Escaping the hospital was ridiculously easy.
A request to go to the bathroom there, an innocent answer of 'I'm lost' here, and he was out within minutes.
Immediately after getting out of the hospital, Danny proceeded to his house, making sure to keep out of the line of sight. He might have been a nobody before, but the explosion had splattered his face all over the news, and he was sure that even the most reclusive of Amity Park would recognize him now.
The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth. It took the death of his closest family and friends for the public to sympathize with him. How pathetic.
He knew it wasn't a fair thought, and that Sam would have scolded him severely for it, but at the moment he couldn't bring himself to care. He thought he deserved to have his moment of misplaced blame, right?
Danny's journey to his house was relatively quiet. He had learned all the nooks and crannies of Amity from his ghost hunting days, when he had to quickly find places to change into his more powerful form. Now, that knowledge was serving him to evade just about everybody else.
Making sure that nobody was looking that way at the time, Danny scurried to the front door of his house and bent down. He flipped up the mat, revealing the small, silver house key underneath. He quickly opened the door and slipped inside before anyone could see him.
The scent of the house was overwhelming.
Danny staggered, tears coming to his eyes as the homely smell of Fenton Works hit his nostrils. He had never appreciated his mother's bad cooking and his father's sawdust before, but what he wouldn't give now to have that all back.
A hand rose to his mouth, barely holding back a sob, as Danny sank to the floor and started rocking. The tears flooded through, along with the gurgled words of apology. Danny stayed on the floor with his back pressed against the door for who knows how long, until the tears stopped coming and he was out of the energy he had regained from resting in the hospital. He stayed like that until he was sure that the shock of seeing his home again had left him.
Shakily Danny stood up, not even bothering to wipe the tears from his eyes. They'd dry on their own.
Robotically he moved about the house, doing what he had been planning to do ever since he had decided to move to Jump City. He did it mechanically, shutting off all his emotion. He didn't think he could survive another look within his house if he had them. The memories would overwhelm him, and then he didn't think he would be able to resist going to Vlad's.
Trying to avoid the other rooms, Danny climbed up the stairs to his own. He dug out a large duffle bag from deep within his closet, and then proceeded to dump his clothes and other bathroom items into it.
Then, hesitantly, he went back downstairs. He walked slowly to the kitchen, instantly spotting the third drawer on the right despite the fact that it looked like any other drawer in the world. When Mum had first showed him the place, Danny had made a special note of it, but Jazz had made sure that he didn't misappropriate the contents.
He walked over to the drawer, and pulled it out. He dumped everything out, barely hearing the clang as the steel kitchen utilities hit the counter. Licking his lips, Danny set the drawer back down and yanked out the false bottom.
Within the compartment were squares of twenty dollar bills.
Mum and Dad were prepared for anything, including a ghost attack on a bank that would render them unable to access all their savings. So, they stored ten thousand dollars in their kitchen, as a 'just in case'.
Danny took a breath, feeling as if he was stealing from them, but nonetheless took the money. He needed it to keep the rest of the world safe.
His packing done, Danny knew that there was one last thing to do.
He went to the basement.
The ghost hunting tools littered the walls, and for a moment Danny hesitated, debating whether he should take any or not. On one hand, on the off chance that a ghost found him and engaged him in battle because of who he had been was, as much as Danny hated to admit it, a distinct possibility. Since he had vowed to never use his ghost powers again, the Fenton weapons would be the only way to defend himself and whoever else might be in the area. On the other hand, taking a weapon would be like admitting that he'd never be free of ghosts, even when he so desperately wanted to be.
In the end his worry for another's safety in the case of a ghost attack won out. Danny took the thermos and an ecto-gun. He didn't take more. It wasn't like he was expecting a ghost attack, so there was no point in bringing the whole arsenal.
Now there was only one last thing.
He turned to the portal.
Ultimately, the ghost portal was what had been the cause of all this misery. The unnatural gate had been what had brought all the ghosts into this world, and it had been what created Danny Phantom. The only reason Danny hadn't destroyed it earlier was because he knew his parents would just rebuild it. Now though, his parents weren't around…
Hating himself for having that thought, but not able to help having that thought nonetheless, Danny searched for a hatchet. He found one easily enough.
The fifteen year old yanked the hatchet from its place on the wall, and walked towards the portal. He took a breath, and then slammed the tool down on the consol.
Sparks flew everywhere, but Danny ignored that as he continued pounding away at the portal's controls with the steely weapon. Finally, the portal spluttered and died, and for the first time since he had stepped inside this house, Danny smiled.
He walked inside the large contraption, mind flashing back to the first time he had done so and had accidently turned it on, forever cursing him with the powers of the undead. Now though, he was a little less clueless.
Danny proceeded to rip apart the portal from the inside out, yanking out the wires and switches. He made it completely unusable.
Now, no ghosts were going to get through, and the ones who did through natural portals would be taken care of by Valarie.
His deed done, Danny finally felt at ease leaving Amity Park.
He went out the same way he came in, ducking into alleyways and street sides. Danny wasn't sure how long he walked, but he knew he had to get away from Amity Park before he could show his face.
By the end of his journey he was sore and tired, his clothes worse for wear and dirt all over his body. But he was finally out of town. He immediately headed for a train station to purchase a ticket.
Danny drew a couple of weird looks, but he had the money, and when he went to buy the tickets, nobody could object. The seller of the tickets though, seemed to think a little differently.
"Look son," the booth man said kindly, "you don't have to do this. I know it might not seem like it right now, but your parents do love you."
Danny stared at the man selling the tickets dumbly for one whole minute, not exactly sure what he was hearing. How could the man possibly know…? And then he realized that the booth man didn't know.
The booth man thought he was a runaway.
All in all, it was not an unreasonable guess. After all, Danny's unkempt appearance and his large duffle bag did seem to indicate that he was in a hurry to get away. Added to that his age, and of course the booth man would think that he was a runaway.
Danny just shook his head sadly, too tired to explain the real situation even though it would undoubtedly make the booth man feel better. "May I please just have a ticket, sir?"
Sighing, the booth man did as Danny asked.
The next few days were a series of bus and train rides. He didn't know the streets well enough to hire a taxi.
Nobody seemed to recognize him, partially because of the cap he always wore to hide his face, and partially because outside of Amity Park, his story wasn't actually that unique. Tragedies like that were dime a dozen apparently.
By the time that it was noted that Danny Fenton had disappeared and a state-wide manhunt was created for him, Danny was already out of Illinois. He hadn't rested a day, even eating his meals on buses.
His arrival in Jump City was not very dramatic. But then, he hadn't wanted it to be dramatic.
He had just hopped off the bus one day, duffle bag in hand, and there he was, in Jump.
It would be his new home.
And now that he had gotten here, Danny wasn't sure what to do. He'd always been a lazy kid, and it was always Mum or Jazz who took care of the legalities. He had no idea how to go about getting a house.
Or if there was even a house in Jump City.
Looking around, all Danny could see was rows upon rows of apartment buildings. Perhaps a big city like Jump had no room for houses? He had watched quite a few TV series that were like that.
So then, he'd have to rent an apartment. Right.
Danny wandered around the city, occasionally stopping somebody and self-consciously asking for directions. There seemed to be only two responses to him. Either a look of disgust at his less than stellar state of dress and a hurried response that the person in question was busy at the moment, or a look of pity and a long explanation as well as hints that there was somebody out there that loved him.
The blue eyed boy wasn't sure he liked either of those responses. In fact, he was pretty darn sure he hated them.
But they got him where he wanted to go. He'd found some apartments that were for rent. One of the apartment managers was even taking interviews today.
Hardly able to believe his luck, Danny followed the instructions of a thirty year old lady he had stopped and found himself in front of an old office door. He knocked.
"Come in," a thin weedy voice sounded from within, and Danny pushed open the door. It was a typical office, reminiscent of Spectra's place, as it only really had a table and two chairs. Danny shivered slightly. Well, at least there were no pictures of high school children with a forty year old woman draping an arm over them. That had just been creepy, and cougar-ish.
The man sitting at the desk was a mousy haired forty year old in a tweed business suit. His eyes widened upon seeing Danny. The man's head tilted upwards, looking past Danny's shoulder.
"Um," Danny said, realizing what the man was looking for. "My parents aren't coming."
"Oh?" The man looked back at Danny, his expression confused.
"I'm um, the one looking for an apartment."
The man's attention turned back on Danny, brown eyes accessing every inch of the boy. Danny squirmed slightly, not sure he liked the attention.
"You do realize," the man said slowly, "that it's illegal for someone under the age of eighteen to be off by themselves, don't you?"
"Oh really?" Danny squeaked, and then coughed. He laughed nervously, taking the seat across from the apartment manager. "That's… I mean, what does that have to do with me? I'm here with my parents. I just meant… they asked me to go find an apartment for them. Yeah, that's it."
That… was a horrible explanation. There was no way the apartment manager would buy it.
And for once, Danny's evaluation of someone's intelligence levels was dead on.
The man narrowed his eyes, "How old did you say you were again?"
Danny didn't have to have Jazz's brains to see where this was going. "I'm uh, fifteen."
"Mmhmm," the man hummed, then folded his hands across the table with a sigh, "look kid, I'm going to tell you right out that you look suspicious. I don't know what your story is, but if you were beaten or anything, you know that it's not your fault, right? The authorities can help you and—"
"You've got it all wrong!" Danny interrupted heatedly, slamming his hands down on the desk as he jumped up from his seat, feeling too offended to keep sitting. "My parents would never—! They're not the kind that would—!"
He actually couldn't continue. He was too offended to.
Mum and Dad had been nothing but loving towards him, and he was the one who had thrown all that back into their faces. How dare the man suggest…!
The apartment manager just gazed at Danny steadily, "I'm not saying that they did. I'm just saying 'if'."
"My parents just had other plans for today, and that is all." Danny replied stiffly, hating the fact that he had to use his parents in his lie but not seeing any other alternative. "I think I'll be going now. I'll tell them that you're not interested in selling."
Without saying another word, Danny stalked out of the office.
The man didn't try to follow him, but then, why would he? The apartment manager was just giving his two cents in hopes of helping somebody in the world, but like most other people, was too lazy to go all the way. Half-hearted help was the most the majority of people would ever give.
Danny turned down a corridor and walked back out into the afternoon sun. The half ghost leaned against the side of the building, taking a deep breath.
The visit had shaken him.
It was then that Danny realized that he would get nowhere with this apartment, and with any nice apartments, for that matter. They'd take one look at him and realize that he was a teenager, and had no business renting out a place to live without any guardians. He'd been lucky so far that nobody had called the cops.
No go. That didn't mean he would give up, though. Danny was determined to live in Jump City.
Danny pushed himself off the wall. There was only one option left to him if he still wanted a decent place to live.
He would have to go to the seedier part of the city. They wouldn't question him as long as he had the money, and boy did he have money. He'd seen enough TV shows about that.
With a nod to himself, Danny looked around for places that looked dirtier. He hadn't really considered that he would live in the dumps, but Danny thought that he could handle it.
Months of honed observation from ghost fighting quickly picked out the most damaged looking part of town. With a slight smile on his face, Danny started walking towards that direction.
The place really was rotten, but it was no Gotham City, and for that Danny was grateful. Without access to his ghost powers (and he would never use them again), Danny was pretty much a sitting duck for anyone having a bad day. He really didn't want to go through Dash all over again.
It was getting dark out now, and Danny more than anything wanted to get off the streets. He'd seen enough procedurals about serial killers to be just a little bit worried. This wasn't Amity, where everybody knew everybody.
It didn't even cross his mind that the Teen Titans would stop that type of thing.
After all, Danny had never stopped any killers during his brief stint as a superhero, so focused on ghosts was he, so why would the Titans search for criminals outside of their supervillian jurisdiction? There was still a police force in Jump City for a reason.
Just when he was contemplating giving up for the day and crashing at a motel, a voice caught his attention.
"Hey, you!" A man in a barf coloured shirt and dull yellow pants waved over.
Danny looked around. Other than himself, there was only a thirty year old lady on the streets, and that lady was on the other side. So, the man had to be talking to him. Danny nodded back.
The man grinned, and cupped his hands over his mouth, "I heard that you're looking for a place to live. I love to help newbies, and I know just the place. You interested?"
The lady glanced over at the man sharply, but Danny hardly noticed. He was stunned. He couldn't believe his luck.
Grinning ear to ear, Danny skipped over to the man, who was actually a fair distance away. "You have an apartment for me?"
"Yeah," the man said, lighting up a cigar, "it's not bad. Only two thousand dollars a month. Real cheap."
Danny blanched, "That's cheap?"
The man shrugged, "With Jump City it is. Do you realize how much house insurance Jump has? With all those supervillians that the Teen Titans are constantly taking out and the homes that go down with them, it's become real expensive to live here. A regular apartment in Jump probably has a rent of about eight thousand."
"Oh." Danny said weakly. He wasn't good at math, but even he could tell that the price was overly inflated. He didn't realize that there were downsides to having a superhero. Briefly he wondered if he too had created such a situation in Amity.
"So anyway," the man said, eyeing Danny's duffle bag, "you interested?"
Danny nodded enthusiastically.
The man smiled, and turned to leave, gesturing for Danny to follow him. Danny did so.
"You said you pay in cash only?" The man asked as they went down yet another twist in the streets. "Or at least, that's what I heard from my associates who overheard you talking to one of the landowners."
"Yes…" Danny replied warily, eyeing the surroundings. His initial elation at finally finding an apartment had worn off, and now he couldn't help but get some heeby jeebies from the situation. They were in a deserted street now, and deserted never meant good.
The man suddenly paused, and spun around, almost causing Danny to crash into him. It was only Danny's last minute reflexes that stopped him from doing exactly that.
The man held out a hand, only the last rays of sunshine and the night lights illuminating him. "Well, can I see it? Your money I mean. You have to admit that you'd be a little skeptical too if you heard that a fifteen year old had two thousand dollars on hand."
Danny had a bad feeling about this, but on the surface couldn't see anything wrong with the request. The man was right after all. For all he knew, Danny could have created really clever forgeries.
He ruffled around in his bag.
"Right, two thousand dollars," he muttered, flipping through his bills.
"You have more than two thousand dollars? Holy shit kid, that's gotta be ten grand in there!"
Danny glanced up, and slowly put the money back into his bag before zipping it back up. The man's eyes were practically popping out of his face, and not in the good way either. They were glinting too much like Skulker's did during the hunt, and Danny wasn't sure he liked that.
Danny backed away, "Heh, maybe we'll discuss this deal in the morning. I'm kinda tired right now and—"
The man made a grab for Danny's wrist, but Danny had seen that coming. He lurched backwards, taking three light steps away from the man. He made to run, but the man's next words stopped him in his tracks.
"Guys!" The man called out, "you can come out now!"
Four dark figures emerged from the shadows, all grinning much too much like the ghosts he had regularly fought. Danny felt his breath quicken; this was exactly the type of scenario he wanted to avoid!
"Ten grand," one whistled, "that's a lot."
"Makes ya wonder how a kid can get his hands on that much," another commented. "Why can we never get that lucky?"
"Horatio, good job on picking up this one. You've really hit the jackpot."
"Can we just get on with this? I want my share."
Danny's grip on his bag tightened, his blue eyes scanning for any cracks in the formation of men.
Horatio, the man who had pretended to be an apartment manager, seemed to notice his desperate attempt to escape. "You know, there's five of us, and only one of you. And you're a rather scrawny little thing too."
Danny tensed, his eyes never stopping from their frantic search. "Your point?"
Horatio grinned, and it wasn't a nice grin. "You have a lot of money for a kid. Are you sure you know how to spend it responsibly?"
Danny finally stopping his search for an escape route to roll his eyes. What was it with bad guys and their failed attempts at being witty? "I have more responsibly than you, anyhow. I'll actually buy some clothes that won't blind everyone I come across, for one. Then again, maybe that's the point of your clothes? Blind them so they don't have to look at your face?"
The guy's eyes narrowed.
Danny's eyes widened.
Uh-oh, he hadn't meant to say that.
He was so used to fighting with the bad guys that a snappy remark seemed like the most natural thing. Unfortunately, these weren't the type of bad guys he could just suck into a thermos and laugh with his friends about how pathetic they were.
"That's it!" The man snarled, "I don't know what they teach you in the stinking town you come from, but here you've gotta show respect to the right people, or else you might just find yourself in a ditch. Boy, I'm going to teach you a lesson!"
"My town is not stinking!" Danny snapped back, all previous thoughts of self preservation disappearing in the light of the man's insult. How dare he diss the place of Danny's family and friends?! "Though perhaps you wouldn't be able to tell because your sense of smell has already been destroyed by your own filth!"
Horatio roared, and leapt at him.
Danny dropped the bag, arching his back sideways to avoid a sloppy punch from the man. The blue eyed boy followed up by grabbing the man's forearm, and twisting so that the hand was at the front of his neck rather than the back. Letting out a small noise of exertion, Danny used the man's momentum and flung Horatio over his shoulder. Horatio hit the pavement back first with a loud crack.
Danny just stood there for a moment, panting. And then he straightened, and whistled.
He was a little impressed despite himself. He hadn't known he could do that. Who knew ghost fighting experience crossed over to real life too?
The other four men glanced at each other.
"So," one said, looking back at Danny, "you've actually got some skills as well as a quick mouth."
Horatio groaned, and rolled away from Danny. Danny didn't dare stop him, knowing that if he did, all his chances at negotiation would be gone.
"So, since I'm so impressive, can you let me go?" Danny chanced, not taking his eyes off Horatio.
The man who had spoken previously, Man #2, laughed. "I wish, kid. I like your spunk. But the thing is, you've got quite a lot of money. If you don't give it to us willingly, then we'll have to take it forcibly."
Danny clenched and unclenched his fists. On one hand, without his ghost powers he might as well be a sitting duck to these people, and he wouldn't use his ghost powers again, no matter how tempting it was.
On the other hand… well, he really, really hated to give up just like that. And with his newfound martial arts prowess, who knew? Maybe he could defeat these guys.
Danny briefly closed his eyes and then nodded. Then, without warning, he lunged towards Horatio, who had just stumbled to his feet. His punch connected with Horatio's nose, sending a spray of blood to Danny's face. Horatio cried out, falling again to the ground.
The other four cried in outrage, and closed in on Danny.
Man #3 ran toward Danny with a roar, a step ahead of all the others. Danny sidestepped, snatching Man #3's left hand with his right as the man ran past and pulling the man close to him. He slid his left arm up to the crook of the man's neck, and banged the man's head hard with his left hand. The man crumbled like a sack of potatoes.
Danny instantly pulled away from the man, whirling like a dancer. He felt the adrenaline pump through him, sharpening his senses and sending a tingling feeling all through his body.
For once, he could actually see the joys of fighting and not just the fear and the anger.
Man #4 and #5 seemed to have learned from their predecessors and dived at him at the same time. Danny had a way to deal with that too, unfortunately for them.
He pushed off the hard pavement and leapt up, going higher than any average human due to his years of karate from his mother and months of fighting experience. He landed on Man #4's shoulder, and promptly used his head as a support for his hands before spinning out a kick in Man #5's direction. Man #5 went down as Danny's shoe connected with the side of his head with a force that was nearly unheard of in a teenager.
Man #4 didn't waste any time however. As soon as the initial shock of Danny's landing was over, Man #4 pushed his arms up. As soon as Danny saw Man #5 go down, he felt two sweaty hands close around his arms.
And then, Man #4 yanked Danny's arms forwards, displacing Danny momentarily and making the boy give a loud cry of pain.
Gravity had its say and Danny was soon right side up again, with his wrists twisted in a awkward position. Man #4 was much taller than him, and Danny's legs were left dangling as Man #4 held him aloft with his arms.
"You're gonna pay for that," Man #4 growled.
"For the last time," Danny gasped out. "Get your own money!"
He kicked upwards, at the point between the legs. It was a cheap shot, but hey, he was a teenager against five full grown men. He thought he could be cut some slack.
Man #4 let out a cry, momentarily releasing Danny's wrists due to his surprise.
Danny didn't waste the movement. He landed in a crouch, and swept out his leg. Still in pain due to being hit in the most sensitive area for men, Man #4 stood no chance. Man #4's legs followed the control of Danny's kick, and he went crashing to the ground.
Unfortunately for Danny, Man #2 was waiting for him. The man who said that Danny had spunk.
Man #2 grabbed Danny's shoulders, using his whole weight to keep Danny down. Danny was caught off balance, having used one leg to sweep Man #4 to the ground. He fell backwards, head hitting the concrete with a thump.
Stars danced before Danny's eyes, but he didn't have the time to really get his bearings before he saw a fist rushing towards him. He twisted his head, just barely avoiding being hit straight on with Man #2's punch. As it was, he did get grazed.
His cheek burned with the force of the hit, and Danny was sure that some of his skin must have come off.
Man #2 grinned, his face fuzzy to Danny's vision and surprisingly, upside-down. It took Danny a moment to understand his position.
He was lying back first on the ground, Man #2's hand pushing tightly against Danny's shoulder to prevent him from getting up.
"Nothing personal, kid," Man #2 said, preparing to punch again.
"Yeah," Danny whispered, pressing his palms against the cold hard floor. And then, Danny pushed up with his elbows and the lower part of his body snapped upwards. Danny's body bent like a rubber band, using his shoulder as a pivot point as he aimed an unorthodox kick at Man #2's head.
With his flexibility, his feet couldn't reach Man #2's position, but Man #2 didn't know that. Man #2 jerked back, obviously worried that Danny was going to conk him out like he did all the others.
Not really able to follow through with the motion, Danny rolled in a way that he was sure a human body was not supposed to roll. He cried out in pain, finally landing in a heap and was forced to spend a few precious seconds trying to catch his breath again.
"It looks like you're done," Man #2 said, sounding amused, "how 'bout we just call it a day? If you run right now, I won't come after you."
Shakily Danny got to his feet, walking back towards where he had come from before the fighting began, away from Man #2.
Man #2 nodded, "Good choice kid. It was a good fight, but there's a difference between losing and knowing when to there's no chance to win."
Danny stopped at the place where Horatio had first made his intentions clear.
Man #2's eyes widened, "Hey kid—!"
Danny bent his knees and grabbed his duffle bag, which was in the exact same place where he dropped it earlier. With a curse, Man #2 rushed towards him. Danny knew he had no chance to get away. His whole body stung with pain, and Man #2 was fresh. Besides that, Man #2 had longer legs and Danny had the extra weight of his bag and all that was in it.
He hadn't gotten the bag so he could run away, however.
Danny flung the duffle bag towards Man #2, who was almost upon him. Obviously not having seen that coming, Man #2 fumbled with the catch, and that was all the opening Danny needed.
The halfa leapt at the man, forcing his body into a roundabout kick. Momentarily blinded by the large duffle bag, the man didn't seen it coming. There was another crack as Danny's foot connected with the man's head, sending it snapping sideways.
Danny landed with a crouch just as Man #2 slumped to the floor, knocked out cold. Danny was breathing heavily, unused to the level of exertion in his human form. Still, adrenaline and his mother's lessons did a lot for him. Who knew martial arts was so useful? The goons had stood no chance, really.
With a grin, Danny made to get up, when suddenly something hit the side of his head, sending flickers of black into his vision. Danny stumbled, but his assailant didn't give him any time to recover.
Now it was Danny's turn to get his legs swept out from under him. He landed on his arm, sending up a stab of pain that made him squeeze his eyes shut out the odd colours that flashed behind his eyelids. He tried to roll, but the next moment there was a weight on him, preventing him from moving. He was pressed back first against the floor, someone's hands on his wrists and sitting on his naval, effectively trapping him.
Danny's eyes flickered open, and he paled.
Man #4's displeased face was glaring back down at him.
"Here's some advice kid," Man #4 snarled, "when you're fighting with men, make sure that when they go down, they stay down."
"Um," Danny said weakly, "I'm going to get a very bad beating, aren't I?"
"You have no idea," came Horatio's voice.
Horatio was still conscious too. Danny cranked his neck around, dismally wondering if all the fighting had been a waste, and he hadn't actually done anything at all. But no, Man #2, 3, and 5 were still lying where he had left them, not letting out so much as a twitch.
Danny had knocked three full grown men unconscious. That was his power. That was his limit.
"Look at me when I'm talking!" Man #4 snarled, using a meaty hand to grasp Danny's chin and force his head back into the upright position.
Danny winced at the sudden movement, his neck protesting at the rough treatment. "But, you weren't talking. Unless that twittering I thought I heard from the rats was actually you."
The man's eyes glinted. He knew he was in a superior position, so he didn't even bother to get offended. "You're trying to be smart? In your situation? I do admit kid, you've got guts. That, or a whole lot of stupidity. Either way, you're gonna pay."
Man #4 grinned, and raised a fist, just as Horatio came into sight.
"This is for our friends!"
His eye. Why did it always have to be the eyes?
"This is for the injuries!"
Danny's face snapped sideways with the force of the punch. Ouch…
"This is for the insult!"
Kidneys. Danny's breath rushed out of his body. That jerk! Was he trying to give Danny internal injuries or something?
"Hm, looks like I don't have to hold you down anymore."
Danny's vision was blurry, and he was hardly registering what was happening. He did however, feel Man #4's weight leave his body. He struggled to get up, but a kick to his stomach stopped him.
He lay there for a moment, gasping, hands pressed tightly over the kicked area.
Man #4 and Horatio didn't give him much chance to recover however. They kept kicking him, calling him names and making insults that really, really affronted his creative side. With his breath knocked out of him every few seconds however, Danny wasn't really in a position to reply.
By the end of it, Danny was in a curled up little ball, body twitch of its own accord. He hadn't even felt this bad when his future self had sent him to the ghost zone to be preyed on by all the ghosts he had yet to offend. He let out a low moan, hating himself for showing weakness but not able to stop it.
Pain. Pain permeated throughout his body. This was worse than any beating he had taken as Danny Phantom despite the fact that he had crashed straight through buildings and been hit dead on by spectral converters. That had been a more momentary pain, there one second and gone the next. This pain… this pain wasn't going away.
"Do you think he's finished, Horatio my man?"
"Yeah," Horatio grunted, "Now let's just take the money and go."
"You're not going anywhere!" A new voice joined the fray. Danny wasn't sure who it was; he certainly didn't recognize it to be any of the men whom he had knocked out.
Danny forced himself to crack a swollen eyelid open, but the best he could get was slits, and added to that the dark lighting, he couldn't really make out who had joined them. What he could see however was a blur of red and green, with some yellow mixed in there.
"You," it was Horatio who spoke, but for some reason, his voice sounded almost fearful? "You're the—"
There was a shrill scream from Horatio's end, and then two thumps as bodies hit the ground. The fight was over before it even began.
"What's the point of saying 'Titans, go!' if you're the only one who was going to be fighting?" The speaker was a young voice, slightly whinny and an obvious complaint in his words.
"Beastboy, these were regular people. Unleashing you on them would have been overkill."
"Sure about that? I mean, look at this kid. They did quite a number on him, and it was two on one."
"Five on one," there was a pause, then, "look."
Their conversation continued, but Danny couldn't concentrate enough to make out the words anymore. Their voices fell like a blur in Danny's mind, and he could feel himself slipping. His eyes fluttered closed; the darkness seemed so welcoming right now.
"I think," said a low, deep voice that somehow transcended all the others, "that he needs to go to a hospital."
Danny's adrenaline rushed back full force. His eyes snapped open, "No! No hospital!"
If he went to a hospital, then they would ask for his name and medical records. It'd come out that he was Danny Fenton, and then he'd be sent back to Amity. Back to Vlad, maybe. Back to that horrible future that he couldn't allow to happen.
The figure above him startled. The person was wearing a deep blue cowl that hid their face, but Danny knew that this had to be one of the Titans. His fuzzy mind wasn't supplying him with the knowledge of which one, but he had come to Jump City to find the Titans, so it was best that they found him, right?
"Look," the blue figure said, sounding slightly annoyed. Danny distantly realized that it was the same person who spoke previously, and that she was female. "You're really badly hurt. Even I can't heal you properly. Don't be a masochist like Robin. You. Need. The. Hospital."
Danny shook his head wildly, "No hospital!"
"Do you want me to knock you unconscious and—"
"No hospital! No hospital!" Danny screamed, thrashing wildly. His body flared up in red hot pain, but he hardly noticed through his panic. He couldn't break his promise to his family, he couldn't!
"Hey, hey, stop that!" The blue figure actually sounded slightly worried, "if you keep moving you'll aggravate your wounds and—!"
"No hospital! No hospital!"
Danny hardly even knew what he was saying anymore. All he knew was that he had a distinct knowledge of where he didn't want to go.
"Alright, alright! No hospital!"
Danny stopped thrashing. He gazed up intently at the figure in blue, "Promise?"
There was a hiss of displeasure, but the blue figure nonetheless nodded, "Yes, sure."
"Good," Danny said, and closed his eyes. The darkness came up to meet him, and this time, he didn't resist.
"Where are we going to take him if not the place of healing, Friend Raven? He is much hurt." Danny distantly heard through his haze as he slowly dropped into unconsciousness.
"Isn't it obvious Star?" It was the leader again, his voice almost amused. "We'll take him to Titan Tower."