Slayer Anderson

DC Phantom: Chapter 3

A Danny Phantom/DC 'Verse Crossover Fanfiction


A/N: I'm not exactly sure how 'cannon' my interpretation of the H.I.V.E. Academy is, but I'm trying to be realistic (or at least, as realistic as possible given the subject material). In that tradition, a supervillain school doesn't really seem...well, plausible, really. I mean, where would you get money for something like that? Why would people want to basically 'throw away' money on a group of kids which may or may not return that investment. So, anyway, I decided to go with something a little more realistic than an academy for the EVULZ, feel free to comment/criticize/flame in the review.

Summary: The H.I.V.E. Academy may be both the best and worst thing to happen to Danny in his short life so far. The good news is that he feels right at home among the masks and freaky powers of his classmates. The bad...well, it is still a school, and one that looks suspiciously like a high school, which he hasn't had good experiences with so far.

This is for emphasis-

'This is for internal thought'-

"This is for speaking aloud"-

This is for writing-

Chapter 3 – Invest in the Next Generation:

Good, Evil, & In-Between

As the Headmistress inspected the crowd, Phantom forced himself not to shiver under her icy glare. Other students, he could see, were not as reserved as he was and quivered slightly in the hard-backed auditorium chairs. Finally, after what felt like eons had passed, the woman's survey of the audience halted and she nodded minutely, seemingly satisfied. "Greetings to you all. It is my pleasure to hereby induct everyone present into the newest freshman class of the H.I.V.E. Academy. The goal of this service is to explain what, exactly, that means for a new student."

She paused here for a moment, judging the faces of the young people in the crowd.

"To be a H.I.V.E. student is to be separate, different, from even the general norm of metahumans, mundanely powerful individuals, and the merely talented masses. To be a H.I.V.E. student requires dedication, time, commitment, and above all a capacity to grow beyond what you are today. Close-minded individuals have called this Academy many things, none of them fit for polite conversation, which is why the Academy operates on a strict code of secrecy; this is the first of many rules which have been implemented for both the Organization's and your own safety."

Danny narrowed his gaze curiously and he idly pondered the woman's words, 'I wonder what she meant by that 'many names' comment?'

"As a result of the growing emphasis on technology and the inter-connectedness of the world in conjunction with the necessary code of secrecy we maintain, all electronics beyond the complexity of audio/video recording devices have been banned from this facility. When you are assigned dorms, you will find a selection of protected electronic devices for your classwork and recreation; any individual who has been found to have broken this rule will be expelled from the Academy with extreme prejudice."

This time Phantom couldn't suppress a shiver at the sheer malice contained in the woman's tone.

"Those same close-minded individuals I mentioned earlier would not take kindly to a group of powerful and skilled metahumans working for their own self-betterment." Here, the Headmistress made a sweeping gesture, ending in an outstretched hand pointing towards a drop-down screen in the background of the stage. Instantly, an image of an extraordinarily muscled man clothed in red and blue appeared, followed closely by a grainy black-and-white picture of a darkly-clad figure which could barely be made out from the deep shadows, then a blurred shot of a red and gold streak in the vague outline of a man running, and finally a green-clad archer complete with bow and arrows taking aim at some off-screen point.

"These," The Headmistress stated briskly as different photos cycled through, "Are those known in the modern age as 'superheroes,' they work for the thankless good of a fickle and ambivalent public. It is not the H.I.V.E.'s goal to teach you to follow in their footsteps."

Different pictures started to intermingle. A white-face, green-haired man wearing a purple suit and a too-wide green appeared holding a comically-large handgun, the next an even more gruesome-looking person with dark gray skin, glowing red eyes, and a black body suit, and finally a disembodied brain floating in a pinkish liquid escorted by an upright-walking gorilla. The last of these caused more than a few snickers among the teenaged audience.

The Headmistress snorted derisively, "Laugh if you must, but you know some of these figures as the eponymous 'supervillains.' The majority are deranged psychopaths driven by some obsessive need for validation or some grudge against one of the slew of heroes. Neither does the H.I.V.E. teach you to follow in their footsteps."

Danny, among other students, cocked his head at that. 'What are we here for, then? I mean, I was nervous there for a sec that she was going to start in on this speech about taking over the world or something...but if we're not going to be heroes or, thankfully, villains, what's left?' Unbidden, Brother Blood's words on the nature of morality and the Academy's supposed role echoed in his mind.

After a long pause to let her point sink in, the Headmistress continued.

"What you will learn here at the H.I.V.E. Academy is how to utilize a certain amount of enlightened self-interest, how to prepare for the real world. We will teach you valuable occupational skills, situational awareness, and, most importantly, how to think for one's self and beyond the meager capacities of 'hero' and 'villain.' These individuals belittle their potential in pointless grudge-matches that do little but feed their own egos. Although the public lauds or decries their existence, neither party, hero nor villain, is living up to the promise of their great gifts, wasting them in a destructive contest of will neither they nor the public needs."

The audience was silent as the Headmistress' voice rose to a crescendo, various faces enthralled or entranced by the visionary the believed stood before them. Phantom, however, shifted uncomfortably in his seat, unnerved by the fervor and fire in the woman's words. 'I...guess she has a point,' he admitted, wondering if Superman's fights with his villains had ever benefited the people of Metropolis. 'But, she makes it sound like it's as much the hero's fault as the villain's. I mean, it's not as if the villains would be normal guys on the street if the heroes hadn't'

Something occurred to Danny in that moment, something darkly depressing which he really wished he hadn't thought of. The two great 'escapades' he'd, unfortunately, experienced in his short time with his powers. 'The Lunch Lady was only mad because Sam changed the menu; that wasn't exactly something to get homicidal over, but I didn't like eating sod squares for lunch either. And Johnny...well, Johnny wasn't even doing anything wrong, really. My family was the one who built the Fenton Portal and then left it open for him and Kitty to come through. parents captured his girlfriend even though he wasn't threatening anyone or...'

And...his family, the ghost-hunters, were the heroes in this mess, weren't they?

They defended humans from spectral monsters, didn't they?

But, if that was true, what did that make him?

Danny's vision briefly swam before his eyes as his worldview took a serious pounding, leaving him lying slack in the auditorium chair as preconception he'd always thought he'd be able to rely on were shattered. After a moment, the voice of the Headmistress pierced the fog of confusion he'd found himself in.

"Still," She smiled coolly, sharply, "I imagine you've heard enough philosophical waxing for tonight, time to get onto practical matters. For those of you who have attended a normal, human, high school, you'll find the Academy environment both very similar and very different."

Another image appeared on the screen now, this one a calendar of the month of September and Danny was glad to turn his thoughts away from depressing subject and onto the topic of school.

For once.

"Now, since tomorrow is Saturday, the faculty have decided to give you the weekend to acquaint yourselves with the facilities," the teens perked up at the implied message that they wouldn't be required to do work for another two days. "On Monday, students will begin their classes. For freshmen, this is a standard load of seven classes including a Remedial Medical Treatment course, Basic Applied Math, the beginning level of a Foreign Language, a combined Philosophy and Psychology Primer, Beginning Physical Combat, Applied History, and a Basic Technology primer. The course, on average, last six months."

The Headmistress let that sink in for a moment before nodding and highlighting a specific day on the calendar, specifically the last weekday of the month, the twenty-ninth, the thirtieth being a Friday. "I say on average because you will be given opportunities to advance ever month. On the last day of each month, or the last weekday as it is this September, each teacher will hold an optional final examination for those of you who have finished the coursework that month. This means it is technically possible, though somewhat unlikely, to finish a course each month."

A wide-ranging list of topics and classes appeared on the screen now.

"After one completes a given course, a student is allowed options. Only the first seven classes and a few others are mandatory; the remainder of your coursework during your stay at the Academy will be self-directed. The minimum number of classes a student should be enrolled in at any given time is five, the maximum is ten, barring extenuating circumstances and my own permission, of course."

Another pause in the speech, Danny spent the time picking out interesting-looking courses from the screen above. 'They actually have a class to train you how to fly? I wonder what they teach, loop-the-loops? Or maybe it's airplanes and things like that...might be cool. Advanced Technology courses...geez there are a lot of those.' The half-ghost's jaw dropped briefly. 'Zero-G training, really? Aw, man, I wonder how long until I can take that?'

"Finally, I would like to take a few moments to remind our new students that their grades will determine more than when they ultimately graduate. Good marks on various subjects will grant you perks, leisure time, and other various desirable amenities. Bad marks will find these things taken away; the specifics you will find in a manual for new students left in your dorm rooms. That said, the Enforcers are waiting at the door to take you to your rooms, which will be shared dorms for the time being. I bid you good night and will be looking forward to seeing you in class on Monday."

"I have to wonder if you're starting to believe the tripe that you preach."

The Headmistress snorted daintily, maintaining her strict manner. "If I came out and said that we're an institution designed to educate and train the dregs of metahuman society into skilled and vicious criminals, assassins, and domestic terrorists, half of our prospective students would never allow themselves to be inducted into the H.I.V.E."

"True enough, true enough, my hawk in dove's feathers," The voice chuckled in a genteel manner.

"Mr. Cobblepot, you say the nicest things," The Headmistress complimented as she fully stepped off the stage and into the shadows of the sequestered area behind the auditorium.

"Tut tut," the misshapen crime boss chastised waving a finger which looked more like a flipper, "How many times have I told you to call me Penguin? Everyone does nowadays anyway."

"Very well, Mr. Penguin," the Headmistress conceded, not willing to grant the man too much of an unprofessional and friendly courtesy. "What did you think of the induction ceremony?"

"Nice enough I suppose," Penguin shrugged. "A promising crop this year...was it sixty?"

"Sixty-five," the Headmistress corrected lightly, "And I have to agree. We were lucky enough to buy a few contracts from Darkway Preparatory Academy."

"Ah, the old alma mater," Penguin grinned. "It's nice to hear they're holding up to the proper standards...I haven't been back in years; I'll have to find the time to pay a visit...go around the old haunts."

"Indeed," the austere woman nodded politely, "I'm afraid it's not all good news, though."

"Pray tell, my bird of prey?" Penguin asked, raising an eybrow.

"Hopefully nothing too serious, but Brother Blood has sponsored a student with a scholarship. A full scholarship," the Headmistress replied.

"Dear me," Penguin snorted disdainfully. "That old codger is up to something indeed. Do you have any idea what this 'student' of his is supposed to be."

"So far, not much," the Headmistress sighed. "His dossier, which Blood obligingly provided, has claimed numerous very powerful abilities which generally point to the student in question being a ghost, revenant, or other powerful undead. Chang confirmed the presence of ectoplasm, but he may be of a new category of undead that hasn't been documented yet."

"Which means we don't know what he can do," Penguin nodded. "Will you need anything else this year to deal with him, if he becomes a problem? Now that I've overseen the opening ceremonies, I'll have to get back to Gotham. If I'm away to long, Old Bats gets curious."

"I've made plans to keep a few more high-energy weapons around. They should be effective enough without searching out specific anti-spectral ordinance; that would be a little too obvious, I think." The Headmistress admitted, "Still, I hope your inspection of the facilities went as planned and you'll report positively to our backers?"

"Of course, of course," Penguin stated, waving away her concerns. "Everything is up to par and we'll see about sending a few jobs your way. Nothing too morally ambiguous for the newbies, though...and some more difficult missions for your advanced students, I should think."

"Excellent," the Headmistress smiled, the motion producing an uncomfortable stretching sensation in her face, the mark of far too much inaction on the part of those muscles.

DC Phantom

Danny shrugged his bags off onto the deceptively normal bed as he glanced around the room he now stood within. The space was done up in deep blues and white trim, decorated with simple but sturdy-looking wooden furniture, and contained all the amenities of a normal room: a closet, a dresser with a mirror, a bookcase, desk and chair, lamp, bedside cabinet, and an assortment of books and pamphlets placed strategically in various locations. A cursory examination showed a mirror-image layout on the opposite side of the room with a foldout screen set between them. Opposite the hallway door, another one of those strange retractable mechanized doors, was an identical one which, Danny shortly discovered, led into a mid-sized bathroom complete with a shower, sink, toilet, and a set of towel racks attached to medicine cabinets with mirrors pasted to the outside.

All in all, he could have mistaken the room for any college dorm or bedroom.

'Well, except for the slightly glowing teen with white hair, pale skin, and electric-green eyes,' Phantom thought comically, reaching for one of the laminated booklets placed on his desk curiously.

Rules & Regulations for Students

Of The H.I.V.E. Academy

Green eyes flickered over the title before moving over the main body of text with interest; he raised an eyebrow when the 'rules' for fights at school came up. Unbelievably, the main thrust of that section seemed to be designed to limit collateral damage instead of student injury, 'Well, I guess it makes a certain amount of sense...some of those guys I saw in the audience looked like they could punch holes in walls. I wouldn't want to deal with them putting holes in my school if I were them.'

Still, it was a little...weird for the Academy to be so okay with the idea of students fighting each other. 'I really hope my roommate isn't one of those muscle-bound jocks,' Phantom shivered, picturing the massive hulk he had brushed past on the way to his room, 'I could do without another Dash making my life Hell here, too.'

Phantom snapped out of his ponderous daze when the mechanical whoosh of the door sounded, Danny's head snapping towards the door quickly. Unconsciously, his left hand lit up with the electric-green light of his ectoplasmic energy, ready for anything.

The form that emerged from the hallway was not, to put it simply, what he had expected. The figure was slim and wiry, clad in a dark cloak that reached down to his ankles with what looked to be a purple bodysuit underneath it overlaid with black gloves, black boots, and short black pants with a silver belt. The cape was connected via a cowl that looked something like swept-back horns or an elaborate crest that left intimidating crimson eyes easily apparent against the other teen's blue-ish tinted skin.

Even as Phantom pushed more power into the ball of energy instinctively at the appearance of his frightful new roommate, the teen laid eyes upon him and, would wonders never cease, gave the white-haired ghost an honest smile, setting a bag on the floor to reach out with his right hand.

Danny blinked, the shock of the friendly gesture allowing the energy in his left hand to dissipate back into his system before he numbly reached out his own right hand. They shook briefly, the caped teen's smile widening as he pulled out a small card which he pressed into Danny's hand.

"Kyd Wykkyd?" Phantom read aloud, his eyes slipping between the card and the teen before him. "Is...that your name?"

The blue-skinned teen nodded, reaching up to tap his throat with two fingers, then making a motion as if he was...breathing...throwing, talking! Finally, the teen shook his head. Danny blinked for another long moment as brain cells fired and the strangeness of the situation dissipated, "Oh! You're...uh, what's the word? Mute? You're mute!"

The now-identified Kyd Wykkyd nodded, grinning as he reach up a hand to scratch the back of his head in a self-conscious gesture. Danny grimaced, "That must really suck..."

Kyd shrugged, somehow communicating the idea, ' get used to it.'

"Oh! I'm Da-Phantom. The name's Phantom," Danny grinned, relieved at catching his almost-mistake. "It's nice to meet you."

Kyd Wykkyd's hands fluttered in a series of shapes that left Danny mentally flat-footed again, until he raised a hand. "Sorry, I don't understand sign language."

Kyd sighed and tapped his chin thoughtfully for a moment before reaching down to grab something from within one of his bags. Utilizing the pad and pencil he'd retrieved, he scribbled a few words down, then handed them off to his white-haired roomie.

Nice to meet you, too, Phantom. I look forward to being roommates.

Danny grinned, handing the pad back, "Thanks, me too."

The blue-skinned teen nodded, picked up his bags, and made his way over to the other bed, beginning to store his various possessions and clothing. Danny set down the pamphlet he'd been idly reading and decided to do much the same, making his way over to his own bags. The CD player and the small collection of discs he'd brought with him were placed on the bedside cabinet as perhaps the only source of entertainment he'd have readily available. Somewhat distastefully, he slid the two ectoguns, holster, and belt into the drawer underneath...his parents had insisted after the mess with Johnny and he'd caved fairly easily. After all, the guns didn't do anything that he couldn't do just as easily.

'Still, I'm glad airport security thought they were toys...geez, don't most parents lecture their kids for having weapons instead of not having them?' Danny thought derisively, deciding against putting away any of the other various nicknacks he'd stored in the backpack for now and instead, reaching for one of the two heavy (when he was human) duffel bags which contained various articles of brand new clothing.

Phantom shivered unconsciously, repressing flashbacks to the dreaded 'Shopping Trip Incident,' which had left two clothing stores, a pizzeria, and a shawarma stand completely wrecked, him with two massive armfuls of shopping backs, and a deranged midget whimpering in a corner, whispering, "The Horror, the horror."

Phantom shivered again and purposefully shied away from the memories in favor of looking over the bags, which had been largely packed for him, rather than by him, because his mother and sister evidently had no confidence whatsoever in his ability to dress himself.

Something which many male teenagers could readily attest to.

Regrettably, most of the shirts were fairly plain primary colors paired with beige slacks, black slacks, and a decent number of blue and black jeans. 'Well, I guess Mom really was getting tired of me wearing the same thing almost every day. She wouldn't even let me sneak in a few of my old t-shirts,' Danny sighed derisively, glaring at the assortment of collared shirts which had taken the place of his comfortable old tees. Thankfully, there were also a number of plain, although new and featureless, t-shirts as well.

All of these were quickly sorted away in various nooks and crannies within his closet or the dresser, leaving the bag oddly heavy despite being seemingly empty. Danny's brow furrowed as he looked the duffel over, reaching into it and hitting the hard plastic which served as the backing for the bad; feeling around, the teen struck pay dirt when the plastic came free and revealed a hidden cargo, and a note.

Lifting the paper to the light, Danny looked over the cramped scrawl that he easily recognized as his father's handwriting:

Hey, Danny-boy!

Listen, I know your mom didn't want me sending you off with too much ghost-hunting stuff (something about your friends thinking it's dorky, psh! Like that'll ever happen), but I thought I'd give you some cool stuff to show all of your new buds at that school you're going to. I know you're torn up that we couldn't find whatever happened to your old jumpsuit, but don't worry, I made you a whole set of them! Oh, and there's a surprise too! I just finished it the night before, it's a special coat made with a new Fenton-Material that gets stronger the more ectoplasm it absorbs, so it's really durable! I hope you have fun at school and show all those kids how a Fenton rolls,

-Your Dad,

Jack Fenton

Danny swallowed, fighting the lump in his throat, eyes suspiciously wet as he reread the note. As dorky and dangerous as his parents might be, they still had their moments every now and then where they showed they really did care about him and Jazz. Granted, they offset those rare moments with incredibly embarrassing and humiliating escapades the rest of the time, but...

Phantom grinned and tucked away the note carefully where it couldn't be found. Underneath the plastic backing lay a shrink-wrapped set of a dozen jumpsuits, all of them in their original black-and-white designs...much like his old one had been before the colors inverted.

The teen stopped, suddenly, looking down at the clothing he was wearing.

'Okay...I was wearing the jumpsuit when I decided to take a look at that stupid portal. And...then, have I ever taken this thing off to wash it?' Tentatively, cautiously, Phantom pulled at the material of the jumpsuit he was wearing and sniffed at it. Eyebrows furrowing, he repeated the process before dropping onto his bed in confusion.

'Uh, all right...I've been wearing this jumpsuit for a month and it isn't funky at all, that's weird. Have I ever tried to take it off, then?' Phantom processed this thought for a moment, then looked at his spare changes of clothing and the spare jumpsuits, taking one of each and standing.

"Hey, Kyd?" Phantom asked.

The silent teen turned, red eyes blinking.

"I'll be in the bathroom, 'kay?"

Kyd nodded, turning back to where he was looking over multiple sets of his cloak, bodysuit, and cowl combination outfit. Phantom shrugged, moving into the bathroom and allowing the mechanized doors to seal shut behind him. Looking over the apparatus, the ghost-boy quickly deduced how to lock it and did so, peeling off the jumpsuit shortly afterwards.

"I'm...still wearing my underpants," Phantom contemplated aloud quietly, trying to remember whether or not he had put the jumpsuit on over his everyday clothing or stripped down to his boxers, but as with any other time he tried to remember the events of that day, things became blurry around the period of the accident. "Okay...does that mean my ghost half has been wearing the same boxers for months?"

Danny shivered uneasily and dropped the soiled clothing on the floor, uncomfortable with the fact that, even though the material seemed clean and he hadn't really been 'wearing it' for the last several was still a little gross. About to step into the shower, his eyes cut towards the now-discarded clothing as it began to...change.

"Whoa," Danny uttered softly, watching the coloration slowly bleed off the jumpsuit and boxers, re-inverting their colors and returning them to normal. "Huh...okay, let's try..."

Reaching out, Danny grabbed the blue tee he'd taken from his bag, holding up to his chest for a moment. Slowly, very slowly, Phantom felt something flowing out of his body and into the material he was holding. Like dye being poured over the cloth, the blue shirt began to slowly shift to an electric green not unlike...

A similar shade of green met his eyes in the mirror.

"Alright," Danny said slowly, nodding. 'I guess ectoplasm (or whatever it is I'm made of) does weird things to the clothes I'm wearing,' the teen nodded, then amended the prior thought, 'At least, while I'm in ghost-mode. I wonder...'

He was tempted to try 'going-human' for a moment just to see if the outfit he'd worn on the plane over here was still 'on' his human half. 'Although, if it isn't there, I'm not sure I want to know where it would be...this is getting a little freaky. I mean, being half-ghost is one thing, but being so weird that I can't even wear normal clothes half the time?'

Danny shook his head tiredly and dropped the clothing back onto the pile he'd made, moving towards the shower. He'd solve this little mystery later; it wasn't life-threatening or even that pressing. Right now, he needed a shower, to finish settling in, and get some sleep.

Phantom paused, cocking his head curiously.

'Do ghosts sleep?'

Well, he guessed he would find out later tonight.

DC Phantom

Phantom did, indeed, find out the answer to his question later that night.

The answer, unfortunately, was a resounding 'no.'

Honestly, Danny had never really had any 'problems' sleeping before, save for a few intermittent weeks of bad dreams, nightmares, and...other types of dreams that very rarely interrupted his sleeping cycle. That had changed tonight, though, as he'd been laying in bed for several hours now in a newly-broken-in set of nightclothes which has shifted from a soft blue shade to a pale green when he'd put them on.

Those several hours had been, perhaps, one of the most boring segments of his life. Kyd Wykkyd had gone to bed shortly after him, obligingly turning off the lights and allowing his roommate to rest. The electronic clock on the wall had slowly marked the flow of hours, eating away at Danny's patience and sanity as he attempted to coax a few hours' worth of sleep from a neglectful sandman. At first, Danny had thought if might just be jet-lag, but...this wasn't how he'd imagined jet-lag feeling at all.

Instead of a lingering weariness and drowsiness, if anything, Phantom felt energized, ready to do something, anything after hours of inactivity.

In desperation, Phantom threw back the sheets of his bed, sitting up with a heavy sigh.

A show moved on the other side of the translucent screen they'd folded out to facilitate the illusion of one room being 'two.' Phantom's supernaturally good, no pun intended, nightvision tracked the shadow as it shifted, stood, and moved around the screen, red eyes looking inquiringly towards his own green. Kyd had also donned sleepwear, a pair of baggy sweatpants and far-too-large t-shirt hid the majority of his blue skin from the eye, leaving on his arms and face apparent; with his cowl removed, one could also see the slicked-back mane of black hair which now donned his head.

"Sorry," Danny said quietly, "Didn't mean to wake you."

Kyd shrugged, vanishing for a moment and quickly reappearing with the pad and pencil from before. Evidently, the blue teen's eyes were just as good as Danny's own because the other boy didn't even bother turning on a light as he scribbled a quick note:

No problem, I don't really sleep, comes with the 'condition.'

Danny's eyebrows furrowed at the last word, before looking back to Kyd, "Oh, you mean the eyes and skin thing? And what do you mean you can't sleep? Are you an insomniac?"

Kyd shook his head, taking back the pad and writing:

Not insomnia, I just don't sleep. Never have. I learned to meditate a few years ago to decompress after a stressful day, but I don't sleep.

"Ever?" Danny asked in disbelief after reading the message.

Kyd shrugged, then began to write again:

What about you? Are you having trouble sleeping or were you just being polite because you thought I needed sleep?

Danny snorted, shaking his head. "No, I mean...I used to sleep, I just..." Phantom swallowed, wondering how to explain his problem without exposing himself. Kyd seemed to be a nice guy and all, was way too soon to trust him with secrets like that. "I...well, I only started being like this," Phantom said, gesturing to his dimly-glowing body, "recently and I'm...not completely used to the whole...ghost thing, ya know?"

Kyd blinked, pressing the pencil to paper again:

Ghost? I didn't want to say anything impolite, but you're really a ghost? As in, dead?

"Well, I'm not-" Danny began, only to have the thought derail mid-sentence as Kyd's question penetrated his skull.


He'd never thought of it that way. It had never occurred to him that being half-ghost meant...well, being half-ghost. Honestly, he hadn't needed to really think about the implications of his powers beyond the occasional embarrassing or secret-endangering moment, but...a memory surface, painfully clear despite the other events of that night being obscured by a fog of confusion and panic.

A throat-searing scream.

Searing bright light.

Pain beyond anything he'd ever felt.

The cold touch of something otherworldly.

Danny swallowed, closing his eyes and blotting out the memory with ever ounce of his will. "I...yeah. I'm a ghost. I...I died," the teen admitted softly, a lump forming in his throat at the admission. Briefly, he wondered at his relatively calm state...shouldn't he be panicking? Hyperventilating? His pulse racing like Dash was about to punt him over the nearest field goal?

A very disturbing thought followed that series of revelations, which Phantom quickly shunted away, forcibly ignoring their content as he focused on his roommate. "Does that...uh, bother you?"

The blue-skinned teen snorted, scribbling again:

As long as you don't mind a freak like me, we'll-

"You're not a freak," Phantom interjected roughly, that term angering his for some unknown reason. Unknowingly, the Headmistress' words from the prior day echoed in his mind; those who would fear people like them, the reasons why the H.I.V.E. existed. "You're not a freak," Phantom repeated sternly.

Kyd stared at him for a long moment, something deep and ponderous in his red eyes, before he nodded a small smile on his face before he began writing again:

Fine, then until you feel like sleeping, how about we pass the time?

"Sure," Danny grinned, "You could teach me to meditate, I guess? Or..."

Kyd snorted again, reaching through a pool of shadow at Danny's bedside, his hand reemerging with a deck of cards. Setting them down, Kyd picked up the pad:

I can teach you to meditate later, if you really want, and I should probably show you a few signs so that my hand won't stop cramping, but how about a few games of cards first?

Danny grinned, standing from his bed and crouching on the floor with his new...friend.

Yeah, his new friend.

After School Special with Slayer Anderson:

Mr. Anderson steps onto the stage once again, holding up his hands to forestall the rotten vegetables and flaming debris about to be hurled at his person. "Okay, okay...I know a lot of people are going to get fairly peeved at me for the whole 'clothing' thing, but this is really the only way I can reconcile some of the canon material. I went back and re-watched a few episodes to try and get a handle on how Danny's suit works and what the 'transformation' means for things he's wearing/carrying, but..."

Mr. Anderson sighs, "I know I'll catch flack for say (typing) this, but Danny Phantom is, ultimately, a kids show. There is plenty about it that is really enjoyable for adults, but much of the plot, canon material, etc...doesn't hold up to close analysis. For instance: in Phantom Planet, Danny is 'de-clothed' three times, one in which he's wearing boxers and the other two in which he's wearing briefs. Now, you and I both know this was done for comedic relief, and that's fine, but it raises serious questions about how Danny's transformation functions. Does it just change his outer layer of clothing? But in the episode 'Memory Blank' Danny is shown changing into his jumpsuit and, if one looks closely, you can see he's not wearing anything underneath. This raises several questions when he (off-screen) transforms back from Phantom to Fenton and he's wearing his 'normal clothing.'"

"So...This is what I'm going with: Daniel Fenton's clothing stays, just like his body, in 'stasis' while he's Phantom. The reverse is also true. Due to Danny's weird-ass nature of his jumpsuit and the iconic look I'm not willing to just throw out, Phantom's ectoplasm 'infects' any clothing he's wearing, a side-effect being that the colors become inverted."

The author shuffles nervously, pressing a hand to his forehead. "And, now that I've removed all doubt as to whether or not I have any life at all, let's talk about something else: H.I.V.E. Academy. Yes, H.I.V.E. Academy is teaching teenagers to be naughty, naughty people who do horrible, horrible things. The problem is that I can't conceive of too many volunteers for that type of training. The way I've written it, the Headmistress tries to paint the Academy as an organization trying to teach young metahumans how to deal with their powers and unit against a fearful and hate-mongering public that would harm or imprison them if given a chance."

"Granted, this isn't too far from the truth in some instances, but this ideology serves as a kind of 'slippery slope' by which many of students who would be tormented or alienated by the outside world start coming together to 'fight back.' Of course, 'fighting back' soon become 'striking first' and in comes the plans, schemes, and plots to take (steal) enough to help keep the Academy operational (running a healthy profit). Wash, rinse, repeat, and you'll get a nice 'ends justify the means' brainwashed mentality in a few short months/years."

"Finally Q&A time: I've gotten several questions on Danny's powers, whether the plot is going to be the same as HIVE Minded, when is Jinx coming in, and whether or not I'm going to pace the story as quickly as last time. Okay...Danny's powers will be different from HIVE Minded, I'm leaning on NOT giving him Vortex's powers in this (simply because I don't approve of using the same trick twice without a good reason), and possibly deviating from the 'canon' set of powers he has as well. The plot will be different, but I will keep a few central themes from the old story, like the exploration of what 'good' and 'evil' are and what they mean for individuals, is there a grey area, etc... Jinx will appear next chapter. The pacing will be slower than HIVE Minded, as might already be apparent. I know some people liked the fast-pace of the old story, but I missed out on a LOT of opportunities because I was hurrying the story along. DC Phantom is not afraid to stop and smell the roses."

Coldblue: I'm perfectly okay with all the reviews and would love to give detailed answers for your many questions. Really, I'd like too, but several people complained when I was posting HIVE Minded that I was 'artificially lengthening' my chapters by adding responses to reviews in the posts, so I'm really trying to limit that type of thing. If I don't address something you feel needs to be, please feel free to PM me as I have, reluctantly, be induced into using this new system.

This goes for everyone with a valid criticism and/or complaint and/or question about the fic that you want a response to: PM me.

Flamers, keep the flames to the reviews.

School's Out, See you next period!