The sky was thick with black clouds, spreading so far the light was nothing but an eery glow. Every citizen was gathered in the town circle of Amity Park, and every citizen was watching Danny Phantom fight to the death with Pariah Dark, the King of all ghosts.
He came back to take his full revenge on Amity along with its supposed town "hero." Now, I'm not really sure if I was correct about him being the false hero I've always thought of him as.
I stand in front of the mob beside Jack, both of us fully armed but too captivated by the fight to really search for an opening.
Crack. The sounding of the young ghost hitting pavement echoed throughout the caves of my ears, making me wince unconsciously along with the rest of the crowd.
Phantom didn't move; his eyes were halfway open as if he was fighting to stay conscious. It was unbelievable how he managed to last so long considering how many hits he'd taken.
He was covered in gashes, ectoplasm, and bruises. His normally stark white hair was in tangles, messier than usual, with black soot and ectoplasm scattered all throughout; what used to be Phantom's suit was torn in many places revealing more injuries from battle. I looked over his body searching for contortions; unfortunately, it seemed one of his shoulders was higher than the other, either broken or dislocated; and his foot was in a wrong position as he laid there.
A distant wailing broke my attention from Phantom's still form as I looked over to see a huge ghost army coming towards us, Pariah's hand poised in the air, beckoning them forward. "Now, child, I shall destroy what you've failed to protect. All that you love will be vanquished," the King's thunderous voice exclaimed, sending a ripples of shivers down my spine.
I looked at the ghost army, suddenly, feeling overwhelmed; there were tens and thousands of them if not more. I let out a small gasp. There was no way Jack and I could take them all.
I look at where Phantom was, but found him gone. He probably escaped and left us here. Looks like Jack and I were right all along, he is noting but a-I jumped as the sudden touch of a hand on my shoulder.
Phantom came into view, looking at me through dull, burning green eyes. It was surprising to see so much intensity within them since exhaustion was clearly overcoming him.
"No, stay back. I don't want anybody to get hurt," he rasped, not sounding at all like the cocky, playful ghost I hunted. He walked in front of Jack and me, saying in a loud enough voice for everybody to hear, "Just stay back and cover your ears."
At that moment, I was sputtered into blinding shock. A mass amount of energy came raging out of his mouth, sounding like ghostly wails, but much stronger. I put my hands to my ears immediately, but kept my eyes peeled open. Buildings were crumbling, windows were bursting shards of glass, cars were being thrown back as if they were mere toys. The ghost army started to disintegrate one by one as they were thrown back into the peril.
I don't know how long the attack went on, maybe ten minutes? But, all the while, I could see the struggle in Phantom as his shoulders began to cave in, his knees buckling. His whole body seemed to shake from strain. Finally, the wail ceased as Phantom collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily on his hands and knees.
I have never seen such a powerful attack. Jack and I exchanged an awe glance as we looked down at the young ghost.
"Impossible," Jack breathed.
I heard an angered scream in the distance as everybody's head-but Phantom's- whipped around to see Pariah breaking out of the rubble. He turned his furious gaze on Phantom who was still trying to compose himself. With quick, determined strides, he reached the boy in a matter of seconds, grabbing him by the front if his suit. Phantom's head lolled back, but his eyes were still open half dazed, indicating some consciousness.
With an outraged cry, he threw the ghost boy in the nearest building, making it crumble on top of him.
"Phantom!" I cried before I even knew the words were coming out of my own mouth. I gripped Jack's arm in both surprise and to steady myself. After all he did...he can't be destroyed. Not after...
"Jack," I barely whispered, realization finally dawning as the sight of the collapsed building brought terror raging through me, "Could we have been wrong?"
I looked up through watering eyes as his sad gaze met mine. A second broke as he turned to stare straight ahead at where Phantom was buried beneath; there was a sharp cracking sound as his eyes widened. A slow smile spreading on his face.
I whipped my head towards the rubble to see it shaking. A hand shot out from beneath worn by a torn white glove. Soon, a head poked out along with the rest of his body. The young ghost slowly emerged from the destroyed building, cutting back screams of pain with eyes shut tight.
Phantom took a shaky step out the rubble, determination blazing in his eyes as he glared at Pariah defiantly. The only sign of pain was in the way his body seemed to cave a little in on itself as if to ward it off.
"Why do you keep getting up?" the Ghost King shouted.
"Because, I don't care what happens to me...as long as nobody else gets hurt. And if me dying means that you will not take over the earth. Then, that's what I will do!"
"Child, you really are an odd one. I offered for you to rule beside me; an offer many would give anything for. Instead, you rebel and fight me. One would call that bravery, but I call it stupidity."
Pariah was by the ghost boy in a flash, flinging a punch towards him. With a deafening crunch, it hit true, right in the boy's ribs; his body flying and hitting pavement. The impact leaving a crater in the asphalt.
The boy got up slower this time, clutching his, now, broken ribs with his good arm. He looked up at the Ghost King, a smirk playing on his lips. "Is that all you got?"
My eyes widen unknowingly; my mouth agape. Is he crazy?
In a blindingly fast movement, Pariah went in for another blow; but Phantom countered just as fast, if not faster, as he caught the King's leg, with a struggling sound, the ghost boy threw Pariah into a neighboring building, making it crumble on top of him.
Unfortunately, the building wasn't enough. The debris burst all around as the King released an energy wave.
Panting slightly, Pariah walked into the tattered street, merely a good six feet away from Phantom.
"There is no way you can win, child," he said steadily, "I am older and far more powerful. A mere youngling can never destroy me, especially an abomination like you."
The ghost boy smiled, the familiar spark of mischievousness playing in his eyes. "Who said I was going to destroy you. All I have to do is get you into that," he said confidently as he pointed to a spot in the distance.
Suddenly, a swirling vortex appeared, growing larger as three forms stepped out into the tattered street. Two of the forms were ghosts holding the other form, which appeared to be a sarcophagus.
Pariah's eyes widened as he gazed upon the sarcophagus in fear.
Taking the King's distraction as an opening, Phantom thrust a low punch into the ghost, delivering an uppercut with blindingly fast speed, and sending a strong kick as the final blow, knocking the King back, dazing him in the process.
"I said it once, and I will say it again. Leave my town alone!" Phantom screamed as he attacked with his wail once more, but this time it was stronger and much more powerful than the last.
Everything seemed to shake around me as the waves just continued on, becoming louder and longer. Pariah's screams were lost in the deafening sound as everything was destroyed around him. His body was thrust back into the ground creating a gigantic, concrete crater in the street; he finally seemed to give in as his head dropped, eyes closing, no longer struggling against the massive waves of pure green energy barreling through him.
The wails came to an immediate stop as Phantom dropped to the ground. I didn't even realize at some point he took flight during his attack.
Phantom raised his head from his kneeling position; his face was a deathly pale even for a ghost. He looked at the two stunned ghosts holding the sarcophagus. "Put him in before he wakes up," he barely whispered, exhaustion and agony in his voice.
The ghosts thawed out from their shock, immediately following Phantom's command. After removing a small ring from the King's hand, the mechanical ghost with the flaming green hair lifted the unconscious form of the Ghost King as the ghost who resembled a yeti opened the sarcophagus. Once the King was put in, they closed the door abruptly, locking it with a skull key.
They turned back to Phantom, less tense after the King was locked. The yeti ghost all but ran to Phantom, taking hold of his good arm, but at the same time trying to avoid many of his gashes and wounds, "Great One are you well?"
With what seemed like it took tons of effort, the boy looked up, forcing a small smile, "Ya, I'm fine, just a little tired."
"Come, we will take you to the Far Frozen. You can return once you are able," the ghost said, not buying the boy's lie.
The mechanical ghost walked up, standing beside the yeti ghost looking down at Phantom, "Frostbite, we need to treat his wounds, now; they will only worsen during the trip back to your domain."
I had to strain my ears to hear what this Frostbite was going to say next, "Yes, this is true, Skulker; he is not entirely like us after all."
Huh, not like them? That's odd. Could they be talking about how Phantom is more powerful than them?...
"No, really you guys, I'm fine," Phantom said, as if to prove his point, the ghost boy tried to stand; but with a painful yelp, he fell back down, eating concrete in the process.
I could feel myself take an unconscious step toward Phantom. Something within me seemed to pull towards him as if my maternal instincts were being called to his side.
The ghosts were laying the panting boy down flat, face up, all the while I was arguing with myself on whether or not I should help. I still had some of the first aid supplies in one of my belt's compartments, and it looks like Phantom needed all the attention he could get.
Finding my resolve, I cautiously walked towards the ghosts, who were too focused on Phantom's wounds to really notice.
"His heartbeat is weak," the ghost, Frostbite, whispered. If it wasn't for me being already at such a close range to the group, I would have never heard. I couldn't help but jerk slightly at the statement.
Half of me started to walk towards the ghosts again while the other half, the scientific part of me, was questioning what on earth these two ghosts were talking about. I shook my head slightly, clearing it in order to focus on the injured ghost in front of me.
A scream filled with pain escaped Danny Phantom's lips; I halted immediately, raising my hand to my mouth to stop my own. I could hear gasps ripple throughout the crowd behind me as soft whispers followed.
I knelt down beside the ghosts, taking what little supplies I had out. The two ghosts looked up at me; both clearly surprised. Frostbite hovered over Phantom more protectively as if he was expecting me to attack any minute. His eyes fixed at a certain spot on my body; I followed his gaze, seeing my gun resting in my belt.
I sighed, looking at the ghost, willing him to understand, "I don't mean any harm; I just want to help." Without looking, I slowly took my gun, causing the two ghosts to visibly tense, and threw it as far away from me as I could.
"Why do you unarm yourself, hunter, when in the presence of ghosts?" Frostbite said, his tone less guarded and more curious.
I look at Phantom. His eyes were open just slightly, barely enough to see his dull green eyes. His breathing was very ragged, and his injuries were much worse up close. To this point, he must be delirious because he wasn't paying attention to any of us at all. His injuries...They were so severe, too much to look away from.
He went through all of this just to save humans, and I hunted him. I could feel the guilt creeping in, but I pushed it away, not wanting to lose any focus.
I look into Frostbite's eyes, "Because, Phantom saved us, and this is the least I can do."
"So can I," said a voice from behind me.
I looked back a little taken off guard, "Jack?"
He smiled at me as he knelt down by my side, unknowingly sending waves of reassurance through me.
"Please," I said, "Let us help."
The yeti ghost looked down at Phantom with a grim face, "You probably can help more than I can. The Great One is...special."
Confusion took over as I gazed at Phantom, finally noticing the little things for the first time, things that were too small to take note of during the fight, things that I took for granted as normal sights. "Jack," I said, astounded as my hand grazed Phantom's chest, as lightly as I could, "he's breathing..."
My hand moved to his injured shoulder. It was dislocated as I predicted, but that wasn't what shocked me. "And he has bones."
Jack's hand moved in the same path as mine, making the same discoveries as I have. All the while I was chastising myself. How could I have been so stupid? Not to have notice these variables. After all the time I spent analyzing him in the battle, it never occurred to me to take these aspects into consideration. As a scientist, it should have sent warning bells in my mind. Now, this made everything different; for some reason, this made Phantom seem...human.
I put my hand on Phantom's face, caressing it softly, minding the bruises lining all the way from his temple to his chin. "Phantom?" I called soothingly, brushing his hair like I do when calming my children, "Can you hear me?"
Phantom's eyes opened wider; they focused on me as the green orbs became slightly more aware. He still looked exhausted, and a look of pain distorted his facial features. "Yes," his voice came out as nothing more than a ragged whisper; I could feel my heart ache at the sound.
"Look, we are going to help you," I took a deep breath trying not to look at the ectoplasm pooling beneath him, "I know this will be hard for you, considering what we've done to you in the past, but you have to trust us."
The ghost boy looked at me, and to my surprise, I could already see the unwavering trust in his eyes. This gave me even more incentive to help. If this ghost was willing to trust someone who has hunted him since the moment that said person saw him, then, the least I could do is help him because maybe if Jack and I would have trusted him in the past, this would have never happened.
"Okay," Phantom rasped, he looked like he wanted to say more, but was too tired to speak.
I smiled at him. He forced a smile back at me, but it came out more like a grimace despite his effort.
Okay, now I have to focus. Looking at the boy's shoulder, I frowned slightly knowing what I had to do next wasn't going to be pleasant for either of us. "Phantom," I said, looking into his supernatural green orbs, "I have to put your shoulder back into place. It's gonna be painful, but we have to do this, okay?"
With a grim face, he nodded slightly.
I put one hand on the boy's shoulder and the other on his arm; he rested his head deeper in the asphalt, scrunching his eyes. As quickly as possible, I put his arm back into place, slightly surprised to hear nothing but a groan escape Phantom's lips.
His eyes were still scrunched and his breathing was a lot more shallow.
"Are you okay?" I managed to say around the large lump in my throat. I couldn't bare to look at the pained expression on the boy's face, but I couldn't look away. I had to see if he was alright.
With a painstakingly long pause, Phantom finally responded in a low weak voice, "Ya, I'm fine."
He struggled a bit as if to get up, but only to be met with Frostbite's touch, gently pushing him back down. "Great One, you must stay down; your injuries will worsen without the proper care."
"I'm fine, Frostbite," Phantom looked warily to the side, his eyes widening just a bit as a spark awareness seeped through, "Where's the sarcophagus and Skulker?"
Furrowing my brows, I followed the young ghost's gaze. I must have not noticed the other ghost's exit, too wrapped up in Phantom's current condition. I looked at his battered form scrutinizingly. The boy payed no attention to his wounds, worrying too much about absence the King's sarcophagus; but the way his body remained stiff and his tightly clutched fists gave more than enough evidence I needed of Phantom's pain.
"Skulker brought the sarcophagus to its rightful place," Frostbite looked like he wanted to say more but seemed to take in the young ghost's beaten body as well. His expression grew grim, worry clouding his eyes. "I will explain the details later, but first, you must be treated.
He looked at me expectantly, but I was already pulling out the supplies. With both Jack and I combined, we were able to produce enough gauze and other supplies to fully treat Phantom.
After I bandaged the minor wounds, mainly the deep cuts and burns on his arms and legs along with his broken ankle, which was proved to provide the hard task of setting the bones right, I looked at his chest, calculating exactly how I was going to do this.
No matter how many times I flipped it over in my head, I could not come up with a way to bandage him without having to move him. I let out a sigh, finally giving up on the matter, seeing no way out of it.
"Phantom," I said gently, trying to get his attention, most of the time I spent bandaging, he was delirious, not really focusing on anything with his distant gaze. My voice seemed to bring him out of his delirium, as he looked at me with those huge green eyes, which by now I was quite used to and even welcomed them. I brushed his soft white locks with my hand, trying to soothe him, silently wishing I didn't have to make the poor ghost move. "We are going to have to get you to sit up in order to wrap the wounds on your chest. We have to because they are the most extreme on this part of your body; do you think you can do it?"
He nodded stiffly. Bracing himself, his arms slowly began to move, coming to the spots where he can support himself to gradually incline to sitting position. They shook tremendously to the point where they almost gave out; but before I could even finish a panicked gasp, Frostbite's arms flung under the boy's arms to support and help him further. Phantom's head went back, eyes scrunched, as he held back a scream. I winced unconsciously.
"Jack, help Phantom," I barely managed to get out.
With Jack and Frostbite both supporting the injured ghost in sitting position, I looked at his injuries. Ectoplasm was still flowing out of the deep wound in his chest along with a few broken ribs. A huge burn spread its tendrils across his back decorated with many deep cuts and bruises, and I still needed to wrap his shoulder to let it heal right from being out of socket.
Taking a deep breath, I began to work.
As hard as I tried I couldn't manage to bandage the ghost boy without causing him to wince, his eyes would momentarily close as his breathing would become more shallow than before. His skin was coated in sweat. He was paler than any ghost should be, clearly in extreme pain from the exert but all the while he remained silent, not even releasing a tiny gasp or showing any true strain. As I wrapped him as quickly as I could he seemed to grow weaker and weaker, leaving Jack and Frostbite to support his body more as we continued.
When I finished up the last of the bandaging, taking care to tie it carefully, Phantom's head seemed to loll forward as if he didn't have the strength anymore.
Jack and Frostbite laid him down carefully, but the boy still silently winced, closing his eyes temporarily. This seemed to be his natural response to pain; by closing the two windows to his mind he unknowingly shutting us out to whatever true torture he is feeling...Or maybe he is well aware of shutting us out instead of unknowingly.
Phantom was, now, on the ground, eyes closed, breathing heavily as if he was lugging a huge weight on his chest. Most of his body was covered in bandages along with some minor scratches and bruises that were too minuscule compared to the others to actually take care of;-we were short on supplies after all-I couldn't help but think it again, as much as I tried not to...He looks so young, so innocent. How could I've missed it before? Was I that blind?
Laying there, with most of his body torn, I can't help but feel guilty. He didn't fight for himself; I got that much out of the battle. The Ghost King clearly said he offered the boy immunity if he joined the King in his quest for world dominance, but he refused it flat out, saying he was going to protect us...
"Great One?" Frostbite said, grabbing my attention. Phantom opened his eyes, revealing those peculiar green orbs; it seemed like light was seeping out of them, "We have to get you back to the Far Frozen where you will need rest, but I'm afraid it is too long of a journey for you right now. Do you have any knowledge of a place we can stay until you are able."
Phantom looked down, avoiding the ghost's gaze.
Before he could say his answer, I interjected, "He could recover at our house."
Phantom's eyes widened, mouth agape. He looked at me as if I suddenly grew two heads; if it wasn't for the strain lining in his sweat-covered, pale face, I would have laughed at his expression.
"Really?" he managed to say, still sounding a mere shade of his former voice; but I could see the emotions playing on his face: shock, excitement, trust. This only strengthened my resolve.
Running my fingers through his hair, managing to get out some of the soot and little pieces of concrete rubble, I said, smiling, "Yes, you can stay with us," I paused, doubt starting to creep in, "if you want to."
The ghost boy's eyebrows scrunched together, looking at me with obvious confusion, "What do you mean if you want to? Of course I do," at a second thought, he added, "I have no where else to go."
He tried shrugging as he said this, but the movement was stopped as it was met with agony. His good hand flung up to his chest, pressing it as if to ward off the shots of pain.
I let him gain control of himself, silently panicking; I knew by now that it was useless to fluster over him because he would just wave me off saying it was nothing.
I looked down, for the first time letting the shame and guilt consume me, "Because, both Jack and I hunted you for so long; I thought you wouldn't feel comfortable with...you know."
I gestured to both Jack and me, trying to get him to understand, for some reason I was at a lack of words.
A hand draped in a torn white glove came over mine, currently placed on the ground, his was pressing so lightly I barely knew it was there. If it wasn't for my gaze already being fixed on my hand, I would have never known.
I look up, meeting the boy's gaze; I was shocked to see nothing in his face of what I expected. Instead of the anger I assumed, which would have been expected out of anyone, I saw nothing but kindness and forgiveness.
"It's okay," Phantom said, squeezing his eyes shut momentarily, "You didn't know."
"But we should have known," I urged, not letting him discard our behavior as nothing. All this time we could have helped him with the malevolent ghosts; instead we hunted the only benevolent ghost in Amity.
Phantom cracked a smile, humor glinting in his dull eyes, "Hey, you were just doing your job."
"But nothing," he said with more force, somehow mustering the strength to talk more clearly. "You have nothing to feel guilty about; it's all my fault anyway."
I drew back, looking at him skeptically, "How could it possibly be all your fault. Last time I checked, you weren't the one telling us to hunt you."
Phantom looked down, guilt clouding his eyes, "So many misunderstandings...I...I could have explained things a different way...a better way; or done things differently..."
My eyes narrowing, I looked at him determinedly, "Phantom look at me," his eyes were still attached to the cement ground, too lost in his own guilt ridden thoughts. I took the bottom of his chin gingerly, minding the bruises and shallow scratches, forcing him to look me in the eye, "None of this is your fault. I won't let you sit here and take the blame. It was Jack and I who decided to hunt you; and it was Jack and I who refused to listen to you. And...we are sorry...I don't know how you will ever forgive us, but I hope in time you can."
He looked at me, willing me to look deeper, to see he was serious and meant every word he was about to say, "You are already forgiven."
For the first time, looking in the boy's eyes, I saw something there, something that I was too blind to see before. Something that has always been there. Humanity. It seemed to kindle in the beds of green of his luminescent eyes. I never thought I would see this in a ghost, but somehow, I am seeing it now. Is it possible that ghosts can be capable of human emotions, that some can actually be benevolent? Could Jack and I's research only cover half of the concepts of what we believe to be the existence of ghosts, the technicalities behind their very makeup?
I guess I have no other choice but to believe what Frostbite had said. This ghost, Danny Phantom, really is something special.
Okay well I put a lot of effort into this; I hope it turned out okay. ^.^ This has been in my head for a while, and I finally started to work on it. It took me about 4 weeks to do considering that I'm a procrastinator and have a really bad attention span, this is pretty good time. I'm sorry it's so long; I just couldn't stop writing. I was thinking about doing a follow-up (a continuation) but I'm not sure, depends if it's considered good...hopefully you guys like it.
I probably have some mistakes, and I will probably edit if so.
Please no flames, I am open for critique but don't bite my head off.