruises."
"I looked up to see where it had come from, and there was this big hole in the second floor meant for looking down on the first floor. There was also this man standing next to the edge of the railing, and a rope draped over the railing like a pulley. I think he was trying to use it to lower the rock down to the first floor when the knot untied or something. I don't know."
"I didn't get a good look at the man. It was dark, and he ran off pretty fast. I'd just phased out from under the rock when the elevator opened. Two people ran into the room, dressed in weird costumes. They wore masks that covered their faces. One was wearing all black. He was also wearing a clock and utility belt."
"He pulled out something small from his belt, and threw it on the floor close to me. It expanded into a net, and I got caught. He . . . "
The ghost's story was interrupted again. This time, the interruption came in the form of a small boy running into the room, followed by a slender woman. The small boy looked about three. He was wearing bright red pajamas. They had a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks on the shirt, and smaller pictures of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore in a pattern on the pants.
The boy squeezed with a stuffed purple and green animal in one arm. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Barney the Dinosaur. In his free hand, he held a thin hardback book. "DADDY!" the boy screamed, and jumped on the police chief.
"He wouldn't stop screaming until I took him to see you," the woman explained. "He wants you to read him a bedtime story." The little boy was indeed waving the book under his father's face." I was hoping he'd fall asleep during the car ride here."
The chief looked at the book. "Can't Mommy read you Green Eggs and Ham tonight? Daddy's very busy. Daddy has to look into a robbery."
"NO!" the little boy shouted. "DADDY READ IT!"
Unknown to the chief and his son, Phantom whispered to Davies, "Do you think we should let him read to his son?" It ended up that the chief did have to read Green Eggs and Ham to his son before he'd calm down.
"Okay Joey. Here's Barney, here's your book. Will you let Mommy take you home now?" The chief apologized as his family slipped out of the building. "I'm sorry about that. My son's only three, y'know. What are you going to do? I don't want to miss him growing up. Continue, Phantom."
"He says, 'Okay, quick recap,'," Davies said. "'Two guys in costumes and masks got out of the elevator, and the one in all black caught him in a net.'"
"He said the net was ghost proof, and not to bother. He said that I'd been caught redhanded, and that they were going to turn me over to the police. They put me in ghost-proof handcuffs, brought me out of the building, and you know the rest. . . . "
"It still seems kind of fishy if you ask me, Phantom," said the chief. "But that is for the judge to decide. In the meantime, we've still got questions for you. Where are you from?"
"I'm from out of state," Phantom said.
The chief decided that was the best answer he'd get from the ghost, so he moved on. "Why are you in Gotham?"
"That's my business! That is so not related to what happened in the museum!"
"Why were the ghost hunters after you?"
Phantom rolled his eyes. "Because I'm a ghost, duh! Do they ever have a reason?"
"Wh-?" The chief started to ask, but he could not finish his question, because two bald guys wearing white suits and sunglasses burst into the police station. Both of them were carrying guns, and both guns were pointed at Phantom.
Phantom whispered, "They've found me!" There was no one left to repeat his words for him. Both of the police officers had jumped to their feet and pulled out their guns.
"Relax," said one of the Guys in White. "We're in law enforcement too. We enforce the ghost laws. The specimen you have here is a hardened criminal, and he's been convicted of many serious crimes."
"Convicted?" Danny whisper shouted. "But how could I be convicted? I've never had a trial!" No one heard him.
" . . . test as evidence to . . . " the chief was shouting.
" . . . unwarranted attack . . . " said Davies.
" . . . dangerous and deceptive, we would ask . . . " said the Guy in White who seemed to be in charge.
" . . . advise you not to take his word," said his companion.
"Do you really think . . .?"
" . . . this is justice we're . . . "
" . . . matter of public safety."
" . . . national security!"
The argument between the Guys in White and the police escalated, and it was clear Danny Phantom didn't have any say in it. Danny wrote a quick note to the police chief and left it on his desk.
He flew off. Being only half-ghost, he had a life as a living human he needed to live. Anywhere were the Guys in White were wasn't the safest place for him if he wished to stay alive, because they'd most likely kill him in one of their experiments if he ever let them catch him.
Besides, a lot of times it felt that he didn't have a voice in any of it, even when he didn't have a cold. No one noticed the voiceless phantom leave the station.