A/N: VICTORY! And now I actually have a spot open for a new story. *grin* Which is exciting, though it's sad that this is over. *frown* Well. Read on!
Title: To Be a Hero
Summary: When Director Fury learns that there is a whole set of villains he's never heard tell of, he's pissed off. When he learns that there's a new superhero to accompany them? What do you think?
Disclaimer: Sadly, Danny Phantom is not mine. Neither are the Avengers.
Sam, Tucker, and Danny were the last to wake up in the morning, and it was a while after that that they actually managed to locate the main kitchen, where the Avengers were gathered, per usual. Even Tony was there, lethargically drinking from a cup of coffee.
"-and see, that's why my baby is better than, like, any phone I can afford." Tucker rubbed his PDA affectionately.
Phantom shook his head at Tucker. "You need to get out more, Tuck."
"Hey, look, it's the ghost hunter kids!" Clint said brightly, munching on cereal. "Still want to know how that happened."
Phantom, Tucker, and Sam looked at each other. "Long story," they said together.
"Where's Dani?" Steve wanted to know; he'd liked the ghost girl.
Phantom shrugged and sighed. "She flew off. She's probably gone back to travelling the world, like she likes to."
"We'll see her again," Sam reassured him. Then she grinned. "And now that we're not busy fighting ghosts…" She nearly bounced over to Natasha, excited and pleased. "It's really great to meet you, you know. You've been my favorite Avenger since, like, ever."
Phantom smiled at Sam as she went on talking to the redheaded woman, who looked mildly amused and moderately pleased. Tucker was eying Tony like he was considering trying to talk to him, too, only he didn't look like much of a conversationalist at the moment, still being half-asleep.
Tucker was vibrating, though.
Clint noticed. "Hey, Tony, you have a fanboy."
Tony glanced up, noticed Tucker vibrating, and snickered. "Hey, kid."
That was all the acknowledgement Tucker needed. "It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Stark, your technology is miles better than anything else anywhere-"
And now Tony was listening to Tucker in much the same way Natasha was to Sam, while the others tried to decide whether to laugh at them or be envious.
"So, Phantom, who's your favorite?" Bruce asked him kindly.
Phantom started, and then blushed lightly, though there was no uncertainty in his answer. "The Captain."
Steve gave him a little smile, and Phantom's flush deepened.
That, unfortunately, didn't go any farther, as JARVIS chose that moment to announce, "Sir, Director Fury has entered the building."
Tony looked up, a frown creasing his face. "JARVIS," he whined. "Didn't we talk about this?"
"I don't believe I know what you're talking about, sir."
"Cheeky bastard," Tony mumbled into his cup. "I don't know where you learned it. I didn't teach you that."
Steve patted his head. "Sure you didn't, Tony." The door opened. "Hello, sir."
"Hello, Captain," Fury greeted Steve neutrally. "I heard you've picked up a few new, ah. Recruits."
"Indeed we have!" Thor beamed. "They were most helpful in our battle against the Draugr beasts!"
Fury nodded, evidently expecting that, and turned his gaze on the suddenly frozen trio. "I've heard a lot about you – especially you, Phantom." Phantom looked uncomfortable, and mildly confused. "Danny Phantom. Appeared a few years ago at the same time ghosts started attacking Amity Park. Fought the Ghost King, staved off more than one ghost invasion, and kept Amity safe since he's appeared." He paused. "Phantom, do you know exactly what the Avengers Initiative is?"
Mutely, Phantom shook his head. Sam and Tucker each moved to stand a step behind him, on either side, eyes gone wary.
"The Avengers Initiative is a gathering of powerful people, each tasked with one thing: To save the world. And you, Phantom, have proven yourself to be a very powerful person." The lingering gaze told them that he knew something that they didn't.
Which wasn't that unusual, really.
"Phantom, we would like to invite you to join the Avengers Initiative," Fury finished.
For a long moment, Phantom stared at him, mouth open in shock. Slowly, first comprehension, then indecision, and, finally, resolve passed through acid green eyes.
"I'm sorry, but," he said eventually, shuffling uncomfortably. "I… can't. Can't accept." Taking the sudden, all-consuming silence as an instruction to go on, he continued, "I have a responsibility to Amity. The ghosts, they won't stop coming, and I can't just leave them to the ghost hunters." Slowly, he looked up, meeting their startled eyes one pair at a time. "I need to stay there. Sorry," he repeated. And he turned around, walked through the door, and left, and Sam and Tucker glanced back before going after him.
"And that, ladies and gentlemen," Fury announced to the slightly stunned room, not looking surprised in the least, "is what it is to be a hero."
He left, too.
Sam, Tucker, and Phantom were lingering in the lobby, talking a little in low voices, Fury having passed them by, and Tony showed up within minutes.
"Hey, Phantom." Phantom looked up, curious but wary. "Got something you'd like to say?"
Before their alarmed eyes, Tony reached into his jacket and produced a picture of Danny, sleeping in human form.
It had been a while, despite his exhaustion, before Tony had managed to get to sleep. He'd spent some time in his workshop first, and during that time, JARVIS had pulled up this.
It had taken a little processing, but Tony wasn't a genius for nothing.
Phantom stiffened, eyes widening. Sam and Tucker tensed and flanked him.
Aw. They were so adorable.
"What do you want?" Sam asked – demanded, really. She had guts.
Tony raised his hands defensively. "Nothing, nothing! But really, you ought to be more careful." He tossed them the photo, never mind that JARVIS had it stored on his hard drive, though the footage itself had been wiped. "Someone might find out." Then, seriously, "I'm not going to ask questions, but you watch yourselves, alright?" Ugh, seriousness. Tony could expect to start sneezing any moment now.
Slowly, the three relaxed, and Phantom even managed a small smile. "Thanks, Mr. Stark." They turned to leave, for real this time, and Tony called after them,
"Hey, kid! Tucker!"
Tucker's eyes widened slightly and he looked back.
"That was some impressive hack work." Tucker smiled, half proudly and half sheepishly. Tony grinned back. "I'd offer you an internship, but you seem a little busy. Come back when you graduate, understood?"
Tucker looked delighted. "Yes, sir!"
"And you," Natasha added, appearing out of nowhere in that way she did. In this case, 'nowhere' meant the shady corner of the lobby where she'd emerged from an alcove Tony would have suspected as having been put there specifically for this purpose, had he not designed the building himself. Natasha was looking at Sam, who looked startled. "Come back when you're older. You wouldn't be a half-bad SHIELD agent."
"And Phantom," Steve finished, emerging from the elevator. Tony suspected JARVIS involvement this time. "You'll always have a place waiting for you on the Avengers."
Complete! Achievement Unlocked: Completed Story. Yay! Thanks for reading, and please review!