A/N: Sorry that this took forever. I ran into an unexpected hangup and had to switch things around at the last second, and then of course Camp started. That and the chapter refused to cooperate with me, making it impossible to edit. The most frustrating part of it is this chapter isn't even that complicated – it just refused to work. Period. Without any good reason. It just would not work. Even now, after fixing it and polishing it a bit, I'm still not 100% okay with it. But honestly I think that's the bitterness talking at this point.
But anyways, thanks to Teah no kitsune, jeanette9a, DB-KT, fullmoonwolf950, Cloudless27Sky, coopt98, icy, and Kai-Chan94, along with the anonmahnons named Anon and Andy, for the reviews. Also another thanks to icy, DB, and kimu for their help on deciding what to do with this thing, even if I still ended up dragging it out late, and to Trance who helped me edit this (seriously, giant goddamned lifesaver).
Teah no kitsune: No worries about the length - the more, the merrier. At least then readers think you cut off cuz of the length, not cuz you enjoy seeing us suffer in anticipation xD
No, no, it's not like that. It isn't content words I'm worried about, but... quality control? It's an editing thing – you try to condense what you said into as few words as possible while still keeping the meaning. It's standard editing procedure for me. If you come at it from that, hopefully it's a bit more understandable how maddening it is to try cutting words only to end up with more than I started with.
Besides, you say that, but could you imagine how long it'd take me to update if the chapters were 10k? You'd be going at least a month between chapters instead of a week. It'd drive you mad.
Cloudless27Sky: Also, who will be the dominant and the submissive? As far as it looks, it looks like phantom is the submissive. I hope it stays that way. There aren't many stories like that.
Yep, pretty much. It was kinda what inspired this story, honestly. If you want to know more you can just read the A/N on the first chapter. And, well, don't expect much to happen anytime soon.
Also something that won't happen anytime soon – me being officially involved with a kids cartoon. Seriously, this is Pitch Pearl. Even if I was, somehow, involved in making the show, I think writing this and admitting to it would qualify me for getting fired.
The world spun in a storm of colors, shadows twisting together and gathering until they towered over him on the bed. Phantom whined, the familiar spires of equipment starting to form around him. They whispered to him, cold and calculated. There were smells and sounds, the pain of beings cut open, echoes of pleas already silenced seeping into his head.
He felt it – Danny's hand holding his. The others stepped out of the haze, both grabbing his arms and his legs, holding him down. There were satisfied echoes of laughter as he cried out, the sensation of restraints wrapping around him, holding him in place as fingers burrowed into his skin, needles piercing his veins like claws.
But Danny's hand held on. Phantom shook, frozen in place as the needles dragged through his flesh and turned into knives, his chest thrumming with terror.
And then the hand holding his vanished. Phantom cried out, head whipping around, trying to find Danny, but he was lost in the haze. The echoes laughed as the towering spires lunged at him.
The buzzing in his chest turned into a rush of power, the ground vanishing under him. The echoes screamed in frustrated rage as he started falling.
Phantom cried out as his head slammed against the floor. He went stiff, overwhelmed with pain. He moaned, both arms reaching up to clutch his head. His world narrowing down onto only the pain as he was forced to ride it out, pounding waves of pain washing over him.
The pain eventually petered out, exhaustion making him ache as he went limp against the floor. Phantom whined, trying to curl in, bringing his arms down to cover his face. Something wet slid down his cheek. He heard laughter coming from the lab, taunting him.
Doing his best to ignore them as they continued hissing in his ears, Phantom took a shaky breath, wiping at his face. He blinked, sight swirling together, more liquid sliding out of his eyes. He absently wiped them away, looking up to the metal bed frame.
He stopped. He let his eyes trail down to his body, following the awkward angle of his torso up a cocked-out hip, leading straight up to his knee, before his leg disappeared into metal. He just stared.
His leg was stuck inside the bed. Phantom reached out, touching the metal around it. He shivered, the memory of restraints and rough hands flashing in his head. He squirmed, flinching, muscles straining as he tried to pull his leg free. It wouldn't budge. His insides stirred uneasily, nervous energy buzzing in his chest and making his skin itch.
He'd fallen off the bed before, but not like this. It happened a lot back in the lab, usually when he wasn't sedated and they could reach him more easily. He could still hear the echos from the lab, angry thoughts ringing out through the walls, and shivered. It was easier to fall asleep now that he was farther away from them, but they could still slip in sometimes.
He still wasn't sure what had happened – just that one second he'd been on the bed, and the next he'd landed on the floor. A vague rush of sensations between the two, but nothing else. Phantom took a deep breath, before releasing a heavy sigh. He cringed as his chest moved, a twinge of pain coming from his side. He reached down, feeling wetness underneath the binding. The tube had come out.
Phantom pictured Danny's scowling face when he found him like this, and his heart sank. Phantom saw him more often now that he'd started coming in with Jazz, but it seemed he was always upset with him. He didn't want Danny to be upset because he fell off the bed again. But there wasn't anything he could do about it now. He couldn't crawl back onto the bed, not on his own – he couldn't even try, not with his leg stuck.
Danny was going to be upset about this. He was going to be really, really upset. Phantom's eyes watered, the pounding at the back of his head increasing as his breath hitched. He didn't know what he could do – nothing he ever tried made Danny happy.
Phantom just wanted, something, anything, to make sense, to be like it used to be. Back in the lab, it had been easier. He could hold on to Danny as long as he wanted, and he could understand what he wanted without thinking about it – calm down, sit tight, let them do whatever they were doing without struggling. But he didn't know what to make of things the way they were now.
Ever since Danny had joined Jazz in her attempts to communicate, things had been going downhill. He was there, but Phantom wasn't allowed to touch him. Jazz was always nearby, standing to the side out of sight, talking and directing Danny on what to do. It was the same sort of things she had been trying to do with him for ages, and Phantom was… he was frankly still afraid of her, but with Danny there, goading him on, he hesitantly started cooperating.
Danny would sit next to him on the bed, tantalizingly close. Phantom would have to sit, hands in his lap, only able to watch. Danny would hold things up, and wouldn't be happy until Phantom looked away from him and tracked them with his eyes. He'd pick up blocks, resting them in his palm as he held them out, waiting so long that Phantom would give into temptation and reach out for his hand, before Danny quickly seized it and placing the block down in his palm and drew back. Danny would pick things up and put them down again, eyes staring at him as he did it over and over again, before handing the block out to him and having him take it, staring at him hard until he put it down too.
Phantom had to repeat it, over and over and over. He tried to pay attention, to understand what Danny wanted even when he wasn't touching him, but it was hard, and Phantom couldn't help feeling frazzled as Danny's eyes continued digging into him.
He started fumbling. Dropping things by accident, forgetting where things went or how to put them there. Things slipped through his fingers or fell on the floor as he slowly lost focus, too nervous to even think. They slowly went through the long and confusing process of doing the same task over, and over, and over, Danny getting more and more upset as things went on, all the while the uneasy feeling in Phantom's chest rising.
And Phantom hated it, knowing with each new mistake the likelihood of Danny walking out went up. Sometimes the ghost wanted to just reach out and touch him, just know what he wanted, but the narrowed eyes he got when he tried made him draw his hand back.
And now, now Danny was going to be really upset, before he's even had a chance to try to do better. He hiccuped, wiping at his face. He closed his eyes, trying to not think about it even as the buzzing energy made his insides stir uneasily. It was the worst part about being upset – the way his insides started crawling. Phantom squirmed in discomfort. It burned in his chest, making it ache. It always felt like that – this overwhelming pressure, the need to do something, even though nothing he did helped. It got worse when he slept bad, whether he fell through the bed or not.
He shifted uneasily as the buzzing in his chest settled down to a low thrum. It hadn't always been like this. He could remember when he didn't have it at all, but as the days went on it just seemed to rise up inside of him more and more, slowly getting worse every time he became upset. Even now, locked away from the lab and the others, he felt it building up, an itch he couldn't scratch, spreading out from deep inside his chest.
He flinched, his shifting jostling his leg. He went still, trying to release the tension. It didn't really help. He huffed, resting his head back on the ground.
He stared up blankly at the bed before he reached out, letting his hand slide over the metal. He wished Danny was here. He'd be angry at him, sure, but at least he'd be able to help him. He'd seen him go through the walls and ceiling plenty of times, so he hoped he'd be able to get him out. He could at least get him leg out, since Phantom couldn't do it by himself.
Phantom paused, eyes lingering on his leg again. He reached out, finger pressing gently into the seam between skin and metal. He frowned, trying to think back. He couldn't remember falling down that clearly, but he had felt something, inside the dream. The familiar buzzing sensation was hard to ignore, really. It was even harder when it built up inside him, so much that it ached. But right after that, something had changed, and there was suddenly a familiar feeling of… relief. Energy set loose, shooting through his body, and the buzzing changing into a numbing tingle as he fell backwards. He glanced over the bed, thoughts spinning into overdrive. He had fallen through the bed – the leg proved it. It might have been a coincidence, but, maybe, If Danny could do that, could he... could he do it too?
He closed his eyes, reaching inside himself to the source of the buzzing. He bit his lip, feeling the low hum of energy, bound together inside of him, holding onto that feeling as he opened his eyes. He lifted his hand, flexing his fingers as he stared at it in concentration. He wavered just a moment, feeling the buzzing grow stronger and wilder with his worry, before activating it.
A familiar rush of energy spun in his chest and shot down his arm. A wave of tingles went over his hand as it flickered out of sight. Phantom blinked, frowning, wiggling his fingers. No, he could just barely make them out from the metal. His hand was transformed into a hazy shadow, just the way it did when Danny did it.
His eyes darted up to the bed. He hesitantly reached out, wavering when his hand was barely a breath away from touching, before pushing it up. The tips of his fingers brushed through the metal, a thick puff of air buffering over them, and he yanked his hand back in surprise. The trickle of energy stopped, hand popping back into sight.
Phantom lifted his hand back up, slowly inspecting his fingers. They looked okay, and they didn't feel any different. He frowned, staring at the bed. Slowly, he pressed his hand back against it, palm pressed against the metal. He paused, uneasiness holding him back, before forcing his arm intangible.
It slid through, a billow of air and a rush of tingles prickling across his skin.
Phantom blinked, staring up at his arm. There was a line of hazy translucency starting right at his shoulder, going down before his arm vanished into the metal. There was still an odd, airy feeling surrounding it inside the bed, something he could barely pick up between the little shocks of energy.
He slowly pulled his arm out, shivering as the bed tickled his skin, before turning it tangible. He stared up at his unchanged hand in wonder. He glanced at his trapped leg and narrowed his eyes. A rush of energy spun in his chest before spreading down his leg in a cool, buzzing chill, his leg going hazy before falling loose from the bed.
Phantom blinked, his leg popping back into sight. Phantom sighed and settled back down, cringing as his muscles shifted painfully, before finally relaxing against the ground.
His eyes slid over the darkened walls and the chair and the tray-stand folded up against the far corner. He carefully shifted over, the shadows giving way slightly as he stuck his head out, his glow shining over the room. He craned his neck, barely able to catch sight of the clock's face from the wall behind him. He'd seen Jazz and Danny look at it enough times to know it was important. He sighed, closing his eyes. It would be hours before they came in, the small pointer on the opposite side from when Jazz usually showed up.
He might be more comfortable with his leg loose, but he was still stuck. He was too weak to lift himself up on his own – he'd tried before. He could only wait, without even one of Jazz's toys to help distract him.
He turned his head to stare blankly out at the room. It was completely silent, outside of the ticking clock and the soft hum of idle machinery in the lab. The ghost frowned, finding himself staring up at the bed again as he laid back down on the floor. He would have to wait a long, long time before finally getting back on the bed.
He scowled, coming to a decision. The ghost reached out, pushing himself shakily up off of the floor. Phantom didn't want Danny upset with him, and he couldn't stay here forever. His eyes closed tight, doing his best to ignore the pain, elbows at his side as he tried pushing himself up again. If he wanted things to be different, he'd have to try.
The ghost shakily pushed himself up onto his elbows, cringing in pain as he moved. Something thick and wet slid down the back of his neck as he sat up, making the world tilt oddly. Phantom reached out, haphazardly catching his balance as his head spun for a second.
He shut his eyes, squeezing them tight. He leaned against the bed support, panting, shakily lifting his legs up to his chest, closing his arms around them. He shook, energy still buzzing hotly in his chest.
Phantom took a deep breath, hardening his resolve. He pushed down onto the bed support, closing his eyes tight as he slowly pushed himself up onto shaky knees, shoulders pressed up against the bottom of the bed. A wave of buzzing energy shot through his entire body, and Phantom steeled himself before activating it.
The ground vanished under him. He yelped, legs sinking through the floor, body going rigid in surprise. Phantom waited with baited breath, muscles slowly relaxed when nothing else happened. Phantom blinked in confusion, looking around where he floated awkwardly in the air. He craned his neck, sight going dark as head passed through the bed.
His eyes popped up above the sheets. He reached up a translucent hands, only to swipe through the bedsheets ineffectively. The ghost scowled, pulling his hand closer to stare at it, before holding it out again, turning off the flow of energy. His hand popped back into sight, and he reached out to pull himself up. He floated up effortlessly, clutching at the covers to keep his bearings, before turning tangible.
He collapsed onto the bed, head falling down onto the pillow. The mattress bounced under him, low creeks petering out as the springs settled. A wave of relief washed over him, smile twitching at his lips. He felt something swelling in his chest, smile spreading wider as he turned over to relax down into the cushion. He flinched, feeling the wetness under the binding shift again. His good mood vanished. Danny was still going to be upset when he got here.
His heart weighing him down, Phantom's face pressed down into the pillow, slowly turning his head and glancing over across the room, doing his best to ignore it as the laughing from the lab cut into his mind. He'd try to do better, even if Danny got upset again.