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Fallen Spirits

Chapter Text

A loud scream tore through the room as electricity shook his body and blood spilled from his mouth. It felt like he'd tear his own limbs away if he pulled any harder to free himself. His screams did nothing to ease the pain the coursed through his body and left him dazed and twitching. His head fell limp as he tried to catch his breath and sweat soaking his overgrown bangs and brow.

"Its durability truly is astounding. None of our other subjects could hold their physical forms this long." He could hear from the other side of the protective glass, but it was muffled by the ringing in his ear.

"It still screams like it can feel pain," Another voice said. Disgust seeping through his voice.

"It's possible it does sir. It is not genetically a full ghost. We could be completely wrong about its physiology."

"I'd like to perform more tests to check. Compare another sample of it's DNA. It could have evolved in some way."

"Yeah, whatever, do whatever later doc. We have other things on today's agenda."

"Right right. Release it and return it to its containment cell." The scientists said.

Danny felt air hit his face as he was released and fell from the machine. His bones pushed against his sore flesh when he hit the floor. He groaned in pain and pulled his arms up to push himself onto his hands and knees. He heaved for air from the screaming but tried to stop, because every breath he sucked into his protesting lungs made his raw throat sting and feel like dry sandpaper, almost causing him to cough up some of his blood which already stained the floor in its dark red spotted with green, which turned to a brown-greyish mass as it dried.

He did little to resist when the goons pulled his arms up and he was pulled up and had his arms secured behind his back, the cuffs locking around his bruised wrists. He was hauled up by his armpits and dragged out of the testing room. He stumbled over his feet while the HAZMAT clad men escorted took him to the small white room he had grown accustomed to, all the while complaining about having to pull his unmoving form. He was pushed forward into the cell, unable to keep his balance. He didn't try to get up from the cold white floor.

The cuffs were removed and his arms limply slid off his back and onto the floor. He was tired and his body was not objecting to passing out on the cold floor, right then and there. He closed his eyes as the doors slid closed and the room dimmed to nothing more than a glow from the walls, something meant to keep his powers in check. He was too tired to think so he shut down, entering a state between wakefulness sleep, a limbo for those depleted of their energy.

The familiar of a food tray sliding in before hitting his foot was what pulled him out of his previous condition, as he became aware of his surroundings again. He shot up and lunged for the metal canteen of water to gulp down as much as he could without coming up for air. Water dribbled down his chin and he was able to breathe normally again and allowed himself to relax. He drank slower and ate the bowl of mush and bread on the metal tray.

When he was done, he pushed everything to the side and stood up before stretching his sore muscles and popping bones. He pushed himself up and then down onto his hands and toes. He glared at the wall opposite of him and began to do push-ups, counting in his head till the numbers were drowned out by plans of escape and the memories of how he got to this place.

He was running through the tall woods of the area, the sound of helicopters, dirt bikes and shouting making his feet move so fast he could barely keep up with them. With the ease of trained muscles he pulled himself up and into a tree where he hid himself in the leaves He hid spent hours hidden in the tree, not making a sound, moving from tree to tree from time to time until the sun began to peak from over the horizon, and he thought it safe to leave the woods and find his family After leaving the woods it wasn't long before he was captured. He fell into a trap, not noticing the machines that would lead to his demise. He screamed and cried when the men restrained him and hauled his small, nine-year-old body into a dark truck.

He woke up the next day with little hope. If this plan didn't work, he'd be stuck here forever. Sitting up quickly from the uncomfortable cot in the room he lifted the mattress. He felt around under it until he felt the cut material where he stuffed his 'help' away. Danny pulled out a small device. A signal blocker. Nothing he couldn't pocket off the passing supply cart. He grinned and placed the small device in his shoe before letting the mattress fall back and lay back down, waiting for the goons to pick him up for the day's tests.

Weapon testing.

The time came and he was taken to the platform, that would take him to the big, open, white room. As the platform rose and clicked into place in the floor, he looked around the room. Everything in the facility was connected to one system that was powered by four generators. The generators powered the ghost shield around the facility.

He was going to use the signal blocker on the cameras. The defense systems are alerted any time suspicious activity is detected. When he broke free from the guards as they took him back to his cell, the cameras won't notice anything out of the ordinary and alert the systems and the dumbass watching the screens would be asleep as always so nothing would be noticed. The blocker would work so long as it wasn't removed from the system. But it won't take long for someone to notice that two men are down and they haven't gotten word the subject was secured and it's four-minute walk to the elevator, then a three-minute elevator ride, then four more minutes till his cell.

This gave him some time to get to the supply vault and pull what he needed and out before the ghost shield was activated. If all went according to plan, he'd have eleven minutes to get out of this place for good.

**LATER**

Danny didn't act out of the ordinary that morning. He fought against the guards, tried to break free, scowled at the agent in charge and tried to attack him.

When the time came, masked by machine smoke he did not hesitate. He grabbed the laser beam by the base and pulled. It croaked as metal tore from the wall.

When it came free he stumbled backward and let the hunk of metal fall to the ground with a crash. He stared at the circuit boards for a second before grabbing onto it and prying it out as fast as he could. He pulled the wires out of it and grabbed the signal blocker. He connected the wires to the device and connected them to the power wire through a remote control panel.

With the way everything is built. The weapons testing room is almost directly connected to one of the power generators through large sets of wires and to the laser beams. He placed the circuit board back before the smoke cleared.

Danny flew to the top of the room and went around, taking out every camera as he went. He had to get out of this room. So when the guards entered the room, he did nothing to resist the harsh pulling of his arms behind his back. He was walked out and everything seemed to go in slow motion as he made eye contact with the agent in charge. He knew more about the agent then he did himself.

That memory flashed before his eyes, the day he saw a real monster for the first time.

He woke up in the small room. He was sweating and his bones ached, his head spun like the nothing he could remember ever feeling.

He pushed himself up on the lumpy mattress and looked around the room. There were no windows or a door as far as he could tell. It looked like a prison cell from those crime shows he snuck around to watch after bedtime.

He jumped and scrambled against the wall, he tried to scream but his voice came out as almost nothing but air and dry sobs. He pushed himself as far back against the wall as he could while his eyes welled up with more tears. He whimpered while heavy footsteps entered the small room.

The man crouched and moved his head till he met Danny's eyes. Danny kept his gaze, his lips quivering at the stare.

The man removed his glasses to reveal a face he'd never forget. The man offered a kind smile.

"My name is Malcolm Montanari, and I run this place. Your new home." He spoke in a rather happy voice, but his smile dropped when Danny responded with a whimper. His small hands balling into fists at his sides till his knuckles turned white.

"I bet you're wondering why you're here Danny." Malcolm said, glancing around the small room.

"Ya see kiddo, you're not human but I bet you already knew that." He said pointing a finger at Danny. The finger was decorated with a thick silver ring. Malcolm continued to speak.

"In fact kiddo. You are a rare kind of not human. You are what we call a halfa." He smirked and stood up placing his glasses back on. He looked down at Danny over the glasses.

"It means you're half dead kid."

In the seconds that the memory flashed, Malcolm smirked at Danny, his beady eyes staring at him with psychotic mischief and Danny glared with so much fire in his eyes, hellfire would be like a sunny day's gaze.

Once he and the two guards were at the elevator, Danny jumped and swung his arms under his legs. Before the guards could hit him with some anti-ghost weapons. He elbowed the one on his right. He went tumbling back, clutching his stomach. Danny spun around and brought a solid tornado kick to the other's head.

The first goon he hit recovered and charged. Danny charged at him as well. Grabbing the bigger man by the collar or his white suit and placing his other hand flat on the man's chest best he could with cuffs on. It wasn't the best flip, but it would have to do because he had to go now. Quickly he searched the goons for the keys to the cuffs and when he found them. He set the keys down before chucking the two into the elevator and pressing the lowest level on the board. He jumped out of the elevator as it closed and messed with the ring of keys till he got the right one and unlocked the cuffs. The cuffs dropped but he kept the keys on him. He lifted off the ground and smirked as he rubbed his wrist and his feet turned into a wispy tail.

He was almost to the supply unit when the alarms went off.

'Not according to plan!'

He panicked but kept going. If he had any pride, he prided himself on his ability to adapt and survive. He didn't slow down when the weapons room door didn't open at the motion. He just went right through it. Skidding into a landing and looking around he quickly grabbed one of the backpacks used for hunting and raced through the aisles, grabbing the items on his mental list. The items were an assortment of gadgets and weapons. He packed them into the backpack along with a first aid kit he found. He zipped up the bag and lugged it over his shoulders and flew out.

He flew through the memorized corridors from past escape attempts. He was just a few hallways away from the storage unit when a cart caught his eyes. He stopped and flew back, looking at it. It was full of folders, all labeled something different. 'Blue Prints, Maps, Schedules, Employees.' The same number at the end of each. Danny grabbed Blue Prints and Maps. Taking a guess that they would come in handy he stuffed them in his backpack to fit. They were folded in half and bent but they fit. He re-zipped the bag and flew off again.

He was just outside the door when he heard the sound of people talking outside the door. He landed and looked around. The halls were completely empty, no one had been chasing him after the alarms went off, he was completely alone.

'They're waiting for me.'

A few seconds after he realized what was going on a loud booming voice came through the door.

"SPECIMEN 0874, THE FACILITY IS SURROUNDED." A loud voice came through from the speakers. Then another voice came through.

"Come on kid, just give up. You're never getting out of this place." Malcolm said from the speakers. Danny let out a low growl and glared, looking for any way out. He looked up at the camera that was pointed directly at him. He raised his hands and blasted it to smithereens.

He couldn't go right out, they'd be aiming right at him. He looked up again and started for a moment. Praying to whoever was listening that he wasn't about to have this idea.

'Never know unless you try.'

There is one floor above him. They might have a ghost shield up, but it only affected ghosts. With ease he shot up, going to the ceilings and he was outside.

He stopped before he hit the ghost shield and looked around. Thought everything was green tinted he could tell it was dark out by the stars. It almost brought a tear to his eye but then he noticed the armed guards on the ground and the chasers hovering around him, pilots ready to attack and apprehend. He took a breath and hoped this would work.

He flew up and timed the transformation perfectly. He was going to commence the transformation, then commence it again. So he'd be human to get through the portal, but ghost as he left it.

Surprisingly it worked faster then he thought because he was shooting into the air within seconds, so where blasts from the chasers and groundsmen. The weapons only hurt ghosts, when in contact with humans it was nothing more than goo. He transformed mid-air and let gravity do its thing and bring him down. He aimed for one on the grounds shooters to catch his fall, even after being in his ghost form for so long, he knew his human form wouldn't stand a fall this high without something to catch him.

With a loud thud and roll, he was on the ground in something other than his jumpsuit. Pale jeans, sneakers, a white T-shirt. He could fight in this. He looked up and he was surrounded by guards and the chasers.

"GET IT!" The same voice from earlier shouted. Danny smirked. He may not be able to use his powers to their full extent in human form, but he doesn't always need them.

The first to make it to him was his launch pad after a fist catch and punch to the gut, then went crumbling to the ground. Danny jumped on him and off, landing on the head of another agent. Hard. He pushed off the agent's head, who shouted in pain, and kicked him in the chin with his foot. Effectively making him back away in pain. The same agent glared at Danny and pulled a handgun. Aiming at Danny, the poor fool didn't even pull the trigger before he was blasted into more oncoming agents. he almost fell forward but caught himself as another agent jumped on him and put him into a headlock. Another agent came at him and attempted to punch him in the gut but Danny kicked him away before he made it and used his elbow to knock the guy off him before bringing a solid kick to his face.

The other agent from before attempted to attack again but Danny flipped over him and kicked him in the knee taking him down.

He caught the next five with mild ease, doing a back handspring to put some distance between himself and the agents. He was breathing heavy due to the lack of use of his human form. He wasn't used to being this solid.

He heard the charge up of a blaster and couldn't move fast enough so he blocked the blast with his arms. A force of habit. He wasn't used to the cold feeling of the goo instead of the burning of the blast. Danny lowered his arms and stared at the goo for a moment before shaking it off and expertly aiming at the barrel of the blaster, it went boom in the agent's hands.

"Come on kid, just give up. There is just no way you're getting out of here." Malcolm said, stepping forward, behind Danny.

Danny turned around quickly, bringing his hands up in a defensive position, covering his face. He glared at the man across from him through his long hair and arms.

"I'm getting out of here even if I have to kill everyone here!" Danny growled. His eyes flashed a toxic green behind his hair, they were filled with determination and intent. Malcolm looked up above his glasses with his beady eyes and an evil smirk came to his face before he let it fall into a lazy smile.

"I'm quivering in my boots," Malcolm said sarcastically. "Kid, where are you going to go once you leave this place. You'll be hunted by the government, you'll never be safe out there in the real world. Who's gonna accept something like you? You are supposed to be dead, and if you somehow make your way to the ghost zone, the things there won't accept you as one of your own, you're half human. Laughable really. No matter where you go, you will never be accepted." Malcolm taunted and pushed his bottom lip out in a fake pout. "Why don't you just return what you stole and we'll let this all-" He was interrupted.

Danny bolted forward and drew his arm back and knocked the bastard right in the nose. Malcolm went backward and fell to the ground, his sunglasses crooked and his nose bleeding heavily. Danny stood over Malcolm for a moment, his eyes a deadly toxic green with a dangerous glow. He placed a foot on Malcolm's chest and went intangible, taking Malcolm with him. Malcolm was left with half of his body in the ground.

Danny transformed as more agents came out of the building and quickly brought down the four chasers by throwing one into another, busting an engine, and tossing another into a facility. Which caused a small explosion on the west side. Probably taking out a supply drop area. Before any of the ground agents could get a lockdown on him with their blasters he went invisible and flew higher and higher till he could see the entire area for what it was.

He was surrounded by a forest. The facility was in a large clearing, and one road led out, it was dirt. He had no other choice than to book it in one direction. He left it to his gut and flew in the direction that felt best. He had no idea which way he was going but he didn't care. So long as he wasn't caught again, he could be anywhere.

He stared forward, continuously blinking his eyes, not used to them getting dry so quickly. He was going full speed. Doing his best to keep his limbs close to his body, but it didn't last long. Soon enough he was flailing, unable to keep his balance with the wind pushing against him and going at full speed.

His eyes narrowed when he spotted a black dot in front of his and quickly approaching. He couldn't stop so he ended up kissing bird beak and almost falling to his doom before he caught himself. The bird squawked as it fell but Danny watched it regain his balance and fly away. He watched it bat it's wings a few times before gliding. He thought for a moment, but his thoughts were interrupted by a flock of birds following their leader and engulfing Danny. He used his arms to protect himself and swat the birds away.

He looked at his arms. They were slightly scratched but he moved his eyes to his hands, then looked back at the fleeing birds. He brought his limbs close and boosted ff at full power, but didn't keep the gas going. He let himself glid. Like the birds. He kept going in short but powerful boosts of power and gliding. Getting the hang of actually flying.

He boosted off again and as he went through the air he watched the ground below him. He saw houses and lights, tall buildings and areas of land but he kept going with no intention of stopping till he had to and hopefully by then, somewhere safe.

Chapter Text

'I should probably go into the city in human form. They've probably warned people about me by now.'

It was still dark but getting lighter as time went on. Danny sighed and landed (well more like fell but not crash) in a field outside of a city, hands rested on his knees as he caught his breath. He looked around through the tall plants, corn if he recalled; when he decided no one was watching, he transformed with a rather bright light. He started marching to his left, closest to a road, maybe he could catch a ride.

He was walking for awhile as the sun continued to rise. It was a peaceful pastel blue. Light enough to see but not dark enough that he wouldn't be seen. It was quiet and peaceful. He walked slowly, relishing in the fresh cold air on his skin as he walked and how sanitizers didn't fill his nostrils all the time.

His hands were in his pockets as he walked and his hair lightly swayed in the wind as he walked. He would be running and frolicking if he had the energy. Right now he just wanted to rest, but he did his best to keep from swaying. He was tired. The flight used up most of his energy reserve so heavy power usage was off the table till his body could rest.

He thought about everything. Let it all sink in for a moment before letting a smile grace his hardened features. He continued to smile while he walked. He bent over and picked up a small weed. A foxtail, he remembered running around in them before he was captured. He picked it up and placed it in his mouth.

He had no idea what he was doing really. He had no idea how to interact with people as fat as he knew. He hoped that he would know what to do should the time arise but he knew that was a very slim chance. He walked a while more before tensing when the sound of a vehicle entered his hearing. He moved closer to the crops he was still walking by. They seemed to stretch for a while. The truck passed, its headlights shining light on his back. It didn't have the facility insignia on it, nor was it completely white.

Danny kept walking as the truck came to a stop and a voice called to him. He tensed and was about to fly away before he remembered it was most likely a human.

"Aye, ya need a ride?!" The driver called from the truck. It was a woman's voice and as far as he knew, no women worked at the facility.

"Yeah!" Danny hollered back. Holding the straps of his backpack.

"Hop in, I'll give ya a ride into town, 20 miles is a long walk!" She called. Waving her arm for him to get in.

"Thanks." Danny called quickly before jogging to the other side and swinging open the door and jumping into the passenger side seat before swinging the door shut again. He adjusted in his seat and stared ahead.

"You dull or somthin? Put on ya seatbelt." The woman said, staring down at him confused when he didn't do it on instinct. "How old are ya 14?"

"Uh, sorry. Been a while. He muttered and glanced at her to get a hint how to do it. He turned to his side and pulled the belt down, looking over at her before sliding it into place with a click. She started to drive in silence, the low mumble of some kind of song playing from the radio.

"What's a kid like you doin out 'ere this time of day? You run away or somthin'?" She asked. Looking him over, he probably looked rugged and beat, he had a few scratches from the fight after all.

"Sort of." He answered, his eyes lingering away from her. She had wrinkles and some dark spots on her face. She stared back just as intensely. Her eyes were a tired dark brown, but kind.

"You got a name or somthin?" She asked.

"Danny." He answered. Now that he wasn't moving, the effects of overexertion were taking their toll on him.

"Well, Call me Sal. Ya Pa give ya a beatin or somthin cause ya look like shit." She asked, her voice was unsure.

"Something like that," Danny answered. He began to fidget in his seat and kept looking out the window.

"Ya got someone to stay with in Central?" She asked. Danny debated how he was going to answer.

"I have a friend." He answered. He didn't. He didn't even know where he was.

"Hm" She mumbled before they settled into silence as they drove. From above, the city seemed much closer. In the silence, Danny started to nod off, his head bouncing, but the movement scaring him awake. He was almost asleep against the window when a loud growl filled the car. He sat up and looked around before the driver chuckled at him.

"Ya did scared ya self-awake kid!" She laughed at Danny's confused face. "When was the last time ya ate something. Ya almost bone-thin." She asked as she made a turn and he could see the city.

"Uh, yesterday I think." He answered trying to think about timing and if it was day or night when he last ate. He placed a hand over his stomach as he thought about food. He would even eat the grossest of what the facility could serve if it meant the cramping feeling in his stomach would go away.

"I know I good place. Get some food in ya." Sal said with a chuckle as they entered the city.

He was completely winging it as he spoke to the woman. He let his mouth speak before letting his mind give it any thought. The lies came to easily to him for his liking, but he had no idea why he felt like that. He pondered it as they drove a bit more before parking near a small building. Sal got out andDanny followed, sticking close to the woman, who now that she was standing, was much smaller than when she was sitting. They walked into the small building labeled Lil' Lenore's, Sal first and holding the door open for the way Danny. He had never been in a city before, let alone outside in years.

"Hey, Karl!" Sal called to seemingly no one till a voice came from the back.

"Hey, Sal! How's the road been doin ya?" The voice of Karl called back.

"Good! How's business?" Sal called as she led Danny to the counter seats. Danny hopped onto the seat, setting his bag gently on the floor at his feet that just barely meet the metal ring near the bottom. His toes barely touched it enough while Sal's bent on the ring as she sat. Her boots looked old from travel and work.

A bearded man walked out, his hair was longish, about Danny's length and tied into a small tail at the back on his head with a blue rubber band. He seemed like a nice guy.

"Same old. See you got company, what can I get cha?" He asked, leaning on the counter in front of the two. Danny leaned back a little, not wanting to suddenly get the back on his neck grabbed and his head backed onto the counter.

"Breakfast #1, sunny side up and a coffee and a side of peaches," Sal answered with ease. She looked over at Danny. "What cha want kid?" She asked with a small smile.

"Uh," He blanked, looking up above at the menu. Everything looked and smelt good compared to what he had been eating. His stomach growled again and Karl looked at him slightly amused.

"Why don't I just get you some of everything. On the house, you look like you could use it.." Karl said with a smile. He turned and went through the black doors. Like the ones that facility workers went through with supplies or with vials of chemicals.

Sal nodded and Danny watched while he worked behind the small rectangle window. He could hear the clang of pots and pans, the squeal of knives, the sizzling of something that made him drool. Sal turned in her seat and stared at a large screen that hung from the ceiling. Danny turned and watched as well.

"The Flash and his sidekick Kid Flash have once again saved dozens of lives late yesterday night when another apartment building caught fire and quickly spread to surrounding buildings in downtown Central City. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but some victims say it started with a loud explosion. This is the third one this week and officials are beginning to think it's a serial arsonist." The man on the TV said as images appeared on the screen of a man in red and a younger one in yellow, running towards a burning building.

"Man, these fires are getting out of hand." Sal muttered under her breath.

"Sal?" Danny questioned. Sal turned her stood to look over at him. "Who's the Flash?" He asked in utter confusion.

"How do you not know who the flash is?!" She exclaimed. Danny stared at her blankly. Still confused. Was he an important person?

"The Flash is Central City's superhero and a member of the Justice League." Karl interrupted as he walked out with a cup of coffee and a tall glass of orange juice. Danny stared at them silently. He had no clue what they were talking about. Karl laughed and went back to the kitchen while Sal explained superheroes to Danny.

'So they're like me.'

He thought to himself as Karl and Sal delved into the conversation from the kitchen and the seat. It wasn't long before Sal brought out their food. He explained since there was no rush he took his time but when the food was placed in front of him all that time went to waste as Danny dove in after being instructed to use his knife and fork.

"He's eating like he's never had waffles before." Karl stated while they watch Danny literally devore everything on the plate like it was his last meal.

"Probably the case." Sal stated. Thought Danny heard he didn't care. This was the best thing he's ever tasted.

"I think his parents beat him. Said he had a friend in Central that could help him." Sal said in a hushed voice.

"Wanna call the police?" Karl asked in a quiet voice.

"I don't think he trust the police or anyone for that matter. On the way here he was fiditin and looking 'round like he was being hunted or something." She replied.

"Poor kid, looks like he's been through a lot. Where'd ya find him?"

"Side of the road by the cornfield about 20 miles outside of town, looked like he was gon' pass out right in the dirt." She confirmed with a sad undertone in her voice.

"He got a name? Maybe someone filed a report?"

"All 'e gave me was Danny-"

Danny looked up at his name being called. Mouth already stuffed with a little bit of everything while he went to shove more in.

"Hm?" He asked before putting his fork down and chewing everything before washing it down with the rest of the orange juice. He took a few heavy breaths and stuffing more into in his mouth.

"Slow down kid. Ya gonna choke!" Sal said with a chuckle. The mood lightening as the three began an easy conversation. They asked questions about Danny but Danny managed to come up with one half-truth or a complete lie. He had no idea how this world worked. They could all be working for the facility for all he knew. He just had to play it off as best he could It wasn't long before Danny finished most of the food and went through most of an OJ jug. Sal had to leave and the sun was starting to show more.

"Ya sure, you don't need me to take you anywhere?" Sal asked one more time while they stood by her truck.

"Yeah, I'm sure I can find my way around." Danny answered.

"Well then okay. But hang on." Sal said as she jumped back into her truck. She rummaged around for a moment before coming back out with a plastic bag.

"These are some clothes that don't fit me no more. They should for you just fine though. Inside the bag is my number and 20$. It all the change I had." She answered pushing the bag to Danny.

"Um, thanks?" Danny questioned. Taking the bag.

"Just be careful. With everything that's going on, no place for a kid. But I reckon you ain't an average 13 year old." Sal said, giving Danny a wink before jumping into her truck and driving away. Danny waved her off from the side of the road. The sun was just barely shining and cars were starting to show up, speeding down the road.

**A DAY LATER**

It had only been a day and Danny had no idea what to do. He had put on the clothes that Sal had given him. Which was just a black hoodie, a white long sleeve, black overshirt and a beanie and he changed for two reasons.

One. The agents saw what he was wearing before and it smelt terrible. Two. A bird pooped on his other shirt.

He was just wandering around, trying to get a hang of the city. He'd seen amazing things though. He saw street performers, people who played instruments and sang, some danced or sold their art. Danny saw huge murals of color painted on the sides of the building. He saw street food that smelled oh so good. Though against his better judgment he bought a 'pretzel' which in and of itself, astounded him.

"What is it?"He asked the man behind the cart, staring at the display of twirled bread.

"It's a pretzel." The man behind the cart answered, filling a small tray with some sort of orange goo.

"How is it made?" He asked looking up. He had never seen one before. The man looked disbelieving at him but explained anyway. He was the only one in line so he saw no harm in it.

"Well, bakers make long rolls of dough and twist them into this shape. Then they bake them till golden brown with salt. Sometimes people mix in melted cheese to make em taste, less plain." He said offering a cheesy pretzel to him.

"Salted toast?" He questioned, taking the small try and staring at it.

"Sure."

He bit into it and smiled. "It's good." He stated.

"That'll be two dollars." The guy said with a smile. Danny stared at him before quickly realizing what he meant. He pulled out the twenty dollar bill and handed it to the man. The man sighed and pulled out a bunch of other papers, handing them back to Danny while he kept the twenty.

Danny smiled and walked away, eating his salted toast and cheese while he stared at the skyscrapers and the sky above him. He saw televisions in windows playing the news or things called commercials. Huge buildings of glass that towered over the city. He found a map by a roofed bench. He ate the last bit of his pretzel and opened the map. He stared at it, having no clue what he was staring at.

"You having trouble there?" A voice asked from behind him. He visibly jumped and turned around. He was met with some kid taller than him in a yellow suit and hair like fire.

"Woah didn't mean to scare ya!" He said, putting his hands up and stepping forward. Danny stepped back, his hands crumbled the edges of the map. Danny stared at him for a moment, wondering how he should answer.

"Uh, yeah. I need to find a place but I'm not sure where to start." He answered.

"What kind of place are you looking for?" The yellow-clad weirdo asked.

"Um, what are they called?" Danny muttered under his breath. "Uh, somewhere with no people?" He questioned. Looking up at the other for the word.

"Like an abandoned building?" The taller of them asked. "To explore or something?"

"Yeah," Danny answered, pausing. "I'm new here so I'm not sure where everything is and a friend said to meet them there." He explained hoping it was more convincing.

"Oh well," the other said stepping forward, Danny did his best not the move away. He didn't need any more eyes on him. "You'll wanna go to the industrial area. There is plenty of recently abandoned building you could hang in." He answered pointing at an area on the map then forward.

"Head that way, you can't miss em." He said with a smile.

"Thanks….?" He trailed off.

"You must be really new then. I'm Kid Flash." He answered with a smile and used his gloved thumb to point to himself.

'The sidekick?"

Danny nodded and awkwardly moved back into the crowd. Kid Flash offered a smile and a thumbs up before the smell of cheesy pretzels filled his senses.

Danny stared at the children who stared at him as he walked by. When he caught their gaze he just stared. Some stared back, others started to form tears in their eyes from the rather blank and cold stare. He envied them.

He found the area with ease and looked around. Avoiding the noisier area, though he still jumped when a loud noise reached him. He floated around, going intangible through buildings and walking around, staying as far away from the most active factories and buildings.

It was nearing sundown when he found a good place. It wasn't a factory but would do just fine. Better even. It was more of a large, empty building. Smaller then others he'd seen but plenty of space for him. The floor was concrete and the walls looked stable. The way it was laid out, about half of one of the shorter sides was brought in, probably another room of some kind. Danny walked in, not bothering with the opening the chained door.

'This place will do just fine.'

He could go to the dump. A place he had learned about when he was asking for directions from some dude when he first got here. Also an area not far from here, maybe scrounge around for a desk and chair, maybe even a mattress. Or just steal one, maybe even one of those TVs he saw.

His plan was simple in theory. Build a ghost portal with the blueprints he stole from the facility. Stupid of them to leave blueprints to interdimensional travel in the same room as acids powerful enough to melt human flesh from the bone and the bone. But to build the ghost portal there were tons of parts that could take years, to build on his own. Plus testing.

He'd figure it out though. He had to.

Nightfall came and he transformed. It felt nice to transform when he wasn't deadbeat exhausted or being forced to.

He soared across the sky, doing flips and turns. He even free fell on his way to the dump. The wind against his face, and the smell of fresh air. His smile was from ear to ear he even let out a scream as he free fell. A scream of excitement as the air rushed past his body and adrenaline filled his body. The fun wasn't over when he reached the dump either. He found tons of things scattered around the one part of the dump. He found a long weird green seat with a small burn hole in it. He sat down on it and was surprised when he heard a hiss from it. He stood up faster than ever moved as a cat ran away from behind the couch.

He also found a box of instructional books, mechanics, computer science, programming, chemistry and tons of other subjects. He also found a larger version of the TVs, smaller but wider. He would prefer it if he didn't have to steal anything that could potentially get him caught. He knew he'd have to take the risk at some point but didn't worry about it too much.

Three hours passed before he was done taking everything he found and wanted. Various items. Some he didn't even know what they were. He set everything up in a corner of his chosen building and spent some time making everything more comfortable. Setting up some of the furniture based off images he'd seen during his time in the city.

He had found a rather nice mattress. Better than the other ones, he set the one against the wall of the halved in part. And set the desk against the opposite wall in the small corner. He had found a few old lamps as well. He decided he'd go back into the city and get some stuff.

There was no generator in this building so he went back to the dump and rummaged through the car area before pulling out about four batteries he hoped had power. He grabbed an old create and carried them to his new home.

He emptied the contents of his backpack into one of the empty boxes and put it back on before flying to the closest store he could find. He needed food anyway.

The closest place was a large shopping center. A mall, he remembered was it being called by a group of girls a few days before. If he remembered correctly it shouldn't be a long flight. Though he needed to stare at the maps by the roofed benches he made it there easier than anywhere else. He went intangible and with ease walked into the mall. He stared around. It was huge. Bigger than some of the factories he saw before. He went invisible, not wanting to be seen by any cameras though one probably got the glow of his Intangibility.

He explored every inch of the place and he was amazed. He stared at the displays of fish in the pet store for a while. The lights in the tanks made the underwater all the cooler, but space forever had his interest. But he giggled when the fish stared at him and swam around.

He took so much stuff he also took some bags to carry it all in. All in all, he took the following. Duct tape, a toolbox, blow torch, a box of light bulbs, wires, a very nice blue blanket and a comfy pillow. A laptop, a book of modern machines and how to work them and a magazine on the latest technology around the world, red string, paper, pencils, multiple bags of chips, sticks of beef jerky, candy, and an assortment of drinks he wanted to try.

Awkwardly he held the bags and flew back to his makeshift base and transformed. He worked all night setting things up. He'd have to build another kind of generator to power everything of course, but it wouldn't be too hard once he got the hang of how the stuff he was using worked.

'I can make this work.'

He scanned the corner where he placed all his stuff. The car batteries were connected to the lamp and it shone pretty brightly. Danny could have used candles but he didn't have any so he ruled against it.

He dragged the box of books to the side of the bed and plopped onto it. He laid back and stared at the ceiling. Apparently, he looked like he needed help when he slept. A woman had woken him up to ask if he was okay. He stared at her for a while before running off. He didn't need people to think he was some street kid in need of help.

He shook his head to rid the memory and pulled the laptop onto his lap and turned it on. He read the instruction manual and figured out how to work it within minutes. Soon enough he had a laptop. All he needed was something called the internet, which he could worry about later. He turned off and closed the laptop, leaving it by his bed and leaned back pulling out one of the many books from the box.

"Engineering and Technology"

Chapter Text

Batman stared at the sky from his perch in the night. He was alone this night, no partner, then again this night was peculiar. His eyes narrowed at the sight of the bat symbol in the sky. Swiftly he pulled the grappling hook off his utility belt and swung to another building till he reached the Police Station. Commissioner Gordon wasn't on the roof. He stepped forward and looked around. He walked near the light till he noticed the orange package under the light, his name written on it in swift letters. He looks up at the sound of footsteps as the metal door to the stairway opens and over walks Commissioner Gordon.

"Why's the signal on? He asked, obviously tired as he walked towards the vigilante.

"I thought you called." Batman replied monotonously as he picked up the package and examined it.

"There hasn't been a huge case in weeks, or a break in any ongoing case." Gordon replied irritated as he stood next to Batman and stared at the view from atop the building he spent most of his nights.

"What's that?" Gordon asked setting his hands into his coat pockets.

"It was here before I got here." Batman answered.

"Someone wants your attention," Gordon paused and stared at Batman, who was silent. "You gonna open it?" He finished.

Batman tore open the package with ease and removed its contents. A rather thick manilla folder with classified stamped on it, a flash drive, and two vials of liquid. One he assumed to be blood. The other was some sort of green liquid, thicker than the other because it had more air bubbles in it, much like a sponge.

"No return address?" Gordon asked sarcastically as Batman opened the manila folder.

PROJECT PHANTASM

SPECIMEN 0874

The first page red in big bold letters. Gordon was silent as Batman read through the folder, his face hardening as the atmosphere shifted. The manilla folder contained documents of some sort of private experiment with class classifications under the government.

The Ghost Investigation Ward.

Batman read through more pages before coming to what seemed like note entries. He read one.

'The specimen appears young in both forms. We have had to induce transformations as it cannot seem to hold it's true form for long periods of time. Which in and of itself defies logic. Why would it not be able to hold it's true form and have to reverse back to its disguise? Other test subjects have not had more than one form, though those forms would often burst or dematerialize, this one has done none of the sorts but reverts back to its disguise as a human child. We have interviewed it in both forms. It seems to know the two forms are the same being. Subject has stated it has no memory before capture. It reacts like a human, but these creatures are known for their deceptive nature. Truly sickening.'

He read and guessed that the flash drive contained pictures or footage, unprinted files possibly, even a virus.

"Someone was performing experiments and didn't want anyone to find out." Batman said.

"Guess you better find out then." Gordon said turning his back and staring back up at the cosmos like they would give them an answer.

Batman took this chance and disappeared, using his grappling hook to silently get back to the Batcave. When the commissioner turned back around and no one was there but the wind he sighed and turned off the bat signal before walking back down the stairs and to his office. Batman retreated to his cave, removing his cowl and letting it fall behind his head he took a seat at the bat computer.

The first thing he did was scan the small glass vials for prints. Nothing showed. Then he tested them. As the tests went through he pulled everything out of the manilla folder and began reading its contents. As he read through it he tried not to show the disgust on his face at the journal entries and experiment logs and these where only the printed files. After a while, he guessed the flash drive would help him through his investigation.

He plugged it in and opened the file titled 'PHANTASM' He leaned forward and folded his hands. Resting his chin on his knuckles as he stared at the various image, unplayed videos and more files that started to cover his screen. With the glances he got of then, none of this was humane.

"Tea, Master Bruce?" Alfred asked as he approached him. He had waited for him to finish, otherwise, he would have been shooed off. Bruce took the china teacup and easily sipped down the warm drink. It calms his nerves for what he was about to go through.

"I would suggest you stop for the night master Bruce, but glancing at your work I suppose it's urgent," Alfred said board. "Call should you need anything." He said promptly before turning on his heal and walking away. Bruce glanced at the time.

3:34 am

There was a ding as the tests had finished running. Bruce pulled up the results.

SAMPLE ONE -  MATCHED

SAMPLE TWO -  ECTOPLASM

He stared for a moment before delving deeper. By the time he finished going through everything two hours had already passed and he was running facial recognition scans on the images of specimen 0874. The images were dated over the course of four years. If he had to guess from age 9-13. The images were taken like mug shots. The most common face being of at first glance be two separate boys.

He already had his suspicions about who the boy was, but he had the tests for solid evidence, in case the kid really was just a doppelganger. One with raven black hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. The other with snow-white hair, rather unsettling green eyes, and a healthy tan.

Facial recognition scans confirmed they were the same boy. Facial recognition scans also showed the raven-haired boy matched the identity of two people. Richard Jhon Grayson and Daniel James Grayson. Under Daniel's name big bold red letters - MISSING.

Bruce knew his ward had a twin brother that went missing around the time of his parent's death. Suspected to be right after the fall. He also knew the twin brother was almost born stillborn till he spontaneously sprung to life again. He hadn't fully developed during the pregnancy and was kept in NICU for a few months before he was deemed healthy enough to go home. This is who he suspected the child to be.

When Daniel went missing they searched for months to find the missing child. A year passed and the case went cold. Everyone was told the child was dead. Bruce's ward, Dick refused to believe it though, he knew his brother and he could tell he was still alive somewhere. Bruce reflected on all the times he found Dick sleeping in the bat computer chair as it ran scans on every security camera he could find in search of his brother. Bruce's eyes widened as he remembered reading something about amnesia. If he's correct Daniel has no memory of his time with the circus and his suspicions were correct, he knew he would have to tell Dick eventually but for now he needed to know more.

He knew what he was doing for the night. Bruce pulled his cowl up and marched towards the batwing. He was going to find out more and he was going to get it right from them. He had no idea if the data was tampered with or not, but it doesn't matter. Bruce entered the coordinates into the batwing just as Alfred approached.

"A late night flight Master Bruce?" He questioned sarcastically. "Master Richard will ask your whereabouts." He explained.

"Tell him I'm going on a solo mission." Batman said gruffly before the top of the batwing closed and he flew out through the waterfall.

"Very well, Master Bruce." The Brit said, walking back up to the manor.

When Batman arrived he landed the Batwing outside of the forest surrounding the facility. With ease, he made it through the forest and perched himself in a tree to watch. The building was two stories high, had two cameras on every wall, and guards patrolling the outside. Multiple trucks and helicopters where parked around the facility.

'Must be moving.' He thought to himself while he stared through binoculars what they were doing. He saw Mr. Montanari, he stood with a cane and bandaged around his nose. Batman let a smirk slip. Montanari was ordering people around they moved cryogenic cylinders into the trucks, and as another group moved equipment into other trucks.

He just needed to look around and get to the main computer. Hopefully, find something he shouldn't. According to the schematics e got from the file, there wasn't a hallway without a camera. There was no way of getting without being seen, he wondered how Daniel did it.

He grappled to the roof of the building and knocked out the two guards on top. He looked around, searching for a way in. He wouldn't fit through the vents. He looked back through the schematics on his wrist computer. He walked over the back corner of the roof. There should be a window here, to the surveillance room.

He looked down and there, in fact, was a window ledge. Batman dropped onto in silently and looked inside. It was a dark room with huge screens covering one wall. He saw the outline of a figure, who starred the scenes intensely, his eyes switching from screen to screen while his fingers typed furiously on the keyboard. The one screen that wasn't showing surveillance was open to a document, where the man most likely took logs of anything and everything that happened.

Batman easily tossed a Batarang at the desk and it released some knockout gas into the room. The man immediately dropped. His face landing on the keyboard and it continuously typed the letter 'g'.

Batman dropped into the room and walked over to the computer. He pushed aside the man and remotely shut down all the cameras, he pulled his Batarang out of the desk as well. He looked around and walked out of the small room. He needed to find what they kept here.

As he explored, the smell of cleaner was getting a bit strong, and the intense fluorescent light on the completely white walls, it started to hurt his eyes. He walked through the mostly empty corridors, he avoided the ones where men in white suits walked with weapons at the ready.

'The breakout must have made them up the security.' He thought to himself as he passed another hallway.

His last stop was a large room, broken machines and cables were everywhere. They were disassembling it. This was the most likely area where Daniel had begun his escape. Batman looked around and noticed a loose circuit board that in the wall closest to him. He walked over and pulled it out. He pulled out the small device wired to some cords and examined it. He took it with him after he replaced the circuit board and made his way out and back to the batwing.

No one noticed the batarangs flying across the rooftop and landing ongoing each of the truck and one helicopter. If he didn't track them there was Monday of knowing where the next facility would be. As he was flying he was called by Alfred. He answered after the second time.

"What?" Batman demanded.

"It's Poison Ivy. She's devoured a chemical lab with her plants. The building is unenterable and there is no exit, Master Bruce" Alfred explained.

"I'll be there. Send Robin to meet me there." With that, he pressed the 'end call' bottom and sped off into the direction of Gotham already thinking of a plan of attack.

**LATER**

He was halfway through apprehending Ivy when Commissioner Gordon showed up. He started getting the hostages out, as many as he could at a time while Batman took care of Ivy. It was a tough fight but he managed and Arkham took her away. He went back to the police station and waited for Gordon to arrive before telling him what was in the file.

"My God, Bruce. What are you going to do?" He asked a grim look on his face. He looked sick in the face like he was trying to hold something down.

"I'm going to speak with the league tomorrow." He stated. "I still don't know how I am going to tell Robin, but knowing him, he will find out on his own." He stated.

**THE NEXT DAY*

Bruce called a League meeting the next day, with only the original seven. He didn't need other heroes talking about it. Phantasm's Identity needed to stay quiet and under wraps and Green Arrow had a habit of sharing information with his protege.

"What's going on Batman? You said this was urgent." Superman asked from his seat next to the vigilante.

"Last night I received a package containing files on a secret operation with false government approval. This is what it contained." He said, clicking away at his screen till everything showed up. In the middle of the table, inside the circle, the two vials appeared.

"This group, the ghost investigation ward, has anyone ever heard of it?" Wonder Woman asked as she swiped through the files. After a few turns it was visible she was trying to keep her composer.

"No, and it was performing human experiments on a child in an isolated part of Illinois, the same child who went missing four years ago in Gotham and was presumed dead a three months after his disappearance from Haley's Circus after the deaths of The Flying Grayson's. The twin brother of Dick Grayson." Batman said the images with clear views of his face showed up on the holo-screen.

"He's Robin's twin brother," Flash asked leaning back in his chair. "And he's a meta. I thought Robin didn't have any powers, how could his identical twin be a meta?"

"Robin doesn't. But Daniel wasn't supposed to have survived childbirth and I'm guessing that has something to do with it." Batman said, pulling up more files on Daniel and Ward's research on him.

"Could it be magic related?" Wonder Woman asked, she had experience with higher beings messing with mortal's fates and she wasn't too fond of the idea. She trusted her gods knew what they were doing and it was what was best for earth's people, but powerful meta's and other beings rather then the god's had malicious intentions when playing with fate.

"Possibly. There could be a greater force playing into Daniel's fate. Poor child. He didn't deserve such a terrible burden." Aquaman spoke.

"All the test results here on both versions of him show signs of his human form being affected by his ghost DNA." He finished, pulling up the 3D scans of his DNA which looked quite off. "Journal entries by the unnamed leading scientist have insisted that Daniel's body in fact half dead," Batman stated.

"How is that even possible? It's like Schrodinger's Cat." Green Lantern asked. "The files say that his human cells are dying due to the ectoplasm, but his healing abilities keep bringing them back to life at an extremely accelerated rate. Specimen 0874 has displayed many more powers than the average subject. Flight, intangibility, and invisibility among them these powers consist of the following. Energy blasts, shapeshifting, telekinesis, cryogenic abilities, fast healing factor, super strength, hearing…" Green Lantern read aloud.

"This kid is a powerhouse. He even has a sonic scream that has effectively destroyed whole facilities. It's stronger than the Canary Cry based on these readings. With proper training, this kid has the potential to take us all out." He exclaimed. Batman nodded before opening up a video on the holo-screen.

"And he has three known weaknesses that can keep him down. The first is a rock-"

"At least your not the only one hurt by a rock anymore Superman." The Flash laughed, before receiving that look from Batman and he shut up.

"As I was saying." Batman continued. "Ectorainum, much like Kryptonium same in color, but it can be genetically manufactured. The mineral is an anti-ghost repellent more than a damaging material. It's used in anti-ghost weapons and the ghost shield. The second is a rare plant called Blood Blossoms. They feed off a ghost's energy, tearing them apart molecule by molecule till there is nothing left."

"This is security and body camera footage of his escape two days ago." They watched, while the 13-year-old took down the men and the aircraft along with a wing of the building. Wonder Woman smirked when he delivers the solid punch to one of the agents faces before pausing the video.

"Who is this man that he punched?" She asked pointing to the screen then looking up when Batman pulled up another file on a new holo-screen.

"This is Malcolm Montanari, he's the agent in charge of overseeing the project and facility," Batman answered, bringing up all the files he could. The league went through everything before they decided to come up with a plan of action. It was difficult, Daniel was completely unpredictable and the extent of his powers unknown, on top of that they had no idea where he was or what his plans where they did not have the advantage in this search.

"If he's free then he's probably laying low and doesn't trust anyone." Martian Manhunter pitched in, pausing to look at the images again. "he has no idea how the world works at the moment. He is highly intelligent for being locked away for so long."

"If we do encounter him best we keep our distance if he sees us as a threat who knows how he might react," Aquaman stated.

"Should we try to talk to him convince him to join our side? I'd prefer him to fight with us than against considering his abilities and I'd rather not have to hurt a child." Wonder Woman asked.

"If he is free he's probably experiencing symptoms of withdrawal from all the drugs they had him doped on, who knows how he'll react if he feels threatened," Flash stated.

"As of right now, there has been no sign of him. It's a good chance he's somewhere near Central City," Batman paused bringing up a map. "It's the closest place to the area where this facility was. Flash, you 'll have to keep a lookout for him."

"It's most likely he has PTSD, with everything he went through. Who knows what could set him off." Green Lantern said. "The very color white could and according to this stuff, the smell of cleaners might as well."

"This file says he has no memory of his life before capture," Superman said, sliding the file to the holo-screen for everyone to see. "Should we mention it to him, if we show we know him, or have information about him he might be more willing to comply."

"No. I haven't even told Dick yet. He'd try and go after him and that could have dangerous consequences." Batman said staring at the files in front of him. "Once we apprehend him, I will tell Robin. For now, keep this to yourselves. Don't let any of it get to the proteges. With the Justice League accepting new members and them becoming members of the league, we can't let any of this get out."

"Should we contact the government about this. They were working off false certification and embezzling funds from the government. There is probably someone on the inside helping them." Superman said.

"We'll be having a meeting with the president in two days and discuss our next move. For now, be on the lookout. Any small event or irregular crime could be him. I gave up on him once, I'm not about to do it again." Batman said standing up. "This meeting is adjourned" He finished, walking away and leaving the League to continue going over the information if they wished. He already sent them copies of the files to look over in more detail. He had work to do.